Project Body Smart | Is This the World’s Oldest Trainer?


Is This the World’s Oldest Trainer?

Tim Minnick was nervous the day he walked into Gold’s Gym looking for a job as a personal trainer.

Yes, he had the certifications and the enthusiasm. But he had been turned down already by two other big chain locations.

And he was, after all, 73 years old.

“I knew they’d be taking a chance on me,” recalls Tim today, three years later. “But they did, and it worked out great for both of us.”

Indeed, the gym in Austin, Texas, was onto a coming trend, one that’s now gaining national attention and is relevant everywhere.

With the over-50 demographic the hottest in fitness, some people in this demographic are also becoming trainers. 

But a trainer well into his 70s?

Call the Guinness Book

It’s hard to say for sure, but Tim, at 76, could be the oldest personal trainer in the country, if not the world. 

  1. Tim earned his personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. The organization doesn’t keep track of trainers’ ages, so it can’t say who the oldest is.
  2. The Guinness Book of World Records last year certified American Wendy Ida, then 65, as the world’s oldest personal trainer in multiple disciplines. Guinness also has a simpler title – oldest fitness instructor – and there is currently no record holder for it.
  3. An Internet search found a US news article about an 80-year-old trainer who since died. Britain’s Telegraph wrote about a 71-year-old trainer in February 2016.

So, it’s entirely possible. Tim plans to apply for that Guinness title.

He Has Found New Purpose

While Tim was nervous when he applied for the job, no one at the gym was worried, said manager Aaron Gillum.

“It was an easy hire, and I’m glad he walked through the door,” Aaron said.

The location has several thousand members and 15 trainers. Aaron estimates between 15 and 20 percent of the clients are over 50.

Tim leads group sessions, including some focused on this demographic. And he trains individuals, as well. Some are over 50, and some are not.

“He has a niche, but he’s also able to train the general population,” Aaron said.

For his part, Tim says the job has given him renewed purpose after he lost his wife. He enjoys the interaction, and he works out almost every day himself.

The greatest joy comes from knowing he’s helping others.

“It’s really a good thing for some people to see me – it stops the intimidation many of them feel coming into a gym,” Tim says. “I was looking for something at this stage of life that would help me help other people be better. And I did, and it’s really exciting.”

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