I tried a 74-year-old fitness influencer's daily workout for a week and realized I'm not in as good shape as I thought I was
I tried Joan MacDonald's training routine for a week.
@ trainwithjoan / Instagram / Zoe Ettinger
Joan MacDonald is a 74-year-old fitness influencer with over 772,000 Instagram followers.
Her daughter and trainer Michelle MacDonald provided insiders with Joan's typical weekly training.
Even though I thought I was in pretty good shape before starting the week's workout, I found that there were muscles that I hadn't used in my own workouts before.
MacDonald's training is more intense than I am used to, but I will incorporate elements of it into my daily training routine.
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Joan MacDonald became a fitness influencer after using workouts developed by her daughter and losing over 60 pounds. The 74-year-old has set up an Instagram account to track her progress and has won hundreds of thousands of followers.
After seeing her incredible progress, I was interested in what kind of training she did every day to maintain such an impressive physique. I wondered if I could do the workouts and how challenging they could be.
MacDonald's daughter has her own fitness account, @yourhealthyhedonista, which has over 127,000 followers. She provided insiders with a week's training that was her mother's normal routine.
The training routine included lower, upper and full body workouts and I was able to do almost all exercises with just a yoga mat and weights. It was completely different from my normal workout routine, where I had to run or jog 3 to 4 miles a day and do crunches and squats.
See what it was like to try out a 74-year-old fitness influencer's daily workout routine for a week.
Joan MacDonald became a fitness influencer after reporting on her impressive weight loss journey on Instagram.
Joan MacDonald's transformation.
When MacDonald was 70, she weighed nearly 200 pounds and was given medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux. Realizing that she needed to change something, she turned to her daughter, a personal trainer, who helped her with training routines and advice on healthy eating.
In just six months, MacDonald has lost more than 45 pounds, and since then she has lost more than 15 pounds. To show off her impressive progress and let others know that you can get in shape at any age, MacDonald posted her photos on Instagram and amassed thousands of followers.
The first day of her routine included lower body workouts and movements that I had never tried before.
Weighted frog pumps.
The first day consisted of three sets of 10 repetitions of squats (I did it without the ligaments), three sets of 12 repetitions of lunges, four sets of 10 repetitions of deadlifts in Romania, four sets of 10 repetitions of sumo squats, four sets of 10 levels (per leg), two sets of 20 levels of marching buttocks and two sets of 20 repetitions of weighted frog pumps.
The frog pumps pictured above, when you put your feet together and your knees wide apart, are like frog legs, and then push your hips up and down. I used a heavy book instead of a weight because it put less pressure on my hips.
The exercises were burning right now, but I felt good immediately afterwards.
I woke up painfully the next day, but there was no time to rest. The second day of training was a "whole body cycle", so I had to do six rounds of full body exercises.
The second day I woke up and my whole lower body hurt. I felt it the moment I got out of bed and wasn't looking forward to the workout of the day. After some stretching and a hot shower, however, I started the second workout.
This training consisted of full body movements and each round had to be completed six times. Each lap consisted of 10 jumping jacks, 10 push-ups, 20 bicycle crunches, 20 movable planks, 20 bent barbells, 20 reversed lunges and 10 plyo hops. Plyo hop is when you jump out of the ground with changing feet.
The first three laps of the course were not bad, but the second three laps were a challenge. I was sweating and breathing hard. I was able to complete the route, but I think someone with less fitness could have problems.
The third day was a workout for the upper body and consisted of pushups, bench dips and bicep curls. I was happy to give my lower body a break.
On the third day, I was happy to rest my lower body, which was still a bit sore. Pain is actually a good thing and "a by-product of healing," said sports doctor Dr. Michael Jonesco told Live Science.
I had never done a complete workout just on my torso, so the third day was a new challenge for me.
The exercises were four sets of 10 repetitions of kneeling triceps medicine ball pushups (I did it without the medicine ball), four sets of 10 repetitions of bench dips, four sets of 10 repetitions of bicep curls, four sets of 10 repetitions of spider curls, four Sets of 10 repetitions of alternating shoulder pressures, three sets of 10 repetitions of side elevations with isometric hold and three sets of 10 repetitions of external rotations.
This workout was more difficult than the other days because I hadn't done as many upper body exercises at the same time. After that, my arms felt sore and it was slightly painful to move them up and down for the rest of the day.
The fourth training was a lower body cycle. There were three rounds of squats, pushups, lunges, and hip extensions - movements that I was familiar with.
On the fourth day, my pain gradually subsided and I was happy to exercise with movements that I had done in the past.
The exercises consisted of prisoner squats (see picture above), kneeling pushups, running on the spot, lunges backwards on each leg and hip extensions on each leg.
I did a total of three laps and did each exercise for 40 seconds with a 60 second pause in between. I used my phone timer to make sure I was on the right track.
The fourth day was less difficult than the first three days, and although I still felt sore muscles, it had largely subsided.
On the fifth day I felt energized. That day included another whole body workout that I preferred.
I was a fan of the whole body training days because I felt less sore overall.
The exercises were: squat-to-ball throw (I didn't have a ball, so I skipped it), pushups with partner inclination, partner sit-ups, partner bicycles, partner triceps dips on squat legs, Squat jumps and partner glute bridges on a plank. Although some of MacDonald's exercises require a partner, I had no one available, so I did this alone.
Each exercise consisted of 10 repetitions, with the exception of bicycles with 20 repetitions. I used my phone's timer to set a 60 second idle time between circuits, but MacDonald said it's okay to rest up to 90 seconds.
On the fifth day, I was pretty excited, my heart was pounding and I was sweaty, but I felt energized after I finished.
The sixth day was training again from day one, but now I was much more confident in my ability to complete it.
The first day was a lower body workout where I did four sets of sumo squats, deadlifts in Romania, and step-ups. three sets of squats and lunges; and two sets of glute bridge marching and weighted frog pumps.
When I tried training for the second time on the first day, I definitely felt safer and afterwards I noticed that I was hardly in pain.
The last day of training was back to day two, a whole body cycle of movements like pushups, jumping jacks and moving planks.
On the last day I was ready for training and felt more energized than at the beginning of the week. That day was one round, so I had to do six rounds of each exercise. I did 10 plyo hops, 10 pushups, 20 bike crunches, 20 reverse lunges, 20 jumping jacks, 20 bent barbell lifts and 20 moving planks.
On the sixth day I enjoyed training and didn't think about how sore I could be afterwards, which was a nice change from the beginning of the week.
Overall, the training was difficult, but still rewarding. The best part was that everything can be done at home with minimal equipment.
I was able to follow MacDonald's training very closely with just one yoga mat and weights, although anyone who wants to follow it closely needs a medicine ball and resistance bands.
When I tried MacDonald's routine, I realized that I wasn't in the best shape as I thought. At first, I thought the workout wouldn't make me feel sore, since I run or jog about three to four miles and do squats and crunches every day. However, the pain I had on the second day showed me that there are muscles that I have not worked on.
I don't know if I will continue full training every day as it is more intense than I am used to, but I will definitely incorporate elements of it into my own daily training routine.
A 73-year-old who has lost 60 pounds is now a fitness influencer who inspires others to improve their health
A 73-year-old fitness influencer shares her advice on how to stay healthy and isolate yourself. This includes adhering to a routine and learning something new every day
13 inspiring influencers over 60 to follow
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