ORANGE, Conn. (WTNH) — When it comes to getting in shape, age is just a number, and Edge Fitness member Evelyn Flaharty is proof of that notion.

“I compete usually against women who are 45, so they’re much younger than me,” Flaharty said. “Usually they want to take pictures of me and say, ‘Hey you’re my mom’s age.'”

But the fitness competitor wasn’t always in tip top shape.

“I started working out at 56,” Flaharty said. “I was not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.”

Flaharty first joined a gym after being diagnosed with thyroid cancer, wanting keep a closer eye on her health.

“My idea was that I was going to do yoga and that was going to help me to get into shape,” Flaharty recalled.

But soon she began working with a personal trainer and competing in figure competitions.

“Your body is an incredible machine and it will do whatever you tell it to do,” Flaharty said. “Picture it like a car, I always say. You can either take a brand new car and run it into the ground, or you can take it and you can maintain it and you can do things to it and it will keep going and going and going.”

Last year Flaharty joined The Edge Fitness Clubs and began working with trainer Donna Restivo at the Greenwich location.

“I like to train very, very heavy and strong and push the strength, and she was a little skeptical of that but when I showed her how strong the body was, she just went with it and she just let it get stronger and stronger,” Restivo recalled.

The pair meet three to four times a week and have developed a special bond. Like Flaharty, Restivo also competes in figure competitions.

“She’s amazing,” Restivo said of Flaharty. “Absolutely amazing. The strength that she puts in her workouts, the dedication that she puts into her dieting and to where she wants to get, it amazes me every time. I look up to her because of her age and her determination.”

“She believes in me so much,” Flaharty said of her trainer. “That is what motivates me to keep moving forward. So I say go for it. Forget about how old you are. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your body can transform.”

As a result of her fitness transformation, Flaharty has also changed her career. She is the co-founder of Aging Evolution, a company geared towards the 40-plus athlete. For more information, visit