Super Hero of the Month – December 2023 Gail Burns

Gail Burns is aging gracefully.

Aging Gracefully is Attainable Through Healthy Habits and Consistent Exercise

I’ve always followed the advice to hang around people who have the things in life you want. Success leaves clues! Successful, happy, healthy people are living the correct formula.  

And they have one other thing in common: they’re aging gracefully. If you’re like me and you want to age gracefully with no limits, do what people who are aging gracefully are doing.  

But if you’re a mom in your 40s, or even a new grandmother, and you’re finding all the things that used to help you lose weight and gain strength are no longer working, you’re probably feeling anything but graceful these days. 

If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place. At Mo-Mentum Fitness in Huntington Beach, we specialize in helping our members discover what helps them age gracefully and vibrantly. 

Everyday we witness examples of aging gracefully. And that’s why we’ve chosen Gail Burns as our Superhero of the Month for December. Gail is the embodiment of grace, vitality, strength, and commitment. Thanks for being such an inspiration to us, Gail! 

In this next section, we’ll dive into how our daily actions shape the way we age. 

It’s More Than Just Your Genes 

When I was younger, I used to think that healthy people just had great genes. This is what I learned in college in the late 1900’s! But science is always evolving. And guess what? Today, a plethora of research shows that only about 5 to 15% of our total health outcomes are due to our genes. 🤯 

The other 85 to 95 percent of our overall health outcomes are attributed to just two things: 

  • our daily actions 
  • our habits 

As a woman going through perimenopause or even in early menopause, this is empowering news. Because as your body changes in ways you’ve never experienced before, it’s easy to feel your health is spiraling out of control. But with a few specific actions, it’s easy to get back in control of how you’re aging. 

👉 Especially when your goal is to age gracefully and vibrantly.  

Making simple changes to your daily actions and habits is crucial to feeling like you’re aging gracefully. Here are two simple things you can add to your fitness routine that will help you see big results: 

1. Resistance training. Also called strength training, resistance training is a “core action.” It’s something you can do daily to create your healthiest body and mind as you age. It’s not just about building muscle. It’s about nurturing the organ of longevity. And the only way to build, nurture, and maintain muscle is through strength training. 

Adding resistance training to your already busy schedule may seem daunting. But it’s not just about lifting weights. It’s about lifting yourself into a phase of life where you’re stronger and more capable and comfortable with your body’s changes. 

Resistance training is key for hormonal balance during the changes of perimenopause and early menopause. It’s also important for maintaining bone density. Both of which contribute significantly to aging gracefully! 

2. Zone 2 Cardio Training. A Zone 2 cardio activity is exercising to an intensity level where you can still have a conversation throughout. You may not want to talk during a Zone 2 cardio exercise, but you’re capable of it. Examples include brisk walking, roller skating, or riding a bike. 

Participating in this kind of low-intensity exercise is good for your heart, brain, and best of all … your mood! Aim for 30 minute sessions up to four times per week.

Making simple changes to your daily habits and actions will help you see huge improvements in how you feel. Gail discovered this same thing. Keep reading to find out how staying active helps her live her life to the fullest. 


Exercise Helps You Live More Fully 

Gail Burns is over the age of 70, but you’d never guess it when you meet her! She’s vibrant and unstoppable. This is why you want to know her. When she’s missing from the gym, it’s usually because she’s on a fun vacation with her partner, Geoff. They’re hiking, zip lining, boating, motorcycle riding, attending a concert, or enjoying some other new adventure! 

I’ve known many people who are 60 and older who are already limiting their lives, but not Gail. She’s aging as gracefully as they come, and she’s just getting started! 

That’s because Gail recognizes the importance of exercise to her quality of life. I mean sure, it comes with added benefits like losing belly fat and keeping it off. But even more important, consistent exercise  

  • heals your metabolism. 
  • makes your mind and muscles stronger and more vibrant. 
  • helps you age gracefully.  

Okay, so you know you need to get moving to feel your best. But sometimes the idea of starting an exercise routine is simply overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be, though. Next we’ll discuss what to keep in mind if you’re still a little unclear on what exercise looks like for you. 


The Right Kind of Exercise Is Challenging But Not Miserable  

Gail isn’t doing crazy exercise. Some days though, she loves a good challenge. The great news is that some days you need to really challenge your muscles. But then on other days, you just need to show up and move your body in functional patterns.  

Gail has continued to build her strength over time. She has continued to slowly move up in the amount of weight she is lifting. But guess what? Gail doesn’t lift heavy weights every day. 

She’s building and maintaining her muscles while also keeping her joints strong and supple.  

At Mo-Mentum Fitness, we choose joint-friendly exercises that make you stronger for daily life activities. We believe your strength should translate into making your life better.  

I’ve known Gail for over 25 years! In fact, we knew each other before I married Steve. She was always right upfront in my step classes. She was one of the people I looked forward to seeing because of so many things: 

  • her incredible energy 
  • her beautiful smile 
  • our friendship 
  • because she remembered some of the step moves better than I did!  

When you read through Gail’s superhero answers, you’ll notice some simple and profound truths that she lives by to continue aging gracefully, such as: 

  • show up most days a week 
  • don’t do the same workout every day 
  • make it fun 
  • lift heavy things to build to maintain your muscle 
  • stay active every day 

When you do these simple things, you’ll start to notice other changes besides those pesky changes your body is going through … Your entire life now feels amazing. Every day! 

Before we talk about how you can start your journey to feel like your best self every day, let’s look at one final thing that helps us age gracefully. 


Another Key to Aging Gracefully 

So we know that people who age gracefully are exercising. You know the ones … the people who you run into after years of not seeing them, or who you’re following on Facebook, and they don’t seem to age. And no, they’re not using crazy social media filters! 

But another golden thread running through successful aging research, found in the Blue Zones, found in longevity and happiness studies … is community support. People tend to live longer when they surround themselves with a community (or communities) of people who lift them up, cheer them on, support them, and laugh with them.  

During Covid, when people were isolating … Mo-Mentum was anti-isolation! We made sure to support our community and to stay strong. And today we’re even stronger.  

Gail jumped in at Mo-Mentum and has been an integral part of Mo-Tribe since the day she joined. We even made shirts that showcased her finishing her first color run!  

Gail is a bright light at Mo-Mentum Fitness. She’s an inspiration in so many ways. 


Let Mo-Mentum Fitness Help You Find Your Motivation to Exercise 

So you’re ready to jump onto the path to aging gracefully. Except that lately, you feel like your body is changing more than a chameleon stuck in a kaleidoscope. Don’t worry, Mo-Mentum has your back.  

When you’re going through so much uncertainty, it’s hard to find the will, focus, and confidence to implement a new fitness routine into your life. At Mo-Mentum Fitness in Huntington Beach, we help you find your motivation to exercise. Our world-class trainers work with you to tailor a plan unique to your changing needs. 

Stop by, call us, or click here to schedule your free assessment and strategy session today! 

Gail, thank you for being such a great example of aging gracefully. Of the importance of doing the nonnegotiable work of up-leveling our movement patterns, our overall strength and our overall health, to get out of pain, get stronger, and lose fat too! We love your kind, gentle spirit. Thank you for being our Mo-Mentum Fitness December Superhero of the Month!  

Xoxo Amanda 


Gail’s ANSWERS:  

  1. Describe what your life (and your health) was like before fitness.  

I’ve always been active but never on a regular workout schedule until joining another gym in the ‘80’s. As a kid in Illinois, we were always outside involved in some sort of neighborhood shenanigans. Roller skating, biking, swimming, you name it, we did it. Climbing trees and winter sledding, ice skating, as a matter of fact, we were encouraged to play outside. That wasn’t a request. I hated the cold, that’s why I live here now!!  

There were three of us kids in my family and I suppose my folks needed a break! No electronic devices back then and there was not much programming on TV either! We’re talking the 50’s here people! Haha! 


  1. Was there ever a low point or an experience that made your priorities change? 

In 1985 I stopped smoking after a 20-some-odd year habit. I think back on that now and wonder how I could have subjected my lungs to the abuse. So, to that end, I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle and regain the strength and agility that I had when I was younger. I waterskied, body surfed some, and swam but on a hit-and-miss basis. I didn’t have any ill effects from smoking, but I do know that I hadn’t done myself any favors. 


  1. How did fitness come into your life (or back into your life)? 

I joined the Jack LaLanne chain of fitness gyms in 1971 or ’72. I paid the dues but was never too serious about fitness at that point in life, so I dropped the membership and fiddled around with tennis, and running. I didn’t care for running much but my sister ran regularly, and we did short marathons. I ran one LA Marathon (that I’ll NEVER do again) and swung the club in golf. Always liked the beer stop at the ninth hole the best! Haha! In the mid ‘80’s I got serious about working out and joined the gym on a regular basis and have attended at least 4 to 5 times a week since. 


  1. What kind of results have you seen since starting a regular fitness program? 

Covid 19 was a turning point for me, and I believe in many other people’s lives too. Bad, good…in my case it brought me back to an acquaintance from the early 2000’s, Amanda Mittleman, pre-Mr. Mittleman. I was aware she had opened a gym shortly after she’d left 24-Hour. The 24-Hour Fitness gym had closed during the pandemic so I trucked myself over to inquire if Amanda was open. And I was so pleased to see that she was holding classes outside practicing social distancing! Whooray!! 


  1. Please talk more about the actual changes in your life.  (weight loss, confidence, more endurance, less medications, increased energy, better relationships etc.) 

My strength overall has improved twofold. I had never lifted anything over 10lbs. in my fitness career. Today I lift 15 to 20lbs in some sets. And my endurance has increased thanks to Cycle Circuit Training (CCT), floor/cardio routines as well as Step, which has been reintroduced here at Mo-Mentum. My fave! Woot. Woot! 


But the relationships I have made since joining Mo-Mentum? I can’t count the wonderful gals and guys I’ve met and the friendships are amazing. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. It’s intimidating starting a new gym but everyone here welcomes you as a family member, no judgment, and this is what keeps you coming back again and again.  


The instructors and trainers here are top-notch, top-shelf, in other words….The Cadilliacs!!!!! They care about your regimen while having fun doing it. And if you miss some classes or sessions here, they could just show up at your doorstep telling you to get your butt to the gym!  

Exercising routines are also great for your memory as you age and the mental aspect works your brain as well as your body. For at least an hour a day you can forget about everything that’s going on in the world outside and concentrate on what’s happening in the now. 


  1. Let’s focus in on the blood work.  What kind of changes have you seen there?  What do these changes mean for your lifestyle, longevity, finances, etc? 

I am borderline diabetic, hereditary on my dad’s side, so diet and exercise help keep the blood sugar in check. And good grief, I’ve never met a cake, cookie, or candy that I haven’t liked! Haha! My mother passed when she was 92. Her mother was 98. So I’m hoping I have a bit of time left on Earth. 


  1. Why do you make fitness a priority in your life? 

It’s a MUST! After all, I’m retired. I need something to keep me out of trouble! What better way to spend a couple of hours a day? Oh, my health of course. 

  1. These days, what makes you truly happy and feel at peace?

My relationships are my prized possessions! It’s wonderful to have friends and family to boost your morale and support you when you have a bad day or two. 


  1. How do you feel compared to 1 year ago? 

Well, one year ago I was recovering from reconstruction of my left ankle and heel. Although never as good as the original, the surgery was a success and I’m off and working out on both feet. I feel really, really well. 

10.  What is your favorite thing about Mo-Mentum Fitness?  

Again, the people, the trainers, the comradery, the entire package here can’t be beat! It’s what keeps me and so many others healthy, happy, and engaged! All in all a wonderful, kind, friendly organization. 


11.  What would you say to the person who knows they need to start exercising but is afraid to start?    

For the most part you can show interest for the health and welfare of family and friends and mention the possibility of physical betterment, but ultimately the choice is up to the individual to decide. I’ve found it’s a delicate subject, although they know something should be done for their lifestyle, especially at my and my cohort’s ages, they’re unwilling to make the change for the better. I always mention that age is not a factor or an excuse, that you’re never too old to begin. Somewhere, anywhere…..


12.  Specifics: your age? job title? children? spouse? 

I was employed at the Orange County Register (it was in the newspaper heyday, using a hammer and chisel) for 45 years. Fast forward to the late 80’s into the new millennium I helped to implement computer usage in the Production department and saw it through until all aspects went digital and online advertising became the norm. Hard-copy newspaper sales were drying up. The downturn in circulation and print advertising revenue are the newspaper’s nemesis and I was laid off in 2014. I loved working there. But on the bright side, I picked up a position at Motor Trend magazine and continued my career for another 5 years until I retired right before 2020. Great job, fun stuff if you’re into anything sports, auto/trucks.  


I have one son 45, who has been physically active from a young age. Two grandsons, and one granddaughter 7, who is a hell of a little flag football player. My grandson 4, has been sort of playing soccer this year, well he chases butterflies mostly. Maybe next year! Haha!  


I’m also lucky to have a great relationship with my companion as well. Finally encouraged him to join Mo-Mentum and he’s become a workout-alcoholic. I do believe he’s at the gym more than I! I turned 73 in November and will continue to keep up on my quality of life for as long as possible. To Amanda and all the other great instructors… retiring!! haha 

Amanda Mittleman

Amanda Mittleman

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