Meet the World’s Oldest Active Fitness Trainer

By Landry Allred – February 1, 2023

On an average day after warming up, Tim Minnick can deadlift 300 pounds. The crazy part? He’s 80 years old.

Since 2020, Leander-based Minnick has held the Guinness World Record title of the oldest active fitness trainer in the world. He’s currently a trainer at the Gold’s Gym in Cedar Park whose main clientele includes those 60 years old and up.

However, Minnick isn’t a seasoned veteran of fitness; he only started getting serious about fitness in his later years, specifically after his wife died in 2007. Though it was daunting, especially without a partner to consult with, he aimed for diligence, waking up at 5 a.m. daily to work out.

Because of his journey, Minnick says he’s more equipped to work with his current clientele. Today, he enjoys being involved in fitness, especially as it relates to aging.

“Aging is a very interesting process,” Minnick says. “Someday, you’ll see that your body changes; you can do different things but, at the same time, you have some limitations.”

Getting the Title

Though Minnick wishes he started his fitness journey earlier, he was still able to receive his personal trainer certification in 2015 at 73 years old. He then visited several gyms looking for a job but none of them took him seriously enough to even do an interview because of his age – except for Gold’s Gym in Cedar Park.

Tim standing.

“The first day of work (at Gold’s) with a bunch of people (who) were less than half my age caused me to be apprehensive,” Minnick says. “Am I going to fit in? Am I going to be able to do this at this stage of my life? (But) this worked out extremely well.”

Since becoming a trainer, Minnick has received about 10 other certifications and became a member of the FUNCTIONAL AGING Institute, a leader in the industry of fitness for older-aged communities. He’s also worked with people who have had heart transplants, multiple injuries, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, stroke and more.

Minnick recalls one of his clients who had cancer, experienced a stroke and was in a severe roll-over car wreck. He worked with her for two-plus years to get to the point where she could finally get off the ground if she was sitting.

“That’s gratifying to see because it didn’t mean I’m so super but that she’s intent on getting better,” Minnick says. “That’s what it takes – the attitude that, ‘I’m going to get better, focus on this, and my mindset is going to be right.’”

It wasn’t too long after Minnick got his training certification when a friend of his in Atlanta shared during a phone call that Minnick might be the oldest trainer in the world. Minnick didn’t believe it at first, but after doing the research, he discovered the oldest trainer was 65 years old; Minnick was 76. After this fateful conversation, it took Minnick a year to get the title, as he had to submit proof of his career and age.

“I always tell people, ‘I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records. I didn’t really do anything to do it; I just got older,’” Minnick chuckles.

Shifting the Industry

Since starting his fitness journey, one aspect Minnick especially noticed about the industry was that most people viewed it to be dominated by younger folks. Because of this, Minnick says many older people feel discouraged from going to the gym and even pursuing fitness at all.

Tim lifting pole.

“Especially an older person, if they’ve never been in a gym before, they’re scared to death,” Minnick says. “(At Gold’s), we give everybody a free training session when they (first) come in, and if I meet with somebody (who’s) 60 and up, I can tell they’re nervous because they think, ‘I have to do stuff that (I) can’t possibly do at this point.’”

Minnick says many people over the age of 60 who visit Gold’s for the first time never return because they convinced themselves that they can’t lift weights and bodybuild like the younger adults.

“If you’re older, you should be lifting weights (but) you don’t have to deadlift,” Minnick says. “I try to get people to see (that) they can improve without trying to lift massive amounts of weight(…) You can get a lot better just doing resistance training on machines, but you gotta do that as you get older.”

Luckily, Minnick says he’s seen gyms shift away from the concept of gyms being for younger adults, but there’s still room to grow. He hopes his training can contribute to the narrative that older adults can pursue fitness, too.

Minnick says only when people realize how weak they are and are willing to put in the work to push through that, they can do a lot more things they couldn’t before. He encourages this in his clients by practicing functional training – things that can help them do regular daily activities. This includes helping them with stability, range of motion, mobility, balance, posture and core strength.

“(Older) people are so limited physically that they can’t do the normal things they would do every day,” Minnick says. “For instance, getting in and out of the car, going to the grocery store, picking up groceries, taking them in the house, putting them up on the shelf – you think that sounds simple but, for a lot of people, it is not.”

This inability to do regular activities is a result of muscle loss. According to a review published by the National Library of Medicine, people lose 3 to 8% of their muscle mass every decade after reaching the age of 30. At 60 years old, the rate of decline is even higher. Minnick remembers one client who couldn’t get off the toilet without help.

“He’s significantly younger than I am, and that’s just scary to me,” Minnick says. “It puts everybody in your family and realm in a position of going, ‘How do I help this guy if he falls down or gets hurt?’”

Even though working with older people is a daunting task, Minnick says it’s also exciting when you see people progress.

“When you see people (who) actually accomplish things at an older age, it’s exciting to see that because it’s rare,” Minnick says. “It shouldn’t be rare, but it is.”

Live to Train

When it comes to Minnick’s personal life, his schedule is structured around all things fitness – from blocking out time for classes he’s instructing in the mornings and afternoons to fitting in clients throughout the day. In the evenings, he studies for other certification exams. Right now, he’s working on getting his CSCS certification. Minnick is also a SilverSneakers instructor and was a finalist for SilverSneakers Instructor of the Year in 2022.

Tim with TRX.

Though Minnick’s full-time job is training others, the training doesn’t stop there. Minnick trains himself personally as well, working out at least four days a week. 

“I’m in such a habit and nature of (training),” Minnick says. “I don’t feel right if I’m not active every day.”

His current fitness goals include working on building muscle throughout his body as well as achieving a high-intensity exercise, which he aims to complete in the next six months.

“I’ve done part of (the exercise), but I haven’t done the whole thing yet because I’m not in good enough shape to do it,” Minnick says. “But I’ll get there; it’s just a question of time.”

Along with his personal fitness goals, Minnick also hopes to get at least another five years in as a trainer. However, he says it ultimately depends on if he’s healthy enough to demonstrate the movements to his clients.

Overall, he hopes his fitness journey – whether people see him as the world’s active fitness trainer or just another older guy in the gym – helps others in their later years know they can do it, too.

“Most people automatically think as they get older, they can’t do this or that and truthfully, that might be the case for some people (with injuries),” Minnick says. “But they could still do way more than they think they can.”


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