A 61-year-old grandmother of six is sharing a positive message that it’s never too late to commit to a healthy lifestyle.
Lynda Jager of Cambridge, Ont. first discovered her love of working out when she was in her 20s. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Jager said her lifelong struggle with anxiety initially prevented her from joining a gym, and she chose to work out at home on her own.
“I would follow shows on TV and learn from them,” she said of her early days exercising in her parents’ basement. The more I started to see results, the more results I was anxious to see, and that kept me going.”
Jager, now a personal trainer and medical office administrator, said in her 30s she mustered up enough courage to join a gym, which sparked her interest in lifting weights and bodybuilding.
“I was always drawn to the images both in magazines and on TV of strong women that looked healthy and fit and really wanted to do the same to my body,” she explained. “I enjoyed the appearance of muscles on my body. I also wanted to set an example for my young children, so they could be strong and self-confident as well.”
After nearly 30 years of a passion for fitness, Jager entered her first bodybuilding competition at 51 and has since become a five-time bodybuilding champion.
“The first time I stepped on stage, I thought I would faint and almost didn’t do it. The girl behind me actually had to give me a little nudge to get me to step on stage,” she said. “My confidence through the years grew and my shyness and anxiety lessened immensely...I believe [competing] has given me the confidence to try new things and speak up when I need to.”
Jager’s love of fitness and age-defying frame garners plenty of attention from men, who she says sometimes feel “intimidated” by her muscles.
While she has been called “too fit” by modelling agencies, it’s men who often comment on her appearance, saying “your biceps are bigger than mine” or “I bet you could beat me up.”
The attention Jager receives doesn’t go unnoticed by her husband, Mark, who she said “brushes it off” whenever men try to flirt with her. The couple were married last year, after more than 15 years together.
“My husband loves the way I look,” she said. “He knows that I get some admiring glances and comments from other men but isn't really bothered by them. He is very confident in our relationship.”
For Jager, the benefits of feeling healthy and working out outweigh the unwanted attention she sometimes receives.
“In the beginning I was a bit of a closet exerciser, as weightlifting and muscles on women were sometimes thought strange and not the ‘norm’,” she explained. “I would hide my muscles to avoid the comments. We’ve come a long way since then, realizing that muscles on women is healthy.”
Now, Jager is hopeful that she can share her love and knowledge of fitness with others and encourage them to unplug and start becoming physically active.
“I want everyone to understand that being fit for life is possible, without pain, restrictive eating or drugs,” she said. “It starts with a mindset; you should have a clear vision of your reasons for change and that vision becomes your motivation...With that clear vision in mind, seek out all the information you can and learn how to achieve those goals through informative magazines and books, reliable sources on the internet, or find a qualified coach or trainer. It all starts in the mind but continues in the heart. You need to believe in yourself.”