MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Competitive bodybuilding is usually considered the domain of the very young. But over the past few years, so many Floridians over age 50 have been getting into the sport that promoters have added new, older age categories.
During a recent competition in Boca Raton, the oldest bodybuilder who took the stage was 67-year old Bill Long who said he got back into competing after a 20-year hiatus.
“I do have to work harder to keep in shape now, than I did the first time around, when I was in my 20s”, Long said. “Back then, most bodybuilders took steroids, and I was one of them,” he added. “I saw so many of my friends get sick. Some of them even died from steroid abuse. I’d never take them now. It’s just not worth it. I go the natural route now.”
Long, and the others in the 60-plus group at the Ruby Championships, say it can be intimidating to compete alongside men who are decades younger than they are.
But, they say, the benefits of pumping iron, and the confidence boost they get from being in such great shape, make it worth it.
Medical experts say after age 35, people naturally lose about five percent of their muscle mass every ten years. Bodybuilders combat that with a focus on weight lifting and healthy eating.
“At this age, you can put on muscle,” 63-year old bodybuilder John Brannigan said,” But you have to be willing to put in the time at the gym, and not eat a lot of junk food. Ever. That’s a given.”