Yesterday, sometime late in the afternoon, I was flipping through some channels on the stair master at the gym, (I know what you’re thinking- who uses a stair master anymore? – while I’d agree with your sentiment entirely, I have to say – just like all things 80’s- you should really try it again – it offers the same effect as doing a long, slow, yet much easier- exaggerated squat- plus you sweat like a horse while catching up on your TV shows) so I was trying to find something to entertain myself through the 20 minutes of inevitable boredom and I fell upon a rerun of “Ellen”- so excited to have found a show that is clean and fun and guarantees to make me laugh out loud (while simultaneously, without falling off, quickly look behind me to make sure no one can see that I’m laughing at a daytime TV talk show ….but let’s be honest- we all know her competition isn’t exactly fierce.)
So Ellen was in the middle of an interview with Jane Fonda – top of my list of all time favorite inspirational people! Still slim and fit and aging gracefully, yup, Jane looked fantastic! I felt a sense of nostalgia come over me, having spent the latter half of my teenage years with Jane’s workout videos that never left the top of my pop up vcr.
I would come home from school and pop in the bulky video cassette the size of a hard covered book (this was the age before the popularity of owning your own yoga mat, so I would quite literally feel the “burn” – albeit carpet burn- from her nonstop donkey kicks on my hands and knees.) Jane was definitely ahead of her time before the fitness world became what it is today: a monstrous billion dollar industry filled with juicing, chemically enhanced supplements, unusable machinery and over priced wheat grass.
Yup, Jane was a revolutionary before it was acceptable for women to have muscles. Without knowing so, she was one of the pioneers of the fitness industry back in a time when women were supposed to eat cottage cheese and dry melba toast to stay slim and only men were supposed to work out. If a woman was athletic she was considered “bulky” (or a lesbian….not that there’s anything wrong with it).
I can not tell you how many times I still overhear women at the gym tell their trainers they don’t want to get bulky legs. (if you’re one of them and still think that lifting anything heavier than a pink dumbbell will make you appear “big”, rest assured, it takes A HECK of a lot more work to intentionally gain the kind of muscle that appears “bulky” – believe me I am still and will always be trying to attain that kind of muscle mass.) Of course the first question Ellen asked her was whether she is still an avid exerciser. I have to admit, I was somewhat surprised when she replied very matter of factly that she was not. She continued to say that she does still exercise daily but she has softened her routine drastically to very low impact but she still incorporates the basics that we all know and love about her videos. Now, let me just say that I’m not new to slim and fit at a “mature” age, I live in the land of beautiful bodies, (granted, for the most part they are both plastic and nipped but beautiful nevertheless.)
It’s certainly not unusual to see an older woman in great shape exercising in the gym, in fact it’s pretty standard where I live. But what resonated with me the most was her response that she has toned down her routine drastically over the years yet still sticks to the basics.
Much later that evening I was flipping through some stations trying to find something to distract me into falling asleep ( I know what you’re thinking- I watch a lot of tv – which is quite ironic considering I can not name one popular tv show or Grammy / Emmy winning actor) and happened upon the show: “Two and a Half Men” – no, not the original version with Charlie Sheen when it was actually funny – but the the newer episodes with Ashton Butcher- so overrated for no apparent reason other than he used to be married to Demi and wore a red string around his wrist. This show has jumped, twirled, flip flopped and rolled over the shark so many times it’s struggling to find its way through to end the season for good. So I noticed that they now included a new cast member – a 6 year old chubby kid to live in the house with the two grown men- hmmm- seems so familiar? -Somewhat like the original idea that made it such a hit several years ago – two and a HALF men which included a 6 year old chubby kid…..ah ha!- just like all failing sitcoms who revert back to a ‘Three’s Company’ misunderstanding to save the plot – yep, they went back to basics!
Lesson Learned:………. Back to basics!
Just like Jane Fonda and her original leg lifts and sit ups that were a guarantee to tone the tushy and the tummy – so too is it a guarantee that when it aint broke don’t fix it. When you stick to the original formula you can’t really go wrong. When all else fails just add a new chubby kid to the storyline.