Physical fitness has always been important to me, however I never loved working out. Today, it’s one of the first items scheduled in my weekly regime – it’s a form of survival with respect to managing my hormone changes and sanity!
A few years ago I began to struggle with energy levels, sleeping, hot flashes, and migraines, when my husband, Michael (who is very dedicated to CrossFit) introduced me to a friend he met at CrossFit 204 – Geoff Thompson. Geoff has been my personal trainer since. I had heard through conversation and research that a regular work out regime and cardio health was critical in helping manage through hormone challenges (the stage I was beginning to experience). I soon came to learn – it is true! It works!
Geoff is so good – he just gets it. I can be brutally honest when I’m not feeling well and having an “off day” and while he listens and empathizes, he doesn’t take excuses and knows how to adjust the workout to the right amount of “push”.
Going to a traditional gym was not what I wanted. If I was going to make personal training work, it had to be flexible enough to happen amongst my demanding work schedule, which is why I opted to work with a trainer in our home gym. You do not need a room full of commercial equipment or a large space. All you need is a few dumbbells, a pull up bar (or gymnastic rings), a yoga mat, and if you’re really adventurous – a kettle bell! The best part about summer is that workouts can move outside too.
I have learned working out is not just about physical fitness, but about longevity and mental health too. Some days it’s easy to pull on my work out gear (my favourite is MPG Sport, pictured) but others are a struggle. It’s easy to say “I will do it tomorrow, I’m too tired, too busy…” But all you really need is 20 minutes a day for basic strength exercises (ex. air squats and push ups) and some aerobic exercise (Geoff likes to make me do endless amounts of burpees!).
What I do know is that after I am done my workouts, I always feel awesome. Sometimes this leads to soreness the next day – but it’s a good kind of sore. It elevates my mood, my strength, and the way I feel emotionally and physically – I’m proud of my body’s ability and what I can do as a middle aged woman. Working out also lends the extra perk of feeling great when wearing an LBD!
My weekly routine (for the most part throughout the year), consists of Geoff’s workouts 2 -3 times a week, tennis 1-2 times a week and regular walks with Chloe (our doodle). In the summer I have the privilege of adding in cycling, swimming in our pool and playing tennis daily when at the cottage. I do love tennis! I am planning to attempt a “comfortable” game of golf at some point (but I can’t seem to get past 6 holes!).
Geoff and I had a lot of fun during our photoshoot with Kristine Derksen (Scotch & Coffee). I was thrilled he agreed to spend a Saturday afternoon with me, which I expected to play out with a few quick exercises for our shoot. Not so! In true Geoff style, he had a full workout planned and there was no negotiation. During the workout, he shared insight on how physical activity changes for women as they enter the “middle age” phase of life (he shares some of those thoughts and a custom workout below!). To capture the action, Kristine had to move alongside me!
After a work out, Geoff always takes time for me to stretch and ensures I re-hydrate with plenty of water. It makes for less sore muscles the next day.
So…with Geoff’s workout and guidance shared below, there’s no excuses! Get out there and get a workout done (let me know how how it goes).
Why – because you can!
Thoughts from Geoff:
I’ve been a personal trainer just over 10 years, and I’ve spent the majority of my career training women in their early 40s to mid 50s. My philosophy has always been to “enjoy what you’re doing, but make sure it’s functional”. It is so common, as we age, to forget there are basic physical tasks that we’ll want to do for the rest of our lives. These include things like playing with children/grandchildren, shovelling the driveway, cutting the grass, and just going up and down your stairs.
As we transition into our mid-life stage, we may also want to travel and see new parts of the world. This requires energy and stamina, which exercise can help prepare you for. When I began working with Denise, I knew she is an avid tennis player and enjoys her time at the lake. My approach to programming involves making sure she is focusing on functional movements (such as squats, push ups, and over all core strength) while also making sure she can continue playing the sports she loves, and as competitively as she chooses.
I believe strongly in the importance of physical activity to help off set the typical pitfalls that come with aging such as loss of bone density and lean muscle mass. As we get older, we tend to become less and less active which leads to all kinds of physical ailments. We begin experiencing back injuries, which can be easily managed with regular core exercises (i.e. exercises that strengthen abdominal and low back muscles). It also provides a great source of stress relief – invaluable in our busy lives. When I see Denise sweating in a workout, followed by a collapse to her hands and knees with a smile on her face, I know I’ve done my job!
Here is the workout I created for Denise’s photoshoot:
4 Rounds For Time:
- Run 200m
- 8 Push Ups
- 16 Kettlebell Swings
- 32 Air Squats
3 Rounds of:
Rest 90 seconds between rounds
Denise is an experienced exerciser, so this kind of workout is very much in her wheel house. If you’re just getting started with physical fitness, this may be a more appropriate version to try:
3 Rounds of:
- Run 200m
- 4 Push Ups from Toes or 8 Push Ups from Knees
- 12 Air Squats
- 16 Supermans/Superwomans
Rest 90 seconds between rounds
This version is great because it still incorporates the same muscle groups as the first version, but makes room for rest in between rounds (which is important when you are still learning the movements), and different ways of modifying things like push ups (from toes vs. from knees).
Photos: Scotch & Coffee
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