Cecily Bailey used to break horses.
She was a terrific athlete at the University of Alberta.
She has traveled the world, most of the journey coming on the open seas in a sailboat.
She is a member of a swing band and remains a twice-a-week ballroom dancer.
In between her own regular gym workouts, Bailey can spend as much as 12 hours a day training clients in what is called TRX exercise — a physical fitness regimen invented by a Navy SEAL.
At 5-foot-4, 108 pounds, Bailey is in the best shape of her life.
Oh, one more thing … Did we mention she’s almost 73 years old?
“She has had a huge impact in a positive way,” says Nick Walejeski, owner of GetFit Davis, which employs Bailey. “Her expertise helps folks be more stable … able to get around and do things again.”
Bailey, a Davis resident for almost 20 years, trains a world-class triathlete, a high school water polo standout and folks of all ages who just want to feel better. Men and women, young and old. Bailey says her brand of suspension training develops balance, flexibility, core stability and strength — almost simultaneously.
Forrest Bond, a Woodland resident and upper-age-bracket triathlon champion, followed his wife Shelley’s lead in partnering with Bailey.
“My wife … started the TRX program with Cecily and she’d enthusiastically describe her exercise routine to me,” Bond said in a testimonial. “Shelley said, ‘You should do this, Forrest.’
“I told her I wasn’t going to take anything taught by a ‘little woman.’ I did go. I met Cecily … and will follow (her) to the fires of hell. I think she can turn water to wine.”
Not quite, but her special training seems to get most muscles behaving as God intended.
“When the skeleton is set up like it’s supposed to be, the muscles are already pre-cut, measured — they know what to do and they are ready to do it,” says Bailey, who adds that proper alignment while using one’s own body weight to stretch and tone is the key to her regimen (no lifting, running or over-the-top routines).
However, the big benefit in working with Bailey may be her spry, outgoing, can-do attitude. And her life’s story is intriguing.
The oldest of six kids, she says she “had to show the younger ones the way, so to speak. So I had to try things out first.”
A diminutive 12-year-old Cecily was breaking race horses from the gate and teaching the thoroughbreds to change leads in turns. Dangerous, but exhilarating.
She excelled in prep sports before playing badminton in college. Later, she became a nationally ranked water skier and says she was one of the first female surfers to tame the monster 30-foot waves of Makaha, on the west shore of Oahu.
Bailey later returned to training horses, sending a jumper named Bottoms Up to the 1980 Olympics.
Her late husband Robert was a steamship line executive and the couple eventually moved to the Far East, making various exotic venues their home ports for sailing the Seven Seas.
The Baileys’ son, Mark, still lives in Canada.
Practicing what she preaches about staying active and being in shape, Bailey has turned her out-of-the-gym attention to her love of music.
A percussionist for the 23-member Alive Music Orchestra (based in Vacaville), Bailey and Company are committed to keeping the big-band sounds of the 1940s in our psyches.
So, who was her favorite drummer? Gene Krupa or Buddy Rich?
“I love both of them,” says Bailey, but smiles when adding: “Gene Krupa, though — he was a crazy man with the sticks.”
Favorite singer? Frank Sinatra comes to mind. She likes that Ol’ Blue Eyes started as a band singer. But she loves Bobby Darin, too. A tough choice, Cecily explains.
And what about that ballroom dancing?
“Yes. Twice a week,” Bailey reiterates. She hasn’t competed in a while, but doesn’t miss a chance to partner up when Latin swing or Argentine tango present themselves.
It’s all about thinking young, feeling young and working to stay active, she reminds us.
“With age, we all have physical issues we have to honor,” Bailey explains. “But I can accommodate folks to make things better.
“Advice? I’d say ‘Get up and go. Do it.’ You’re a long time dead. This is your one chance to live the life. You might as well have a good quality of life.
“How do you get that? You have to be active — keep the mind active and the body moving and tuned.”
For Cecily Bailey, mission accomplished.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-320-4456.