They may exercise their jaws as much as their legs, but the “treadmill queens” of Luling just laugh off the joke.
Besides, they readily concede – it’s true.
The threesome – Brenda Robichaux, Linda Gamel and Debbie Baudouin – are a happening that feels more like a “Designing Women” clan who walk up to six miles a day on the machines at Anytime Fitness while lovingly yakking about their lives.
“We all met at the gym,” Robichaux recounted over how they met. “I joined the gym a little over two years ago when I retired and just walked on the treadmill. We started talking and then we just decided to make it our morning routine.”
The three have found growing friendship and dedication to each other as an extended family, and it especially works because all three are retired.
“We crank those treadmills up at high incline,” Robichaux said. “We exercise our jaws as much as our legs we talk so much.”
Robichaux spends an hour with the group three days a week and flies, which makes exercising feel more like a delightful snap.
“We all enjoy the health benefits staying in shape, but the social time makes it pleasant,” she said.
For Robichaux, the friendship has helped bridge her life into retirement.
“At first, I didn’t know how I would adapt to retirement because I had worked 43 years,” she said. “My husband had joined the gym when he retired and I saw the benefits. After about six weeks or so, I realized I needed something structured and I make sure I’m at the gym five times a week, which is like another job but it’s fun.”
The three help each other with staying on the exercise track – literally.
“If we take off, we have to answer to each other about why we’re taking off,” Robichaux said. “If we miss a day, oh my goodness, we almost have to get a doctor’s excuse.”
But the good news is they don’t feel guilty about cheating on their diet, she said, because they know they’ll be at gym in the morning. They share the same work ethic on exercise.
“There’s a lot of social time to it, but we work the whole time we’re there,” Robichaux said.
They also share a little sense of celebrity, too.
“I think people have gotten to know us,” she said. “All the people at Anytime Fitness who work out at the same time, we all talk to each other. It’s an extended family.”
This is where the “preacher man” – Mitchell Bolden – enters the scene, too. He also walks with them and shares in the chatter – usually about the Saints – and brings “huge” Ruby Red grapefruit to the gym to share.
For Gamel, she is just as amused over fellow gym members teasing about their chattering, but she also maintains it just makes time go by faster with her gym family.
Even if treadmills are taken by other people they gravitate together as a group as they become available and walk together again. Typically, this is easy to do with them being the morning crowd.
They talk about current events, football games, cooking, what they did last weekend and what they’ll do next weekend, and whatever comes to mind they want to share with their group.
“I truly enjoy it,” Gamel said. “Debbie went to Italy and was gone 10 days and when she came back we got to hear about all the stories where they sent so you get to travel a bit. Brenda told me they’re going to Albuquerque for the hot air balloon festival. It’s on her Bucket list.”