Age is just a number for fit Sheffield grannies with true grit

Weightlifting feature at Believe and Achieve women's only gym in Hackenthorpe. Pictured is Jan Hughes, gym owner Claire Moore,  Janie Johnson, and Margaret Watkinson. Picture: Chris Etchells
Weightlifting feature at Believe and Achieve women's only gym in Hackenthorpe. Pictured is Jan Hughes, gym owner Claire Moore, Janie Johnson, and Margaret Watkinson. Picture: Chris Etchells
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A group of super-fit grandmothers from Sheffield have swapped their armchairs for aerobics as they prove age is just a number.

Jan Hughes, aged 58, Anne Turner, 60, Anne Bowring, also 60, Janice Johnson, 60, Margaret Watkinson, aged 61 and Maggie Kent, aged 64, all work-out at Believe and Achieve women’s only personal training studio in Hackenthorpe, which is owned by Claire Moore.

And their hard work with the kettlebells has impressed Claire so much, she believes there are as fit as people half their age.

Maggie said: “It has been a complete mind changer for me. I contacted Claire between Christmas and New Year as I had decided I needed a kick start to fitness after an all inclusive Mexico holiday in December followed by Christmas.

“I liked the ethos of exercise without the pressure of too many ladies, almost a one-to-one. I’ve lost lots of inches and well over a stone. “I’ve also made some good buddies. People who know me would be very surprised that I’m still going after six months.”

Claire opened the gym, on Main Street, in November 2013 with the aim of creating a relaxed, friendly and calm atmosphere designed to put even the most gym-phobic lady at ease.

She said: “This fabulous group of ladies are no longer prepared to settle for a ‘legs, bums n tums’ class and are now joining us twice a week to deadlift, back squat, chest press, shoulder press, lunge, and plank.

“To see them getting stronger and more confident each week is just fantastic.

“Some of them are now deadlifting 50kg.

“I reckon they are fitter than some ladies and men half their age.

“There’s no armchair aerobics for these girls.”

The business specialises in helping ladies who are size 16 and larger, many of whom have not exercised in several years.

The gym has a wide range of equipment for women to get to grips with for the first time - including a squat rack, sandbags battle ropes, and a punch bag. Personal trainers are on hand to help women with equipment, and they are encouraged to work out at their own pace in small groups.

Anne Bowring added: “I couldn’t even lift the bar when I started and ended up doing 60k squats!

“The highly qualified trainers know exactly what you can do and more importantly how far you can go.

“With a maximum of four ladies per session you will feel comfortable and have fun.”