I don’t feel that I’m anywhere near 40, honestly, and I have to give bodybuilding the credit. Though I have clearly aged facially since I was 19 or 20, I truly think I look better now from the neck down than I did way back then. That’s because I have been totally dedicated to training hard and eating right the entire time.
Granted, I don’t feel quite the same these days. I certainly don’t have as much energy in general. I can remember being able to go two or three days with very little sleep and being none the worse for wear back then. Now, if I ever miss even two or three hours of my normal eight hours, I really feel it. It’s also true that I have many more little aches and pains in areas like my lower back, shoulders, elbows and wrists—the result of more than 25 years of wear and tear on the joints from lifting heavy weights.
I think back to some of the weights I used to lift in my 20s and shake my head. Here are a few examples of the beating I subjected my joints to many times:
• Behind-neck presses with 315—on a bar, not a Smith machine
• Deadlifts in a rack from the knees up with 675
• Half-squats with 725
• Weighted dips with three 45s
• Skull crushers with a 45 and a 25 on each side of the EZ-curl bar
• Leg presses with 1,800 pounds in plates
I was just being a young fool much of the time. I would cut the range of motion short to be able to use a lot more weight, and I relied heavily on the assistance of spotters many times too. I never thought I would get hurt. And even when I did get hurt, I had youth on my side and things would heal up lickety split.
Those days are long gone. If I get injured now, healing takes much longer. So I do my best to warm up properly, lift the weight on my own and in good form, and only use weights I can honestly handle rather than try to be an egotistical show-off. I’m no longer trying to be the strongest guy in the gym, and I am fine with that.
To sum it up, I don’t really fear getting older since I know that I can continue looking and feeling great as long as I keep up my training and nutrition, which I can’t even imagine otherwise. IRON MAN magazine is the only bodybuilding publication that regularly features amazing physiques achieved over the age of 40, so keep reading for motivation and to know that bodybuilding truly is the Fountain of Youth.
Editor’s note: Ron Harris is the author of Real Bodybuilding—Muscle Truth from 25 Years In the Trenches, available at www.RonHarrisMuscle.com.