Introducing D’FYNE’s Fab40Over40 2024 Edition!

D’FYNE is six years into sharing 40 incredible women over the age of 40 and we are, as always, moved by your stories, impressed by your strength and inspired by your achievements. Making connections with such a diverse group of women with a passion for healthy living is what fuels D’FYNE. Your zest for life and enthusiasm for all things health and fitness is what bonds the D’FYNE community. We give thanks to you for your contributions when it comes to supporting healthy, active living and to the tireless photographers for capturing and sharing the stunning strength of this select group of remarkable women from around the world.

Interested in making our next #Fab40Over40? You can find the application instructions here 

Alicia Shoroth, Fab40over40 2024

Name: Alicia Schoroth

IG: @alicia_schoroth
Age: 50

Life-changing moment:I was 26 when my father passed. It completely changed the way I looked at life and health. That is when I started to take my health and fitness seriously–so much so that I switched careers in my 40s and started my own fitness business to help other women.” 

Sparks of joy: Spending time with my family. 

Health and family first: “Watching my husband battle cancer and seeing how scared my son was left an impact on me. It was a very difficult time and a reminder that family and support is everything and to never take anything for granted.”  

Vitamin sea: “I love to be underwater. I’m a master diver and absolutely love exploring underwater when we’re on vacation. It’s a whole other world. Some of the coolest experiences in my life have been in the ocean.” 

Walk it out: “I walk and work out daily and like to do outdoor activities with my family.” 

Photos by @west_studio

Anna Granic

Name: Anna Granic

IG: @annagranic
Age: 53

Life is a gift: “I lost my three-year-old son. He was only sick for two days and the doctors assumed he had a terrible ear infection–he had a brain tumour and nobody knew. He passed away beside me in his sleep peacefully. This experience hands down changed my life. As I came to learn that life is a gift and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I make everyday count. I push forward to compete with myself from yesterday.”

Overcoming a lifelong fear: “I had an irrational fear of dogs for 51 years. I always knew I would get a dog and learn to beat this horrible fear, and I finally got a dog and did it. The lesson learned here, though, and I think it’s so powerful is that the only thing that changed was my brain, only my perspective of dogs has changed.”

Give her a hand for her handstand: “I taught myself how to do a handstand. I have zero gymnastics in my background–being Croatian I was put into folklore dancing, folklore music and soccer. But in 2017 I was determined to learn–I practiced for a full year everyday against the wall and the rest is history.”

Not GTL, but GHC: It’s not gym, tan, laundry for Anna. She loves going to the gym, hiking and cooking.

Recharging: “I like to read and spend my evenings quietly. Frankly speaking, I am high energy all day (and that’s all anybody knows me as) but I need to recharge at some point of my day.”

Good morning: “I love to get up at 4 a.m. when the world is sleeping and start off with some meditation and then I hit the gym.”

Brandy wolowidnyk

Name: Brandy Wolowidnyk-Rennie

Age: 48

Down but never out: “I have had many ups and downs; losses, job changes, surgeries and still I don’t let them knock me down.”

Changing things up: “Quitting my long-term job was challenging. Change is hard.”

Higher education: “I’m proud of furthering my education through the University of Fredericton.”

In the kitchen: “I love to bake, even though I’m not very good at it.”

It’s all about tracking: “I stay active by tracking my steps and making it a challenge every day. I document all the food I eat so I know where I can make changes.”

In it for the long run: I stay active so I can participate, to ensure my health as I grow older so I can see my family every day and make the most of it and so I can feel young at heart. Age is just a number–defy all odds.”

Photos by Raw Carrie

Carla Gadula

Name: Carla Gadula

Age: 49

New perspective: “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2022. Like so many others, it forced me to confront many things within myself. Cancer is unpredictable, opportunistic and never truly fair. But it truly made me adapt and face challenges with as much inner reserve as one can muster, when faced with adversity. I think we all have that within us.”

Just keep swimming: “At age 40, I won the gold medal at the FINA World Masters Championships for artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronized swimming). I swam with a team and the training was grueling. I competed when my three children were very young and I’m very proud of how our entire team proved that age is just a number.”

Bodybuilding newbie: “I competed in my first bodybuilding competition in 2022 after being treated for cancer (surgery, radiation). I trained every day throughout and it gave me a focus and way to feel a sense of control. I ended up winning the Over 45 Bikini category at the SAF competition! In 2023 I competed again and am proud of being self-coached, trained and I just try to eat healthily.”

Life lessons: “I am a social worker who provides counseling to children and youth, many of whom have endured difficult events and circumstances. They have all had an impact on me–demonstrating grit, resilience and a will to overcome. Their sense of wonder, their spirit and their optimism have allowed me to face my own difficulties with grace and humility.


Name: Cindy Sullivan

IG: cindysullivanfitness
Age: 53

Sober living: “The decision to give up alcohol changed every aspect of my life. The negative effects crept up on me when I was approaching 40, the constant hangovers, drinking more wine than seemed appropriate. It’s hard at times but the benefits of not drinking are above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. It’s easier to keep weight off, I’m much more clear and have way more energy, better sleep, amazing relationships and I’m not putting toxins in my body anymore.”

Letting go of perfectionism: “I think I realize now at 53 I was the classic perfectionist, wanting to contro everything around me and constantly worrying about what others think. I’ve worked hard to overcome those feelings, although they do still show up once in a while.”

Pursue your passion: “I left a well-paying corporate career that I was miserable at to follow my passion of working in the health and fitness industry. I took a huge risk and started my own business at 40 years old in the wellness industry as an in-home personal trainer and group fitness instructor and it has changed my life in so many positive ways!”

That mother-daughter bond: “I love spending time with my college-age daughter, whether we are doing something fun together or just driving around chatting–I love the moments, big and small!”

Human connection: “Because I work with senior clients, I unfortunately have lost many clients along the way. I privately trained one particular client for seven years who recently passed away in his late 80s from dementia and other complications. He made a huge and lasting impression on me. He often forgot things but he never forgot my name and insisted on exercising as much as possible. He had the most beautiful relationship with his wife of over 65 years. He taught me so much about perseverance and love.”

Photos by Marianne Salza

Dawn Gluskin

Name: Dawn Gluskin

Age: 46

Learning to love myself: “I left an abusive relationship that almost cost me my life. From rock bottom, I was forced to face myself–mainly the people pleaser and wannabe-saviour that lived deep within me. I learned how to give the love I desired to myself instead of trying to outsource it from anybody that wasn’t capable of reciprocating it in a healthy way.”

Proud mama: “I’m proud of raising two beautiful daughters who are smart, funny and learning to develop their own opinions and follow their own paths.”

You do you: “I’ve gotten over the fear of what other people might think of me. I don’t concern myself with other people’s judgements or opinions about it. We’re all on our own unique paths–I keep focus and attention on moving forward with love.”

Just a big softie: “I’m strong on the outside–fit and muscular–but oh so sensitive on the inside. I feel things very deeply.”

Catching air: “I’m an aerialist so I practice lyra, pole and silks for fun and also get paid to perform at events. Dancing in the air brings me joy.”

Deirdre Slattery

Name: Deirdre Slattery

Age: 51

Hitting restart: “I had to completely start over with a new career and a new life. I built a new life for myself and my daughter with nothing more than grit and determination to not give up.

Present tense: “I broke free from an old life that was toxic and abusive and created a bright and healthy present and future by starting my own personal training business, building one client at a time and growing a healthy, empowered community.”

It’s all about the clients: “I am most proud of the success and transformations of my clients,seeing them rock photo shoot sessions and stepping into their best selves.”

Woman’s best friend: “I lost my sweet dog Charlie of 12 ½ years. His companionship and unconditional love filled our home and hearts with joy. I’m feeling this deeply and feel so blessed to have had such a perfect dog for my daughter and me.”

Happiest barefoot: “I love to surf and be barefoot on the beach most of the time.”

Photos by @6ixmodels_

Name: Heather-Lynn Fraser

Age: 43

Dedicated to fault: “I went to Facebook-land and asked my friends how they would describe me. A word that came up often was dedicated, which I feel also encompasses my focus and determination to go after goals.”

I am good enough: “I’ve had to overcome the belief that I am not good enough. To be honest, I can’t even really say that I’ve overcome it 100 percent. I spent my elementary school years feeling like a loner. In high school, I made so many wonderful friends but because of circumstances I couldn’t control, I was still very much on the outside looking in. My first marriage hit the rocks pretty quickly. All of this ingrained a deep belief that I was unworthy of being able to reach for the things I dreamed of.”

I wear my heart on my sleeve: “I am pretty much an open book.”

Hurry, hurry: “In the fall and winter months, we spend a lot of time at curling clubs. Our whole family curls and I love that I get to spend time with my kids playing a sport together.”

For the here and now: “I keep active for the immediate now. I want to be able to continue keeping up with my kids and someday my grandkids if we have any. Future me wants to be mobile enough to get in trouble with my friends when we are in our 90s.”

Photo by Rick Oliver

Jen Kuzmowich

Name: Jennifer Kuzmowich

Age: 43

My MS diagnosis: “I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in June 2022, I was crushed as I have two young daughters. MS made me feel broken and I hid the fact that I had it from most people. I did not want anything to change for me. I was fearful and saddened by what my future could look like.”

Giving back: “I needed to tell others about my MS diagnosis at some point but I wanted it to be for a good reason. The MS walk fundraiser seemed like the right thing. Helping others and still living the same life doing everything I’ve always done made me feel good.”

Read on: “I am a bookworm! I love to curl up with a good book at night and unwind, drifting into someone else’s life, getting tried and then going to sleep.”

My big flex: “I recently asked my girls if they would rather I not compete anymore because I would be home more for them. They said they love me competing because ‘it’s a big flex with all our friends–they all say how strong you are.’”

Healthy habits: “I stay active by setting habits in place, such as 6 a.m. cardio before the kids get up. It just wakes me up and is a habit of good health just like brushing my teeth. I also carve out time in my schedule so it’s planned like an appointment. I know my health depends on staying active and I don’t ever want MS to take over my life.”

Photos by @lomerphotography

Name: Jodi Barrett

Age: 48

Constant change: “The last 10 years have been about constant growth. From changing lanes as a stay-at-home mom of 11 years to launching a kettlebell certification across Canada, to launching a hybrid online model and opening a flagship location during the pandemic.”

Forever faithful: “Choose faith over fear in whatever situation has arisen. I packed up my apartment of four years to put into a storage unit and have faith that my plans and personal growth are evolving; I won’t let fear take away the excitement that comes with new opportunities.”

Get real: “I have been called upon twice this year to try out reality shows–Ultimate Canadian Challenge and Big Brother 2 Canada.”

Dream big: “My daughter recently moved to the Rocky Mountains after high school. She thanked me for always allowing her to think big and never doubting her in what she put her mind to. When I started my company at 41, one of my goals was to show my children that you could do anything you wanted if you put your mind to it and put in the work to get there.”

Pivoting in a new direction: “Oddly enough, I feel a great sense of pride in having the courage to close my flagship location and pack up my apartment to do a rebrand, giving new life and direction to my business–I am simply just getting started.”

Photos by Kyle Mahadeo

Name: Julie Applegate

Age: 51

Sticking to sobriety: “Getting sober at the age of 35 was the most profound experience. It truly changed my life. I am proud of the 16 years I’ve remained sober and the things I’ve done because of it.”

Top three: “My most significant challenge was placing third nationally at a bodybuilding competition.”

Write on: “I wrote a two-time award-winning memoir, The Making of a Woman.

Once upon a time: “I was a tomboy growing up. My father taught me to fend for myself in all situations. I acquired many life skills because of this.”

My dear mom: “The death of my mother has had a lasting impact on me. I was able to care and love her for who she was. It brought me great peace during her passing.”

Active is my way of life: “Staying active has become my lifestyle and to do this, I reply on my coach, my discipline and the beautiful outcome.”

Photos by Paskey Boudoir

Name: Kyanne Mills

Age: 45

From a car accident to a new me: “Recovering from a car accident took a long time because it not only impacted me physically, but mentally and emotionally. In the end, it made me stronger and allowed me to grow in ways I never expected.

In the spotlight: “After the car accident, initially, I wanted to do things in the background. So, doing something like this submission to FAB40OVER40 is stepping outside of my comfort zone.”

Becoming my best self through bodybuilding: “I’m proud of deciding to become a bodybuilder after my 40th birthday, finding time to train and work a full-time job all while being a caregiver to my elderly parents.”

Educating future generations: “I have a scholarship in my name along with my siblings for a school I attended in Jamaica. It’s a scholarship that aids in funding for high school, which isn’t free.”

A daughter’s first love: “The recent passing of my dad has left a lasting impact on me. He’s done and given me so much throughout my life.”

Fitness first: “I make sure fitness is a part of my day. It starts when I wake up in the morning with my stretching/breathing; I have a glass of water and I reflect on the day ahead. I do this for overall health, an energy boost and overall self-esteem because if you look good, you feel good.”

Photos by @chrisvlinton


Name: Linda Rousseau

Age: 70

Discovering powerlifting at age 59: “When a back injury kept me from working for three years and I was going to rehab, during a gym session, I watched a woman pick up 45-lb plates on a barbell. I couldn’t believe it was possible and I ran up to her to ask what she was doing. Krista Schaus told me she was powerlifting and gave me the name of a coach. That’s when I started my lifting journey at age 59 with no previous athletic background. I thought that the coach would not accept me as I was probably too old, too fat and not capable. But Defining Strength coach Susan Abbott started training me and six months later I did my first contest and came in third. Within six months, I went to an IPF World Contest in Orlando and received a bronze medal.”

All in the family: “I’m proud of the positive impact on my granddaughters. Two of my granddaughters powerlift due to my passion and ability to encourage and teach them.”

Personal achievement: “I’m also proud of receiving my CanFitPro personal training certification at the age of 69, which seemed impossible a few years ago.”

Laugh it out: “I’m a certified Laughter Yoga instructor.”

Rising from tragedy: “My only son Jason passed away at the age of 34 as a result of MRSA and having a compromised immune system. A piece of my heart is missing but I cherish his two children, Sarah and Hannah, and live with the knowledge that he would be proud of me and his sense of humour is always present.”

Photos by Photo Depot

Lisa Kloberdanz

Name: Lisa Kloberdanz

Age: 45

Life after divorce: “I walked from a very emotionally abusive marriage when my twins were 2.5 years old and my baby was 10 months old. I had trauma and didn’t eat for a long time. I had no family close by for support and things spiraled down until I joined the gym again. I became such a different person then: more confident, more goal-oriented, more mentally focused. I developed self-worth that brought confidence in my abilities as a business owner, mother and person.”

A brush with death: “I almost died in April 2023 from peritonitis with abdominal sepsis–I only had hours to live. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through and the surgeon said the only thing that saved me was being fit and healthy enough to make it through. I am so grateful to be here to celebrate my life!”

To the top: “I’m proud of placing top five in every natural fitness competition I was in and winning the ‘Heart Award’ and the ‘Most Inspirational Athlete’ award.”

Fun fact: “I used to drive a picker truck for the oilfield and haul heavy drill pipe out to the oil rigs.”

Aging well: “I want to age very strong and healthy so I can enjoy my life at age 80 the same way I do now!”

Photos by Hudsyn Kloberdanz

Melinda Filice Mazza

Name: Melinda Filice Mazza

Age: 56

In the beginning: “One day after 20 years of going to the gym, I decided to participate in  a fitness class. I realized after attending a few times that I wanted to teach fitness. I gained the courage to speak to the gym’s staffing manager who recommended starting out teaching my favourite class, which was spin. I agreed to it and shortly after my journey as a fitness instructor began.”

Fear factor: “My biggest fear was going in front of people to give them a motivational fitness class. I had to build back my confidence of not being a good enough fitness instructor. The training to become an instructor was challenging. I wasn’t sure if I could pass or be good enough. My confidence was lost for so many years as a young adult. In the end, I passed and received my certifications. But to this day, I get butterflies before I teach.”

Connecting with the local community: “I had the opportunity to host, participate and produce a fitness show on Rogers Community channel for Peel, Durham and Georgina for three years. It was hard work but rewarding to give back and share my love of fitness with the community.”

Front runner: “My last run was in 2022. I registered for a cross-country six-mile run. I placed first of all the women, completing it in 45 minutes at 55 years old. I couldn’t believe it! It is never too late to start anything you want to do.”

Breaking my smoking habit: “I smoked from the age of 15 to 32. One of the worst things I could have done to my body. Crazy enough, I always ran and worked out. Today at 56, I am so grateful for my health and will never take it for granted.


Monica Winn

Name: Monica Winn

Age: 46

Passion project: “Years of extreme prep for fitness competition have really made a huge impact on my value and passion for sustainable health and wellness and educating my clients on the importance of it!”

Speak up: “A fear that I’ve overcome? Public speaking.”

Monica in three words, according to friends: Fun, disciplined and loving.

Proud about it: “Opening my women’s coaching business and watching my children grow to be incredible human beings.”

My brave little girl: “My daughter’s sexual assault at the age of 11 and helping her get through the legal system as a child, facing the one who assaulted her and seeing her courage to speak her truth. This has impacted me significantly.”

Photos by Stephanie Marie Photography

Penny Cayer

Name: Penny Cayer

Age: 45

Take it to heart: “Witnessing my sister’s valiant battle with leukemia and the tragic loss of my father in an unforeseen accident were transformative moments in my life. These profound experiences instilled in me the importance of making healthier choices, becoming a meticulous planner and embracing a lifelong commitment as a plasma donor with Canadian Blood Services, driven by a deep desire to save as many lives as possible.”

What’s the plan: “In the past I used to hold the belief that ‘plans are made to be broken.’ I harboured a fear of setting expectations, as so many of my previous plans seemed to unravel. Over time, I embarked on a personal journey to conquer this apprehension. I confronted the challenges that life threw at me, learned to adapt, persevere and emerge stronger, all in the pursuit of my dreams and goals.”

Marking the milestones: “I take pride in the successful planning and execution of two photo shoots, which were significant milestones in my journey, celebrating my remarkable transformation of having lost and maintained a weight loss of 60 pounds. Equally, I’ve reevaluated my priorities, making my loved ones the focal point of my life.”

Sibling bond: “I have an enduring hope to one day meet a brother I’ve never had the chance to know. This untold chapter of my life holds the potential for an extraordinary and heartfelt reunion in the future.”

Daily activity, year round: “I take serene nature walks and revel in the songs of the birds and share moments with the endearing chipmunks and squirrels. In the winter, I indulge in the delights of public swimming and skating, relishing the frosty serenity. I’m a dedicated member of GoodLife, embracing both cardio and weightlifting, and have learned to find joy in both.”

Photos by @arsenikstudios

Rosalie Brown

Name: Rosalie Brown

Age: 61

On the hip: “At the age of 42, I was faced with having to have hip replacement surgery. Many surgeons told me I would need to change careers.”

Onwards and upwards: “Maintaining a high fitness level after having hip replacements has challenged me most in life.”

Proud alumna: “Being awarded as one of the University of Waterloo’s most accomplished alumni gave me much pride.”

Doting-grandmother era: “Playing with my five grandchildren brings me the most joy!”

But first, coffee: “I started drinking coffee at the age of 61!”

Mama’s girl: “It means a great deal to me to be able to work out with my 85-year-old mom, helping her alleviate knee pain while becoming stronger and more confident.”

Healthy living, Rosalie’s way: “I stay active by working out five times a week, achieving 10,000 steps a day and healthy meal planning. I stay active so I can continue to do all the things I love doing.”

Photos by Erin Pasukinis

Sandy Punia

Name: Sandy Vanna Punia

Age: 47

Doing it my way: “Growing up as the youngest of four girls, I always had leaders and role models to look up to, but ever since I could remember, I never wanted to walk in my siblings’ shadows. I found original ways to express myself. I practiced this throughout my childhood and carried it into young adulthood. Fitness was a big part of my self expression.

Working mom: “At this stage of my fitness career, my greatest accomplishment is that I have been consistently teaching, training and mentoring others as I raised my two children.”

Career moves: “I started working in the fitness industry teaching large group classes and I trained to learn many different types of instructional exercises including step, weights, Tae Bo and rowing. I practiced teaching more and it became my biggest accepted challenge.”

Saying goodbye to my steadfast supporter: “This past summer, my mother passed away. She was my biggest why and my best cheerleader. I had to start a new healing journey and find my next why I do what I do.”

Sparks of joy: “Strength training, hiking around the world and hot yoga for recovery–these all bring me joy.”

Photos by Ali Sohrab

Name: Tammy Stoddart

Age: 41

Lifestyle overhaul: “Beginning a fitness lifestyle five years ago, I started with a mindset of losing undesired weight and having the end goal of a bodybuilding competition. Fast-forward five years later and I’m still growing, learning and having fun competing.”

Personality type: “I am an introvert extrovert. Most often people misinterpret me for an extrovert; I love people but demand time to myself to recharge.”

Learning self-love: “Becoming a young, single pregnant teen and needing an emergency c-section was really hard on my physical and mental wellbeing. It left me broken for so many years, I lost my confidence, covering up and thinking less of myself  due to the prominent abdominal scarring. Learning to love my body again has been a long road.”

Guiding compass: “Honesty and integrity are always my guiding compass. If you don’t live by them, please remove yourself from my circle.”

Happy place: “Time to myself in the gym. It’s where I find peace and where I have learned to truly love myself body, mind and spirit.”

Photos by @lomerphotography

Victoria Budd McLean

Name: Victoria Budd 

Age: 42

Carve your own path: “Growing up in poverty by far had the most impact on my personal growth. I sat back and observed life and refused to make the same mistakes I saw others do. We all experience trauma to some degree, but it’s how we respond that matters. Are you a victim or a warrior? I pushed and still push myself in everything I do. We can all be better than we were yesterday.”

Check the titles: “I’m most recently proud of winning two World Champion Titles with the UFE, Women’s fitness and Women’s Fitness Model Double World Champion.”

Nature girl: “I love being out in nature! Snowboarding, mountain biking and traveling are probably the three activities that bring me the most joy.”

Cadet life: “I was in Army Cadets for eight years. I was actually the first female Company Sergeant Major in Owen Sound! It was an incredible experience and one I highly suggest for all kids between 12 and 19.”

Strong as a mother: “My best friend’s mom, who was also a friend to me, fought through two separate cancers, one after another, almost one year after the other, until the third year–the third cancer was her end. She was one of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever met and watching her go through this was hard enough, but watching her daughter having to not only deal with that but then going through the hard time of her death and living day to day without her. It reminded me to keep those you love closer and never take them for granted.”

Photos by @chrisvlinton


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