Motivation for Natural Bodybuilding Over 50

Inside Over 50′s Natural Bodybuilding Part 1

This is part 1 in a series of 5 interviews with bodybuilder Tomas de la Milera.  He is a 51 year old bodybuilder with a classic physique like Frank Zane.  Peek into his world as he prepares for competition and he shares what it takes to be a natural bodybuilder. You can read the transcript or watch the embedded video below.

Motivated by Tarzan

Motivation for Natural Bodybuilding over 50

Tarzan by Neil Adams

Tracey: Why did you decide to get into bodybuilding?

Tomas: What actually got me into bodybuilding is very interesting.  When I was about eleven years old, I went to the library and came across some Tarzan books.  It was very interesting because of the covers of them (I later found out they were created by Neil Adams). I liked the body composition of the Tarzan.  It was a lot more muscular, a lot more defined.  So I was fascinated.  I thought, it’s interesting because I thought then bodybuilding wasn’t about weights, even though it was the Golden Era where it was actually all about hypertrophy and getting bigger and less on fitness.

So I started bodybuilding by reading Tarzan books.  My understanding was swimming, running, calisthenics, I thought that was the way you became bigger.  Later on in the ’70s, I found out, when I incorporated weight training, that you needed a little bit more concentric movement to actually build those kind of bodies.

Arnold and Frank Zane

Tracey: When did you start bodybuilding and how old were you then?

Tomas: Well I’ll tell you, I started bodybuilding about ’78, 1979.  I got into that whole Muscle and Fitness, the Golden Era, Arnold, Frank Zane. I related a little bit more to Frank Zane than any of the other bodybuilders because he had a little more of that Tarzan feel that I wanted.  So it was about ’78, ’79!  Not much experience.  There was a lot of hit and miss!  Not like today, there’s so much information, you can progress quicker.  So I was more into the more weights you lifted, the bigger you would get.  I was very unfamiliar with the chemical aspects of bodybuilding like they have today.

It’s never too early, it’s never too late

Tracey: So you were obviously younger when you started.

Tomas: Much younger!  I mean I was fascinated, again, at eleven.  I moved into the bodybuilding world around 15, 16, 17.  And I always stayed physically active, not so much in the weight room, more outside and stuff.  I carried on that whole concept of more fitness in the sense of running, cycling and swimming.

At 47 I did my first bodybuilding competition and I went into a natural division. From then, I’m 51 now, so I’ve been actually competing in the bodybuilding world for about 4 years.

Using natural hormones

Tracey: What’s the difference between the way your body responds to training and diet now, compared to when you first started?

Tomas: It’s interesting, because of course if we can take the advantage of our HGH (human growth hormone) levels at such a young age, we understand our human growth hormones are very productive during our puberty stage and our younger period and starts to decline, your metabolism starts going down and so forth (as we age).

I found out that my past body building experience, keeping my body, my muscles fuller and of course my muscles had that opportunity to grow a little bit more by using the benefits of my natural hormones.  Coming across to now, I have to be a little bit more careful with diet and have to be a little more conscious about my joints.

Natural Olympia

Tracey: What’s the highest level you’ve achieved in bodybuilding?

Tomas: You know I’ve won a lot of 1st places in my division.  I have taken, in the Novice, I’ve accomplished and taken first place against young adults half my age.  I’ve won, in my division, Mr. Los Angeles, Mr. San Diego.  I actually took the Silver in the Natural Olympia about a year and a half ago.

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Resistance Training – The Fountain of Youth?

Aging is inevitable – the years go by and you get older. There’s no stopping time but it is possible to redefine aging. For most of us it’s understood that aging means the body starts to decay, the hard and soft tissues gradually deteriorate and physical activity becomes more difficult to accomplish. We’ve all seen elderly people using walking frames or stooped over a walking stick moving slowly.

Sarcopenia is a word used to mean wasting of muscle that occurs naturally with age. Most people’s bodies lose about 10% of muscle mass each decade once they reach their thirties. This accelerates dramatically once the age of sixty is reached. This muscle wastage has many undesirable effects, among them:

  • Trouble with balance and, as a result, a higher chance of falling (a major problem for the elderly)
  • Poor recovery from disease or surgery. Muscle provides a storehouse of protein to aid efficient recovery and when it’s absent, recovery is slow or non-existent
  • Lack of strength and power resulting in dependence on others to get in and out of the bath or even into and out of bed in some cases
  • Osteoporisis – a disease whereby bones become porous and fragile
  • Increased fat deposits (as muscle mass decreases, metabolism slows down so fewer daily calories are burned, resulting in greater fat storage)

There are no drugs to stop sarcopenia, the only weapon against it is to maintain muscle mass and the only way to do this is with some form of resistance training, whether it be using your own body weight (as with push-ups, chin-ups, dips or body-weight squats), using free weight and machine weights or doing physical work like digging ditches or loading bricks.

Forever Youthful Sherryl

In our personal training business we are seeing more people over fifty who have realized they need to maintain their muscle mass and who are doing so very successfully with carefully programmed, fun exercises that include good doses of resistance training. There’s no better time than the present to get started and, the good news is, it’s never too late to get started.

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Strength Out-Muscles Diabetes

As you may already know, strength training is one of the greatest ways to get in shape and have a healthy and fit body. Something you might not know is that strength training has been proven to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Studies have been done to show that strength training helps prevent type 2 diabetes by triggering metabolic changes in the body.

For a long time scientists thought that only aerobic exercises, like running, had    any prominent effect on the body’s metabolism, but recently, studies were done that  showed that strength training influences the body’s metabolism in a large way.  This is because strength training helps reduce blood glucose very specifically.

First of all, when doing any kind of exercise, the body uses excess glucose as  necessary fuel. When doing strength training, the body uses excess glucose as well  as building muscle. Building extra muscle provides the body with a larger storage  area for glucose and both factors of using the excess glucose and building more muscle improve the body’s glucose processing, which is very important in preventing type 2 diabetes.

The most popular form of strength training is weight training. Weight training is done by using weights stacks, dumbbells, bands, body weight and so on to oppose muscle contraction. Some examples of this are bent over-rows, dumbbell presses, pull-ups, dumbbell lunges, triceps dips, and free-weight squats. You can learn how to do these through video tutorials and also by getting a competent personal fitness trainer.

According the the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2012, strength training is currently number 2 on the list with Pilates  and balance ball training dropping off the list completely. “It is common for cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation, or metabolic disease management programs to include some form of weight training in the exercise prescription.”

Remember, having a healthy diet is also a very important way to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Make sure you aren’t eating too many sugary and junk foods. Also make sure you are eating the right amount of vegetables and just in general have your diet balanced. Doing strength training along with having a good diet is a sure way to prevent diabetes.

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August 17, 2011 by  
Filed under General Articles, Nutrition & Health Articles

In previous articles we’ve talked a lot about the fat-burning qualities of muscle and why strength training is a must for anyone interested in burning fat and reducing their waistline. In this article we’re going to explore the amazing, under-acknowledged and bountiful vitamin D. Why? Well, because recent research has pinpointed vitamin D as a star in our war against flab.

What’s So Great About Vitamin D?

  1. When you have enough vitamin D in your body, more leptin is released than usual. Leptin tells your body when you’re full. An Australian study showed that people who ate a breakfast high in vitamin D and calcium blunted their appetites for the next 24 hours.
  2. With enough vitamin D in your bloodstream, fat cells slow their efforts to make and store fat according to Dr. Holick, M.D., Ph.D., author of The Vitamin D Solution. Whenever your vitamin D levels are low, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcitrol (another hormone) levels are high and when you have high levels of these two hormones your body tends to hold onto fat. A Norwegian study found that elevated PTH levels increased male risk of becoming overweight by 40 percent!
  3. Vitamin D can help you lose fat all over your body, but especially from your belly. Studies at the University of Minnesota and Laval University found that vitamin D triggers weight loss primarily around the belly.

The Institute of Medicine recently increased the amount of daily vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) but there are some scientists who argue even that is not enough. The Endocrine Society recently released a revised recommendation of 1,500 to 2,000 IU.

According to Dr. Horlick, obese people (people with a body mass index of above 30)need two to five times the vitamin D of lean people – a dosage that should be monitored by a doctor. This is because fat cells tend to trap vitamin D so less is available in your bloodstream.

So how can you make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D? Going out into the sun might not be enough these days – the pollution in our air filters vitamin D-containing UVB rays and there’s also the worry of skin cancer to consider. There are, however, some healthy, nutrient and vitamin D-rich foods available to help you get more D.


Eggs not only contain vitamin D, they are also packed with protein and have omega-3 fatty acids. Eating an egg for breakfast while reducing overall calories can improve weight loss by 65% and reduce appetite throughout the day (according to two Saint Louis University studies).


Fatty fish includes salmon and mackerel and they contain up to four times the vitamin D of lean or white fish. These fatty fish varieties also offer high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Go for the wild varieties – a Boston University study found that farmed salmon has just 25 percent of the vitamin D of wild salmon – wild salmon get their vitamin D from eating nutrient-rich plankton while farmed salmon eat feed pellets.


Most milk products contain calcium as well as vitamin D – we already know how calcium plus vitamin D can blunt the appetite for up to 24 hours – so this could be a good choice to pump up vitamin D levels for people who can tolerate dairy products.


Vitamin D supplements are fine but, it appears vitamin D works best in combination with other nutrients (like calcium), so your best bet is to eat whole foods rich in this awesome vitamin rather than take a bunch of pills.

Obviously, we’re not advocating you go nuts and eat a dozen eggs for breakfast, but modifying your diet a bit to include a couple of eggs, fruit and low fat yogurt for breakfast along with some healthy servings of fatty fish throughout the week can’t hurt. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, see your doctor or nutritionist.

A balanced exercise plan along with a healthy, nutrition-dense diet will go a long way to improving your waistline, energy levels and your overall good health and longevity.

Tracey Marashlian

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Why Hire A Personal Trainer?

August 10, 2010 by  
Filed under General Articles

There are many reasons why people hire trainers. The following are a few of the more common reasons I have seen.

1. To get professional guidance
2. To get faster results or break through a plateau
3. To learn how to do exercises correctly and safely
4. To be held accountable or get help with discipline

Most common goals people want to achieve:

1. To lose weight or body fat
2. To firm, tone or build muscles
3. To increase energy
4. To look an feel better and improve self esteem
5. To help them strengthen a weak or injured body area or part, e.g lower back conditioning

There are more reasons why people need or hire a trainer, but these are the more common ones I have seen.

It is a smart to hire a qualified, certified professional trainer to help you get results and take you to the next level. Use the ” How To Choose A Trainer ” guidelines found on this website to help you choose the right trainer. A good trainer will accelerate your results with maximum safety and in less time, it is a good investment.

For further fitness tips, questions or feedback go to and sign up for the newsletter.

Rudi Marashlian
Exercise Science, ACSM

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My problem is I have trouble getting started.

November 1, 2009 by  
Filed under General Articles

As a trainer I get a lot of questions & comments about fitness & exercise. A recent comment intended to elicit some  help came as a statement ” the hardest part to anything for me is just getting started”.
My fitness tip went as follow:
Well there are many ways to skin a cat (easy cat lovers, just a metaphor).
1 – First you need to have a worthwhile goal.
2 – Then comes a very powerful factor and that is your level of interest, desire or motivation towards that goal.
3 – Next is well how badly do you really want to achieve this worthwhile goal? Is it important for you to attain? What are you willing to do to make it happen? What level of priority will you make this goal in your life?
Get the idea?
Answering the above questions will shed light on how hard or easy it is going to be for you to get started and continue at anything.
Rudi M

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