At age 76, Joan MacDonald became a fitness influencer. The Canadian, a social media success with more than 1.5 million followers, began her transformation journey five years ago. At the time, she suffered from arthritis, struggled to go up and down stairs, and felt tired all the time.
Joan MacDonald — Photo: Reproduction/Instagram
The turning point for Joan’s change came after she was told by a doctor that her blood pressure was rising and that she would need to increase her medication again.
Daughter Michelle MacDonald, a fitness coach, was visiting at the time and challenged her to make changes to her diet and exercise to improve her quality of life. “When Michelle gave me this ultimatum to do something about my life, I realized it was now or never. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. I was existing, not living.“, Joan told ABC News.
In January 2017, just weeks before her 71st birthday, Joan flew from her home in Canada to Tulum, Mexico, where Michelle and her husband own a gym.
Joan before and after — Photo: Reproduction/Instagram
She began following a diet program established by her daughter that focused on ensuring she got enough macronutrients – fats, carbohydrates and proteins – in five meals a day, rather than snacking as she used to.
Joan also started training at the gym for the first time with Michelle, founder of The Wonder Woman, a strength and bodybuilding training program. “It was difficult at first,” admitted the daughter.
According to Joan, the motivation to continue came after she started to feel much better in a short time. She said she lost about 10kg in the first month of training, and in just a few months she was able to cut her medications in half.
Joan and daughter Michelle — Photo: Reproduction/Instagram
Once back in Canada, Joan continued her wellness journey. “I go to the gym five days a week,” she assured, detailing that two of those days are cardio-focused workouts. “I like this routine because it gives you something to look forward to.”
In the past four years, she said she has lost nearly 30kg and stopped taking medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux.
In transforming her health, Joan said she was encouraged by her daughter to start an Instagram account in order to document her progress and connect with others.
Today, Instagram Train With Joan has 1.5 million followers. She also has a website and app that offers exercise and meal plans overseen by Michelle, who specializes in coaching women of all ages.