Meet Jay - My neighbor is 65 and RIPPEDNov 09, 2021
Today I'd like to talk a bit about my neighbor Jay. He is a real cool guy and has been working out for 50+ years. The first time I saw this guy walking my dog, my jaw dropped. Here is a guy who is clearly a senior citizen - and killing it! I mean, this guy is the age where you get a discount at the movie theater - and his physique puts most 25 year olds to shame!
I'm talking a ripped six pack, fully defined muscles. Instantly I thought he was on the sauce, but after talking with him - turns out he is a lifelong natural. No shortcuts, just hard work. Working out 50 years and putting in hard work is amazing and Jay really lives this stuff. As such, Jay took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some of my questions about how he stays so fit and how it started. Here we go...
Fitness for Life
Hi Jay, Tell us your age, weight and height.
65 years old, around 165 pounds, 5’10.
How old were you when you started working out Jay? How did you learn what to do?
Jay: 15 years old; after football season wrapped up. The school started the first weightlifting program which was geared toward football team members in the offseason. Two guys who had graduated around 5+ years before got things rolling and initiated us into the basic program and basic exercises.
Anything you’d like to comment on regarding the mindset and paradigm shift necessary for this fit life? What do you do to stay so energetic, vibrant and peaceful?
Jay: Ah, yes, that’s a treat. Learning to get focused on an intangible with no immediate positive reinforcement or sense of accomplishment - other than pain & discomfort. Then as you progress, you enjoy that feeling. Then that becomes your goal to get to that point of the discomfort and subsequent soreness. So then that, NOW, becomes your goal. There is the mindset and how things can change and focus is so different. That’s also where you can learn to focus and bring yourself to a different mode of being along with an adjustment to your priorities. Keeping in mind, the gym is a focus on health. However, it goes well beyond the gym to your diet and lifestyle choices.
Tell us a bit about your diet and strategies to stay so ripped year round. What does a day of eating look like for you? Tell us more about your macros and protein intake.
Jay: As noted above when I refer to “diet” that is my preference and choices for nutrition; not the terminology so often used for most people who are overweight or have become inundated with poor choices for nutrition. Probably after I had been into the fitness routine for 35+ years a workout partner asked me about my protein consumption.
At that time I had NO idea of approximation what that amounted to. I agreed when he noted it should be in the range of 80 grams+ per day. Soon thereafter another friend told me where he had started tracking his daily intake of everything. I started doing the same and discovered I was in the range of probably 20 grams/day. I shared that with the workout partner and he acknowledged when I had responded at 80 grams per day there was no way I could be doing that and not be a gorilla already. This would be based on the weight I was pushing and intensity of my workouts.
Obviously I increased consumption, brought in daily 2x protein shakes, consciously added much more protein, etc. I bulked up and it was clean weight vs. excess pounds around the waist (standard for excess on males). I began reading more about the quality of various food and nutritional choices. My standard breakfast for many years has been oatmeal 7 days/week with lowfat milk, fresh fruit and a whole grain protein cereal on top. A while back I read about the benefits of intermittent fasting and discovered I could do that. However, I preferred only 1 time per week which would be after my Friday evening meal so then the next meal was Saturday afternoon. This was after my 2 hour morning workout.
I also had discovered that the high intensity cardio workout consumed muscle from me. I backed off that course and discovered (subsequent to heart surgery) swimming and Stairmaster cardio worked for me. Prior to heart surgery I enjoyed the best, most productive leg workout which was 40 minutes of sprints 1x per week on a nonworkout 😊 day. That was a killer.
Cardiologist says that is no longer in the repertoire of options for me now. I could go on and on regarding diet choices and my belief that the gym is a good start, but the real plan starts at the kitchen table. This involves food choices and preparation options. That is a whole separate chapter we could delve into later.
Describe your training philosophy. How many days a week do you train? Do you incorporate cardio, if so what type?
Jay: I started w/ the usual course of action which was 3 days a week, M-W-F, which worked for many years. Then as the workout routine became much more addictive to me, I stretched to 4 by adding Saturday and then to 6 with my “day-off” being the killer leg day for sprints at the track followed by swimming.
My preference now is swimming in the evenings for a short stint and now that weather is more accommodating I will begin Stairmaster for 20 – 30 minutes before work probably followed by brief swim. Basic training philosophy for me and what I have read numerous times is ….find a workout partner. One who is similar and dependable and goal-oriented.
When you’re really ready to move to the next level then bring on a personal trainer. That is not the person you pay to give you a list of exercises and count your reps but a person you can look at and say—yep, this guy is a trainer and the kind I need to work with.
Do you have any advice for the young bucks or mid aged guys out there looking to get into the lifestyle?
Jay: Think about where you want to be now and also look down the road. As I noted above regarding a workout partner and personal trainer. If you SAY you want to get to that point, talk is easy. I’ve heard that way too many times over the years when guys would say that to me in the gym and friends who would ask for help in the gym and never show up the first day or after the first (after the first day could be my fault because I kicked their ass too much).
I have my ideas about a personal trainer and what the proper should be. When you get to the stage that I noted early above regarding looking forward to that soreness, then you know you’re ready to move it up a notch. I must say that does not come early on but takes a lot of hard work, determination, change in diet, routine, and lifestyle (for some) to get to that mindset. Then….you begin to appreciate that mode of living and lifestyle.
Thanks for your answers bro - You are a real inspiration to me and others. Jay is a textbook example that fitness is a lifestyle. We gotta play the game smart and develop solid sustainable habits.
Key takeaways from this interview include: Discipline, consistency and diet. The easy part is learning the exercises and progressively overloading the muscles. The hard part is what one is doing outside the gym. This is where mindset and lifestyle come into play for sustainability. A solid mentor such as an adept personal trainer is the next step logically when one is serious about reaching their goals. When one's results are basically 90% nutrition, we realize the importance of consuming 1 gram of lean protein per pound of bodyweight. We realize the importance of fueling the body with Whole Foods of the finest quality for our nutritional needs.
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