The Inspiring Story Of Serena Williams

The Inspiring Story Of Serena Williams

The Inspiring Story Of Serena Williams

When we write about success stories, the idea is typically to point to women over 40 who have overcome health obstacles or demonstrated outstanding fitness that the rest of us can be inspired by. This post is a little bit different, because tennis star Serena Williams is just 36 years old (though she’ll turn 37 just after this year’s U.S. Open in September). Nevertheless, Williams is a special case, not only because she’s still one of the most impressive athletes in the world at what, in tennis, is an advanced age – but also because she’s overcome some sensational obstacles in the last year to become an inspiration to women everywhere.

Actually, this story started about 18 months ago, at the 2017 Australian Open. There, Serena Williams was the favorite – as she always is when she’s healthy – and, sure enough, she stormed through the tournament and lifted the trophy at the end. We only found out later that this particular title for the all-time champion was different. She’d been pregnant during the tournament. That alone should be inspiration to women everywhere who might question how having children could affect their physical capabilities, or health in general.


Following her Australian Open triumph, Williams took time away from the sport, and she wound up having her baby during the 2017 U.S. Open in the fall. The immediate reaction from a tennis world and broader society that adores Williams was joy and celebration. And, inevitably, people began speculating as to how quickly Williams would make it back to the professional tour. The early rumor, and one that persisted, was that she was going to come back for the 2018 Australian Open, which would take place roughly four months after Williams gave birth.

Williams didn’t end up meeting that goal, and soon the world discovered why. As it turned out, the tennis star had not simply had her child in September – she’d nearly lost her life on multiple occasions. Beginning with an emergency c-section and culminating in a ruptured surgical site and life-threatening blood clots, Williams had a complicated delivery fraught with danger. Even more incredibly, Williams diagnosed the blood clots herself, having experienced a pulmonary embolism before and, this time, insisted to her doctors that it was happening again.

Ultimately, winning the 2017 Aussie Open pregnant and persevering through such a difficult process of childbirth is enough to make Williams even more of an inspiration to women everywhere. But what really makes her relevant here, from a fitness perspective, is how she wound up coming back. After playing in a couple of smaller tournaments to get her legs under her, Williams was seeded at Wimbledon in early July and made it all the way back to the final before falling to seasoned champion Angelique Kerber.

Now, as we approach the latter stages of the 2018 professional tennis calendar, previews for the U.S. Open are just beginning to trickle out, and they’re making note of Williams as a former champion and a contender this time around. Adding it all up, Serena Williams made it from an emergency c-section and pulmonary embolism, to the final hour of the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world, to likely U.S. Open favorite in a little less than a year’s time. And she did it in her 37th year.

Williams may not be in her 40s yet, and we might not know what she’s specifically done to be in physical condition to make this kind of a comeback. But the story should be an inspiration to all of us that, as cliché as it sounds, hard work and determination can lead to phenomenal fitness no matter what the obstacles may be. Being past what would conventionally be called your physical prime, having children, and even surviving life-altering complications don’t have to slow you down. It’s an incredibly empowering thought, and yet another extraordinary example Serena Williams has set for women everywhere.

 

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Hi, My Name is Impossible

Hi, My Name is Impossible

Hi, my name is Impossible.

Susan Niebergall

Not too long ago,

I was sent a message though Instagram from a follower who was asking me questions about my diet and workout regimen. She proceeded to tell me that she showed her certified nutritionist pictures of me saying she wanted to look like me

What came next was not only interesting, but eye opening. Her nutritionist told her that results like that at my age are “impossible”.

I would just like to shake her hand and say, “Hi, my name is Impossible”

The Nutritionist proceeded to tell her client:

  • I obviously adhere to a very strict diet
  • I probably do an extremely low carb diet
  • I see the word “sugar” every time I even look at a bagel, so I never eat them
  • I spend 2-3 hours in the gym

All of that from a picture. A picture on Instagram

The truth?

My diet is not very strict at all. I include foods I love all the time (helloooo chocolate and wine!)

  • Low Carb? Haha. My middle name is Carb.
  • I eat bagels, bread, and (gasp) even some chocolate cake
  • I spend about an hour on my program at the gym 4 days a week. If I am there longer, it’s because I talk to people. (I can talk too much )

And you want to know the supplements I take?

  • A multi vitamin for old people (literally for “seniors”)
  • Fish Oil
  • Vitamin D
  • Protein Powder

That’s it. Oh, and you know what else?

I work fucking hard.

Don’t let anyone ever tell you you can’t do something or that it’s impossible just because of your age. Because that’s just bullshit.

Is it easy? No, it’s not easy. Some days are easier than others. It takes work, but it is possible.

Look, I am no one special. I don’t have “good genes”. I am not a gifted athlete. I am just someone who got her head on straight, made some changes and works super hard.

Susan Niebergall Before and After

 

So to that nutritionist out there who seems to know me so well from a picture on Instagram, I invite you to come on my podcast and let’s chat.

In the meantime, I think I will change my name to “Anything’s Possible”

Susan Niebergall @Susan Niebergall Fitness

Website: susanniebergallfitness.com

IG: @susanniebergallfitness

FB: Susan Niebergall Fitness

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Interview with Bonnie Sprinkle

Interview with Bonnie Sprinkle

Bonnie’s Story

Tell us briefly who you are, how “young” you are and how you got started in your fitness journey.
I’m 65. Started doing a weekly stretch & tone aerobics class when I was about 30. Did these little classes for about 3 years until a gym opened in my area and I started mostly taking aerobics classes. and fumbled incorrectly on the equipment…thought I was spending enough on the membership without spending money on a trainer.  Finally friend & I started working with a trainer, 6 days a week for 3 years ….we got strong…but it was almost all legs, over exercising without understanding nutrition  My friend & I split a Le Menu frozen dinner 2 times a day & had protein shakes. She lost 100 lbs & I gained 20. At the end of this time she quit exercising & I continued on. Now as a trainer I understand that for both of us it was WAY TOO much exercise, too time consuming our diet was still so lacking that we were undermining our health still.

Have you always been athletic? 
Not at all. Always horribly underweight, sickly child, couldn’t do sports in school, hid during gym. I was force fed as a child to TRY & make me gain weight, as a young adult I started skipping meals, eating a lot of junk, lived on soda & ice cream, & lying about not eating. The gym and better eating (even though it was still horrible) helped me gain weight & become interested in fitness. 

Did you have weight to lose as well as muscle to build? 
In the beginning I only weighed 80 lbs, sometimes even less at 5’3”. Now I weigh around 110 or 115. I was down to the bone skinny but probably had a 35% body fat, very dangerous. It has taken me a long time to build muscle. I exercised for 10 years before I grasped how to develop muscle rather than just going through the motions. 

You owned a Gym for 25 years & started competing in bodybuilding competitions at age 48, tell us bit about those journeys.  
After a falling out with my trainer over how he’d treated by workout partner, fat shaming and cruel remarks, I decided to open my own gym in the next town away. At first it was a ladies only studio but soon the husbands wanted to join. During the first year I took an ICS course then during my second year I became AFAA certified, Due to needing continuing credits & wanting to gain knowledge I became WEIGHT ROOM certified through FRA & AFAA.  In 1998 I added NABF  North American Bodybuilding Federation Personal Trainer, Nutritional consultant & Contest Judge. Al Thurston, the founder of NABF has trained many top notch competitors & trainers & is well known especially through the east coast, Maine to Florida. I took up competing at 48 after training a 50 year old friend & said to myself that I SHOULD PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH TO MY CLIENTS, so I competed almost every year until 2013.
What is your biggest motivation in being fit? 
Being able to enjoy life  & do sports activities

What is your biggest obstacle to staying fit? 
I don’t see obstacles. Maybe too much travel, too much alcohol, too many desserts … but these things don’t affect me much

Women in our group always want to know this, What do you eat?  
MY food  …. sweet potato, chicken, fish, eggs, oatmeal, rice,  …. veg smoothie,  some days yogurt, papaya gut health…  little to no dairy, sugar, processed wheat, no soda or processed drink for 30 years, except once a year sparkling asti & rare red wine, nothing canned or packaged. I can give you a exact run down if your like….. its quick

How do you stay motivated and inspired?
I think the variety in my activities keeps me motivated..kayaking, SUP, bike, running, ropes course as well as weights

Have you ever gotten derailed from your path? 
Just this September, I decided to skip the gym for a month to devote more time to SUP, kayak, snorkeling, running, BOSU & stretching at home …so it turned into 8 weeks…..and I know my low back can not take 8 weeks off, I was just scrunching back on the couch & pulled muscles…. real pain …. got a appointment with a physical therapist and it was much better & he gave me instructions for avoiding in the future, one was to do overhead style swimming & work the elliptical. So for the next 6 weeks, I worked on light Physical therapy weight lifting, elliptical & swimming. In addition to this gyms, Sauna, Steam, power jet therapy pools. So 4 months recovering from not going to the gym! Now I’ve been back to a hearty workout for a month now & feel like I’d never stopped.

Do you have a big health & fitness goal for this year? 
I’d like to compete if I could find a convenient contest

What is your ONE fitness secret you’d like to share with our audience? 
for new exercisers … 5 years or less… 3 days a week might be more effective than 5. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 
Eat real food. Experiment with complex carbs such as sweet potato, rice, oatmeal, white potato, for breakfast, lunch, mid afternoon; in combination with fibrous carbs & protein.    Only about 20% of the population thrive on high protein diets.  Most people need MUCH more whole food complex carbs than they are getting. Eating too much protein in combination with complex carbs can cause metabolic & hormonal issues, diabetes & cancer.

Interview closing remarks:
Suppressing the appetite or starving can produce weight loss but NEVER produces health. There are no miracle weight loss products.

Contact Us if you would like to be interviewed.

Your life will be better if…

Your life will be better if…

Age Does Not Hold You Back...How many times have you said, “My life will be better if…?” My life will be better IF I had more time to workout, or IF I could lose 40 pounds, or IF I could stop feeling tired all the time or IF I could get motivated to start working out again. What is your IF?

Whatever your IF is,

Your life will be better if…you take action in creating your own story.

Here, in the Northern Hemisphere, daylight is fading into the darkest time of year called the Winter Solstice. It is a time of less activity and hibernation but also one of review and renewal.

Our ancestors sat around their campfires and hearths during this time of year and made sense out of the past by telling stories. They shaped and crafted their adventures, and their successes and failures into meaningful tales. They sought to understand and then transform what had happened to them. As they shared their stories, many rewrote and reshaped what they wanted to change.

The New Moon will arrive on Nov 29th. New moons bring in more introspective, solitude and a deep desire to seek out quiet places in nature. They are also the time to plant the seeds of change within YOU. Who are you now at this point in your life and what can you become?

This new moon brings in the opportunity to craft, reshape and then give Voice to the story YOU want to tell to the world. We are the authors, the designers of the stories of our lives.

How can you reshape and rethink YOUR own story?

Take the time to reflect how you want the story of your life to look. Then ask yourself WHO you must become to create that result. You have a choice. Now is the time to be Bold and find the Courage to be who you want to become.

5 actions you can take right now to Design Your Own Story:

1. Start where you are. Everyone has a story and we all are in this together. The world needs more role models and more women who are ready to take charge or their lives and their health. Go to the FitWomenOver40 FB page if you need some inspiration or role models. The one thing I know for sure is that I only have control over ME. And so do you. Start with you. Do it now.

2. Tell someone about it. I want you to tell someone in your real life what idea or goal is that you’ve been procrastinating about, or have a fear about or just simply want to DO. You can tell somebody in your real life but also want to encourage you to come over to our new Fit Women Over 40 Private Facebook group, and introduce yourself (use the hashtag #introduction) and tell us who you are and what you want. Tell us what is the one thing you’re going to do in the next week or month or 3 months or year.

3. Which leads to: What is your One Big Audacious Goal? In the previous step, you told somebody your idea. In this step, you take it even further. Think thru what that really looks like to you. Flesh out the details. Maybe you have to lose 20, 30 40 lbs first, maybe you need to stop eating sugar and junk food and maybe you need support and motivation starting a strength training program. Focus on it. Define it. Shape it, envision it, give it parameters and boundaries. Identify what it’s going to be. Come over to the Fit Women Over 40 Private Facebook group and tell us about your new story. Use the hashtag, #MyOneBigAudaciousGoal.

4. Put a date on it. Tell us when you’re going to do it by and tell that person that you’re telling as well. Tell someone about your goal and put a date on it and then get to work. I want you to come back and report when you’ve done it as well in the Facebook group. Pay particular attention when you’re choosing the thing that you’re going to do. If you’ve been avoiding something difficult and it’s still in your mind, it’s probably a very important issue. It’s probably something that you really should do.

5. Decide that you are good enough. Pay attention particularly to the things that you’ve got a bit of fear about. Stop listening to that little voice in your head that says, “You can’t do this. You’ve tried this before. Who do you think you are? What will my kids, or husband/partner or best friend say? What happens if I fail? How will I be able to make this happen?” All of these little voices made this thing a bigger thing than it needed to be.

Start Today, Start Now.

Let me tell you my story:

I started Fit Women Over 40 back in 2007 because I wanted to read about and be inspired by women over 40 who had muscles and who were using high intensity strength training as their fitness regime. Well as many of you know who have been following our Facebook page for years I managed to find hundreds if not thousands of Fit Women Over 40. Their ages range from almost 40 to 50 to 70 to 90 something. I’ve even had many under 40 out of shape women ask if they could join our “tribe”. Yes of course you can. Our wisdom and experience as “older” women is valued and listened to in so many ways now. I find that women who are doing amazing things love to simply show what they’ve accomplished and I’m proud to have built a special place for them to stand on their own stage and tell show us what they did and how they did it.

Start where you are. Everyone has a story and we all are in this together. The world needs more role models and more women who are ready to take charge or their lives and their health. If that’s one thing I know for sure, is that I only have control over ME. And so do you. Start with you. Do it now.

I really do look forward to seeing new stories we can create as a result of this email. Also, I encourage you to contact me at deb[at]fitwomenover40.com or leave a comment on the article page at or simply come join our FB group and share your story there with us. I look forward to celebrating your stories and your goals and maybe helping out in any way that I can.

Thanks for listening, I look forward to hearing from you all and being part of your incredible fitness journeys.

SUCCESS STORY: Tina Smiley

SUCCESS STORY: Tina Smiley

Hi my name is Tina I just turned 47 in March and I’m a Mom, my boys are 24, 21, & 14.

My fitness journey began about nine years ago when I started working out in my community gym. Even though I’ve never struggled with being “overweight,” I was still self conscious about my body and wanted to lose a few pounds after three children as well as develop some muscle tone after 40+ years of neglect.

So after several years of basically doing the same routine day in and day out w/o much visible physical change, I decided to start running. Within about two months I had lost those stubborn 15 pounds and I felt great! I began a different routine at the gym and continued running and finally started to see those muscles forming! By the mid Fall I completed my very first 5k run, and even participated in a mud run!

But I soon became bored with my routine plus I really wanted to get my husband involved in regular exercise, so….we both decided to try out a Crossfit class.

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We were surely intimidated at first with all the muscle-bound bodies (both male AND female) working out along side us in the gym, but we became hooked. After only three free Saturday classes, we joined the “box.” (Crossfit lingo for gym)
Crossfit certainly introduced me to things I never imagined myself doing…like box jumps, pull-ups, kettle-bells and of course weight-lifting.

Each day we would do a different WOD (workout of the day) and while they were challenging, they were also fun.
I liked the classes and the Crossfit community but again I became bored.

So after about two and half years I started going to a regular gym. And this is where I am today. My husband remains at the Crossfit box because he likes the classroom setting, (as do I) but typically I enjoy doing my own routine within my own time-frame.

An average gym day for me is between 2 1/2-3 hrs a day 5-6 days/week.
I just love it.

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Without boring you to tears, let me just say I basically work on my “physique” …focusing on specific muscle tone-ness, ab/core, as well as cardio.

I still enjoy met-cons as I love utilizing all the fun things I learned with doing Crossfit, like kettle-bells and wall-balls, and even some weight-lifting. But I just don’t focus too much on a lot of weight. Instead I continually try to improve my technique in whatever movement I do.

Over the past few years, I’ve participated in several local Crossfit competitions, as well as a few 5k runs. This September I will be taking part in my first Spartan Sprint Race with my husband and three boys.

I recently earned my Personal Training Certification and my goal is to influence, inspire and help others achieve their fitness goals. I currently help a few friends at my gym, and am working on getting a neighborhood bootcamp class together.

Life is too short. And you are NEVER too old to look and feel your very best.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there! Be “stronger than yesterday.”

-Tina

 

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Life certainly begins in many ways after 40

Life certainly begins in many ways after 40

Photo by Brian K. Donnelly

This is a follow-up to a story I did last summer on USA Canoe/Kayaker, Pam Boteler. See the article, World-class athlete, activist and raw food vegan at 40.

Boteler is the top American woman in sprint canoeing, a high intensity flatwater sport that’s a growing craze among women at boating clubs across the United States. Competitors kneel in sleek carbon-fiber boats and paddle furiously on one side for up to 1,000 meters.

Sprint/flatwater canoe (also known as “high-kneel) is currently an Olympic event for men, but not for women, and is the last summer Olympic sport to not have full gender equity. (Women’s ski jumping is the last winter Olympic sport not to offer women’s events.) Canoeing is the companion discipline to kayak (an Olympic event for men and women). Canoe/Kayak is one of the oldest Olympic sports, and one of the most difficult, as it is a classic test combining speed, power, endurance, and balance.

Photo by Brian K. Donnelly

Pam is over 40 and still competes regularly against “kids 18-23” and she still wins. Recently, with her canoe partner (30, with 2 kids and another on the way) and she won 3 bronze medals at the Pan American Championships in Mexico City ( at altitude), setting a new American record in the C2 200m event (2 person canoe).

They also set a new 500m record at the national championships in August in Oklahoma City, where they won 3 gold medals. And they finished 4th at the World Championships in Poznan, Poland in August.

Photo by Brian K. Donnelly

She writes: “Thank you – for featuring me. Your blog is awesome and inspiring (great outrigger photo!). I look forward to reading from your site about amazing women over 40, 50, 60. Thank you for what you are doing for so many women. Life certainly begins in many ways after 40. ”
Pam Boteler

Need more ideas for Cooking Healthy Meals, then check out: The Healthy Urban Kitchen Cookbook The Healthy Urban Kitchen is a simple, step by step system for shopping, cooking and eating the world’s healthiest foods. It was created for busy people who want to improve health, have more energy, and prevent disease.

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