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Gran (60) tells how she quit booze and the rat race to become a bikini champion



Gran (60) tells how she quit booze and the rat race to become a bikini champion

Allyson says she had fallen into a routine of going to the gym on and off, either starving herself or “pigging out”

It’s hard to believe Allyson Hines is 60 years old but the Lisburn woman looked fantastic as she won a couple of titles, including the Over-60s Bikini prize at the Northern Ireland Fitness Modelling Association (NIFMA) recently.

Allyson is now hoping her incredible life-changing story will inspire loads more women to do what she did.

“I was 56 and living in London working in a really busy corporate job for a recruitment agency and I had a really unhealthy relationship with drink,” admits mum-of-three Allyson.

“I wouldn’t say I was an alcoholic but I wasn’t a kick in the arse off it! I knew I wasn’t doing myself any favours.

“I’d always liked a wee drink but in my 40s it started to become more and more and then with the peri-menopause I used alcohol as a coping mechanism.

“I was going back to Northern Ireland to see my new grandson Jesse and I realised I was always either hungover or had a glass of wine in my hand when I could have been playing with him.

“It was January 2, 2021 and I was 56 years old and I just decided to quit drinking.”

Miss Bikini 2024Over 60s Allyson Hines

Allyson describes Jesse as her ‘Why?’

“He’s my ‘Why?’ because he’s the reason I completely changed my life. I knew I wanted to stay off the drink so I could spend better quality time with him,” she says.

“When I stopped drinking I needed something to keep me busy so I joined an online fitness programme and I threw myself into that and absolutely loved it.

“I went to college and trained to become a personal trainer and worked really hard to complete the course in five months and started doing some sessions with clients.

“I was more interested in the online stuff and I joined the health platform Bodi which promotes fitness, nutrition and mindset and ended up losing three stone.”

Allyson says over the years she had fallen into a routine of going to the gym on and off, either starving herself or “pigging out” as she puts it.

Miss Bikini Over 60s Allyson Hines with her Grandson Jesse

But with her new passion to stay fit and off the booze — driven on by her love for Jesse — Allyson soon realised she could also make a good living from it.

Things went so well she quit her high-flying and stressful job in London even though her husband was based there at the time, and moved back to Lisburn to start her new life as a person trainer and ambassador for Bodi.

She left for Texas on Friday to attend a health conference with Bodi and says in just a couple of years she’s been half way round the world to places including Mexico, Las Vegas and the Dominican Republic.

“It’s fantastic and unbelievable because I’m getting paid for keeping fit and helping others get fit plus I’m getting to travel the world while I’m doing it,” says Allyson.

“I’m still very much married but my husband is working in Frankfurt and I live here but we see each other at the weekends.

“I’ve built up a brilliant business here and I don’t miss London a single bit. Bodi has been brilliant for me because it provides a really good support network and there are coaches and mentors to keep you going. I can’t rave enough about it.

“I started running free boot camps in Wallace Park in Lisburn to get my name known and then I hired a hall to run classes and started doing one-to-one PT sessions and then moved on to instructing a class at Connected Fitness in Lurgan and now I take four classes a week.”

Allyson says she has clients and class members of all ages but she’s really targeting older women who may be like she was.

“I just feel older women end up losing themselves between being a wife, a mum and often working a full-time job at the same time,” she says.

Miss Bikini 2024Over 60s Allyson Hines

“Then chuck in the menopause and often we haven’t a clue who we are anymore.

“I’m so passionate about showing women how it’s never too late to change their lives for the better with fitness, nutrition and a healthy mindset.

“My only regret is not giving up the booze and going down this road years ago. I even gave a Ted-type talk which the gym called ‘Overcoming Addiction’ which initially I thought was a bit of a strong title for me but in the end up I was addicted to alcohol in a way.”

Allyson made the brave decision to strip down to her bikini and go on stage in front of hundreds of people in a fitness contest.

“I thought to myself ‘I’m 60, if I don’t do this now I’ll never do it’ so it was something to tick off the ‘things to do’ box,” she says.

“It was so nerve-wrecking behind the scenes but once out on the stage I had to decide to either strut my stuff or just run away off the stage — and I decided I’d strut my stuff!

“I wanted to show that older women can strut their stuff too and don’t have to just sit in the corner with a set of knitting needles.

“I won two titles, Miss Bikini and Miss Toned Over 60s, and I can’t wait to do it again in November.”

Registration is now open for the NIFMA Irish Universe 2024 on November 3 at the Ivanhoe Hotel in Carryduff. Go to or you can WhatsApp: 0770 8704331 for more information.

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