Jules is a resident powerhouse at Alternative Women’s Fitness, who can often be found punching up a storm at one of our boxing sessions. When we found out Jules had just turned 50, we couldn’t bloody believe it. We sat down with Jules for a beer at Carwyn Cellars to chat about her impressive and inspiring journey to get where she is today.
So Jules, how’d you first get started at Alternative Women’s Fitness?
“I found a flyer in the local community centre and I’d been looking for a boxing class for ages as I hadn’t exercised in a long time. I’d been a student before that and had become so overweight… I had a chronic health condition and the only way to help it was to lose weight.”
“I didn’t want to travel into the city to do it, I wanted something local. So then I went online, registered, and they happened to be having an introductory session. It was fun, everyone was friendly. So I signed up for an 8 week block…and it was a shock! But I loved it. That was three years ago.”
“The thing is I don’t tend to push myself. But with the encouragement of others I’ve moved up. Sabina encouraged me to move up a class, and even though you don’t believe in yourself, it’s like she knows that you can do it.”
Had you ever boxed before?
“Not before I started three years ago. It was something I wanted to try. I think it’s become popular among women because it’s not that you have to get in the ring and fight someone. It’s purely about the training and getting fit.”
“Plus I thought just recently, if someone harasses me late at night I’d be able to block and throw something out there and of course, run! It’s that sense of feeling a bit more safe in yourself.”
Had you always generally had an active lifestyle, or is it something you picked up later on?
“When I was younger I played lots of team sports – netball, volleyball, basketball. Always playing team sports. Then there was a period where stopped. I moved interstate. I was studying. When you’re stressed and a student you either clean the house, do all your washing, or you eat!”
“I can honestly say right now, I’m the fittest I’ve ever been in my life. It’s been a lifestyle change. I’ve taken up personal training as well with Kiko. And she ‘Kikos’ my arse every week! Given I’m 50 it’s harder to do at this stage of my life. She told me recently out of all her clients, I can hold a plank the longest! At one of her boxing sessions she got us all to hold a plank at the end of the class. For some reason that day I was just going and going and going and everyone else dropped around me. I didn’t dare tell them I could have gone another half minute!”
What are the biggest differences in getting back to exercise at say age 50, rather than age 30?
“When you’re younger it’s easier. You’ve got more energy. Nothing hurts when you move. Now, things hurt! And things can break. Just after I’d finished a few eight week blocks of boxing, I was running for a train, and I tore my Achilles tendon. And it’s because I wasn’t warmed up! When you go to training, you’re warmed up before you do anything. It took ages for that to recover.”
What have been the most positive sides of getting back into fitness?
“I finally found the thing that is right for me. For some people, that’s the gym. That was not my thing. Swimming comes and goes but the small group sessions at AWF with support has been the best thing I’ve ever done. I can’t speak highly enough of it. I say that all the time. People think I’m on the payroll! I just feel there has been a huge change in my mindset in terms of my mental health. And the chronic condition I had previously is much more under control.”
“I have more energy. In the afternoons after work, the thought of standing on the train home for 30 minutes almost devastated me to the point of tears. And now it’s like, I choose to stand. I know that sounds meaningless, but it’s the difference I can see in myself.”
Jules, why shouldn’t the rest of us be afraid of hitting age 50?
“Because if you keep yourself fit and active age is just a number. I don’t feel ancient. I feel less ancient than I did 5 or 10 years ago. Because I’m fitter. And I’ve got a different outlook on life.”
Finally Jules, what does it mean to you to be Fabulous at 50?
“I own it and I share it. I want to be a role model to others. I don’t know if I’ve been that role model for a lot of my life, but doing the training and losing the weight – I never thought that would happen for me. I’ve never been one to do diets or anything like that.”
“Fabulous at 50 means you can commit yourself to a Fight Night and survive. You can do a plank and outdo people 20 and 30 years younger than you. You can work hard and you can do it.”
If you’re keen to pick up the gloves like Jules, you’re in luck. Sign up now for our next block of PiNK BOXiNG.
Photos: Amanda Santamaria
FULL MAG HERE