While I was 12, my parents separated and my mom became a single parent to two preteens. Judy worked full-time and took care of everything at home. Now that I’m middle-aged, I have a greater appreciation for her habits and the choices she made while I was growing up. A few lessons stand out as I look back from 40-something years old.
You have to make time to exercise in order to take care of your body.
It took a while to understand it and embrace it: the love of exercise. My mother taught aerobics in the 80s in her leotard and leg warmers to songs by the Pointer Sisters and Micheal Jackson. (Sorry, I don't have any photos!) After we moved to Missouri, she no longer taught group fitness classes but she did sweat it out in the living room with the likes of Billy Blanks and Richard Simmons. Occasionally, she'd get me to join in despite my lack of stamina! Mom also regularly went for long, fast-paced walks. She made time to exercise while we were young and she made time to exercise as a single mother working full-time. I’m pretty amazed by that when I think about the moms I know and how busy they are. She may not have realized it then but the example provided to us as children helped influence both my brother and I to be more physically active adults.
You don’t realize you can do hard things until you do them.
I remember going for walks with mom and not being able to keep up very well. I was probably around 11 years old when I sat down on the trail complaining I couldn’t continue. She reminded me that I told her I could walk the entire thing and it was my choice to go along. My mom acknowledged that I was tired but assured me that to keep going meant getting stronger. I may not have completed it very quickly or energetically but I did it! A similar sentiment is also what got me through the first few weeks of college. This shy, introverted homebody had a VERY hard time adjusting. These two examples are fairly mild in contrast to other experiences but they illustrate my point well enough without getting overly personal. While in the midst of a trial or conflict, I've got to push through the discomfort of growth to reach the other side...or at least learn from the effort when I don't quite make it.
It’s okay to slow down. Actually, it’s a necessity. And no matter how hard you work, if you look for it, there will always be that NEXT thing that needs your attention and energy.
Sometimes, mom teaches us what NOT to do. Judy was always on the go. Work, cooking, house-cleaning, grocery-shopping, curtain-washing, furniture-moving, yard work…I hardly recall her sitting down for long periods of time because there was always the next thing. She never took much time for herself because she was always worried about that next thing that HAD to be done. Even as my brother and I grew older and eventually moved out of the house, it seemed she would never relax. It wasn’t until after she retired that she started to slow down and sit with her tea and watch the birds. Everyone deserves some time to just be. Focus on the most important stuff and the rest can wait.
Of course, all that I've learned from my mom over the years cannot be boiled down into a few paragraphs. To this day, if I have a problem, I still call mom. So cheers to all the moms out there and all of the big and little lessons you share with your children every day.
Happy Mother's Day!
It’s mid-November and I’ve heard a couple of clients lament the stress they feel building due to the upcoming holidays. As a personal trainer/coach, I don’t want you experiencing holiday-related stress that impacts your health, happiness and overall well-being. It’s supposed to be the happiest time of year, after all. Only sometimes, it isn’t, right? Added expectations and obligations amount to added stress. And the holidays are full of both! We’ve got expectations for amazing home décor and gifts, home-cooked meals and baked goodies, obligations to attend gatherings and give charitably. If we're being honest, often these expectations and obligations are self-applied! We can’t forget the potential winter time weather and travel woes. Then there’s the challenge of familial strain or conflicts that seem to only come up on Thanksgiving or Christmas. (Deciding where you’ll spend the holidays is always a fun one!) The stress is almost palpable.
It’s easy to get caught up in the negative feelings by imaging all the scenarios that haven’t even happened yet or recalling the disasters of holidays past. The good news is that you can get a handle on some of the tasks that are stressing you, right now. You may not be able to extinguish every ounce of stress but you can certainly manage it and spend more of this season in enjoyment rather than worry.
Hectic Holiday Circuit
What you need:
Moderate weight dumbbells and a timer
How do it:
After a 5 minute dynamic full body warm-up, perform each exercise for 1 minute. Move to next exercise with little to no rest. Repeat circuit 3 to 4 times with 1 to 2 minute rest between rounds. Cool down & stretch!
Hide the Gifts It's as if you are leaning and reaching to place a gift on a low shelf....Perform alternating Single Leg RDL with reach
Chop the Wood Hold one dumbbell with both hands and perform a high to low wood chop. Switch sides after 30 seconds.
Drink the Coffee Pick up both dumbbells, hold a wall sit while doing alternating hammer curls.
Climb the Ladder Think high knees with alternating reaches to the ceiling. Right arm up, left knee up then left arm up, right knee up. Do slow with full range of motion or go for speed!
Top the Tree Pick up both dumbbells again. Perform a squat with weights near shoulders and as you return to standing, press one weight up overhead to full extension of arm. Back into squat, push other weight overhead. Repeat.
Around the World Front lunge, lateral lunge, reverse lunge. Switch legs. Repeat for time. Hold a dumbbell in each hand for little more challenge.
The Home Alone Workout
Sometimes a quick themed at-home workout is all you need to reignite your motivation mojo through the holiday season!