By Liana Jacob
THIS GRANDMOTHER is defying those who have told her that woman over the age of fifty ‘shouldn’t be wearing bikinis’ after entering bikini competitions and flaunting an envious EIGHT-STONE figure that intimidates strangers.
Personal trainer, Terry Coulter (58), from Tennessee, USA, was brought up in a very active environment with her parents committing to running every day.
She picked up on this habit as well as taking up various sports including; horse riding, cheerleading, softball, cycling and hiking. While she was in her twenties, she was eight-stone and a UK size six.
After graduating from high school, her activity levels slowed down due to starting a full-time job but didn’t let that stop her from her dedication to staying fit. With two grown-up children; a daughter, Hannah (31) and son, Seth, who has a daughter, Paislee (3), she is told by strangers that they would be intimidated if they had a mum like her.
Despite hearing people say that women over 50 shouldn’t be wearing bikinis, Terry has shown off her desirable body on stage for bikini competitions.
“I’ve been active all my life. I love the outdoors, so I played kickball, softball, rode horses, rode my bike, climbed trees and hiked,” Terry said.
“My dad loves to tell me the story of how he was picking me up from my grandmother’s house one day and several boys were outside just running back and forth for no apparent reason.
“So, he asked what they were doing, and they replied, ‘we’re practising running so that we can outrun your daughter’.
“After graduating high school, my activity level slowed down a little. I worked full time as a legal secretary. I continued to play softball in the summer but that was my only activity.
“I got married at the age of nineteen and we moved to Houston, Texas. I remember that we were working on putting up a fence for our horses and my husband needed a tool and asked me to hurry back to the house to get it.
“I took off running and to my surprise I couldn’t believe how out of breath I was. I was twenty-one at the time; that was my ‘a-ha’ moment, my wake-up call.
“I remember driving our truck around the pasture to clock the distance. Then I started running around the pasture until I completed two miles. I did this about three times per week.
“I think when you’re young you really don’t think that you will get out of shape so quickly. We’re young, right? We also don’t think about the food that’s going into our bodies and that we can eat whatever we want.
“Running kept me slim and trim. I continued this through my pregnancy with my son who was born when I was twenty-three.
“I remember working hard to get back in shape by doing floor exercises and going for a quick run whenever my husband, Terrell, got home from work. I became a stay-at-home mum.
“I started teaching aerobics when my son was one-year-old. I continued for eight years and then took up running again.
“I stopped teaching aerobics and got a part time job. At this point I picked up running again. I was thirty. I loved running. I remember saying that I was going to run as many years as I could.
“I was competitive, so I participated in 5K, 10K, half and full marathon runs. I also did some strength training because in our aerobics classes we had used weights and I wanted to continue.”
She says that while she has always been sporty, defining her muscle tone was a happy accident when she had knee surgery.
She used to run 30 to 50 miles a week with a bit of weight lifting between the ages of 30 and 50, whereas now she weight-lifts four to five times a week with around 30 to 45 minutes of cardio at the gym.
For breakfast she would usually have one egg with two egg whites, half-a-cup of oatmeal and half-a-cup of blueberries. For lunch she usually eats chicken with one cup of Brussel sprouts and sometimes half a sweet potato. Dinner usually consists of fish or pork chops and green beans and she snacks on almonds or cashews and dark chocolate.
“The decision to bulk up happened by accident; I always had pretty good muscle tone because of playing sports, twirling the baton and also teaching aerobics classes one year after my son was born,” Terry said.
“Well in 2010 I had knee surgery and afterwards the doctor recommended that I did not run anymore unless I wanted to soon be having a knee replacement. So, I stopped running.
“I was up late one night watching TV when I ordered a DVD of a weight training workout that I could do in my home. Since I was on crutches for nine weeks this was perfect.
“I purchased some dumbbells and only focused on the upper body workouts. After nine weeks of consistent weight training, I noticed a big change in my upper body and so did other people when I went back to the gym.
“Everyone was asking, ‘what have you been doing?’ Of course, when people notice, it’s motivating to do more, and so I did.
“My arms were sculpted and looked great and that’s when women would say, ‘I want your arms, would you train me?’ Looking great and feeling strong just fuelled me to do more.
“I’m stronger now at fifty-eight than I was in my teens and twenties. All these years of consistency have paved the way to where I am now.
“Also, I remember thinking, reading and hearing that women over fifty shouldn’t be wearing bikinis. Well at the ripe old age of fifty-six I did my first bodybuilding bikini competition. Really? Who would’ve thought?
“People have compared my daughter to me and said that we are both fit, attractive and in good shape.
“I actually had a friend meet my daughter recently and she said to her, ‘I would be intimidated to have your mum as my mum’, my daughter said yes, it was a little intimidating to have me as her mum at my age and so fit.
“My daughter told the person that she’s very proud of me for what I’ve accomplished and looks up to me. She also tells me that she shows my pictures to her friends, who can’t believe my age.
“The advice I would give to maintaining a youthful figure is to not stop moving. In fact, move more. If you sit all day then set a timer and get up and move every hour.
“Learn how to use weights by hiring a trainer so that you can become knowledgeable about your body and how it functions.
“This knowledge empowers you to do it yourself. Surrounding yourself with likeminded people who want to transform their lives is vital for your success.
“It may take a year or two, but I don’t know about you, but time is flying. So, start now, you won’t regret it.”