Michelle Obama ’85 has inspired American women with her poise, her sense of style, and, well, her arms. Count Catherine Mallette ’84 in that last group. Mallette, the features editor for the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, looked at the first lady's toned biceps and triceps and wondered what was stopping her from getting the same results at the gym. And, as she notes in a recent column, "the more I thought about her, the more I realized she and I have a lot in common." Both are Princeton alumni, both have two kids and busy schedules. The main difference, Mallette surmised, was that she did not have the benefit of a personal trainer. So in December, she hired one and got to work.

The first session was grueling, and by the second round of weightlifting exercises, Mallette writes, she was struggling to raise her arms:

"I thought to myself: 'You are trapped in a manhole. Water is climbing up and you will drown if you cannot reach up and punch that cover off. You are going to die if you can't move your arm up.'

"I closed my eyes and put every ounce of energy into trying to lift my right arm.

"'You can do it.' I told myself. 'You can do it.'

"I couldn't do it."

But the workouts have improved in the last few weeks, and Mallette is optimistic that she'll be able to take her arms "from Jell-O to Michelle O." Read more from her story at Star-Telegram.com.

(Photo courtesy of the Star-Telegram.)

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