Oldest Female Ninja Warrior: A Longevity Protocol To Stop Decline, Stay Young & Build Muscle!

Added: Feb 26, 2024

In this podcast episode, Virginia MacColl, a woman in her 70s, shares her inspiring journey of reversing osteopenia and becoming the oldest competitive female ninja athlete in the Guinness Book of World Records. She was initially diagnosed with osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis, and was told by doctors that it was a normal part of aging. However, after seeing her daughter compete in American Ninja Warrior, she was inspired to focus on resistance training and strength building.

Key takeaways


Challenge societal norms: Don't let age or gender stereotypes hold you back from pursuing strength training and fitness goals.


Prioritize protein: Ensure you're getting enough protein in your diet to support muscle growth and recovery, especially when engaging in strength training.


Set achievable goals: Break down your fitness goals into small, manageable steps to stay motivated and track your progress.


Find a supportive community: Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can provide encouragement and accountability on your fitness journey.


Embrace balance: Indulge in treats occasionally while prioritizing a balanced diet and overall healthy lifestyle.

Myth of Age and Fitness

Virginia believes that one of the biggest myths holding people back, especially those in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, is the belief that they are too old to get fit. She proves that age is not a barrier to getting stronger and that it is possible to reverse conditions like osteopenia through dedication and hard work. She emphasizes the importance of challenging societal norms that discourage women from lifting weights and building muscle.

Importance of Muscle Mass

Virginia highlights the significance of maintaining muscle mass as we age, as it plays a crucial role in protecting bones, preventing falls, and supporting overall metabolic health. She shares statistics about muscle loss with age and the impact it can have on one's quality of life. By focusing on resistance training and building strength, she was able to reverse her osteopenia and improve her overall health.

Influence of Dance and Movement

Growing up, Virginia was involved in dance from a young age, which instilled in her a discipline for movement and exercise. She continued to prioritize movement throughout her life, even incorporating a 20-minute exercise routine during her busy work and parenting schedule.

Inspiration from Daughter

Virginia's daughter, Jesse, competing in American Ninja Warrior served as a catalyst for Virginia to prioritize strength training and resistance exercises. Seeing her daughter's strength and athleticism motivated Virginia to challenge herself and set goals for building muscle and improving her overall fitness. Jesse's influence played a significant role in Virginia's transformation.

Diet and Nutrition

Virginia made significant changes to her diet to support her fitness goals, focusing on increasing protein intake to build muscle. She also emphasized the importance of hydration and reducing processed foods in her diet. Her dietary changes were aimed at supporting her strength training and overall health, especially in light of her family history of heart disease.

Day-to-Day Improvements

Through her commitment to strength training and resistance exercises, Virginia has experienced improvements in her mood, energy levels, and overall strength. She feels more confident, accomplished, and resilient in facing physical challenges. By incorporating balance exercises, grip strength training, and simple movements into her daily routine, she has seen tangible improvements in her physical abilities and quality of life.

Mental Attitude

Virginia emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive mental attitude and mindset when it comes to fitness and aging. Instead of focusing on limitations or saying "I can't," she encourages a mindset of growth, resilience, and determination. By adopting a can-do attitude and embracing challenges as opportunities for growth, she has been able to overcome obstacles and achieve her fitness goals.

Importance of Setting Goals and Finding Supportive Community

Virginia highlights the significance of setting goals as a driving force in her fitness journey. She mentions that having small, achievable goals helps her stay motivated and feel accomplished. Additionally, she stresses the importance of having a supportive community around her. She mentions how having a buddy to walk with or attend fitness classes with can provide encouragement and accountability.

Virginia shares her experience of being inspired by other seniors participating in sports competitions. She mentions meeting individuals in their 80s and 90s who were actively competing and breaking records, which motivated her to continue pushing herself.

Finding Your Why

Virginia reflects on her personal motivation for staying active and fit. She mentions that her husband once told her, "because you can," which resonated with her and became a driving force in her journey. She emphasizes the importance of having a strong reason or purpose behind one's fitness goals.

Importance of Protein and Nutrition

Virginia emphasizes the importance of protein in her diet, especially as she engages in strength training and competitions. She shares her daily meals, including oatmeal with fruits, protein shakes, chicken or fish with vegetables, and snacks like peanut butter. She also mentions the significance of getting an adequate amount of protein to support muscle growth and recovery.

In the beginning of her fitness journey, Virginia mentions the challenge of prioritizing protein and ensuring she was getting enough in her diet. She discusses using apps to track her protein intake and experimenting with different meal combinations to meet her daily protein goals. Over time, she developed a better understanding of protein-rich foods and how to incorporate them into her meals.

Inspiring Others

Virginia mentions how her dedication to fitness and healthy eating has inspired those around her, including her husband, who continues to work with a personal trainer in his 80s. She talks about making healthier food choices and prioritizing protein-rich foods, which has had a positive impact on her friends and family.

Balancing Indulgences

Despite her focus on a healthy diet, Virginia acknowledges the importance of balance and occasional indulgences. She mentions enjoying dark chocolate, peanut butter cookies, non-dairy ice cream, and coffee as treats that she includes in her diet in moderation.

Challenging Societal Norms

Throughout her life, Virginia has defied societal expectations and pursued her passions, whether it was moving to New York City to become a dancer or returning to acting later in life. She encourages others to challenge outdated perceptions and beliefs about aging, showing that it's never too late to chase your dreams and live life to the fullest.

Family Bonding Through Fitness

Virginia's commitment to fitness has not only transformed her own life but has also inspired her family to prioritize health and strength. By engaging in fitness activities together, Virginia and her family have strengthened their bond and created a shared sense of purpose and motivation. They support each other in their fitness journeys, setting an example for others to follow.

Embracing Aging with Positivity

Virginia's story challenges the notion that aging is a time of decline and limitations. She advocates for reinventing the concept of aging by staying active, pursuing dreams, and maintaining a positive mindset. She believes in enjoying the process of growth and self-improvement, rather than solely focusing on the end results. She encourages others to embrace their uniqueness and strive for a fulfilling and active life at any age.

Inspiring Others

Virginia's journey serves as an inspiration to those looking to defy societal norms, pursue their passions, and prioritize their health and well-being. By sharing her story on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, Virginia hopes to motivate others to challenge themselves, set new goals, and embrace a lifestyle of fitness and strength. She encourages individuals to step out of their comfort zones, push past limitations, and believe in their ability to achieve greatness.


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