It's Never Too Late to Take Back Your Life!August 2019
By Laurie Mathena
Wendy Ida isn’t your average 67-year-old.
She holds eight Bodybuilding Championships. She has set two fitness-related Guinness World Records.
And she’s become a social media influencer with about 94,000 followers.
But the most remarkable part of her resume? Ida (pronounced ee-da) didn’t begin her fitness journey until she was 43 years old.
Since then, she’s reinvented herself and is now a best-selling author, motivational speaker, fitness coach, and life coach. Ida is a life reinvention strategist, coaching people on how to transform their lives and their bodies.
But while she now spends her days spreading the message that it’s never too late to take back your life, Ida first had to go through the process of taking back her own life.
Take Back Your Life
Wendy Ida’s goals weren’t always fitness-minded. At one point, her only goal was to save her own life—and the lives of her children.
Married at the age of 19, Ida soon found herself in a physically abusive relationship where she almost lost her life on several occasions. It took 13 years and three attempts to get away before Ida was able to make her escape.
She packed up her two young children and drove all the way from New Jersey to California.
“I left everything I owned and left with my two babies and just the clothes on our backs, and we ran,” said Ida. “I had to start over.”
Little did Ida know that she wasn’t just starting over. She was starting on a journey that would transform her life as well as the lives of thousands of others.
At the age of 43, Ida was making a new life in Los Angeles as an accountant. But even though she had escaped an abusive relationship, she still had not outrun the demons that haunted her.
She was unhealthy, overweight, and scared of her own shadow.
“I was settled with the old way of thinking. My parents and aunts and uncles were all overweight, and I just thought it was going to be my destiny as well,” she said. “I was in my 40s and I thought life was over.”
All of that changed when she joined her local gym and met the person she calls her “Earth Angel,” her fitness coach, Jim Kelly.
“It literally changed my life, it changed my mind, it changed my body, and it changed my career. It led me down the path of the reason why I was put on this earth,” said Ida. “Prior to that, I was just going through the motions of life.”
Kelly pushed her to realize her full potential.
Ida lost 80 pounds and transformed the way she looked. Yet the true transformation came, not from her physical appearance, but from what was happening on the inside.
“When my body started changing, my mind started changing too. I got some clarity,” Ida said. “It cleared the cobwebs in my mind and gave me a path.”
Over the next several years, Ida quit her job as an accountant, got certified as a trainer, learned as much as she could about nutrition, and became a life coach and trauma coach. She also remarried.
In 2011, she wrote a best-selling book based on her life’s journey called Take Back Your Life: My No-Nonsense Approach to Health, Fitness, and Looking Good Naked.
Today she travels the country as a motivational speaker, giving people the tools necessary to do what she did—take back their lives.
Ida’s number one message to people?
It’s never too late.
And she, herself, is living proof.
Ida competed in her first bodybuilding competition at age 57. She has since won eight National Champion trophy awards in the National Physique Committee Bodybuilding and Figure Championships.
At age 60, she set two Guinness World Records. One was for the Most Burpees in One Minute. Ida did 37. (To do a burpee, also called a squat thrust, you begin in a standing position, squat down with your hands on the ground, kick your feet back to a plank position, jump back forward into a squat, and then stand up—that counts as one burpee.)
The second Guinness World Record was for being the Oldest Active Instructor in multiple disciplines. And she’s not finished yet. Ida constantly sets new goals for herself.
“Goals are what keep me excited about life. Making a goal brought me out of depression. I got focused, I was driven, and I had something to live for,” said Ida. “When I accomplish one goal, I’m always working on the next. It gives me energy.”
And for her next goal? “For my next goal, I want to be – I’m going to be – the first senior on a Sports Illustrated Magazine cover.” As Ida continues to set her own goals, she is also helping people—especially women—accomplish their own.
It All Starts in the Mind
Ida’s no-nonsense approach to health and fitness has earned her the reputation of being “America’s #1 expert on living fit, fierce, and fabulous after 40.”
Ida’s book, Take Back Your Life, speaks directly to women over 40 who feel like their lives have spun out of control after the physical and emotional changes that occur during midlife. It’s a holistic, action-oriented, 90-day guidebook for women who want to take back control of their lives.
Ida focuses on helping people over 40 because, as she says, “They are me.
“At 40 is when all the challenges start coming. Everything you did before 40 all starts coming together. It’s when the chickens come home to roost,” said Ida. “In addition to the natural changes that automatically happen in the aging process, the decisions you’ve made in life come together and create energy losses and mental challenges, and they are literally making people depressed.”
So when people tell her they’re too old or too sick or too anything to start living their best life, Ida points to her own life as living proof that it’s never too late.
“In order to encourage people to take back their life, I try to encourage them to think differently,” said Ida. “You have to change your mindset. Having the knowledge is one part, but you also have to have the tools to go forward. You have to be willing and want it bad enough.”
One of the first steps is to determine what “take back your life” means to you, she said. You have to determine what you want. Is it weight loss, more education, a longer life, to be happier?
“A lot of people initially think I’m only into fitness, but I go way beyond that,” said Ida. “It’s not about doing one particular thing. It’s changing your mindset to be able to sustain your goals.”
That’s what Wendy helps people to do.
“You have to be willing to move forward and trust the process. It takes time, getting out of your comfort zone, and repetition,” said Ida. “You can’t go halfway. You have to go all the way.”
Defying the Clock
When people see Ida, they are shocked to learn that she is a 67-year-old grandmother of five. What is her secret?
“Age is always age,” Ida said. “But a number of things can make you more youthful.”
In addition to fitness and a positive mindset, Ida believes supplements are necessary, especially for seniors.
“As you get older, everything starts declining,” said Ida. “You need to put back in your body what declines with age. Doing this can keep you healthy, energetic, and lucid.”
Ida herself takes numerous supplements, including DHEA, vitamin D3, curcumin, chromium picolinate, MSM, and L-leucine to name a few. She encourages people to work with their doctors and to have their various levels checked so that they can fine-tune a regimen designed specifically for their needs.
Spreading the Light
Ida has appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show,” CNN, “Fox Sports Net,” “Inside Edition,” “Access Live,” NBC, ABC, and more. As a social media influencer, she has about 94,000 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, which she uses as platforms to transform the lives of others.
And she is currently collaborating with AARP on a “Fit and Fun Challenge,” where she’ll create inspirational videos, messages, and tips for exercising and getting healthy.
Through it all, Ida has never forgotten where she came from. Telling her own, personal story of despair to triumph makes her more relatable to her audience and encourages people to see that they, too, can take back control of their lives.
“I can’t tell you how many messages have come to me begging for help, and telling me I’m their last hope,” said Ida. “They see such light in me, and they want that.”
And that’s exactly what fuels Ida to continue pouring her life and energy into others.
“Someone was the light for me,” said Ida, “and I was born to be the light for someone else.”
Wendy Ida is an internationally recognized, best-selling author, speaker, life reinvention strategist, fitness expert, and TV host. For more information, or to book Wendy for a workshop, seminar, or retreat, visit www.wendyida.com
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