There’s a tendency to think that if we’ve reached a certain age—be it 35, 45, or older—and aren’t already in great shape, then it’s too late to even try. But as someone who didn’t start exercising until her late thirties and ran the New York Marathon at 47, I learned that it’s never too late to start the journey.
Don’t just take my word for it. Take “fit-spiration” from these Instagram stars—sisters whose badass bodies are proof that when it comes to getting and staying in shape, the only number that matters is the one on the dumbbell you’re lifting!
The former gymnast and mom of one son started doing CrossFit workouts to heal body and soul after her divorce and a knee injury. She has since competed against many of the world’s fittest athletes in the CrossFit Games.
Fit tip: “Focus on building from your strengths and assets. Awareness of what you have going for you is a base to build upon. That’s your jumping off point, your springboard to where you want to go.”
Jeanette Jenkins, 44
If you’ve seen Kelly Rowland, Nia Long or Tracee Ellis Ross lately, then you’ve seen some of her body of work. And “The Hollywood Trainer’s” own body, with its curvaceous muscles and flat abs, is testament to her expertise. She also coaches non-celebs, who follow her DVDs and downloads.
Fit tip: “Exercise increases the growth of new brain cells; it decreases your risk of illnesses from heart disease to cancer! Always remember that exercise is so much more than just weight loss.”
This Palmdale, California fitness pro and model, despite being diagnosed with a heart condition, began entering body building competitions at 51. “Ageing and growing old are not necessarily the same thing,” she says.
Fit tip: “Women spend their lives taking care of others. [But if you] keep track of your nutrition and physical activity, you’ll gain more energy, self-confidence and joy. No one can take care of you like you.”
Kacy Duke, 63
Duke has (lovingly) whipped Lenny Kravitz and Denzel Washington into shape. Her fitness philosophy: Celebrate the body you have to get the body you want.
Fit tip: “With maturity comes wisdom, and a body that can do different things now than it could back in the day. Remember that movement is a privilege. If you can move, you must!”
Ellen Ector, 66
Ector quit social work to pursue a fitness career. Now the mother of five and creator of “ectorcise” co-owns a women-only gym in Atlanta. With her daughter, Lana, she released the DVD series, “Black Girls Workout, Too!” “I will not let age change me,” she says. “I will change the way I age!”
Fit tip: “Just like you make an appointment with your nail tech and hair stylist, keep your appointments with your fitness routines. Your body is your best accessory. Make that your main focus.”
Angelique Miles, 52
Laid off after two decades in music publishing (she signed Missy Elliott), this overworked exec was overweight. But the job loss fueled reinvention. Since incorporating CrossFit, strength training, barre classes and running into her routine, she has become a fitness blogger and wellness entrepreneur.
Fit tip: “Small changes go a long way. Progress and build from there.”
She’s been named the World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder by the Guinness World Records. But she was a “total couch potato” until age 56. Inspired by the sudden death of her sister (with whom she used to exercise), Ernie’s routine now includes waking up at 4a.m. for daily runs of up to 10 miles, and strength training four times a week.
Fit tip: “In case no one told you today, you're a winner!”