People half her age couldn’t bench above 78-year-old powerlifter Linda Patterson.
Now, the retiree from Albuquerque is slated to enter her first strength competition.
“I just want to be strong, and there’s something about working out that makes me feel so good,” she told a KOAT reporter in a recent news segment.
According to her trainer Derrick Williams, Patterson could barely lift herself when she began training a few years ago.
“She had a car accident a while back, so she lost some of her ability to extend her spine and then she had her knees replaced,” he explained.
Her first test was getting down and back up off the floor on her own, said Williams. “She wasn’t able to do it.”
Patterson, who lives alone, said she’s working out to be able to keep up with her two granddaughters, without fear of injuring herself due to a lack of strength and mobility.
She spoke of her fears before starting her fitness journey.
“When I first went to a gym, I sat in the car for 15 minutes, like, ‘Oh man, you can at least walk in.’ But now I feel like it’s very comfortable. I am excited to do it and it just feels good,” Patterson said.
But her goals changed after seeing her trainer Williams at a local weightlifting showcase.
“I went to a power meet that [Williams] had and he got me a front-row seat. He was competing and I thought, ‘Holy wow! Look what those people can do with the focus and the strength.’ I wanted to do it,” Patterson said.
On July 17, she’ll compete in the Masters 4 category at the Natural Athlete Strength Association Summer Nationals meet in Roswell, New Mexico, for contestants ages 70 years and up, Williams said, performing her best squat, bench press and deadlift.
Patterson flubbed a practice bench press last week due to “nerves” ahead of her debut, she confessed, but Williams is keeping her motivated.
“I thought to myself, ‘You know, Linda, you are doing this and, like he says, you’ve won already because you’re doing it,'” Patterson said.
Now, what Williams has done for her, Patterson hopes to do for others.
“I would like for people to feel like they could do it and that it’s great for your mind and your body. I would just like to inspire people to go for it and just to try it,” she said.