Practice makes perfect.  Piano lessons inspire fitness philosophy by Penny Hoff.

I really liked my piano teacher.  She was the minister’s wife at the First Christian Church and I played very well during the actual thirty minutes of my lesson. But could I actually play you a song today? Or even thirty years ago when I was fresh from my lessons?


And do you know why? My dirty little piano secret is that I never practiced like I should’ve in the six days between one lesson and the next. So the burning question really is: Would I be a better pianist today if I’d applied myself and practiced back then?

And we all know the answer.  I hang my head to tell you that I regret not devoting just a few minutes every day of my pre-teen daily routine, which, as far as I can recollect, was totally barren of any other commitments
or after school  activities besides torturing our dog Lassie by turning his ears inside out, which I still regret because it was the ONLY thing he hated and by wandering next door to my Grandma Love’s to see if she had any
warm chocolate pudding (which she always did, which drove my mom up the tree).

I don’t even remember doing any homework-another dirty secret.

Mrs. Kirk would’ve blushed in pride, pinker than any shade a minister’s wife should ever blush, if I’d shown the slightest degree of improvement that indicated that I’d even looked in the direction of the piano at some point since the last lesson.

If, in your forties, you never do more than a weekly tennis match or a round of golf,
then in your fifties,don’t expect to  jump in on any games of touch  football if you get invited to Thanksgiving dinner
 at the  Kennedy’s.

Practice your sweating.

And don’t expect to play a round of tennis with your grandkids or even a game of catch with them  in your sixties, for that matter. If you do not regularly exercise, and by that I mean at LEAST three to four times a week for a half hour
so that you are sweating, you will end up doing the fitness version if what I now do when I sit down at a piano.

I play exactly half of the one song that I know (and I haven’t forgotten due to early onset Alzheimer’s either. That’s all I’ve ever known). At least the first half is impressive. It’s the Entertainer. Then I pretend that I’m embarrassed by how talented  and musical I am and I get up in a huff of modesty, shaking off all the pleading and begging  from my audience (usually my kids and dog) to keep going.

What a faker I am.  In the fitness world, I see this all the time. A parent starts a rousing game of soccer in the back yard and about the time the kids are warmed up, Dad is huffing and puffing and suddenly remembers he HAS to move the sprinkler in the front yard. It cannot wait.

Folks, don’t be that way.

But in order to NOT be that way, you have to start now. Practice your sweating. And trust me, in a few short decades,
you’ll thank me, the fitness version of Mrs. Kirk the piano teacher.  And hopefully I will still be around as well.
So that you can see me blush in pride.  Even brighter red than a minister’s wife.


To read more fitness musings from Penny’s Workout World or to buy a foam roller and Penny’s DVD, go to my website.


Penny Hoff is an author, blogger, 20 year fitness professional, and mother with 3 teens and Winston, the dog.