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Team Fitness – Serious about Getting in (back in) Shape!

I’ve been fooling around with fitness for too long, and as a 60-year-old exercise physiologist who coasted through my 50’s, it’s time to get serious again about fitness. My walks along the river are no longer enough (understatement).  Resting on my laurels is no longer sensible. 

Join me right here every day for Team Fitness–the 30-Day Back-in-Shape series.  Don’t miss a day…subscribe at the big red button (to the right) or via the RSS feed button so you can hang out with me this month as we explore what it takes to get back in shape after taking way too long off.  If you never were in shape, we’ll be talking to you too!   If you play along with me, it will change the way you age.  That’s a big promise I aim to keep. 

We’ll talk food and fitness….and fun!  I’ll always invite you to tell your story or share resources.   Hearing from you will be the best part of this series…..for me.

To start the series, I thought I’d put my fitness life out there for you the view (the good, the bad, and the ugly).  I’ll tell you why I fell off the fitness wagon for nearly 10 years.  See if you can relate.

The Laurels I Rested On

In the 80’s and 90’s I was extremely active. I biked across Kansas (twice), Iowa (RABGBRI), and Michigan. I was in two triathlons (had to take swimming lessons to do that!) and ran 4 days a week. I was serious about percent body fat so was under water weighed.  (Note:  nobody does this unless they know the numbers will be really good!)For about 5 years in the 90’s I taught yoga to a dedicated group of employees. And of course I walked my dog most days for about an hour. All good stuff.

Then Came the Challenges

No life would be complete without challenges. During this period, my challenges were fatigue and an increasingly demanding job.

Let’s start with the fatigue. I was in an anemia study for female athletes and the doctor prescribed mega doses of iron. I believe the fatigue was a result of iron toxicity but nobody knows for sure. Other doctors just said “you’re getting older and you’ll have to live with it.” At the time I was in my 30’s and thought that was a ridiculous diagnosis. Really ignorant. That’s when I fell out of love with doctors.  I came to the conclusion that the medical model was really good at two things: drugs and surgery. If your problem didn’t fall into one of those categories, you were out of luck and on your own.

My case was puzzling: extremely low blood pressure, low hemoglobin numbers, low energy, mild anemia, and low thyroid function. To this day I’m not sure what all those things add up to besides difficulty losing weight and bouts of low aerobic energy. I’d love to find the “cure.”

When it was clear that my health puzzle wouldn’t be solved strictly by the medical model, I searched for solutions in the alternative medicine arena and found some that helped: acupuncture, fasting, supplements, and energy healing. I’m sure that my strong spiritual connection also made a big difference.

I cut back on my physical activity in the late 90’s but continued to “run” with my running groups, but it was disheartening. I’d have to stop and walk a lot and would eventually be on my own feeling discouraged and puzzled by this powerful fatigue. I often dreamed of clawing the sidewalk on my belly inching along. Aches and pains accompanied the fatigue—nice! This was a combination for exercising less. I became so obsessed and upset by fatigue and pain that I was quietly miserable. At some point it got easier to just stop running. In fact, it’s been so long since I’ve been a runner that I almost “forgot” about this fatigue issue.

Now that I’m gearing up for a more intense fitness program, the question of fatigue and pain is on my radar again—How will I do with energy? Instead of finding that to be an upsetting question, I’m truly curious and pretty hopeful. I have a lot more resources at my disposal now and know much more about taking care of myself and hooking up with talented health care partners.

It has also occurred to me that readers of this blog may provide some of the answers to the puzzles presented here. I know this description of my personal health challenges with fatigue will speak to some of you.

As an aside, I talked with my sisters this weekend and they said they always thought it odd when I talked in those days of fatigue because they said “I could run circles around most people.” Here’s the distinction. After a couple of years of alternative medicine cures….. I had plenty of energy for my daily tasks, but if I put any additional demands on my body like jogging or going for a bike ride, the energy wasn’t there. My aerobic energy was almost nonexistent.

Then my career heated up and job demands increased. So it was a “good time” to just do yoga and walk-–seemed reasonable. And then I dropped yoga—not because of fatigue but because of boredom. It was time for a change and “I had lots of other things I could be doing.” And yoga was so easy for me I figured it wasn’t doing me any good. I wish I could do those easy yoga poses now…..and I will!

As you can imagine I’ve gained weight and my body is stiff. Enter Team Fitness! I’m amped about getting back in shape and I hope you are too. Tune in tomorrow when I describe my new fitness program….and what I made for dinner tonight (all veggie and yum!)  I don’t want to drag this post out any longer…..

What’s your story? Tell us about your health and fitness journey at the comment link below. Eager to hear about it!

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  1. Lena L. West says:

    Thanks for this story about your life and journey, Cheryl. This is one of the things I like best about you, you’re so HONEST. So many wellness people aren’t.

    I fell out of love with doctors when I realized that the test that I needed to take to tell me if I had adrenal fatigue was “illegal” in NY state (where I live) because it was not “approved” by the FDA and even though it would help me get the information I needed to live a better quality of life, that didn’t matter.

    Congrats on getting Fine & Fit! I’m with ya all the way! Keep on encouraging us, we need it!

  2. Thanks Lena! I appreciate your sharing about the adrenal test being illegal. Amazing isn’t it! Did you have to go out of state? I assume you did.

    The medical system is really broken in this country. There are a lot of good medical practitioners but the system itself is broken–lots of fear and competition, a little greed and incompetence, and a lot of people with chronic diseases who don’t want to change tbeir lifestyles. But…they haven’t joined Team Fitness yet and we aim to have an impact on chronic disease. It’s under our control and we can do it! Yes we can! Cheryl

  3. Lena L. West says:

    Well, in the interest of personal security, I can’t say exactly HOW I side-stepped the “law”, but I can say that I was finally able to find out that I had adrenal fatigue! :)

    Yes, our medical system needs work for all the reasons you outlined, which is why it’s imperative for everyone to be mindful of their own wellness and be their own active wellness advocate!

  4. Right on Lena – we need to be our own wellness activists and advocates – and self-leadership should be our mantra…in addition to yes we can! Cheryl





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