spirit flows thru -- Alison Rittger's spiritual reflections on finding the holy in the daily
Ginna Rosewarne at Regular Exercise
Can Ginna be believed?  She assures me if I keep to our exercise regimen, eventually, I will look like her.  Personal trainers, especially fit and fabulous trainers who specialize in older adults, may exaggerate to convince their older ladies that sweat and a pounding heart are worth the effort.

Much as I like Ginna, her looks and her powers of persuasion, I don’t like gyms, never have, even classy gyms like the gym in the Jewish Community Center. I was there a couple of times when I had a girl friend. She generously offered me a guest pass. At no cost I could take advantage of JCC cleanliness and order. And I could watch my own TV as I pedaled or ran. No thank you.

I lean more toward people places like the YMCA in the Tenderloin. Briefly I had a personal trainer, but she had a nervous breakdown. I don’t think it was my fault. I did the routines she prescribed without too much resistance and showed her loyalty by walking to the Y on days I didn’t feel well just to say I wouldn’t be there. But once she opted out of training me, I opted out of the Y. It’s a wise woman who knows her limitations. And then the Y shut down temporarily, and I shut down more or less permanently.

But inactivity and lax self care go against my beliefs. As a Unitarian Universalist, I take to heart these words by Henry David Thoreau, “We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones.”

 And as a Buddhist-leaning learner, I might just prefer to sit in meditation. But the Buddha said: “Our body is precious. It is a vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.”

I am in no position to ignore the body-mind-soul connection or to take false refuge in inactivity, which has, as I remember, led to neglect and overeating. 

When I taught weight-loss classes, I promoted exercise, pretty much ordering members to take care of themselves, their bodies, their minds, their spirits, the whole gestalt. And what about me? I couldn’t just be walking to cafes. Not that walking isn’t wonderful. But upper body strength matters too.

So, I ambled across the street and joined a gym in the shopping mall, though unhappy with the blasting rock radio stations – not so much the music as the commercial breaks, and the pounding feet of exercise addicts running at breakneck speeds on treadmills, then pedaling noisily on stationary bikes.

Of course, I paid for a personal trainer, otherwise it would be a no go. My first trainer, an upbeat young man let me lie around a lot if I complained. Then he disappeared. No one at the gym could explain his disappearance. Ginna was his replacement. and I was satisfied. Her body-side manner pleased me, and she practiced a gentle form of coercion.

What really irked me for Ginna’s sake was the money the gym took and the little she got for doing all the work. It didn’t seem right, so I championed her move to independence at Regular Exercise on Clement and 15th. It’s a lovely gym and there she rents time and keeps what she earns as a trainer. We can choose our own music.

Yes, my body, soul and mind approve of working out with Ginna, but sometimes after heaving a ball at the wall, hefting a Viper or crumpling in and out of yoga positions, body, soul and mind are content to walk with Ginna to a coffee shop to sip cappuccinos, compare philosophies and rest comfortably in our companionship. I bet Ginna will agree when I quote Walt Whitman. “If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred.”    

If you want contact Ginna go to ginnafit.com.

Chris Kennedy
11/7/2011 08:47:58 am

Wow, I'm speechless Alison!! Speechless in a good way. I'm very happy you find such enjoyment training with Ginna, you are doing well and keep up the great work!

Ginna Rosewarne
11/7/2011 09:03:56 am

I feel so flattered for the words I just read. Alison,I'm very glad i'm a part of your life and have your friendship. Most importantly, exercising has allowed us to have what we have. This is another quote I like by Whitman. " Behold I do not give lectures or a little charity, When I give I give myself."

Guy Rittger
11/12/2011 02:39:33 am

Let us not forget, too, the uplifting words of Slim Whitman, sage of the lonesome prairie:

Woo - hoo - woo - ooo - ti - de
Woo - hoo - ooo - oop - i - de - de
Woo - hoo - woo - ooo - ti - de
Yod - el - od - el - lo - ti - de.

One might rightly turn to this kind of wisdom, with respect to personal training, when it comes from a man named "Slim".

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