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  • Belinda Giddens is Straight Blast Gym Buford’s Fitness Athlete of the Month for July 2021


    Belinda is 68-years-old, and she comes to the gym to train at 6am at least 3 days per week.🔥💪🏻

    Belinda is a prime example of what you want to be in your retirement years. Even though she no longer is forced to wake up before the sun rises, she still does it anyway. Belinda knows that the best way to make something a habit is to do it religiously, even if you sometimes want to smash your alarm clock when it goes off at 5am 😂.

    Belinda has been training at Straight Blast Gym Buford since the summer of 2015. For the first couple of years that Belinda was attending 6am classes at SBG Buford it was out of necessity, as she would leave the gym, shower, and head to work. In 2017, Belinda retired from full-time work, and with her retirement, a lot of us assumed that she would no longer attend the 6am Fitness Performance classes. After all, she no longer had to train early in the morning out of necessity so why get up before the sun rises if you don’t have to, right?

    We were wrong.

    After her retirement Belinda continued to be a regular in our 6am Fitness Performance classes.

    Coach James on Belinda’s workout habits:

    “Belinda has been one of the most consistent athletes I’ve had over my entire tenure here at SBG. Even when she is out. of town for a couple of weeks, she still makes it a point to workout wherever she is…even if it’s on vacation.”

    One of the difficult aspects of getting older is the realization that you’re not going to possess the athleticism that you did in your 20’s and 30’s. Over the past couple of years, Belinda has noticed that a lot of her lifts and times in SBG Buford’s Fitness Performance classes have begun to become stagnant, whereas in years previous she had continuously seen improvements in timed runs, amount of weight lifted, etc. Coach James tells us more:

    “None of us can prevent Father-time from taking its toll at some point or another. As my athletes enter their 40s and 50s, it’s normal to see a slow down in their athletic performance. It’s why you rarely see professional athletes still playing past age 40, or even 35. One of the things I emphasize to my athletes is that your goal in the later years should be to stave off Father-time….not try and beat it. The vast majority of people are physically deteriorating after they turn 60, so for someone like Belinda to even keep her athletic performance at the same level that it was 5-10 years ago is an amazing accomplishment.”

    Belinda has been very understanding of her situation and has shifted her goals and expectations as the years go by.

    “I’ll be 69 in December and hope to continue with Performance classes well into my 70’s. You need to keep moving! I do this so I can do all the things I love. Hiking, gardening, landscaping and even splitting wood. Most importantly I do this so I can continue to spend time with my grandson, Parker.”

    Because of Belinda’s dedication to her health and well-being, she is still putting up incredible showings, especially when you consider that she is training with teammates that are (primarily) half her age.

    One of the reasons Belinda started training at Straight Blast Gym back in 2015 is because she was on the verge of having osteoporosis. Last week (late May of 2021) she had her bone density tested for the first time in 2 years and the results were that she showed zero signs of decline.

    Osteoporosis is a concern for all women, especially those past age 50. Belinda’s regular attendance in SBG Buford’s Fitness Performance classes, combined with her healthy lifestyle choices, have directly contributed to her warding off this bone disease.

    Great work Belinda! Thank you for being a fantastic motivator for all of us.

    Jim Sheppard

    is one of the co-owners of Straight Blast Gym Buford and Straight Blast Gym Atlanta. He has been training / coaching / competing in Muay Thai since 2013 and holds a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.