Wendy Ida proves that you don’t have to be a 20-something Instagram influencer to bring the #fitspo.
The 66-year-old personal trainer rallies midlife clients who are feeling too stuck, broken down and defeated to crush their goals, fitness or otherwise.
“I tell them, ‘You are still just a baby,’ ” Ida says with a chuckle. “ ‘You have so much life to live, love to give, places to go. You have a ways to go and the show is not over.’ ”
After all, Ida, pronounced (ee-duh), a former accountant, discovered fitness herself only in her early 40s, after escaping an abusive relationship. Now the Lakewood resident is certified as a personal trainer as well as in core training, functional training, Pilates, TRX, Zumba and nutrition. (It’s enough to land her the Guinness world record for “oldest multi-discipline fitness instructor.”)
Today, Ida, a former national bodybuilding champion, trains clients in person and online, and guest teaches and lectures at conferences around the world.
She also looks at least two decades younger than her 66 years and can crank out more burpees per minute — 37 is her personal record — than women a third her age.
Here are her tips for regaining your fitness mojo at any age, but especially after 50.
You can get buff at any age
1. Use it or lose it: Ida hasn’t toned down her exercise routine in recent years. She still favors circuit training three or four times a week with full-body moves that strengthen and tone, such as push-ups, squat jumps and burpees mixed with intervals on the treadmill or bike.
2. Lift! “You can build muscle while you’re burning fat,” she says. The biggest mistake she sees women of a certain age make is walking or doing aerobics but not lifting weights or doing body weight exercises.
3. Mix it up. “If you want to be better, stronger and healthier and achieve other exciting goals, you can’t just go out there and walk and do the same things you’ve always been doing,” she says.
4. Build in breaks. She takes alternate days off from her strength circuit to engage in “active rest” such as a light jog, dancing or a bike ride to give her body a break.
5. Her 20-20-20 formula. Her approach to fitness centers on a 20-20-20 formula, with 20 minutes of exercise most days, 20 minutes of morning meditation and 20 minutes of some kind of learning to keep her feeling at the top of her game.
6. No to Keto. Ida doesn’t believe in following fad diets. “What I do believe in is a healthy balance” of nutrients,” she said.
7. Don’t go hungry. She eats small meals every three or four hours to rev the metabolism, keep her energy up and stave off cravings.
8. Choose organic when possible. She tries to eat an all-organic diet, from her morning oatmeal to her produce.
9. Try cutting back or ditching meat: She recently began trying a vegan lifestyle to see how it would make her feel. So far, so good, she says.
10. Work on the mental game. When making changes to your health, find ways to get yourself excited and motivated by the process, so that you’re ready to commit to the necessary lifestyle changes.
11. Keep it fun. It’s also important to keep things playful if it’s going to stick. For Ida that means trying to limit energy-sapping stress, creating more opportunities for laughter and “dancing like no one’s watching.” “As we get older we get way too serious,” she said. “To stay moving we need to keep it fun. Find the spark that feeds your flame.”