Trainer Tips

Teammate Talk: Jean

There are so many things I love about this picture. The bright lipstick, polk-a-dot jeans, sunshine, and those little pottery houses to my left. I picked them up in Montreal where I was born, and moved them out with me — along with my husband, two dogs, and cat — to beautiful BC (as it says on our licence plates!). We retired out here. That’s the joke, at least. We work harder now than we did while we were officially employed. That’s because we decided to buy a special breed of sheep called Babydoll Sheep. Only three, we said. We now have at least 60! 

The island we live on can only be reached by ferry, so I have learned patience while living here. My three children, all over 30, live off-island and I visit them — and their children now, too. I love them with all my heart.

For a long time, exercise and I were strangers. We met by chance back in 1983. I was flipping through TV channels and stumbled upon a fitness show called BODIES IN MOTION. Gil, the instructor, was my reason for waking up, and we met faithfully at 6am for many years. This is when I fell in love with exercise, and I’m so grateful to him for developing my life-long habit of early morning workouts. 

Through the years you could find me trying Jazzercise, Jane Fonda, and Sweating to the Oldies with Richard Simmons. As our financial circumstances improved, I joined a gym and even hired personal trainers. My last (and final) trainer, Gus, promised me ‘lots of fun’. While the workouts were creative — at the beach, parks, and gym — they were anything but fun. But who was I to complain? I was in the best shape of my life at age 60! 

I am now a very young 65 (do you remember thinking that 65 was OLD? I sure do). And while I’m in reasonable shape — I’m still doing everything that I always did, only now I get stiff if I sit too long! — I have a new mindset. “You do you.” It’s something I live by, and Gixo endorses. Gixo is my new fitness fix — my next best friend — always motivating and inspiring me. Who else but a good friend would keep me accountable, watch my every move, and shower me with praise after a workout? I’m at a good place right now, mentally and physically. 

But let’s face it, we all go through tough times.

I hate having my routine thrown out of whack! While I can handle hurdles that pop up, I have a really hard time with death, and have lost my dad, mom, sister, and my dog. I’ve learned to allow myself to just feel the shock, pain, anger, sadness, and longing. I ride it out. And then talk myself into living again. I start with tiny steps and then great big leaps. I realize that I’m still alive and that I can do all those things they can’t. So I do.

Embracing my inner child

I’m well aware that time is precious, and embrace the signs of aging — the gray hair, wrinkles, sagging skin, extra pounds. I try very hard to focus on developing my inner strengths, friendships, compassion for others, and kindness. My inner child lives inside me, and every once in awhile, I let her out (but not enough). When I’m feeling really comfortable with someone, I hear her voice. She says things like, “I’d like a hug, or even a kiss, I feel like an adventure, I’d like to try new things, go home a different way, dye my hair, dance, find a comedy tonight, swim naked…”