The Golden Slippers Fight Club
Gym membership has its benefits for sure. Fitness benefits are ostensibly the main reason people join a gym. Strengthening is at the core of reasons people join. Kids join to get stronger, be less wimpy, plan to take on the school bully or become the school bully.
Senior citizens have the experience of being advised by doctors, nurses, loving family members and their more fit senior friends to take care of themselves. It can mean that the aging men and women we know are lifting “free” weights, pulling ropes, doing curls, working to tighten their “abs”, spinning the cycles to the music, taking a few laps in the pool and other such exercises described in books or directed by a “personal trainer.”
And with some of this these seniors are experiencing muscle pain like they haven’t experienced in a long time. Or like never before. And some of those people, the lesser number of these, even return to the gym for more. The tough ones come back.
I want to tell you about a certain personal trainer who took a few seniors over the brink. He organized the first ever Silver Slippers Fight Club. It grew from a single digit membership to a double digit then it apparently imploded. The last SSFC club for that matter. Or that’s the story for public consumption anyway.
It was founded, it seems, due to one man’s frustration with aging.
The frustrations of the trainer. The Silver Slippers Fight Club started in a noontime fitness class. The class was held in a private exercise room at a gym. Training went beyond normal shouts for “reps” and “you can do it.” But the spirit of the SSFC did begin with those kinds of encouragements. Soon the mindset of the trainer changed to “don’t think you can’t do it” and “they don’t expect it of you to be strong, to be powerful. Well, show them that they are wrong.”
The trainer, a senior aged person himself, added his own motivations into the exercising. “Who told you you wouldn’t be able to to this?”
All the sweating became an “us” against “them” issue.
The number of those attending the class in its third week shrank in half. But then it stabilized. The trainer became a coach. He shouted in the classes of his perceived objections to stereotypes of the aging community. Are brought fight attitude into his training. “No pain, no gain,” was replaced with “you’ll rule, you’ll win.”
He shouted out that “we aren’t the passive little lambs that they make of us.” And he said that these sometimes were gym members who had a whole lot of fight in them left. And this fight might be their last chance to put into the ring and get into like now! To smash into the society. And that he was an “old fighter” and as their personal trainer he had something to prove. Some bought in. And the management of the gym didn’t know. Or didn’t understand how bad it was going to get.
The fight, the spirit of fighting, that he proposed was going to be hard, tough, physical and mental. The mental part was their advantage. That was strongly in their favor.
“Age has prepared you for this fight. And you will be strong, quick and have the stamina to outdo and outlast this gym full of sweaty idiots when we get through,” he said. He said this to the elite, his personal trainees. “They won’t understand that out there in the weight room. We will let them suffer under their weights, their bars. They can look into those full wall mirrors at how muscular they are. They won’t see us. Until we are ready.”