June 25th, 2010

Age 95 And Still Pumping Iron

It makes me sad sometimes… So many people over age 50 (or even age 40) – think “it’s too late.” After the last blog post, which addressed some challenges that post-menopausal women face, I got en email which is unfortunately, typical of mail I get almost every day. A 52-year old female reader wrote: “Do you honestly think that a post-menopausal woman can ever look good in a bikini bathing suit or should I just give up the dream?”

95_years_young.jpgSadly, this is the prevailing thought pattern today: “am I too old to get in shape?… Is it too late for me?”

(Wrong question!!!)

That’s why I won’t ever stop sending out the message over and over again, as I have since the day I started publishing online back in 1999… IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!.. and YOU CAN IMPROVE AT ANY AGE!

In a previous Burn the Fat Blog post, I wrote about a 74-year old ageless wonder who competes – and wins – bodybuilding contests!

And I shared the stories of two women of iron who are in their 50′s and 70′s respectively, and are still hitting it harder in the gym and enjoying better bodies than women half their age.

This month another ageless wonder is creating a stir on the TV airwaves and across the Internet

Merrill Matzinger – age 95 – does cardio, lifts weights and starts his daily workouts with 1,500 crunches.

“All the doctors that have treated me can’t believe what they’re seeing,” Matzinger said. “That’s encouraging, to go to the doctor and have compliments rather than prescriptions.”

He is also legally blind — but he hasn’t let that slow him down. Matzinger says he only remembers missing one workout in the last 20 years. He’s approaching the centenarian mark and his workout puts youngsters to shame! Take a look:

Ladies, don’t think it’s all that different for you.

Women have unique challenges that men do not, however many of the solutions are the same. Weight training for example.

A brand new study from the University of Arizona, just published in Medicine and Science and Sports and Exercise (July issue) found that weight lifting just 2-3 days a week not only helps you get lean – it helps prevent post menopausal weight gain in the first place!

As the researchers explained:

“The results of this analysis demonstrated that the frequency and volume of resistance training exercise predicted 6-yr changes in body weight and fat in postmenopausal women and supported the use of regular resistance training as a means of weight management.

This study is one of the first to show the association of resistance training and prevention of weight gain. In light of the positive effects of resistance training on bone mineral density, muscle function and lean mass and its potential for contributing to the prevention of osteoporosis and debilitating fractures, resistance training for weight loss and maintenance is a particularly attractive.”

Moral of the story (blog post):

Women over 50 – if you want to get stronger, leaner, healthier and have a higher quality of life, and you’re not weight training, why aren’t you? It’s 2010 – time to leave the myths about weight training and women where they belong – in ancient history – and begin now to think to think about your better future.. and making the weights a part of it..

Older men of all ages: I’ve now shown you 40-somethings, 70-somethings and now, 90-somethings pumping iron and training every day. if YOU want to get stronger, leaner, healthier and improve your quality of life and you aren’t weight training – why not?

Younger men and women: Whatever you believe now is what you willbecome in the future. If you THINK you’ll be weak or fat or decrepitat age 74, or fighting post menopausal middle aged spread at age 52,well then, I reckon you’ll be right!

Train hard and expect success!

- Tom Venuto, author of:
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle (ebook)

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35 Responses to “Age 95 And Still Pumping Iron”

  • JC

    I think this is a good reminder for all those who think it’s “too late.” I hate how people believe they should give up due to their age or fear of being “too old.” The man in the spotlight is beaming evidence that no one is too old to be getting with it!great read, Tom.

  • Steingrimur Gudjonsson

    This guy is awesome! I’m 26 now and i hope that when I turn 95 I’ll still be pumping iron like him!

  • Barb

    Tom… check out CHRISTINE LANOIS… 48 years old, still competing and smokin’ hot!!! The majority of 20 year olds out there only wish they looked like this lady!!http://www.facebook.com/pages/CHRISTINE-LANOIS-Over-45Just-A-Number-AthleteRNWellness-Consultant/39870631947

  • Sylvia T.

    Thanks, Tom!Damn! I sometimes think it is too late for ME to get really lean… and I’m 31!I should stop making excuses and start training hard ;)

  • Vanessa Rau

    Hey Tom, I turned 50 in March. I was in good shape last August but had some surgeries and procedures to get through…ten months later I’m in the middle of your summer challenge and getting stronger every day. When I win your challenge you’ll be able to show everyone that a 50 year old, 5′ 2″ woman can overcome natural childbirth at 32, C-section with twins at age 40, menopause, a rib removal, 3 angioplasties, shoulder surgery and still look great in a bikini! Not to mention be in the best shape of her life. :) You are only as old as you feel!!

  • leonard granger

    1HAVE BEN WORKING OUT FOR ONE YR.I AM 74YRS. OLD.IHAVE LOST 10LBS.I CAN BENCH 200LBS.THANK YOU.LEONARD

  • Jen H.

    The saddest thing to me isn’t just that people might think that they are too old to significantly improve their physical fitness, but the mindset behind the question of “can I look good in a bikini or should I just give up?” As if it has to be one or the other. To me, that is the kind of thinking that is the most detrimental. If only one outcome (fitting in a bikini) is acceptable, then no wonder many people never get started! Having three children–one by an emergency c-section that left a very unattractive and crooked scar–left my stomach in pretty sad shape. No matter what level of fitness I obtain, the scarring will always be there, and there may always still be some loose crepey skin from stretching. I’m still holding out hope of improving the loose skin even further, though! However, even with those “flaws,” I still have better abs than I have ever had in my life. It has taken a whole year of work, but I can now actually see strong definition in my abs. I never had that even when my stomach was still “pretty!” I have abs that I can see (woo hoo!), but I still have some loose stretched skin from pregnancy. Not for one second do I think that the work wasn’t worth it just because I don’t have a bikini body. I am proud of my stomach now, but that doesn’t mean it will be shown off in a bikini any time soon! I will look fantastic in a one-piece swimsuit this summer, though, and I’m happy with that. I don’t think it’s ever too late to get started, but I think this article just emphasizes that age isn’t the only mental hurdle that holds people back.

  • ed

    I AM A MALE AGE 66 AND HAVE LIFTED HEAVY FOR 11 YEARS NOW. I AM 5FT 6IN AND WEIGHT 140 POUNDS. I CAN RUN 300 METERS IN 60 SECONDS AND CAN LIFT MORE WEIGHT THAN PEOPLE HALF MY AGE. I LIFT AT LEAST 6 DAYS A WEEK AND SOMETIMES 7. I SPENT ABOUT AN HOUR A DAY. ED

  • John

    I lift weights at least three times a week. I am almost 60 and am in good shape. However I’ve always heard and read that the older we get the more difficult it is to gain muscle mass. How true is this?

  • Linda

    Thank you Tom for the reminder because I do tend to think I’m older now and shouldn’t be concerned with trying to obtain the fitness look yet I read your blog and you inspire me with your words, yet again. Thank you. Women can also look to Tosca Reno, as one example, for inspiration. She is a fitness model and author of Eat Clean Diet and just turned 51. Tosca didn’t begin her healthy living until her 40′s. She looks amazing and happy! I need to get rid of the self doubt and pursue my interest in achieving goals not just thinking about them.

  • Never too late did my first BB show at 45 and another couple at 47…which landed me in your fit over 40 ebook…proof is herehttp://www.fitover40.com/rm/gpfof.htmlI am into the 50′s and still going…premenopause was tough ..as far as competing goes..but now 53 and all better:)

  • Diane

    As to the article above, how great is that? I’m 48 and everyone keeps warning me about menopause and how it will change my life (for the worse.) I’m not scoffing at menopause, but I truly do think staying active, eating healthy and enough, having a positive life outlook, determination, being happy, loving and being loved all lead to a positive result

  • aldona

    Thank you for this encouraging email. I have found myself having the same thoughts as I turned 57. This gives me vigor to fight for that tankini fit “hot” body.Thank You!

  • Jean Paulo

    Great article Tom! Strength training surely is the fountain of youth

  • This is such a good article to read if you are feeling ”past it” at any age! I used to compete in figure contests in the early nineteen eighties….and gave it up for 23 years. I returned to it two years ago at the tender age of 52.I lost over seventy pounds with the help of your eating plan, then started throwing the weights around in the gym again. I am now back competing at the age of 54 and looking better than I have ever done in my life. I do one day weights and one day power walking on the mountain . I look years younger than I am and it is wonderful to fit in slim fitting clothes and look good. Everything in my wardrobe fits wonderfully.At a recent check up the doctor told me I had sailed through the menopause, actually lost body fat and gained muscle whilst I did it and suffered a lot less than most. I will not get the osteoporosis that made my mother suffer so much. I feel wonderful.

  • Anthony Doran

    I believe there is a lot more 50+ out there that are in shape… I am in better shape now than i have ever been in my life… my life is only going to get better. BFFM inner circle and posts like this one not only motivates me but reassures me.Great article TomRemember – “if you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time”The pic below (my progress) is when i knew it was time to changehttp://www.burnthefatinnercircle.com/members/viewimage.cfm?ImgID=604

  • Sylvester Jijingi

    I am now 51yrs. I go to the gym 6 times a week. I alternate weight lifting one day with aerobics on another. The guys are the gym half my age cannot lift the weights I handle neither can they stand the intensity of my aerobics.I do not believe age should be a handicap in pushing yourself to high fitness levels.I have no doubt in my mind that I will continue to improve to age 100!Sly

  • AJ Chung

    I started my transformation, last April, because of my age, I’ll turn 51 in a few days. My mom told me that if I exercised I wouldn’t have problems with menopause, she did HRT and exercised when she was going through menopause. The HRT gave her lots of problems, the exercise made it better. So far so good, I’ve not had any menopausal symptoms. Now, my mom is 75. She has gained weight, too much weight. Last year I put her on a nutritional and exercise plan. More protein, less bad carbs. I got her a wrist watch pedometer and she would walk every day (15,000 steps or 500 cals). I’d call her every day and she would walk, back and forth around the house and we’d talk for an hour or more. She lost 10 pounds in 8 months. Then she fell off the wagon and gained the 10 pounds back. So, this year I’m doing a strength training routine with her. She is back to walking every day, and I do upper body on Mon and Thurs, and lower body on Tues and Fri. My sister thinks we are both crazy and that my mom should be content gaining weight. My mom lives in Oakland, CA and I live in Denver, CO. We do our workouts together over Skype so she can see what exercises I’m doing.My attitude is, you can’t change your age, but you sure can change how you look and feel.

  • Samantha

    To the 52 yr old post menopausal women wondering if she could ever look good in a bikini again?HECK YES!!!!!! Anything is possible if you DECIDE to make it so!I did it. Still working on a full 6 pack, but I’ve gone from 28.6 bf on the Accu-measure chart, to no longer registering. I’m now in the 14-15% range. It is hard work, a NEW LIFESTYLE of clean eating and working out 6 days a week. My abs are never going to look like a 20/30 something’s but I’m already very proud of my very flat stomach and definition. I’m just stubborn enough to continue the 6 pk pursuit!I’m sorry, but I’m of the opinion menopause is just yet another excuse. I’ve been done for 9 yrs. I just ignored it and kept on truckin’, running marathons, and hitting the gym as always. In my opinion, it’s what you make it.Now, go get fit and don’t EVER give up! You’re only too old if you’re dead.

  • K&C

    At 56 and 60lb too heavy this was a good read for me. I did it before and need to gather the initiative to do it again.Lets hope!!

  • samantha

    This guy is amazing! Talk about defying senescence. It’s true, eating right and exercising regularly retards the aging process. Your body and mind hold up much longer, if you’re able/willing to do these things consistently.I think that is what most people struggle with. Consistency in application. Merrill has obviously made it an integral part of his existence, and thus has derived maximal benefit. Many people including myself, start a program, only to fall off if we don’t see immediate results. It’s all about the LIFESTYLE!We live in a instant gratification society, so if something doesn’t occur instantaneously, we lose interest, and/or motivation. The fact that this guy has persisted so long with this lifestyle. to me is the most remarkable thing about him. Great job!My father who’s significantly younger, lifts weights regularly, but does little cardio and eats infrequently, and often times the wrong things. He wants to carve out his abs, but doesn’t have the lifestyle to support it. However, he is a paragon of consistency in regards to weight training. But as we all know, that in itself, is not enough. If you don’t have the diet to support your efforts on the treadmill, and in the weight room, you can forget changing your body.

  • Mary

    I started hitting the gym at a reasonable pace about 7 yrs ago. My “rule” was that I didn’t want to do anything I couldn’t/wouldn’t keep up for a long time; i.e., not serious “body-building,” but just good FITNESS. I just turned 52 and tried on bikinis recently. I have NEVER worn a bikini. NEVER! ANd I actually thought I might be able to get away with it! My joints are good. I’m very healthy. I never go to doctors. And my body hasn’t started thinking about menopause yet. No hot flashes, still cycling regularly, etc… I eat a very very clean diet – no chemicals, everything fresh, unprocessed, plenty of drug-free, grass-fed animal protein, meat, eggs; veggies, etc. I feel more nourished than I ever have, and people’s jaws drop when I tell them how old I am. Some just simply refuse to believe me. For the first time in my life, I’ve got CUT! And with the way I’m eating now, I’m finding it easier to lose weight than I ever have. I will last a long time, and enjoy it.

  • Tom,This is a great article. For your readers , I am almost 57 years old (and legally blind), I have lost 50 pounds or more of body fat and gained lean body mass. I ride a bike back and forth to the gym to weight train 4 times per week. I also swim and do other cardio worouts. I am in better shape and feel better than when I was 30 years old. I have no intention of slowing down. My energy level has gone through the roof.Keep up the good work !!!!!

  • parashont

    Wonderful for the 95 year old. I am 80 years old. There is hope for me as I am building my body and I am researching an assault on old age. I feel better at 80 than I did at 60 thanks to my assault on old age. The main part of my assault on old aged is exercise, hydration, sleep, nutrition, and mind set. By exercise, I am not talking about a walk in the park. I exercise at 60 % VO2 or higher along with weight training.Parashont

  • Jim

    Hi Tom,Thanks for all the great advice & encouragement to stick to it & keep on working out. I believe that’s been the greatest obstacle for me since I started exercising years ago. I could never stick with it for very long & become easily discouraged. But since subscribling to your web site back in January, 2010 I’ve stuck with the program, continued exercising & dropped about 20 lbs. I feel great.Jim

  • Gergiev

    I’m 57 and I workout with weights regularly, doing deadlifts, squats and so on. I also like to do spin classes where I frequently out-perform people half my age. I’m slim and toned and strong and getting younger by the day. I wonder though Tom if you could give advice has to how us more experienced lifters can build new muscle as this is the one area where I cannot seem to make any progress.Thanks

  • That man has an incredible attitude. Most people make excuses for not working out, and getting older is just one of them.My grandfather passed away at 92, but until his last day he used to workout every day. Had no mobility problems or otherwise.You’re right Tom – people, especially ladies need to get their health and more importantly their attitude in their own hands. No excuses…

  • I showed your post and the video to my long time personal training client who turned 90 years young this week and he told me that it’s time for him to step up his game ;) I have a few videos of him working out on my blog. Here’s one…http://fatlossquickie.com/blog/fitness-lessons-from-a-90-year-old/I’m amazed at what he can do on a stability ball and Bosu ball. He’s got better balance at 90 than most 20 year olds have.I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my client over the years that have helped keep me focused on the fun lifelong journey that fitness really is.Thanks for busting another excuse and proving that you’re never too old to workout and be in great shape!Scott Tousignant

  • miriam

    Its nice to know that age is nothing but a number. The weights can still come off! Am over 40 and its quite comforting to have this knowledge.

  • My granddad is in his late eighties and pumps iron daily at the gym. Many people think he’s in his sixties, including the cougars in their forties.

  • this is encouraging, from where I came from, people above 50 tend to just sit around and relax thinking they passed they prime already.http://virtualfitnesstrainer.com/muscle-building/bodybuilding/defeat-your-skinny-genetics-the-1-1-skinny-guy-transformation-program/

  • Jim C.

    I was equally inspired by the blog and the comments. I am turning 43 in a few months, working out more intensely than ever, and feel fit and energetic.I also take mixed martial arts (MMA) classes and while I keep up just fine endurance-wise, I do find it hard to be very effective in sparring and grappling against the 20-somethings. I have a lot more aches and pains and need to break out the ibuprofen after two hours of MMA. Sometimes I find myself having negative thoughts, ranging from “I wish I had known about interval training, CrossFit, etc. years ago,” to regret for taking a long hiatus from martial arts throughout my 30s, to wondering if I am “getting too old for this.”But if people can just start working out for the first time in their lives in middle age and be successful, then I certainly can continue what I’m doing, as I’ve always engaged in some fitness activity or other since I was 19. So I’ve got quite a head start, is the way to think about it.I am also inspired to eat better, as that is the one thing I have not done faithfully and it prevents me from having the body to show for all the hard work in MMA and at the gym. I definitely want to change that and have come to realize that proper nutrition has so many physical, mental and emotional benefits beyond just looking good.

  • My father is a doctor and he has a patient who also is 90 years old. He exercises in the gym and swims a few kilometers every week. Amazing what some people can achieve.I am young and it is hard for me to imagine how would it be as an old guy. This is why I don’t encourage too often old people to exercise. I know several people who are over 60 and suffer from rheumatism and other sicknesses. I don’t know if it is possible to exercise with rheumatism.Maybe it’s not possible for them to train in the gym, but something like walking is still a solution. Who knows?

  • Wow. If that doesnt get a person motivated. What will.

  • For me 95 is really shocking. Appreciable.

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