Photo: Julie Vandenoeven/Wonderful Machine
HEALTHY HABITS HERO: Penny Tompkins, Age 50, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder may be the land of ultraathletic females, but Penny Tompkins had never been one of them. Although she had always been what she calls “moderately active,” as she neared her 50th birthday, Penny was in a funk—unhappy with her middle-aged middle and just existing in a cloud of cumulative emotional and physical fatigue that came from raising two children and helping her husband, Tom, overcome a battle with cancer. In the spring of 2010, when Penny was looking for a fitness program to help her son Cal, now 15, she decided to invest some energy into taking care of herself. “I figured if I was taking him to CrossFit, I might as well do it, too, instead of sitting and waiting.”
It was love at first sweat. Two years later, she is totally devoted to training, and now she’s in the best shape of her adult life. In fact, to celebrate her 50th birthday, she arranged a trip to Africa and will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania come February.
In a wonderful case of transformation inspiration, Tom decided to try the program, too. “He looks better than I’ve ever seen him,” she brags of her hubby, 49. Adds Penny, “We both think 50 is a great time to go, ‘Hey, I’m going to stop and take account of my life.’”