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22

It’s My Boomer Birthday and I’m Becoming Less Visible

Alexandra Williams, MA
birthday art

Happy birthday to my twin sister!

I’m turning 56 in a few days, right on the heels of attending the IDEA World Fitness Convention. I don’t care either way about tacking on another year, yet I have noticed a trend over the past few years. I seem to be becoming less visible. Or maybe just less desirable. Let me explain.

First of all, I’ve been going to the IDEA conventions since they began in the 80s. So I love to attend and see long-time fitness friends from around the world. It’s one of the highlights for me. I also love to check out all the latest workout trends. When I first started teaching (West Berlin, 1983), all we had was high impact aerobics. That was thousands of clever ideas ago, I know.

Alexandra in West Berlin 1983

Relaxing in Berlin, 1983

But this year for the first time, as I walked around the Expo and sat in on sessions (with a press pass you are not allowed to participate, which is fair), I didn’t see a lot of workouts that would accommodate my body (or tastes, in some cases), and I’m actually in pretty good shape. The high impact, loud techno/ rap workouts don’t appeal to me. Neither do the very slow, quiet “older adult” workouts. I’m in the middle – stronger and with more stamina than my 20-year old university students, aware of current music (loving Aloe Blacc’s anthem “I’m the Man”), and willing to try new ideas – so I like high intensity, fun formats that challenge me, yet don’t seem to be an injury-in-waiting.

picture of IDEA World Fitness Convention Expo hall

Expo Hall at IDEA World Fitness Convention

Also, at some of the booths and workouts, participants could win prizes based on doing the MOST – repetitions, weight, time – anything that had me competing with everyone else. And by “everyone else” I mean “people 25 years younger.” I don’t like competitions where I might look foolish or old or weak, as I am none of those. I like competitions where I’m pitted against myself. I want to be the BEST, not the MOST.

picture of push-ups/ knee tucks on suspension cable

The smile is fake. Doing 20 suspended push-up/ knee tucks was hard.

If you want my business, or even want me to stop at your booth, you need to find a way to make me feel like a winner. For example, at one booth, anyone who could do 20 suspension push-up/ knee tucks could win a prize. I didn’t care about the prize, but I wanted to challenge myself. I managed to do the 20 (barely), and left happy. I didn’t care that the 20 year old guy just after me did them in mere seconds without looking remotely tired because I wasn’t pitted against him. Hey, that was me when I was that age.

But I’m not that age anymore, nor do I wish to be. I’d have to give up my boys if I were that young again, and a modicum of wisdom. The point being this – if fitness brands are ignoring someone as confident, assertive and fit as I am, what the heck do they think is going on with women my age who are nervous about exercise? If that were me, I’d be defeated at the start.

If you are a brand, let me help you out – we have more stamina, time, long-term view, patience, and MONEY. Find a way. And for my birthday, please send me Aloe Blacc.

I am unstoppable, not invisible.

Photo credits: birthday art: Prawny; Expo Hall: IDEA

14

Boulder, FitSocial, and Going Back Home

Alexandra Williams, MA
Pearl Street in the Sun

Pearl Street in the Sun

Have you ever gone back to visit a place where you used to live? I’ve done that three times this year, including the FitSocial conference in Boulder this past weekend. For me, these are emotional returns, both for regrets and joys that occurred in those places. Do you have the same reaction?

This past weekend Kymberly and I traveled to Boulder to attend the only conference we know of that unites social media (including blogging) and up-to-date accurate fitness & health research – FitSocial – the “premier conference discussing the communication of cutting-edge health and fitness information to the public via blogging and social media.”

Listening to Every Word we Say at our FitSocial Talk

Listening to Every Word we Say at our FitSocial Talk

 

For me, this was more than a opportunity to speak at a high-class conference; it was a return to the town and home (we still own it) where my boys were born, including a post-flood inspection of the house, which is in a designated flood zone by Boulder Creek. For six years, we lived in Boulder. I thought it was where my boys would grow up, listening to my nagging about stomping snow off their boots, pulling up non-indigenous weeds from the recycled-water veggie garden where we had enough to sustain ourselves for at least a day in case of a Rocky Mountain Zombie Apocalypse. I thought we’d spend many years yelling at passersby to get their dogs off our lawn (organic poop is still poop).

See You, Bridge to CU

See You, Bridge to CU

I loved my job at CU Boulder, which was a 5-minute walk across an old bridge to campus (as you can see, that bridge got washed out by the flood). I loved getting my MA in family counseling in Colorado, joining the multitudes of counselors trying to make a living in blissed out Boulder. But the boys begged their dad to move them to Minnesota (translation – job transfer), so we left in ‘98.

My “babies” are now 16 and 19 and remember nothing of their birthplace except from the stories they’ve been told. But my emotional attachment is strong. We kept the house with the intention of returning to live one day, and I hope that day comes to pass. I also hope the same about my former home in Lake Oswego, Oregon, where we lived for six years. Kept that home too. (Can you tell I love mortgage payments that are always one payment away from total stress?) If my parents had kept our childhood home in Hermosa Beach, I’d probably be trying to save up to buy that one too, having just gone to Hermosa for a day of nostalgic walking around and reminiscing.

We built this from a one-story 700 sq foot dump!

We built this from a one-story 700 sq foot dump!

Colorado is the fittest state of the 50, and Boulder is the fittest town in that state, so it makes perfect sense to hold a fitness conference there. I woke up the very first morning (to a light rain, which didn’t make me feel that confident about the flood’s effects) and walked around Boulder. I had the same emotions as when I visited Oregon in June and Hermosa in early September – peaceful happiness at being back “home” and sadness that it had changed and wasn’t really mine anymore. I felt the pride of being an insider, yet isolation at being an outsider too. Part of me was at peace, walking in the rain sprinkles when few people were about, yet I was also in turmoil as I mentally marked all the places where significant (and insignificant, yet now feeling significant) events had taken place in my past. “Ah, the rocks on Pearl Street where my boys played as toddlers,” gave way to “My babies are almost all grown up and how did that happen?”

Pearl Street has lots of places for kids to play

Pearl Street has lots of places for kids to play

I wanted to stop strangers who looked like locals and tell them I belonged too, yet also was taking lots of “tourist” pictures (surreptitiously, of course). When I met the tenants and got a look around the house, MY house, I felt like telling the them to get out. I also had a strong urge (luckily resisted) to describe the way we built it in detail. Of course they would have found that fascinating!

It’s a happy, full feeling and a sad, regretful feeling to go somewhere that exists as a memory. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to three cities full of happy, yet “dead” memories in one year. Now I want to move. But it could just be that I am trying to toy with time. Or maybe it’s toying with me. Tell me I’m not alone in this.

Have you gone back after several years to a place where you were happy? How did YOU feel?

Stay tuned later this week for a post from Kymberly that fills you in on a few of the really exciting tidbits from the conference. Some great stuff about weight loss and future trends.

Kymberly at Our FitSocial talk

Kymberly at Our FitSocial talk

Kymberly is living proof that Lorna Jane Activewear is great for Boomers too (though their ads look geared toward our kids).

No matter where you live, follow us:

A) subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

B) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

C) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

3

FitSocial Conference and Boulder Flood Relief

Alexandra Williams, MA
The Boulder Flood

The Boulder Flood

We are leaving this week to attend FitSocial 2013, the blogging and social media conference for the fitness and health industries. It’s being held in Boulder and Denver, Colorado just a few weeks after the devastating floods that destroyed homes, roads, businesses, and lives.

Fitness & Health Social Media Conference
First of all, the conference is “the premier conference discussing communication of cutting-edge health and fitness information to the public via blogging and social media. This conference is a unique combination of blogging, social media, and hard science.” Geared toward fitness professionals and those who love accurate health and fitness information, we went last year and knew we’d return this year.

Quick stretch during FitSocial 2012

Quick stretch during FitSocial 2012

About 100 attendees are registered, which makes it an intimate event, with lots of time to interact with our colleagues and the presenters. On Friday, the conference has been opened up to local Colorado fitness professionals, so the numbers will be slightly higher that day.

So what? Why does it matter how many attendees are there or where they’re from?

Boulder Flood Relief
We are headed to an area that has been seriously impacted by the floods. And a lot of the conferences attendees are locals, which means they probably know someone (perhaps themselves) who lost a lot over the past week. When the few get together, they harness the power of the many!

Whether you’re a guest or resident of Boulder, we think it would be amazing for us all to pitch in to help with the flood recovery efforts. Boulder Flood Relief is a group of volunteers who have organized teams to go wherever help is requested. Please follow them on Facebook. My boys were born in Boulder, and I’m curious to see what the damage is to our home, as it’s only two blocks from Boulder Creek (as we haven’t heard from the tenants, we think things are fine).

As many of us are here only for the duration of the conference, our time is limited. This means we can’t all volunteer to help. What we CAN do is donate money to help the volunteers buy tools and other necessities. One hundred percent of your money goes to support the relief efforts.

Where your donations go

Where your donations go

After you input your donation information, there will be a section for a message. Please put “In the name of the FitSocial conference.” Let’s show Boulder that fitness social media peeps are the best, and that we are here to help!

Watch for our announcement during the conference, as there is likely to be a surprise in store for at least one lucky donor! Again, you can donate by clicking on the Boulder Flood Relief “we pay” link right here.

Thanks!

Follow us:

A) subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

B) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

C) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.