Finding My Fit: Discovering Your Perfect Workout
“Find your fit,” the tagline for FitMe Wellness boldly states.
To me, being a fit 20-year-old is very different from being a fit 80-year-old. I fall somewhere in between, although closer to 80 than 20. For me, being fit this spring meant having the strength and endurance to manually till two decent-sized flower beds before planting 120 petunia plants, as well as an eight-by-16-foot garden of tomatoes, peppers, and green beans. With spade in hand, I dug deep into the dirt, turned it over, then smoothed out the big chunks before getting on my knees to do the actual planting. On the days the temperature hovered near 100 degrees, I started my morning projects at 6:15 to beat the heat.
On another day, while my husband dug out seven dead evergreen bushes, I used the pruners to cut up their branches into small pieces so they would fit into the refuse bin. One particular arborvitae bush was especially troublesome. When I finally got it trimmed down to the core branches, my dear husband, with tongue in cheek, suggested that I just grab a hold and yank it out. Not willing to let a challenge like that go unanswered, I wrapped both hands around the base, gave a couple of solid pulls, and much to his surprise, out it came. His response was, “You’re either very strong for an ‘old lady,’ or the roots were very shallow.” Knowing him the way I do, this may be the ultimate compliment and justification for strength training!
I’ve worked out with personal trainer Tracy Cusick at FitMe Wellness for more than two years. Other than whitewater rafting the Colorado River and then hiking the nine-and-ahalf miles to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, training with Tracy is one of the best investments I’ve ever made for both my physical and mental health. Walking nine-and-a-half miles on flat terrain is one thing, but in the Grand Canyon, that distance would only be one mile if you could just go straight up, which you can’t. The other eight-and-a-half miles come from an endless number of uphill switchbacks. I had never done any major hiking before my Grand Canyon adventure, and even though I had trained six months for it, I was secretly fearful that I would not be physically able to complete the trek. Ultimately, I faced my fear and traversed some very narrow trails that, with one missed step, could have led to a drop of 300 feet onto the craggy rocks below. Working out with Tracy is far from fearful, yet it’s another kind of challenge, another kind of adventure — one that forces me to remain accountable, not to Tracy, but to me. While I’m still working a 50-hour week, most of my high school classmates have already retired. None belong to a health club or work out regularly, and they often ask me not only why I’m still working, but why I strength train with a personal trainer.
Tracy is an outstanding personal trainer. She pushes me to do more than I would do on my own, and encourages me to do more reps when I think I’ve got nothing left. Tracy takes into consideration my past injuries and guides me on proper form, ensuring that those old injuries stay “old” and that I don’t incur new ones. The benefits I get from working with Tracy aren’t purely physical; she also acts as my life coach. When life gets in the way and throws challenges in my path, she’s better than a bartender. When I’m struggling, she talks me through it. I can’t think of a better way to start a day than with the satisfaction and accomplishment of completing a hard workout.
I strength train because I want to live to be 100. I want to play with my grandchildren when their parents are too tired to take them on a bike ride. I want to be strong enough to lift the nine-year-old up high enough to reach the top rung on the monkey bars. I want to have enough energy and stamina to take them hiking, perhaps even in the Grand Canyon. I’ve found that strength training with Tracy fits me just fine, regardless of age.
By FitMe Wellness member Anne Kerwitz