Maxwell’s Playbook was honored to host Dr. Josefina Monasterio this past summer and let me tell you, she is a ball of fire! At age 73 this champion bodybuilder and life evangelist empowers women with the message that you can be vibrant at any age. Moreover, as a life coach, she demonstrates how to develop a healthy, happy and vigorous life.
Follow Josefina on any of her self-managed social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr – and you’ll see her engaged in a disciplined daily ritual of spiritual study, walking, exercise, food that works for her and “gym time”. This model has helped her develop into an amazing role model for life, and one of the the sexiest, and most self-assured and badass women that I’ve ever met.
About a month after Josefina’s visit to northern Virginia, my family and I vacationed in Vero Beach, Florida where she lives, and she invited me to join her on her five-mile morning walk. I excitedly took her up on her offer. I’ve done more indoor cycling than walking lately, so in preparation for the walk with her, I added some walking to my routine. Five miles would be a piece of cake. It was the 4:30 am start time that I was leery of, but I was up for the experience.
I wondered how she walked for five miles in sand on the beach. I didn’t want to mess up my favorite tennis shoes and you certainly can’t walk for five miles in flip flops! Thankfully, my hubs found some shoes that fit securely enough to walk steadily on the beach while keeping the sand out. I figured that her daily walk probably took place on that part of the beach where the water meets the sand, creating a harder surface, so those shoes would be perfect.
We stayed at a hotel about a quarter mile away from where I would meet Josefina. After dinner we headed back our room and I set an alarm so that I wouldn’t be late. A little after 4 am we started out to meet her. Thank goodness my gallant hubs walked with me along the beach. It was pitch dark and I wasn’t exactly sure where I would see her. The shoreline had been built up and the sand was deeper and a lot more uneven than I expected. To top things off, in the distance we could see a full-on storm with thunder, lightening and roaring, angry waves that felt too close for comfort (we later learned that this was a tropical depression 40 miles away). At that point I realized how much I didn’t know about how this morning would turn out. How we make it in this sand? Will it storm while we’re out? Josefina is fearless, so would any of this matter to her?
As we approached the back of the hotel where I was to meet her, we saw a little flashlight and I thought, “Yes, she sees us!” In reality, it was hotel security. I immediately thought, “Uh-oh, this might not go well”, but once we told him that we were meeting Dr. Josefina, he kindly let us in and directed us to Ocean Drive and a paved street at the front of the resort. And there she was with her little red Mercedes convertible. She tossed her keys into the wheel well and whispered “Let’s go”! And that’s how our 5-mile walk, in silence, got underway.
It’s amazing how much you can appreciate in the quiet. Nature is totally different in the dark of the early morning hours. The sounds of small insects and sprinkler systems were are all that I could hear. Bits of outdoor lighting illuminated canopies of trees along the way. In whispered conversations Josefina and I gave God praise for this beauty. “When Morning Gilds the Skies”, an old early morning praise song that I remember as a child, came to mind. The walk was brisk but not a run. I kept up with Josefina, wide-eyed, taking it all in. For at least the first three miles there were no cars or people. We wandered through parks that dot the area, where we used benches to grab a few leg lifts or sit ups – actually Josefina grabbed more but I got a few in! Railings between the sidewalks and the roads became tools for push-ups.
After about an hour and a half as dawn began to break, we circled back to Ocean Drive. A few more walkers and runners were out; they all knew Josefina and cheerfully exchanged morning greetings. Then, she was ready to head to Jaycee Park, about another mile down the road, to catch the sunrise. I stopped to pick up the hubs so that we could watch it together. By the time we got there, Josefina was doing a perfect headstand. Because of the storm, the skies were overcast so the sunrise was a bit muted. Next, she waited for the huge waves to meet the shore where she dove into the ocean for a morning swim. We finished up at the pier where she records her Daily Reflections videos for social media.
When you first meet Josefina, she is like you’ve known forever. She was the same on this day when after our walk, she warmly hosted breakfast and treated us like family. I can’t wait to see her again.
Those five miles with Josefina were a gift. I walk outdoors more than I used to, and observe more when I do. I stop and use park benches for leg lifts and push-ups, and I’ve tweaked my daily workout routine. Most of all, I’m inspired to continue to learn and share lessons from Josefina.
To learn more about Dr. Josefina Monasterio, her story and all that she offers women – including a roadmap on how you can reinvent your life – visit www.drjosefina.com.