Keeping her appointments

FITNESS PROFILE

Commitment: Even though Gerri Leder's business schedule is full, she always makes time to exercise.

Health & Fitness

November 07, 1999|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,Special to the Sun

Gerri Leder knows what stands between her and fitness -- breakfast meetings and the need to catch the Metroliner to New York for business.

Leder, 43, who has been in securities since 1986, recently left a job at Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown to start her own financial marketing strategy and communications company, LederMark Communications. But despite the demands of business, she makes a commitment to exercise on the weekends and to squeeze in a couple of workouts during the week.

An avid biker, Leder has a standing Monday night date with a friend to pedal 15 miles on the North Central Railroad Trail. "At first, when we started, she would talk and I would just try to keep up," she recalls, laughing. "Now we both talk. We'd solve the problems of the world on Monday nights."

On the weekends, she and her husband, Steve, strap their bikes on the back of the car and explore different parts of the area, from the Eastern Shore to West Virginia. "We build our social life around it," she says, explaining that if you get up on Saturday and bike for a couple of hours "then that's your Saturday."

In November, when the light changes, biking gives way to walking on a treadmill and aerobics tapes. Leder tries to get on her treadmill at 6 a.m. and walk three miles, holding hand weights. That's possible, she says, because of the convenience of having a treadmill and stationary bike in her basement. "I don't have to drive somewhere to work out."

The couple spend winter weekends hiking through Robert E. Lee Park, which is near their home.

During her winter workouts, the challenge becomes pushing herself out of a warm bed on a cold morning. "I've learned a couple of things to prod myself," she says.

Every night, she lays out her workout clothes for the next morning. "They're sitting there, and I think, 'I'd better get in them.' " She'll also goad herself into a light workout, telling herself she'll just do 30 minutes, knowing that once she gets going, it's easier to keep going.

But then come the breakfast meetings and the Metroliner. "I do a fair number of breakfast meetings," she says. "But I don't do five a week." She shoots for two out of the five business days, and then counts on two more workouts on the weekend.

She loves lists, and keeps an exercise log, noting how far she walks or rides and her heart rate. She finishes her exercise routine by jumping rope -- and gets immense satisfaction from entering it in the log. "Being your type-A personality has compulsions, but there are rewards, too," she says, laughing.

Although she ran track and cross country in college, Leder slacked off exercise in her 30s. But at 39, with the big one approaching, she had her epiphany. "I read Oprah's book, "Making the Connection," and that really did it for me. I thought, 'If Oprah Winfrey can make the time to work out, I can, too.' So I launched my own fit, fabulous and 40 campaign."

"Of course, I still go to bed early," she says. But though she likes to joke about her fitness, Leder notes she has more flexibility, more energy and less stress -- and that's no laughing matter.

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