The Over-50 Bikini Braggers

It's that time again - my personal Happy New Year (as in, had a birthday, turned 58) and the time where I keep it real and do a bikini photo shoot as I promised I would do annually for as long as Fiftyfierce is alive. This was fun in the beginning, not so much now.

Awww Stace, some of you may be thinking, where's that cheery can-do attitude? The one that is so unstoppable and fearless? I'll tell you: she's been sick more than 47 days this year and she is pissed!

It's not that I dread the comments of shock from the photos you're about to see; at the very least, they will probably leave you wondering what happened since I last appeared in a bikini for the NPC First Call-Out competition on 9/16/2017. I know I can change that. It's because:

Since I started weight-training in 1976, there's been nary more than a brief hiatus and that was only because I got hit by a car. I'm a total gym rat. I haven't been able to beast and I am depressed. I don't know what to do with myself when I can't keep my standing date with gym. I've had to sneak to the gym so I wouldn't get grief about not resting. I have rested plenty though I'm not about to sit around for 47 days and rest, rest, rest. The gym has made me feel better, even if only temporarily. I was sick for the entire month of January and it was tough coming back to training. It took 6 weeks to catch up to where I left off, which was full-blown beast mode, prepping for Nationals this July.

Okay, so I quickly caught my stride (it's not like I rested COMPLETELY during January, sorry Mom and Dad) and I started feeling like the long-shot at the race track, about to blow by the front-runners. And then, sickness decided to park in my body AGAIN. Without all the boring and gross details, I went from

fiercely back on track to Oh No! Losing my six-pack...

This is pretty much why I haven't been blogging: no energy, no inspiration, though plenty of frustration. I did catch up on reading. Came across the article below by Julia Lawrence, published in The Daily Mail out of the UK. After reading it, I found it to be one of those that I love to rip apart and poke fun at because it speaks so loudly to me of the stereotypical female and oh - I'm sorry - but I really loathe her! She is catty, jealous, weak, whiny and gossipy. So, instead of sounding like a hater, I decided to just roll with it, post the article here and insert my 58th birthday photos next to the celebs! Understand this is NOT a comparison. We are all on our own journey with our own unique DNA. This is just because I am completely BORED. And BRAVE, very brave. After all, no spray tan to hide under and no sucking anything in or trying to flex my sick little muscles, no wig, no high heels (I did miss the high heels ;)

This article was published just over one year ago, so the celebs may not be the same age as stated. I didn't get any younger during that time either but my photos ARE current! Below is the headline used to reel readers in, along with the article.

The over-50 bikini braggers: They love flaunting their age-defying bodies and turning us mere mortals green with envy. But read what it REALLY takes to look like this - and you won't be so jealous!

By Julia Lawrence For The Daily Mail

Published: 17:04 EDT, 11 April 2017 | Updated: 09:25 EDT, 12 April 2017

Ladies, I apologize. The pictures here will be causing a range of feelings, and I’m sure not many are good. There’s Sharon Stone, all 59 years of her, looking gorgeous in a bikini — one of those two-piece affairs you probably owned for a summer or two in the Eighties. Her figure is astonishing. Cut off her head (a bit harsh, but I bet some are tempted) and look at the body, and you couldn’t age it. You certainly wouldn’t put it above 30.

Then there’s Halle Berry. She turned 50 last August, and a month later was pictured posing on the beach in a tiny black number many 20-year-olds may be scared to wear outside a changing room.

There were no lumps, bumps or overhang, and — pass me a 99 with an extra Flake — she has a six-pack. You could console yourself by remembering Sharon and Halle knew the camera was on them, and had time to pull everything in and check sympathetic sun angles, but then Courteney Cox (aged 52) and Cindy Crawford (aged 51) ruin it all by getting snapped by paparazzi looking beautiful while letting it all hang out — only nothing was hanging out.

Don’t get me started on Liz Hurley. Appalling luck with men, but no bad bikini pictures. She’ll be 52 in June. Women my age — I turn 50 in September — will feel sadness and anger looking at these photos. Sad we didn’t relish our bikini days while we had them, and angry we let them go. For surely, we think, looking at these women, it can’t be so hard to maintain a bikini-worthy body well into middle-age? If only I wasn’t so greedy and lazy I, too, could look this good, couldn’t I?

Cue the self-loathing and biscuit tin raids. Wrong. Let no one be fooled: a hellish world of hard work, discipline and hunger goes into those bodies.

We are working against nature to aspire to a figure like that in our 50s. As we age, our muscle volume decreases, our metabolism slides and our calorie requirement is lower. A 20-year-old can get away with 2,000 calories a day; after 50, it’s just 1,600. Dropping estrogen levels in menopause cause fat to redistribute around the abdomen. With all the nutritionists and personal trainers in the world, you could try to shift it, but for those of us whose careers are not tied up in our looks, it’s nearly impossible.

For what these pictures don’t show is the hunger. That debilitating drag in your belly which can be put up with for a couple of weeks at best, before a holiday or wedding — any longer would drive us mad.

Liz Hurley says she ‘likes’ to go to bed hungry. That’s what you’d have to deal with for a body like hers. No ice-cream, no wine, no ‘stuffed to the gills’ satisfaction. Still envy Liz Hurley? Don’t look at her taut belly, just think of the rumble within and know she’ll never enjoy melting chocolate on her tongue, or a bag of hot chips. It will make those pictures easier to look at, believe me.

So how do they do it?

CINDY CRAWFORD: 75-MINUTE WORKOUT FOR BREAKFAST

Cindy Crawford, age 51

Stacey Ferrari, age 58

At 51, her training program is incredible. Cindy works out for 75 minutes from 8 am three times a week. Her routine includes weights and lots of old-school lunges and squats. To keep her heart rate up, she runs up and down stairs for timed intervals, then finishes by doing abs exercises on a mat.

She says she tries to eat healthily at least 80 per cent of the time.

HALLE BERRY: PROTEIN SHAKES AND PUSH UPS

Halle Berry, age 50

Yep, still 58..

The 50-year-old diabetic actress is on a super-restricted diet and eats only natural sugars.

She has also cut out bread and drinks lots of water. On set, she relies on shakes made with vegetable protein to keep going. She exercises for at least half an hour every day ‘no matter what’. Her routine involves planks, press-ups and lots of cardio.

COURTENEY COX: FRIENDS WITH KALE

Courteney Cox, age 52

Ugh, don't like this photo...

Your average person might hit pause on their exercise routine after breaking a bone. But Courteney, 52, says breaking her arm in 2013 is the reason she’s got delightfully toned arms now — close friend Jennifer Aniston told her to use a cross trainer to build them back up. She’s also keen on intense, 90-minute cardio dance routines, and reportedly wears a heart rate monitor to make sure she stays at peak intensity. Once an avid runner, she also focuses on Pilates, tennis, surfing, yoga, bike riding, and martial arts, and is said to work out five times a week. Her name has been linked to several diets over the years, including the low-carbohydrate Atkins Diet, and the Carbohydrate Addicts Diet. Luckily, she says, some of her favorite foods in the world are kale, spinach and broccoli.

DEMI MOORE: LEMON JUICE AND PEPPER DIET

Demi Moore, age 54

That gym-honed physique certainly does not come easy. Demi’s favorite workout is reportedly a Los Angeles misery-fest called Bulk Perspiration, which is said to burn up to 1,000 calories at a time by heating the body up with a giant electric blanket. As if that wasn’t enough, there are Demi’s grueling yoga sessions and, of course, her eating habits. Demi, 54, swears by a raw, organic diet — in which most foods are never heated beyond 118F in an attempt to preserve nutrients. She is also known to have tried a diet called the Master Cleanse, which involves nothing but lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup.

LIZ HURLEY: GOING TO BED HUNGRY

Perennially gorgeous Liz, 51, swears she never goes to the gym, but admits to never staying still. "I try to walk or run with the dogs every day," she has said. To maintain that washboard midriff, she has admitted to drinking mugs of hot water to stave off hunger pangs. She goes to bed hungry as she likes to eat earlier in the day, so the food doesn’t turn to fat. So what does she eat? Not much. Her diet tends to be confined to whole-grains, vegetables, fish and ‘bits of lean meat’.

Liz Hurley, age 51

End of article. I just have to make a couple of points. The first is, WTF is meant by "...pass me a 99 with an extra Flake..." Wikipedia to the rescue: "A 99 Flake can refer to an ice cream cone with a Cadbury Flake inserted in it; a specially produced Flake bar for this purpose; or a wrapped ice cream cone product marketed by Cadbury. Having been created at the Cadbury's factory in Bournville, England, the flake was originally designed to be a cuboid, and fit into a wafer. By 1930, Cadbury's was selling half-length Flake "99s" specifically for prodding a cone."

And here I thought that's what our tongue was meant to do, prod the cone; if the author is asking for an extra flake with that 99, a bikini body is probably not high on her list of priorities. Ouch - how catty! I am also glad these photos all show front views only, of course so we know for certain that they are actually the named celebrity. While time has tempered my ego and vanity, I doubt I would have been as comfortable doing rear view photos...

A few more points I'd like to make:

1. Yes, you absolutely can have a fit body for life and no, it won't happen if you are greedy (with food/drink) and lazy. Anything worth having will require effort and sacrifice but it will only feel like a sacrifice in the beginning. Once you adopt new behaviors, it's actually simple because the rewards are so very worth it and you will fall in love with your new-found health and fitness!

2. "A hellish world of hard work" to get to this level of fitness over 50 makes it sound as though we just can't be expected to be fit and healthy unless we resort to torture! And frankly, the hellish hard work is in changing those habits - not the attainment of a fit body. However, once you change the bad habits, it all becomes easier and you will find it doesn't take a 'hellish' amount of hard work to keep that fitness level.

3. While I have been a certified personal trainer since 1996, this has NOT been my main career for the entire time. In fact, I did trade shows as a solo rep with days that spanned from 11 - 15 hours per day, on my feet the entire time, and still made it to the gym. It is just that it was important to me and so I made it a priority. This is about discipline and that may be a challenge for the greater percentage of the population, the main reason that those who are still fit in their twilight years stand out so much!

4. It does not take hunger to reach a fitness level befitting of a bikini body; in fact, this can be dangerous advice to follow and is more likely to set one up for diet derailment. The hunger it DOES take is to be fit and healthy. Fueling your body properly will allow you to eat a wide variety of foods without feeling hungry and can actually help drop body fat. All it takes is the willingness to learn how to do it.

5. Why aren't there more instances of men being held up to such scrutiny?

When I look at my current photos, it's hard to believe that my measurements are pretty similar when compared to the same time last year:

4/22/2017 4/22/2018

Chest: 38" Chest: 37 1/2"

Waist: 29" Waist: 28 1/2"

Hips: 36 1/4" Hips: 36 1/2"

Right thigh: 22" Right thigh: 21 3/8"

Left thigh: 21 5/8" Left thigh: 21"

My weight is exactly the same though the shape of my body definitely shows I'm carrying a higher percentage of fat. Here's where so much time lost to being sick shows up, as in not being able to train regularly, lift as heavy or do much cardio - not that I did much cardio before because this is totally me in the gym:

I could go on about what it takes to be fit over 50 and I understand that most likely, this article was designed to sensationalize as that's what sells. However, it is still quite true that as we age, most of us don't do it very gracefully; we typically tend to get lazy and comfortable with a lifetime of bad habits, no matter how much discomfort they bring to our lives. I do think that giving more publicity to fit older people is a step towards helping provide hope in seeing that we all have the potential to make changes, at any age, that will greatly benefit us.


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