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On February 8th, 2011, I embarked on a committment to fitness, promising to stick with it for 16 weeks. My annual physical the day before was a high motivating factor since I could no longer ignore the few extra pounds and elevated bad cholesterol level. Nothing horrible, mind you, and I didn’t even get a reprimand from my doctor since compared to most women my age, I am actually very healthy. But I knew I didn’t like the direction things were heading and decided to make a change right then and there.

The Pro-form Elliptical that had been collecting dust in our spare room since November 2009 (yikes!) was as good a place as any to start. Over the years, I’ve pretty much had a hate-hate relationship with that machine. (For anyone who has ever had the pleasure, you know exactly what I am talking about 😉 ). Since elliptical machines work the upper body and the lower body at the same time, workouts are more intense and you tire more quickly than doing the same amount of time at X-level on say, a stationary bicycle or a treadmill.

“I Hate/Love U” (Skechers Shape-ups XF Accelerators) Nikon D300, 38mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Balanced Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Old Photo’ Filter

I started off slooowly, knowing full well if I did too much too soon my enthusiasm would quickly wane and I’d be right back to doing nothing (sound familiar?). Over time, I increased minutes and then, intensity levels, even adding in weight training and abdominal/core workouts on my non-cardio days. About six weeks in, I started HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) on the machine and began to notice changes in muscle tone and my clothing started to fit better. I still wasn’t in love with exercise but I was in a routine that actually seemed to be working. 

Then, ten weeks in, my committment was seriously challenged. While out and about, doing routine errands, I rolled my left foot on an uneven sidewalk, breaking the 5th metatarsal bone. Ouch. I was devastated. All I could think about was, I had come so far, put in so much time and sweat and what was I going to do now?? Luckily, I was able to get in to see an orthopedist the next morning and was sporting a (removable) walking air-cast and crutches when I left their office. Yes, I did break the bone but I was given full permission to continue working out, as long as I could endure the pain. 

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Are you kidding me?? 

At the time, I thought the orthopedist was insane. I couldn’t even put weight on that foot so just HOW was I going to exercise?? He assured me that after a few days of rest, elevation and icing, I would begin to feel better. Riiiiight.

Needless to say, I was not convinced but sure enough, time proved he knew what he was talking about. Four days after the ‘incident’, I was back on the elliptical. I did 25 minutes that day (albeit on Level 1 and at a reduced pace than what I had been doing) but I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest. Was I shaky and scared to death? You bet. Did my foot feel like it no longer knew what to do? Oh, hell yeah. None of that mattered. The important thing was, I was back and from that point on, I knew I was going to be okay.

In the days and weeks to follow, I did what I could, had good days as well as some setbacks, but I kept at it, determined not to quit. And here I am, six months since I started (that’s two months more than what I originally committed to), a new woman. Sure, there are days where it isn’t easy and my conviction is thoroughly tested, but I’ve made friends with that ‘machine’ as I am convinced that it not only saved my sanity, it acted as the perfect rehab for my injury.

Without it, I certainly would not have healed as quickly as I did and when faced with the possibility that I couldn’t work out, I realized I actually wanted to. (Funny how that happens, huh?) I have a completely new outlook on fitness and exercise these days…it is simply now part of the routine.

If you are looking for a run-down of pounds/inches lost, sorry to disappoint. I do not own a scale and I never took measurements. My goals were to lose the love handles and the ‘jigglies’, improve core strength and overall muscle strength, develop muscle tone, be able to take the stairs and not lose my breath, make my heart strong, and in general, no longer shudder when I look in the mirror.

Mission accomplished. 🙂


  1. Good job, Tracy!!

  2. This is a fabulous post!!!!

    Wow…lots of inspiring stories going around the internees these days. Just might have to go and highlight them all in a Half Hour post. 🙂 Congratulations!

  3. Awesome tale and I love the shoe photo! I’m so impressed of you jumping right back in after the injury. I had a bad shoulder injury a year ago and unlike you, I used it as an excuse. So now, I’m in the thick of recovery and it’s slow going. You’re an inspiration.

    • Thanks so much, Tammy! 🙂

      I do remember your alluding to an injury. Something like that can certainly take the wind out of your sails. It has happened to me on more than one occaision. Not sure why this time it was different. I give a lot of credit to the orthopedist – he spoke with such conviction and told me of his own tale of breaking his foot but still continue to run. He was so POSITIVE that I could do it so I figured I owed it to him to at least try. People make fun of the ‘toning’ sneakers but damn, those things are awesome for a hurt foot! Providing support in all the right places.

      I wish you all the best on your recovery!

  4. Gee, I think maybe I need an elliptical machine! 😉
    Like you, I’m in decent shape for a woman of my age, but I’d like to be less “jiggly” in some places.
    Congratulations on your success!
    Here’s a question, do you think the elliptical beast will need to be regular part of your life for the foreseeable future in order to maintain?

    • Thank you, Karma! 🙂

      Not to sound like one of those fitness ‘fanatics’ but I’m beginning to think everyone should use an elliptical! They are just so effecient when used correctly. For years, I did aerobics and pilates and never saw the results I am seeing now. The HIIT workouts are really what I think did it for me. (Well, that and the weight training and ab routines by Cathe Friedrich. That woman is amazing.) Oh, and I should note that I didn’t change my diet during all this. I wanted a program where I didn’t feel deprived.

      Yes, I think I will always need to do cardio. I love food too much. 😉 Currently, I am starting the process of cutting back time on the elliptical so that I don’t burn myself out. The goal now is to find a happy medium.

  5. That’s a wonderful story, M.P… you should be very, very proud of what you’ve accomplished! Man, do I ever feel lazy now! Well, I guess I felt that way before all of this, but I seem to have been reminded. But in a good way, really.

    Nice socks, B.T.W… they match my jail tatted knuckles. 😉

    Love the super-high contrast in that last shot, too, M.P… beautiful!

    • Thanks, Sig! 🙂

      I’m actually very proud. The reason it took me so long to get back into a routine is I just didn’t want to be disappointed…again. I didn’t want to put my heart and soul into another fitness ‘thing’ and get feeble results…again. I didn’t want to get all enthused and then peter out…again.

      I think it was the socks. I have three pairs and it cracks me up every time I wear them. 😉

      Thanks for the nice comment on the last shot…. you know how hard it is to do a self?? Soooo much easier to shoot other people!

  6. Damn! Good for you! Very inspirational.

    • Aw, shucks. You makin’ me blush.

      Thank you for your very kind words, Becky. 🙂

  7. Well done! You’re inspiring me to keep going. 🙂

    I named my elliptical. Clarence. Because he clunks once in a while.

    • I actually owe you, Robin, a very special ‘thank you’ for turning me on to Cathe Friedrich. Yes, the elliptical has done wonders to tone and slim but the upper body, lower body and several ab workouts I have from her are what have given me strength, muscle tone, and definition – a body I’d thought I’d never have. So, thank you, thank you, thank you! 🙂

      Ha! I’ve actually not named my elliptical but s/he clunks once in awhile, too. Perhaps they are relatives? 😉

      As Dory says, ‘Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…’ 🙂

  8. Congratulations, Tracy, how wonderful for you to be able to finish the first half year with such a good result. It is indeed interesting to learn about the good effect of exercising when it comes to healing a broken bone. I´ve recently read about that at a science website, (danish, you need google to translate) The title is: exercise can heal broken bones. Keep up the good work, Sexy. 🙂
    ( I think I have to take a closer look at Cathe Friedrich´s videos).

    • Thank you, Birgitte! 🙂

      What a good read! It makes so much sense. I didn’t know any of this but I just figured I did NOT want my foot/body to get used to not being used. I was determined to send the message ‘I will take it easy until you heal but I fully expect you to work at 100% again!’

      Before this happened, I also started taking Vit D3 (my bloodwork in Feb had showed a deficiency which often happens during the winter since we have such little sunlight in the Northeast during that time) which I am sure aided in the healing.

      I will! and, yes, you should! 🙂

  9. I certainly do admire your commitment… For me a mere sneeze is enough to derail any commitment to fitness I begin, as there’s a fear my head may fall off… What !!!… Well it might, and it’s as good an excuse as any… 😉

  10. Congrats and I like the approach of making the goal in time and in creating a routine. Even when the routine was challenged, it kept you focused on the goal…X number of weeks. The result of reaching the goal or surpassing it had other “results”.

    Now, I should create my own routine. Thanks for sharing your way of doing it.

    • Thanks, Scott! And, you’re welcome! 🙂

      This approach seems to have worked for me…wish I thought of it sooner. 😉 We all have to do what works in our own time. Just looked at photos of us from last October (hubby has been running so he is looking and feeling great these days as well). Let’s just say I’m glad to be looking at them from the ‘other side’! 🙂

      P.S. Booking F&W events tomorrow morning – yay!

      • Well, don’t partake of too much food and wine. 😀 Though one usually walks if off at WDW. I know I do.

      • We got into all the events we wanted to. No worries…my workout routine will continue even there. Also, moderation is always my motto! 🙂

  11. Congratulations – I admire your commitment, and it’s great you’re seeing the results you aimed for!

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. By Doing Nothing « A Half Hour a Day on 10 Aug 2011 at 11:32 am

    […] this is why this post by MM, and this post by Shrew, and this post by Tracy all speak to me so powerfully.  We are all on our own personal journeys to […]

  2. By A very good year « Milkay Photography on 17 Nov 2011 at 1:59 pm

    […] my expectations despite breaking my left foot, I decided to show off the results of my hard work in August! "Good Form' (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in […]

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