Parental Guidance

I’ve trained 100’s of people in my life.  I’ve trained professionally; I’ve trained as a hobby; and I’ve trained as a friend.  But, I’ve never trained as a daughter, and my mother as a client has me utterly stumped.

Work brings me to Phoenix this week, which also brings me home to Mom.  I moved to Portland from Phoenix 9 years ago, and I love that work now provides me with the opportunity to see my mom and friends on a regular basis.  Interestingly enough, this is also where I struggle maintaining my fitness routine.  First, I’m a member of 24 Hour Fitness, and my membership gets me access to any of their gyms in the country.  A year ago the Phoenix locations were converted to LA Finesses, of which I’m not a member. Huge surprise to me during a recent visit home.  Second, I stay with my mom when I’m in Phoenix instead of a hotel.  This is actually a big perk because I usually get a mom-cooked meal and she caters to my healthy side.  The downside, however,  is she doesn’t have a fitness center as one of her amenities, so no 24 Hour Fitness and no hotel gym.  And lastly, she enjoys wine as much as I do.  Or maybe it is that I enjoy wine as much as she does.  Either way, it flows pretty easily as we catch up which makes waking up at 5am a little more challenging.

phoneix from the sky

This is a quick trip.  I’m flying in today, Wednesday, and I fly home tomorrow after our last meeting.

My flight was at 8 am this morning, which didn’t give me enough time to go to the gym. I’d go for a run after work, but August in Phoenix is miserable.  It’s 100 degrees and humid due to evening monsoons.  Everything is hot.  Just look at the picture I took from the plane.  It looks SO THIRSTY!

Knowing all this definitely caused some anxiety late last week.  I will admit here that I’m bad about taking rest days.  I vary my workouts and types of exercise enough (i.e. weight lifting vs. cardio days) that I justify not taking a day off from the gym, but it’s still purely a justification.  The truth is your body needs and benefits from taking a day off, or several days!  I always come back stronger, but even knowing this doesn’t change what I do.

Consequentially, I was pleasantly surprised when my mom called last Sunday and said, “I have an idea for what we can do Wednesday night, if you’re up for it.”  She proceeded to tell me that she recently joined a YMCA and wanted to know if would like to go work out with her.  Would I?!  I didn’t know what excited me more, the fact that my mom joined a gym or the fact that I was going to get to work out Wednesday after all.  Of course I agreed, and we hung up excited to see each other in the coming days.

Tuesday night I made a yummy Mediterranean dinner for my fiancé and I.  This is one of my go-to healthy dinners, especially in the summer when I can toss whatever vegetables I have on hand in oil and spices and then put right onto the grill.  Contrary to Phoenix, August in Portland is absolute perfection, and we eat outside as often as possible.  We also have a glass, or two, of wine at night.  It’s my one daily indulgence.  If you love wine as much as I do, I suggest you check out Joe Dobbes Wine by Joe Pinot Noir.  It’s been our favorite this summer.

Roasted Vegetables, Hummus, Whole Wheat Pita, Feta Cheese and a glass of Joe


flight snacks phoenix

This doubles as my meal prep for the travel day to follow.  I’ve already cut the vegetables and have left over hummus.  I throw a few protein muffins and almonds in the mix and I’ve got all the snacks I need for the next couple of days.   A hummus and vegetable snack at the airport will cost you at least $6… if you can find it.

That night I wake up at 1 am thinking about working out with my mom.   On the phone she said, “Just do your own workout and I’ll copy you,” but that is neither safe nor effective.  I want to put her through a great workout, but I also need to be responsible and treat her as a first time client.  When I was a personal trainer I  would spend most of the first session performing an assessment to determine a client’s level of fitness and assess which muscles are firing properly and which need strengthening, etc.  But, a big part of the NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Assessment focuses on legs, and I already know my mom is having trouble with her hips so I want to stay away from a lot of squats and lunges.  Beyond all the mechanics, I want to make her proud and show her why I’m so passionate about the gym.   It’s more than just a workout for me, it’s sharing my greatest joy with my mom, and I want her to enjoy it too.  In fact, I want her to enjoy it so much that she’s excited about going back and doing it again on her own.  That’s a lot of pressure!

My mom has always been in great shape.  At 19 she started teaching yoga, and I remember watching her practicing dance routines in the living room when I was young.  She still teaches yoga and enjoys hiking, cooking and staying active, but she has never belonged to a gym and never completely understood my passion for weight training.   So, what could I show her that would both kick her butt and excite her to keep it up?

I decide that I can’t accomplish everything in one afternoon.  Instead of dazzling her with plyometrics, supersets, max reps and intervals, I need to keep it simple and repeatable.

Check out our Upper Body Basics Routine, dedicated to Mom.    Upper Body Basics RoutineShe did great! And helped me take some pictures for the blog.



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