I was always the smallish, self-consciously uncoordinated, weak girl, as opposed to the smallest spry girl who could always do a gajillion pull-ups that every class seems to have.
Always picked next to the last for the team, just in front of the girl wearing headgear, I never felt athletic.
I couldn’t kick worth a damn, my suckiness at kicking was only rivaled by my inability to either catch a ball or hit it with a bat. I liked to run, but I wasn’t fast enough for track. I wasn’t agile or small enough for gymnastics. And I was too short for basketball. The only game I was ever good at was dodgeball. And I was very good at dodgeball.
I wasn’t really athletic until I met the lady on the left. Miss Jane Fonda. In 1982 she released her first workout video and through her I discovered that I might not be fast or agile, but boy can I work out. I learned to “feel the burn” and I learned to like it. There is just something incredibly satisfying in it for me. I feel accomplished at the end. Also pumping those endorphins doesn’t hurt either.
I stuck by Jane’s side for many years.
Along with Jane was the old infamous “20 Minute Workout”
The 20 Minute Workout, in retrospect, was a little sort of soft pornish maybe (I suspect now that more men might have been watching it than women actually doing the exercises), but it was a great workout and I often set my alarm for 5am to get up to do it. Looking at them now I can see why my left knee bothers me. I also wonder how I didn’t throw my neck out more often (I did, but I just sucked it up because, “No pain, no gain”).
Over the years, exercise has gone in and out of my life as time, motivation and money has allowed. During my 30s, I was a member of a Women’s Gym for about a year and that was the best out-of-home-gym experience I ever had. It was a serious, full-service gym for women serious about fitness. I learned a lot about weight training and circuit training while I was a member there. Then I went to nursing school and literally sat on my butt for 2 years studying.
After nursing school, I just didn’t have the time. Working, raising kids, buying a new home, and ministry all kept me very busy. In 1999, we started homeschooling. Then working, homeschooling, raising kids, and ministry all kept me very busy. I didn’t have time for working out and I didn’t make time either.
Taking time to workout seemed frivilous and selfish. And the gang I was hanging with, the ardent, conservative, homeschool mom set, didn’t exactly support members in wasting their precious time on frivilous and selfish pursuits. Women who would leave their children to go to a gym were “those women” and I didn’t want to be one of those women. I wanted to be one of “these women”, the women with perfect children. I also wanted to be a good Christian and for me at that time that meant lots and lots of volunteer church work. If I wasn’t working, homeschooling, cooking, or cleaning, then I was prepping for a class I was teaching or studying for a class I was taking. If exercise was a sacrifice I had to make for perfect children and to be a godly Christian then so be it.
My 40th birthday came and went. Those were the gigantic clothes years. It doesn’t matter if you are fit when you are wearing gigantic clothes. My gigantic clothes and the fact that I didn’t waste my time pursuing frivolous time-wasters like working out were proof I was a good mother AND a good Christian.
In June 2009, I wrote a series of blog posts about my midlife crisis and the journey of losing and regaining my groove. Part of the process of regaining my sense of self and health was exercise.
Today I consider exercise to be one of my major coping mechanisms. In the summer I spend quite a bit of time out hiking, but in the winter I focus on indoor cardio/circuit training.
Tomorrow I thought I’d give a description of my regime in the hopes that it might be an encouragement to others. Today I took a picture of my current results. I think for 49, it’s not too bad.