Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 14, 2010

Rhees gets stronger in all areas

Participant finds strength empowering

By Erin Shultz
Tribune lifestyle editor

Kokomo — As Jennie Rhees stared at the 100-pound dumbbell on the floor at Anytime Fitness, she looked a little apprehensive.

“Today, we’re using the big boy weights,” said personal trainer Rob Land.

And as she bent her knees and lowered herself over the weight, standing up straight and heaving the weight along with her, she looked surprised.

Most of all, she looked strong.

Seven weeks into our eight-week Mommy Makeover program, Land took Rhees through a series of lower-rep, high-weight exercises and much to Rhees’ surprise — she breezed through the session.

“It’s empowering, especially as a woman,” Rhees said after, as she caught her breath and did a bit more cardio on the treadmill. “You tell yourself you can’t lift heavy weight ... but you just feel empowered that you can be strong in all areas — mentally and physically.”

If you would have asked the ever-smiling Rhees to do a sumo squat with a 100-pound weight before this challenge started, she said she’d have thought you were crazy. (“That’s a ‘man weight!’” she said.)

But Tuesday’s session was a serious one in which Rhees did a circuit of 100-pound sumo squats followed by squats on the rack with 135 pounds, straight into lat pull-downs, followed by shoulder presses and rounded off with a series of core exercises on the floor. It made me tired, just watching.

“This is the most muscular I’ve been in a while,” Rhees said after the workout. “Or in my whole life.”

And the benefits are showing, in every aspect of her life, she said.

Pants that were tight after her first daughter are now far too big after her second. In addition, the functional strength she’s gained from the sessions makes a difference in how active she can be with her husband and daughters.

The other day, with 18-pound Krissy strapped to her in a front carrier, she was easily able to lift 2-year-old Ava into a swing.

“I feel better than I did before I had either one of my two babies,” she said.

• Erin Shultz is the Kokomo Tribune Life and Style editor. She may be reached at 765-454-8587 or erin.shultz@kokomotribune.com.