Monday, February 2, 2015

Real Women, Real Workouts

When I first moved to Boston back in 1985, I was religious about going to the gym. As soon as I landed my first "real job," as a copywriter for a major cable company, I joined a women's workout club. It was conveniently located halfway between my apartment and my office. Every single weekday morning (and many Saturdays too), I took aerobics. Those were the days when we wore suspender leotards, unitards with crop tops and even leg warmers. And, yes, there was some day-glow going down as well. At 7:15 every morning, we were there, determined to "make it burn."

The locker room presented a daily scene just as dated as the gym. After class, we showered and blow dried our hair (picture Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, pre-haircut). Most of us worked in offices nearby and we all wore those little skirt and jacket suits, some with silky bow ties, and walked out in white athletic shoes, changing into pumps once we got to work.


Fast forward some 30 years. These days, I belong to a local — and co-ed — YMCA. It's a wonderful facility, thanks mainly to donations from two extremely high net worth neighbors. There are about 60 group exercise classes to choose from every week. In a perfect world, I'd go to yoga Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and to Zumba Tuesday, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Of course, it's not a perfect world.

Today, for example, we're having our second snowstorm in as many weeks. They're anticipating another 12 inches on top of the 28 we already have. Even if the Y were open (and I don't know that it is), I'm not driving in this. No how, no way.

Weather isn't the only impediment either. Between kids and clients and cars and conference calls, I often have conflicts that keep me from shaking my booty (or downward dogging, depending on the day). I figure that if I get there 4 times a week I'm doing pretty well.

I've also gotten over how I look while I'm there.

Some of the younger women must spend half their paychecks on workout wear. Lululemon yoga pants start at $88 and can run more than $100. (My teenage daughter once asked for a pair and I reminded her that she doesn't workout.) Myself, I'm perfectly happy in my Target specials, with an old tee shirt on top. And if I'm wearing a sports bra, no one's going to know about it but me. That tee shirt ain't coming off.

I do marvel at the, shall we say "firmer" bodies next to mine (especially in the jam-packed class on Saturday mornings). I wonder if they even know how remarkable they are. Or do they only see their nearly invisible flaws when they look in the mirror, like we all did? Regardless, I refuse to be intimidated. I'm not 23 anymore and let's just say there's more of me to love than there used to be. But, it isn't a competition. I'm there (when I'm actually there) for me.

That's why I love the TV commercial my BFF recently sent me. (She, btw, also remains a dedicated gym goer now that we're in our fifth fabulous decade.) The spot was created by Sports England to help women overcome "worries about being judged for being the wrong size, not fit enough and not skilled enough."

It's called "This Girl Can" and you can watch it here. 

My favorite line? "I jiggle therefore I am." Yep, pretty much the state of things. On this end. These days.

If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to order a copy of Lovin' the Alien at  

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