Look around. When most people reach middle age, they appear to have given up—or at least settled in for a severe beating from Father Time. It doesn’t have to be that way—physical collapse after age 40 is not, repeat not, inevitable.
To prove it, we’ve gathered the owners of a few over-40 physiques, pictured on the next few pages, and asked them to reveal their beliefs, secrets and regimens for maintaining that youthful appearance and exuberance (that’s “staying stoked” for you young whippersnappers).
Of course, one of the biggest secrets is plenty of iron—as in pumping it, not taking it. It’s the metal that enables you to get older without getting old. Right, gang?
Age: 48 Height: 5’7”
Weight: Contest, 170-173; off-season, 180-185
Antiaging strategy: Eat clean; never stop training; Muscle-Link GH Stak, Pharmanex Life Pak Nano (vitamins/minerals/antioxidants)
Training adaptation: When I was younger, I’d try every routine that came out in the magazines. I learned that I do much better sticking to the basics. There are really no secrets. You just have to train hard and consistently…and keep doing it for a long time.
Motivation: Competition is a huge motivational factor for me. I keep photos of guys I compete against up in my office. I know that I’ll be stepping onstage with the best drug-free bodybuilders in the world. I know my fans will be expecting me to be in contention in every show. Another thing is all the wonderful letters I get from people who are inspired by what I’ve accomplished. Knowing that they’re looking up to me keeps me going too.
Diet strategy: High protein, moderate carb, lowfat—six to eight meals a day
Favorite antiaging supplement or nutrient: GH Stak, LifePak Nano
Life philosophy: Treat other people as you would want to be treated. Dedicate yourself to accomplishing your goals, but don’t forget to enjoy life.
Age: 43 Height: 5’7” Weight: Contest, 220
I took the last six years off from competing, which was quite an experience. I turned pro back in ’93 at the North American Championships and then competed in about a dozen pro shows during the mid-’90s. I just made a comeback this past summer when I entered the Europa show in Texas. I didn’t place as well as I would have liked, but I did get into awesome shape. (The photos here were taken just days after that show; not bad for 43, eh?)
I don’t do cardio regularly. I know it’s good for you; I just hate it with a passion. Of course, I did a ton of it while getting ready for my show, but that was because I had to. In general, I maintain pretty low bodyfat without cardio.
ALLWhen it comes to food, I can’t say that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to pay more attention to diet to stay in shape—just the opposite. With all the years I’ve put into training and all the muscle I’ve built, I can get away with eating all the crap I want.
In contrast to my diet, training has become a lot different since I passed the 40 mark. Can you say “warmup sets”? And lots of them! Oh, and the days of 400-pound bench presses are long gone. Now I keep the reps up and still try and use enough weight to stimulate the muscle. I go to the gym four to five days a week, and I hit each bodypart once per week.
What keeps me training, you ask? Vanity, pure vanity! I like looking good, plain and simple. Actually, I wouldn’t be described as looking good by most people. I’d be put in the “too big” category—and that’s just where I like to be. I don’t want to be one of those tight swimmer-looking dudes.
My life philosophy: Nothing lasts forever, so you better enjoy it now!
Editor’s note: To contact Dave Fisher, send e-mail to [email protected]
Skip La Cour
Age: 44 Height: 5’11” Weight: 230 pounds
Antiaging strategy: Spend as much of your time as possible doing what you love to do, doing what you have natural ability or talent for doing and sharing what you love to do with others. Spend as much of your time as possible with people you truly want to spend your time with. Life is way too short to live any other way.
Training adaptation: I train as effectively and efficiently as possible. Over the years I’ve learned that if I raise my intensity and execution, I can be more productive with less volume.
Motivation: I love the self-discipline and continual challenge training and eating properly give me. I constantly set goals. I do a lot of visualization. Because I teach others, I’m forced to walk my talk.
Diet strategy: During the week, I intentionally keep my meals plain and simple. My main purpose for eating is to stay healthy, grow muscle and keep my bodyfat levels manageable. If I decide to relax at all with my habits, it’s on weekends. I eat at least six meals a day. For the most part, I avoid starchy carbohydrates and eat as many green vegetables as I want. I always have a preworkout and postworkout drink of VP2 Creatine HSC (quickly dissolving protein and high-glycemic-index carbohydrates).
Favorite antiaging supplement or nutrient: GL-3 L-Glutamine; ProFlex 750 (glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate); flaxseed oil, CLA 1000 and other good fats. I drink about one gallon of water every day. I take antioxidants—vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene—after every workout.
Life philosophy: Life is all about stretching yourself past preconceived limits. It’s about growing beyond your current level of achievements—even the ones you never thought you’d reach. So if you’re currently feeling the pain of being pushed to the point of extreme discomfort—enjoy the journey, gosh darn it! You’re living life to the fullest.
Web sites: www.SkipLaCour.com; www.SkipLaCourSeminars.com
Age: Waaay over 40! Height: 5’6 1/2” Weight: 126
Antiaging strategy: Deliberate hydration with specifically enhanced water, following a beneficial diet (detailed in my forthcoming book TLC—Tighter and Leaner to the Core), participating in a broad spectrum of weight-training exercises, including related supplemental movements and stretching, and last but not least practicing destressing deep-breathing techniques.
Training adaptation: The weights are relatively lighter, the duration of the workouts is shorter, and even though the specific isolation exercises designed to fine-tune and build the intricate muscles in the body are no longer necessary for my goals, I still incorporate them from time to time simply because I enjoy doing them. What will never change is the intensity, the focus and the deliberate purposefulness of the actual workouts. But I find it fun to go back to square one once in a while, be a beginner, gradually increasing the difficulty level until I get to the point where I remind myself that I’ve already won the Ms. Olympia title and can slack off if I want—which I do!
Motivation: The motivation changes from season to season (hello, bikini season!) or even from day to day, but I always find a spark of motivation—from my surroundings, happenings in my life or the people around me. The most beautiful thing that motivates me about living the fitness lifestyle is the sheer force of knowing all the countless benefits that come from keeping on keeping on. That makes it fun, pleasurable and definitely worthwhile.
Diet strategy: Something wonderful happens to your body when you become extremely picky about your food choices. I follow and describe in my book what I call the beneficial diet, which gives you the freedom to eat the foods of your choice as long as you have the awareness of what you’re actually eating and how your body responds to it. But for the most part, I like to divide my nourishment into three meals with the freedom of having snacks in between if I feel like it.
Favorite antiaging supplement or nutrient: I enjoy all of the powerful antioxidant supplements, extracts and teas, along with the omega-3 oils.
Life philosophy: To keep learning new things, keep growing in different directions, keep building your inner character, cut out the middle man and go straight to the source of your endeavor—and be charitable. Basically, to keep improving and lifting yourself up as you lift and help others along the way. IM