Age Doesn’t Mean a Thing at the Gym

Yesterday’s post and commentary on comparisons reminded me of a situation I experienced last week. It happened in the gym, of course, when a young woman in shorty-shorts and skimpy tank came back to the free weights area to work out. Or to look at herself in the mirror. I couldn’t quite decipher her primary motivation.

Anyway, after one mini-break from mirror gazing, she set up 4 or 5 workout stations to her liking, apparently demonstrating her (eventual) desire to use them, but only after another session at the mirror. Since I had been using the calf raise station, I walked over to her and asked if she minded if I worked in my sets. (Common gym courtesy, in action.) She grudgingly agreed after I assured her I would restore the station to her settings each time I used it, but I swear, her bottom lip poked out when she nodded.

As I walked away, I wasn’t exactly comparing myself to her, but I couldn’t stem the “old and blobby” feeling from sneaking in and threatening to spoil my mood. I’ve long since reconciled myself to the fact that the short-shorts and tight tanks aren’t going to be in my repertoire, but in my sweat pants and long-sleeve t-shirt (it was freezing out that day), I felt especially frumpy. And old-old-old.

Fortunately, that feeling only lasted about 15 seconds because when I got to the calf raise machine, I had to move the weight peg from her chosen weight (50 lbs.) to my chosen weight, which was 150 pounds. Score one for the old frumpy chick!

I don’t generally approve of scorekeeping in the gym, and I couldn’t poke fun at 50-lb. calf raises if I wanted to. (Besides, this gal probably runs more in a day than I run in a year. Or two.) What the act of moving the peg up for my raises and back down again for her did was to remind me that age* doesn’t mean a thing at the gym. It’s what we do and how we continue to push ourselves that tell the story. I know this in my head, but my heart takes a detour now and then. So I appreciated the (re)learning experience of it all.

Later that same day, I stumbled upon another reminder that age doesn’t matter. I found it in this video of Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female competitive body builder at age 75.

ernestine sheperd

Being the happy clicker that I am, I searched and found Ms. Shepherd’s official website. Once there, I saw that while her results are much more amazing than mine (although I’m also amazing in my own unique way), our paths are similar in some ways in that we both:

  • Take slow steps and consistent steps
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • See our workouts as FUN!

Ms. Shepherd’s nutritional habits are probably quite a bit different than mine, but I’m not training for a body-building competition. I’m saving that for my 60s. :)

Nosiree, Bob, (to borrow an old person’s phrase) age doesn’t mean a thing in the gym! Or on the podium either, as it turns out. :)

*Along with age, size and shape don’t mean anything at the gym either. What matters is that we’re there!

Unrelated to anything else, I was just clearing my spam folder and came upon the best spam comment ever: “The genius store caleld[sic], they’re running out of you.” I almost didn’t want to delete it. LOL

16 thoughts on “Age Doesn’t Mean a Thing at the Gym

  1. Good on you for sharing that equipment with one of ‘those’ girls. I tend to just move away and go on to my next machine. Fortunately, we don’t have too many of those girls in our gym, but we sure have a bunch of immature boys.

    You write the best posts, Cammy! Love that picture of Ernestine Shepherd–her smile is fantastic.

  2. No. Way!!!! That woman is NOT 75.
    Rude, if you think about it.
    Yes, she’s inspiring…. or annoying. Not sure which.
    You, however, rock. Nice calf raises! I love it that you found your way back to your own strength.
    Oh, also, best spam ever!! I’ve wanted to keep some too. Or been privately embarassed at how I can get a lift from the spam-praise (often in incorrect english).

  3. LOVE!!!!!!!!!!! Funny you wrote about the mirror cause as I did my cardio before my weights this morn, every person int he gym at that early times was hooked on the mirror, AND NOT FOR FORM! It was a love fest with themselves. It really drives me crazy when people look to primp * not for form…

    Anyway, you are the best Cammy – you just are!!!!!!

    I have read about Ernestine – amazing – I want to be her when I grow up! :-)

  4. The older crowd on The Biggest Loser also wanted to send this same message — that age simply doesn’t mean a thing.

  5. Cammy- I had to share my old guy story at my gym: We call him Under Armor man. It takes him about 30 minutes each to dress and then to change back to street clothes. He’s probably 60+ and wears everything Under Armor makes…headband, shirt, wristbands, gloves, tights (yes, displaying all his glory), socks, shoes…he brings a huge gym bag with all his UA gear plus he carries his own fan with him!

    While we can’t help but snicker at his UA obsession (and the fact that he really should wear shorts over those tights), we do give him props for being at the gym…a LOT…the man has stamina! I’d put him up against many much younger folks at the gym, so you’re right…age has little do with success. Determination and attitude are far more important. :-)

  6. You know what.. I have had “old ladies” outlast me, outrun me, outlift me, outstep me, outspin me and outlast me again in the gym. There really is no age limit to being fit. :)

  7. I have to snicker at you for taking pleasure in comparing yourself to the girl in the shorty shorts! I would have too! Does that make us evil??? :)

  8. Haha Cammy, you are much better person than I am. I would have set the calf raise machine at 150 and left it there to make a statement 😀

  9. I’m sure you’ve seen it before, but I had to share: “strong is the new skinny.” :-)

    I got the best compliment today: I was told by someone that I am stronger than some men she knows…

  10. The older I get, the more I truly believe that age IS just a number. When I first started doing 5Ks I felt really self conscious, like “what are YOU doing here?” No one ever said it – I just projected it onto them. LOL!
    Thanks for always stopping by my blog to give encouragement!


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