Fitness After 50: Athlete spotlight – the sensational 70s

By Vicki Morgan, CPT

VickiTruFitPromo1webI get a lot of emails from readers asking for summertime fitness inspiration. Well, nothing excites me more than watching the senior athletes we have right here in the Springs. So over the summer, I’ll be interviewing athletes and fitness junkies ages 50 through 80.

We’ll find out where their motivation comes from, plus tips on diet and exercise habits. So be prepared to be inspired!

Patsy M. – Age 70
Fitness status: Master Athlete
Diet: Paleo
Training regimen: 5-6 days a weekPatsy Mweb

At 70, Patsy trains harder than almost any athlete I know. She is just five months post-shoulder surgery and one year post-knee replacement, yet she’s training for a modified Murph this month, Olympic lifts at the Rocky Mountain State Games in July and a powerlifting competition this winter. Then she’ll begin prepping for next year’s bodybuilding show. Surgeries and age have brought new challenges, but she’s pushing through the rough spots and plans to emerge victorious! Patsy didn’t start working out until age 47. She didn’t begin CrossFit until she was 63.  But she wasn’t always in shape.

Wisdom from Patsy:
“After I left the military, I became overweight. I said to myself, ‘Oh Lord, this is NOT me.’ That’s when I started bodybuilding. Competing in bodybuilding gave me good motivation. CrossFit was very difficult at first because I knew nothing about it. You have to have a mindset first of all, of what you want to do. If you have a challenge, just go for it, and do what you can with it. But do it with moderation, be careful and be safe. On days I don’t want to train, I think about how I want to look, and push myself through.”

Brigitte Majors – Age 78
Fitness status: Fitness Junkie
Diet: Fresh food, but pretty much what she wants
Training regimen: 5-6 days a weekBrigitte Majors 1web

Brigitte came here from Germany when she was 32 years old. She started weight training 35 years ago with a coach. Brigitte was lifting very heavy weights at the time, even though she started later in life. She was her coach for many years, and then starting working out on her own. Now she prefers training by herself because she gets to come and go when she wants, and stay as long as she wants. Brigitte trains for 2-2 ½ hours a day.  Cardio, Free Weights, Machine Weights and Stretching are all part of her daily routine.

Wisdom from Brigitte:
“I have my own motivation. I push myself, so I don’t need a trainer.  It motivates me that I have to be in shape to live longer, to live healthier, et cetera. I would recommend that if you start later in life, that you do less weight. It doesn’t matter how many pounds you lift; it matters how many repetitions you do, and how well you do it. You don’t buy processed food. You buy fresh food and fix it yourself. I worked until I was 72 and always fixed fresh food.”   

Jo Pregel – Age 78
Fitness status: Beginner
Diet: Gluten Free, Sugar-free, Sweetener-free, No Breads
Training regimen: 3 days a weekJo Pregelweb

Jo and her husband danced together on a weekly basis, until he passed away. Overcome with grief, she began eating fast food and gaining weight. Some of you know … it’s hard to get motivated without your best friend. Well … it’s never too late to start, and Josephine is living proof! Jo began working out just 10 short months ago and at age 78, she is just beginning to hit her stride. She has tripled her strength, learning to use proper form and safe techniques.  When she started, there was no way she could squat down and get back up. Now, she can do that deeply and repetitively, while holding a 20 pound dumbbell to her chest.  She wows onlookers at the gym with her 60-pound lat pull reps.  She can do 20-pound curls, 60-pound chest presses and a multitude of other feats unheard of for a 78 year-old beginner. She is one of the few seniors I know that has no pain at all. Her flexibility goal is to sit Indian-style on the floor with her grandkids.

Wisdom from Jo:
“Find a partner to work out with.  I wouldn’t come to the gym if it weren’t for my training partner. Also, there’s no such thing as ‘a little soda.’ You have to cut soda out completely. I did, and I lost 10 pounds in the first year. Now I am noticeably stronger. I can carry my own suitcase, walk longer and hike with my grandkids. My pant size is smaller, and I was able to cut down three of my medications.”

Next month … more senior athlete spotlights! If you know anyone who fits the bill, please let me know! See you at the gym!

Vicki Morgan A.C.E. is a Senior Strength & Fitness Trainer at Flex Gym and Fitness. You can reach her at Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. If you experience pain or difficulty, stop and consult your healthcare provider. This article is not meant to take the place of any treatment or activity your physician has deemed necessary.

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