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Inspirational Fitness Photos Of Men over 40, 50, and 60!

By Marc Perry / July 1, 2017

“Almost everything we have been taught about aging is wrong. We now know that a very fit body of 70 can be the same as a moderately fit body of 30.”

–Dr. Walter Bortz, MD

Do you use your age as an excuse for not feeling, or looking your best? For not being strong, fit, or flexible?

If you do, you need a wake-up call my friend! I’m hoping this article inspires you to reach your true potential to live a longer, fuller, happier life with the fit and strong body you deserve.

I remember my first year in the work force as a 23 year old, my friends would complain about back stiffness, or not being able to lift as much as we did in college. We all had become “has-beens” and in a way, we thought it was funny.

I don’t think it’s funny anymore. The idea that we cannot improve our physiques as we age is simply inaccurate. I’m going to make the bold claim that my body will look and perform better when I’m 50 years old than it does today at 29…as long as I don’t get hit by the proverbial bus and maintain good health.

Are you ready to make that commitment, that claim? If you’re already in your 50’s or older, can you commit to exercising at least 2x per week for the rest of your life?

I have below profiles of 5 men who can inspire you to believe in your own potential and believe that you CAN look and feel better as you age. Interestingly, all these men have different diets and training regimens, but there are two common themes:

1) Eat Real Food – Unprocessed, nutrient dense food

2) Strength Train – Use resistance training with one, or a combination of the following: dumbbells, barbells, or bodyweight exercises.

Let’s begin…

Herschel Walker at 48

Herschel Walker is a former professional football player and heisman trophy winner who as a child was “pudgy” with a stutter. In this photo at 48 years old, I’m sure you would agree he’s anything but pudgy. “Totally jacked” is a better description.

Herschel Walker’s daily workout routine is legendary; he claims he’s done 2000 situps and 1500 pushups a day for the last 30 years…and mostly at 5:30am.

Not only are his exercise habits atypical, but his nutrition habits are just bizarre. A vegetarian, Herschel doesn’t eat any red meat or fish and eats one meal a day. He claims he can run as fast now compared to his professional football days…but his guns are bigger.

Herschel Walker on Aging:

“Everybody talks about 48, but I think I’m in just as good a shape as at 20, or 30 years old. Somebody posted a tape on my Twitter of me working with some kids. I look exactly the same in 1983 as I look today. My guns got a little bit bigger, but I look the same.”

Herschel Walker On Exercise and Nutrition:

“I’m just not a guy that loves to eat. I love to work and love to work out. I think I go against all the nutritionists who say you need to do this, or need to do that so I’m one of the oddballs.”

Tony Horton at 51

Celebrity trainer and P90x creator Tony Horton has inspired millions of people around the world to improve their health and well-being. His initial desire to get into fitness stemmed from his ambitions to become an actor in LA. He was told getting in shape and getting a better body could land him some acting roles.

While his acting career didn’t quite pan out, he did become a very successful trainer and would later team up with fitness marketing company Beachbody to launch several fitness programs sold through infomercials.

Tony Horton on Nutrition

In his book “Bring It!”, Tony recommends eliminating sugar, processed foods, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol, and dairy consumption. Pretty hard not to get a lean body following that advice.

Tony Horton on Intensity:

“Intensity is finding your fire and working out as hard as you can, based on where you are today (now, here, in the moment), without sacrificing exercise form. Intensity is a moving target too. It changes from day to day, and there are so many variables outside your control. It’s your job to show up, and that’s within your control.”

Dave Draper at 54

Dave Draper (nicknamed the “Blonde Bomber”) is an accomplished bodybuilder who used to train with Arnold Schwarzenegger. As you can see from the photo of Dave at 54 compared to 25 years old (on right), the density of his muscles has increased and he is leaner.

The following quotes are from Dave’s book Brother Iron, Sister Steel, which is one of the most sensible, passionate, and well-written books on strength training and bodybuilding I’ve read:

Dave Draper on Fitness and Aging:

“Now I see that just as the mere awareness of age can affect your ego and attitude, so can a more confident and determined attitude awaken you to the fact that the other side of forty, and fifty, sixty and seventy holds a valid promise for improving your physique.”

Dave Draper on Lifting:

“Superset. Hit heavy workouts…Push it, blast it, no tiptoeing through the fields of metal. Train with confidence and enthusiasm – the only way to train. If you perceive exercise and hard work as dull and dubious, they will be. Fact is, they are fun, exciting and fulfilling. Your perception may be broken and your confidence not established. Tune them up. Pain, strain, gain.”

Is this guy awesome, or what?

Dave is now approaching 65 years old and is still hitting the iron hard!

Mark Sisson at 58

Mark Sisson is one of the pioneers of the “paleo” movement, defined by the desire to eat and exercise like our ancestors before the advent of agriculture 10,000 years ago. The motto of his very successful fitness blog Mark’s Daily Apple is “primal living in a modern world”.

In short, Mark avoid grains completely, eats low carb with a high fat diet. He also eats plenty of meat, vegetables, and fruits. Mark does strength training 2-3x per week, high intensity sprints “intermittently”, and moves slowly a lot.

Needless to say after I saw photos of him, I read his Primal Blueprint book (which I will review at a future date) and a large chunk of his blog.

Mark Sisson on American Lifestyle Trends

“Hectic schedules compromising quality family time, processed foods in place of natural foods, prescription drugs used in place of lifestyle change, digital entertainment replacing physical activity, and overly stressful exercise programs that cause even the most devoted to fail with weight loss and fitness goals.”

Mark Sisson on Exercise

“You can get healthy and fit on two hours a week of walking around, one mini-strength training workout a week lasting less than 10 minutes, one complete strength training workout lasting 30 minutes, and a sprint session every 7 to 10 days with perhaps 10 minutes of hard work (bookended by sufficient warm up and cool down).”

Jack Lalanne at 67

The late Jack Lalanne is a “fitness legend” who passed away last year at 96 years old. His spirit lives on, however, through his videos from the 1950’s “The Jack Lalanne Show”, which have amassed millions of views on Youtube. For my tribute to Jack and a bunch of facts about him, see: Jack Lalanne Tribute: Facts About Fitness Icon.

Jack Lalanne on the American Diet (my favorite):

“Would you get your dog up every day, give him a cup of coffee, a doughnut, and a cigarette? Hell, no. You’d kill the damn dog.”

Jack Lalanne on Aging:

“Your waistline is your lifeline. It should be the same as it was when you were a young person.”

Jack Lalanne on Looking More Manly (so to speak):

“If you lose a couple of inches off your stomach, your business down there will look an inch longer.”

So what do you think? Inspired?

I encourage you to get fired up about your health and commit to some long term goals – and I mean long term. What about 20 years from now, how are you going to look and feel?

I encourage you to share this article with your friends and take one step toward your long term fitness goals today .


  • jk says:

    Marc, great article and so true. My dad has been an inspiration for me. He was way over weight and in bad health a few years ago and at age 64 started eating healthy and doing some limited exercise. He just turned 70 last week has lost 60 pounds and he’s in better shape now than he was when he was 50!

  • Hank says:

    Great post! I also think Jack Lalanne's quote about breakfast is a classic. I am disappointed that most people in my age group have given up tyring to be fit and keep going downhill physically. I wish they would read your post and get with the program.

  • David says:

    49 year old here. Following largely the Mark Sisson philosophy has got me into the best shape of my life. Where I think most middle-agers get it wrong is by not getting their nutrition right first. I tried to out-exercise a bad diet for years, before admitting defeat and finding paleo after much research. Very good info from the likes of Marc is always good too thanks Marc really value your articles.

    • Marc Perry says:

      @David - Couldn't agree more with getting the nutrition down as we age. Nutrition + exercise can lead to very impressive results/changes in the body. Thanks for your comment!

  • Alun says:

    55 coming up in a couple of months. After 15 years of letting it go I'm completely fed up with my fitness, and have been working out the last couple of months, but yes, nutrition is the missing link. My body fat is around 26% so not totally obese, but way over what I want to be. What I wondered was, I have been reading recently about the 'set point' and it is discouraging, but I'm not sure of the full implications. For most of my life I was 58kg (128 lbs), slim and fit (I did loads of cycling, as well as swimming), no matter what I ate; I'm 5' 6". Around 40 I stopped being a research zoologist spending lots of time in the field, lost the bike, and took up software development, and gradually went up to 80kg (176 lbs). Now the question is, if I have added extra fat cells to hold this gunk and have a higher set point what does that mean for my getting back to being lean? Possible to do it and maintain it?

    Love the site, Marc, very informative.

    • Marc Perry says:

      @Alun - Congrats on getting back on track. I'm really happy to hear that. Research prior to 2011 showed the fat cells we have is constant, but in the last year, it appears we may add fat cells, which do not disappear as we lose weight. So the implications on fat loss is that you can absolutely lose the fat and it shouldn't have an impact on your ability to lose fat, but it does imply it may be easier to put the fat back on if you lose it.

      My take is if you create an ample calorie deficit, do 2-3x per week of strength training, you should be able to lose 0.75lb to 1.5lb each week like clock work. Some weeks that may not happen, but it should be possible. At the end of the day, focus on losing fat without losing muscle, which is what I constantly preach on this website. Good luck!

  • Rick McGinniss says:

    So glad to have found your site, Marc!

    I'm 5'7" 54 years old (never thought THAT would happen to me), just completed one year of working out at a local gym 3x per week with a trainer. I've gone from 30% BF to 15% (205 to 180lbs). As you've mentioned repeatedly in your articles, nutrition was huge in my transformation. It wasn't until I started tracking with myfitnesspal in July that the weight and fat really started coming off.

    My goal is to get to 6-8% BF. Your site and this post in particular is great encouragement to me that it is possible, especially if I work on eating cleaner. I've cut calories but haven't paid much attention to the mix.

    One question, as I'm still trying to understand the dynamics of change in physical composition:

    200lb at 30%BF = 60lbs of fat and 140lbs of LBM
    180lb at 15%BF = 27lbs of fat and 153lbs of LBM.

    Did I really lose 33 lbs of fat and gain 13lbs of muscle over the past year? That just seems like an enormous change, almost unbelievable. (I did go from a 41-inch waist to 34 inches, but I still have a lot of fat there and around my chest and, oddly, on my back).

    Thanks again and may God bless you and your work!

    • Marc Perry says:

      @Rick McGinniss - Wow is all I can say! Congrats on a fantastic transformation. It certainly is possible to change your body composition as you did over the course of a year where you build up muscle and lose fat. For someone who hasn't lifted weights in a while, gaining muscle can occur to a greater degree compared to someone who is already lifting all the time. In addition, the 154lb LBM sounds a tad high for your height, but certainly within the realm of possibility (especially if you are well built - 14+ inch arms, 23+ inch thighs, 15 inch calves etc.).

      Keep up the good work and I'm happy to hear you are living the BuiltLean lifestyle!

  • Rick McGinniss says:

    Thanks, Marc.

    One thing I noticed is that I track weight at home on Mondays, but the caliper measurement by my trainer happened on Wednesday. Last Monday morning, I weighed 178 but at the gym on Wednesday it was 180 and that's what we put into the seven-point calculation. If I use 178 to calculate LBM, it's 150 instead of 153. As to the other measurments, my biceps are >14 but my thighs are 21. Not sure about the calves.

    • Marc Perry says:

      @Rick McGinnis - 150lb LBM for a guy your height with some muscle sounds reasonable to me. My guess is you are around the ballpark of that number.

  • Randy @ A Life Designed says:

    Excellent article!
    I have found it to be super-beneficial to "model" or "emulate" the fitness practices of men over 40 who are living a fit lifestyle and proving the naysayers wrong! The guys you have listed here certainly are walking the talk!

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Randy - Thanks a lot. Happy you enjoyed the article.

  • Harry Dorsey says:

    I am 72 yoa. On my way to YMCA - thanks for encouragement and inspiration. I especially like article on Jack LaLaine.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      @Harry - Awesome, thanks for sharing.

  • Debbie Adrig says:

    Great, motivating article. Being a 53 year old female, I would love to see some women over 50 featured.

    • Kristin Rooke, CPT says:

      Glad you found the article motivating, Debbie! While we didn't feature any fit women over 50 in this article, there's one woman in particular that I've found to be incredibly inspirational. Her name is Ernestine Shepherd, and she's a 77 year old female bodybuilder. Definitely check out her story. Also, check out this list of female trainers and fitness models over 50. These women are all amazingly fit and motivational. Whatever your age, you can absolutely become your leanest and fittest self.

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

  • Thomas Nolin, New Hampshire says:

    I dig it. I am going to be 54 in February, 2016. Fitness at this age has been my saving grace. The aging process has been on vacation for some time. I hope to give something back when the opportunity permits. All natural all the way. Thank you so much for your contributions.

    • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

      Happy to hear that, Thomas! Thanks for the comment