Take the ice bucket challenge to defy age, complacency, and being ‘fit enough’  

One day it hit me, or maybe it hit my client.  We were having usual gym talk about how to get abs and butts, when one of us mentioned Ernestine, a woman who knows no boundaries when it comes to fitness, aging,  or pushing limits.

At age 83 Ernestine is the oldest competitive female bodybuilder who can cause much younger competitors to weep as she brushes them aside to climb the podium.


A self-proclaimed pudgy, middle-aged woman who hated her body and felt ‘too prissy to exercise,’ Ernestine (third from left) decided one day she wanted mastery of her health, so she ventured into the gym.  She messed up her hair and broke a few beloved nails, and everything changed.

Ernestine had slapped down the challenge.  Could we reclaim and even surpass our prior fitness power and ability? It left us feeling like, ‘Damn, YES!  Why not a bodybuilding show?’

It doesn’t have to be a bodybuilding show.  Choose some form of movement that excites you—perhaps something you don’t know much about or haven’t done in awhile.  Follow this two-fold comeback plan:

  1. WANT to become better and more skilled at that movement.  Know that one decision affects your life.  The rest of it, all of it. Once you decide, forget dabbling.  GO ALL IN.  Decide what that something is and then say good-bye to wannabe or used to.
  2. MASTER that movement, all of the skills involved.  Make it yours, and take no prisoners to get it.  Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction, so stay strong and flexible (in all ways!).  Be prepared to go it alone.

Susan B. Anthony, another icon who made a lone wolf move that changed the face of women’s rights, coined it:


‘She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.’

I chose to do triathlons over a decade ago.  Why?  Because others were doing it I guess.  They looked so cool.  Of course I discovered I had to learn to swim and re-learn cycling.  Since I was now ‘in,’ progress was going to require time and intensity, particularly intense focus.

I searched for months for a swim coach, invested countless 30-minute sessions to learn how to prevent myself from drowning, and stumbled through another year of half-baked swimming to finally complete my first race.

At the end I wasn’t at the bottom of the bay or the last to finish!  And everything changed.  My life changed in a great way.

Now the vogue blogs and articles about making a fitness comeback are boringly similar:  make it a habit, start slowly and in steps, pick a buddy, make it fun, mark your calendar, celebrate successes.  Forget about it.

Those things may be a fallout of but won’t create mastery, the crux of excitement and positive change.  You are the the master:  you create yourself.  It may be lonely sometimes but you will feel more alive than ever.

“No one is really going to help you or give you direction. In fact, the odds are against you.” Robert Greene, Mastery



We have set out to become masters of the bodybuilding piece of the fitness universe, taking our bodies to as great a point as they can be (here we are at one month IN).

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