This Old Body

dr_jeff_lifeI saw this picture in the Sunday paper, along with an article about this man and some of his work. You are looking at a recent picture of Dr. Jeffry Life.

Dr. Life was 67 years old at the time this picture was taken.

If you ignore that he has a head that looks like your grandfather, then this guy is pretty ripped. Hell, I didn’t have that body when I was 20.

And yes, he’s a doctor, and probably has plenty of money to spend on personal trainers, exercise equipment, vitamins, and human growth hormone (which he advocates taking). But here’s the more amazing thing: until he was 62, he looked just like you’d expect an older, semi-retired guy to look. But at 62, tired of bad eating habits and poor health, he decided to change. He entered a contest sponsored by the Body for Life fitness gurus, and within a few months pretty much turned his life around. The shirtless shot to the right was taken 5 years after the “After” shot, below.

jeffry_life_before

Okay, he’s an old guy who can afford to work out a lot. Big, fat, hairy deal, right?

Interestingly, Gloria Brame saw the same article and wrote that

“I was so overwhelmed by mixed feelings — most of them negative.”

She and her commenters go on to mention the use of steroids and growth hormones, and not without reason. And to some people, the idea of a 70 year old guy putting that much work into looking that young seems to go beyond vanity and into wishful thinking. And to some extent I agree; I have no desire to pump myself with hormones simply to start looking good. But for some people, the diet, exercise, and even hormone use isn’t about looking good, it’s about staying young – or at least, keeping one’s body in as young a state as possible so as to make life more enjoyable while growing old.

I’ve shown this pic to a few people, most of whom wrinkled their faces or made “Eewww” sounds; everybody knows that a 67 year old guy is supposed to look like the “Before” shot. There’s just something about a guy close to 70 that’s supposed to be so not sexy, right? One younger friend said “Gawd, if you covered up his face, I’d say he’s hawt. But that’s just… too weird. Eeww!”

Is this a situation like the complaint that Kim Cattrall is too old to be having sex? Do we expect both men and women of a “certain age” to sit in their reclining chairs with the drink and TV remote pockets, watching Jeopardy and waiting for the early bird specials? Or have our societal expectations not quite caught up to our statistical trends of aging, fitness, and health? I’m remembering a conversation with some friends years ago, in which most of them talked longingly about their coming retirement, and an age in which they would be able to hang around and eat all of those “bad things” that were filled with cholesterol and sugar. When I pointedly mentioned that I planned to be pretty much unchanged (and this was before my current weight loss), they scoffed .

Scoffed, I tell you! And then they said something to me about going gently into that good night, and being comfortable in my old age.

I know that this past year I’ve had a lot of posts on aging and sexuality, but that’s because I really do not see what’s attractive (and I mean that in the general sense, not the sexual sense) about not being healthy enough to enjoy one’s senior years. I’m not talking about weight or appearance, I’m talking about being able to get up and down stairs, to do yard work, to walk long distance, and to keep up with the grandchildren.

Anyway, back to Dr. Life. Is he sexy or merely a freakish curiosity?

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
This entry was posted in Aging, Body Image, Fitness, Sexuality & Aging and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to This Old Body

  1. Verity says:

    It doesn’t matter how he looks to anyone, what matters is his pleasure with himself. I wouldn’t work as hard as he apparently has, but I don’t find his doing so any of my business. What ever makes your boat float should be the prevailing view.

  2. Fusion says:

    I’ve seen his ads before too, and thought wow, amazing what you can do to keep your body in shape these days. I wondered why he did it, rather it was to improve is health, a vanity thing, or to make money. Maybe it’s a bit of all three. In any case it’s his choice. Do I think it’s a little weird or odd, yeah maybe. But I think the same about all those lady bodybuilders, and I think that’s because we’re taught to except certain things like how to look at different points in our lives.
    Dr. Life (what a name, eh?) is breaking new ground and stereotypes at the same time, right?
    But hey, what about Jack LaLanne? He’s in just about as good of shape too, and been doing it a long time longer…
    Good post Tom.

  3. Fusion says:

    sorry, except = expect

  4. I don’t know much about Doctor Life, but I’d investigate. Except my screen is going all fuzzy with white pixels floating around, so I won’t be investigating. 😉

  5. Rosie says:

    He looks just a bit over the top, and certainly using hormones is not a good idea. But deserves credit for having a goal and reaching it. There is the book “Younger Next Year” which says that exercising actually turns back the biological clock. I’ve found that to be true as have you. In fact I now list myself as younger on the dating sites. LOL

  6. Anon says:

    There seemed to be a lot of misinformation being posted in the comments at Gloria’s site too about steroids, etc. I’m 40, for example, and have extremely low testosterone and as a result am on testosterone replacement therapy. It’s amusing how much absolute nonsense about anabolic steroids is out there that is completely untrue (or people seem to use the war on drugs model that if steroids are bad when some power lifter abuses them by injecting absurd amounts daily for months at a time, that even a little drop of it must do irreparable harm).

    I also thought Gloria and her commenters had the same reaction most people have when they hear about some woman giving birth at 50 or 60. Personally I’ve never understood what the big deal was, but some people seem to think the world is ending every time some woman outside of her “normal” reproductive age has a child.

  7. sulkygirl says:

    Not attracted to him in the slightest.. though.. I don’t think it is me he is trying to attract – I imagine he’s doing it to see if he can.. and he has.. so.. good on him 🙂

  8. Dave P says:

    Unless/until I see this guy in the flesh, I’m saying, Photoshop”.

    Like others have said, whatever floats his boat, but I find that about as appealing as freakishly large breast implants. Sooo not my thing.

  9. Tom Allen says:

    Dave – a couple of years ago I went to a gym that did the “Body for Life” thing, and I saw this guys’ pics all over the place, not to mention a number of others of guys that were in their 50s and 60s. Pretty impressive what you can do with a lot of time and determination.

    Sulky – I think that what set me off was the “Eww” comments, as if somebody that age simply shouldn’t be ripped.

    Anon – I admit to not knowing the difference between all the steroids and hormones and all the other stuff that some people use and abuse. I will probably be looking into it soon, just to satisfy my curiosity. Thanks for mentioning this for perspective.

    Verity – that’s exactly my feeling on this. But lately, I do admit to being a bit miffed when some people make a point of dissing others simply because they choose to step outside of culturally proscribed roles.

  10. Patty says:

    If he is truly healthy, good for him. I hope that I can look great in my 60’s! My question is just is it worth the price? And not just the price of the hormones, but the price of his time. What is he missing out on to look that way? Family, friends, what? I am sure that I could look smokin’, but is it worth missing out on all of my other activities?

  11. Cat says:

    I don’t think sitting in a recliner watching jeopardy is necessary but I do think there is a bit of denial there. We grow old it’s a fact, we don’t stay young forever another fact, and part of the texture of life is appreciating all the stages even a 70 year old body. I think being healthy should be the goal. Fit. This guy looks like he is trying out for Mr. Universe and what is that about? I plan to eat every morsel of life placed before me until I die. I don’t think I need a 20 year old body the entire time to achieve that.

  12. gillette says:

    I’m not attracted to men that buff, no matter what age. Never have been.

    I admire him for being healthy and caring about his body. Look at his face. He looks healthy, alive and energetic. Your friends might want to consider that with their eating all they always wanted to and lower levels of hormones to make them stay healthy, that their couch will probably be a hospital bed instead.

    I used to take bio-identical hormones and will again. They are nothing like man made hormones- don’t have the same side effects.

    I’m reading “The Schwarzbein Priniciple II.” I’ve always eaten organic, whole foods, but am struggling with some physical “issues” of aging. It’s been a good read. She’s giving me the science for lots of what I’ve been feeling for awhile now: weight loss has nothing to do with calories in, calories out. We can think we’re doing well by dieting but we are ruining our metabolism, adding to the problem when we experience a short term benefit that is ultimately unhealthy. We can get away with lots when younger, but eventually it catches up. It doesn’t have to. It’s all about balancing the hormones, living a healthy life in all levels.

    Good post, Tom. Thanks.

  13. Dave P says:

    The Dec 15 Newsweek has an article on longer life/anti-aging. I haven’t read it all, yet, but after a quick scan, it appears that Dr. Life didn’t make the cut.

    I also did a cursory search on him, and didn’t come up with much…nobody is screaming, “Fraud!”, but it doesn’t appear that he’s being taken very seriously, either.

    Interesting topic.

  14. havingmycake says:

    Im with Gillette, men that cut just dont do it for me. I like toned and healthy far better.
    The reliance on cars to go anywhere when I can walk. The feeling that gyms and exercise generally are for the young. The insistence on eating cream on everything and just not eating healthily. These are all things which start to creep in as you get older and it’s too easy to say ‘Oh, it doesnt matter if I put on a few pounds now Im middle-aged’. Well, it does. I want to look good and feel good and Im prepared to put in the effort to achieve that naturally.

    As to someone telling me Im too old to have great sex – well if that’s how they want it to be, that’s up to them. I say Go Kim!!!!

  15. Aarkey says:

    While I”m a big fan of exercising and being (and looking) healthy, using steroids or HGH is the same to me as plastic surgery. Sure, some people might need steroids or HGH to live a normal life, and some people need plastic surgery to repair a cleft lip or repair burn damage. However doing it for personal vanity is a sad statement IMO.

    Obviously he’s an adult, and I don’t know about the legality of what he’s doing, but either way IMO it’s his choice. And I feel just the same way about women who have large breasts installed on their small frame, or anyone who goes in for the this and that and the other.

    As to the appropriateness of it, I think he looks awkward because it’s unexpected at his age. And he’s also unnaturally large even for a 20 something. I don’t feel it’s inappropriate – though I do think Kim Catrall’s Sexy in the City character is inappropriate, but not because of her age, but her immaturity and selfishness. And yes, I think it’s equally inappropriate for a man to be that interested in emotionless sex.

    I had my period of acting out that way when I was in my 20s and after a couple of years I felt that it was very unfulfilling and empty – and sad, and lonely too. Most of the great sex I’ve had includes a deep and established love that happens over time. Maybe I’m just soft that way…

    Either way, I think it’s all an interesting discussion, and while I do hope you continue to exercise and take care of yourself, I hope you do it naturally.

  16. Chaz Hargrave says:

    I’ve been on the Body for Life plan for about 10 years. No where in the book is there any mention of using hormones or steroids. Do we know for a fact that Dr. Life is doing this?

  17. alison73 says:

    I know it didn’t do my sister much good, but generally the fitter you are the more you enjoy life and the longer you live.

    You perhaps don’t have to go to his extremes and I’d certainly stay of the HGH.

    But good luck to him. I suspect those that decry his body, abuse theirs.

  18. Tom Allen says:

    Chaz – Dr. Life has a website on which he explains a lot of this. Body for Life is strictly diet and exercise, but Dr. Life seems to have gone a bit beyond that. His reasoning is that as we age, we need more help than diet and exercise alone can give. It’s an interesting site, although I’m not entirely on board, myself.

    Alison – in general one’s overall fitness will help. Unfortunately, there are some diseases which can affect a healthy body just as easily as an unhealthy one.

    Aarkey – I think that the whole weirdness is that he’s got your grandfather’s head on a 25 year old’s body. This brings up our own confusion about what is “age appropriate” – although as I remember, most of us were fine with Kim Cattrall looking hot and having sex at 50.

    You know, some of the objections that I’ve heard about Dr. Life (here and elsewhere) has to do with the “age appropriate” thing and his possible “denial” over his own aging process. Much of this sounds a lot like how men talked about women in the 1960s when they wanted equal rights and the the ability to dress the way they wanted and take jobs that were customarily masculine.

  19. Aarkey says:

    Just to reiterate… I don’t think his body looks like that of a 25 year old. At least not a healthy or normal 25 year old. He looks like someone who’s taken steroids and/or HGH. I will admit that the fact that he’s mostly balding and grey does add to the awkwardness of it, but to me the fact that his body is so huge is the biggest oddity. FYI – I thought that Tony Mandarich looked weird to.

    As to Kim, I was in the minority about her character’s behavior’s though I will agree that she’s still looking hot.

    There was an interesting show on The Discovery Channel about real superhumans and one of the people they covered is “Mr. Longevity” – we watched it the other day. I’m sure they’ll re-air it.

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