Sunday, August 28, 2016

Bodybuilding Gran Tells How She Found Love & Inspiration From Her Toyboy

Janice felt the eyes of the crowd on her as she stepped on stage in nothing but a bikini. There were hundreds of people there, watching, waiting, but how would they react?

She needn’t have worried, though, because the moment she started to tense and pose, showing off her muscles, the audience went wild and applause rang out around the room.

"I was in my 50s at the time and I guess I was a bit of a novelty," says Janice, casting her mind back to her first ever body building competition. "There weren’t many women my age doing it even I was a bit surprised to find myself there."

Then again, a few years earlier, life was very different for Janice. If it hadn’t been for the breakdown of her marriage, which ended in 1988 with her husband of over 20 years walking out on her, Janice might not have had the catalyst to spur her on.

"He told me he hadn’t loved me for a long time and left," remembers Janice. "My world fell apart. We had three lovely children, aged 23, 22 and 20, and I enjoyed my work as a counsellor at the local school, but I didn’t know how to be on my own," she says.

Divorce certainly wasn’t something Janice felt like celebrating, but as her 48th birthday approached, her youngest daughter Lauren insisted on a night out with friends to mark the occasion and lift her spirits.

"We went to see a movie before heading to a nightclub for a bit of a dance," she says. "I wasn’t really in the mood, but didn’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud."

Sat alone at a table feeling a bit sorry for herself, Janice was taken aback when, suddenly, a young man strode up to her, dropped down on one knee and begged for a dance.

"I couldn’t help but smile at his cheeky approach," she laughs, "so I joined him on the dance floor and he introduced himself as David. When the song ended, I expected him to disappear, but instead he kept returning to our table."

As they chatted, they realised they shared a love of history and football.

"There was an uncanny commonality about us," says Janice.

The age gap, it seemed, couldn’t be further from her young suitor’s mind and her daughter Lauren was so pleased to see a smile on her mum’s face again, that she didn’t mention it either but Janice couldn’t help being curious.

"How old are you?" she asked at one point, thinking him to be in his 30s. "I’m 24," he replied, "How old are you?" Not keen on admitting she was twice his age, Janice lied, telling him she was 38.

Janice and David exchanged numbers, but she didn’t expect to hear from him again. So, the next day, when the phone rang, no one was more surprised than Janice when David’s voice appeared on the line.

"It was time to come clean, so I confessed my real age," she says, remembering the long pause that came after her admission. "But he told me he’d still like to take me out."

Janice couldn’t resist David, remembering his big blue eyes, so she gave him a chance. They started to date, and Janice’s whole world changed.

"My life came alive when I met David. I was no longer just a wife and mum, I was me."

Irrespective of the 24-year age gap, the pair moved in together after a couple of short months, despite warnings from her friends and family.

"Everyone seemed to have an opinion," says Janice. "Some said, 'He’ll come into your house and take all your money and half your house, then he’ll leave you.'

"Even my children joined in, saying, 'Your children have grown up and now you’ve taken another child, Mum!'"

But Janice knew they had something special, and seven years later, when Janice, 55, was ready to retire, the couple were still together.

"Suddenly, my sense of purpose and my reason for getting up each day were gone."

Feeling lost, and with David working as a psychologist at a private practice, Janice busied herself going to the local gym for aerobics classes. It was there that she had an epiphany.

"I noticed an elderly woman shuffling through the car park, leaning on her carer. I wasn’t ready to resign myself to becoming a quiet old woman, so I knew I needed a change."

Marching back into the gym, Janice went to the weight-training room and announced she wanted to become a bodybuilder. ‘I’d heard that weight resistance training was good for bone density,’ she explains.

"It was scary to be taking on something so different, but it sparked excitement in me. I spent months training with the weights, toning and building my muscles naturally without supplements."

But after 15 months of training, Janice was ready to compete. Stepping out onto the stage, tanned and greased in a skimpy bikini, she bit the bullet.

"I was one of only two women in the over-40 age category and, to my surprise, I won!" The buzz was addictive.

In no time at all, Janice had entered and won the Australian championships. She was hooked.

"I think people expected me to stop as I got older, but I didn’t. I entered more competitions and won the titles of Ms Universe and Ms Natural Olympia in America. It did wonders for my health as well – in my 60s I had the bone density of a 25-year-old."

Now at 73, Janice might be a grandmother to three beautiful grandkids, but she is the oldest natural body builder in Australia.

Uk Mirror