By Morgan Owen
Betsy Mendel fell in love with fitness in the ’80s during the age of Jane Fonda and step aerobics. Even more than the physical benefits, she loved how working out made her feel. After moving to Los Angeles from Atlanta, Mendel started her own personal training business. Mendel laughs, remembering how she used to advertise using tear-off fliers before the dawn of the internet.
After 20 years as a personal trainer, Mendel looked around and realized most of her clients were over 60. It dawned on her how underserved that community was in the fitness industry, so she decided to rebrand her personal training company exclusively for seniors and call it Baby Boomers and Beyond Fitness. The transition into serving exclusively clientele over 60 was easy, Mendel says.
“I know the age-appropriate exercises. I know how to make someone feel comfortable, avoid injury and all that. I just thought that it was a great fit for me. And, my clients, I enjoy them so much. I really do enjoy training,” she says.
The first thing Mendel does when she gets a new client is to make sure they have consulted with their doctor to learn about their limitations. After that, Mendel does a consultation at their home to assess what level the new client is starting at and develops a personalized plan.
“I start them off slowly. We start with low-impact activities and build up from there. We incorporate all kinds of elements, including cardiovascular strength and flexibility,” Mendel says. “I encourage them to listen to their body. And when we finish, my clients are just overjoyed. They didn’t realize they could do what they’re doing.”
Mendel’s sessions last 50 minutes. She always begins with a 10-minute warmup and ends with five to 10 minutes of body flexibility or assisted stretching. She operates primarily out of clients’ homes and charges $135 per session.
Mendel says it is rewarding to see how her clients transform over a year of working together. She recalls one couple who she has been training for about a year. Mendel says that they seem transformed. Not only did they improve their health, but she also says they have become happier people. … And they never miss a session!
It’s important to keep up with physical fitness as we age, Mendel says. Working out helps prevent illness, prevents weight gain, and helps people maintain their flexibility. More importantly, she says working out helps her clients feel better overall. Age is just a number, but physical fitness is forever, she says.
Baby Boomers and Beyond Fitness