Body Wisdom: Why You'd Rather Be Strong than Skinny

Thank you to Kim Rahir for the fantastic interview! Learn more about here here. 

And a big thanks to Far West and their track 'Thunder' for the music in today's podcast.

You can also visit our sponsor, Mission Flow, here. And order the Naked Librarian's Guide to Your First Colonoscopy here


See Transcript below: 

Speaker 1 (00:00):

So a changing body, a lot of it is just how it is. If we are lucky, we will get old before we die. But some of these changes, especially when it comes to muscle loss and the consequences associated with it can be thwarted and there's good reason to launch your own fort down.

Speaker 1 (00:30):

How are you feeling these days about your body? If you're like me, you might be wondering why your butt cleavage looks a little tired or noticing a little more give in the skin around your armpits are feeling like, why are my jeans squeezing me in new places? And that's just my list. If you're like a lot of women, you've probably got your own. And look, I am a huge fan of body positivity. The last thing we need is women to feel more guilt and shame about our appearance. But I don't think it does us any favors if we're like, you're not allowed to have negative feelings about your body. I think we're much better off learning to notice them so we can be in conversation with them. The truth is aging can really call attention to the reality of time passing and an inevitable changing body.

Speaker 1 (01:18):

Am I the only one who wants to go back and splash my 16-year-old self with a cold glass of water and say snap out of it? You look amazing, Lord, we really can't spend a lifetime beating ourselves up. But one of the cool things about getting older fucking wisdom, and that means we can break that cycle and change our focus from the vanity of our appearance to the health and wellness benefits associated with movement, vitality and the focus of today's episode strength. So a changing body, a lot of it is just how it is. If we are lucky, we will get old before we die. But some of these changes, especially when it comes to muscle loss and the consequences associated with it can be thwarted and there's good reason to launch your own thwart down. Did you know that muscle mass peaks in our thirties and then it begins to decline?

Speaker 1 (02:10):

Muscle loss known as sarcopenia affects 45% of older Americans and is especially prevalent in women. So beyond our mixed feelings about our beautiful aging bodies, there are real consequences to letting gravity have its way with us. You're more prone to injury not just from falling, but from enjoying the things you love, like running, skiing, dancing, gardening, or playing with your now or future grandkids. The good news is there is something you can do about this and the benefits go beyond more muscle tone. Building muscle through strength training or resistance training has vast benefits, including some of the top complaints for women as they age, like the need to decrease stress, boost your body image, increase your confidence, fit into your favorite clothes and more. Hi, if you're new here. Welcome. I'm Victoria Payne, the creator and the host of the Naked Librarian. I'm a writer, storyteller, and wellness nerd who wants to help grown ass women live healthier and happier lives to experience more peace, joy, wonder and yes, strength.

Speaker 1 (03:10):

Today you're going to meet a truly remarkable woman. Kim Ray here is a health and wellness coach who helps women in midlife deal with a host of health symptoms by building strength and muscle. She is one of the most surprising European masters weightlifting champions you'll ever meet. Winning her first competition at age 60. She also has a personal story that will inspire your socks off. When Kim was 45 and raising three children and working as an international journalist, she received a life-changing diagnosis. Inside this episode, Kim will share her own health journey and how she came to accept her Ms diagnosis, but not what she calls living her life as a sick person. Her strength training regimen did more than help Kim manage her symptoms. In her story, she'll share how it helped her recover and even shock her doctors with her results. If you've already heard about resistance training and have been wanting to add it to your life, this episode is for you. If building muscle after your thirties is something you've never thought about, this episode is for you. And if you're like, where would I even start? Or I don't want to look like a bodybuilder Victoria girl, I've got you covered. Come with me in this inspiring conversation with Kim. She's got awesome insights and some great tools to help you get started no matter where you're at today.

Speaker 2 (04:49):

Kim, I am so glad you could take time to talk with me today. And I've been so excited all week to have this conversation with you after we met the first time I started following you on social media and just really enjoyed getting to see how you put your message and good work out into the world. And so first just thank you for taking the time to be here.

Speaker 3 (05:17):

Thank you for having me. I'm really looking forward to chatting with you.

Speaker 2 (05:23):

And we have kind of a unique setup because we're in two very different time zones. It's actually night where you are. So we're coming Portland, Oregon all the way to Madrid, Spain, but I think you maybe also grew up in Germany. So do I have that part right? And how did you get to where you are?

Speaker 3 (05:45):

It's a long story, but it's just a story of traveling. I grew up in Germany, lived there until I was about 30, I think. I worked there for an international news agency and over work I met my husband and he is Belgian, he is French too now. So it's like crazy. Our family history is like a crazy travel book. And we got married and we moved to Dubai right away. So we started moving. Then we had three kids, we kept moving. We've lived in Dubai, in Vienna, in Paris, in Berlin. And then 10 years ago we moved to Madrid. We liked it so much that my husband managed to get a bit of a longer assignment. Usually we stay four years in one place, which is really short because it takes two years to feel really good and know everything. And then you're already halfway through and you're looking at the backend and you know that it's coming up. So in Madrid, we managed to stay longer and then he retired and we decided to stay here. We didn't want to go to Germany, didn't want to go to Belgium. This place is just so lovely. People are so nice and the weather is fantastic. There's so much light even in winter that gives you tons and tons of energy and that's just what you need in the second half of your life.

Speaker 2 (07:13):

Oh, I am so amazed. And it sounds like you have lived such an interesting life by traveling and living in places, not just visiting them but living there. And I bet you have some pretty great stories. I feel like your story of what I know of it so far, and I'm excited for my listeners to hear about is a really amazing story in itself, just taking the travel out of it. So I happen to know that your 60 years old and you recently won, let's see, a European Master's weightlifting championship. So how does that fit in with the other things that you've done in your career? I know you're, or are you still working as a journalist or you work full-time in your field?

Speaker 3 (08:11):

I gave up journalism six, seven years ago, so shortly after we came to Madrid because I had decided that I wanted to really enjoy that last expatriation before I used to work as a freelancer in journalism. And you always start from scratch, right? My husband had the assignment, the office, the infrastructure, and I had to start from zero. And I was stressing about that a lot. I decided that I was going to take it easy in Madrid and then because of my brush with illness and everything, and then I recovered and I thought this was like a new lease on life and I was going to do what my heart was actually aing to do, which is spreading the word about fitness and strength. And so I took the plunge, took the personal trainer exam, took the online trainer exam, worked all my way through it and started working full-time as a coach.

Speaker 2 (09:10):

And did that coincide with getting into competitive strength training or is that something that preceded that?

Speaker 3 (09:21):

It was before, actually it was maybe two, three years before that I had been going to the gym. And this is part also of my history of traveling. You move, you arrive at a new place, new country, and I didn't want to depend exclusively on my husband's circles. They were all journalists. I was a journalist and then you'd meet the same people all over. I always signed up for a gym when we moved somewhere because in a gym you meet all kinds of people, not only your colleagues or your peers, all kinds of people. And you can really get to know a country and the place where you live because of the variety. And I have been training more in the style of power lifting or even bodybuilding, even though those are great words. I was just using machines, the bar bell and lifting a bit for fun.

Speaker 3 (10:16):

And also because I wanted to be strong and I had a personal trainer who one day said, would you like to try weightlifting Olympic weightlifting? I said, okay, why not? I always had an open mind, I was curious. So he showed me the two movements that make Olympic weightlifting with it, which is the snatch and the clean and jerk. It's just two movements, one where you have to put the bar overhead in one move and another way you can put the bar on your shoulders and then put it overhead in the second move. And I was hooked right away because it's so challenging. You need to be strong, but it's not enough to be strong. You need technique, you need good technique. You have to overcome gravity in the smartest possible way. And you can imagine, I mean I am not the most explosive of athletes at my age, but still the bar is moving fast.

Speaker 3 (11:10):

And if you are off just a few millimeters at the start, when you start the lift, you pay for that dearly at the end of the lift because with the momentum and everything, the bar then gets the life of its own and you can't control it properly or it'll be too far ahead of you and you can't make it under the bar. It's super challenging, super exciting. I loved it right away and so much so that after doing that for a while, I changed gyms. I left the commercial gym, I went to a pure weightlifting gym and I had been training there for two weeks when somebody approached me and said, Kim, would you like to compete? I said, what whatcha talking about? I was 55 at the time and I said, at my age, are you serious? And they said, yeah, of course. Look at all these other people here.

Speaker 3 (11:58):

There were other masters even my age and they were competing. And then I said, okay, I'm going to do it. I'm pretty sure that in my thirties I would probably not have said yes to this. There's something liberating about being in the second half of your life and somehow having less things to prove. You're not worried about being ridiculous or whatever it is. And I thought, yeah, I'm just going to try that. And my very first meet, my first competition was one of the most exciting, most intense emotionally moments that I can remember. It was so intense that I thought I was going to cry. Not with sadness or fear or anything, just with the emotions was so strong because they call your name and you have to perform. It's just, no, I could lift this yesterday or maybe I can lift this tomorrow. No or never.

Speaker 1 (12:57):

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Speaker 2 (14:06):

Yeah, I find that's something that also really attracts me to things that have a competitive side to them. There's things you can run, you can weight lift. I was telling you the last time we met, you can get up live and tell stories. There's so many things that you can do or you can write, which is what I'm used to. I'm used to being a writer and I entered a live storytelling event that had a competitive element. And there is this feeling of, it doesn't matter how much you've practiced prepared or if you can do it when you're alone and no one's watching the performance side of it or the now or never side of it. Probably not for everyone, but it's something that I'm not quite sure how it's helping me, but I know that it is because I keep being drawn to things that have that in it.

Speaker 2 (15:12):

And I think if I were to maybe psychoanalyze it for myself for a minute, I think I enjoy the part of it where you find out how well can you perform this given all the work and dedication you've put into it. And in that way it doesn't have to be a win in order for it to feel like a win. And that's something that I think maybe I understand better as I am older and you were talking about the second half of life and just the greater willingness to say yes to things that maybe when you were younger you would've discounted. That really resonates with me too. We went to see a local circus last night, my husband and I did, and there was a part of the show where the ringmaster, it was all pretty much acrobatics and juggling. It was that kind of circus.

Speaker 2 (16:16):

And the ringmaster said, the next performer that's going to go up, she actually has a circus school here in town. And so if you ever wanted to learn any of this stuff you can. And I looked at my husband and I'm like, should we take classes? And he was like, you probably should. I can see the light in your eyes. You're probably going to want to try this. And that is a difference. I don't think at 30 years old, well, I was way too busy raising kids first of all, but I don't think I would've considered Ooh me. It's funny how now that we're older and we can't, like the competition is a different level, right? It's kind of competing with yourself and what you're willing to do or try and in your case also winning. So which exercise did you perform for the championship of the two that you were talking about?

Speaker 3 (17:22):

You always have to do the two and you get three attempts at each one. So you do a total of six lifts, it always starts with a snatch and then after three snatch attempts you do three cleaner jerk attempts. And I don't remember, I think after my first clean jerk, I knew that I had won, I think that I couldn't lose anymore. And that was so exciting. That was really, and it's something that I discovered about myself and everyone is different. I actually didn't think of myself as someone who wins things. I always thought of myself as someone who participates, who's a good sport, who gives her best, who competes more with herself than with anybody else. And this winning, I didn't think it was for me and it felt so good when it happened. And it's also something that we probably don't do often enough.

Speaker 3 (18:35):

It really gives you pause and you sort of congratulate yourself and you tell yourself, well done. You've worked really hard for this. And we don't do that in so many things. We just never stop. We never stop to say something nice to ourselves and to look back and see how far we've come and what we've achieved. And that was such a highlight that it really gave me that pause and thought, yes, I did this and I worked for this and I deserve this. And that for me was a big inner breakthrough because I didn't think I was someone who could or would win and I did.

Speaker 2 (19:21):

That's such a powerful experience and experience. I wonder, I wish that it was part of when we were younger that we knew to congratulate ourself or pause and notice how hard we are working. So often too with competition, the craving is for everyone else to see how great you are and I love how you're talking about it, which is the accomplishment taught you something about yourself and also gave you this opportunity to pause and do that. And I love that Winning was it sounds like the catalyst for that. And now I bet you can use this anytime you want. You don't have to go out and win something to have that pause and say, you're working really hard. I see you. You are very dedicated. Good job.

Speaker 3 (20:18):

It's something, especially the measuring backwards part that I have made integral part of my coaching actually because it's so easy to get discouraged and hopeless when you look at the road ahead and everybody tells you you need lofty goals and you do. You want, you want to challenge yourself and you want to aim high and you want to make big progress and achieve something truly remarkable. But when you spend every day just looking at that goal and seeing how far away it still is and how long it will still take to get there, I think you can easily become discouraged. And I do work with women who think, oh my God, this is, I can never get there. I can never do this. And I always tell them, look how far you've come. And that's when you measure backwards. It's truly empowering and we tend to forget this, we tend to forget this.

Speaker 3 (21:21):

There's this thing that I learned when something isn't right in our life, like say we have an ache or a pain somewhere or some kind of niggle when it's there, we complain every day saying, oh my God, it still don't feel right. And then when it goes away we don't even notice because it's sort of like back to normal and we are not aware that we are fine and that it's great. It's just sort of forgotten. And it's the same with the accomplishments. We forget how far we've come, we forget where we started out and what place we were in when we began. And I think this is really super helpful and super empowering to remember every now and then where we started and how far we've come. And that's the same for running a business or learning a language or learning how to paint or lifting, losing weight, whatever it is. It's a good thing to sometimes just look back and say, well done.

Speaker 2 (22:27):

Yeah. As you were talking I was thinking about just how powerful it is to have a mentor. When you were talking about how you encourage and coach some of your clients, I was thinking a little bit about how in so many fairytales there's a fairy godmother who comes along and encourages and empowers and kind of shows you A lot of times we'll just kind of equip you with the things that you need to go to the ball that you feel ashamed to be at or whatever it is. But they're also there to catch you when you're feeling bad. And it also occurs to me that we can be our own mentors in this way when we develop this dual, almost dual consciousness of I am the person, I am the main character who's out there growing and developing and I am also the mentor that's like good job. And I'm also the inner child that is like I am so discouraged. So I feel like there's so much wisdom in what you're talking about. And earlier you talked about your own brush with illness. I know that you've used your strength training to treat and heal yourself. So can you talk a little bit about that? Because I find especially in our earlier conversations that to be so interesting the way that you experienced illness and then also the direction that you went. I don't think a lot of people would've put those two things together.

Speaker 1 (24:17):

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Speaker 4 (25:15):


Speaker 3 (25:16):

I'm happy to share it. It's a bit of a long story. I'm going to give you just the highlights or let's say the low points. I was 45 3 kids, they were very small. I had a full-time job. I was not freelancing for the first time in years. I felt really good. I thought I had made it to the pinnacle of having a good career and kids, something that's always supposed to be so hard for women and I think it is or it is for women, our generation. And I thought I had it all. And then from one day to the next, I was really struck down. Literally I started seeing double. I was sent to hospital battery of tests, my legs were losing their sensitivity, so I was totally paralyzed. After three weeks I really couldn't walk. I couldn't wiggle a toe. They knew it was some autoimmune thing, but they couldn't make up their minds what it was.

Speaker 3 (26:11):

And I was there like six weeks, totally immobilized, helpless, powerless and scared. And that was just the beginning. This was one of autoimmune thing. After two years of treatment, I was given a clean bill of health, had a new life, was really happy that I was back to normal. I was really very grateful too. And then it was another year and I felt my left hand going numb. I knew something was wrong. Neurological troubles, you always know something's wrong when you feel things that you shouldn't feel. I felt something that I shouldn't feel new tests. And they said this time it's different this time it's autoimmune attack on your nerve substance and if it happens again it's ms. You have to declare it. Ms. And I spent a year hoping that it wouldn't happen again. And it did. It was a much milder relapse than the first one.

Speaker 3 (27:13):

That's also why when the doctor told me I needed lifelong treatment, I fought him for an entire hour. He wasn't used to that. I think people don't usually answer doctors and ask so many questions. I know now why I did that. Because lifelong treatment in a way is losing your power, giving a big part of your power away because you depend on something that you cannot live without. And that scared me. That's why I talked to him and that I really asked him thousands of questions and told him, but this relapse was so much milder, maybe I'm getting better. And he got a little bit annoyed after an hour of me questioning him and then I had to give in and I got lifelong treatment, which turned out not to be lifelong because I had to accept injecting myself three times a week, but I did not have to accept the identity of a sick person.

Speaker 3 (28:14):

I asked him if I could exercise. He said something along the lines of, yeah, but be careful. So I knew that he didn't know what he was talking about really, and I don't blame him, but I decided I wanted to build myself back up because these autoimmune, these MS relapses, they leave you weakened and wobbly and you don't feel good. After the hospital experience where I was totally powerless, I just wanted physical strength. So I went back to the gym and in a new spirit, in a spirit of building myself back up of getting strong, got myself a book, one of the first books that said Women should lift Heavy. And I started lifting and I got better and better at my check-ins. The doctors were always surprised at how well I was doing. There was things like reflexes that had gone away with the relapses and the doctor said, those are never going to come back.

Speaker 3 (29:20):

And I came back. So I feel that I muscled my way out of this. I know that there's no cure for MS and I feel very lucky also because I was able to do this. I'm not saying that everybody can or should do this, but it helped me a lot. And I think part of this is also the mental health benefits that you get from strength training. It's great to be strong physically, your body functions, everything works better, but it gives you so much confidence and optimism I think, and that has a big effect on your overall health. We came to Spain up three years in Spain. I asked the doctor if I could suspend my treatment for three weeks because we were going on a camping trip and then he suggested that I stop it altogether and give it a shot. So I had a new lease on life and said, yeah, hell yes, I want to stop this. And that's six years ago and I've been without treatment and without relapse for six years and I'm going to touch wood

Speaker 2 (30:34):

Kim, that is such a powerful example of self knowing and self-advocacy. I love and thank you for including the part where you argued with your doctor because I think that especially for women, we are not always, we haven't been trained to fight or advocate or resist. We're not always listened to. And I think that we need to be reminded to be active in our health. Even though in your story you're, you come to an understanding. I actually think a really important part of your story was when you talked about acceptance and what you accepted and what you didn't accept. And I think it's probably in hearing both stories, not a surprise that you became a champion. We left after hearing your mental game and when you have young kids and it sounds like your children were young when this happened. You have a lot to fight for.

Speaker 2 (31:47):

You're fighting for your health, but you're fighting for a life that you want to be able to have with them. And I am so happy that your approach gave you this beautiful health and health journey. And I can see that when you are coaching other people and they're discouraged, it's not a bunch of fluff when you're like, I know the road ahead looks hard, but you can do it. You're speaking of this from personal experience and so I feel like one of the things that I wanted to ask you more about because of your really cool expertise and background, what do you think women in midlife maybe don't know about the value of strength training? Because I think most people have heard that it's good for you, but I feel like we've started to talk about benefits beyond being just physically strong.

Speaker 3 (32:56):

Absolutely. I think the biggest obstacle right now I think is cultural. I think we are not brought up with physical strength in the virtue catalog that we work on as girls. Even though it's totally normal to carry two toddlers and groceries when you come home from work and from the shopping, which requires tremendous amounts of strength. Actually women are natural born bodybuilders. We are building bodies inside of us, so we are strong, but we are not taught that strength is something to aspire to. And there's also this, and that's still lingering the seventies vibe of Arnold sweating in the gym, pumping iron, pumping out hundreds of reps and just growing particular muscle groups. And many women just don't resonate with that. They can't connect with that. This is something where we have to build a bridge and make it very clear that you don't have to go to a gym to get strong.

Speaker 3 (34:10):

You don't have to pump iron. You're not going to build tons of muscle on your body. It's not possible. I wish it was because that would make it even easier to be healthy and strong. And it's also, it's not about losing weight or looking great even though you will achieve that with strength training. But in midlife you're old enough and wise enough to dig a bit deeper. And when you look for mental health benefits for metabolic health, for joint health, for all these things that we desperately need in midlife strength training will give you all of those. And I think that this is still not part of the overall narrative. It's a bit like, yeah, I know I talk to women all the time say, yeah, I know I should do some strength training, but I don't know. I don't know where to start or I don't want to go to a gym. And the clearer we can make it that this is, to me it's like a one-stop shop for health and happiness. Yes, there are other problems, health problems that you can have that it will not solve, but I think the vast majority of struggles that we face at midlife, we can actually counter them with strength training and we don't have to go to a gym. And I think we need to keep working on changing the narrative, showing the results that you get, sharing those stories and encourage women and make that transition as easy as possible.

Speaker 2 (35:51):

I love thinking about the confidence that comes from feeling stronger and that mental health, the stress release and also the preventative health that you're talking about here, where for in midlife where our bodies are changing hormonally, things are happening and that's a journey in itself. Perimenopause can go on for 15 years. A lot of women, we don't even have a lot of education around that. I love that strength training can come in and help us on a bigger scale than just toning up or losing weight, which I know a lot of women want. It's something that I myself relate to and you said it, we're old enough now to dig deeper and to want more from everything we do in life, whether it's in the gym or journaling or spending time with witch friends. It's this wonderful time of life where we have collected the wisdom and we can apply it if we want.

Speaker 2 (37:13):

So I have a very selfish question for you, but I think maybe some of my listeners can also learn. I know a lot of women have been doing tons of cardio all of our lives because of also the culture, get out there, run sweat aerobics, get your stair climbing, all of these things that we've been doing. And there was a time where I didn't do as much of that. I liked workout classes. I've always really enjoyed group fitness classes, but in the last decade I've been doing more running and training for a half marathon now, and I do hit classes where it's a combination of getting really sweaty and lifting weights and I've started to lift heavier in there because I've been listening to people like you talk about the importance of that. And I'm also hearing that especially in midlife, maybe not so much cardio, maybe more of the strength training. I feel like you and your appointment with your doctor where I'm like, but no, I don't. I don't want to stop doing some of the things that I enjoy and I also want to be really good and kind to myself and age. So what's your advice in this department? And feel free to hurt my feelings around this.

Speaker 3 (38:42):

No, I will. There's nothing wrong with cardio, that's for sure. It's great for your health, it's fun. It will make you very happy with the endorphin rush at the end of a session, so that's perfectly fine and you don't have to stop it. I mean, the problem is some women get into some kind of vicious cycle where they do excessive cardio, which means they spend two hours on the elliptical and they look at the calories burned, which are totally unreliable. Don't ever look at the calories burned on your elliptical and think, oh, that was 1800 calories I burned and now I'm going to go and have a piece of cake. That turns into a vicious cycle where you get this feeling that you exercise more and more and you can eat less and less because you can't lose weight with that or you can't control your weight with that because you are not building muscle. If you have been working with a caloric deficit for a long time, you have lost a lot of muscle and it's just downhill from there. I like to see this topic as a hierarchy.

Speaker 3 (39:53):

Hierarchy in terms of what is the most important thing and if you can only do one thing, what's the most important thing that you can do? And that's definitely strength training. You definitely want to build strength. If you have time and energy for more, by all means have at it and do some cardio. It's fun and it's very healthy too. It burns some calories, but it will not help with your metabolism as strength training will because you will build lean mass, which takes a lot of energy to just maintain. So if you have only two or three sessions that you can do per week, you want to make those strength sessions if you can do more or if you can add walking for example, that's for some people, that's all the cardio they need actually. And I think there's also this, there's this misconception because hi, high intensity interval training is a great tool.

Speaker 3 (40:58):

It's absolutely fantastic and it will really burn a lot of fat. It will have an afterburn, it'll give you much better cardiovascular health and fitness with a very, very small time investment. But it's only effective if when you do it, it really sucks. It has to be really super intense. And that's something that many women have this misunderstanding because it is such an effective tool. They think if I want to get in shape, I have to do that. It's an effective tool. But HIT is an effective tool when you are in shape because you have to be able to do it up to that level where it really sucks. It's not the right tool for someone who wants to get in shape. You have to build the foundation first. If you start with hi, and if I had a penny for every woman I talked to and said I tried HIIT and I got injured, I'd be in The Bahamas. Maybe

Speaker 2 (42:11):

This is so helpful because I'm thinking about the classes that I do and I am really conscious of not ur myself because there's so many activities that I enjoy and sometimes I'll modify things that we're doing in there because of that reason. And I think about, yeah, this would be a disaster to walk into a class and think this is my year, I'm going to get in shape. It's also helping me think about, because I've been, I'm a bit of a DIYer, so it's like I'll hear that I need to lift heavier, but I don't want to give up my hi classes, so I'll pick the heavy weights. And in the last class that I did, I was actually dying and it was because I picked the heavy weights to do all of my sets with. So I feel like maybe I'm doing something right in that regard because it totally sucked.

Speaker 2 (43:03):

And I was wondering what am I doing? And I do think for those people out there that don't love exercise the way that I do, I get it. There's times, there's things that I ran. I've done several half marathons, I've run one marathon. I hated it because of the suck and because it took me so many hours of my life to train for it. And then the experience, I was in pain a lot of the time and I kind of had an existential crisis because I also did a destination marathon thinking this would make it better. And so I was running in the fall in this beautiful place in the northwest, it was called the tunnel of light marathon. We started in a train tunnel and ran down. We were running by forests and rivers and my environment was so beautiful, but I was so unhappy it started to go inward.

Speaker 2 (44:06):

Why did you pick this? This is not fun at all. So guess what? I'm never doing again a marathon because I am like, no, actually there's plenty of things I can do in my life. There has to be enough fun and enjoyment in that activity to feel good. And what I'm hearing from you is strength training is a low barrier entry for anyone because you can start with no weight, you can start with your body weight, you can build your strength, you can track, you can see how much stronger you're getting really over time. And it's really helpful too to hear you describe it as a hierarchy because again, selfishly I'm thinking about the things that I do and go, okay, yeah, I might have the ratios off a little bit in that regard because I think my therapist said, you're addicted to self-improvement, like I can really get after that. This has been such an awesome conversation and I feel like we could probably go on and on. I guess one last question for you before we close out is really, if somebody hasn't incorporated strength training into their lives at this point, what are some simple things they can do? Where can they just start?

Speaker 3 (45:36):

Definitely with calisthenics, body weight exercises. And you can take, just think of movements. We want to build muscle, but we do that with movements. Just think of movements. Think pushing, pulling, lifting something up from the floor, taking something down from a shelf, carrying things around, and then find a movement that sort of mimics that, which is quite natural movement, everyday activities. Find a movement that mimics that and then find the level that is right for you. I'll give you an example. A typical super, super effective all round Swiss knife pushing exercise is a pushup. And I can already hear women listening say, oh my God, I will never be able to do a pushup in my life. Pushups suck. I have no. So what you do is you start with a wall pushup. So you don't do knee pushups or what people call girl pushups, which I really love because women are strong and they can do all kinds of pushups, whatever they want, but it's because you want the whole body alignment for that pushup.

Speaker 3 (46:46):

So you do a wall pushup and you start with that, and when you can do three sets of 20, you just lower your hands, put them on the back of a sofa for example. You always keep that straight alignment of your body because that's how you work your core and everything, whole body tension in that pushing exercise, and that's how you progress slowly. And you can do this with all kinds of exercises. Mostly I want you really to think movements not muscles. So think of carrying, pushing, pulling these things and then find a movement that corresponds to that activity and find the level that's right for you because you want to build some strength in your joints and ligaments too before you start. If you haven't done anything in 20 years and you throw yourself on the floor to do five pushups, it's not even your muscles that are going to give out.

Speaker 3 (47:43):

I mean they're going to be overwhelmed, but you probably going to have painful elbows or shoulders or something because you want to ease your way into this. So that's what I recommend. Something really easy, like wall pushups you can do all day long even at work or some way nobody's looking. You just find yourself a wall and knock out a few repetitions and this will work. This is a little bit of the same vein as we talked about before. When you see this long road ahead and you think, oh my God, I'm never going to be able to do a pushup. If you can do a wall pushup now, do what you can do now and then if you keep doing that one day, you'll do a full pushup.

Speaker 2 (48:25):

That's a very, you make it so easy to get started. I appreciate that. And I think I'm going to incorporate some wall pushups because yeah, your arm's really tire from traditional pushups and that's when I usually go to my knees. So I like hearing that it's much better to do it these other ways to get that benefit. This is so great, and like I said, we could just probably keep going forever. If my listeners wanted to find you, where should they go?

Speaker 3 (49:00):

Well, they can find me on Facebook with my name Kimara here and there. I share all my latest endeavors, lots of tips and thoughts and stuff. And my website is kimra And on there you have a free assessment that you can take, and it's a health and strength assessment, so you get a really good picture of where you're at right now with your health and strength. And I think that's very important to have a good evaluation of your status quo so you know what exactly you need so you don't throw yourself into a hi class or and get hurt or start running when maybe you have high mileage knees. And it's like a holistic assessment where you can really get good insights on what's your situation and what might be the best way forward for you. That's on my website, kim

Speaker 2 (49:56):

Oh, great. I think I'm going to go on there and take that. I love, yeah, I'm a weirdo. I love tests. And it's funny, this is one of the reasons why I started the Naked Librarian is because I've always been interested in learning, and I feel like I've at this point acquired so much information and knowledge that I'm compelled to share it and for the people that want to hear, because my husband is very sweet and supportive, but he doesn't always want to hear about my latest book that I've read. He's pretty good. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much, and I know we'll be talking again. This has been wonderful. Thank you for having me. I really enjoyed this.

Speaker 1 (50:54):

I hope you enjoy this production of The Naked News. Everything created here is for educational and entertainment purposes and should not take the place of talking with a medical or mental health professional. I am a big believer in movement of all kinds, and when it comes to strength training, sometimes you have to find the thing that works for you. Not everybody enjoys the gym or even home workouts. In fact, as an extrovert, neither of these work for me. But you know what does working out with a friend, if you've been thinking about starting something new, take time to check in with yourself and discover what works for you. And as ever, check in with your favorite healthcare professional. Maybe even get yourself a health and wellness coach. The growing field of health coaching has many highly trained, enthusiastic advocates that bridge the gap between the doctor's office and the healthy habits you want to create. And if you want more wellness news delivered to your inbox and always be the first to know about a new episode of the podcast, head over to naked and become a subscriber. In addition to the Naked Librarian Podcast, I also publish recess, a monthly wellness newsletter with Curated health hacks, recipes, book and music recommendations, fun and more, and you get it all for free when you become a naked librarian subscriber. Thank you for tuning in today. I made this for you and cheers to living your very best life.