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The Argument of a Life(time)

Guilty secret. I have a trainer, a well-certified to whom I pay perfectly good money to manage my health and fitness. Lorie guides me through the physical exercise machinations that allow me to maximize the care and maintenance of what the good Lord gave me.

She monitors my nutrition. She charts my weight training (and weight and BMI). She irritates me, demands 100 percent of my muscular capability, makes sure I sweat like a goat, challenges me to do cardio (which I absolutely deplore above all other things) and critiques my food portions – all at 7a.m 3-4 days a week.

It’s a love-hate relationship, an ongoing argument (Why hold it this way? What’s this machine for? Why is it so heavy this morning?) with a delightful, talented fitness professional who has been known variously throughout our 14 years together as “Lorie the Horrible,” “The Beast of Buchenwald,” and “Oh, no, not her!” (usually by my husband, who believes early-morning workouts are probably life-threatening.

Why bother to crawl out of bed at 6a.m. every other day to drive 16 miles each way for a workout with Lorie, you ask?

Consider some brief facts and findings:

  1. While two-thirds of adults are overweight, half of these (33 percent) are obese, according to a survey conducted late 2007 by the National Consumers League. Only 12 percent were willing to describe themselves as obese rather than merely overweight.
  2. Three in four respondents in this survey believe obesity requires medical treatment.
  3. Note: even our children’s health is suffering, with the reported percentage of obese children tripling over the past three decades to 20 percent, per the CDC.
  4. A research study conducted in early 2008 by The Mayo Clinic learned that the majority of Americans considered to be of normal weight actually have a body fat percentage that is too high.
  5. It is estimated that 80 percent of Americans have no exercise routine whatsoever.
  6. In 2007, a survey by the American Heart Associationdetermined that 69 percent of women set a goal around exercise during the past 12 months but only 22 percent achieved their goal.
  7. Only 20 percent of adults know what a BMI, or Body Mass Index, is and how it affects their life expectancy.

Wow. That’s a lotta bad news, isn’t it? I think so, too. And it’s just the tip of the personal health and fitness iceberg. How about some good news?

For women, there is a positive correlation between:

  • weight loss and declining breast cancer incidence and recurrence
  • strength training and reduced incidence of osteoporosis
  • weight loss and declining incidence of Type II diabetes
  • exercise and flexibility, balance and coordination
  • strength training + cardiovascular conditioning and heart health

The American Heart Association survey mentioned earlier revealed that:

  • Women who work on their exercise goal for more than six months have a better record of achievement; whereas, about half of those who fail stop trying in the first two months.
  • Women who achieved their goal to exercise more wrote down their goals, used calendars to manage their time and tracked their progress with paper charts and online trackers significantly more than those who weren’t successful.

Body fat and BMI are not the same. Knowing your body fat and where it falls on the Body Fat Standards chart will help define how healthy your weight really is. It gives you a target number to work toward, too.

The benefits of weight training for women are extensive:weight control at any age, decreasing the complications of osteoporosis after menopause, maintaining a strong core (especially the back and abdomen), and working to prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Back to the original question: why do I trek the distance to work out with Lorie?

  1. I don’t want to have to keep track of all of this data about body fat and weight. After all, I am responsible for managing my nutrition, sleep (or probable lack thereof), and healthy life choices. I’m exhausted already.
  2. She’s a highly-educated professional who tests trainer-certification candidates in the specialty of biomechanics at the Baylor Sports Medicine Institute.
  3. Her experience is vast, and sure to include some of the problems I generate as I age (only one day at a time!). She has worked with hundreds of clients, mostly women 30 to 65 years in age, in stages of health that range from fit to struggling to recovering from surgery to chronic illness.
  4. She has almost all the answers to a terrific array of questions (yep, I ask a lot of questions). For the answers she doesn’t have immediately, she finds them and analyzes their applicability to the situation at hand.
  5. She never forgets anything. She rarely misses a day. She’s always prepared (darn it).
  6. I get pushed to my unique personal limit during each workout, developing strength without causing harm.

And of course, there’s the good stuff:

  • I can lift my own luggage up into the overhead bin on aircraft.
  • Despite the fact that I travel alone frequently, my physically-expressed confidence in my defensive and physical capabilities reduces the risk of being targeted.
  • Riding motorcycles for a week or two doesn’t cause me physical pain or back stress.
  • I have the thrill of telling Lorie how much I despise doing cardio (always after workouts).
  • I enjoy consuming dark chocolate – for the health benefits, of course – whenever and as often as I want (take that, Lorie!).
  • Best of all, I get to look away and smile (like Horatio Caine on CSI: Miami) when, to set up for their own workout, young guys have to take weights off the leg press machine after I finish my third set.

So, I’ll be contining my ongoing argument with Lorie, in the form of a resolution to pursue my annual commitment to work out regularly, with guidance, as I have for more than two decades.

Here’s to your health!

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