At nearly 84, Winifred Pristell, grandmother of two and great-grandmother of three, is a testament to living healthy at any age. Pristell has been weightlifting and powerlifting since her 60s. She currently holds 17 world records and numerous state and American records. She has also been inducted into the Washington State Powerlifting Hall of Fame as well as the New York Powerlifting Hall of Fame.
In fact, Pristell competed at the Nationals on May 14th of this year and got the gold medal for the female best lifter award and a gold medal for bench press and deadlift.
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and athletic in her youth, Pristell’s lifestyle eventually slowed down. Before she knew it, she was obese. But with the encouragement of her daughter, she became re-interested in fitness at 48.
At 47, the 5-foot-5-inch-tall woman was dangerously obese, weighing 235 pounds — a body mass index of about 40. A body mass index of 25 is considered overweight; obesity starts at 30.
Since then, she’s dropped five dress sizes and is a comparatively nice 180 pounds.
The weight just crept up on her, she says. She was working long hours, eating poorly and drinking and smoking too much.
One day while taking a bath, Pristell remembers feeling as though she was dying.
She asked her daughter, Cynthia, if she would walk with her.
“I couldn’t walk but a block that first time,” she says.
Every morning the two walked together, a little farther each day. Within a year, Pristell was up to three miles, five days a week.
That’s about the point she walked into a gym for the first time in her life. She tried