Saturday fitness check

by cheri  P1000581


Two weeks have passed since I hired a torturer trainer to motivate me (and my muscles).

Maybe you, too, decided to get into better health two weeks ago. Or maybe you are like Ken G., Bill, Muni, Cindy, and Sharon–some of my loyal friends who are already in shape. I’ve heard from most of you with encouraging words.

Like all races against time, getting back in shape is harder the older you are, so it’s critical to stop the watch and take inventory (or in my case, take Advil) and pat yourself on the back—if you can reach your back and it doesn’t cause too much pain.

You might remember thinking  Poor Cheri, she cannot do one push-up. Or perhaps you thought, Pathetic Cheri, what a wimp.

I am here to report that I can now do 2.5 push-ups before my chest falls to the mat. Hooray for me?

One more thing: I see muscle emergence in my biceps and triceps. The slight shadow of    muscle tissue is doing its best to emerge from a serious (but enjoyable) slumber.

I even bought a medicine ball.

How are you doing?


About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Saturday fitness check

  1. Lucky Demon says:

    Good for you!!! I think two home moves in 4 months has kept me in shape for now! Keep up the good work and we will arm wrestle when you make it back down to AZ.

  2. Cheri, good for you, hooray! That is a little progress. I’m pushing myself – two yoga classes (one medium and one power) a week, two two mile walks and one day at the gym with mild weights. I’m about 1% stronger. But I measure myself by thinking what if I did nothing?

  3. Cheri says:

    Thank you my friend in PA! Great encouragement and yes, I will continue to think positively about my small incremental changes and try my level best to ignore the pain. 😬 As soon as my strength improves, I will follow your lead and return to my Yoga which is truly the best total body exercise.
    You are, as usual, inspirational.

  4. Brighid says:

    Good going Cheri! I have started in a yoga class, weekdays, late morning,with $1.25 yoga mat from Salvation Army thrift. I can easily do warrior something or other, but have found they frown on my drawing my pistola while doing that pose… You would think someone would have seen the market for yoga on the range…

  5. Cheri says:

    Good Morning Pistol Packing Yoga Woman!
    Good for you…yoga is my favorite mental, emotional, and athletic activity. I will look forward to your blogging about your experiences in the class. Are you doing Iyengar Yoga ( it uses props like blocks and straps). Your warrior woman pose is perfect for arms, core, legs, posture and bravado.

  6. shoreacres says:

    Incremental changes rock! It’s the best way. As they say, life changes will be real changes. Diets and weird exercise programs are hard to maintain.

    I’ve not done well at all at getting out and walking, but suspect it will be more appealing once we drop below temperatures that bring Dante and his Interno to mind. Once I have a couple more bearable hours in the day, I can devote them to something other than work.

    • Cheri says:

      How you work in the Gulf’s high temperatures plus pore-flooding humidity I do not know. We are experiencing a mini-heat wave here with no humidity and I feel sapped. From your blog post I gathered that varnishing expends quite a bit of elbow grease and muscle strength.

      • wkkortas says:

        This reminds of yet another baseball-related reference (like Jimmy Durante, I gotta million of ’em). I once was at a conference where the late MLB umpire Ron Luciano was a featured speaker, and he said this about day games in Arlington, Texas–“Temperature, one hundred degrees. Humidity, one hundred percent. Chance of rain? None.”

        • Cheri says:

          That’s an apt quotation from Ron Luciano.

          My daughter went to SMU in Dallas. I remember my husband and I driving all the way to Dallas and arriving in early August as she was a walk-on in soccer and needed to be on campus early. It was over 100 degrees with horrible humidity. I wondered how the athletes function in that weather. I could barely help load her stuff up to her room.

          Texans also remind non-Texans that if they want a change in the weather to just wait a minute. I saw that too!

          We here in the SF Bay Area pay horrible state income taxes ( 8-12 percent). The cost of everything seems so much higher than say, Delta, Utah, or La Junta, Colorado. The traffic here is increasing daily; there are too many people. We are all here for one reason: the weather. Although based on a second earthquake this morning, I am wondering if the Big One is just around the corner.

          For the first time ever, I am planning to buy an official earthquake preparedness kit.

  7. wkkortas says:

    “I even bought a medicine ball.”

    Perhaps the saddest words since “Tinker to Evers to Chance”.

    • Cheri says:

      OK. Once again, your comment has me laughing out loud. I had to look up your literary reference and read Wikipedia. From a NY Giants baseball fan watching this Chicago Cubs trio of shortstop (Tinker) to second baseman ( Evers) to first baseman (Chance) perform their consistent double play, the words surely are sad ones.
      Here is the stanza you reference taken from Wiki:
      These are the saddest of possible words:
      “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”
      Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
      Tinker and Evers and Chance.
      Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon[a] bubble,
      Making a Giant hit into a double[b] –
      Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
      “Tinker to Evers to Chance.”

      I tried my medicine ball yesterday, rotating it from side to side like a Maine searchlight and then above my head (working on my triceps…trying to see them again) and behind my head until I hit myself in the head. Then I quit.

      So yes, I’ll ever continue to tinker with the chance that I might improve my arms.

  8. Christopher says:

    Physical workouts, so to be physically healthy, are of course a good thing.

    But, what about intellectual and spiritual workouts? – that take up at least as much time as physical workouts.

    These guys I keep seeing – the ones with the bulging biceps, tattoo’d arms, bull-necks and shaved heads. And these gals I keep seeing, – the ones who look so perfectly sculpted and manicured, they might be CNN or Fox News anchorwomen. The time they spend in gyms, and, as the case may be, in tanning salons and beauty parlors, must be considerable. .

    But, I always ask myself, how much time does this leave them to spend time in libraries, or even to spend time just reading books at home?

    Wouldn’t the the world be a better place if we might all spend less time honing our outer selves, the better to spend more time honing our inner selves?

    • Cheri says:

      I agree with all the words you write in this comment.

      Just the other day, I accompanied a loved one to a hospital waiting room while she waited for her husband to have an important test.

      The irony in that hospital waiting room was palpable: loud unkempt ( real slobs if truth be told) people eating In and Out Burgers, gossiping, and watching a mindless loud sitcom. Many obese people with bad feet, swollen ankles, and knees and hips struggling to walk. These same people were lined up at the hospital snack bar ordering whipped coffee drinks with cream and eating pastries. I am not exaggerating here.

      There was nothing relaxing or zen or comforting about being in that space.

      If many of those people spent any time cultivating their inner selves (as Bill points out in his comment), perhaps they would be taking better care of the one body they have. My sense is that modern television, prepared fattening food, loneliness, and anger contribute.

      Healthy inner life sometimes contributes to healthy outer life but not always. We can read biographies of thoughtful individuals whose bodies turned on them. My mother was one of those people. And then there are those who take miserable care of themselves and outlive their kids. Go figure.

      I also agree with your explicit point about the focus on the physical and how media contributes to our obsessions. But doesn’t the watching of pornography, the voyeurism, and the worship of youth contribute to this excessive preoccupation with the physical?

      It’s complicated.

      • Christopher says:

        Those people in the hospital waiting room sound like they are products of the spiritual and cultural void that is English-speaking North America.

        It’s a cultural void in which concepts like finding meaning in your life, or finding your own meaning in whatever you do, or just cultivating your soul, are as unthought-of as the Theory of Relativity would be to a jackal.

        Those people in the hospital waiting room never had the advantages you had, or that I had, or……….that Nick Carraway had, whose father said to him “…Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone……..just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had….”

        • Cheri says:

          That is a convenient and cheap answer to the dumbing down of America. There are plenty of people out there who had lots of advantages and who have wasted them. Just like there are plenty of people who had no advantages and have turned their lives into gold. Sorry, I don’t buy that explanation. I’ve taught too many people from all walks of life to simplify slovenliness, gluttony, and selfishness into who had advantages and who did not.

          • Christopher says:

            The truth, as with most truths, may lie between the two extremes you’ve postulated.

            I put it to you that those who rise above their humble circumstances have something in them that most of their fellows don’t have. Maybe you, yourself, would have risen to where you are today, regardless of the circumstances or family you grew up in, because you may have something in you that most others don’t have.

            However, I – who am so terribly ordinary it frightens me sometimes – know almost certainly that I would today be one of those sorts people you saw in the hospital had I grown up in their circumstances.

            There but for the Grace of God go I.

            This is why what Nick Carraway’s father said to him, has always resonated so much with me.

            • Cheri says:

              I apologize for the harsh response. I do.

              As we have discussed before re: Gatsby, that opening line is critical to the understanding of the novel. I would posit that what I observed at the hospital is simply that: an observation.

              As we both agree that North American culture appears to be on the downward slope, we must fine some way to explain this deterioration. It is a laziness that the internet, television, the loss of spirituality, and the death of eloquence.

              You are not ordinary in any way. You are a thinking, curious, opinionated and sweet person. You and I agree on many topics and disagree on others–such is the beauty of life.

              I have been watching people for a long time. I know a number of people who have (and still have) humble circumstances but there is a grace and a nobility in them. Likewise, I know people who have had every advantage in the world–those born with the proverbial silver spoons–who are dull, sloppy, and banal.

              It is not anomaly when a person with so little blossoms.

    • Cheri says:

      Also, off topic Christopher, but at one time you posted a comment about a hilarious scene from a 1970’s movie where a guy was defending his thesis. Will you tell me the name of that film again? Also, can you recommend any other great comedies in film?

      • Christopher says:

        The film is “Getting Straight”, that came out in 1970.

        The scene you referred to was the one in which Elliot Gould, as an English-Lit Phd candidate, was orally defending his thesis, that included a discussion of The Great Gatsby, in front of a bevy of professors.

        I can no longer find this clip on YouTube. This bespeaks it may have contravened a copyright.

      • Christopher says:

        “……can you recommend any other great comedies in film?…….”

        Nothing recent, except, I suppose, those films of Woody Allen’s that aren’t overtly serious. “Play It Again Sam” I find his funniest. But that was long time ago.

        I did like the films of a writer-director called Walt Stillman, who made films in the 1990’s, like “The Last Days of Disco” and “Metropolitan” – intelligent literate films at which one chuckles quietly, rather than laughs uproariously.

        I have to say, the funniest films I’ve ever seen, at which I never fail to laugh uproariously, were the films of Charlie Chaplin, like “Modern Times” and “The Great Dictator”.

        I’m just not a person of the contemporary Zeitgeist…………

        • Cheri says:

          Thank you, Christopher, for taking the time to send me your thoughts about comedic film. I am in agreement with you regarding the modern comedy. Very few make me laugh (inside or outside). I have not heard of Walt Stillman. Thanks for that information.

          I also like the Marx Bros films and watch them on TCM.

  9. bogard says:

    Way to go Cheri! See? This exercise stuff really works! And regarding your triceps, that’s the key muscle group that is worked when doing a push up, along with the pecs (you may not want to show those). But doing curls with that med ball will certainly hit those biceps (and the brachialis, which hides deep to the biceps). Keep on cranking it out, but give ’em a rest every other day. And to Christopher’s point, honing the outside selves also helps hone our inner selves. It’s all connected.

    • Cheri says:

      Thank you, Bill. I am resting and only going to this trainer 2-3 times a week with a day in between. I’m too sore to sit against a wall in front of a ball! She is having me try to balance on one leg, then the other, then lean down and push my hands to my ankle while balancing. I am learning that my balance also needs work. Lots of things were out of whack.

  10. Richard says:

    If that is you, Cheri, in a hat and with your back to us, I think you will, maybe, have to make a little more effort than that.

    The lifestyle you describe in your first reply to Christopher is prevalent in the UK. I don’t know how his “disadvantaged” manage to afford it. It could be our strange benefits system – only yesterday there were reports that some NHS doctors are prescribing gluten-free pastries and cakes for free consumption by patients with ciliac disease – or the general greater affluence. People were never more healthy than during wartime food rationing. Self-indulgence and gluttony, so visibly obvious both in its practice and in its effects, can be seen in the idle when wealth-producers are hard at work. Diagnosis of diabetes 2 has increased by 60% here in ten years.

    Thus you put your finger on the cause of obesity. More specifically, it is caused by excessive sugar intake. According to the internet, a bluberry muffin has 377 calories. On a one-mile jog at 5 mph, less than 150 calories are burned. However good for you exercise is, it is not going to be enough to shed the fat. In a 175 ml glass of red wine there are 119 calories, equivalent to the best part of a mile’s jogging, worse luck.

    People who appear thin can still have excessive fat round the liver, heart and kidneys. And that is a killer. When I was 12 st (there are 14 lbs in a stone) Glenys started to apply her ruthless regime – she is a very ruthless woman – and I am now 10 st and can do even more digging for her. I just have to hold on tight when the wind blows.

    • Cheri says:

      Why do the English measure pounds by stones in such an odd increment? 14 pounds equals one stone…I don’t get it.

      You comment wisely on the growing fat around organs and its relationship to sugar consumption.

      I had a student last year at the GSB whose business mission was to end obesity. We talked. Why do people overeat? I suggested to her that to end obesity we must end loneliness, boredom, compulsiveness, and sugary foods and sugary- substitutes for food.

      Easier said than done! Get rid of processes foods? Who can afford fresh food all the time ?

      • Richard says:

        England has a population one-sixth of the US, crammed on to an island one-fortieth the area of the US, an island one half of which it gives over to two smaller countries that total one-sixth of its own population: and still new residents come in droves. The only way to escape is by air, sea or tunnel. Wouldn’t you feel odd living under those conditions? That’s why we are odd and our increments are odd.

        How thick would be the lard if you spread the English all over the lean Earth?

        Also, we measure our babies in pounds and our adults in stones. What that signifies I cannot say.

        • Cheri says:

          Now that you put the British Isles in such populous terms, I feel a bit claustrophobic. From what I read about political refugees in Calais trying to get to England, signs of the ever-growing Muslim immigration in all of Europe, I wonder what the future holds for democracy. I also wonder about land and space to live.

          At least there are places here in the US where few people do live. Ron and I have viewed large tracts of uninhabited lands on our last 3 road trips through the Southwest, the Northwest, and across the US on Highway 50. We do have choices of where to live, but for those of us who live in California (perfect weather), we must think long and hard about leaving a state where it’s not too cold, not too hot, and not humid.

          Still, our environment and its beauty here in the San Francisco Bay Area are deteriorating, all because of too many people, open immigration, infrastructure that cannot keep up with the population growth, and loss of common values.

          And yet, we are so fortunate to live in a society where the rule of law still exists.

          Last night, I attended a lecture by a friend of mine, Seiji K., who is 73, a prostate-cancer survivor ,and who has hiked all over the world for the last 15 years. His slide-show was of his travels two years ago to K-2 in Pakistan. He hiked with a group of three Americans. As I looked at his photography and the beauty of the Pakistani glaciers and jagged mountains, juxtaposed with the filth of the small villages, the tenements of Islamabad, the trash-strewn trails, the unattended make-shift toilets, I was struck by how fortunate I am to live in a developed country.

    • Cheri says:

      Yes. That is I in a garden trying to understand what my Florentine tour guide Martin was saying. I left Martin out of the shot.

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