You are never too old or too out of shape to get fit. You are also never too old to compete in a fitness competition. My reason for writing this article is to hopefully inspire women and men over 40 years of age to enter or at least set a goal to compete in a competition. Sharing my competition journey with as many people as I can is not for the purpose to brag about my accomplishments, but to encourage and motivate what I like to call the ‘prime of life’ group to realize anything is possible if you set a goal and commit to it. When I first thought of entering a competition at 45 years old, it was simply to set a new goal for myself. I needed something to work towards. The first attempt, I simply picked a competition, but didn’t actually register! I just needed a goal date to work towards. It is what I called my practice run but was really my ‘I am too afraid to step on stage attempt’. A year later at the ripe age of 46 I decided ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, and sent in my registration fee to a regional fitness competition taking place in three months time. I would not allow the fear of parading my body on stage in front of hundreds of people stop me! I followed a very strict regimen of workouts and clean eating. I felt empowered. The mere thought of getting on stage in a crystal covered teeny bikini and six in high heels made me wonder if I truly was out of my mind! When I stepped on stage twelve weeks later I knew I deserved to be there. I set a goal and followed through. I sculpted my body through training and proper nutrition. I looked better than I did in my 20’s, 30’s or early 40’s. I was also the strongest I have ever been mentally and physically. Starting at around age 40, most people lose nearly half a pound of muscle each year and gain the same amount of fat. While it’s true that as we age we have to work harder than the young, a lot of the declines that we attribute to aging may be reversed with fitness training. So I ask you, “are you out of shape and gaining weight because you are aging....or are you GETTTING OLD because you are out of shape and gaining weight!?” Research and many of us over the age of 40 are proving that this doesn’t have to be the case. Many of the declines in fitness with aging are due to lack of use and not just the aging process. The old saying, "USE IT OR LOSE IT" is very true! I don’t plan on letting the years slow me down. I also believe I am capable of training just as hard as women half my age. The human body, whether young or old is a miraculous, creation. It will rise to meet the challenges it is faced with. Don’t let age stop you from reaching your goals. It is just a number, muscle doesn’t know age! I am just shy of my 48th birthday and will be competing in The Fitness STAR Model Search in Toronto on April 11th, 2009. If you are not ready to compete, at least come out to see what it is all about. Consider this my personal invite! It may be enough to inspire you to become the best you can be.
Marla Arndt is a Guelph based personal trainer. She owns and operates Frameworks Fitness Studio and can be reached via her website at http://wwwframeworksfitness.com