By Bridie Pearson-jones For Mailonline
10:46 12 Oct 2020, updated 11:10 12 Oct 2020
- Personal trainer Iris Davis, who is originally from Dublin but now lives in Long Creek, South Carolina, started working out 58 years ago to cope with loss of son
- Now 76, she exercises at least four times a week and does 1500 torso twists daily
- Some of her most notable accomplishments include an unofficial leg press record at 420kg (926lbs) and the title of fittest female in the US in 2006
A 76-year-old bodybuilding record holder has become an internet sensation thanks to her impressive gains and inspirational story.
Personal trainer and bodybuilder Iris Davis, who is originally from Dublin but now lives in Long Creek, South Carolina, has revealed how her passion for bodybuilding means she still ‘feels 30’.
Iris was born in Ireland, where she lived with 14 siblings in a two-bedroom home.
She began working at 14, and moved to London aged 16 in search of a better life.
At 17 she married and by the time she was 18 she had her first child, who died of pneumonia when he was just two months old.
She say exercise has helped her thrive despite a tragic start in life with the losses of a child and a husband.
To cope with the trauma, Iris began walking, and so her life-long love for physical exercise was begun.
‘The more I walked, the more I cried and talked to myself and that was better than just lying in bed.
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‘It became my church and sanctuary,’ she explained.
At 22, Iris had another son, but when the baby was just two-months-old, her husband died suddenly and she found herself with a child and nobody to support her.
‘I looked at people in my situation and they were all sad and lonely, but I wanted to be different, so I applied for a job in the USA as a nanny and got hired in two weeks.
‘When I was in the USA, I walked into a gym and realised I wasn’t depressed there.
‘At that time, there were no female models to look up to, and it was unheard of for a woman to go into a men’s gym, so I would get looks and stares, when I was allowed in.
‘But I realised I wasn’t depressed in the gym and I never stopped, I did not go by bodybuilding books, except for stuff by Schwarzenegger, I am my own experiment.
‘I believe most conventional knowledge is rubbish.’
At the age of 76, Iris still works out at least four times a week, doing impressive sets of 200 or 500 reps, and at least 1500 torso twists per day.
She did her first bodybuilding show when she was 50, going up against younger male bodybuilders and coming in second, and went on to take 12 first place NPC bodybuilding shows in the next 20 years.
Some of her most notable accomplishments include an unofficial leg press record at 420kg (926lbs) and the title of fittest female in the US awarded to her by Nintendo in 2006.
While she was living in Florida, at the age of 65, Iris stumbled upon a police chase that went past her office, so she went outside to see what was going on.
The thieves’ car crashed in front of Iris, and when one of them began running away, she subdued them until the police arrived.
On her 74th birthday, Iris earned herself a world record for doing 21 pull-ups in a row.
Iris said: ‘Every year I make a resolution that I will see how I feel at New Year, but I always feel like I’m 30.
‘I love the way working out makes me feel, I get a rush and a high, if you passed by my house, you’d think a 17-year-old lived there.
‘I listen to all the new club music and blast it for hours.’
Iris has a son and two grandchildren who live in London, while she has been married for 26 years to a man 17 years her junior, named Bob, who she says is ‘her biggest support’.