Subourbon Mom

SUV Exercises and other Desperate Moves to Get in Shape for Summer
June 17, 2015, 1:09 am
Filed under: Exercise, Middle Age, Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One of the benefits of working in an office is that I have been cultivating a nice store of fat around my stomach that keeps me warm now that the office air conditioning has kicked the temperature down to “Tundra.” Seriously, my index finger actually went numb the other day.

So, my schedule being what it is (work in the meat locker all day, take teenager to the barn, stay at barn while she rides, go home and fix Bagel Bites for dinner – it’s real food – and collapse in a super-sexy snoring heap on the couch), I have tried to get creative with my workouts.

Walking on country roads is interesting, if you don’t care much about fancy sports cars driven by a mid-life crisis speeding around corners and flicking you off because you’re in their space. If you go off-road for your walk, keep walking right to the drug store and get some cortisone for the poison ivy and chiggers.

So in the words of Clint Eastwood, I improvised. I adapted. I overcame.

I started working out in the back of the SUV while parked at the barn.

This workout is not for the faint of heart. Cross training? Please.

You’ve got nothing on someone who can do sit-ups and leg lifts



with only their upper body supported in the back of an SUV littered with hay, miscellaneous barn paraphernalia and water bottles…


…in the heat and dust, with 20 deer flies buzzing around the car like 13-year-olds around the mall, and with somebody’s smelly soccer cleats next to their head because nobody ever remembers to take them out of the car after practice.

Who needs a weight room bench? I’ve got a scraped-up bumper that serves nicely for my tricep workout.IMG_3661

Sideways planks and pushups work well off the bumper, too.


Of course, I’m not limited to the SUV exercises at the barn, although those can be done anywhere (except where your teenager thinks someone might see you).

Mats? Are you kidding? Try doing pushups in a barn with manure everywhere. You will not be touching the floor with anything except your hands and toes, I can promise you. And if you can’t do a real pushup horizontally, find the nearest fence or your car bumper and do them from a 45-degree angle.

Step class? Got that covered too. Find the nearest mounting block and there’s your step. Hop up and down on that a couple hundred times and you’ll never complain about the stairs at your house again.

Need to work the biceps and shoulders? Grab a bucket and put some water in it, then do your lifts. How about the rest of my arms, you ask? Easy – just brush a horse from head to toe. You’d be amazed how tired your arms get in 10 minutes. Wax on, wax off. Mr. Miyagi had something there.

And finally….cardio. No need to get on the treadmill or elliptical (a.k.a. the “I-limp-and-drool”) – go put a horse out in the field after being in all day, and then try to catch it again. Good luck – you’ll be chasing that beast for an hour. Scared of horses? Then walk the empty fields searching for the fly mask each horse managed to scrape off the day before.

Not a barn mom? Don’t despair – these exercises can be modified to fit any sports mom schedule, especially the SUV workout. Soccer mom? Try lifting their sports bags or water bottles instead of a bucket. Run or walk around the playing fields, but don’t do any arm exercises when you’re doing that – the paramedics might be called because your child has died of embarrassment.



Just A Woman In A Box
May 8, 2013, 10:53 am
Filed under: Parenting, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

This weekend, Daughter #2 was in a horse show.  For those of you who aren’t barn parents, this means:


  1. Getting up at 5:00 AM, slurping down 2 cups of coffee and braiding your sleepy child’s hair in the semi-darkness of your kitchen while trying not to wake anybody else up;
  2. Standing around in a freezing barn as your child gets their horse ready and loaded onto a trailer, which is something akin to threading a needle with a sausage;
  3. Waiting for the endless number of riders to go around the ring, jumping over flowers, brightly painted poles and other assorted items horses would never jump if there wasn’t something small and annoying latched onto their back;
  4. Chewing your nails to the quick as you watch your child guide an 800-pound animal over jumps and around ten other 800-pound animals in every class—it’s scarier than driving up I-95 on Beach Saturdays;
  5. Watching and sharing in your child’s elation or defeat as the numbers of the top six entrants are called;
  6. Futile quizzing of the trainer to determine what the judges were looking for (the judges sit by themselves across the ring in a gazebo or behind closed glass, staring at the ponies like a police line-up). The sought-after qualities are usually lumped under the murky phrase “how the pony moves;”
  7. Trying to find a way to justify having a glass of wine or a shot of something by 10:00AM;
  8. No longer trying to justify, just consuming your lubrication of choice by 10:30AM;


At every show, Daughter #2’s trainer tells the girls she doesn’t care what ribbons they get as long as they ride their best; and, all the girls nod and smile and humor her, saying that’s exactly what they will do, and they know the ribbons don’t matter.

But to the girls, they do. Big, shiny ribbons they can pin on their ponies and hang around their room are like crack to a junkie.

And, invariably, by the middle of the morning at least one or two girls have ridden well, but somehow, they didn’t get a ribbon.  Despite reassurances that they did just fine, there are sometimes tears and disappointment.

This weekend, I overheard her trainer ask one of the riders, “Did you ride your best?” The girl nodded.  “Then who cares what that judge thinks? She’s just a woman in a box.”

If only we could all remember that.

We can’t control how people see us or judge us, so just do your best. All those people who make us feel small, useless or insignificant are just “a woman in a box.”

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