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Woman Becomes Body Builder Aged 76

Woman Becomes Body Builder Aged 76

We're usually pulling out the champers when we record even the smallest of abs after a gym session, but a 76-year-old bodybuilder is putting us all to shame.

Inspirational Iris Davis, a personal trainer and bodybuilder from Long Creek, South Carolina, used working out as a means to deal with her trauma after the losses of her child and husband.

Iris was born in Dublin, Ireland, where she lived with 14 siblings in a two-bedroom home.

Iris used exercise to deal with past trauma (Credit: Caters)
Iris used exercise to deal with past trauma (Credit: Caters)
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At just 14 she began working, she was married at 17 and by 8 years of age, Iris had her first child, who tragically died of pneumonia when he was just two months old.

To cope with her grief, a young Iris began walking, with began her lifelong passion for exercise.

"The more I walked, the more I cried and talked to myself and that was better than just lying in bed," she shared. "It became my church and sanctuary."

Incredible Iris still works out at least four times a week (Credit: Caters)
Incredible Iris still works out at least four times a week (Credit: Caters)
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When she was 22, Iris had another son, but sadly, when her baby was two months old, her husband died suddenly and she was left to raise the baby alone.

"I looked at people in my situation and they were all sad and lonely, but I wanted to be different, so I applied for a job in the USA as a nanny and got hired in two weeks," Iris said.

"When I was in the USA, I walked into a gym and realised I wasn't depressed there.

"At that time, there were no female models to look up to, and it was unheard of for a woman to go into a men's gym, so I would get looks and stares, when I was allowed in.

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"But I realised I wasn't depressed in the gym and I never stopped, I did not go by bodybuilding books, except for stuff by Schwarzenegger, I am my own experiment.

"I believe most conventional knowledge is rubbish."

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Iris had smashed a tonne of world records (Credit: Caters)
Iris had smashed a tonne of world records (Credit: Caters)

Iris took part in her first bodybuilding show when she was 50-years-old - competing against younger male bodybuilders, she came in second.

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In the 20 years that followed, Iris went on to break records, taking 12 first place medals at NPC bodybuilding shows.
Some of her most notable accomplishments include an unofficial leg press record at 420kg and the title of fittest female in the US awarded to her by Nintendo in 2006.

But the Iris's badassery didn't stop in the arena: while living in Florida when she was 65, Iris stumbled upon a police chase that went past her office, so she went outside to see what was going on.

The thieves' car crashed in front of Iris, and when one of them began running away, she chased them and subdued them until the police arrived.

At 76, Iris is thriving (Credit: Caters)
At 76, Iris is thriving (Credit: Caters)
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On her 74th birthday, Iris earned herself a world record for doing 21 pull-ups in a row.

Flash-forward to 2020, and a 76-year-old Iris still works out at least four times per week, doing sets of 200 or 500 reps, and at least 1500 torso twists per day.

She said: "Every year I make a resolution that I will see how I feel at New Year, but I always feel like I'm 30.

"I love the way working out makes me feel, I get a rush and a high, if you passed by my house, you'd think a 17-year-old lived there.

"I listen to all the new club music and blast it for hours."

Iris is married to Bob, 59 (Credit: Caters)
Iris is married to Bob, 59 (Credit: Caters)


Incredible Iris has a son and two grandchildren who live in London. She's been married to Bob, who is 17 years her junior, for 26 years. She calls him her "biggest support".

Life motto: be more like Iris.

Featured Image Credit: Caters

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Ciara Sheppard

Ciara is a freelance writer working for Tyla. After graduating with an English Lit and Media degree from the University of Sussex, Ciara held jobs at GLAMOUR and Yahoo Style before packing up for a solo travelling trip around South America.