NORMAL Nancy focused on her form as she did a set of flies, a strength training exercise to work her upper body. Her workout partner, Heather, looked on.
Thats good, mom, Heather said as Nancy completed the set and the two women moved on to their next exercise.
Yes, Nancy Gilbert, 50, and Heather Gilbert, 21, are mother and daughter and are among Bloomington-Normal mothers who exercise including doing strength training with their teenage or young-adult daughters.
Its nice to know that someone is always there to understand what youre doing, Heather said after a workout at The Workout Co. in Normal on Oct. 8.
Its actually easier that were mother and daughter, Heather said. Were good friends, too.
Carl Clover who co-owns Workout Co. with his wife, Carol has noticed more mothers and daughters strength training together. The Gilberts illustrate the benefits.
They look healthy and vibrant and theyre spending time together, working toward a goal of fitness, Clover said.
Actually, three generations of women in Nancys family support each other with exercise and healthful eating. Her mother, 68-year-old Elsie Deatrick of Bloomington, also exercises and was inspired by her daughter and granddaughter to ramp up her weightlifting and cardio workouts at Four Seasons Association beginning last summer.
I admire them a lot, Deatrick said. Im not capable of doing it (exercising) to their extent. But I want to keep my muscles strong, be healthy and look good.
Nancy is a business analyst at State Farm Insurance Cos. and Heather, of Normal, is a senior sociology major at Illinois State University.
Nancy has been running most of her life and progressed to triathlons several years ago.
Ive worked out my whole life, she said. But I didnt feel like I looked fit. I wanted to look like I worked out. I wanted toned arms and a toned body and I couldnt get that from cardio alone.
Two years ago, she attended her first bodybuilding competition. I saw the figure category. That was interesting to see. I wondered what I could do with my body.
Nancy explained that bodybuilding (sometimes called physique bodybuilding) results in a very muscular, manly look. Figure bodybuilding results in a lean, toned, muscular look that is more feminine. Bikini bodybuilding is a leaner and less muscular look.
Motivated, Nancy began weightlifting more and doing cardio less. She learned exercises to target certain body parts. To build muscle and reduce fat, she adjusted her diet so that she began eating five meals a day, with each meal being high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat.
I always ate whatever I wanted because I ran, she said. Now she had to think about what she put into her mouth.
The dieting is the hardest part for me, Nancy said. I loved sweets.
Nancy did her first figure bodybuilding show in May 2011. She did well enough to want to compete again.
Heather played volleyball in high school but gained 15 pounds in college. Needing to make a change, she got into healthy eating with her roommate and began 30 minutes of cardio a day, which increased to two hours a day.
Last year, she watched her mom compete in the figure bodybuilding show.
She inspired me, Heather said of her mother. I realized that my body has more potential.
I love to work out. Its my thing. But its nice to have family that supports you, Heather said.
Mother and daughter cook healthy meals together, focusing on lean meats, vegetables and complex carbs, such as sweet potatoes and brown rice.
While Bob Pagoria is their trainer, the women give each other workout tips and help each other with correct form.
Sometimes mother and daughter work out together and sometimes they work out separately.
Heather generally works out five evenings a week at Four Seasons Association. Her workouts currently range from 1 to two hours, with 45 minutes of cardio time and the rest weightlifting. Each lifting day, she focuses on different body parts.
Nancy works out seven mornings a week at The Workout Co. Three days a week, she works out for an hour and 15 minutes (45 minutes lifting weights and 30 minutes cardio), and four days a week, she does cardio for 45 minutes.
On Sunday mornings, mother and daughter train together at Workout Co. to learn poses for their upcoming figure bodybuilding competitions. Heather will compete in a show Oct. 20 in Bradley and they will compete together for the first time Nov. 17 in DeKalb.
As Nancy, Heather and Elsie have worked out and eaten healthfully, each woman has lost 20 pounds (Heather weighs 121 pounds, Nancy weighs 125 pounds and Elsie declined to give her weight), Nancys and Elsies cholesterol numbers have dropped and all three women have more energy.
Working out makes you feel good about yourself in every aspect of your life, Heather said.
Here are tips from mothers and daughters to other mothers and daughters considering working out together. The tips also apply to fathers and sons:
Choose an exercise you both enjoy.
Select a time of day that works for both of you.
Be flexible. When something gets in the way of your workout, reschedule it.
Agree that this is a lifestyle change.
Start slowly. Set realistic goals. Small changes lead to bigger ones.
Consult a personal trainer for weight training so you dont get injured.
Gradually increase the intensity of your workout.
Improve your eating habits. Plan meals together. Read nutrition labels. Start with little changes, such as switching to lighter ingredients and foods.
Become aware of portion sizes.
Encourage each other. Enjoy your time together.
SOURCES: Nancy and Heather Gilbert, Rae Ann and Allie Ploense, Elsie Deatrick
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