Kicking It – Return to the gym

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal

Special to The Village News

The impetus to restart my visits to the gym happened after I saw a picture of a pudgy woman standing behind two cute grandkids.

At that moment, it hit me all over again. It was that picture that forced me to take that one-big-step that holds us all back. I opened the front glass door and walked into the gym. I will have had eight daily visits before this column hits ink.

Even though I will be in Anchorage for two weeks, I did the one thing “I feared the most.” Yeah, I returned to the scene of my first “Kicking It” column in August 2019, the place, Club Paradise.

Those of you who have followed me may recall the reason I started this column in the first place. It was to keep me accountable to exercise. That is why I hired a personal trainer who designed an exercise plan which introduced me to the various types of exercise equipment. I had a goal and I was fierce in my dedication.

A devoted student, I attended the gym daily for seven months. The goal was to insure I was strong enough to fulfill the rigors of my 75th birthday journey because for over half of the trip, I’d be unaccompanied.

My original flight was to depart on March 20, 2020, from San Diego to Newark, to Heathrow to Zurich to Paris, but changed later from Heathrow to Charles de Gaulle after I arranged to meet up with my granddaughter when this trip also became her college graduation present. Autumn powered through Sacramento State in three and a half years.

We were to begin our journey on board the small ship, Miss Botticelli, for a four-day voyage on the Seine River around Paris.

Then, we’d both fly to Venice for a 3-night stay in a Venice apartment before she would take a train to Rome to meet up with a group of age-appropriate travelers crossing Europe and ending up in Amsterdam. I on the other hand would transfer to the Belmond owned Cipriani Hotel for one night before being taken to the Orient Express the next morning.

I was booked into a single sleeper for the journey to London. For the one night on the train, all passengers were advised of the Roaring Twenties party onboard and yes, I had my flapper outfit packed.

Once in London, I was booked for a two-night stay at the JW Marriott on Hyde Park which allowed me to book a ticket for Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap” before leaving town by train out of Victoria Station. The plan was to meet up with fellow bridge players for 2 weeks of duplicate bridge at a seaside hotel. It was a marvelous once-in-a-lifetime trip planned over eight months.

But, who can forget COVID-19? All of my planning came crashing down. As it happens, I am still pursuing refunds from many of those vendors. And just when I thought “maybe” the time was ripe to recreate the journey, this current “situation” pops up and alas, it doesn’t look like I will be recreating this trip anytime soon.

Now 30 months later, I finally walked back into Paradise Fitness on Feb. 28, 2022. Oddly enough, I was still in the computer. Although my trainer had moved on, the club manager, Tim Marks, had not and with a little searching found my old workout routine.

By the way, the gym is as clean as my kitchen counter. Rearranged from before, which is why I got help from trainer Lucas Klingsberg. He was able to recreate my former workout routine. Meanwhile, with a few muscles I’d forgotten, I am reclaiming that svelte former self, one day at a time.

Elizabeth Youngman-Westphal can be reached at [email protected]

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