Marlene Flowers believes that it is “never too late” to change your life.
“Granny Guns,” as she goes by on social media, is a 65-year-old auto shop owner and bodybuilder who says she had a wake-up call seven years ago.
“I had eating disorders and health issues. When I was 58, I had to get surgery,” says Flowers. “After that experience, I knew that I needed to make a change.”
So she did. Flowers first began working out and eating healthy. Then, three years ago, she decided to lift weights and discovered a passion.
“My son is my trainer, and he is the one that got me into weightlifting,” says Flowers, who shows off her muscles in social media exercise videos. “The people at my gym encouraged me to enter competitions.”
The Pittsburgh-area native has been featured in multiple news programs and stories across the country, and is currently a candidate for the cover of Muscle and Fitness’ HERS Magazine. Fans can vote for Flowers once per day in the magazine’s Ms. Health & Fitness 2022 contest with a Facebook login, and can also donate to nonprofit Homes for Wounded Warriors for additional entries at $1 per vote. As of press time, she’s currently third in her group.
Her entire journey is being documented online by her son. Her TikTok account, which launched in November 2021, boasts over 19,000 followers and over 1 million likes.
“It was not until about a month ago that I realized that I went viral,” Flowers says. But she stresses that family and kindness, and not fame, are her priority.
“I am the oldest out of seven kids and ever since then, I had to set the example,” she says. “I love the attention, but if I am able to motivate people for a healthier life, then I am happy.”
Flowers adds that it’s her loved ones and people who are inspired by her who keep her going. “Sometimes I think about why I am doing this,” Flowers says, “but when someone gives us a compliment, it was like faith.”
Flowers encourages anyone seeking a healthier lifestyle to follow her path.
“You do not need to have an amazing body to exercise. The goal is to feel good not look good,” Flowers says. “Exercising may be tough but once you do it, you will feel better.”
She says this mentality also does not just apply to exercise. “When you fail at something get up and try again,” Flower says. “It is within us to achieve what was destined for us.”
It took going through a lot of bad times to get to the point she is at, according to Flowers, but she says she aims to serve as an example to others going through difficult situations, letting them know that they shouldn’t allow those hard times to beat them.
“I have been through a lot, but I fought through it,” Flowers says. “People who have been through bad times are not victims, they are survivors. I am a survivor.”
In addition to landing the cover of Muscle and Fitness HERS, the winner of the Ms. Health & Fitness competition will win $20,000 in cash. To vote for Flowers, visit mshealthandfitness.com/2022/marlene-fl. The contest ends at 7 p.m. on Thu., June 2.