Grandma becomes a champion bodybuilder at 70

A 70-year-old businesswoman and grandma is taking the bodybuilding circuit by storm despite only entering her first competition aged 69.

Renee Landers started bodybuilding in a bid to regain her fitness after undergoing surgery to fuse some vertebrae in her lower back in 2010.

After working out five days a week, divorcee Renee, of Houston, Texas, USA, was keen to show off her hard work.

Despite being the oldest contestant by more than 20 years, in May 2021 she entered her first bodybuilding competition, scooping sixth place.

‘It was a highlight in my life,’ she said. ‘After having my son and my grandchildren, it was the best day of my life.

‘This is the fittest I have ever been and I look and feel better than I did when I was in my twenties.’

Renee’s first bodybuilding event triggered a competitive streak and she has since entered four further contests across Texas and California.

The pint sized powerhouse has no plans to stop flexing her muscles any time soon, saying that she is ‘definitely’ not slowing down.

‘This is my life and this is how I want to live,’ she said. ‘I can’t wait to compete again. I’m having a blast.’

She feels ‘so fortunate’ to be doing this at the age of 70. 

Always conscious of staying in shape, Renee ran five or six miles every day until her son Garrett Landers  – who now, at 37, helps her run her commercial building permit service business – was born.

But for 25 years after becoming a mum, she suffered from a debilitating backache and could not train as rigorously as she had before.

‘Before then I was a runner,’ Renee shared. ‘I ran five or six miles every morning. I did that until I was five months pregnant with my son.’

Once he was born, Renee couldn’t run again and had terrible pain in her lower back.

‘I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to walk anymore, because I was in so much pain,’ she remembered.

‘I bought beadmaking kits in preparation for a life where I couldn’t move.’

That all changed in October 2009 when she had lower lumbar fusion surgery, which gave her a new lease of life.

Hiring a personal trainer in the summer of 2010, who she still works with daily today, helped her get back into shape and moving again – now she feels like she’s ‘extended’ her life.

‘I didn’t want to be a pudgy senior citizen and I didn’t want to be plump,’ said Renee. ‘So, I made a decision to change my life and it has made a massive difference.’

Renee has a rigorous training regime, which includes bicep and tricep curls five days a week, which she says is the key to her ripped physique.

Since discovering bodybuilding she has ‘lived’ in the gym, saying that she can’t get enough of it.

Renee, who is a pescatarian – meaning she eats fish but no meat – says changing her diet was integral to her bodily transformation.

She now loads up on protein five times a day.

‘You have to change your eating habits,’ she said.

‘Abs are made in the kitchen. You can work out like crazy, but if you don’t watch what you eat you won’t ever change.

‘I was working out for years and didn’t get any abs.

‘I looked good at 63, but I look even better now after changing how I eat.’

Now Renee is urging people of any age to join their gym and take care of their health, saying it is ‘never too late’.

‘Working out and just moving is so important, it can extend your life,’ she said. ‘Never limit yourself because of your birth year. Forget about it. It doesn’t matter.’

‘You have a choice, and you can choose to live your life in the way you want.’

When asked for advice, Renee says to have a positive attitude, not to waste time with negative people and visualise where you want to be in life.

To Renee, 70 is just a number.

‘Grab the bull by the horns and live life to the max,’ she advised.

‘My granddaughter calls me a badass, and I want to inspire people to realise they can be badass at 70, too, like me.’

You can follow Renee on Instagram at @reneefitat70.

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