When 71-year-old Mary Duffy started going to the gym to lose weight, she never thought she’d end up being an international powerlifting champion.
But that’s exactly what happened to this grandmother from Connecticut in the US.
Mary says she never really took gym serious until the age of 59 when her mom died and she gained so much weight in two years that it made her feel uncomfortable.
“I looked in the mirror and saw how big I’d gotten, and that was a lightbulb moment for me. I remember thinking ‘I refuse to let that be me’ and signed up to join the gym.”
In one year, she’d lost more than 20kgs. Mary says the more she trained, the more she enjoyed it and after a while her personal trainer suggested she take up weightlifting.
“It can be hard to build muscle when you’re older, but I loved seeing my muscles become more defined as I got stronger.”
After doing daily cardio and general strength training and two weightlifting sessions a week, Mary was ready to enter her first powerlifting competition in 2014, aged 64. She loved it and started entering international powerlifting competitions twice a year.
Today she spends about 20 hours a week pumping iron in six-hour gym sessions.
This grandma now has more than 30 state and world records to her name, including world records for deadlifting 250lbs (about 113kg), benching 125lbs (about 56kgs) and squatting 175lbs (about 79kgs).
“I do get people telling me I’m too old for this, but my motto is ‘You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it back up’,” Mary says.
“I’m 71, but I’m the fittest I’ve ever been. I look and feel better now than I did when I was 40. I get a lot of people trying to tell me that I shouldn’t be weightlifting at my age, but I just laugh and tell them to check out my records.”
Mary now has two personal training sessions and three fitness boot camps a week and shares her fitness progress to her almost 30 000 followers on Instagram.
“I don’t think I’ll ever quit powerlifting – not unless I absolutely have to. I’m not the average 70-year-old and I have no intention of giving up now.”
SOURCES: LADBIBLE.COM, DAILYMAIL.CO.UK, METRO.CO.UK