Ripped after 60? Yes! It’s possible! Not only did Piero Maina get ripped during the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Body Transformation Challenge, I would describe his condition more like shredded! That’s where you get so lean, there are visible striations in the muscles, you can see every muscle insertion, and veins are popping. Piero peaked in 12 weeks as if he were a professional competitive bodybuilder. And yet he is a recreational physique enthusiast who simply had a great plan, a ton of discipline, and a hard work ethic.
As you look at his before and after photos, you can see the proof that it’s possible to achieve very low body fat well into middle age. It’s also proof that transformation is possible despite adversity including illness (covid), accidents, torn ligaments, broken bones, and even rare vascular disease.
With the mindset and action-oriented initiative of an athlete, Piero pushed through all obstacles to win the 2023 Burn the Fat Body Challenge.
The Burn the Fat Challenge is a 12-week transformation contest held twice a year at the Burn the Fat Inner Circle website. (The first challenge starts January first, and the second one starts in May and runs over the summer).
The challenge is free for all Inner Circle members and readers of the Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle book
During the 12-week challenge, Piero dropped 17 pounds, got shredded, and even increased his lean body mass at the same time.
To see how he achieved these astonishing results, read this challenge success story essay below…
My name is Piero Maina, I am 61 years old, and I completed the Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle 12-week Summer Challenge. I entered the men’s muscle and physique category and aimed for winning my division and the most ripped award.
I am from Italy and English is not my mother tongue, so please forgive any grammar that is not correct.
I have done many of these challenges before, but I had stopped for two years. I decided to return to my favorite summer activity – entering the Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle transformation challenge and getting ripped. I finished the 12 weeks, and that made it the thirteenth time.
My Summer Challenge ended while I was on vacation in Switzerland. I feel at home in Switzerland, but it’s not the same as being at my real home in Rome. A positive thing is the cooler and drier temperatures, but getting organized and ready to peak the last week of a body transformation challenge while on vacation is not an ideal situation.
Even my resistance training had to take place without weights. I brought resistance bands with me so I could keep it up. Unfortunately, two of them broke. I had to adjust to that and keep trying to get acceptable results with what I had.
I really gave this my all, even when circumstances were not ideal. That includes, for the first time in my life, feeling the difference in fatigue, effort and recovery that comes with peaking after 60. I don’t believe we should use age as an excuse, but I know I must be realistic about the fact that I’m getting older.
I spent time thinking about those even older than I am who finished the challenge, and that gets my respect and inspires me to look forward to continuing. But on the other hand, looking at the younger ones, I can see the difference that age makes.
Pain in my lower back and at the tendon insertions in my hips troubled me during this challenge. It limited my performance a lot. Many times I had to slow down or even skip the cardio.
What really caught me off guard this time was the spectre of sarcopenia. (That’s the loss of muscle that happens due to aging alone). In some places it looked like where there used to be a full muscle belly, it was now “empty.” Making matters worse, the skin wasn’t as elastic and stretched tight like it used to be. Looking at folds of skin like a Sharpei dog left me disappointed. But I knew it had to be accepted at my age, without resorting to any external “help.” This is normality at 61.
It probably started back in December when right before Christmas I got COVID. For the first sixty hours, I couldn’t swallow anything except a little water to get down the antibiotic. My thoughts revolved around ice cream, but I limited the damage. I didn’t get down many calories of anything.
I vividly remember losing 5kg (12 pounds) of weight between Tuesday and Friday. I looked in the mirror and saw myself completely “transformed,” but not the way I intended. It seemed that I had recovered quickly from the Covid, but my reflection revealed a body that was atrophied.
My commitment was total as it has always been, but my perception was that I had a physique that looked more like a runner instead of a bodybuilder. Obviously, it was partly due to the virus. But I credit the muscle loss to sarcopenia. When you get older, there’s not only a trend to lose muscle due to age alone, but also the muscle loss is worse if you get sick or can’t lift.
It’s hard to hold on to muscle, but during the summer challenge, I kept up the resistance training and took ample amounts of protein. In this challenge, my main goal was fat loss, so I would say I succeeded.
There was a choice I had to make and that was to focus on gaining muscle or getting lean and maintaining as much muscle as I could. I’ve come to realize that thinking of consistently gaining muscle mass, without steroids, while following a strict low-calorie diet at my age is a pure utopian fantasy.
I believe that the discipline, commitment, dedication, and sacrifice necessary for results like these is equal to that of the bodybuilding champions we see posing on stages all around the world. The Burn the Fat Challenge is a body transformation contest, so there is no getting on stage, but there are photos, and there’s s a similar commitment and effort level required if you want to win.
Now, with that background, let’s see every single aspect of my challenge strategy in detail.
ELEMENT 1: NUTRITION
I can’t say that one aspect is less important than the others are, but diet undoubtedly plays the most important role. The nutrition must be put together with resistance training. Obviously one does not exclude the other.
I was obsessive about following my food plan on a daily basis. I did not have a cheat meal – not once – during the entire 12 weeks. Some people say that is wrong and that you must make an allowance for cheat meals. But I was never in the mood for it. I didn’t feel the need.
I also didn’t experience plateaus this time. That meant I didn’t have to apply advanced tactics like the zigzag method or manipulation of carbohydrates.
I have always kept carbohydrates on the moderately low side to begin with, but in sufficient quantities to support training, on the order of 35% to 40% of total calories. I always combined them with complete proteins. (No carbohydrate-only meals).
Those amounts of carbs with the protein are like “musts.” Everything starts from there, but the right nutrition alone is not sufficient, it must be linked to training, both resistance training and cardio training.
In terms of calories, I never dropped below 1800 calories a day. That’s at 178 cm height (5′ 10″) and 77kg (169 lbs) starting weight and 69kg (152 lbs) finishing weight.
To stick to the nutrition plan, the mind supports the effort. As you follow the instructions, you focus on their completion and on your end result in your mind with faith and trust, as if they were already achieved.
ELEMENT 2: MENTAL TRAINING
My mental process is that I think like an athlete, I feel like an athlete and I am an athlete. This is my identity and it is above all else for me. I grew up in various competitive sports and therefore the habit is today and always has been to train hard to achieve the goals. Always.
Sure, you don’t always win, but for me it’s most important to win against myself. My goal is to not complain about anything. My goal is to give the best I can, and not feel as if I could have done more.
What many people in the Burn the Fat Inner Circle community know, but not everyone, because I stopped talking about it so as not to repeat myself or sound like I was complaining, is all the injuries I’ve had to fight with my whole life. That includes some that were very serious. I’ve had accidents that left me battered, including torn knee ligaments, fractures and more.
But the one ailment that affected me the most struck when I was thirty-two years old. I was in top form, and while training in the gym with weights, I had an accident. It was a thrombosis in my left shoulder and arm. I discovered that it was a rare condition called Paget Schroetter Syndrome (thoracic outlet syndrome). It caused thrombophlebitis in the left subclavian and axillary veins. I was told this was congenital and it was something I’d have to live with for the rest of my life.
Then it happened again. With this recurrence, the two veins were ruined forever. I had to start anticoagulant therapy with sodium warfarin. The medical order was: No weightlifting with that arm. Even swimming was off limits. I would basically be invalid in the left arm. (It must be said that however, that I continued to train and play sports in all possible forms, but no more gym and weights). I stopped lifting for 18 years. But then I restarted – at my own risk.
I may have complained about the challenge of fighting sarcopenia, but I have a feeling of gratitude for simply being able to go back to training with weights. So for me it’s already a success just to be here. I’m not doing it for huge mass and strength, but to have an athletic, symmetrical and muscular physique that’s functional, rather than just “bulky.”
My strength is the discipline that I put into everything I do, which is my deontology of behavior not only in this challenge, but also in life in general.
ELEMENT 3: RESISTANCE TRAINING
Resistance training is the key part of building and maintaining muscle. But of course, alone it’s not enough. Diet must be followed correctly. The muscle may be there, but you can’t see it if it’s covered with a layer of fat.
In my case, my goal was to simply try to keep what I had. To my surprise, I actually increased my lean body mass. I know recomposition is difficult. It seems to me that I achieved a good result. You can judge for yourself from my pictures. I’m sure a key was that I never skipped a single workout. I pushed to the point I may have risked overtraining.
My workout plan was very calisthenic in nature. I also did heavy dumbbell work for upper body, heavy leg extensions for legs, along with a barbell for squats.
I was a running athlete at a young age. For a few years now I have been using running for cardio again, and also cycling. Adding the cardio in addition to the weightlifting allows me to consume more calories and still lose body fat while maintaining the muscle.
But I don’t just run to burn fat. I use running to improve my cardiovascular fitness and health, and to improve my athletic performance for skiing, golf and many other things.
Today at over 60, I am always bradycardic, and my resting heart rate during this summer challenge was as low as 32 bpm. When I am trained, it is always below 40 bpm.
I’ve had to deal with the aches and pains of age and I was often not able to train as I would have liked to, or push as hard as I wanted to. However, I know that doing the cardio contributed to the results I obtained.
ELEMENT 5: SUPPORT
Having support can help in difficult moments, including during stressful periods where the diet is restricted. Being on a team can help as each member stimulates and motivates each other. But unlike in the past when I was on a team, this year I did the challenge as an individual.
Doing it solo this time, my main support, other than my willpower, has been re-reading Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle for the umpteenth time. Of course I have the paperback book, but I recently contracted maculopathy in my right eye and almost can’t read anymore. Wearing the right glasses might help, but what I ended up doing is reading the book on my iPad. I enlarged the characters and then I could read.
As part of my mental training strategy, I constantly looked at my goal card, with an image of my target. But the greatest help was re-reading the instructions in the book. From doing a dozen challenges before, I knew if I applied the instructions, it would lead to inevitable success.
Unfortunately, some people close to me rowed against me from start to finish, even leading to incredible quarrels based on nothing. It’s difficult to hear phrases yelled like, “I want a normal husband” or “This is the last vacation we’ll have together if you do another body transformation contest.”
However, even when staying at home, things weren’t that different. When working toward a goal like this, sometimes others just see it as an excuse to argue. It created another race within a race. It was difficult to be criticized for a non-existent fault. I was eating clean, just like I eat the rest of the year, only in a more controlled and targeted way for 12 weeks.
Support is important, but be able if necessary to find your own source of support and motivation from within if needed.
In conclusion, as always, I thank Tom Venuto and the entire Burn The Fat Inner Circle team, whom, behind or in front of the scenes, allow all of this to happen.
If Tom had not published that very first e-book edition of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle 20 years ago, many people, including myself, would not have achieved the accomplishments we did, nor attained the knowledge about how to lose fat without losing muscle.
Only the bible of burning fat – Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle – a text written with passion and competence, and above all without deception, could give us everything we need to know to transform in one volume.
BODY TRANSFORMATION RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS ARTICLE:
Book (Official Guide To The Burn the Fat Challenge)
Burn the Fat Feed The Muscle: CLICK HERE
AudioBook Now Streaming (Official Guide To The Burn the Fat Challenge)
Burn the Fat Feed The Muscle On Audible – $0.00 With Audible Free Trial: CLICK HERE
Burn the Fat Inner Circle
Support Community For All-Natural, No BS Body Transformation CLICK HERE
Burn the Fat 12-week body transformation challenge
For details about upcoming Burn the Fat Challenge events that you can enter, CLICK HERE
The Next Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Body Transformation Challenge starts January 1st.