She’s a professional bodybuilder who just turned 79 — and she’s living proof that age is just a number.
If your new year’s resolution is to get in shape, her story may be the inspiration you need to keep focused on your fitness goals.
Iris Davis was born in Ireland, raised in England and moved to the U.S. when she was much older. Davis says she became a fitness enthusiast at age 18 and has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
“It’s engraved in my mind that I wanted to spend as long as I could — I never dreamed I would continue on until I was almost 80,” Davis said. “I just thought, maybe 40 because you’re convinced that at 40, you’re going to fall apart. You’re not.”
For Davis, staying fit is a lifestyle. When she’s hitting the weights or doing exercises you would not expect to see done by someone her age, she’s in full beast mode.
The obvious question: What’s next when she hits 80?
“That’s my question every year since I turned 70,” Davis said. “I say, ‘One more year. One more year. One more year.’”
On her 74th birthday, she went on live television in Texas and broke a world record number of pull-ups by someone her age — 21.
Davis started competing in bodybuilding at age 50, going up against far younger competitors, and she was still able to win first-place medals in 12 National Physique Committee shows and eventually earned her pro card. In some shows, she competed against men and still placed high.
Davis says if you’re in her age range and you want to get stronger, lifting lighter weights with high repetition is the key.
“Movement and connection with the mind,” she added. “When you’re doing it, you must absolutely concentrate and be totally focused 100% or you will get nowhere.”
And if you are much younger and want to stay in shape as you age, she recommends you make it part of your daily life.
“Something that when you go to bed at night, you’re not regretting and going, ‘Oh, I didn’t work out or have time for myself.’ Just do something. Even arm work,” she said.
Davis says every little bit can go a long way.
She told me that when she was 18 years old, her first baby and husband died — and it sent her into a state of depression. To fight that depression, she avoided substances and started working out.