Ivy Turner Transforms her Life at 60

November 30, 2020 by
Courtesy of Ivy Turner
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Ivy Turner struggled with her weight and physical fitness her entire life and hit a “low point” two-and-half years ago. “I realized I was going to be one of those obese people in a wheelchair pretty quick if I didn’t do something about it,” said the 61-year-old retired nurse. 

  • One night, Turner was scrolling Facebook, looking for some diet and exercise help and an ad popped up for Southwest Strength in Melita, Manitoba, about 40 miles from the farm where she lives. “The things they were saying really appealed to me. They were talking about catering to your individual abilities and working with you one-on-one and also in groups,” she said. 
  • Though Turner had “never been more terrified” in her life, she decided to give coach Nathan Corrigal a shot. She made an appointment and they sat down and talked about her goals. “I told him I have absolutely no physical fitness and he said, ‘That’s fine. We’ll just start from where you’re at and keep building from there.’ He was just so sincere,” she said. 
  • Corrigal’s sincerity helped make Turner feel comfortable enough to sign up for a functional assessment. “It was such an eye opener. He asked me to squat as far as I could and I got stuck and dropped to the floor and had to crawl over to some boxes to pull myself up from the ground,” she said, laughing.

Where she is now: Turner has no problem getting off the ground unassisted and can squat to full depth with ease. “Just the other day, I bent down to pick something off the floor and it was the furthest I have ever gone — like ass to grass kind of thing — and I was like, ‘How did that happen?’” she said.

  • How it happened is that little by little, week after week, month after month, Turner has been chipping away at her fitness through attending Healthy For Life group classes twice a week with other women in their 60s and 70s, and monthly personal training sessions with Corrigal. 
  •  And after two-and-a-half-years, all the baby steps have added up to transform her entire life, she explained. “Every few months I’ll have another awakening in my body and something else will blow me away. Or I’ll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and see new muscle definition going on in new places I never had muscles before,” said Turner, who has lost 40 pounds since she started training at Southwest Strength.

One big thing: Turner said she never would have stuck it out if it weren’t for the fact that she has a personal coach in her corner constantly checking up on her.

  • “Having a coach who knows me has been the biggest key to my success…He will check in sometimes just to say, ‘What kind of day are you having?’ He’s always in touch,” she said.  
  • Right now, the gym has closed again because of COVID-19, but Turner continues to be in touch with Corrigal regularly, who provides her with individualized home workouts, and she will return to driving the 40 miles to the gym when it reopens. 
  • She added: “I have never gone to any type of fitness class in all my years before this that kept my interest for more than three months, and here I am two-and-a-half years later. I can’t imagine not going to Southwest Strength because of Nathan and his wife Sara (Corrigal) and all the other coaches there. You become part of their family.”

The big picture: Turner is no longer scared she’ll end up obese in a wheelchair in the next couple years. In fact, she feels more fit at 61, almost 62, than she was in her 40s.

  • “My joints just feel so much better supported, too. I used to have this knee thing that was giving me trouble, and it hasn’t given me trouble in two years since building more muscles. And my lower back no longer hurts from not having any muscles to support my spine…It’s allowing me to live a really good quality of life.”
  • Turner added: “This is what I’m going to do for the best of my life. Fitness is no longer a means to lose weight. It’s a whole lifestyle change, and I’m just as excited about that place as I was two-and-a-half years ago.”

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