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I’m 52 and aging backward — here’s the secret to how I changed my life

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A California woman has become a fitness influencer in her 50s after shedding more than 40lbs and taking up bodybuilding.

Denise Kirtley, 52, says she was inspired to turn her life around two months before her 50th birthday after finding that her wedding ring no longer fit on her finger.

“When I started my transformation in 2020, I was perimenopausal and I had been sedentary for a long while,” Kirtley explained beneath before-and-after photos included in a recent Instagram post.

The brunette began lifting light weights in her spare bedroom, saying she was so unfit that she quickly became breathless and exhausted.

But Kirtley claims the secret to getting started on a body overhaul simply involves repeating workouts five times per week because action “often precedes motivation.”

“Action begets action. We can’t wait for motivation to kick in. That often comes later,” she declared. “If you can start taking action, any action, you will build momentum. That momentum will propel you forward.
It DOES get easier.”


The brunette began lifting light weights in her spare bedroom, saying she was so unfit that she quickly became breathless and exhausted.
The brunette began lifting light weights in her spare bedroom, saying she was so unfit that she quickly became breathless and exhausted.
Instagram/fiftyfitnessjourney

Now, the bona fide gym junkie is even entering into bodybuilding competitions.

Kirtley does a weights workout five times a week, spending two days focusing on the upper half of her body and the remaining days honing the lower half of her frame.

And while she’s dropped the pounds, the Californian has gained a legion of online followers who fawn over the bikini photos she now regularly posts.


While she's dropped the pounds, the Californian has gained a legion of online followers who fawn over the bikini photos she now regularly posts.
While she’s dropped the pounds, the Californian has gained a legion of online followers who fawn over the bikini photos she now regularly posts.
Instagram/fiftyfitnessjourney

Kirtley said she's also made changes to her eating habits and has cut carbs out of her diet.
Kirtley said she’s also made changes to her eating habits and has cut carbs out of her diet.
Instagram/fiftyfitnessjourney

The bona fide gym junkie is even entering into bodybuilding competitions.
The bona fide gym junkie is even entering into bodybuilding competitions.
Instagram/fiftyfitnessjourney

Speaking with The Mirror, Kirtley said she’s also made changes to her eating habits and has cut carbs out of her diet.

She now has five meals per day, regularly consuming high-protein waffles, salmon, zucchini fritters with salad, and banana protein oats.

In addition to her diet and exercise overhaul, the 52-year-old says she’s also transformed her attitude toward growing older.


In addition to her diet and exercise overhaul, the 52-year-old says she's also transformed her attitude toward growing older.
In addition to her diet and exercise overhaul, the 52-year-old says she’s also transformed her attitude toward growing older.
Instagram/fiftyfitnessjourney

Kirtley does a weights workout 5 times a week, spending two days focusing on the upper half of her body and the remaining days honing the lower half of her frame.
Kirtley does a weights workout five times a week, spending two days focusing on the upper half of her body and the remaining days honing the lower half of her frame.
Instagram/fiftyfitnessjourney

“We really do get to choose how we age. It’s all about your mindset,” she said. “Old and aging are very different — there’s nothing wrong with aging, I embrace my age.

“But the word old makes me think of decline, and like my best years are behind me. What we tell ourselves matters more than anything else. I’m aging, but I’m strong, vibrant, and spirited.”

Meanwhile, Kirtley’s wedding ring now fits back on her finger and she says her fitness overhaul has also changed her marriage.

“Today, as a couple, we are both healthier,” she stated on Instagram. “My husband’s eating habits have also changed dramatically. And, he’s more active as well. Dates now include walks and hikes instead of pizza and wine.”

“The sacrifices are real but the rewards are more than worth it,” she triumphantly declared. “And our relationship is better because of it.”



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