Fitness expert and lifestyle coach Wendy Ida is this month’s guest. She’s an eight-time national champion bodybuilder, holder of two Guinness World Records, and author of the best-selling book Take Back Your Life. She’s also a domestic abuse survivor, a mother, a grandmother — and an inspiration to us.
It doesn’t take much to catch her enthusiasm for life. In fact, when this dynamo sat down with us last March and said, “It’s time to wake up and be badass beautiful,” we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, pulled on our yoga pants, and danced around the room. You can get to know her a little bit below.
Prime Women: May 3 was your 65th birthday. You’re super excited about being 65. Why?
Wendy Ida: I am freaking over the moon about turning 65! It’s a nice, sweet round number. That’s one. Two: I am so blessed to be as strong and healthy as I am at 65. I am in better shape than I was in my 30s, and my life is better than it was then. And three: I have pushed the survival age up in my family on my mom’s side. (Editor’s note: Ida’s mother died at 43.)
PW: How did you celebrate your birthday?
WI: I celebrate all month, but the big event is one I am hosting next week, on May 13, in Los Angeles. It’s a VIP coaching day extravaganza and workout party. Much of it is what I normally cover in my private coaching program, and it’s going to be an experience that will have attendees wanting more!
PW: What’s been your greatest challenge with growing older?
WI: [laughs] Adjusting to the hormone changes. We all know our hormones do all kinds of different things and it’s different for everybody. It makes you feel crazy! Adjusting to those changes and getting those feelings under control has been the challenge. We all just have to find what works for us. We each have to find a new normal, and we have to constantly evolve or we’ll get left behind.
PW: What’s been the biggest surprise about growing older?
WI: Every day is a surprise! I love it! I never know what to expect, but I’ve grown to embrace that uncertainty. But the biggest surprise is getting to 65 and finding out that it’s not what I thought it would be when I was 20! I am not 65 with a cane! In fact, I am hopping around like a baby with a lollipop, doing one-arm push-ups and splits. This is good — that was the big surprise!
PW: And your greatest pleasure?
WI: Oh, my! The ultimate joy for me has been finding the reason why I was born! The reason why I was born is to be in this fitness and wellness world, to coach and motivate other women. I help men too, but women can identify with me and I can identify with them because we’ve been through some of the same things. Finding the reason why you are born is the true joy in life! Finding yourself. Finding your purpose. After that, it’s all gravy, baby!
PW: What advice do you have for women who are approaching midlife and starting to feel like their lives might be over?
WI: I get mail every single day from women who are in that exact predicament, and I feel them each time. That’s how I know this is the reason I was born — I feel them. What I say to them is don’t lose hope! Whether you are in your 40s or 50s or wherever you are, when you get to the point of despair, you have to push through it. And you might not be able to do that alone. Recognize that and then get some help. That’s how I was able to push through to where I am today.
PW: You are an awesome resource for women who need help. Tell us what you do as a “life reinvention strategist.”
WI: Yes, I am often called that. What I have learned through the years is that there are a lot more women suffering in silence than I first thought. A lot of women are clinically depressed, and I think a lack of guidance and weight gain are mainly responsible for it. I help women reinvent their lives. Each person needs a custom strategy. You need to address the total package to be able to maintain a healthy life, and the total package starts with your mental and emotional state.
A lot of women come to see me when they want to lose weight, but there is a whole big story about why they are where they are. My job is to help them uncover what that is and help them to get some resolution mentally and emotionally while we are working with the body. If the mental part is not resolved, they are not going to get permanent physical results. And, of course, the objective is permanent change.
PW: As an inspiration to others, how do you keep yourself motivated?
WI: A wise person once told me something, and it got stuck in my DNA. It’s this: Whenever you feel like something is too hard and that you are never going to get there — just when you want to give up — you are on the edge of things soaring! You are right there! That thing you want is about to go bananas good on you! That’s the way I think when things start to get really tough. And that makes me excited all over again!
To learn more about Wendy Ida, go to www.wendyida.com.