Tuesday, October 6, 2009


There is a lot to learn from my mom who lives a life of strict routine. The chaos and upheaval of moving and trying to restart a normal life could use a few tips from mom about order and repetition and no more so than in regards to my physical being. At my age the body doesn't necessarily respond the way I want it to, nor the way I had been accustomed to when I was in my thirties. In New York, in my youth and financial affluence, I was able to join a gym and workout with a trainer. The routine was to go to the gym early in the morning, get my thirty minutes of cardio in, and then spend an hour with a trainer working the dead weight circuit and the mat. This was a three-day-a-week schedule that I kept to religiously. It worked well until Emmy came along. The first to be cast out was the trainer and then the gym. I was forced to try to remember all I had learned and translate this into something I could do at home. With space being an issue in most NYC digs and our designer's inability to allow any unsightly exercise equipment to foul our perfect home I found a little Stairmaster I could store under the bed. I added an upper body strength cord to the machine so I could combine some bicep and chest work along with my thirty minute cardio all done on the Stairmaster in front of the early local news show at 5:30am. This was my Monday, Wednesday and Friday wake-up call combined with a set of stomach exercises done on the floor. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays I reduced the routine to only what I could do on the floor. The weekends were always free of any traditional form of exercise.  Week day gym inspired exercise was replaced with weekends of carrying furniture up and down a steep flight of stairs at our store and weeding the garden. As Emmy grew older and getting her to school on time became a factor, my rountine started to show some signs of cracking. I was able to maintain a better track record during the summer but the school year was starting to be a little hit or miss.
Before we moved and Emmy had grown to middle school age, my routine had fallen to stomach exercises on the bedroom floor four days a week and if I didn't go to the country I might squeeze a couple of cardio sessions in on Saturday and Sunday while watching a repeat of  Bravo's "Top Chef" or "The Housewives of Atlanta". I tried to combat this lack of physical exertion by eating healthy breakfasts, moderate lunches and sensible dinners during the week then casting fate to the wind on weekends.
Since we moved to Madison the exercise machine has remained packed away in the garage and my belt has gained another notch. Worst of all I discovered Culver's, home of the butterburger, deep fried chesse curds and concretes a malted so thick and loaded with butterfat you can turn it upside down and shake it without risking losing a single drop. You heard me right, burgers cooked in butter, deep fried cheese and artery clogging malts all in one meal. My waistline doesn't have a fighting chance.

It's not just the mind that needs a workout routine. Don't neglect some time spent on your body. Get out and take a walk, see some sunshine. It not only affects that sagging set of pecs but it clears the mind and lifts the spirits. Dust off that Stairmaster and start stepping.

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