There’s no age limit on beginning to prioritize your health and well-being. For Joan MacDonald, motivation to strengthen her body came two years ago—when she was over 70.
Now at 74 years old, Joan has gone viral for her incredible fitness journey, amassing a following of more than 800,000 fans on Instagram. On her page, her bio has a single simple phrase: “You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again.”
Joan’s coach is actually her daughter Michelle MacDonald, who is a professional trainer. On her Instagram, Joan posts countless videos from the gym doing impressive exercises for someone even half her age. From crushing bicep curls t0 doing hip thrusts, Joan does it all. And working on her physique with her daughter has taught Joan valuable lessons you can take straight to the gym.
Recently, for instance, Joan published a popular post addressing the importance of gym style as a motivating factor. Addressing her personal experience, she writes that she hated trying on clothes prior to starting training, and used to wear baggy shorts and shirts 24/7. When her daughter insisted she buy new workout clothes for her fitness journey, Joan noticed a sudden shift.
“When I saw myself in flattering clothes in cute colors, I could see that my inner dialogue had to go,” she writes on Instagram. “I actually had muscles! I actually had a good shape taking form! I felt so good inside to see that in those new clothes.”
Joan adds that though style is often seen as trivial, it’s actually a great motivational tool and has a powerful impact on self-worth. When you feel you look good, you start to treat yourself with more kindness.
“If I can learn that lesson in my seventies you can too,” she writes. “Now you won’t catch me heading to the gym (or my living room, as the case may be) without taking the time to chose a favorite outfit. My daughter tells her clients, ‘You have to invest the same love and compassion for yourself at the start of your transformation that would to your own daughter if she was in your shoes.”
“You would encourage her, compliment her on her successes no matter how small, and you would treat her to some workout clothes that were flattering, wouldn’t you? So learn to do that for yourself, and replace that negative inner dialogue with a positive one.’ Now I’m sharing this with you.”
The advice to prioritize self-worth, compassion and inner strength rather than focusing on a number on the scale is a healthy, sustainable way to approach fitness. And Joan doesn’t want anyone to wait to start treating themselves kindly.
“Please don’t wait til you’re ‘perfect’ to take pride in yourself,” Joan writes. “You have to already see your perfection, your effort and your courage today. Love yourself enough to change, and show yourself that love daily.”
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