I first started working out with weights when in my mid-twenties. I was lean and wanted to gain a little more mass for aesthetics , and to be stronger and more fit. I remained at 163 pounds at 5’10” for decades without really having to be too careful about what I ate. I was overall a healthy eater but I didn’t pay attention to protein/carb/fat proportions because I just stayed the same—now I think I was at about 12-14 % bodyfat, so not too bad.
In my sixties things changed! I developed love handles and a round belly and was heading upward on the scales even though I continued to train (with a very competent trainer) and maintained and even increased my overall muscle mass. For my age I looked good but I still didn’t like what was going on around my middle!
Then a year of personal and overwhelming crises occurred! In 2015 I had just retired. I was looking forward to the freedom that retirement brought. But the year began with the unexpected death of my father (age 93 so at least he had a good healthy long life). But then in quick succession my sister and uncle both passed away. And then I was absolutely astonished when my wife of 34 years announced to me that she was divorcing me! It came out of the blue—she wasn’t just one of those people who was divorcing because “we were heading in different directions” or some such. Instead she told me that she never loved me, that she was contemptuous and repelled by me. She used to hope that if I went on a business trip that I would return to tell her that I had met someone and was leaving her, so she would not have to do it! The malicious attacks went on (I had thin lips! I made funny faces when we danced!) and it practically destroyed me. I loved her and thought we had a great marriage and so did everyone else whom we knew. It really impacted my mental health-I actually had what’s called a derealization episode where I felt I was somehow moving through the world through a shroud, as if I were a ghost! I literally could not sleep night after night which becomes very disturbing after a few nights. I feared I would not be able to return to the land of the living.
To top everything off, I was visiting a friend in Texas and ended up shattering my right hip in a bizarre accident in the middle of a blizzard! It was on December 31, 2015-the final blow in the year 2015. I had never had anything serious happen to my body before!
Besides getting some good psychotherapy, going to the gym and having a strong relationship to my personal trainer became a crucial part of how I brought myself back and remembered who I was! I became much more invested in studying the science of bodybuilding-watching my diet more carefully and really investing in learning about what happens to your body when you lift weights. I believe that this attachment, which continues today, helped to save my life .
I realized that I had to reinvent myself and rethink everything I had assumed about what my life meant. Just by chance I read a newspaper article about how the modeling field was in need of Baby Boomer models-they were underrepresented because the demographic was so big. So I got some training and a portfolio and an agent and set off! Covid of course impacted my career trajectory considerably, but nonetheless I prevailed and now I have a modeling and commercial acting part time career. I walk in runway shows, model designs for clothing stores, and appear on television and social media in a number of commercials! Although I again gained some unwanted pounds (up to 181) during Covid I have lost eight pounds so far and my love handles have diminished considerably.
So at the age of 72 I have a happy, satisfying, reinvented life with lots of fun adventures and relationships, and remain fit and muscular! I owe a lot to the fitness and bodybuilding arena for that!