Brenda Austin, 70 – Body Building and Maxine’s Shape Up Challenge

Meet the 70-year-old grandmother with an incredible physique…

70-year-old Brenda is lifted by her personal trainer Gerard in celebration. He writes the caption ’70yrs old and trains and works harder than most people I know. Absolute champion. Seriously what’s your excuse?’I couldn’t have put it better and have been inspired by Brenda ever since I started following her. Having a mother, the same age I hear all about the aches and pains of getting older.Brenda’s stunning physique got her 2nd place runner-up at Maxine’s challenge.

Although Brenda hasn’t always sported such a muscular physique and she started just four years ago, Brenda explains, ‘I have come a long way from being a very sick ‘old’ lady four years ago, as I am grateful for the health and wellbeing this lifestyle has given me.’It goes to show that it’s never too late to start! We spoke to Brenda to find out more about her lifestyle and how she achieved her physique at 70 years of age.

Tell us about yourself:

My name is Brenda, and I have been caring for people as long as I can remember. From the age of 17 I started training as a Registered Nurse, a career that I had for over 32 years. I later moved into Foster care for high needs disabled children and young adults, to which I have been caring for, for 17 or so years. This has always been a very physical and emotional role, and it got to a point where I realised that I had spent so much of my life caring for other people that I was not taking the right care of myself.

You were second runner-up in Maxine’s Shape Up Challenge 2013 – What was your motivation to take part, have you always been fit?

When I turned 66, I decided that it was time to change that. I have five grandchildren, and it was one of my biggest motivators to become a Grandmother that could keep up on the playground. My health had started deteriorating, and without making some big changes in my life, I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to be that Nanna running around for very long.I joined Maxine’s 12-week transformation challenge, determined to make a difference, and it changed my life more than I could imagine. I had a lot of medical issues, which I found a good and steady diet coupled with regular exercise, I could bring under my control. My health no longer controls me and I no longer have to take all the medications I once had to juggle to get me through my days. I placed as second runner-up in the Challenge, out of 3000 women, and that feeling of accomplishment and a new found energy inspired me to keep going, and it had been my goal to enter a fitness competition. In my 70th year, I accomplished this and was told that my physique was comparable to the women in the same class (who were 20 years younger!).In my 40s and 50s I attended the gym regularly and played sports in my youth, however, it was in my 60’s that my health declined where I found it difficult to maintain this.I now maintain a very similar diet, and workout 5 times a week in the gym, but also try to be outdoors enjoying nature as much as I can. I love bike riding, hiking, walks on the beach and being out in the garden.

Do you find any part of maturing tough?

I have never been afraid of ageing, however, I have always believed that you need to fight it all the way! I think I looked to my mother, whom no one knew was actually 10 years older than she told everyone, until after she passed. She was living proof that age is just a number, and I try to keep that philosophy in mind, having a good mindset and keeping some of your inner child and finding time to have fun and being able to laugh at yourself.I try not to define myself by the number of years that I have been around, but by the actions we take and the way we approach life. I try to do new things, and not be defined by the trends of my era. My daughters often pinch bits out of my wardrobe, and I out of theirs, so keeping up with the fashions, looking after your hair and nails all go towards one’s feeling of wellbeing.

How do you feel now versus your youth?

My age has not as yet limited me too much, I still feel as though I can accomplish just as much now as I did 20 or 30 years ago, the only difference now is that I get 10% off with my pension card!

What’s your best tip for ageing well?

I think one of the most important ways to take care of yourself as you age, is to remember that health and vitality come from the inside out. It’s so important to make sure that you make good choices with what you eat. When you eat well it shows. Exercise keeps my body toned.

Do you follow any health or beauty routines?

I always make sure I take good care of my skin too. Staying hydrated is really important, starting with making sure I drink plenty of water, not using soaps that dry out my skin and using good quality organic products – especially a good moisturizer. I make sure I moisturize morning and night and use an oil in my bath if I’m having a soak. It’s also really important to use sun cream, especially in the harsh Australian summers.

Brenda’s 6 tips for success

1. A positive attitude

Everything starts with an optimistic mindset. ‘Progress is progress no matter how slow it maybe.’ This is your journey, enjoy it. Every day counts.

Brenda adds, ‘Set some goals/challenges – countdown the 12-week challenge. It all started with a 12-week transformation challenge for me back in 2013 at aged 66. And now at 70 fitter and stronger.’

2. Varied fitness programme

Your never to old to learn and never to old to reinvent yourself. #fitover60 #nevertooold #neverstopbelieving #nevergiveup

A post shared by Brenda Austin (@brendamaxinemasterchallenger) on

Yes those are 20kg plates…

Mix it up and change your routine to keep you motivated. Brenda’s fitness routine varies from cardio to strength work with resistance and ab workouts.

3. A good night’s sleep

"Are you going to the gym" ? "Yeah later" ..😝😜😇 #betterlatethannever 😉

A post shared by Brenda Austin (@brendamaxinemasterchallenger) on

Recovery is important, ensure you’re getting at least 7 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep a night if possible. This gives your body the time it needs to heal and grow.

4. Active & fun lifestyle

Stay active from rock climbing to relaxing walks on the beach, getting up and moving regularly improves vitality and prevents a lot of the chronic diseases we become more at risk to as we get older.

5. Nutrition

regram @sweet_beas #youonlyturnseventyonce #designateddriver

A post shared by Brenda Austin (@brendamaxinemasterchallenger) on

It goes without saying that what you eat is important. If you find healthy cooking hard and grocery shopping a chore, Max’s challenge has your back with full weekly meal plans, shopping lists, and delicious recipes to keep it interesting. I’m a big fan of the Max challenge – it has helped me find the nutrition that fits in with my lifestyle.

6. Support networks

I’m lucky to have had a brilliant support network to help me along the way and keep me motivated. I’m inspired by my grandson and daughter as well as my PT, family and friends.

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