Take Five at the Club: Susan Farnsworth

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About Me…
Tell us a little about yourself

I’m a homegrown Tahoe girl! My family moved to the lake in 1959 when I was just a year old! I attended Tahoe Valley Elementary School, St Theresa’s, Tahoe Middle School and I’m a graduate of South Tahoe High class of 1976.

I married immediately after High school and have two wonderful children, Paul (41) and Katie (37). In my head I’m still their age! As a young family we had many travel adventures because my then husband joined the Army in exchange for medical school expenses thus; we were stationed on the Presidio in San Francisco, Nuremberg, West Germany and Fort Ord on the Monterey Peninsula.

During our time in Europe we traveled extensively and witnessed many historical events including the shock and awe of the Gulf Wars’ Operation Desert Storm, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the unification of Germany and were among the first Americans’ to visit many former communist countries including Hungry, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. It was an exciting chapter in my life.

I returned to Los Angeles and earned my bachelors’ degree with highest honors from UCLA majoring in History/Art History and reconnected with Randy Farnsworth and as they say, ‘The rest is history!’ I became a docent at Los Angeles County Museum of Art and was an owner and president of a film distribution company. We’ve been married going on 17 years now and what a wild ride it’s been! Retirement brought us both back to our hometown of South Lake Tahoe.

I’ve been blessed to welcome four grandchildren into my life and love nothing more than taking family to Disneyland (I’m a fast pass expert) and having “Camp Smokey” sleepovers in my teepee. Yes! I have a real life 18 ft. round teepee in my backyard.

When I’m not at the gym getting beaten up by Eufay and Rosie, you can find me hiking Mt. Tallac, backpacking throughout Desolation Wilderness, x-country skiing or riding my road bike along Tahoe’s many beautiful roads and bypasses.

What made you Choose Tahoe Club 100?

Ironically I didn’t choose Club 100, it chose me! It all began about 15 years ago when I received a knock on my front door. It was a moving company informing me they had over 15 thousand pounds of gym equipment and free weights to be delivered to our home in Los Angeles. Unbeknownst to me, Randy, who always had a connection in the entertainment industry had found out an American Gladiator from the TV series of the same name was selling off his gym. Well, what’s a guy who loves to train in a gym to do? Buy the equipment of course!

As the story goes, the Gladiator gym was set up in our garage for about 4 years. From there it was moved to a warehouse around the corner from Randy’s office where it served as a private gym for family, friends, employees and clients alike.

By the time we moved home to Tahoe the gym had grown to over 44 thousand pounds in equipment maxing out the weight limitation of the moving truck that transported it to its new location at D Street along Industrial way. When the D street location was sold to the city, we had a decision to make, sell off the equipment or become a legitimate business; hence, the idea of Club 100 was born. As a side note, all the Hammer Strength equipment used in the Club today is part of the original American Gladiator sale!

Take 5 Questions

Question #1 What drives you to work-out?

My sanity and that great endorphin high you get from exercising, pure and simple! As a young mother I found that it was important to take a moment for myself and try to move my body every day. I would literally turn on morning TV and exercise with the ‘Godfather of Fitness,’ Jack Lalane. I later purchased Jane Fonda’s famous work-out cassettes; I’d plug them into my VHS machine and do a series of scissor split leg exercises and admire Jane’s spandex leotard outfits.

I eventually took up running which became my exercise companion and endorphin high for over 30 years. With the natural progression of aging, I’ve learned to be gentler on my joints and now persistently strive to build muscle mass. Did you know studies suggest adults after the age of 40 can lose up to 8 percent of muscle mass each decade? That’s an important statistic that continually drives me to workout.

Question #2 What’s your proudest fitness moment?

Throughout my life, I’ve had many proud fitness moments.

I’m proud to say I trained for and completed the Napa Valley Marathon in 1991. I followed the marathon training philosophy of 1972 Olympic runner Jeff Galloway. We lived on the Monterey Peninsula at the time and my distance runs took me along coastal stretches of 17 mile Drive, the Lone Cypress, Spyglass Hill and the Cape leading to historic Cannery Row.

I’m also proud that Randy and I twice climbed the highest summit in the lower forty-eight, Mt Whitney (elevation of 14,505 ft.). The second year we climbed the mountain saw record spring snow rendering trails unpassable without crampons and ice axes. To get down steep passes we had to learn how to glissade, whereas, you grab ahold of your ice axe, stick it into the snow so it acts like a ruder, sit on your butt, lean back and hold on for dear life as you slide downhill. No sooner had I cautiously got up the nerve to slowly scoot downward, a blue flash of hands, arms and legs came ripping pass me. Flying uncontrollably down the hill with reckless abandon was my husband Randy barely missing a group of Chinese tourists heading up! He said he literally saw the whites of their eyes and later boasted the aggregate time up and down the pass put him at 1st place!

Likewise, I’m proud of 40 years of backpacking and the 100’s of miles I’ve logged riding long distance endurance bike rides, but my proudest moment was when I bungee jumped in New Zealand. Now some may argue (Eufay) that that’s not a fitness moment at all, but I say to you the same mental determination it took me to run that last 2 miles in a marathon or the breath needed to push forward at high attitude, the same gumption had to be mustered to bungee jump! It’s not every day one allows a complete stranger to bind your feet together with a rope that will save your life then walk yourself down a plank 43 meters above a glacial river and willing throw yourself into the wild blue yonder! Randy was below watching and said when I jumped I let out a moan echoing throughout the valley that sounded like both a difficult bowel movement and extremely satisfying sex. Either way, it is my proudest mentally fit moment.

Question #3 Favorite Exercises or Piece of Equipment? Why?

Ok, not to sound like a complete brown nose, I don’t have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment at the gym. My favorite thing is the energy and vibe of the members at the gym. Truly. When Randy and I retired our world began to get really small and we found ourselves hanging around the house driving each other nuts. Having the gym has forced me get my butt up and out and has helped me meet new and fascinating people all with a common goal…health and fitness. The hard work, discipline, determination, perseverance and good will I see expressed every day fills me with great energy and although it’s not tangible my favorite exercise is to take it all in.

Question #4 What’s your favorite work out song, artist or album?

I am a child of the baby boomer generation and I’m sorry to say it but the artists of the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s produced the best music ever! Who can compete with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead, the Eagles, the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Elton John, any Motown artist, and the list goes on and on…

Music has always been a major part of my exercise routine. As a runner, for years, I carried in my left hand, a yellow Sony Walkman. I’d record songs from a 45 single onto a cassette tape, create a soundtrack and run to the beat of the latest hits. My favorite all time artists are Tom Petty, Don Henley, and of course any and everything Fleetwood Mac.

Through great serendipity I got to meet my rock star idol Lindsey Buckingham. I had adored his music throughout the many chapters of my life and so star stuck was I when I met him and looked into his robin blue eyes, I could think of nothing better to say than “I’ve listened to your music my whole life, you’ve been in my ear a lot.” Silly girl, I’m just second hand news!

Question #5 What’s in your Gym Bag?

  • An extra Club 100 Tee Shirt to change into after a work-out and because I’m shamelessly promoting the Gym right now.
  • A Smashbox eyebrow pencil: Since when did my brows decide to migrate away from my eyes and land above my lip?
  • Lancome L’absolu Rouge Lipstick: Color: Jezebel Need I say more?
  • Mason Pearson Boar Bristle Brush: The only brand hair brush I’ve used my entire life.
  • Reading Glasses: You just wait; it’s going to happen to you too! You wake up one day and you can’t see a damn thing. At least readers are inexpensive and come in lots of fun colors!
  • GUM® Soft-Picks: To avoid that embarrassing moment when you realize you’ve been smiling at someone with stuff in your teeth. These little suckers really work to remove plaque, dislodge food and massage gums.
  • Raw almonds: Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss.
  • Think Thin: My favorite high protein go to energy bars. They are loaded with 20g protein, gluten free and have no added sugar. My favorite is the Lemon Delight.
  • Hammer HEED is a step up from all the powder sports drinks I’ve used. It’s sweetened with stevia and xylitol to prevent sugar rush and avoid stomach cramps. The added chromium polynicotinate and I- carmosine buffers lactic acid. It’s gluten free and has no MSG. Eufay sells Hammer products, talk to him about all the goods he offers.
  • Lipo-Spheric Vitamin C is a high dose vitamin C supplement that is quickly absorbed into your bloodstream. It protects cells from the damage caused by free radicals, supports a healthy immune system, supports collagen production for healthier skin, muscles and joints, promotes muscle repair and supports healthy gums.
  • Ok I admit it; I used the internet to look up information on some of the items in my gym bag. But, hey, knowledge is power!
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