Guest Speaker: Being healthy (enough) over 50 with Amy Van Liew

Kristina Abernathy

Guest Speaker: Being healthy (enough) over 50 with Amy Van Liew

After a career as an electrical engineer with Hewlett Packard, Amy Van Liew got the opportunity to retire early. While it was one of the most difficult decisions she’d ever have to make, she felt it was a little nudge to do something different. When the company extended her employment so she could help shut down her business unit, it gave her a whole year to figure out what to do next.

“I was only 50 and wasn’t ready to completely retire. I thought I had a lot to offer but didn’t want to do the same thing I’d been doing.”

Inspiration to start a second career

Amy Van Liew exercising.

She found inspiration in The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, which encourages readers to find their passion. And, her passion had always been health and fitness. She had even taught fitness classes while at HP.

So, a week after “retirement” she started a year-long integrative nutrition course, brushed off her personal training and group fitness certifications, and started creating her second career.   

The name of her company was born on a walk with her husband and dogs explaining all the crazy diets and fanatical exercise concepts she was learning and she blurted out…”I just want to BE HEALTHY...ENOUGH”. Healthy enough to do all the things she wanted to do in life yet still have fun and not feel deprived or beat up. So it all began. She started teaching small group classes in her neighbor’s garage, which moved to her garage then a newly renovated garage, and even her pool.  

Personal training was also something she loved and did. Then the pushbacks started, “Amy I can’t make your class time”, “Amy, personal training is too expensive”,  “Amy, can you help me with X?” So she started making specialized exercise videos to save her clients a little money and give them some homework. The demographic that gravitated towards her were women over 50, and that’s where she started to focus.

Her workouts now are designed for women over 50 who can’t do the same kind of “boot camp” classes they may have done in their twenties or thirties. These women still want to exercise despite the aches and pains that inevitably creep in as we start to age.

In 2018 she finally hired some help with her website and to help with video filming, editing, and hosting.  And after several long weekends filming over 50 exercise videos she launched the Be Healthy Enough Digitial Fitness Studio on Jan 1, 2019.

It was a big struggle and it did not take off as she had hoped. Getting a new subscriber was AMAZING but losing one was devastating. At the beginning of 2020, she had 12 subscribers. Then Covid hit. At the same time she hired a new business coach and her business grew by 630% to over 100 subscribers. She now offers a monthly and yearly subscription plan with over 200 workout videos, and each month members get new workout calendars and challenges and in her private Facebook group, she provides motivation and support.  Last month her BINGO challenge was a big hit!.

Of course, with any new endeavor, there are obstacles to overcome. And, new technology was one of them.

Overcoming challenges

“I have an engineering degree, and learning about what was available and asking for help was the biggest challenge.”

She found a business coach and other experts to help her learn what she needed to know to be a success. While she started with help from a videographer, she now does all of her taping and editing. Her biggest challenge was learning not just the technology but what types of technology were out there and what they could do to help her!

There was so much new technology she had to research to know what was available. And, then she had to learn how to use that technology.

Another challenge - learning not to be afraid to fail. Not every idea is going to work out the way you hoped.

“ I have done so many things that got crickets. I did a 4 weeks class on resetting with food and nothing… or just one to two people”

She says you shouldn’t be afraid to try something new. That’s the best way to learn

She wants to help her clients overcome challenges too. One of the biggest obstacles to getting fit that she hears from her clients is how to get motivated. Her advice:

“Find your ‘why’. Why do you want to exercise? You have to have a reason. "

The reasons I do it now are different than 20 years ago. Now it’s making sure I can get off the toilet when I’m 90. It’s about being independent as I age.” 

After 50 Amy says aches and pains start to happen, and now at 58 some days are better than others.

Advice for women over 50

  • Listen to your body and don’t expect it to do what you did in your thirties and forties. It’s a hard lesson to learn. 
  • The scale goes up, and you can’t always eat less and exercise more. Eating less is the worst thing you can do in your fifties. You have to fuel your body with good food.
  • Exercise to feel good, not to beat yourself up. 
  • Stay consistent with your routine
  • Learn to listen to your body and do what you can, where you are today, and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Promise not to do anything that hurts - find that balance 
  • Walking is an excellent way to get started on your fitness journey. 

She says, most of all, don’t ever think you’re too old.

“It’s never too late. There’s lots of opportunity for those over 50. You have to embrace every year as if it’s the best it will ever be.”
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Guest Speaker: Being healthy (enough) over 50 with Amy Van Liew
Guest Speaker: Being healthy (enough) over 50 with Amy Van Liew
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Guest Speaker: Being healthy (enough) over 50 with Amy Van Liew
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