Category Archives: Fitness past Fifty

Cycling Fashion, Cycling Performance

Here’s my quote and photo from my last post. “I’m all in for cycling now. Proof? Check out the CUTE IMG_3886cycling jersey I bought today! Dude Girl. Can’t wait to try the matching accessories.”

 

IMG_3931On my first ride in my new jersey, a woman drives up in the parking lot tooting her horn when she saw my jersey. She jumped out of her car and whoa…she is the one who IS ALL IN, in more ways than one. First, she has ALL the accessories to go with the jersey… the pants, a windbreaker vest, arm warmers, red sunglasses AND a bike with red trim. Second, she and the folks pictured here were off to Muir Beach, a mountainous climb. I don’t know which to be more jealous of…the outfit or the ability to do rides like that (and much more).

Fashion aside, what about cycling performance? I’ve ridden 81 miles in the last 8 days, the longest ride was from Nicasio to Inverness, 31 miles. Average times are getting close to 15 mph compared to my first ride in May averaging 8.5! I’m still striving. This older body hasn’t peaked in aerobic fitness yet.

Today I talked hubby Jeff into going along. He did great for someone who hasn’t been riding, a testimony to his Crossfit training. We both were so grateful to be fit and able to ride outside along this beautiful stretch of the San Francisco Bay.

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Next goal: maybe I don’t have one. Come to think of it, I sure would like a road bike.

About Me – My Story

I’m in my 60’s and I’m an athlete. No, I don’t do anything amazing like running marathons. I’m just really fit. It wasn’t always that way.  Born pre-Title Nine, I wasn’t exposed to sports; there were no teams for girls. I grew up smoking with friends at the mall.  In my 30’s I quit smoking and began working out. Over the years I ran, lifted weights, and was physically active.

In middle age, I gained weight, lost weight, and began years of yo-yo dieting. I tried every weight loss program available, losing 25 pounds then gaining 30, losing 30 then gaining 35. In my fifties, I topped out at 174 pounds! I’m barely 5 feet tall.

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As my weight went up, my physical health deteriorated.  I experienced stiffness in my joints, difficulty bending down and getting up off the floor, high cholesterol, and nagging, constant knee problems. After surgery in one knee, my doctor said I had severe arthritis and I should limit strenuous activities. Luckily, another wise doctor suggested I begin biking to strengthen my quadriceps to take pressure off my knees and to lose weight. I followed her advice.  I wanted to change, but where to start?

I decided to make a long-term lifestyle plan combining healthy eating and consistent exercise that continues to this day. I decided I would never diet again, I committed to eating healthy most of the time, and not to deprive myself when I really wanted to eat something. By reading books about healthy food like Omnivore’s Dilemma, and Food Rules by Michael Pollen and watching documentaries like “Food Inc.” and “Forks Over Knives”, I began to consistently make choices to eat fresh, wholesome foods because they were good for my body (and good for the environment, too).

With a long road back to fitness, I committed to exercise at least 5 days a week, making it the most important thing I did each day. I began walking, then joined an obscure gym where I wouldn’t know anyone! Miraculously a yoga teacher-in-training established her first yoga class at the elementary school where I worked. We were a small group and I couldn’t let her down by not showing up. My weight gradually dropped. I took spin classes and rode a bike around town. Slowly, my weight was down 40 pounds.  Pilates mat classes three times a week helped develop a strong core, and added spin classes, then, eventually, body toning/boot camp kinds classes. I gradually lost more weight, 2 to 3 pounds at a time, until I reached my goal weight. My pain and physical limitations disappeared. I began feeling so much fitter and healthier, I was motivated to become a Personal Fitness Trainer to share the joy of transforming one’s fitness.

Feeling already pretty fit and strong, I began stepping up my weights with progressive strength training, high intensity workouts and daily flexibility exercises.  This has been a life changer,  like taking a youthfulness pill. Daily activities and sports are so much easier! I keep changing it up and doing all sorts of things –  I’ve dabbled in running, Crossfit, masters swimming, road biking, golf.  The strength training gives me a base of fitness that enables me to jump in and make a decent effort at whatever I try. I enjoy participating in a variety of activities and am enjoy being just really fit!

In the meantime, I am enjoying helping others become their healthiest self, FIT FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE!

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