During my youth, I hated exercising. School kids called me “Bhudda Baby.” They made fun of my chubby stomach bouncing up and down as I attempted to jog. I cried when I got home from school and dreamed about one day climbing the rope, and running to the finish line, like all my peers. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I decided to change that.
In 1983, at age 25, I left Europe to start my new life in southern California. I finally plucked up the courage to step inside a gym. It seemed like everyone knew what they were doing except me. I tried an aerobics class but the California fit girls intimidated me.
The free weight room seemed equally foreign. I tried my best to blend in but had no clue. I left frustrated.
The first American guy I dated said, “You’re cute, but you’d be look better if you firmed up your body.” I dumped him and later met Duke, my husband. He showed me how to use weights, and after 26 years, we still work out together. I like to brag that my workout is more intense than his. We even take separate cars as I stay longer. If you ask Duke, he’ll say it’s because I like to talk to people. I do like to talk, but I need to rest between sets, so why not exercise my mouth too.
My husband took this photo of me when I was 47.
The other day, my son who’s back from college for a week asked me, “Mom, how old are you?”
“And how much can you bench?”
“135 pounds. Used to be 145, but I’m getting weaker with age.”
“You know the state record for your age is 88 pounds. You could beat that.”
He got me thinking. Lately, my workouts haven’t been focused or intense. I’ve been slacking off, even skipping days and saying to myself, “that’s OK, I’m getting older.”
Now Austin has motivated me to try harder by e-mailing some organization that “his mother can bench 135 pounds.”
I did some research and found this video of an 85-year-old woman bench pressing. If she can do it, so can I. My goal is to bench press until I die, just as I gave birth to my three sons at the gym–well almost–I plan on working out until my last day on our beautiful planet.
Perhaps I can promote my book while bench pressing–just a thought: another media gimmick.
When I turned 44, I sent in a video to become a contestant for the “Survivor” show on TV. In order to grab their attention, I bench pressed my youngest son. He was eight-years-old at the time. Another gimmick which, unfortunately, did not work.
I’d like to know if anyone has motivated you or if have you motivated someone else to do something? Whether a hobby, exercising, dieting, scuba diving, sky diving, etc.
Wow – I'm tired just reading that! I really out to use weights, but all my energy goes to walking the dog, the kids and working full-time… Still, I'm outside walking for about 1.5 hrs every day…
I'm scared of heights but bungee jumped anyway to raise a lot of money for cancer research.
My kids motivate me every day to look after myself and keep fit for them.
Wow, I'm impressed. I could never press that much.
Once, on a rock climbing wall, I yelled down, "Permission to fall." What you're supposed to do if you want down is say, "falling." You know, much more declarative. My sister and my friend looked at each other, then at me, and they yelled, "Permission denied. Keep climbing."
I admire you and you have a beautiful body!
Even though I do go to aerobics class twice a week, it never seems enough to loose weight. But I do feel healthy and fit for my age.
Lady Glamis says
This is an awesome post! And looking at that picture of you at 47, holy crap you look great. This just proves that my characters in my novel CAN BE HOT! They're all over 45, and I've had several readers comment that they're too old to be good looking, fit, or exciting. Mind you, these comments are coming from us who are under 30.
I think I could use your son to motivate me into action! LOL…seriously, awesome for you and how lucky you are to have such great kids.
You go, Girl! I love your creative, questing, spirit.
I don't do weights, but I enjoyed parasailing once, and I exercise regularly. I lost 8 pounds prior to my son's wedding and hope to keep it off. It feels good to feel relatively toned and relatively light at age 61.
Warren Baldwin says
I just got back to the gym after a year off. Your post has motivated me to take my time back more seriously. I do feel better and maintain wight whem working out.
Thanks for your recent visit to and comments on article "Lasting and Happy" on Family Foutain. Mind if I quote you on the next post this afternoon? You can check it out later and let me know if it is ok with you. wb
A Fitness Minute with Pat Anderson says
Have you ever considered entering into a bodybuilding competition? They have over 50 divisions. It's a great way to get motivated with your workouts.
Miss Footloose says
I'm with LadyFi: I'm tired just reading your post! I was at the gym today, doing what I'm supposed to be doing wishing I had the gene for enjoying it! I so don't like to exert myself, get sweaty, get tired musles …
However, it does feel good once I'm done 😉
Thank goodness I can just do maintenance exercise to stay fit; I have no weight problem to require extra efforts.
Anyway, Sonia,I admire you greatly for what you do, and if you have it in you to train for a competition I have only one thing to say:
YOU GO, GIRL!
Miss Footloose, sitting here with a glass of wine, feeling groovy.
Wow! I'm impressed. I think maybe you have motivated me to work a little harder at the workouts. You are so right that we are never too old work at being as fit as possible. I never had a baby at the gym like you(almost) but I did have one in an elevator. I'll be thinking of you on my next trip to the gym
Are you going to enter the competition? I think that you should somehow be able to work that into the promotion of your book, seems like a good idea to me!
I'm impressed you bungee jumped. I'm too scared to do that.
That's funny, although probably not to you at the time.
Whatever makes you feel good counts with exercise.
So I proved your young readers wrong. Older women can still have muscles. Is it tough for you to write about characters much older than yourself?
Shall I send him over to your pace to motivate you?
With all your bike riding and the fresh zuccini, you must be FIT.
Glad to see you're motivated again after a year, and yes, thanks for asking, you may quote me.
Someone asked me once, but I don't feel like changing my diet to more protein and being extremely strict with my diet.
See, I just gave you and LadyFi a workout. You read my post and now you feel like you've worked out.
Did you almost give birth in the elevator? Need to hear more about that.
I shall wait to hear what they say. If it doesn't involve all this extra training, maybe. If it's very strict and my son says I either have to loose 6 pounds or gain 10, depending on the weight class, then I'm not sure. Might be fun to try though.
Rayna M. Iyer says
You look absolutely fantastic in that photograph, Sonia.
And here's wishing that you manage to bench press even on the last day of your life.
Lady Glamis says
No, it hasn't been hard, strangely enough. I have a harder time writing younger characters, which is why I don't write YA right now. The youngest POV character I've written was 17. She turns 19 through the course of the book, so still not really YA young, I guess. My main POV characters in Monarch are around 50, 45, and 26. Strange combo. It's a weird book. 🙂
Sonia, your blog is wonderful–and inspiring. I knew when I met you recently, that you were an awesome lady.
You look absolutely beautiful, and I think you're son is right on–you could definitely wipe the competition…
Who motivates me? You were a big motivator for me to pursue my writing.
My family encourages my photography ventures. I just bought a Canon 50D,
My artist neighbor, Joan Sonnenberg[on the 'net]sees my artistic talent and is always motivating me to try different media.
Thanks, I shall try to keep it up until I die, and then I'll continue.
Sounds like you're enjoying your characters. Take your time and when its ready, I shall be one of the first to buy it.
Isn't life FUN? You also motivated me into wanting to move to Naples to live. We shall see what happens. Thanks and keep writing and taking gorgeous photos. I love the birds on the beach you gave me.
Jennifer Fink says
Yet another thing I love about having sons — they encourage me to do all kinds of things I'd never do on my own!
Without my sons, I never would have discovered natural childbirth…my own inner core…the courage to writer…homeschooling…and the list goes on and on and on.
I agree with you. I wonder if girls are just the same.
Phivos Nicolaides says
From "Bhudda Baby" or "Bhudda body" to Oh! Jesus what a nice body!!
Lauri Kubuitsile says
You should be so proud of yourself and it sounds like your son is pretty proud of you too, and that's lovely!
My arms are like cooked spaghetti. Recently I bought some weights to do Jane Fonda (Yes- I do Jane Fonda, no aerobics classes in my village). It's nice to know that somewhere under there there are actually some muscles.
Wow! I have done scuba, skydiving, snow skiing and lots of other fun stuff, but work out I do not. Good for you!
Pseudonymous High School Teacher says
You sound pretty awesome and I am impressed with you bench weight.
Been thinking of your story of your boy lately… we have been navigating some rough roads with our son.
That was 5 years ago. Let's hope I can keep fit with age.
I remember those videos, like Jane Fonda. Unfortunately, I've never cared for aerobics. Some people love it though. Good for you, to do that. Do you have a gym close by?
I could never go skydiving. I love planes, but am terified of heights. Good for you.
If you want to e-mail me separately, I shall be happy to give you any suggestions I can.
Jungle Mom says
I'm impressed! Don't mess with Gutsy Writer!
I suppose I may have influenced a few people along the way, mostly by showing people how to be content wherever you may find yourself. Life is too short not to be happy!
I think I might be able to press 135…grams!
You go girl. That's awesome. Glad your son inspired you, I'm sure you've inspired him many times. :O)