Jose­fina’s work­out for mind, body, and spirit

Mar­garet Jen­nings speaks to a vi­brant 72-year-old cham­pion body­builder who be­lieves we can rein­vent our­selves at any age

Irish Examiner - Feelgood - - Ageing With Attitude -

THE most im­por­tant step for any of us to take as we age is to com­mit to our health on all lev­els — in do­ing so, we can con­tinue to rein­vent our­selves, to grow and de­velop.

That’s the ad­vice of 72-year-old of Jose­fina Monas­te­rio, who says she didn’t even think of how many years she had clocked up on this planet when she first took to body­build­ing at age 59.

That first step may have been taken 13 years ago, but Jose­fina’s award-win­ning tra­jec­tory as a body­builder — and her amaz­ing physique for her age — has been gath­er­ing in­creas­ing at­ten­tion on­line.

“I keep rein­vent­ing my­self, but it doesn’t have to do with the num­ber of years – your chrono­log­i­cal age, it has to do with your de­vel­op­ment,” the Flor­ida-based for­mer ed­u­ca­tor, and mother of two daugh­ters, tells Feel­good.

“I don´t im­pose lim­i­ta­tions on my­self. Peo­ple limit them­selves by age, na­tion­al­ity, gen­der; it’s very frus­trat­ing. Age is a mind­set. So far I have done awe­somely and right now I am also an author — which I didn’t know I could do; that’s the magic of life.”

A suc­cess­ful com­peti­tor in the Nat­u­ral Na­tional Physique Com­mit­tee (NPC) events — staged by the largest ama­teur body­build­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion in the US — she has had vic­to­ries at state and na­tional com­pe­ti­tions.

Through this sport, she says she has also learned the science of how to master health and con­trol eat­ing habits, but Jose­fina’s tran­si­tion to body-build­ing cham­pion, how­ever, wasn’t from a to­tally blank can­vas: As a child, when grow­ing up in Venezuela, she par­tic­i­pated in gym­nas­tics and later grad­u­ated with a de­gree in PE. She later ob­tained a master’s in ed­u­ca­tion and af­ter that a PhD in adult per­sonal de­vel­op­ment.

She was also al­ready run­ning and prac­tis­ing yoga, be­fore she em­barked on the body­build­ing rou­tine be­fore her 60th birth­day, which led on to her suc­cess­ful ac­claim.

She then started her seventh decade, by be­com­ing an author: Jose­fina has had three books pub­lished un­der her Vi­brant at Any Age, theme, the lat­est one called Vi­brant Re­la­tion­ships for Healthy Pow­er­ful Liv­ing.

All books build on the ad­vice she has to im­part from her life­long jour­ney of self-improve­ment — us­ing her coach­ing skills, but also her own per­sonal jour­ney, to in­spire peo­ple to achieve their goals, just as she has — re­gard­less of age.

Although she clearly has a strong spir­i­tual faith, her com­mit­ment to a par­tic­u­larly healthy life­style — through diet and ex­er­cise — is ob­vi­ously half the bat­tle too. What ad­vice does she have for pos­i­tive age­ing for our read­ers?

“I don’t know what the next 10 years hold for me, for in­stance — it is all about what God has for me — I have no clue, I just obey! But I rec­om­mend that you should work on the body, the mind, and the spirit. My first work­out of the day is my spir­i­tual work­out — that’s what makes the dif­fer­ence for me.

“I also go to bed early and keep a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude. The first step for any one of us is that com­mit­ment to be­ing healthy — with­out your health, you are dead!”

This year she has al­ready par­tic­i­pated in three Show Masters Na­tion­als in body­build­ing — she com­petes both in the open class cat­e­gory and in her own age cat­e­gory.

She prefers to call her daily rou­tine a “rit­ual” be­cause she says the dif­fer­ence be­tween a rou­tine and a rit­ual is not nec­es­sar­ily the ac­tion, but the at­ti­tude be­hind the ac­tion. And in her case, that is about health, fit­ness, mo­ti­va­tion, and in­spi­ra­tion.

This rit­ual in­volves her ris­ing at 3am to read the Bible, med­i­tate, and pray. By 4.30am she pays at­ten­tion to her phys­i­cal health by walk­ing three miles fol­lowed by run­ning an­other three. This is fol­lowed by yoga and a swim on the beach at sun­rise.

Snip­pets of her ad­vice — apart from in her books — can be seen on YouTube where she en­cour­ages af­fir­ma­tions such as to live in the present mo­ment, as she does her­self and to ap­ply our­selves fully to the daily world around us, in an “alive” way.

“We can just go through the mo­tions and we for­get to pay at­ten­tion to what we are do­ing; we are do­ing things un­con­sciously and we are re­ally miss­ing out on our whole en­tire life. It is much bet­ter to pay at­ten­tion con­sciously to ev­ery­thing we are do­ing ev­ery day,” she ad­vises.

For any of us who feel we are stuck in our de­vel­op­ment as we get older, she en­cour­ages pulling our­selves out of that un­healthy mind­set and look­ing at all as­pects of how we are ap­proach­ing life.

“Age doesn’t mat­ter. It’s my birth­day ev­ery day,” she says. “Peo­ple are born with many tal­ents. What hap­pens along the way is that they lose con­nec­tion with them­selves. In my case, my source of hap­pi­ness from a young age was to dream about my fu­ture. My coun­sel­lor at that time was God. I still find com­fort in Him and I have kept on dream­ing — and here I am!”

“What we plant in the soil of con­tem­pla­tion, we shall reap in the har­vest of ac­tion Ger­man the­olo­gian Meis­ter Eck­hart

WIN­NING AT­TI­TUDE: Jose­fina Monas­te­rio, in­set, took up body­build­ing when she was 59 years old — she is now a suc­cess­ful com­peti­tor and author.

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