A former lawyer has told how she lost nearly 30 kilos in two and half years after becoming a bodybuilder in her 60s.
Ilene Block, from Hawaii, has given regular updates on Instagram about her dramatic physical transformation since 2020 when she decided to move on from diets and take up bodybuilding.
She now trains six times a week and has competed in two figure competitions with a further on the horizon.
Her inspiration for taking up exercise came from seeing pictures of Joan MacDonald who looked amazing working out and 76 and she thought in her early 60s she had no reason to not begin.
Ilene said: "Joan started her fitness journey at 70, so I had no excuse with my 61st birthday getting closer. So in February 2020, I signed up for a macro-based program and decided it doesn't matter how long it was going to take as long as it worked. Within a year I lost 40lbs and felt great.
"I'd always wanted to do a bodybuilding show, but because of my busy career as a lawyer and bringing up my kids, I could never commit to doing it during my thirties as the preparation is intense.
"So in February 2020, I signed up for a macro-based programme and decided it doesn't matter how long it was going to take as long as it worked. Within a year I lost 40lbs and felt great."
And now two and half years later since she started, she has lost 64 pounds or 29 kilos.
"I'd always wanted to do a bodybuilding show, but because of my busy career as a lawyer and bringing up my kids, I could never commit to doing it during my thirties as the preparation is intense," Ilene continued.
"So I decided to reach out to a coach who had helped prep women in their 50s and asked if he was ready to coach a woman in her 60s to get ready for a show and it all started from there. Since then I have competed in two figure bodybuilding shows, and I am currently preparing my body for more shows next year.
"Even now, I can't believe I have managed to do this. When I walked on stage, in my bikini, posing and feeling confident, I was just thinking to myself, am I really doing this?
"It's amazing. One of my friends said to me that women turn invisible after they turn 50, and I do not agree with this at all. I want to prove that stereotypes aren't true and that women can do whatever they want at whatever age.
"I began my preparation for my shows in January 2022 with a mini build for my muscles and by June I started to cut. I lost 24 lbs in 25 weeks during my prep for the show and got down to 120 lbs by the time I stepped on stage.
"I couldn't believe it. I was around 120lbs when I got married in my early twenties and I couldn't believe I was back to this weight."
Ilene decided to take part in two shows in the space of two weeks and was the oldest competitor at both.
Competing in bodybuilding shows in her 60s changed Ilene's view of what is possible for women when they reach a certain age.
She said: "Although I used to exercise, I was never pushing myself out of my comfort zone and I was stuck in a rut with what I was doing.
"Now, I am training six times a week, with a focus on weight lifting. It's amazing to feel so fit and healthy at this age. I am now fitter and healthier than I have ever been before in my life. How exciting is that?
"As I was about to step on stage for the first time, I had a moment of panic. But I had worked my butt off to get to this position and I wanted to celebrate my moment.
"I also had lots of posing training because I wanted to feel confident, comfortable and like I belonged there when I was on the stage. I couldn't believe I was really doing this because I thought it was something that had passed me by years ago, but here I was, in my sixties and just starting out.
"Even though I am older and post-menopausal, it is so fascinating to see how my body responds to training and my diet, and I can't wait to see what I can achieve for the next show.
"I am going to spend this year focusing on building my body before cutting again for the shows which will be around my 65th birthday."