When you hear the movie Terminator 2, what comes to mind? If you’re a woman around my age, it’s less about Arnold’s ‘I’ll be back’ and more about actress Linda Hamilton’s vein-popping, muscled arms. I remember the first OMG scene in that movie like it was yesterday.

Around that time, I had moved the family back to Toronto with the goal to immerse the kids into city living, such as taking the bus and subway, while trying a new school.

Taking the bus was something my Mom made me do, starting when I was young. She wanted me to learn how to do things outside my comfort zone. To not rely on her for everything.  And while fearful initially, I eventually got over it.

With time, the boys caught on too. They soon loved taking the transit to visit friends and cousins, and came to appreciate city living. While a good experiment, I’ll admit I missed the slower pace of Florida, not to mention sunshine and warmth.

But it was during this time in Toronto, where (inspired by Linda) I decided to step-up my workout game. So I enlisted a trainer, Larry Track, owner of Track Fitness, known for pushing his clients into higher, better gear.

He has this program called “The 8 Minute Body” which he quickly got me on to.  What??? You mean, no more spinning or going for long runs? Not if I wanted results, according to Larry.

In a nutshell, the program is a full-body circuit, focusing on the major muscle groups with bursts of cardio in-between. I’m talking squats and bicep curls, mixed with burpees and push-ups. The goal being to do one circuit three times, finishing in under 30 minutes.

From Larry:

The science behind the 8-Minute Body is known as the “rapid muscle technique.” In order to achieve the best results, you have to use a “heavier” weight. This weight will be 80% of your 10-rep max weight. With a minimal amount of rest between each exercise, you’ll fatigue your muscles faster, while building strength at the same time. The faster, and more you push, the more you’ll burn. When you put it all this together, completing all 8 exercises in less 8 minutes you’ll have the results to prove it.

Along with the hard sweat I’d have to endure, Larry gave me a diet to follow too. The usual suspects – dairy, wheat, processed foods, sugar and alcohol – were out. Kale smoothies, lots of lean proteins and veggies were in. I’ll admit the eating part wasn’t so hard – but the no red wine part? Let’s just say, I had no idea how much we loved a glass every so often.

So there it was, and how it all started. I was on a new program, with a strict eating regime to boot. But I didn’t let this scare me. I was determined to get those Linda Hamilton arms, come hell or high water.

First week in, I felt so tired each night. I’d literally hit the hay like seconds after putting the kids down. The only saving grace was that I wasn’t tempted to eat at night – as I was fast asleep, out like a light.

Within a few weeks, I definitely saw changes.  I was leaner and more toned. I looked fitter and stronger – and yes, I got my Linda arms too.   Needless to say, Larry’s exceedingly intense workouts – worked. Though having said this, I strangely started analyzing my face in the mirror – gently puffing my cheeks and tugging them in a hopeful upward motion.

In a panic, I called my beauty guru girlfriend Dina. “Gorgie, do I need fillers in my face ?!?”

To which she flatly replied “No. What you need is a burger!” And she was right.

This has been the most difficult delicate balance to embrace.  That is, striving for a 20 year-old ass while maintaining an ‘older than 35 year-old face.’

Which reminded me of a famous quote from Catherine Deneuve: “After a certain age, you have to choose between your fanny and your face.”

I couldn’t agree more, and why I did an about-face of my own.

As proud as I felt of my Linda arms and leaner physique, I decided to take it easy on the intense workouts, and relax my eating too. It took some time to get used to, but overall, I’d say I’m in the happiest state of health and fitness.

That’s not to say we I’ve given-up on Larry or the 8- Minute workout. Just the opposite. When I need to step-up my workouts, I’m plateauing, or need a quick travel ‘fix’, I’ll do a few circuits. I’ll also tweak my diet every so often, though always including a healthy source of protein and fat with every meal, including salmon. This, after being vegan for four years!

And how about o my yoga every damn day thing? Well, I’m still doing that, with the addition of regular strength training. Thanks to Larry, I’m no longer spinning my wheels trying to keep-up to the latest cycle class or feeling anxious if I don’t get a long run in. My workouts are shorter and harder. But the results are everything.

Linda arms or not, I’ll keep doing what we’re doing, cause it makes me feel great.