Bodybuilding at 60 – Quest For My Best!

Weightlifting has proven to produce a healthy response in people up to, and over, 100 years of age. There are a myriad of benefits to exercising regularly, and lifting weights helps with everything from blood sugars and hypertension to balance and bone density. Yet the public is constantly bombarded by people saying those over 50 have to slow down, take it easier and avoid or limit heavy lifting in the gym if they go at all. Even a lot of younger personal trainers will tell clients that you can’t do much to build strength or muscle size once you’re ‘over the hill’…

One day last year I was discussing this with my friend Dave Avery, a fellow personal trainer who both competes in and runs his own natural bodybuilding competition each year in Cobourg, Ontario. As a Master Business Success Coach I have helped a lot of entrepreneurs and executives build their businesses and careers, only to watch them stumble and fall back due to health issues – it’s all too common for people to neglect their health and fitness in their pursuit of wealth. When I mentioned that so many of them tell me they don’t have time to exercise, or are simply ‘too old’ to get back in shape, Dave suggested I prove them wrong – he said I should turn it up a notch myself and compete in his show in the Masters Division – athletes that are 50 years of age and over.

Doug Champigny - Bodybuilding at 60 - back double biceps

At first I laughed, but as we talked it started to make more sense. I had stayed in great shape til 50, let our business take over my life and ended up out of shape and fighting Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol – a typical mid-fifties entrepreneur. At 57 I had started back into weightlifting and even earned my certification as a personal trainer. Yes, I was doing what I told my business clients to do – to get back in shape and stay in shape – but Dave had a valid point in that if I wanted them to believe they could do the same, I’d have to take it farther to prove my point.

In January of 2015 I turned 60 – and thus began my one-year ‘Quest For My Best’. I altered my workouts from strength training to bodybuilding and committed to entering Dave’s UFE show in the Spring of 2016. Will I ever be a big bodybuilder like you see in the magazines? Of course not. Because I lift weights for my health, I won’t be using any performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) – that’s not a knock on those who use steroids, we each walk our own path in life. But between the potential health and legal problems they represent, they’re not for me. Besides, my purpose in doing this quest is to show executives, entrepreneurs and really anyone else over 50 that they can, in fact, get back in good shape. After all, if I can get into stage-ready condition at 60, surely they can at least improve their strength and conditioning. YOU can.

Doug Champigny - Bodybuilding at 60 - chest

I hope you’ll join me on this journey… I’m now 3 months into this bodybuilding adventure and enjoying the challenge. While I’ve lifted weights for 40 years now, on and off, I’ve never trained for size before, preferring to train for strength. And I’ll admit that even now some of my workouts stray back to heavier weights with lower reps, but that’s an ego problem I’m fighting to fix… 😉

It’s not going to be a walk in the park – I have a fast metabolism that has kept me from ever being fat, but that also means I burn through my energy stores (carbohydrates) quickly, and the diabetes stops me from eating the number of daily carbs a bodybuilder would normally consume. But guess what… EVERYONE has concerns and conditions and very few people have even close to perfect genetics and conditions for building muscle. Once again, this Quest is about bodybuilding at 60 for the average person, not the trials and tribulations of an elite athlete. I’ve worked behind a desk for most of the past 40 years, so in most ways I’m a fairly typical example of a 60-year-old businessman – except that I’m on a mission to help others reclaim their strength and fitness, regain and reclaim their health and protect themselves against the ravages of time to whatever extent they can.

Doug Champigny - Bodybuilding at 60 - Front double biceps

And to do that, I’m stepping WAY outside my comfort zone… Up until now every time I’ve stood on stage it was to teach business people how to improve their business and make more money – not to show off my body in some ridiculously-small set of posing trunks! While my competitive nature will push me to try and win, just getting into good enough shape to look like I belong on that stage with the other competitors will make my point – and I’ll be getting healthier personally with each step. And along the way I hope I’ll garner a better understanding of what our Flirting With Fitness customers, clients, fans and followers experience when THEY decide to compete, as well.

I can honestly say I never thought I’d be a bodybuilder, definitely not a competitive bodybuilder and had never even considered that I might be bodybuilding at 60 and beyond – so it’s going to be an interesting year. I hope you’ll follow along and that the info, insights and experiences I share along my Quest will be both of interest and of help to you. And with that, it’s back to our training lair!

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Workout Videos – FlirtingWithFitness YouTube Channel Launched!

Reading about workouts and exercises is a great way to learn, but sometimes you need to see actual workout videos to see the proper form to do the exercises correctly. So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve (finally!) launched our Flirting With Fitness video channel on YouTube!

These aren’t long, full-workout exercise videos, but instead just the highlights of some workouts to show you what we do in the gym and how we perform each exercise. Our first 3 videos are up now for you to watch, and while all 3 are shot in a commercial gym that won’t be the norm – we’ll also be working on a lot of videos showing you how to do your workouts in home gyms too. That way those who are working out at home will get the info they need, and pretty much any exercise you can do at home can also be done in commercial gyms. Over time we’ll also be adding some ‘talking head’ videos for subjects like nutrition, weight loss and recovering between workouts, subjects that are equally important but don’t require live demonstrations to get the message across.

Here’s the first of those exercise videos as a shorter-than-normal sample…

And here’s where you come in… If you have specific questions or have particular fitness or nutrition questions, let us know in the comments below so we know exactly what our readers want to see and we’ll look at creating videos to address those issues for you. We look forward to building a large, helpful collection of exercise, nutrition and weight loss videos that truly address the needs of our online community!

So leave your comments below, then head over to our exercise videos and let us know what you think of those first 3 videos, ok? Thanks!


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Bodybuilding Blast For The Holiday Season

Bodybuilders and weightlifters know it can be hard to stick to their weightlifting and nutrition routines over the holidays – especially the time from Christmas to New Year’s. But there is a solution that not only keeps bodybuilders on track, but can actually build more muscle while freeing up more time over the holidays!

Plan an overreaching/supercompensation cycle to keep your workouts and nutrition on track through Christmas & New Years!

Plan an overreaching/supercompensation cycle to keep your workouts and nutrition on track through Christmas & New Years!

The idea here is to time a short period of over-reaching and it’s corresponding super-compensation week to align with the holidays. If you’re not familiar with over-reaching and super-compensation, the former is a short period of greatly increased training volume – increased to the point that it would lead to overtraining in short order. But instead of falling into the overtraining trap, after a few weeks of over-reaching workouts you take a week off to let your body heal fully, and GROW! That week off is your super-compensation, so named because you can experience more growth during that week as your body grows than you might otherwise see.

You don’t need to increase the weights you’re lifting during your workouts – in fact that could push it too far. Instead, add more reps to each set using your usual weight, add more sets to each exercise or add in a few more exercises per bodypart. If you don’t have the stamina for the longer workouts, increase your training frequency instead. For example, you could train legs, chest and triceps on Monday, Wednesday & Friday, then train back, shoulders, biceps & abs on Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday. That way you can do one or two compound exercises and two or three isolation exercises for each bodypart and still be out of the gym in 60 – 90 minutes each day. On that schedule every bodypart gets trained 3 times per week with twice the volume you’d do on a full-body workout, and you only have one day (Sunday) off each week.

It’s easy to see how doubling your volume could quickly lead to overtraining, but you’re going to keep it in the over-reaching stage by only doing it for a short time. Intermediate and advanced bodybuilders could do it for 3 weeks or so starting December 1st or 2nd, while novices should limit it to two weeks and can wait til the 8th or 9th to start. Either way, by the 23rd or 24th you’re finished and move into the super-compensation week. For the next week to ten days you stop lifting and take in more clean calories than you’re used to so that your body can compensate and heal from all you’ve put it through.

Now suddenly you have no gym time required from Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day, freeing your time up for family, friends and holiday fun, takes away the frustration of trying to train if you’re away for the holidays, and makes use of the extra carbs, protein and fats you’ll be consuming during that time. And after a week to ten days off you’ll be chomping at the bit to get back in the gym for your next session, just in time for January’s cycle.

When you go back to the gym after your week off, return to your previous workout routine or have your trainer create a new one for you. DO NOT go straight into another over-reaching/super-compensation cycle, as it’s too hard on your central nervous system – never do one of these cycles more often than once every 3-4 months.

So go ahead, set your schedule to do your workouts this way once December rolls around again, and be ready for a better, less rushed and lower-guilt holiday season where you actually build more quality muscle and endurance than any December before, and set yourself up for a great following year!


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Successful Weight Loss and the Motivated Mind

Successful weight loss or, more properly, successful fat loss, is not a matter of calories or exercise. What it takes to successfully lose weight is a motivated mind. Everything else, from following healthy nutrition to working out regularly, stems entirely from your mindset.

Now you may be thinking ‘But I’ve wanted to lose weight forever and it’s not happening!’ That’s not a motivated mind – that’s wishful thinking or dreaming about success. If your mind was truly motivated to help you lose weight, it would already be happening.

Successful Weight Loss

You see, when your mind is truly motivated you focus on your goals in a much more effective way. Simply put, you take action – massive targeted action directly aimed at achieving your weight loss goals. You choose healthier meals, you limit your overall caloric intake and you hit the gym or go for a run each and every day.

You don’t have to obsess over it and have it take over every waking minute – in fact, you probably spend more time beating yourself up for being overweight or obese than you need to use to lose weight. If you’re truly motivated, your subconscious mind will lead you to the right decisions without even thinking about it most times. You’ll eat when your body is hungry, and only eat enough to satisfy that hunger. You’ll choose the bottle of water over the soda or fruit juice at lunch. You’ll choose healthy complex carbs and green vegetables for supper instead of pasta or pizza. And you’ll push yourself that extra few reps in the gym or that extra mile on your runs.

So how do you achieve this motivated mind? Avoid worrying about the past or your current physical condition. Concentrate entirely on your future and who you’ll be after the weight loss. Don’t accept even the mildest chance that you’ll fail to lose the weight you want – know that you’ll do whatever it takes to burn all the fat you want to. Cruise through the magazines and online resources to find photos of what you want to look like – especially look for photos of people who have similar features to your own… Hair colour, overall build, etc. If you’re handy with photo editing software, even superimpose your face onto some of the digital photos.

Next, put the best of those photos where you’ll see them every day… Tape a couple to your bedroom door so you see them first thing every morning and last thing every night. Tape one or two to the bathroom mirror so you see them at various points through the day. And take 2 or 3 of the ones you like best, the strongest and/or sexiest of them, and put them on your refrigerator door so you see them every time you go to open the fridge. Put the rest of the digital photos onto a page and print it out, then put that page and the magazine shots into an album or some type of cover. When you feel your mindset slipping, pull it out and look through them again. In fact, look through them at least once a day and picture yourself in that shape, having achieved your weight loss goals, and visualize how your life will be different then…

You know you’ll feel better then, feel better about yourself, have more confidence and have more energy on a daily basis. It’s worth putting in the effort to keep a motivated mind working for you through all of this, and letting it guide you to successful weight loss. You deserve to be happier, healthier and more energetic – and your motivated mind is the key!

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Fitness Over 50: 5 Stages To Getting Back In Shape

If you’re over 50 and noticeably out of shape, heading out to the gym to start lifting weights, running on the treadmill or using an elliptical may not be the best idea – in fact it could have horrible, even fatal consequences. Instead, follow this 5-stage plan to get back in shape in a safer, healthier process…

Stage 1: Assessment
You already know you’re out of shape, but you probably don’t know HOW out of shape you are unless you’ve had a recent physical and had your blood work done. Don’t take foolish chances – start by getting these done now by your family doctor. While there, discuss your decision to get back in shape and ask whether you have any issues that need to be dealt with first. Also, are there any existing conditions you need to be aware of or find workarounds for?

Stage 2: Building Healthy Habits
Once you have the green light from your doctor it’s time to lay the foundation for your new SUSTAINABLE lifestyle. And that’s just what you want to create – your new healthy lifestyle that works for you and keeps you in good shape for the rest of your life. To do that, you need to establish healthier habits in your daily life…

Fitness At 50 - 5 Stages Of Getting Back In Shape Over 50

The first of these is proper nutrition – don’t expect to get back in shape and stay in shape eating like you have been.

Remember that your current diet and activity level got you where you are today, so both need to be improved to help get you out of this mess, right?

The good news is it’s not as hard as you might think – make it a rule to eat at home whenever possible and stick to healthy choices when you shop for food.

You won’t be pigging out on candy, cake, chips and soda if they’re not available in the house, so don’t bring home unhealthy choices.

The second healthy habit you need to adopt is daily exercise. Block out an hour to 90 minutes a day that will be used to get yourself back in shape, and to start with go for a walk for that time each day. It doesn’t have to be a long walk or even a fast walk – but you DO have to go EVERY DAY, no matter what. If you can’t walk for that long yet, split it into 2 or 3 sessions through the day til you can do it all at once, making sure you get at least an hour of walking each day. This will program your body for daily activity, help your cardiovascular system get stronger and get YOU into the habit of exercising every day without exception.

Don’t go on to Stage 3 until you’ve been practicing healthy nutrition and getting your walks in everyday for at least 3 weeks straight. If you miss a day on either, simply start again – it may take a few attempts, but you WILL get there!

Stage 3: Bodyweight Exercises
Now it’s time to add in some exercise in place of some of your walking. Take any 3 non-consecutive days each week and do bodyweight exercises in place of walking, and just do your walks the other 4 days. Bodyweight exercises are just those you can do without additional weights – squats, sit-ups, crunches, push-ups, etc. There are a lot more exercises you can do than you are likely to think of off-hand, so do a bit of research to find a good variety for yourself. Start off simply with just a few exercises for a few reps each, then increase both as you go along. Try to find the right mix to give you a good workout without leaving yourself sore the next day.

Stay with just bodyweight exercises for 1 – 3 months – you’ll be pleased with the changes you’ll see even though you haven’t been lifting weights yet. At this point building muscle is just one of the benefits you’re striving for; you’re also looking to improve your flexibility, loosen up your joints and get your ligaments and tendons stretched enough to allow full range-of-motion for each part of your anatomy.

Stage 4: Dumbbell Workouts
At this point it’s time to either start equipping your new home gym or join one of the commercial gyms in your neighborhood. Where you train is a matter of personal preference, so make your choice based on which you’re most likely to stick with. There is no right or wrong – some people prefer working out at home while others do best within the gym environment.

Replace your 3 days per week of bodyweight exercises with full-body dumbbell workouts. Because you spent years or even decades not working out with weights, you most likely have imbalances in your muscles. For example, if you’re right-handed your right arm and the grip in your right hand are probably stronger than your left arm and grip. By starting with dumbbells, each arm works independently, forcing the weaker side to catch up and match your dominant side. For legs, use a single leg for your leg extensions and leg curls and do lunges instead of squats or deadlifts for now.

On every exercise you want to use as much weight as you can while still keeping your form correct, so try not to go too light or too heavy at any point. As any given exercise gets easier for your weaker side, up the weights for your next workout, always keeping the same weight for both arms or both legs. Once you find your entire left and right sides are equally strong, move on to the final stage.

Stage 5: Full Workouts
Congratulations on making it to this point! You’re eating a healthy diet, working out, walking a lot and it’s all become your habit – your new fitness lifestyle! By now you’re seeing lower bodyfat levels, more strength and a LOT more energy – feels good, doesn’t it? Whether it took you a few months or a couple of years to get to this point, it should be a real confidence boost for you as well, considering all you’ve accomplished so far!

Now it’s time to move to full-blown weightlifting workouts. Add in squats or deadlifts and other barbell compound exercises along with dips, pull-downs and/or pull-ups, etc. You’re now in condition to do just about any style of workout, as long as you continue to practice perfect form and keep the weights appropriate for your strength level – don’t let ego push you past that point.

Keep your sets in the 5 – 8 rep range – there’s no need to worry about building muscle size, it’s strength you’re after. Plus, strength training helps with bone density and helps to moderate or prevent osteoporosis. Make sure your workouts are still taxing your muscles each session, but don’t push it to exhaustion on any set or exercise – you don’t need extreme measures. Simply increase the weights for any given exercise when your current weights seem to be using too little of your available strength and energy. Keep it trending up over time and you’ll not only be living your fitness lifestyle but you’ll surprise yourself with how good you look, how good you feel and how strong you become. Just because you’re in your 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t become stronger than you’ve ever been before!

Note: If you need a good bodyweight routine, see Bodyweight Blitz, or for a full-on workout see our complete Muscle Building Warrior system.

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