Spotlight on a Fitness Girl

Jeanee’s fitness story.

At a brunch date in 2005, I listened to Karen’s stories about training clients and teaching classes in her neighbor’s loft. At the time I had a membership at the Y I rarely used, and before that, I belonged to an “artsy” gym where I exercised in spurts. Most of my workouts felt directionless, and no one cared whether I pushed myself or slithered off the elliptical machine a little early. I realized I was missing two elements that are now crucial to my exercise routine: accountability and socializing! I signed up for weekly personal training and group Pilates with Karen, because I knew she would care about me showing up, working hard, and enjoying myself.

I have plenty of body hang-ups and areas I’d like to improve, but envisioning a better figure doesn’t motivate me. The fulfilling relationships with the ladies I work out with are what get me off the couch. I have many good reasons not to blow off my scheduled workout with Karen: I know that she’s hired a sitter, that her free time is precious, and that we’re going to swap stories and laugh while I plank. I also like to attend the same yoga classes each week with teachers who take a spiritual approach. They’re almost like my gurus, so if I ditch, I miss out on wisdom I can use on and off the mat.

My main fitness goal is to keep exercise and eating well in balance with the rest of my schedule, no matter how busy I am. When work gets hectic, movement, grocery shopping, and cooking tend to slide. I want to see workouts, yoga sessions, and a good diet as mandatory ingredients in a long, happy life.

Weight training and yoga are symbiotic for me. Strong muscles help me to balance in yoga poses—for example, doing squats keeps my thighs from collapsing in “warrior.” Likewise, the twists and stretches I do on my yoga mat help with soreness and tension after pumping iron. My workouts also help me with everyday tasks, like walking the dogs up a hill or carrying in the groceries.

My advice to someone who doesn’t know how to begin exercising and eating well: make an appointment with a professional. Meeting with a personal trainer, yoga instructor, or nutritionist is very motivating because you wouldn’t want to waste someone’s time (or your money). If you don’t have a good connection, try someone else. It’s the rapport and sense of belonging, for me, that make my workouts worth doing.