Everybody knows, I have a love-hate relationship with squats. I wish I never had to do them but I can’t get the results I want without having them in the repertoire. Ask me how I know. Yeah, I tried for years to get the quads I wanted without doing squats at all. Finally, with some encouragement from a friend (a Marine who told me I needed to “man up”), I caved and started doing them regularly. Lo and behold, I started seeing the leg development I’d always wanted.
I still do squats and I still don’t enjoy doing them but I LOVE the way they make my legs look!
I was looking through my favorite workout clothing catalogue (Athleta) and was surprised and delighted to see one of the legends of the bodybuilding world on the pages. Ernestine Shepherd is an amazing, inspiring 81 years young.
In 2010, Ernestine earned the title of the world’s oldest performing female bodybuilder. She isn’t currently competing but she weight trains 4 days a week and she runs up to 80 miles a week when she’s training for a marathon!
I sincerely enjoy watching her perform at such a high level and look forward to seeing news about her exploits when I’m reading my fitness magazines. I love that she’s doing her thing in the gym (and on the road) even though she’s not a spring chicken.
I’m not exactly a spring chicken either. One of the fantastic things about bodybuilding is that age doesn’t matter. It’s not like being a fashion model where you’re thrown aside at 25 or 30 years old. When it comes to the art of successful physique building, the older you are the more respect you get. I think it’s because anyone involved in the community knows full well how hard you have to work and how diligent and dedicated you have to be in order to get good results. That’s true whether you’re starting out at 15 or lifting into your 80’s like Ernestine. When I’m in the gym, I’m as likely to get a sincere compliment from a 23 year old as I am from a 70 year old. The longer you hang out in the fitness community the more pats on the back come your way…and that makes it a wonderful, welcoming place to practice your craft as you age.
As you know from my post yesterday, I spent some time this weekend playing around on the internet. I found my photo in a tattoo gallery and the caption writer was questioning whether I was a man going commando or a woman. Apparently, it’s hard for some people to tell because I found another photo of mine posted on a different website. The photo happened to be one of my favorites. I was number 13 in the gallery titled, “21 American Flag Bikinis To Celebrate.” The caption on the photo was quite nice…”Showing off the strength of America.” What I really got a kick out of was the comment section.
The last comment, that’s cut off in the screenshot was something like “What’s up with that dude?” It seems the consensus was that I look like a man who maybe looks like Michelle Obama or something like that. Was I upset? Not at all. I LOVE it. I felt the same way I did when a lady asked me if I did manual labor for a living because my arms were so muscular. I was amused…almost giddy with delight because it means my hard work is visible in the photo. I know the aesthetic I prefer isn’t for everyone and it makes me happy to think that someone noticed the results of my dedication enough to call me “gross” or a “man.” What’s the old expression?
That’s right! I must be over the target. BRING. IT. ON. The only bad part is that now I’m all revved up and wanting to pack more of that beautiful muscle on my frame. My workouts have been incredible the last few days and consequently, my entire body is sore. So sore. If you see me hobbling down the street, I might not be able to raise my arm to wave to you but I know you’ll understand if I just smile!
When you’re active on the internet, whether it’s blogging or posting on social media sites, you never know where your photos or writing will turn up. People re-post things they find all the time so you have to be comfortable knowing your content will spread in interesting and unusual ways.
I got all excited last weekend because as I was playing around on my Ipad I saw that one of my images was in the tattoo gallery at a place called the Tattoo Hut. It was in a spot titled “List of Top Men Commando Tattoo Images.” Now, I have to admit something that I have kept to myself until now. I’ve always wanted to be a tattoo…or rather, I wanted someone to use one of my images as inspiration for a tattoo. That might sound strange but it happens all the time. People find ideas for new ink all over. My interest in that type of tattoo is simply an extension of my love for the pin up genre. True, the images people pick are often of celebrity women but there are lots of tattoos based on regular women too.
Some are cartoon-y, some are more realistic, some are funny…and I love them all! So I was looking forward to seeing what was in the tattoo gallery that had to do with a commando and me.
There were a total of 28 photos in the “List of Top Men Tattoo Images.” Under the title heading was the line, exactly as written, “Here is the top Men Commando images we have.” Because of the grammar on the site, I suspect it’s run by a non-native English speaker. I was number 13 in the gallery. The following are some of the other photos in the gallery with their captions.
Now for my photo – happy number 13 on the list.
Did you read the caption? Did you? That’s right. They weren’t sure if I was a actually a woman or a man going commando in sweatpants.
No! No! No, wish granters of the universe. It wasn’t supposed to be me going commando, looking like a man, in a tattoo gallery. It was supposed to be me as a tattoo on a “commando” (military/patriotic) man from America. The basic elements were right but they were all mixed up.
I learned a valuable lesson over the weekend and I’m passing my newfound wisdom on to you.
You better be very, very specific when you wish for things!
**This post is not intended to slight the Royal Marine commandos in any way. The very few Royal Marines I’ve had contact with were lovely but everybody knows I absolutely adore our American military men…
–Tune in tomorrow for the next installment in the Commando Man series —
My family and I spent a bit of time in the mountains around Independence Day. It was a great trip and we were blessed to have friends and family for guests most of that time.
One of my favorite young people, my 11 year old niece, came along for a few of those days. When she walked into the cabin, she saw my pull up bar in one of the doorways and asked what it was for. I told her it was what I used for one of my exercises and demonstrated pull ups using different grips so she could see what I was talking about. She looked at me for a minute and said “I can’t do pull ups.” I told her she most certainly could and that the only reason she couldn’t is that she thought she couldn’t.
I explained that she probably only tried to use her arms to accomplish the task and explained that what she should be thinking about is using her back muscles (which are much stronger) to help her get her chest up to the bar. I could tell she was contemplating that for a while.
The next day, my younger son and I were doing a workout. We’ve been concentrating on compound, large muscle group exercises to help him make an easy transition into his upcoming football season and she asked to join us. I told her that would be fine but pull ups were part of the routine and that she had to try. She agreed and did a great job keeping up with what we were doing. I modified some of the exercises for her (like having her do bent knee push ups) so that she’d be successful and before long, it was time for pull ups. I told her once again that she absolutely COULD do pull ups and reminded her to visualize using the muscles in her back.
Lo and behold, she did not one, not two but three complete pull ups! They weren’t consecutive but each one was perfect. I gave her lots of praise and made sure that everyone knew about her little victory. I was very proud of her and she was proud of herself. I joked with her about getting her a pull up bar for Christmas and turning her into a workout phenom.
When it was time to go home, she looked at me very seriously and said, “Auntie Lynn…I really DO want a pull up bar for Christmas.”
…and a pull up bar, she shall receive! There’s nothing I like better than passing on my love for fitness.
“Let the Fourth of July always be a reminder that here in this land, for the first time, it was decided that man is born with certain God-given rights; that government is only a convenience created and managed by the people, with no powers of its own except those voluntarily granted to it by the people. We sometimes forget that great truth, and we never should. Happy Fourth of July.” (Ronald Reagan)
Enjoy your day!
One day, not too long ago, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items. As I got out of the car I spotted a woman with beautiful, long hair wearing a tank top going in ahead of me. She had an amazing physique. Her shoulders, triceps and traps were beautifully shaped…muscular and lovely. I immediately started considering my own workouts lately. I started regretted not lifting heavier, with more emphasis on muscle building. My back has always been my favorite and most responsive body part to train and although I still lift diligently, I’ve not been pushing the very heavy stuff around for quite a while. Most of the time I’m pretty satisfied with the balance I’ve been able to strike. Although I’m not lifting super heavy I’ve still been able to maintain a little muscle mass and my joints are much happier than they used to be.
…But that woman! Seeing her sparked that old competitive spirit that lurks inside. I was comparing her physique to my own (both the new and the old) and watching her so intently, I wondered if she could feel me from across the parking lot.
As she turned inside the store to grab a cart, I was jolted out of my musings. She was a HE! The woman I’d been watching from behind was actually a man with long hair! I had to laugh. For years, I’ve had relatives telling me that my view of an ideal female body is skewed. I like more muscle than they do by far. I suppose this is one story I’ll keep to myself at family gatherings!
Fitbit Alta HR
Now and then, in a quest to keep thing fresh and moving forward, I like to try something new. To that end, I got a Fitbit Alta HR a few weeks ago. I thought it might be nice to have a way to track my steps each day. The Fitbit researchers decided, upon the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control, to start everyone on a 10,000 step per day goal. I’ve since moved mine up to a 12,000 step a day goal which better suits my needs. I walk the dogs every morning so that takes care of a lot of the requirement but then I find times during the day to walk to make up the difference.
Besides walking each day I also row using a rowing machine and lift weights. The tracker allows me to add distance (for the rowing) and time to my overall activity minutes but those activities don’t count toward my step goal. So in addition to my 12,000 step a day minimum I can also keep track of other activities like lifting, running, playing tennis, jumping rope etc.
I figured I would get some benefit out of having the Fitbit but it turns out it’s provided great motivation for me. One of the clock faces you can choose from, has a flower on it. When you’re not very active, for instance if you’re sitting at a desk working on a paper, the flower is short with just one a bud. If you start moving around, the flower will grow taller, sprout more leaves, bloom and finally dance. Oh my goodness, the things I’ve done to get that flower to dance!
One day I was waiting for a friend at the hospital and although I had my 12,000 steps for the day, my poor flower was just a sad looking little thing. I went to a quiet corner and started marching in place (that counts for walking…and if you lift your knees high, is an excellent exercise). Now, that was an odd thing to be doing, alone in a hallway and sure enough a nurse caught me as she came out of a stairwell next to where I was happily marching. I stopped and just looked at her. She said “Oh, you’re trying to get your steps, right?” Then she showed me the Fitbit she was wearing, the strap of which happened to be color coordinated with her scrubs. We had a good laugh. She went about her business and I kept on marching until that flower danced!
I’ve got the Fitbit set so that it will give me friendly reminders to move when I’ve been still too long. That’s a handy tool, since most of the time, I can get up and do a quick few steps. If I can’t, it thankfully won’t bug me but the awareness that I’ve been sedentary for a significant period of time is a good little nudge to move around a little bit.
I’d say the Fitbit was an excellent purchase and I don’t even use most of it’s capability. I don’t care to track my sleep, use the calorie counter or connect with other people for fitness challenges. This particular model of Fitbit is very slim and unobtrusive and will track your heart rate.
It came with a black strap but if you go on Amazon you can order generic brand straps in a rainbow of colors to fit it. They’re quite inexpensive. I got a large assortment for a very reasonable price. I even got one in leopard print. Naturally, since I got all the colors, I find myself wearing the black strap every day.
If you find yourself lacking in motivation and bored with your traditional way of tracking your workouts, you might want to consider getting a Fitbit. It just may provide a fun and amusing way to encourage you.
All veteran lifters know what it feels like to hit a personal best at the gym. It’s just the greatest thing to meet a goal that’s been calling your name for a while! If you want to smile, watch this video. It’s only a few seconds long but that little baby has the spirit!
Rest assured, there were a ton of little, bitty goals that were met between the following before and after photos!
It helps keep workouts going strong when you set little, bitty goals along the way. There’s nothing wrong with setting big goals like losing 50lbs or running a marathon or winning a bodybuilding competition but it’s meeting the small goals that really propels you along day to day. We all like to win so setting yourself up to do so is a smart way to keep yourself motivated.
What do I mean by little, bitty goals? I mean purposely setting the bar so you’ll be able to reach it with just a little thought and effort. Perhaps you’ll ask yourself to drink one extra glass of water each day for a week. Maybe you’ll add one extra set to each of your lifts for a month or go an extra quarter mile on your usual morning jog during football season.
Successfully meeting goals is a habit you can develop. Reaching little, bitty goals regularly creates a mindset of accomplishment. You learn how to keep the commitments you make and that sets you up for success with the larger goals you wish to attain.
Practice makes perfect (or at least it gets you close)!