The Fitness Ageless Wonders

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Shellie Edington, 52

From: Columbus, OH
Stats: Crossfit Games Masters Champ (2016 Winner, 50–54)

Edington has a six-pack that women 30 years younger would envy. Her abs (and the rest of her impressive physique) were earned through an intense five-days-a-week CrossFit program that includes running, rowing, Olympic lifting, and other CrossFit staples.

Edington discovered the sport five years ago, after getting bored with her occasional workouts at a traditional gym. “I felt at home there the moment I walked in,” she says. That didn’t mean it was easy: Edington says she could barely do a pushup or a pullup. “I was shocked by my lack of strength and skill. I was terrified to go back—which is exactly why I did.”

Although she competed in gymnastics through high school and was a cheerleader in college, Edington stepped away from fitness when she became a full-time mother of three. Starting a company called Tumblin4Kids that taught gymnastics classes for toddlers in 2000 kept her somewhat active, but she felt her body slowing down. “I was really dragging. I had put on about 20 extra pounds, and I thought I was going to have to retire from teaching kids because it was too hard to move around.”

She committed to going to a CrossFit affiliate three times a week for an hour at a time, and after a few weeks she started to add twice-weekly Olympic lifting to work on her technique. Around the same time, she started
a Paleo diet that helped her drop about 25 pounds from her 5’3″ frame. Her coaches encouraged her to compete in CrossFit Open events, and she took up the challenge with gusto. In 2014, Edington placed third in her age group at the Reebok CrossFit Games, and fifth in 2015, then went on to win the Masters 50–54 division in 2016.

As proud as she was to stand on the podium, Edington says the ultimate payoff is how she feels. “My hashtag is now #youarenotdoneyet because every day is a chance to get better.”

Workout schedule:

Five days a week: three days of CrossFit, one of active recovery, and one of distance or interval training

Recovery secret:
Foam rollers and lacrosse balls (10 minutes a day, in the a.m. and post-workout)

Biggest challenge:
Running. “I love lifting weights, and gymnastics comes naturally, but I’ve learned to push through pain to endure.”

Favorite clean food:
Eggs and fresh greens with gluten-free toast and almond butter

Mental edge:
“Meditation. It does amazing things for my mindset.”



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Loarraine Grantt, 65

From: Houston, TX
Stats: Bodybuilder, Personal Trainer, Founder Of Own Your Age Fitness

Gantt hadn’t been in a gym before her mid-50s. But when her son, a competitive swimmer with USA Swimming, started Dryland training, she tagged along. “I fell in love with the whole environment,” she says.

After she started strength training, along with walking (and eventually running) at a local track and removing fast food from her diet, Gantt began to notice real changes in her body. The mother of three was also going through a divorce at the time, and she found that going to the gym twice a day helped relieve some of the stress.

“I discovered I liked lifting weights and seeing the definition emerge,” she says. “I started working hard and challenged myself to lift heavier.”

Gantt also made friends with a group of competitors about 20 years younger than her, and she was inspired to join them in training for an upcoming show. “I was a little intimidated by getting onstage in a bikini, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it,” she says. Although she didn’t walk away with a trophy, Gantt says she felt like a winner. “Just having the confidence to go out there was all I needed to feel good,” she says.

Competing in her 50s helped give gantt more confidence offstage.

SEE ALSO: Christie Brinkley Poses For Sports Illustrated Swimsuit At Age 63

A registered nurse for more than 40 years, Gantt decided to share her newfound love of fitness with her patients and her peers. “I see firsthand how the body declines, and how much fitness can help to delay the aging process,” she says. Three years ago she earned her fitness certification and started working on a fitness video program for seniors that focused on strength, endurance, posture, balance, and flexibility. She calls it Own Your Age fitness because she does exactly that. “I’m not going to just sit around and get old,” she says. “I know aging is a natural process and will happen, but it’s not about getting older; it’s about getting better.”

“I want the second half of my life to be even better than the first.”

Workout schedule:
5–6 days a week, combo of cardio and weights

Max leg press:
400 pounds

Clean food faves:
Chicken, turkey, and salmon

Favorite body part:
to work: Arms. “It’s the first place you see results.”

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Linda Wood-Hoyte, 74

From: Dix Hills, NY
Stats: IFBB Judge, Personal Trainer, Health Coach

Wood-Hoyte started training for her first fitness competition a few months shy of her 40th birthday, an event she subsequently won. She went on to top the podium at more than 10 amateur shows, including the NPC Team Universe Championships in 1994 and 1995, while she was still in her 50s. More than 30 years after she first stepped onstage, she’s still involved with competitive fitness— this time as a judge at such marquee events as the Olympia and Arnold. “My body responds to motion,” says Wood-Hoyte, who ran track and field competitively as a teen and was a dancer.

Although she no longer competes, Wood-Hoyte keeps up her workout routine with heavy lifting sessions— she can still row 100 pounds and counts the one-arm row as her favorite exercise. Hip-replacement surgery in both hips means she can’t put as much pressure on her body as she once did, but she adds regular cardio sessions in her home gym to stay fit.

“When I stopped competing, I thought there was no way I was going to let myself get overweight,” she says. Wood-Hoyte follows the 90/10 diet rule, maintaining a healthy diet 90% of the time while allowing herself cheats like red velvet cake or pasta for the remaining 10%. “You have to have a measurement, whether it’s how your clothes fit or the number on the scale. For me, if I get above a certain number, I know it’s time to cut back.”

Your body is the perfect machine, but you have to use it.

Wood-Hoyte began sharing her enthusiasm for fitness a few years ago when she started training clients. “I work with a lot of people who are around my age, and the biggest thing I try to impart is the importance of consistency,” she says. “You need to think about what you are doing and why—your body will keep you healthy and strong as long as you don’t abuse it.”

Workout schedule:
Lifting 3x a week, cardio 5–6 times a week

Stay-young secret:
Stretching. “I never used to pay that much attention, but it’s important. Just look at dogs and cats—the first thing they do when they get up is a nice stretch.”

Favorite body part to work: Back

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Ginette Bedard, 83

From: Howard Beach, NY
Stats: Marathoner

Running 16 marathons is admirable enough, but not starting them until age 69—when many runners have given up the grueling endurance event—is mind-boggling. In fact, Bedard has crossed the finish line every year since 2002 (except for 2012, when the New York City race was canceled because of Hurricane Sandy).

Although she has slowed down a bit since her PR of 3:46 in 2005, when she ranked as
the fastest female marathoner in the world in the 70–74 age division, Bedard has kept up an impressive mileage that would likely hobble runners a quarter of her age. She runs 10–12 miles a day, almost every day, heading out for three hours on the road.

Bedard moved to the U.S. from Canada in 1962 (she’s a native of France), and was inspired to start exercising when she saw fitness icon Jack LaLanne on TV. She began running as another form of exercise, jogging around John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York before heading to her job as a customer service representative at Alitalia. “Running gave me self-confidence,” she says. She started entering longer races and soon discovered her love of the New York City Marathon. “It’s such a great experience— everyone is cheering you on and supporting you through the entire event,” Bedard says.

SEE ALSO: Game Plan For Staying Fit Over 40


There is no reward like crossing the finish line.

While running is her first love, Bedard keeps up a light weight-training schedule, training with dumbbells and doing situps each day. And she has no plans to slow down anytime soon. “There is nothing like the discipline, willpower, and pride that running a marathon brings,” she says. “It’s a physical and mental victory for yourself.”

Weekly mileage:
70–85 miles

Number of races run since 2001:

250+ Best pace: 7:11 per mile (age 72)

Diet philosophy:
“Everything in moderation.”

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