GGS Spotlight: Margaret "Margie" Anne


Margie-joy-1st-pullup-350x375Name:   Margaret “Margie” Anne
Age: 71
Location: Austin, TX

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
For me, it’s (belatedly) admitting that I’m an athlete. I always thought that athletes were “other people.” To qualify as an athlete you had to be ripped, or compete, or wear a uniform, or be called an athlete by other people.

I’m an athlete because I love this body, and I use it in ways that strengthen me and make me happy. Period.

How did you get introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
I’ve been strength training for about 15 years. I started with general, functional training with machines (boring!) and light free weights because “I should.” I was lucky to find a trainer who introduced me to heavier weights, and I started training because it was fun. 

I gradually progressed to powerlifting and found it’s perfect for me. I’ve only been powerlifting for about 10 months. I love it and plan to continue for life.

Margie-deadliftfaceWhat does your typical workout look like?
I follow the Unapologetically Powerful training program by JVB with Jen Sinkler. It’s great and I’ve made real progress with it. I lift every other day, and the focus each day is one of the big three lifts – squat, bench press, or deadlift. I also do some HIIT work.

Favorite Lift:
Hands down, it’s deadlift.   There’s joy in it for me – getting that big bar up and seeing the odd faces I make when I lift heavy.

Most memorable PR:
When I deadlifted 1x bodyweight. You’d think I broke a world record.

Margie-kb-squatTop 5 songs on your training playlist:
No playlist, no music. For me, lifting is some kind of a semi-spiritual practice. When I prepare to lift the world falls away, and I’m totally focused. Even if I had music playing, I don’t think I’d hear it.

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:

  • Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 shoes (nearly extinct)
  • Liquid grip (liquid chalk)
  • Stick roller

Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Alone. I started powerlifting in a team environment at a great gym (GrassIron) here in Austin.   But I found that the most pleasure came with just me, the bar, and a relatively quiet environment.

Margie-celebrationMost embarrassing gym moment:
Bursting into tears when I did my first pull-up.

Best compliment you’ve received lately:
Traveling with my six-year-old grandson, I was lifting my suitcase into the overhead compartment. A nice man jumped up to help. My grandson held up his hand to him and said, “She’s a powerlifter.” Proudest moment ever.

Favorite meal:
My mother’s homemade baked beans and Boston brown bread.   Haven’t had it in 60 years, and I still remember it as heavenly.

Favorite quote:
Her body, Her Business.

What do you do?
No work for me! I’ve been retired for 11 years.

Margie-readyfordeadliftWhat else do you do?
I care for my grandson after school or summer camp; it’s great since I get to act like a six-year-old boy. And I’m just starting fencing lessons. I expect to feel clumsy yet heroic.

Your next training goal:
Deadlift 150 pounds.

What are you most grateful for?
This splendid little body that will, eventually, do anything I ask.

What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
Earning an chemical engineering degree at age 42. Toughest, scariest thing I’ve done, and it led to a whole new life. And it taught me the joy of being a late bloomer.

Which three words that best describe you?
Optimistic. Resilient. Odd.

Margie-cast-and-allTell us about a time when you overcame fear or self-doubt.
Last year I mangled my wrist in an ice skating accident. Waiting a week for surgery in a long arm cast I seriously considered what life would be like without lifting. Those were grim days. About a week after surgery I started lifting again with the other side – cast and all.   I’m still grateful that I did what I could and “she’s back!”

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
That extra confidence that comes from knowing you are strong.

It’s hard to explain, but I think every woman who works on getting stronger understands it.

How has lifting weights changed your life?
It’s brought me strength, new friends, a healthy addiction and gratitude.

Margie-socksIsn’t it harder to train when you’re older?
No. Actually if you’re relatively healthy it can be easier than when you are young. Here’s a secret that the world conspires to keep from you: old is great!

  • NO PMS!
  • You don’t have to worry about dying young.
  • You have nothing left to prove.
  • You have way more time than when you were building a career, raising kids and trying to decide what to be when you grow up.
  • Did I mention NO PMS?

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
Please, please try it. I know how scary it can be to enter the “guy” section of the gym and not look like anyone else there. You’re sure that:

  • you will be the only one who doesn’t know what she’s doing
  • everyone will laugh at you
  • you can’t possibly do it
  • [insert here every other thing you tell yourself when you’re scared to try something new.]

Now tell your brain to shut up, and try it for one month. It’s ok. You can thank me later.

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