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Exercise is not just for athletes

 I hang out with a pretty tough crowd at the gym. What? Another column about exercising? Geeze, BB can’t you write about food, or maybe give us an update on that danged bacon-luring dog catcher again? We do have an animal control problem here fella! What is your obsession with exercise?

Believe it or not, almost on a daily basis I question not only my motives, and goals, but my own sanity. Here’s how I roll; I do a Boot camp on Monday, Spin class on Tuesday, and Body Pump on Wednesday. I try to convince myself to take Thursday’s off for rest and recuperation – and am partially successful. Friday’s are a run day and since the temp has jumped into the 80’s at daybreak, this has turned my 5K run into something quite embarrassing.

Let’s break this down further and if you are still reading, there is a direct correlation between working your body with boosting your mental health. A good solid push of your muscles equates to a positive state of mind. I love to ask other seniors if they “got your money’s worth” as the exit the gym and 100% report they did, often with a weary grin.

At the gym named after the clock, our Boot camp instructor is a young personal trainer named Chelsea. Last Monday, Chelsea with her sweet demeanor and semi-soft commands nearly “killed off” the entire class of hardcore trainees. I use that term to define a point where people walk out prematurely or collapse at the home-20 and take a good nap in a coma state. Boot camp is a series of exercises that vary week to week designed to challenge ordinary work-out routines.

“I can’t feel my legs, Forrest!” I yelled out at one point and my peeps giggled. You see, working out in a group is fun and sometimes the classes take on a near monkey cage cacophony of squeals and grunts – and laughter as we all go into muscle fail mode. Fail mode is the point where your muscles are strenuously objecting to what your mind has told them they must do.

Our Spin instructor is a lithe cycling gynoid named Page and I swear she is a literal sadist at times. Her sweet smile belies the fact that she routinely tries to break everyone in the class. My friend Elaine came to her first Spin class Monday and I warned her to try and make it through the class by NOT doing what the rest of us do and I watched her grin the entire class as she peddled slowly behind us. In her mind I am sure she thought we were all nuts. The driving music in these classes helps us to get through and I often close my eyes and just peddle like a lunatic. I won’t lie and say it’s easy.

I’ve had a lot of instructors over the years, both in exercise and karate and our Body Pump instructor is the most incredible trainer I’ve ever had the pleasure of training with. Her name is Clarissa and she is indeed an apex instructor and a totally delightful person. Body Pump is a very organized and engineered weight lifting program designed to fatigue every major muscle group in sets of threes or more. Just when your muscles scream for relief, you change to something else. At the end of the class, you are exhausted and for some strange reason, there is a lot of water on the floor around you.

Clarissa knows and sees all and misses nothing. Her commands are as exact as her movements and you immediately are aware that she really cares not only about your safety, but your development. On top of everything else, she will remember your name after the first class. Her instruction is mixed with philosophy, positivity, and encouragement. I am truly impressed by this instructor as you can tell.

The crowd I train with are tough. They have endurance and stamina and take their training seriously. I cannot hang with their schedule though. They often meet at 6am and run for an hour, or come to the gym 2 hours early to lift weights and then take one or more classes. Most are in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s too – like me, but I just can’t hang like that.

Those dang women are something else!


Anonymous said…
Deb Hearn: You may get me back to the gym yet Bert. Very inspiring.
Anonymous said…
Clarissa Webb: Um, WOW. Bert Marshall, this is powerful stuff, man. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I truly appreciate your willingness to share your story and be so candid about where you are in your fitness journey. It means so much to me to be able to help someone by sharing what's naturally in my heart, what comes out because we get to work together toward our goals. I love #bodypump, and what's more, I love being able bodied and the fact that I get paid to celebrate that on a regular basis. My cup overflows! I'm just glad you guys keep showing up!

Thanks again, Bert. See ya at the gym!
Anonymous said…
Charlie Farrar: You should take up golf. Build your character
jenny said…
yep... absolutely necessary for positive mental health. absolutely! way to get er done, Bert!
Anonymous said…
Adnan M. Sanjak: Inspiring! Great read!
Anonymous said…
Jessica: I agree Bert, Clarissa is an awesome instructor!!!
Anonymous said…
Stacey: is the best instructor I have ever been blessed with. She never has a bad word for anyone. She is so upbeat that you feel great (although exhausted ) when finished. She is a petite lady but what a powerhouse.
Anonymous said…
Elizabeth Lutz: Great article Bert Marshall Thanks!!
Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham‎:
Bert, your column in The Baytown Sun morning was good, although I can't comment too much on exercise, but I do get plenty. I probably don't get enough of the kind I really need. My upper body strength has really increased over the last nine months, as you can imagine. However, I really appreciate the way you always encourage others with just about anything you write about. Good job, brother.

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