Joan MacDonald, or @trainwithjoan on Instagram, is a 73-year-old fitness influencer who is living proof that it’s never too late to start your fitness journey.
MacDonald started weight training and counting macros (that’s macronutrients—proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—in case you’re not familiar with the lingo) in January 2017. At the time, she was 70-years-old, 200 pounds at 5’3”, and on medication for her heart, acid reflux, vertigo and arthritis. On her Instagram account’s FAQ, she recalls how she used to be “huffing and puffing like a train engine” going up the stairs. She decided it was time for a change.
Joan started completing workouts written by her daughter, Michelle, who is a fitness influencer in her own right: @yourhealthyhedonista. Michelle lives in Mexico and Joan is in Canada, so they exchange workouts online. The distance between them has not hindered Joan’s progress one bit. She lost 45 pounds during her first year of training, and her impressive transformation photos garnered hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. She currently has a following of almost 800,000, and she’s lost a total of over 60 pounds.
Here’s the thing about Joan—she works hard. Her workouts would be challenging for someone of any age to take on, let alone someone in their 70’s. Just last week she posted a video doing hip thrusts with 180 lbs on the smith machine. She does weight training at the gym five days a week, and cardio between 3-7 times each week, depending on her goals. Renegade rows, bicep curls, squats, planks, plate pushes—nothing is off limits.
Joan has a charming personality and positive attitude that pours from her profile. She almost always has a smile on her face, even in the midst of an intense workout. The only time she’s not smiling is when she talks about how much this journey has meant to her. Wiping a tear from her eye, she says, “What I want to do is inspire other women, my age and younger, to do what they want and get where they want. It’s not too late, and I’m still going strong, so I wish and I hope I can help others.”
A healthy fitness journey should never place too great an emphasis on physical appearance. It’s always about taking good care of your body first and foremost. With that in mind, it is worth noting that Joan MacDonald looks amazing. One of her most recent posts shows her in a bright bikini, looking cool and confident. In the caption, she notes that the last time she wore a bikini was when she was 27, just before the birth of her third child.
Joan MacDonald shows that a transformation can happen at any time with the right attitude. The hardest part isn’t getting started, the hardest part is sticking with it when things get tough. Joan admits that the beginning was rough. She struggled through a lot of pain caused by her weight and arthritis, but if she couldn’t do something she simply asked her coach to give her something different. She never gave up.
Just like Joan says, “You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it up again!”