It may be an understatement that I am an admirer of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court. Not only is she a well-respected judge, she’s an outspoken feminist who never shies away from voicing her opinions, she’s a cultural icon, and she even has an insect named after her (I. ginsburgae).
When I was at a cocktail reception and a prominent Toronto barrister said to me that RBG should be “dragged out into the street and shot”, it took all of my energy not to throw my wine in his face. It seems Mr. Lawyer was quite upset that The Notorious R.B.G. did not retire under the Obama administration so that another liberal judge could be appointed. So now, as he so eloquently put it, she is going to “drop dead” with Trump in power and it is “her fault” that a conservative judge will replace her. God forbid the woman wants to actually keep doing her job as long as she is able to, which she has every right to do. Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. didn’t retire until he was 90 years old. RBG is only 84.
Also, it’s not like RBG doesn’t know her age and isn’t aware of her previous health challenges (she’s had cancer twice). I’m sure she is also more than aware of the importance of having some liberal voices remain on the bench. She knows very well the weight on her shoulders and she is doing everything in her power to remain healthy. One important part in her plan is her twice-weekly one-hour workouts with her personal trainer, Bryant Johnson, who is also a court clerk and Army reservist.
Now, I dislike exercise about as much as I admire RBG, which is a lot. I exercise because I know I have to, but I will never be one of those annoyingly perky people who get up at 5am to go for an hour long run or head to the gym every day at lunch. I drag myself mentally kicking and screaming to my weekly Pilates or Zumba class and when I am there I count down the minutes until my body can be mine again. So when Amazon suggested I might want to order Mr. Johnson’s book “The RBG Workout”, I hoped my love of RBG would temper my dislike of exercise and I quickly ordered it.
It is a small hard covered book that can be held in one hand and easily transported to the gym. The book has a foreword written by the Justice and includes some fun facts about her as well. For example, she doesn’t sleep some nights. Like, not at all. Perhaps she really is superhuman.
It features awesome cartoon pictures of RBG in workout clothes demonstrating each exercise. Mr. Johnson gives two options: a gym option if gym equipment is available or a home option. Clearly I did the home option as I haven’t stepped foot in a gym since, probably, high school. The workout focuses mostly on strength exercises with warm-up and cool-down sections. The at-home version involves a flex band and things you can find around the house like chairs, steps, stools, etc. I was familiar with most of the exercises and they were relatively simple. Simple, that is, but not easy. Mr. Johnson gives a variation on some of the exercises as well, i.e. the regular version, the easier, and easiest. I also made my own variations: RBG does 20 regular push-ups; I struggled my way to 5.
This book would be a great holiday gift for the RBG lovers in your life or those looking for a new exercise regime with easy to follow instructions and pictures. Will I be adding this workout to my weekly regime? Honestly, probably not. But if I could do it alongside Justice Ginsberg.... that would be a different story.
The book can be found here.
Erin C. Cowling is a freelance litigator, researcher & writer at Cowling Legal Freelance and President and Founder of FLEX LEGAL, a network of freelance lawyers.