Fit Over 50 – Veronica Harrold-Carter

medalsName: Veronica Harrold-Carter

Age: 52

Height: 173 cm (5’8”)

Contest Weight: 55 kg (121lb)

Offseason Weight: 64 kg (140lb)

Social Media Pages: @veroharr (Instagram)

Sponsors: Team NRT

Coach: Sandra Waters – Natural Resistance Training

Contest History:

  • 2014 INBA ACT State Titles: 6th Fitness Model 30+
  • 2015 NSW INBA South Coast Classic: 1st Figure Masters 50+, 6th Figure International Masters
  • 2015 INBA ACT State Titles: 6th Figure Masters 40+, 6th Figure International Masters
  • 2015 INBA Australian Titles: 4th Figure Masters 50+, 6th Figure International Masters

Training Split:

  • Back and Biceps
  • Chest and Triceps
  • Shoulders and Abs
  • Legs

* I do this split over five days so I am training at least one set of body parts twice per week on a rotational basis.

Side Tricep
Side Tricep Tell us a little about yourself for our readers?

Veronica Harrold-Carter: I am a 52 year old mother of three children and I live on the beautiful South Coast of NSW. In many ways, I consider myself to have three distinct components to my life. First and foremost, I am a wife and mother. Secondly, I spend my days teaching English and HSIE in a well established Catholic High School in my area. And thirdly, I spend a considerable amount of time at my local gym lifting as hard and as heavy as I can go.

NB: When did you first step foot in a gym and why?

VHC: Over the years, I’ve dabbled in gyms. Ive had periods of time where I’ve regularly attended circuit classes and had a bit of a go with some of the free weight machines. However, mostly, I was a cardio girl. I ran, I walked, I cycled and I thought I was I reasonable shape. I have always been tall and skinny – I am a classic ectomorph who could eat anything and never put on weight. However, as I became older, particularly once I reached the age of 40 and beyond, I noticed the weight was gradually beginning to creep upwards on the scale and that was something I definitely did not enjoy. I also had a dexa scan and was shocked to discover that even though I appeared skinny and didn’t weigh that much, I was actually carrying almost 30% body fat. I was that skinny fat girl with very little muscle. It was at this point that a new gym was opening in my town and I decided to take out a membership in an attempt to lose some of this weight. Once there, I noticed my now coach, Sandra Waters training some girls who looked to be in pretty good shape so I decided to approach her and engage her as my trainer. From that point on, I feel like I’ve never looked back.

NB: If you could go back, what are the main things you would change about your early training?

VHC: In hindsight, I wish I’d started serious weight training in my twenties when I used to be a cardio girl and whilst I was in good shape aerobically, I had no real muscle to speak of. In many ways, I feel like I’ve got so much time to make up for now.

NB: A lot of women are afraid of lifting weights because of a misconception that women lifting weights will make them masculine and bulky. What would you say to those women?

VHC: Haha. What a fallacy. Sometimes the kids at my school ask me if I’m a body builder and my response is: “Do I look like a body builder to you”? They always answer with a negative. I train hard five days a week and whilst my body composition has changed dramatically, I am still quite small and feminine. Lifting weights has made me leaner and stronger with better muscle definition. When people (mostly women) ask me how I stay in the shape I do, I’m happy to let them know that I work out in a gym. I’d advise anyone wanting to change their body composition to ditch the cardio and pick up the iron. And furthermore, as women, we lack the testosterone needed to become really big and bulky.

backbicepNB: Do you have any body parts that you especially look forward to training?

VHC: Honestly, I really look forward to training all my body parts. I know I still have a long way to go in order to achieve my goals and I look forward to each workout. I regard each session as a gift to myself. It’s my time and I know I can only continue to improve with each successive rep and set.

NB: Following on from that, are there any body parts that you don’t look forward to quite as much?

VHC: I do dread legs day at times, particularly when I’m with my trainer as I know I’m going to get pretty much smashed. However, again, I see it as an opportunity for growth and whilst legs day is always challenging, I never finish a session with any regrets. I also try not to leave anything in the tank!

NB: Based on your appearance most people wouldn’t believe your age. Do you believe the natural bodybuilding lifestyle can reverse some of the effects of aging?

VHC: Weight training has had some very positive spin offs for me. I am at an age where many women are losing muscle mass and bone density and feeling the insidious effects of menopause. Dexa scans have shown me that I’ve increased in both my muscle mass and bone density during the past two years. Furthermore, it’s my aim to develop and retain as much function as I can so I am physically well placed as I continue to age. Moreover, when training and particularly during comp prep, I have noticed significant improvements in my skin and in particular, the amount of wrinkles around my face. I attribute this to a diet that consists of naturally sourced foods devoid of processed sugars. I am actually in the best shape of my adult life and I attribute this to my gym programme and the fitness lifestyle in general.

NB: When was your first competition and what was your motivation for stepping on stage?

VHC: I first competed in 2014. I was at a point where I saw some of the girls who train with my coach preparing to compete and thought I’d give it a go as I wasn’t getting any younger. In doing so, I was absolutely taking myself well outside of my comfort zone and regarded the process of stepping onto stage as a real personal challenge.

NB: You have stepped on stage a number of times since then. What do you consider to be the highlight of your career so far?

VHC: Definitely qualifying for the INBA National Titles this year. This was a goal I set myself after my first comp in 2014 and I worked hard to develop my physique over that time.

Side Chest
Side Chest

NB: What do you consider your strong points, competition wise?

VHC: Definitely my abs. I don’t tend to carry fat in my abdomen region, so with a little bit of a cut, they tend to come out nicely.

NB: What is your goal for the next time you step on stage?

VHC: I have a very definite goal to improve my National ranking. I would also, like to place top five in Figure International. If I do improve my rankings then I will consider competing at the World Championships within the next couple of years. This means a lot of hard work for me during the next twelve months but I’m up for the challenge and keen to see what improvements I can bring to the stage in 2016.

NB: Competitor numbers in all divisions are growing rapidly every year. What do you think is driving this growth?

VHC: I really think that the fitness industry as a whole is booming. Also, many federations such as the INBA are opening up their divisions and making competitions more accessible for many people. A burgeoning social media landscape is also a significant factor, particularly with the amount of inspirational pages by some pretty awesome athletes.

NB: There are some awesome natural competitors at the moment. Who do you consider to be the top competitors currently?

VHC: I would have to say that I admire the incredible athleticism and tenacity of girls like Rose Black, Molly Stewart Gibson and Sarah Taylor. They have built incredible physiques and their stage presence is awesome. I also admire anyone over the age of fifty with the audacity and talent to step on stage. These girls are my contemporaries and they are showing the world that age is irrelevant.

NB: What advice would you give anyone who is thinking of competing?

VHC: If this is your goal, go for it. I realise it’s cliched but you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I have gained so much confidence in myself from the entire process. Show days are so much fun and a huge payoff for all the hard work during the rest of the year – I love the blingy costumes, rocking an awesome tan and having hair and make-up done. You really are transported out of the ordinary and become a part of something extraordinary. Thank you for your interview. Anything else you would like to add?

Veronica Harrold-Carter: My journey has only just begun and it isn’t really sustainable without my network of family and friends who have shown me unwavering support over the last couple of years. I also attribute much of what I’ve achieved to my incredible coach who has helped me realise that anything is possible and continues to push me beyond what I think are my physical limitations.

On stage at the National Titles
On stage at the National Titles

Ryan Norman

Ryan is the owner and editor of NatBod. Bodybuilding has been a major part of Ryan's life since childhood, both his parents are successful competitors and coaches. Ryan owns Moruya Gym with his partner Becky, has himself achieved competitive bodybuilding success and he promotes Natural Bodybuilding through the NatBod platform. Facebook: Ryan Norman - NatBod Instagram: @ryanjnorman

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