Inspirational Client: Carol the Rowing Champ at 60

Carol - superstar client at Grace Brown Fitness in London

Carol is one of my superstar clients, recommended to me by one of my other superstar clients, Susan. I’ve been training with Carol since early 2017 and she never ceases to amaze me. She is one of the most determined people I have ever met - so driven to get as strong and fit as she can - and is always challenging herself.

Early 2018 Carol and I sat down and set her goals for the year. Her main goal was to be in the best shape of her life in the lead up to her 60th birthday in November and this became our main focus.

Carol had to undergo hand surgery in April and has ongoing issues with her knees. This meant we had 6 months of not being able to do much upper body work in the gym as gripping wasn’t an option.

The first part of the year we had to focus on her lower body and core and get quite creative with her training to be able to get her as fit and strong as possible without aggravating her hand and managing her knee inflammation.

After hand surgery her recovery went very well and we were able to start loading her up nicely. By July, Carol was on the rower. We were working towards a big Row-vember (our gym rowing comp) with the aim to covering more metres than she was able to achieve the year before.

Carol has a great natural rowing technique, helped by her school rowing days, but hasn’t rowed since she was in her early 20’s. While we were focused on Row-vember, our Strong Friend Gus suggested Carol check out the British Indoor Rowing Championships and compete.

The British Indoor Rowing Championships are held at the Olympic Velo Park with 1800 competitors across different divisions including elite British rowers. Carol did the research and found the 60-65 lightweight category and we decided it would be a fantastic challenge to enter the 500m race. I set about creating a 3 month training program to get her there.

In this three month lead up, I saw a tremendous change in Carol. Her competitiveness, her determination and her resilience to really push herself beyond what she thought she was capable of was a huge inspiration to me.

In July, Carol rowed 2 minutes 34 seconds over 500m for her time trial. End of August we began her 3 month training program (with some time off for holidays). By later September, she was at 2 minutes 20 seconds over 500m. In the comp in December she achieved an amazing PB of 2 minutes 13 seconds. AMAZING.

Grace Brown cheering on client Carol at the British Indoor Rowing Championships

Carol, I am so bloody proud of you. Not just with your drive and discipline when you’re in the gym with me but also your dedication outside the gym too. You absolutely smashed it when you stepped onto the competition floor. My voice is still recovering from all the shouting. Well done.

Having this challenge to work towards enabled Carol to be hyper-focused as opposed to just general weightloss goals. This is another example of how tangible performance goals make a huge difference.

Working towards performance goals such as a race in under XX time or a Personal Best weight in a lift are great ways to get yourself motivated. It has been proven that performance goals are actually more effective - more likely to be achieved - than those who only use the more passive goals of a kilo here and an inch there. The kilos and the inches happen on the way to your exciting performance goal!

So let’s all set our performance goals and watch your strength and fitness improve - just like Carol.