Life imitates art…and the Torah

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach

After a great deal of serious internal reflecting and asking of forgiveness, the Jewish community is now embracing Simchat Torah. Translated to mean “rejoicing in the Torah”, this holiday is indeed a jubilant celebration.  As we conclude the reading of Deuterotomy, the Torah begins once again with the Book of Genesis and the story of creation.  This represents the cyclical nature of Judaism.

We have all read, studied, and heard the story of creation many, many times. However, for regular attendees of Shabbat services, that reading was a long time ago…a full year.  The comforting familiarity of the story is always welcome.  Yet if you are like me, don’t you gain some new insight every time you hear this part of the Torah?  After a full year, with many activities filling our lives and our minds outside of the sanctuary, there is always some little insight to be gained, some valuable detail we may have missed in the past.

This cyclic pattern also holds true for exercise.  For my clients as well as my own benefit, I change up the workouts every four weeks or so.  Sure, the muscles are the same; but by training them in a slightly different manner, we can optimize their response and therefore the development of additional muscle mass.

Recently I was leafing through my past workouts, which I have saved through over a decade of bodybuilding. Each four-week workout is a bit different, but each one has added value through the years.  This week, I have chosen to return to an old program and embark upon it as though it was fresh and never before seen.  True to my word, I have discovered nuances in form and technique that I didn’t quite “get” the last time around. 

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This cycle of workouts, then, is no different than the nature of the Torah. It has been practiced by athletes everywhere, simply because it is effective and fresh. Similar to the familiarity of the creation passages, having a basic working knowledge of the mechanics of each exercise will enable an athlete to hone in on and perfect technique that perhaps had not been attainable the last time it was performed – one, two maybe five years ago. 

After the dancing, celebrating, and fun settles down, reunite yourself with some exercises from past programs. Start your own story of the creation…  the rebirth of a new you.