15 Nov Elle | I’VE BEEN ON THE RUTH BADER GINSBURG FITNESS JOURNEY
I’VE BEEN ON THE RUTH BADER GINSBURG FITNESS JOURNEY
I’ve been doing the Ruth Bader Ginsburg workout for almost a month and I am pleased to announce that I am now extremely hot and plan to live forever.
You may think that that’s not enough time for me to have a complete total body transformation like a late 90s Ryan Reynolds, or a mid-2000s Chris Evans, or an early 2010s Chris Pratt, but to that I say “I dissent! Anything is possible with the Notorious RBG! Move to strike!”
Look, I’ll be honest with you—most of my hotness is from genetics. But when a Supreme Court Justice offers you the chance to experience the workout that keeps her active, sharp-witted, and full of spunk at 84, you don’t pass it up. Plus every copy of the book comes with an honorary law degree from Columbia, so it seemed like a really good deal all-around. I didn’t get totally hot in three weeks with RBG, but I did experience a transformation.
The RBG Workout, written by RBG’s trainer Bryant Johnson, with a lovely forward by Justice Ginsburg, is a slim collection of medium-intensity exercises that are meant to be both accessible and effective. Taken as a whole, it’s a circuit program which Justice Ginsburg runs through twice a week. Johnson has been working with Ginsburg since 1999, when she was recovering from a devastating battle with colorectal cancer. In the forward she writes, “Bryant restored my energy as I worked my way back to good health.”
They continued to work together and when she faced pancreatic cancer 10 years later, Johnson was again able to guide her back to strength and fitness. “This book, I hope, will help others to experience, as I have, renewed energy in their work and their days.” Reading that, standing in a random Barnes & Noble, I actually started to cry a little. I wanted to be restored. I wanted to stop saying “Oh Lordy!” every time I sat down. I wanted to be able to deliver whip-smart opinions and delightful bon mots well into my 80s (and if not my 80s, at least my 40s). I was buying whatever this book was selling.
To be honest, this assignment came along at a pretty great time in my body journey. And by pretty great I mean pretty terrible but opportune. There comes a point, if you have a certain body type and reach a certain point in your aging, that you start to wonder “Is this the beginning of… a problem?” Did I have a dadbod? Or is this a “my doctor is dropping hints” bod? There’s nothing wrong with a dadbod, even if you don’t have any kids, just like there’s nothing wrong with any other kind of bod. But why does every bod have to have a name? Not to disrupt the bod-naming industry but giving my flesh nomenclature doesn’t always radically transform my self-image.
Still, whatever the name of my body (I call it Millicent), I had started to feel super unhappy in it. I had a sad bod. I had recently started being really surprised with my reflection. I’d catch my profile with a sidelong glance and find myself genuinely confused by who this person was and why his body was shaped like that. Part of this is just not being plugged into my physical form—I moved to a new state and started a new job, pretty much upending my life, so I didn’t know who or where I was, let alone what my body looked like. The other part of it was the fact that I am someone who sometimes eats an entire box of Girl Scout cookies because of feelings. Apparently that causes you to gain weight.