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.
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