When people talk about working out, the first things that come to mind are dumbbells, treadmills and aerobics classes. But, when actress Carolyn Hennesy goes to workout, it looks a lot different than anything I’ve ever seen in a gym.
When Carolyn isn’t playing a high-powered attorney on General Hospital, she’s playing high on the trapeze. Some people love to dance – she simply loves to fly.
While I doubt I’ll be hanging a trapeze in my backyard anytime soon, I think we can all learn from her story. The fact is, being healthy and staying fit is about finding something you enjoy and making it a lasting part of your life.
In my recent interview with her, I got to learn more about her love for the trapeze – and her secret to being fifty and fabulous.
I learned the static trapeze for a production of “Comedy of Errors” while attending university and had fallen in love with it. Several years later, some friends discovered a flying trapeze school here in the San Fernando Valley; one class and I was hooked. A busy life and lack of space had led me away from the static, but while flying at Gaona’s Trapeze Workshop, I met my static guru, Ruth Percival…a beautiful and supremely talented static artist. She’s been teaching me for the last year and my skills have quadrupled. I know I won’t be giving it up anytime soon, so I made space on my property for my own rig. The elegance, challenge and fluidity of the static trapeze are the elements that keep me connected. And there is nothing on this earth like the flying trapeze: it’s electrifying, self-revealing, more beautiful than a performance by the Bolshoi and, often, oh-so humbling. (Photo of Carolyn flying high)
ACTION! You can see her flying high in this little hidden gym of a clip! Notice she says “it wasn’t pretty, but I got it” at the end. This should be a reminder that we don’t have to be amazing at what we love – BUT, because we love it, it can be amazing.
I imagine you have times when you want to take your own diet and training up a notch for a new role, event or shoot. What do you do to shed unwanted pounds and how much time do you give yourself to achieve it?
It’s somewhat difficult to achieve, but I try (try being the operative word) not to let myself get to a point where I would need to crash diet for a specific role. Saying, thinking or feeling like “I’ve GOT to lose 5 lbs. in a week!” is just an unnecessary stressor and who needs it. If I see a little something here or there, I’ll do an extra five minutes on the trapeze and call it a day. (And I’ll tell my husband to hide my “emergency Snickers” in the garage and not tell me where.)
I know you are very fit and lead a healthy lifestyle (it shows!). What is your workout schedule like?
I’m extremely lucky, because flying and static trapeze are types of exercise that are, possibly, the most fun to be had by humans and the ones I most respond to. I usually fly once or twice a week and workout on the static trap at least twice a week.
Hang from my ankles and do sit-ups.
(We can do this without a trapeze too! Check out the move demonstrated here by IFBB Pro Kelly Gonzalez shot here by Steve Boyle)
What is your favorite and least favorite exercise?
The Mermaid Turn. Running.
What is your favorite fitness gadget, fitness tool or gear?
Rosin. (Sticky stuff that improves grip)
Do you listen to music while working out? If so, what type of music do you listen to? Do you have a favorite song that gets you pumped up for your workouts?
My grandmother once said, “Age is just a matter of the mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” We all know age is just a number, but what matters most is how we feel. I am 41, but sometimes I feel better than I did when I was 30. What age do you feel?
25 most days. When I get off the static trap, I’m 75 for about half an hour…then I get younger.
Are you on any specific diet? What is a normal day of eating like for you?
I watch the carbs, but haven’t cut them entirely. I should be more conscientious about breakfast, but usually it’s tea and vitamins. Lunch is usually anything but a salad and dinner is (attempted to be) eaten before 7:00 pm. I’m not big on desserts, so that helps.
Is there such a thing as a healthy snack…really? Really? Isn’t “snack”…y’know…by definition, something a little taboo? I’m a sucker for the crispy seaweed that’s all the rage right now.
What’s your biggest food weakness?
Macadamia nuts. If I’ve gotten my hands on a jar of roasted, salted macadamias, don’t even try to talk to me…you’ll just get frustrated with my lack of response.
What is the one product or thing you do that makes you feel the most beautiful?
Wake up, look in the mirror and say “I’m…still…here. Ta DA!” That puts a smile on my face.
First of all, trapeze is exciting, exhilarating and never, EVER, the same. That’s the rush; each trick, whether flying or hanging, is different no matter how many times you do it. It’s always fresh and that’s key for me. And then, there are days when I don’t show up. Most importantly, I don’t beat myself up for taking a break. We’re human…we get to take a break.
For all the people who are trying to lose weight and get healthy, what is the one thing you have learned that you would share with them to help them reach their goals?
For heaven’s sake, be kind to yourself. If you’ve got substantially more than “a few” pounds to lose, then that’s a different matter entirely and one that might involve doctors, physical or emotional issues and a whole host of things I’m simply not qualified to discuss. But if you’re angling to be more fit, trimmer and more toned…don’t kill yourself. Stop the self-recrimination and judgment. Learn (and you can) to love what you see at each and every stage – and if those around you don’t love and support you just as much, forget ‘em.
The Secret to Staying 50? Finding something you LOVE that keeps you active, strong and flexible. Way to go Carolyn! You are an inspiration!