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80-year-old weightlifter: ‘Tell the voices in your head to shut up!'

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 03, 2018

This story proves age can be just a state of mind. Meet a woman who surprised herself and now inspires all of us.

For 80-year-old weightlifter Sally Robertson, it takes breathing, focus and form for a solid bench press. But despite her age, Robertson is able to handle these tasks with ease. 

Just a few months ago, Robertson barely worked out, but things have changed.

"I love it!" Robertson said. "I love doing it! I really really enjoy it!"

Robertson works out with her trainer Alyssa Mallett and husband Bob Robertson who last year, could barely walk.

"The only way he could get out of a chair was to pull himself," said Robertson. "So we knew that we were looking at moving into senior housing."

He started working out at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital HealthFit Gym, a gym staffed with kinesiologists that provides fitness care and encourages physicians to “prescribe” exercise and fitness. 

"Coming here for two weeks, he could stand up without using hands," said Robertson. "And believe me, that totally got my attention."           

Robertson decided to start weightlifting, and found the biggest battle wasn't with her body, but with her mind.

"I had lots of mind talk that said, 'You're too old you can't do this. But I just made up my mind to do my best," said Robertson.

Robertson started slow.

"At first it's like, 'That's way too much I can't do that,'" said Robertson. Eventually, the weight she could lift began to rise, along with her confidence. She set a lofty goal: To compete in her region's Senior Olympics.

"I mentioned to Alyssa, 'Oh I've always wanted to do that,'" Robertson remembers. "And she said, 'You can.'"

Mallett helped Robertson get ready and months later she was ready to compete.

"When I went to the Senior Olympics, I just said 'I don't care what kind of a fool I make out of myself I don't care anything about anything except I'm just going to do it,'" Robertson said.

Robertson dead-lifted 10 pounds more than she had ever done before, and took home the gold.

"Oh I was I was so excited," said Robertson. "I was. I was excited and I was proud of myself. I was really proud."

Sally's not only lifting, but walking in virtual 5Ks.  Each medal on her wall helps to change her self image.

"When I walk in there I look up and I go, 'I am a walker,'" said Robertson.

Robertson says we can all make these changes, by taking the first step and going somewhere you feel comfortable.

"I wouldn't think of going in a gym with all the skinny people lifting weights in all their nice spandex clothes," said Robertson. "I just would not do that."

And when the voices in your head tell you that you can't?

"Tell those voices to shut up," Robertson said. "I mean, look at me."

Lifting weights but more importantly uplifting yourself; at 80 or any age.