Margaret Jennings speaks to a vibrant 72-year-old champion bodybuilder who believes we can reinvent ourselves at any age Josefina’s workout for mind, body, and spirit.
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.
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.
“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!”