15 Feb 2017

What She Wants: I Saw It And I Want It Back

What She Wants: I Saw It And I Want It Back on vickiarcher.com

I am never usually covetous.

What I mean is, I don’t care too much about how others look or what they have.

I have learned it is a really very large and unhappy waste of time. I would rather spend my precious hours building my confidence, improving both my physical and mental flexibility and figuring out my next travel adventure. Embracing change has been my mantra for some time.

Wanting what we can’t have or aspiring to what may seem real but what isn’t is one sure way to do the head in. Not to mention making for a fairly unattractive personality.

Except in this case.

Take a moment to picture me in the gym. Are you ready?

I work out with Louis in a local very non-glamorous gym; no bells and whistles in this particular basement. Louis is a wonderful trainer and inspires me in all the right ways. I think we have made progress together and combined with my yoga passion I feel I am moving in the right direction.

I am the oldest in the gym by a couple of decades but I am not the most unfit and nor am I like some of the Clark Kent/Superman look alike types who parade their muscles up and down.

Yesterday we tried a new exercise; easy for some but it would seem not for me.

(You may all laugh at my expense as you read along because I was absolutely hopeless; more than hopeless. It was downright embarrassing.)

I had to start this movement in the “plank” position. The “plank” is the one where you do a push-up style posture without moving, balance on the arms and toes while holding the stomach muscles for dear life. Ok, you are thinking what is she worrying about, the “plank” is easy. Yes it is, as long as it doesn’t go an entire tea break.

Once in position I had to hold my weight on one arm and turn on my side (never losing form) rolling the resting arm and ankles at the same time to reach the free hand towards the ceiling; not to mention the abs of steel that were supposedly holding me in place. The idea was to roll from side to side, maintaining form and balance. Louis demonstrated and made it look effortless; I’m no dummy I never fall for that. I know what is relaxed for him is my Everest.

I found the strength, physical co-ordination and the whole exercise a complete nightmare.

I finally managed a few, 12 meagre and straggly attempts, in a muck sweat until like a house of cards I collapsed. Never being one to call defeat I said I would practise to make perfect. Ok, at that moment, it may have been more of a white lie than a promise.

Imagine, my confidence is shattered and I am covered in an unattractive sheen of hard work. My hair is all over the place and I probably have mascara under my eyes. Who knows? I do know I wasn’t feeling pretty. The only positive in this mortifying outcome is my workout gear is up to speed. (Thank you Em for a perfect birthday present; at least I could look the part.)

I stagger from my slumped recovery position, look over my shoulder and here is a gorgeous, figure of perfection doing a similar exercise to me, only really doing it. I mean doing it properly and with “pike”. She was on a continuous roll and ‘hand over foot’ took on a beautiful new meaning. She rolled her way off the mat and around the gym as if she were going for a Sunday stroll. Jealous? Kind of!

It was at that precise moment I saw and I wanted it back.

I wanted to be her. I wanted the flexibility and agility back. I wanted the springiness of youth and the I-can-do-anything-and-everything-well life I took for granted. It was only for a short moment as I admired her workout but nevertheless I did fall down the rabbit hole of memory and see myself as I was 30 years ago.

You know what, though?

Seeing her and feeling this way has made me even more doggedly determined. I will practice and do better and I will become more agile and improve my flexibility.

I do want it back and I will take as much or as little, but I won’t give up. xv

I want It Back: Thank Goodness For These

legendary training tights   //  zonal cooling tee  //  flyknit training shoe

image chanel campaign, 2014

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Taste of France

Good for you. It’s motivation. And for a good cause.
All the same I think that exercise is a killer. Because if you don’t have abs of steel, you can hurt your back. I see articles and blog posts with exercise suggestions, often quite difficult, and I think, do not do this at home! Have a coach and train up to it.
I’m on my third year of pilates, and it has given me abs of steel like no other exercise routine or gym class ever did (and I was even an aerobics instructor back in the day). But the instructor watches us like a hawk to ensure we have the correct position, and even tests our stomachs to see whether we are contracting the muscles to the max.


It’s the same with Louis, and I do feel safe knowing he won’t lead me astray.
What I find amusing is I just start to feel as if I am getting the hang and really improving, when a new exercise stops me in my tracks ..
Means I can never get too cocky ;)


Certainly know this feeling! I have a ballet background and have tried hard to keep my flexibility and strength. Weight going up and down over the years (I am 54) takes it’s toll but I always manage to keep that version of me in my sights. I think this is key – not deciding to settle for a certain level of activity or strength because of age. I don’t want to look like one of the women who just quit trying. Well done on your workout progress and dedication!


Good for you, Vicki for at least sticking with it. Practice DOES make perfect, it just might take those of us over, er, 40, to put in a bit more practice!
I’ve decided to put that rowing machine of my son’s (Varsity crew throughout high school & university) to good use and get my act back together. Two years of untangling a very nasty estate matter almost knocked the stuffing out of me but I’m still standing and it’s high time I (and all of us) put ourselves, and our health, first. We women always put others first, sometimes to the detriment of our health. So, Ladies, that very un-ladylike language you think you might be hearing in the distance is probably coming from my house. I apologize in advance & promise you’ll hear less of it as I get stronger and stronger.


I go to a group exercise class, where we often do these, at first I could not do them at all but I keep getting better at them, as will you. Keep at it, love your blog.


Yoga / yoga style exercise is all I will do. It is slow and gentle on your body and bones and muscles.
You can get more flexible which I find to be important .. I can bend and twist easily still but I worry that I will be one of those old ladies that hobbles or is bent over all the time. Stand up straight, sit straight !! do your yoga every morning .. have your coffee/tea and a bit of meditative quiet time.


I do a mix plus the yoga classes.. I like a little strength training for my bones… but yes it is having the routine and sticking to it that makes all the difference..

Linda B

Oh, I feel your pain! It’s not that I want to be 30 years younger again–I am probably fitter now than I was then, though not as flexible and not as fit as I maybe ought to be in a few ways. (I do run or cycle or hike 6 days a week, so feel good about that.) But I am sure you too don’t regret being “older and wiser”–it’s a cliche but it works for me so well.

But my new mantra is “Never give up.” I heard this a few days back at the funeral of an amazing 97 year old woman, who was sharp as a tack until her end, after such a full, long life. According to her daughter, that phrase was one of her favorite sayings. I am adopting for my own, whenever I have to face something challenging! Maybe it will help you master this very challenging exercise.


Funny I just wrote that “never give up” was my motto.. I will master it and while I won’t look as good as I would like.. that doesn’t matter… It’s the doing that counts and actually the trying..


I totally sympathise! I totally agree and it is the one thing I covet. Physical agility, grace and strength. I know how it should be done and my mind is willing but my body will not oblige these days. We press on regardless!


I know what you are feeling. I can do the plank despite ab muscles that sag. What I can’t do is lay on my back and raise my legs in the air. Can’t seem to get them off the floor. We all have movements that simply defeat us.

Today I am trying Zoomba. The music speaks to my head and my heart, but rarely reaches my feet. As long as I don’t look into the mirror, I am Ginger Rogers.


Oh dear. I am 60. I am biking in a studio on a computrainer as our long winter says 8 months in 4 months out. How many times have I felt like you when all our stats get posted after class.

I am so tired I can barely get off the bike – not the place for a post class nap. Surrounded by wonderful BYTs in bike shorts and I remember, I wish and then finally – finally mind you – come back to gratitude and appreciation that I can STILL be present. It is really a wonderful “journey”.


Vicki this is a very hard exercise – the fact that you are trying it at all well I say hats off to you!

Peggy Bryant

Keep up the good work Vicki. Let her inspire you. You may never get to her level but you are improving yourself. I to am decades older than most at my gym, but I am there for myself. I have RA and my workout level is no where near what most women do. What I do know is that the long term benefits have kept me with lower pain levels, mobile and reasonably in shape. Which as you age, is so important. When the going gets tough, the tough get going!


I wanted it back too – and was almost there……. until my left shoulder started hurting me. Overuse? Old injury? Don’t know, but now I know I have my limits. Can’t tolerate chaturangas any more and my workouts are spent on lower body cardio. At least my hiking game is strong. And I am the oldest woman at my Crossfit gym!


I definitely can’t do those. Our teacher demonstrated them however I stick to the basic plank. I have learned with the passing years to be gentle on my body and not strive for the virtually impossible. In fact I seem to have lost the striving and am content with less these days.

Felicity Lock

You are wonderful!
You say exactly what we all feel confronted with getting older, but we either do something to keep us full of fun or not.
It’s a decision – so many don’t care.
Arthritis and 71 – couldn’t care less – I’m more alive now than ever before and have a lovely
Interior Design client.
I draw big work and exhibit publicly when I’m not frantic.
Pilates keeps me sort of strong.
Happy Days!!
Thank you so, so much Vicki as always,

Esther George

Hi Vicki, my god you have put into words what I have been feeling for a while, you made me laugh (just what I needed this morning). I don’t know if you have heard the song by Sia called Cheap Thrills, the words describe how it felt in the 70’s all we wanted was to dance the night away, nobody cared what the other person looked like…it wasn’t an issue. I would love to straighten up and fly right,,,hah. First I have to stop being a major weeper, I would like to be strong and brave like my mum, who lost her mom at the age of 6 months. Thank you for sharing…inspiration. Till next time, regards Esther from Sydney. PS whatever happens to the Gym..when all you did was a few floor exercises…push-ups, touching your toes …etc… and using equipment that looked quite harmless (I’m showing my age).


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