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Categories: Fitness Motivation

70-Year-Old Man’s Shockingly Muscular Body

By Marc Perry / July 1, 2017

My brother sent me over a video last week that I felt compelled to share with you.

Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr. is a 70-year-old natural bodybuilder who started working out when he as 44 years old. The muscular physique and strength he has achieved is awe-inspiring (he deadlifts 405 pounds at a body weight of 176 pounds). I think we all can learn a lot from Sonny’s philosophy on aging and more importantly, live his message.

This article is timely as I’ve been answering a lot of questions recently about, “How do I train if I’m over 50 years old?” and “Why are there not more articles on BuiltLean.com for older folks?”. In my opinion, age does not dictate how you should train, or what exercises you should, or shouldn’t do. Choosing the appropriate training program is based on your body condition, not your age. If condition and strength are the same, the workout of a 60 year old and a 25 year old can be exactly the same.

This video was originally published in September 2013 by the Augusta Chronicle.

Sonny Facts:

  • 5-foot, 10-inches and 176-pounds
  • First started lifting weights at 44 years old as a result of a broken marriage
  • Works the graveyard shift at Kimberly-Clark as a forklift driver
  • Works out twice a day to build his body
  • Eats twice per day (eggs, bacon, and pancakes for breakfast + lean meat for dinner)
  • Eats 180 grams of protein per day mostly from protein supplements.
  • He feels the same as he did when he was 44 at 70 years old – no different.

    Top 10 Sonny Quotes:

    1. “People have the misconception that age makes you old, but I realize that it’s a state of mind that makes you old”

    2. “Age is just a number, and it gives most people – the majority of people – a reason to be lazy and not do anything.”

    3. “I want people to recognize what I’m doing and realize that it can be done.”

    4. “A lot of young guys, they go home, sit around, watch TV and do nothing – I’ve seen a lot of young guys who are older than me.”

    5. “People ask me when I’m going to retire. I say ‘never’.”

    6. “I really, honestly, I’ve never felt like I aged since I started bodybuilding at 44. I don’t feel no different.”

    7. “As long as I’m busy, I don’t get hungry.”

    8. “People ask me when I’m going to act my age. Well, I’m not an actor, and who set the rules about how you’re supposed to act at a certain age, anyway?”

    9. “Age don’t play a factor in how I feel in what I’m doing.”

    10. “If you start thinking you’re old subconsciously, your conscious mind is going to take hold of that and your body is going to start acting old, feeling old. Then you’re old.”

    What do you think of Sonny’s story?

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    57 Comments

    • v.vidyanath sastry says:

      Great.I am 62 year old and regularly do workout in gym,Yoga or long walks and pranayama for 40 minutes.I am showing your article to all my folks who keep question me whether workout I am doing necessary at this age.Thanks.

    • Ted says:

      Good work Sonny - thank you for the inspiring role model. I am 67 and have just started weight training. I am working towards a fitness model body at 70. Like you say - deterioration with age is not a mandate - it is merely an option (Age Blasters)

    • Frank A. says:

      Marc ! I sent a request from your website about "...info for guys over 70", and your office was good enough to refer me to this site. Thank her for me. I turned 76 over the weekend. About 18yr.ago I found myself in the ER with a 98% blockage of the LAD (The Widow Maker). My cardiologist in the hospital (who has been my cardiologist since then) was a fantastic looking Latin from South America, who looked as if could easily play on a soccer team with ease. Little did I know he "Practiced what he preached to his patients".....exercise and diet. He open my clogged artery and inserted a stent and here
      I am 18yr.later still passing stress tests and Echocardiograms....with little or no Rx's.
      I asked him why I had my heart attack since I ate reasonably healthy (mostly veggies) and exercised routinely at Bally's, NEVER smoked in my life (exposed to 2nd.hand smoke at work) and NEVER did drugs. HIS ANSWER: "Frank, if you had not practiced all that over the past years we probably could not be having this conversation." . Right now I am at
      5'9"/177 (dripping wet), 23%BMI....and in spite of working out with weights and cardio three times a week I have hit a plateau. The "Trainers" at my 24-Hr.Fitness are young and I doubt seriously if they have had ANY experience with older men....and I sure don't need to injure myself at this age (Older tends to heal slower....if at all.).
      I went through radiation and brachytherapy for prostate cancer back in 2000; have been in total remission since mid-2001. Testosterone therapy is out of the question even though mine is below the lower end of 'normal' .
      So, where do I go from here?

      • Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT says:

        Hey Frank, congrats on your success since surgery. It's outside my scope of practice to make any recommendations given your medical issues. I recommend finding a smart physical therapist, or medical doctor who can help you. Daily exercise and eating organic foods that are not processed is something you should talk about with these people. I'm a big fan of daily exercise when your older especially.

        • Frank A says:

          Good Morning, Marc !
          Allow me to clear up a few things. I never had surgery (neither for the clogged artery nor the prostate cancer). Cardiologist simply open'd up the clogged artery and inserted a stent (which is still wide open as of 4/2013). My prostate cancer was
          treated with radiation (external as well as 126 little rice size radiated pellets).
          I respect your statement about your scope as a trainer....greatly appreciated.
          I eat as much organic foods as possible....of course one never knows when one
          is eating at a restaurant.
          Frank !

    • santos says:

      its amazing to c a 70 yr young guy doing xcercise so regularly and truly.
      its a hope for many to strive to achieve their dreams now as there is no age limit.

      I too am exercise fanatic and regular each morning to gym .

      • Frank A says:

        Hey Santos !
        Thanks for the compliment. I really don't regard myself as an exercise fanatic. My long time cardiologist suggested to me (as well as to other patients), that exercise and proper eating choices and habits MUST BE a "Life Style" change .......not a diet and "exercise program". He also suggested that patients be "Proactive" in their health-care. Proactive patients tend to receive better care and certainly obtain better results.
        Frank !

    • Craig says:

      Hi Guys, im 44 and have been training since I was 18, the exciting part of getting to a mature age you can not only look great and healthy, but you can become a better trainer with experience, Mark you are truly a legend I love your articles man.You ever do a seminar down under let me know man, Sonny looks great. we can all look in great shape if we believe, guys u want to check out a legend type in Tom haffey 83 this guy is a machine in speedos it be good everyone

      Love craig

    • Burt says:

      This young man is the man. Great attidude

    • Kevin Christie says:

      I'm 70,And I have joined my local gym so I'm going to train again .I have always been fit ex military few Years doing karate worked in film Retired at 68 need to do something to keep me fit, and this is it.

      • Kristin Rooke, CPT says:

        Hey Kevin,

        That's awesome! We absolutely think that fitness should be a part of everyone's life, regardless of age. Good luck, and if you ever have any questions as you get back into a workout routine, feel free to reach out to us at support@builtlean.com.

        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    • Mike Baker says:

      There was a question about if I take supplements: No - I never take anything. No drugs or supplements of any kind. I just don't believe in them. As far as diet, I believe food groups are over-rated and exaggerated. Portion control is the best practice no matter what you eat. And get as much sleep as you can. I believe sleep/rest is the most important thing you can do for staying healthy and being able to fight off illness.

      • Kristin Rooke, CPT says:

        Those are all awesome lifestyle tips, Mike. It definitely sounds like you've figured out some of the most essential strategies to stay fit and healthy for the long-term. We also believe that sleep, nutrition, and exercise are all important, and we agree that supplements are unnecessary to reach your fitness goals. Thanks for sharing your insights!

        -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    • Silas Jergenson says:

      I have learned several just right stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much effort you place to make this type of excellent informative web site.

    • Fred Avery says:

      The video I seen mentioned he was a vegan, he said he loves beans

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