At 27, I met a woman who changed my life by showing me that anything is possible through strength and an indomitable will. She was my personal trainer and one of my greatest motivators. Her enthusiasm, ability to transcend, self-worth, and grit are beyond admirable. She was 50 years old at the time and had recently switched careers. Moving from hospitality to the fitness, she was the “least young” trainer at my women’s health club for nearly 20 years. Yet she was the best. She had a fire in her that set her apart from others, a fire fueled by the desire to earn her own strength.
She taught me these three lessons:
Lesson #1: Transformation is possible at any age.
At any time, you have the power to change your physical body, your mindset, your habits, passion for life, your self-worth, and your self-love. Imagine the life you want. Begin to work for it. You will discover your power to change.
Six months before Mary turned 50, she gifted herself a smoke-free life. She quit smoking cigarettes but filled the void with chocolate and too much else. She gained weight and again said, “Enough is enough.” She joined a fitness facility where she does strength training three to four days each week. It was a battle, but Mary gained control of her eating and workouts and learned the importance of eating clean consistently.
According to Mary, “Some people may view 50 as ‘old’ but I viewed it as my half-way point and time to restart.” Mary has lost four pants’ sizes. At 52 years old, she completed an intense 9-week weight training program and has a six-pack. There is something about turning 50 that has been incredibly empowering. “The first time someone told me that they wanted to be just like me when they were my age, it stung a bit because I still feel like I’m 30, but I realize that there is no greater compliment. I work very hard to be healthy and I am happy that it shows!”
Lesson #2: Transformation makes you feel like a badass.
The addition of weight lifting not only changed Mary’s body but changed her mindset. While her physical strength is obvious, it surprised her that she is mentally stronger, too. “There is something very empowering when you wrap your hands around a heavy barbell and can complete 3 sets of 12 reps.” Fatigued and sore at the end of a session, she is also pumped “because you know if you can lift that weight you never thought you could lift, then you can accomplish many other things you thought were out of reach.”
Lesson #3: Transformation is possible, given any circumstances.
A woman wrote to me this week. Seven years ago, Terril was diagnosed with damaged heart valves. They told her valve replacement is inevitable. She was 56 years old. Four years later, during an exercise heart catheter, she had to repeat the same test 4 times because the machine was faulty. Terril said it was awful, but they learned that prolonged exercise improves her heart function.
Knowing this, Terril made a courageous decision that changed her life. She joined the Allegheny Mountain Y Master’s Swim Association. Guess what? Now she swims competitively! Terril, at 63 years old, sets records. Over the Association’s last 40 years, she has the fastest time in three events and the second best time in several other events. She is very proud of these accomplishments, and says that “growing muscles at age 61 is pretty cool, too.”
By: Erin Dubich