Jackie’s 2 Cents: The following essay is written by our “CTO’s” fearless, fantastic and fit mother. Read below and find out how she lives the Jackie Unfiltered lifestyle in her golden years. Ms. Connie made fitness a priority in her 40s and continues the good fight as she nears 60. She crushed the #sweatyin30 challenge! 💪🏽👊🏽 According to Ms. Connie, “In 2016, we have access to loads of information so there is no reason not to be your best self.” I plan to listen to her because she hunts for a hobby and can still climb a tree at 57 years old! Yeah, I know. She’s badass.
Jackie calls me Ms. Connie. I am a 57 year old married woman living in the midwest and this is the tale of my fitness journey.
I first started focussing on fitness about 15 years ago when a close friend of mine began teaching Tae Bo at the local community center. This class provided an opportunity for adults who wanted to get in shape and get together without having to go to a gym. The community center was well known by everyone and was one of those “social with a cause” events that we all felt good attending. The Tae Bo instructor, a huge fitness fanatic, led an active life and was a natural fit to lead this class. Unfortunately, it wasn’t something that continued as long as we hoped because one summer day, my friend, our community’s Tae Bo’s instructor, was murdered. We felt the shock deeply in small town Ohio and even more so within our tightly knit, small black community. I like to believe one way his legacy continues is through my enthusiasm for fitness. Even though my friend was no longer there to lead us in Tae Bo, I decided to continue my fitness journey.
My husband and I joined a gym and began going regularly. My husband has lifted weights since high school and, like most men who lift weights, is completely turned off by cardio. So normally during our gym outings, he heads off to the weight room and I jump on the stair-climber, run the track or burn calories on the elliptical machine. I try and keep my workout routines fresh by adding variety. In addition to going to the gym, I also enjoy running a few miles at one of my favorite outside trails, running stairs at the local high school or working out to the newly released CIZE dance routine by Shawn T.. Who would have thought I’d get such a great workout while dancing? My husband and daughter bought me a new at-home pilates machine this past Christmas so I’ve been utilizing that as well.
For me, #Fitafter50 is all about staying active on a daily basis. I find that, at times, I am in constant motion. I run my own house cleaning business and normally clean about 2-3 houses a day, 3-4 days a week. Cleaning houses is a very demanding and physical job. Just ask my daughter who used to work with me during her summer vacations home from college. She always complained about soreness and fatigue at the end of the workweek. I would just nod and shake my head at her. As the young folks say, clearly, “she wasn’t about that life.” But for me, the cleaning routine is my norm and part of my weekly routine. After spending a whole day at work bending over, getting up and down off the ground and reaching and picking up things, I come home and work out some more. My body is used to the activity and, as long as I can physically continue with this routine, I will keep at it!
All the activity is really good for me at this stage in my life. The stage I’m referring to is menopause. I won’t even go into menopause and that journey or we will be here till Christmas. However, I will tell you this: the changes your body goes through during this time makes physical activity, working out and eating healthy all the more important. Women naturally gain more weight during menopause. With my hormones and chemical balance changing, studies support why I now find it extremely hard to lose weight and keep it off. It’s like my body is literally fighting to keep the weight on while I am working three times harder to to get it off. It’s a constant battle that normally ends in a stalemate. Besides the weight changes, sleeplessness, mood changes (my poor husband is normally the cause and target of those changes so thank God he is patient with me), I also experience those dreaded hot flashes. At any given moment and without notice, this feeling of fire burning through my body at the rate of a bull charging a matador is upon me, until it fully overcomes me and, at times, leaves me literally dripping in sweat. I’ve learned that diet is very important with regulating hot flashes. Too much sugar, caffeine or chocolate can trigger them so it’s important to keep these items in check.
But I’m a woman who loves to eat and enjoys a good sweet treat every now and then. It’s odd because during the week I’m very disciplined with my food but when the weekend hits, I like to treat myself. My daughter always says that our family mantra between myself and my sisters is, “I start my diet again on Monday.” Normally we’re saying this while making our plate at one or our many family get togethers. But I will say that come Monday, we are always back to eating well. My clients homes that I clean are located mostly in Columbus Ohio, about 50 miles from my home in Zanesville, Ohio. So it’s important that I food prep for the week, otherwise I could find myself hitting up a fast food drive-thru which is never good unless it’s the drive-thru at Panera. I’m hooked on their Quinoa oatmeal with almond slices, a Power green smoothie or pomegranate blueberry smoothie. I do love a good smoothie. This is a huge change since I found myself last winter addicted to their Pecan Braids….oh that was a bad time….but I regained focus and got back on track. I’m always looking for new smoothie ideas, they are the perfect on the go meal and I find a lot of great smoothie recipes on Jackie’s instagram page.
Fitness after 50 is all about staying active. I share this passion for an active lifestyle with my family and daughter. My daughter recently introduced me to the #sweatyin30 movement Jackie initiated back in March. About a week into the challenge I came down with the flu and fell back about 6 days. But as soon as I was back to my normal self, I re-engaged with the challenge. And I will say that it has definitely been a challenge to find time to workout everyday. But if we don’t challenge ourselves to step out of our norms and push ourselves, it becomes way too easy to become dormant. I’ll be looking forward to the next challenge!
As I mentioned before, my husband and I are normally active together. During the summer months we have a very small lawn care business and our biggest hobby is hunting. It’s not normally the type of activity you see a middle-age black couple doing but we enjoy it because it’s an opportunity for us to spend time together and it keeps us moving. There is a lot of walking, carrying and climbing involved, especially when you’re setting up a tree stand and climbing up and down a tree getting in and out of it…turns out to be a nice cardio workout.
Fitness after 50 is a choice and commitment to myself and I choose and commit to be as fit and healthy as I can. The sacrifices, pains and time spent implementing that choice is well worth it. I take my body and health very seriously from the things I eat to making sure I get regular checkups. In 2016, we have access to loads of information so there is no reason not to be your best self. I want to be here for my grandson, my daughter, my husband and my entire family. But more importantly, I want to be the BEST person I can for me. Life is nothing without our health and your age should never be a limitation or an excuse on why you aren’t being the best person you can be.