A Healthy Journey with HERLIFE Magazine

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For over a decade, I have been a contributing writer for HERLIFE Magazine, most of the time composing cover stories recognizing the accomplishments of many women. Their stories are empowering, interesting and far-reaching. Their recipes for achievement are enlightening and I’ve chosen some concepts to enhance my own life.

These success tidbits were called into action in January 2019 when I decided to focus on living a healthier life. My overall wellness was fine for a 65-year-old female, but I needed something more on this journey, and that’s when my HERLIFE connections paid dividends.

First, I hooked up with Lisa Butler from FitChixKC, a previous cover feature and our healthcare writer at the magazine. Together, we set realistic goals for me to lose weight and get in better shape with balance movements and lifting weights, many times combining the two in compound exercises. Ten pounds gone in three months would be a good start. Workouts of 45 minutes, twice a week focused on strength training to build muscle and good bones. Thirty minutes of cardio were scheduled on the other days on my elliptical or resistance cycle. I also downloaded a free app, MyFitnessPal, to plan and track my food. Success must include addressing diet and fitness at the same time.

In less than ten months, I had lowered my goal twice because 30 pounds had come off. I was nearly at my college weight, and I bought new clothes because nothing fit. Then my wellness journey took another direction that I had never anticipated.

In 2020, I interviewed the owners of Angels Competition Bikinis. Two sisters, Karah and Lauren Beeves, had built a company with international sales to create and manufacture bikinis for contestants to wear during bodybuilding competitions. With about a quarter of a yard of material covering key areas of their bodies, the competitors’ muscles were honed to perfection through vigorous, targeted training and diet management.

I continued with my healthy journey at FitChixKC and even took up boxing as another healthy endeavor with a personal trainer. The cardio and flexibility this sport demands are mind-boggling, but I didn’t have the goal of climbing into the ring with another person. It was a sport that had interested me.

Then COVID hit and my journey hit a speed bump. The gym closed due to the potential of exposure so boxing was out of the question while my fitness training went virtual. And I needed another challenge, another step in my wellness journey. The interview with Angel Competition Bikinis came to mind. Could a Medicare-aged woman be a contestant in a bikini competition? Networking paid off because I found my bodybuilding coach, Jill Buchert, who would take me on as a client.

The first training day started with measurements, weight and photos, which would be continuously tracked as I became trimmer and built muscle. I recorded everything I ate noting calories, carbs, net carbs and more. Consuming lean protein was the goal while many of my favorite veggies would be eliminated. Goodbye, potatoes and corn, hello to Brassica vegetables including broccoli and cauliflower.

I added supplements, which with my food ran about 130 to 140 protein grams a day. To build muscle, you need lean protein. Lifting weights makes tiny tears in your muscles and then you consume protein to build new layers. The work was paying off. My shoulders broadened, biceps grew, back strengthened and many more benefits were visible.

Now, I am in the final months to ready my body and mind for my first pageant. My mentality for this summer event reflects my outlook for this entire journey. I am not in competition against the other ladies on the stage but competing for myself.


Here are my key learnings to share so far:
• Check with your primary care to ensure you’re ready for an exercise program.
• Select a sport you’ll enjoy.
• Find a good trainer. I consider this an investment; spending that money is a game-changer. You need an educated eye to ensure you’re correctly completing your exercises and holding you accountable.
• Set goals with achievable measures. “I want to lose ten pounds by October with cardio and diet.”
• Buy a set or two of good workout clothing designed for your sport. Then reward yourself with another set when you hit your goal.
• Make it a part of your daily routine. Not feeling it this morning? Take your walk or run for five minutes and then see if you really want to turn around.
• Keep track of your stats. I use MyFitnessPlan and the fitness tracker on my watch to hold myself accountable. They’re invaluable.
• Be positive that you’ll succeed. Negative Nellies are not a part of any successful plan.