It’s never too late: From payroll manager to fitness model and trainer at 53

fitness model

By her own admission Jane Curnow is one of life’s late bloomers.

She’d been in and out of therapy since the age of 16 and spent most of her life clinically depressed, on medication and desperately searching for answers.

It wasn’t until she discovered weightlifting at 46 – in tandem with the power of mindset techniques – that she finally turned the corner.

Her crowning moment came when she celebrated her 50th birthday by competing in a bodybuilding competition, declaring herself fully recovered from the demons that haunted her for so many years.

We caught up with the former payroll manager, now 53, between training sessions to find out more, and to share her inspiring message to other midlifers who are looking to make positive changes in their lives.

Below are edited interview excerpts from our chat with Jane, our latest subject in our It’s Never Too Late series.

Was there a lightbulb moment for you when you decided you needed to make a change?

I didn’t actually have one. I pursued bodybuilding for all the wrong reasons; my low self-worth, toxic ego and my desperation to be skinny. It was all vanity and the belief that obtaining the body and strutting around on stage would see my dream life fall into my lap. Doesn’t looking like a model mean life is all peaches and cream? I was more depressed than ever after my first competition as of course, this did not happen! Too many women believe that getting the body is the answer. It isn’t. It wasn’t until I started meditating, journelling, affirmation and visualisation, all the mindset techniques that I now teach my clients, that I realised I was now handling this [at 50]. Here I was on stage in a bikini loving my life. I’ve recovered, and that’s when my whole life just changed.

What for you have been the biggest challenges so far in making the switch?

If you’ve got something you’re really passionate about you’ll make it work. You’ve got to find something that really lights you up, then you find a way. Passion is one of the pillars of my recovery, that I tribute to my success. All of us have that and if you’re driven by passion you will take the risks, you find a way when there is no way because you’re so driven and passionate about it, and that’s how I feel about my fitness and my business. If it’s just a business to make money, you may as well just get a job. When you’ve got that personal investment that to me is the key to taking the risk and making it a success.


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This is 17.5kgs 💪🏻 Nearly all numbers are the same as pre COVID!! 👊🏻 Which means I have retained strength 👌🏻 And I am lean AF!! Body weight has just slipped under 60kgs now. How freakin blessed am I???!! 🙏🏻❤️ And I don’t count calories or macros or weigh my food😉 It is easy for me 🤷🏼‍♀️ At nearly 54 😁 . I have just completed a FREE 3 part workshop on the 3 magic ingredients that I use to create this Ferrari 🏎 of a body I own. If you did even HALF what I do you will see EXTRAORDINARY results!!! I cover fitness, food & FEELS!!! My REVOLUTIONARY formula that sees me in control of my physique in my 50s!! I even had control without the gym through COVID 👌🏻 My habits, lifestyle & mindset are potent AF!!! . Jump on over to my Facebook group & watch the 3 recordings!! Link in bio to join!!! . . My incredible 🏎 created by: @janecurnow @clint_hillstrength @troywallace38 ❤️🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻❤️ @fitnessfirstau @fitnessfirstmag . .

A post shared by Jane Curnow (@janecurnow) on

How has it impacted you financially? Was it a big commitment?

Yes. I have spent $150,000 to date on my journey of recovery, self-development and building my business, and I continue to invest in myself. I’ll always have a coach and bodybuilding coach. A coach is how I got ahead. I’ll always have one because I’m always trying to better myself. You’ve got ask yourself, ‘how much is your life worth?’ I don’t regret one single cent because I’ve got my life back. I wouldn’t be here today. I value myself and this is the thing; woman don’t value themselves. They’ve got such low self-worth they don’t think they’re worthy of a body like mine and they don’t think they’re worthy of spending money on themselves. It’s that martydom syndrome that woman are taught, ,that you’ve got to put your kids first and I apprecite that, but you’ve got so much more to give when you give to yourself. When I was depressed for all those years, I couldn’t give to anybody. But now I have so much energy and vitality, and so much to give.

What are some of the sacrifices you’ve had to make and what drives you to overcome those?

Friendships and estranged family; think those two might not actually be sacrifices. If people can’t support positive change in you and the pursuit of a better life, then it is not really a loss but a gain. I have also sacrificed the old version of myself. I have shed beliefs, behaviours, attitudes and habits that served their purpose but ultimately were going to send me to an early grave. I have literally gone down the rabbit hole in Alice and Wonderland! I now have a whole new reality and my sacrifice was the old one!

Were there moments when you thought, ‘oh no, this isn’t going to work’, and if so, how did you overcome them?

I’ve failed. We’ve all failed, but you just keep on going. It’s never a question of giving up. I’ve gone back to corporate many times because I’ve got to pay the bills, but I’ll never give up. This is my calling. This is what I was born for. I was always going to find a way to overcome. It is my destiny. But I’m also rewiring, always constnatly rewiring; it’s self-development for the rest of my life. There is so much power we have between our ears.

What have been some of the key lessons you’ve learned?

Age is no barrier to your dreams. You are never too old, it is never too late. Engage with the right support, hire a coach and you can achieve anything.

Looking back, is there anything you’d do differently if you could start over?

I could say start earlier in life however then I wouldn’t be where I am now. My mess is my message. My mistakes in life have shaped me, literally, and given me the strength I have today. But I have no regrets whatsoever and am truly grateful for my journey. My story wouldn’t be nearly as amazing if I was a fitness model in my 30s.

What’s the most rewarding part of this new direction?

Serving and helping others. Nothing makes my heart overflow with joy more than receiving a testimonial from one of my beautiful clients telling me I have changed the direction of their health and life. Just as my coaches have done for me.

What are your messages to others thinking of pursuing a new direction in midlife?

Self-educate, keep learning and growing, divorce mainstream, make health your highest value and priority, hire a coach and watch the magic unfold in your life.

From sport, business, to general news and lifestyle, the co-founder of 50 So What has covered it all in more than 25 years in print, TV and digital media. When he's not working on the site, you can usually find him on a golf course, playing tennis, or on a flight across the ditch to catch-up with family and friends in his native New Zealand.


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