Thoughts From Denise On The Fitness Journey Over 50

Jo Perez’s Fitness Story

Happy Wednesday!  This week, we bring you Jo Perez’s fitness story.   We are really pleased to bring you these real stories from real people because we all have tough times to push through.  Have a story to tell?  Email me at    Enjoy Jo’s story.

Jo’s Story:

My story started at 40 when I realized that many of my friends younger than me were developing all kinds of diseases. At the time, I was weighing in at 160+ and wearing a sz 14. I thought I was super healthy until I realized I couldn’t breathe when I would run down the driveway to pick up the mail or had to sit in the vehicle awhile before getting off after a short drive.

I started by cutting my foods in half and wow 10 lbs fell off! Then my daughter joined this little gym and I went with her. Well, after a month she quit but I stayed. I couldn’t sit on the throne for two whole weeks without wincing in pain. However, I did 3 cardio classes 5 days a week for a year and went down to a 4. In that year, I endured hard criticism form the closest of friends talking behind my back and saying that I was anorexic or that I was bulimic. I’d come home crying from work till one day my husband told me don’t fret, “They are jealous. Look at the way they look” he had a point.
During the whole ordeal, I never gave up on the gym but I didn’t like looking skinny fat so I gained weight only to dislike that, too. It was at this point that I hired a personal trainer, and I started lifting. At 49, I competed in bodybuilding, and at 50 I was instructing the classes at the gym. At 52, I did my first 5K endurance race. From this point, I’ve done several endurance as well as other 5K and a 10K. I am in the process of training for a half marathon. I became a personal trainer at 50, and at age 54 I enjoy doing crossfit, cardio, endurance training, running, weight lifting, etc, If it’s hardcore I’m there.
The one thing I hate is when people younger than me say, “I can’t do that, I’m too old” I’m one of the oldest at my gym but I can still sport short shorts, and most people think I’m in my late 30’s to early 40’s. One is never too old to start. Because I changed my habits, I have been having great results on physicals. No bone loss, no diseases of any kind other than a heel spur but even that doesn’t stop me. Last summer at age 53, I was bench pressing 115 and leg pressing 540 lbs right now I’m on a different mission.
My daughter age 19, expects me to keep up with her at her pace and I do and when I’m a bit tired at the end of the day, she’s like, “What’s wrong Mom?” I have to remind her “I’m 54 sweetie and I do get tired.” “Sorry Mom I don’t see you that way.”
My biggest thrill…The day my husband admitted to me, that I had much more endurance than he did, he runs and is younger than me by 5 yrs.   Over 50, is the beginning of my life, getting old in years only.
 Jo Perez
To your health,

Coach Denise

Denise Sanger is a high energy business owner with over 30 years experience in the marketing area.  She has transitioned her love of fitness and marketing into helping others succeed in getting fit and running their own businesses.   She founded How To Stay Fit Over 50 to provide hope and support to others by motivating them to take the first step in their fitness journey no matter what age. Email her at or

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