-Aspen Real Life
Back in my New York City days I was big on aerobics. In the evenings after a day of work at Simon & Schuster I would walk up from yuppie-ville at Rockefeller Center to the slinkier side of town to workout with all of the models and starving actors and actresses at Jeff Martin Studios.
When approaching the building, if the loud pulsing nightclub music didn’t make you look up into the large windows of the studio than the beautiful silhouetted bodies pumping and gyrating under the purple lights would certainly catch your eye as you walked by. An intimidating scene no doubt but a pulse of the city I thrived off of.
After moving to Aspen from the city I missed that energetic vibe. Everybody was so calm, so mellow, being one with nature and all. Michele broke me in quickly by taking me on “hikes” and “bike rides”up The Ute Trail and up to Four Corners. These were no ordinary excursions. Oh no. These were trails where you quickly gained major vert as you huffed your way up the steep terrain. I’d be hurling from the thin air, my tight NYC aerobic clothes revealing my mountain naivety as slick Aspenites in fancy gortex cruised effortlessly by competing against their last time trial. If I wasn’t careful I easily could have gotten swept off of the side to plunge to my death by a beast carrying a small tree across his shoulders to increase his weight. No wonder why everybody was so calm, they were exhausted.
When all of your workouts are uphill you have no choice but to get stronger and slowly I transformed into a mellow monster. To stretch out my sore body I became an avid practitioner of Bikram Yoga. Blasting out the twenty-five postures in a 105 degree room I stuck with it four days a week for eight years until my lower back screamed “ENOUGH”. My loosey goosey body needed stability and so I quit.
I felt lost. I needed a new regime and so I switched to weight training with Ray Cook, a renowned trainer who has been working for twenty years with the reputable physical therapists in the valley.
With Ray my pain decreased but when The Ski Company made the announcement that Aspen Mountain was opening a week earlier than the annual Thanksgiving Opening Day I decided I needed to fit aerobic activity into my routine. I read an article on Livestrong.com that helped me in my next decision on where to take my workouts, “Due to hormonal changes, middle-aged women are at increased risk for weight gain and abdominal fat accumulation (ahhh, so it isn’t from all the potato chips I’ve been craving?) Both are major components leading to metabolic syndrome, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Losing weight helps improve overall functioning and decreases risks of developing serious conditions such as coronary heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity. The best way for a middle-aged woman to lose weight involves patience, diligence, knowledge and hard work,” add to that list hormone cream and weight training and you’ll be feeling 28 in no time, or younger depending on your temperament. Also, “Adding variety to your workout routine can help a middle-aged woman lose weight. Spicing up your aerobics routine by adding small bursts of higher-intensity speeds works different muscle fibers and burns more calories by increasing the metabolic rate….Doing interval workouts helps build new capillaries, reactivates nerve fibers and quickens muscle repair time.”
I began ski conditioning classes at The Aspen Club to increase my metabolism and begin the recommended interval training.
Walking into the class it felt like Jeff Martin Studios all over again, sans the purple lights. We began the warm up to loud music and old school step aerobics to get our heart rates up. It was what I was accustomed to and I got cocky, “I’ve got this,” I said to myself smiling and snorting out steam ready to charge my way through class along with the other twenty-two participants. Only, with each new week came accelerated circuit training and my cockiness wore off quickly as I fought back the urge to run out the door after every Burpee.
I just don’t have the mental stamina that many of the hard core athletes have up here. The truth is, ready for the drumroll, I’m lazy and would rather a chaise lounge and a good book but after one week of training with Amy Knight, Group Fitness Coordinator and Personal Trainer at the club, I dropped five pounds and that was all I needed to commit to the full four weeks of training.
She’s a tough one that Amy and it shows in her personal achievements that are listed on The Aspen Club website; active member of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, department’s fitness officer/ tester for all new recruits as well as current members, mother of 2 young and very active boys (an achievement I can relate to) and she was listed in 1995 Vogue magazine as one of the top personal trainers in the U.S.A.
Amy has been teaching this class for twenty-five years and takes it very seriously. If you are in her room than you better be prepared to give it all you’ve got as she and her compact, dancer body takes you to greater heights, whether you like it or not. Living by her motto, “Challenge your body and your mind everyday and you will see change and become stronger,” she gets you there, that is if you don’t sabotage yourself and bail out. But most of us are sticking with it and with one week left, I’m thinking I’m going to be floating effortlessly out there on the ski slopes, just me and my six-pack. Move over Jillian Michaels cuz Imacomin, middle-aged shmiddle-aged.