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`Bay Watch' figures are out of reach for working moms

April 17, 1997|By Jo Ellen Barnhart

I guess I read "The Little Engine That Could" one too many times to my children. I actually believe I can apply the book's naive optimism to unveil a Cindy Crawford body.

Yes, even with a uterus stretched three times to the size of Utah and a schedule that puts an air traffic controller to shame, I believe I can find the time to workout.

Preparing for the first exercise class is like going to the restaurant rest room where women who dine at the same table travel in tandem to use the toilet. In this same spirit, my friend D and I found the courage to go to our first step aerobic class together.

A workout partner is helpful, but choose your partner carefully. She should be strong enough to drag you off the floor when you fall over the step and break your ankle because you were too busy checking for any emergence of Tina Turner legs.

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Mind you, I'm not a newcomer to the workout scene. This is my 186th comeback in six months. Since my offspring arrived, I've retired from the sport of "workout" more times than Don Allensworth has run for office. Let's face it, working moms have more excuses to cut workout class than an eighth-grader has reasons to miss a geography test.

Each time I re-enter the workout world, the clothing style changes. I had to buy new workout clothes because I looked a bit weird stepping to rap music wearing tights and terry cloth shorts. Today's trend involves a close-fitting, skimpy two-piece outfit that resembles a multi-colored thigh-length girdle and bra that binds your upper body like a sports bandage. Shoes? We're not even gonna go there!

And, don't forget the water bottle. You're just not doing "it," if you don't have a water bottle.

Skip the mirror

There is a payoff for sweating in tight-fitting clothes and drinking out of a water bottle. It really does make you feel like a lifeguard on "Bay Watch" at least until you look in the mirror. That's when you realize you have to go out and buy more clothes (at least a few sizes larger to hide the lumps) and return to exercise class for more sweating and water drinking.

The professionals in the health-care and recreational industries profess that the real benefits of exercising include improved alertness, stress reduction, decreased health-care costs, enhanced self-esteem, even longer life.

It must be true. Ask Herald-Mail's Tim Rowland. He's been spotted flexing his pecs recently at Hagerstown Junior College's Wellness Center.

Hey Tim, see you on "Bay Watch."

Jo Ellen Barnhart is the working mother of three boys. She is a freelance writer and owner of a home-based marketing and public relations business.

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