Inspiring women: Karen Spencer “I got into the best shape of my life in my 40s”
-Nov 21, Hannah Hargrave, Fitness -
Karen Spencer spent years flitting from one fad diet and exercise regime to another but it wasn’t until she hit her 40s that she finally found something which worked.
Juggling a full-time career and parenting twin boys left little time or energy for Karen to get in shape and yet as she hurtled toward her 42nd birthday she knew it was time get fit and healthy not only for herself but for her young family too.
Since swearing that her hectic schedule nor her age were going to get in the way of her bettering her body she’s achieved fitness goals she never thought she was capable of. And Karen, who is pictured below, is spreading the word that it doesn’t have to take hours in the gym and a miserable diet to make big changes.
‘I found it difficult to make the time to prioritise exercise’
“I used to do a lot of dancing when I was younger,” Karen – now 45 – admits. “But once I started work I found it difficult to make the time to prioritise exercise. I would attend classes every so often and then after about six weeks, life would get in the way and I’d eventually end up missing them. I tried a whole range of things from gym membership to diets but never really stuck at anything.”
‘I wanted to stay young for my kids’
But she wanted and needed to make a change or risk not being able to keep up with her children.
“They are a fantastic motivation for keeping fit and healthy,” she says of her kids. “You want to be able to run around with them or kneel next to them on the floor, without feeling you’ve got creaking joints!”
‘You’ll be amazed what you can do with just half an hour a day.’
Karen was inspired by a friend to try a different approach to fitness in the form of a motivational personal training app for mums and busy women which encourages just 30 minutes of exercise per day. You can even do it from the comfort of your own home.
Being forged on and supported by not only the personal trainer who runs it, Fit4mum’s Melissa Lorch but by a community of like-minded women gave Karen a spring in her step and the motivation to keep going.
‘I love having something I can fit easily into my busy life’
“The specially designed routines, meal plans, motivating messages and support from a group of peers have kept me focused now for three and a half years,” Karen admits proudly. “I love having something I can fit easily into my busy life. I started to notice the difference after just a few weeks. I had more energy, felt stronger and as a bonus lost weight. Other people started to notice and comment on the change too, which is always a positive.”
Exercising outdoors is a great mental refresher
Karen looks and feels like a different woman and says she’d be lost without exercise in her life now.
“If you’d asked me four years ago if I liked running (or burpees for that matter), I’d have laughed at you. I hadn’t run since I was at school. Now though I’ve completed a half-marathon and run around 20km every week. Just getting outdoors is a great mental refresher. It gives you time to yourself, fresh air and as I run cross country I get to see some beautiful scenery too.”
‘You need to find something that works for you’
She insists she’s proof that it doesn’t have to be a hellish and hardcore journey to achieve fitness in your 40s or 50s. A manageable approach has been key to her success and paramount in ensuring she keeps it up.
“You’ll be amazed what you can do with just half an hour a day. Make time to go for a walk, join a group or download something like the Couch to 5k app. You need to find something that works for you, that you enjoy and stick with it. I found the Fit4Mum group really worked for me, as I committed to join and was encouraged by other great women to join in.”
And as for the best thing about her fitness journey?
“This’ll probably sound weird, but I love that I can do press-ups! It’s a small thing but when I started I couldn’t even hold my own body weight on my arms and look where I am now.”