Sunday, June 5, 2011

Role Models

Have you noticed that the news media generally focus on things we need to worry about? The war, the economy, the weather, the budget deficit, dropping stock prices, rising food prices, health insurance, foreclosures and jobless rates are just a few of our current concerns.

Over the past few weeks, there have been a few small but wonderful bright spots in the news about certain women of a certain age, and we wanted to share a trio of them with you.

To begin with, let's talk fitness. After Memorial Day, we entered into that dreaded time of year known as "bathing suit season" -- or for the truly daring -- "bikini season". No other words strike more fear (and loathing) in the hearts of women of a certain age. Fear not, kiddies. Ever the optimists, we figured it's never too late to start to get in shape. As you can see in the photos above, our fast-track exercising and weight lifting programs have paid dividends! Biceps bulging, we're ready to give The Governator a run for his money.

All of this transformation requires inspiration. Take a look below at Ernestine Shepherd and The Amazing Amy, whom we hope will motivate everyone to see their own hidden physical potential and make some changes for the better.

Ernestine Shepherd

An inductee into the Guiness Book for World Records as the oldest female body builder, Ernestine Shepherd is a 74-year old on a mission. Intimidated by the specter of having to appear in public in bathing suits more than twenty years ago, she and her sister Mildred embarked on an exercise program. They started with aerobics and gradually expanded their workouts to include other methods. To her credit, even after her sister's death from an aneurysm more than a decade ago, Ernestine continued with her exercise program, eventually running marathons and competing in - and winning - body building events. That her personal heroes are Michelle Obama and Sylvester Stallone gives you an idea of this lady's eclecticism. When we heard about her on National Public Radio’s Tell Me More, we had to see her for ourselves. Among other things, Ernestine recommends eating six small meals per day, rather than the traditional three large meals. Check out this septuagenarian's moves. Her body is amazing -- lots of definition and not a lot of bulk. (No steroids for Ernestine.) We chose this brief video for its visuals, but there are lots of other videos on Ernestine for those who want more detailed information.

The Amazing Amy

A few weeks ago we saw Amy do a little snippet of her routine on Discovery Channel's Oddities, which focuses on the shop Obscura and its recherche objets and clientele. We were astounded by Amy's flexibility, so we went to the Internet seeking more, and found the video below. A contortionist, Amy was 54 years young when this video was shot. She credits yoga with helping get rid of her reflux and back pain issues. Besides her contortionist routine, we loved the subtle little touches like the Start Trek theme music in the background coordinated with Amy's Enterprise crew shirt. How can you not want to get in shape after viewing this video? Amy is living proof that age doesn't have to be a factor in fitness. Click on the video and enjoy.

Judy McGrath

Okay - so we've given you two physical role models. How about a more cerebral role model?

In 2010, only fifteen companies on the Fortune 500 list had women CEOs, which shows how unusual it is for a woman to rise to the top of a company. So we'd like to spotlight Judy McGrath, who recently resigned as CEO of MTV, at the age of 58, after seven years in the top spot. What we really admire about Judy is that she started out at MTV as a copywriter thirty years ago at the firm's inception, and worked her way to the top.

She championed MTV's dedication to diversity in age, culture, religion, gender and nationality, calling music the great unifier. Dora the Explorer, South Park and Jersey Shore all were developed on her watch. One of our favorite Judy-isms is her contention that the Jersey Shore is the Ultimate Feminist Show. Think about it, she says: It's the women who lounge around like slobs in their rollers and their slippers while the men are the ones concerned with GTL ("gym, tanning, laundry"). Mike ("the situation"), Paulie and Vinnie do the cleaning, cook the family meals and kvetch. Brilliant! In an article in the Wall Street Journal, McGrath calls her time at MTV "the ride of a lifetime".

We don't have any nice sound bite videos on Judy McGrath, but click here for a thorough, thoughtful interview if you like. There's a lengthy intro speaker who enumerates all her accomplishments, and then you get to hear Judy herself.

(First picture above is Corporate Judy; second photo is Real Judy, with of the Black Eyed Peas.)

Here we are again, working on our very own sets of Obama arms for summer.

Jean says: Here's a picture of me in my fur coat BEFORE I started working out (and apparently before I discovered laser hair removal). For those of you about to launch your own self-help jag, please let us know WHAT motivated YOU and how you're doing.

Valerie says: L-ing OL! What Jean really means is this is my cat Clementine, who has taken me as her fitness role model. Did you notice that in both photos Jean smiles as she lifts the vacuum cleaner extension - oops - I mean the fifty lb. bar - while I'm grimacing? What can that mean? (Jean says: I AM grimacing! And without my glasses, no less!)

Famous Precedent for Muscular Women:

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