Amazing Rose 1
Vicki Bovee with the “Amazing Rose”

I am the dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute in Reno, NV. We specialize in weight loss surgery and have a very comprehensive program where we encourage and promote an active lifestyle for a lifetime. That is why I wanted to tell you about this amazing woman I met at St. Mary’s Center for Health and Fitness where we both work out. In fact, my husband and I call her “Amazing Rose”. Rose is 4″11″ tall, a small woman. What makes her truly amazing is that she 85 years old.
Now I have been in one gym or another doing strength training for the past 24 years, and as I have gotten older, the amount of weight I use for strengthening has lessened. I’ve had both shoulders repaired for rotator cuff injuries and I have arthritis in my lower back. I was feeling pretty good about my workouts and then along came Rose.
She first came to our attention when we followed behind her on some the strength training equipment. This woman was squatting and lifting more weight than we were. She was on the Free Motion standing squat machine and doing 150 pounds with ease. I was doing 60 pounds. It continued this way. Every machine I used after her, I had to move the pin to lighten the weights.
Enough was enough. I decided to talk to Rose. I thought she must have been training in the gym her entire life. Maybe when she was younger she was an athlete. I was wrong on both counts. Rose agreed to share her story with me and here it is.
Rose had a stroke in 1980 but kept on working. She retired in 2000 at the age of 72. She started going to pool exercise class in 2003 at her neighborhood facility. In 2007, she joined St. Mary’s gym. She continued with pool classes and went to the senior aerobics classes. In 2008, one of the trainers suggested she move to the floor with the weight equipment and she hasn’t stopped since. Currently, she attends pool class 3 times a week and does strength training 3 times a week. She is maintaining a 30 pound weight loss.
I asked her about the amount of weight is she able to handle on the machines. Rose replied, “I just keep at it. I amaze myself. I just add a little bit and that’s how I get better.”
I asked her about her health. She has high blood pressure but her doctor tells her that her blood work is that of a 55 year old. “I feel 65. I have my aches and pains. Exercise doesn’t get rid of them but it makes it hurt less.”
Rose has her health goals. She would like to reduce her percentage of body fat and increase her lean body mass so she keeps at it. “I go to the doctor and I do what she tells me. Right now I’m working on firming up my abdominal muscles.” At the end of our talk Rose looked at me with a smile and that twinkle in her eye and said, “I can’t complain about anything. I am grateful for what I have.”
This woman has become an inspiration for me. I get on those machines now and have bumped up the weights. I’m not going to let an 85 year old woman kick my butt in the gym. My weights are creeping up. My number of reps has increased. My goal is to squat 120 pounds but by then Rose might be squatting 200 pounds. I can lap her on the indoor track but that is the only place I can kick her butt.
Amazing Rose is 85 and is going strong. It is never too late and you’re never too old to start exercising. You don’t have to go to the gym, but you have to do something. Take a walk, go to pool classes, ride a bike, go to yoga, dance in your house. Just do something! And having a positive attitude about life can sure help you along the way.
Eat Smart…
Vicki Bovee, MS, RDN, LD

Vicki Bovee, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and the bariatric dietitian for Western Bariatric Institute (WBI) in Reno, NV with over 25 years experience in weight loss and weight management. Vicki works with both weight loss surgery patients and nonsurgical weight loss patients. Prior to joining WBI, Vicki spent 11 years at the University of Nevada School of Medicine working in the areas of weight management and women’s health. She has also authored several cookbooks with Chef Dave Fouts. Vicki received her master’s degree in nutrition from Montana State University and her Bachelor of Science degree in home economics from the University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.