Watch Joan MacDonald Deadlift 175 Pounds and Hit a New Personal Record at 74 Years Old

"We can still surprise ourselves with feats of strength even as we age!"

As a septuagenarian, Joan MacDonald knows she's not what you might think of when you hear the term "fitness influencer." But her 1.6 million Instagram followers love to check in as she tries new workouts and achieves her fitness goals.

MacDonald made a commitment to prioritize her wellbeing six years ago at the age of 70 after her doctors told her she'd need to increase her medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and acid reflux or implement drastically healthier habits. She chose the latter, telling Shape she revamped her diet and began going on walks, practicing yoga, and lifting weights. "I remember picking up a 10-pound weight and thinking it felt really heavy," she told us. "I was really starting from scratch."

Fast-forward to 2020 when MacDonald was 74 years old. She crushed a 175-pound barbell deadlift, a new personal record for her at the time.

In an Instagram video, MacDonald can be seen executing the deadlift with perfect form while fellow members of Tulum Strength Club, her daughter Michelle's gym, cheered her on. After she finished, she joked, "Don't expect me to do that again." But TBH, we wouldn't be surprised if she did. (Looking to start lifting as well? Here are the perfect strength training workouts for beginners.)

"We can still surprise ourselves with feats of strength even as we age!" MacDonald wrote in the caption. "Don't ever talk yourself down from pushing yourself hard."

Of course, MacDonald is a big proponent of taking things slow, listening to your body, and prioritizing safety above all else (read: you probably shouldn't attempt to deadlift nearly 200 pounds unless you're regularly lifting heavy weights). But setting incremental goals for yourself, as MacDonald has over the last several years, is a great way to find confidence in your strength — no matter how old you are or where you are in your fitness journey. (Here's your complete guide to deadlifts if you want to follow MacDonald's lead.)

As MacDonald told us: "Even though you can't turn back the clock, you can wind it up again."

Two years later, MacDonald is posting fabulous bikini photos and impressive workout clips on Instagram at 76. It doesn't seem like she plans on stopping her fitness journey anytime soon.

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