This 81-Year-Old Fitness Influencer Is Crushing *All* the TikTok Challenges

From the #cupidshuffle to the #toosieslide, Erika Rischko is taking TikTok fitness challenges by storm.

Erika-Rischko
Photo: Erika Rischko @erikarischko

If you've spent any time on TikTok recently, you've probably seen Erika Rischko pop up on your feed once or twice. The 81-year-old self-described "fitness junkie" has taken the platform by storm with her workout challenge videos. Since posting her first TikTok in April 2020, she's gained over 117,000 followers and racked up over 2.2 million likes. "The response was just overwhelmingly positive, which I have found very uplifting as I have been very insecure all my life," Rischko told Good Morning America in an interview.

Turns out, Rischko told GMA, she first ventured onto social media after the coronavirus pandemic caused gyms and workout studios to shut down. She said her daughter convinced her to film some workout videos to share with friends and family on Instagram — but then, TikTok started rising in popularity. "My daughter discovered TikTok as some of the dance challenges were being featured on German TV and the app became very popular during the pandemic," Rischko continued telling GMA. Soon enough, the mom-of-two began posting her videos on TikTok, too.

It didn't take long for Rischko to develop a massive following. On top of doing dance challenges with her hubby, Rischko crushed several TikTok fitness challenges, including the #cupidshufflechallenge, the #toosieslidechallenge, a one-minute #abchallenge, and a #plankchallenge, just to name a few. She also began posting videos of her usual everyday workouts, from TRX mountain climbers and bear plank climbs to barbell ab rollouts and single-arm kettlebell swings. (

Based on her social media pages, it's almost hard to believe that fitness wasn't always a huge part of Rischko's life. She told GMA that she didn't really start working out until she became an empty-nester in her mid-50s. "As both kids were out of the house for the first time, I was lonely," she shared in the interview. So, she decided to sign up for her first gym membership, she continued. At first, Rischko told GMA, she wasn't that into it. In fact, she said she didn't find her fitness groove until about five years after joining a gym. "Then, I slowly started to do more and even joined some three to four-hour spin class challenges and rowing competitions," she explained.

Today, Rischko told GMA, she works out twice a day several days a week, and she loves trying new things in the gym. "I mix it up all the time so that I get a different intensity and/or duration," she shared in her interview. "It is important to change your workout routine to get stronger and not waste your time." (

As for her secret to longevity: "I think my advice is fairly simple," she told GMA. "Do not do anything extreme — there is no need to — and start slowly. Just eat healthily, but do not chastise yourself." (

Above all, though, Rischko said she encourages people to find what works best for them when it comes to fitness. "Find a sports activity that you enjoy because if you do not enjoy it you will not last," she told GMA. "And if you are not as disciplined as I am, find a workout partner as it is not that easy to cancel on somebody."

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