Fitness

Grandmother, 71, can deadlift 250lbs and says she feels better than she did 30 years ago  | Daily Mail

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A grandmother who became an international powerlifting champion in her 60s says she looks and feels better than she did 30 years ago.

Mary Duffy, 71, from Trumbull, Connecticut started working out at the age of 59 after piling on weight following the death of her mother in 2007, losing more than 50lbs within one year. 

She quickly became hooked on weight lifting and now spends around 20 hours a week pumping iron in six hour gym sessions, and has more than 30 state and world records to her name.

Despite being told she’s ‘too old’ to be hitting the gym, Mary holds world records for deadlifting 250lbs – more than a baby elephant – as well as benching 125lbs and squatting 175lbs.  

Mary Duffy, 71, from Trumbull, Connecticut, became an international powerlifting champion in her 60s  and says she looks and feels better than she did 30 years ago

Mary spends around 20 hours a week pumping iron in six hour gym sessions, and has more than 30 state and world records to her name

Mary spends around 20 hours a week pumping iron in six hour gym sessions, and has more than 30 state and world records to her name 

‘I started seriously going to the gym ten years ago when I realised I’d put on a lot of weight – I remember it hit me when I looked in the mirror and thought “That’s not me”, said Mary. 

‘I quickly lost weight, and realised the more I trained, the more I enjoyed it – and that’s the way it’s been since then.

‘I’m 71, but I’m the fittest I’ve ever been – I look and feel better now than I did when I was 40.

‘I do get people telling me I’m too old for this, but my motto is “You can’t turn back the clock, but you can wind it back up”.

Despite being told she's 'too old' to be hitting the gym Mary holds world records for deadlifting as well as 250lb benching 125lb and squatting 175lb

Despite being told she’s ‘too old’ to be hitting the gym Mary holds world records for deadlifting as well as 250lb benching 125lb and squatting 175lb

Mary, pictured at the age of 30, says she is the fittest she's ever been, insisting: 'I look and feel better now than I did when I was 40'

Mary, pictured at the age of 30, says she is the fittest she’s ever been, insisting: ‘I look and feel better now than I did when I was 40’ 

‘Sometimes I ask myself ‘why am I doing this?’ but the negative comments are outweighed by the people who tell me I inspire them – and that’s what keeps me going.

‘I’m not the average 70-year-old – and I have no intention of giving up now!’

Retired Mary dabbled at the gym in younger years, but didn’t begin taking it seriously until she hit 59, when her mother died.

Mary ‘sat around feeling sad’ for two years following her mother’s death, and ballooned to 176lbs, which she said felt uncomfortable for her small frame.

‘I looked in the mirror and saw how big I’d gotten – that was a lightbulb moment for me’, said Mary. 

‘I remember thinking to myself ‘I refuse to let that be me’ and signed up to join the gym.’

Retired Mary, pictured during weight lifting during a workout this year, dabbled at the gym in younger years, but didn't begin taking it seriously until she hit 59

Retired Mary, pictured during weight lifting during a workout this year, dabbled at the gym in younger years, but didn’t begin taking it seriously until she hit 59 

Mary 'sat around feeling sad' for two years following her mother's death in 2007 , and ballooned to 176lbs

Mary quickly shed 50 lbs after joining the gym

Mary ‘sat around feeling sad’ for two years following her mother’s death in 2007 , and ballooned to 176lbs (left) – but quickly shed 50lbs after joining the gym. Pictured right, Mary this year 

Mary fell in love with weight lifting and soon began entering international competitions run by the International Powerlifting Association twice a year

Mary fell in love with weight lifting and soon began entering international competitions run by the International Powerlifting Association twice a year

Within a year she’d lost nearly 50lbs and her personal trainer, Bobby Calabrese, suggested she take up weight lifting.

Thanks to two weight-lifting sessions a week, plus cardio and general strength training every day, she got the courage to enter her first powerlifting competition in 2014, aged 64.

Mary fell in love with weight lifting and soon began entering international competitions run by the International Powerlifting Association twice a year.

She has racked up more than 30 state and world records with the International Powerlifting Association, in her age and weight category. 

‘The more I trained, the more I enjoyed it’, said Mary, ‘It can be hard to build muscle when you’re older, but I loved seeing my muscles become more defined as I got stronger.

‘Even now, years down the line, I still see myself making improvements – and it keeps me going.’

Thanks to two weight-lifting sessions a week, plus cardio and general strength training every day, she got the courage to enter her first powerlifting competition in 2014

Thanks to two weight-lifting sessions a week, plus cardio and general strength training every day, she got the courage to enter her first powerlifting competition in 2014

Mary  has racked up more than 30 state and world records with the International Powerlifting Association, in her age and weight category

Mary  has racked up more than 30 state and world records with the International Powerlifting Association, in her age and weight category

Mary  has racked up more than 30 state and world records with the International Powerlifting Association, in her age and weight category.

Mary is pictured with personal trainer, Bobby Calabrese, who originally suggested she take up weight lifting

Mary is pictured with personal trainer, Bobby Calabrese, who originally suggested she take up weight lifting 

Super-fit Mary trains for more than twenty hours per week at the gym, doing three fitness boot camps and two personal training sessions.

She also does daily cardio sessions on the rowing machine and cross trainer, as well as additional weight lifting sessions with friends.

Despite training up to six hours a day, she said people often judge her for her age.

Mary, who shares her progress on her fitness Instagram, said: ‘I get a lot of people trying to tell me that I shouldn’t be weightlifting at my age – but I just laugh and tell them to check out my records.

‘There are times when I wonder why I push myself as hard as I do, for sure, but it’s people’s positive comments that keep me going.

‘I don’t want to look like the average 70-year-old grandmother, because I definitely don’t feel like one.

‘I don’t think I’ll ever quit powerlifting – not unless I absolutely have to.

‘Even if I do stop competing, I’ll still work out and keep in shape.’

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