Once in awhile I get a proverbial slap in the face to write about a specific subject. I was good and slapped a few days ago.
After one of my early morning workouts, a guy in the locker room, probably in his mid- 40s, said to me, “Wow. You look great! I have to tell you that now that I’m in my 40’s I don’t have the stamina or strength that I used to. It’s just a reality of life, don’t you agree?” My response was, “Um, actually no — I don’t agree.” I had no time to explain my comment and had to leave.
Later in the evening I was speaking to a woman who was complaining about her body fat levels and she said, “Now that I’m in my late 40s, I have to expect this sort of thing. Raphael, you have to admit this is just reality.” Again, with my most masterful scientific comeback, I said, “Nope, it’s a myth. In fact it’s a big fat lie.”
I know some of you won’t believe me. You’ll shrug this off and just look for an excuse to prove me wrong. That’s too bad, because I know something most people don’t: What you believe about your age and your capabilities becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I get plenty of emails from people who tell me their eating habits are healthy, but when I look at their nutrition, it looks awful. They either lack sufficient protein, consume too many carbohydrates, they eat too infrequently or they eat too much at one sitting. In addition, many people have inefficient or nearly non-existent workout programs.
Then they complain that as they get older they don’t look as good, they have limited energy and their strength has diminished. Helloooo!! Based on the way they’re treating their bodies, it’s no surprise to me.
Society has programmed us to believe we have to look and feel a specific way at a certain age. We get older, and internal changes do take place. However, it happens much later in life and at a much slower rate if you live your life consistently. Following the rules of intelligently designed nutrition with an efficient workout plan will help to slow the aging process. I didn’t say stop the aging process — I said slow it down — dramatically.
Don’t believe me? Here’s some proof:
I’m 53. At my last physical my doctor told me that I’m defying everything he’s learned in medical school about what a man is supposed to
experience in his 50s. As a professional, natural competitive bodybuilder I compete against men half my age. I’ve not only remained highly competitive, but also have won prize money by placing second at the U.S. Cup bodybuilding show in CA in 2009 and third at the Mid-America show in 2010. Not one of my competitors was even close to my age. Based on what the world thinks about age – I wasn’t supposed to accomplish what I accomplished.
I’m not alone, though. Take a look at 70-year old mixed martial artist John Williams, who says, “I wanted to find a way to show that life isn’t over at 55 or 60 years old. You’re not useless or obsolete.”
Still not convinced? OK, read about the amazing Winifred Pristell. She is a 68-year–old, record-setting competitive powerlifter.
And then there’s the unforgettable swimming sensation Dara Torres. Dara stunned the world by becoming the oldest swimming medalist in Olympic history at the age of 41, winning three silver medals at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
It’s obvious that this group has a certain view of aging and for the most part, they must firmly believe that a lot of what people say about age is stupid. Just plain stupid.
It’s not all what you believe though. It’s maintaining low, yet healthy, body fat levels, staying consistent with weight training and cardiovascular exercise that you enjoy, using intelligent vitamin supplementation and the hardest of the bunch – attaining proper nutrition. You still have to keep at it day in and day out – but if it doesn’t start in your head, then it’s not going to work for you.
I perfectly understand if you don’t want to be a fanatic and you don’t want your life consumed every waking moment with eating correctly. I’m not asking you to. But you do have to do it most of the time.
Until you get this fact drilled into you, you’ll never be able to fully appreciate the benefits of great health, and you’ll always be running scared because of corrupt programming.
Life really is short, but it doesn’t mean you have to sell yourself short… Start changing your mindset by taking one powerful action. And leave a comment telling me what that action is going to be.
April 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm -
Everything you said is why I am with you, Raphael! I am planning on living to 103. People think I’m “in college” when they first meet me, not late 30s. They have no idea I’m a mom to 2 preteen kids and an opera singer, LOL!
Keep ’em coming. I’m listening and reposting.
April 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm -
I am going to keep doing what you taught me and hope to live longer than my great grandfather who died at 100.
Cathy W says:
April 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm -
There you go again, with that word, CONSISTENCY. Aaack, I can’t get away from that word, it keeps showing up, I think it’s a message … Powerful Action for me: since Physical Therapy is going well; I am going to push hard this weekend and get my treadmill set up for DAILY use. Step one for me!! I’ve also managed to start some warmup exercises in the A,M. and it’s amazing how it helps. Even 5-10 minutes just gets the blood flowing. This is a BIG thing for me, usually I have to be PEELED out of my bed in the a.m. Thanks, RC, for another chunk of info to put it my brain to counteract all the other little thoughts running around in there …
April 9, 2011 at 4:35 am -
Paula – Thank you! Late 30’s? You even had me faked out. Thanks for being an amazingly inspiring person!
April 9, 2011 at 4:37 am -
Justin – You’re a machine! I never need to worry about you. No matter how long you live, the important thing is that each day you live a life of quality and strength. That’s you man!
April 9, 2011 at 4:40 am -
Cathy – That’s what I wanted to see! One powerful action. You just set the stage for a very powerful upcoming week. You go Cathy!
April 9, 2011 at 5:27 pm -
I started getting fit at 48, ran my first half marathon at 49, became a trainer and opened my own fitness business at 53. I out-compete in 5 hour adventure races competitors half my age. I’m terribly annoyed at charts and graphs that ASSUME lesser fitness levels and higher body fat levels for someone based on age.
Yep, still fighting the nutrition consistency thing, but I’m out every day working with women ages 20-70 on their fitness levels, getting them out and active. It’s not easy when you haven’t been active for several years, but that applies to clients who are in their 20’s as well as those in their 60’s!
April 11, 2011 at 6:54 am -
Excellent post, Jeanne.
April 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm -
You look fantastic! And you sound great, too! Weight training is the fountain of youth. In five days I will compete in my 2nd figure competition. I am 43 years old and I’ve never looked or felt better.
I strive for continuous, incremental improvement.
April 12, 2011 at 12:01 am -
Super inspirational and a good reminder! And of course so many studies back up your contention. The people in my senior classes are living examples too!
April 12, 2011 at 1:54 am -
Kymblyfunfit – Thank you so much!
April 12, 2011 at 1:56 am -
Elaine – Thank you! Good luck in your show. Don’t leave anything on that stage. Bring it!
Elizabeth Irwin says:
April 23, 2011 at 6:23 am -
RC, thanks for putting this out there! Age is just a number. Getting fit and then staying fit into your 40s, 50s, and beyond is not impossible. Sometimes it’s a little more challenging, but it’s not impossible! I firmly believe that. I’ve been active most of my life…but in 2005, at age 36, I started martial arts. And everything changed. It exercises my brain as well as my bod, and it’s fun. It’s art and fitness, and it’s shall we say…useful. 🙂 And who would have thought that whipping a 5′ wooden stick around would be such good upper body work? I’m 43 now and am planning to test for my 3rd degree black belt in a couple months. Finding a form of fitness (or just movement!) that you enjoy helps a lot. Whether it’s Zumba or yoga or running or hiking…if you love it, do it, and it’ll love you back!
Paul Alberts says:
April 23, 2011 at 7:22 am -
Great web site and a very well written article. Yourself and many others have proven age is just a number. The first step is getting the proper information and guidance to achieve ones personal health and fitness goals from someone as yourself. Once you have the knowledge of what needs to be done; it is now up to each individual to set goals and be willing to make the commitment and sacrifices to attain them!
I have had the honor of sharing the stage with you in three Natural Pro Shows over the past couple years. I can HUMBLY say… you and I were two of the top three conditioned athletes on stage that day in 2009. You simply continue to improve at every show! You go out on that stage and prove by your actions what is possible at the young age of 53. Raphael you have personally inspired me that age is truly just a number! It is now up to me at the young age of 44 🙂 to continue to put in the work and strive to be better on a daily basis!
Good luck in your future competitions and endeavors! Your are a great bodybuilder, but more importantly… an even better person!
Thanks for all the inspiration!
Paul Mini shredder Alberts
April 26, 2011 at 1:46 am -
Paul – Thank you my good friend! You’re 44? You’re just warmin up. Thanks for a great post. One of the great things about competing is meeting and getting to know awesome people like you and Tina.
April 26, 2011 at 1:50 am -
Liz, you walk the talk! I didn’t realize you were at such a high belt level. Thanks for your great post and good luck on the test.