Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Serious Training for the (B)older Bodybuilder, Part One- George Turner

Andy Jackson

If you don't know who George Turner is, rest his beautiful soul, there's an audio documentary on him here:

Now, finding this 3-Part series is a helluva sweet treat for me.
I hope you enjoy it. 

In St. Louis many of the hardest-training people I know are older, men in their 40s and 50s - and even some in their 60s, like me. They aren't a bunch of old guys riding stationary bikes and plodding along on treadmills and steppers. Quite the opposite: They're squatting and deadlifting with weights of more than 400 pounds and are benching, rowing and everything else, almost exclusively with free weights. Most of these old guys were members of my gym, some for 25 or 30 years. I trained them just as I trained - and continue to train - myself - HARD. 

In my travels around the country I don't see that much. Oh yeah, I see a few guys here and there who obviously used to work out fairly hard. They're the ones who have retained a modicum of muscle, although it's usually hidden under a 30-pound blanket of fat. Then there are the others of the the used-to-lift-weights brigade, the ones who have bought into all the just do enough to stay in shape, do aerobics and diet forever BULLSHIT. They're the guys who can show you abs but not much else. They've backed off the heavy stuff in favor of light weights and strict dieting. The problem with that approach is the message it sends to your thyroid: "Hey, I've quit working on heavy basic movements in favor of aerobics and light weights. I want to be smaller!" The trouble is, you've got size 10 skin, and now it's housing a size 7 body. Hey men, I've been training with heavy weights since 1942. 

Real bodybuilding, in my opinion, should be comprehensive. Of course, a strong cardiovascular system is important. So is overall strength, a dynamic, muscular physique and, most of all, superb health that you can maintain for many, many years longer than is commonly believed possible. 

The human body is designed not only to live far beyond what most of us may believe, but also to remain strong and muscular with an incredible capacity for performance. If you approach your middle and later years from a background of proper, hard physical exercise and a real understanding of your body's chemistry, aging, for all practical purposes, can be somewhat halted in its tracks. 

The axiom is true: You are what you eat. I take that a step further and amend it to say, You are what you eat, much more so when your body is performing properly.

"Oh," you say, "I knew there was a catch." There is no catch. Your body was designed for proper performance. You have to really work at screwing it up to achieve poor performance, i.e., self-created disease and bodily malfunction. 

You may own a Rolls-Royce or the finest high-performance automobile, but if you don't periodically run it hard enough to blow it out, it makes very little difference how much high octane gas, premium motor oil and regular lube jobs it receives. You won't get the mileage of life expectancy from it or any other internal combustion engine that isn't properly tuned. Having said that, the difference between your body and any manmade machine - no matter how ingeniously designed - is incredible.

Your body constantly regenerates itself. It has the ability to continually improve its inherent physical strengths. Your body regularly accepts, identifies, classifies, sorts out, allocates and then uses to its best advantage material input like food, water and oxygen and also mental influences, such as self-esteem knowledge, desire, confidence and goal setting, especially when combined with powerful visualization. It then has the uncanny ability to become what you want it to be.

As we grow older, the one thing we all desire is vibrant, dynamic health. What I'm talking to you about isn't some vague possibility. It's your birthright.

Every time I go to the gym to train, I'm approached by people who want to discuss some phase of bodybuilding. Invariably, at some point they say, "Damn, George, I sure hope I can be in the kind of shape you're in when I'm 69!" The implication is that being in really good shape is something only available to the young. Where in hell did that notion come from? Although I realize the comment is intended as a compliment, I always hear a voice in the back of my mind saying, "What's the big deal? Anybody can be in shape at my age. All you have to do is do it." What I say out loud, however, is "It's actually very easy for me. First of all, I still love doing it, and second, I know how to do it." 

Obviously I wouldn't be training hard and eating sensibly after 53 years if I didn't love it. I've always loved it, ever since I started in 1942. My reasons for loving it change with the passing years, but many of the fundamental premises still remain the same. I still take great personal pride in my strength. I thoroughly enjoy being well built. The disciplines learned in following a committed bodybuilding lifestyle allowed me to not only set very ambitious goals for myself but also to accomplish them. And the best part is, the accomplishments almost always exceeded the original goals. A benefit of my training that has become very important to me in the past 20 years is the fact that it stops aging to some degree. Not only that, but in many areas I've continued to make marked improvement.

The second important fact is, I know how to train. That's not to suggest that I know everything there is to know about the human body. The human body is an exquisite piece of equipment that's never static. Sometimes, what's important today doesn't even apply to tomorrow. Your body is constantly evolving, and you must continue to strive at each new level of growth. The day that you coast is the day you slip backward.

What do I mean by that? If you don't have the motivation to propel your body in regular, progressive workouts, it will begin to degenerate. Your motivation to achieve superior fitness relies on know-how you've accumulated. Once the know-how generates motivation, the body responds very quickly in an extremely positive way. As you grow, you become acutely aware of not only the progress you've made but of the expanded vision of your future that the growth assures you. You've now added a third dimension - a philosophy, if you will - and those three ingredients comprise the total you: 

know-how (mind)
workouts (body)
philosophy (spirit).

When fully developed, they create a whole new reality. 

First, you must rid yourself of the oppresive weight of all the negatives we're bombarded with every day of our lives, especially as we grow older and are deemed more vulnerable. The principle culprits in this propaganda are the medical community and other health-care providers, with a tremendous assist from the media. Scare tactics are the number one tool used in the sale of almost everything that's supposedly health related. In America, where virtually no preventive medicine is honestly presented or practiced, "health" is a trillion-dollar-a-year business.

Warnings about obesity, cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, cancer and, yes, even hemorrhhoids and PMS blare at us nonstop from all angles 365 days a year. In every instance advertisers offer to sell you something that's "doctor recommended" to "ease pain" or "alleviate symptoms." Never is prevention the subject. There's no money in it.  

The truth is, you can work to prevent nearly every one of those medical problems with sound nutritional practices and regular, hard comprehensive exercise. In nearly all cases where sound training and nutrition are practiced, the diseases never even get a chance to start. If a sound program of exercise and nutrition is initialed after the problems manifest themselves, they're nearly always reversible or at the very least greatly alleviated. 

I can just hear the self-righteous cries emanate from medical practitioners whose approach to everything is drugs - which all carry their own subtle poisons and side effects. After the drug's effectiveness - or perhaps your bank account and medical coverage have dried up, well, hell, there's always surgery! 

I'm here to tell you there's an infinitely better way - a way to properly utilize this fabulously efficient body that we possess. The answer is not what you're regularly told; "Slow down," "you're getting older," or "you've got to take it easy." 

In fact, the truth is almost exactly the opposite. 

In Part Two: Turner presents a complete program for veteran bodybuilders . . .     

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