I lost 40lbs and became a bodybuilder in my 60s – I’m proof that age is no excuse for not getting fit

  • Ilene Block, from Maui, Hawaii, took up bodybuilding in 2020, when she was 61
  • Has now won competitions for her toned physique after shedding 40lbs 
  • Read more: I became a ‘fit-fluencer’ in my 70s (it’s never too late to transform) 

A 63-year-old woman who became a bodybuilder in her seventh decade aims to prove that life doesn’t end after 50 for women.

Ilene Block, from Maui, Hawaii, spent most of her life on diets and following fads in a bid to have the perfect body. But in 2020, aged 61, she decided to dedicate herself to bodybuilding to stay fit. 

Ilene, who now trains six times a week, has competed in two figure competitions and is currently preparing to compete in more next year.

The sexagenarian has won bodybuilding competition thanks to her toned physique. She said taking part in the show changed her perspective on what women can accomplish in their 60s 

When she turned 60, Ilene decided that for her 60th year, she wasn’t going to be on a diet, which led to her gaining up to 30lbs.

But after coming across impressive before and after pictures of Joan MacDonald, a 76-year-old fitness fanatic, on social media, Ilene says it caught her eye and knew that she didn’t have any excuse as her 61st birthday approached.

Ilene, who now trains six times a week, has competed in two-figure competitions and is currently preparing to compete in more next year.

Ilene added: ‘Joan started her fitness journey at 70, so I had no excuse with my 61st birthday getting closer.

Ilene Block, from Maui, Hawaii, gained 30lbs the year she turned 60 after giving up on fad diets. But in 2020, aged 61, she decided to dedicate herself to bodybuilding to stay fit. Pictured before 

Now 63, Ilene has shed 40lbs after taking up bodybuilding in 2020 and feels more confident than ever 

‘So in February 2020, I signed up for a macro-based program and decided it doesn’t matter how long it was going to take as long as it worked.

‘Within a year I lost 40lbs and felt great.

‘I’d always wanted to do a bodybuilding show, but because of my busy career as a lawyer and bringing up my kids, I could never commit to doing it during my thirties as the preparation is intense.

‘So I decided to reach out to a coach who had helped prep women in their 50s and asked if he was ready to coach a woman in her 60s to get ready for a show and it all started from there.

‘Since then I have competed in two figure bodybuilding shows, and I am currently preparing my body for more shows next year.

After turning 60, Ilene, pictured, who spent her life trying different fads to stay slim, decided to let go of her diet completely 

The 63-year-old, pictured before, felt inspired to make a change after coming across the social media accounts of a 73-year-old fitness fanatic 

Irene, pictured before, admitted she’s always wanted to take part in a bodybuilding show, but that life took over 

‘Even now, I can’t believe I have managed to do this. When I walked on stage, in my bikini, posing and feeling confident, I was just thinking to myself, am I really doing this?

‘It’s amazing. One of my friends said to me that women turn invisible after they turn 50, and I do not agree with this at all.

‘I want to prove that stereotypes aren’t true and that women can do whatever they want at whatever age.

‘I began my preparation for my shows in January 2022 with a mini build for my muscles and by June I started to cut.

‘I lost 24 lbs in 25 weeks during my prep for the show and got down to 120 lbs by the time I stepped on stage.

Ilene began to tone her body, left, before reaching her bodybuilding goals, and got back to the weight she was when she was married decades ago, right 

‘I couldn’t believe it. I was around 120lbs when I got married in my early twenties and I couldn’t believe I was back to this weight.’

Ilene decided to take part in two shows in the space of two weeks and was the oldest competitor at both.

Competing in bodybuilding shows in her sixties changed Ilene’s view of what is possible for women when they reach a certain age.

She said: ‘Although I used to exercise, I was never pushing myself out of my comfort zone and I was stuck in a rut with what I was doing.

Ilene’s body became more toned, with her losing 40lbs within weeks of her taking up bodybuilding 

Ilene showing off the weight she lost shortly after picking up bodybuilding as a hobby in 2020, aged 61 

The 63-year-old, whose training includes weight lifting, pictured, said she feels fitter than she’s ever been before 

‘Now, I am training six times a week, with a focus on weight lifting. It’s amazing to feel so fit and healthy at this age.

‘I am now fitter and healthier than I have ever been before in my life. How exciting is that?

‘As I was about to step on stage for the first time, I had a moment of panic.

‘But I had worked my butt off to get to this position and I wanted to celebrate my moment.

‘I also had lots of posing training because I wanted to feel confident, comfortable and like I belonged there when I was on the stage.

Ilene, pictured now, who trains six times a week, said she is amazed that she feels ‘so fit and healthy’ at her age

The 63-year-old said it’s ‘fascinating’ see how her body responds to training, in spite of being in her 60s and post-menopause

After taking part in bodybuilding competitions in 2022, Ilene wants to spend this year toning her body, with the goal to take part in new competitions in 2025 

‘I couldn’t believe I was really doing this because I thought it was something that had passed me by years ago, but here I was, in my sixties and just starting out.

‘Even though I am older and post-menopausal, it is so fascinating to see how my body responds to training and my diet, and I can’t wait to see what I can achieve for the next show.

‘I am going to spend this year focusing on building my body before cutting again for the shows which will be around my 65th birthday.’

Ilene wants to challenge society’s view of women in their sixties, as they can achieve whatever they put their minds to.

She said: ‘It’s never too late and you’re not too old. I want people to know this.

‘My exterior now matches how I feel inside.

‘Women reach out to me and say that they look how I looked in my before pictures and that I have given them hope, so I am on a mission to change older women’s perspectives and inspire as many people as possible.

‘I have friends who spend their days playing wordle, cooking and eating, and while there is nothing wrong with this, I am just embarking on a new adventure in my life and there is so much more to discover and achieve.

‘Life doesn’t stop after your turn 50.

‘Whatever society and social media are telling you, find out what you want for yourself and put your mind to achieving it.’

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