A fresh start after 60: I became a powerlifter at 71 and I’ve never felt so good about myself

AAt the supermarket recently, a woman fell in front of Peeps Nicol and practically landed at his feet. The woman was pushing a walking aid and she was big. As her husband tried to help her up, Nicol took her under her arm and pulled her to her feet. I thought, I’m a powerlifter now. I can do it.

Nicol is 71 years old and entered his first powerlifting competition in March. She only joined the gym last year. I feel like I’m really stepping into myself. I’ve never felt so good about myself, she says. Maybe I was trained that way by my mother and society. I was always slightly behind my husband. It was his wish that I can’t imagine doing what I’m doing now in any of the previous years.

Nicol has multiple sclerosis and when she was diagnosed in 2005, she and her husband, Brian, a triathlete and former soldier, he had a life plan that when I became really disabled with MS he would look after me and push me around in a wheelchair. He cooked very well. That would be everything.

Back then, I was shaking from the inside out and my balance was terrible, she says. I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be okay. But, within a few years, Brian was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). As we understand it, you have three to five years since your diagnosis.

Brian suggested moving to Spain and he did well. But there was no running IPF, says Nicol. In April 2020 he passed away in our small, sunny apartment near the Mediterranean. I promised him that everything would be fine. He was worried I wasn’t that strong.

She has returned to the UK, where she has two daughters from her first marriage, and now lives in a static caravan next to her younger one, outside Weston-super-Mare. She didn’t have any friends there, but she saw a Facebook advertisement for the local health center, with its swimming pool and bar.

My membership included a gym induction, she says. She wasn’t going to use the gym, but TJ, the trainer who introduced her, reminded her of her younger brother. I thought: maybe she can do something for me. I’m really unfit. It would do me good to lose some of the belly fat that you get after a certain age. I’ll try it.

After a few sessions with resistance machines, Nicol and TJ got talking. I don’t remember how powerlifting was born. He said: if you want to learn, I can train you.

There was something about the idea that appealed. The idea of ​​getting bigger and stronger and being able to fend for myself. I wanted to know how far I could go. I don’t think nature encourages women over 70 to put on muscle or do anything much.

I wanted to know how far I could go Nicol with his trainer, TJ. Photograph: Jim Wileman/The Guardian

When he started training, Nicol’s ankles were so stiff that he couldn’t squat, even without the bar. He now he can lift 55 kg. In March, she went to a weightlifting gym for her beginner competition. Brian had represented Team GB in the triathlon in the 60-64 age category and Nicol eventually hopes to compete in an International Powerlifting Federation competition in the over 70 category.

Have you always been adventurous? For me, having two children has been a great adventure, she says. I had none of the feminine qualities. I didn’t feel cut out to be a mother. I don’t really know how to cook, I don’t know how to keep house. She met her first husband when she was 20 and they were married within two months. She became a mother at 22, a child herself, really. Later, after she’d married Brian, he had always, as they say in the Army, done reconnaissance. I would go on as her acolyte.

Powerlifting is truly the first time Nicol has picked something up for herself. She’s made a huge difference to how I feel about myself, she says. I can look after myself. When I get to the point where it hurts so much, I think: oh God, make it stop, I’m getting better at thinking: come on! This is where the strength is happening! I’m pushing through the pain. I’m becoming a real powerlifter.

#fresh #start #powerlifter #Ive #felt #good
Image Source : www.theguardian.com

Leave a Comment