Think you’ve been going to the gym for a long time? Jim ArringtonBeating you: The Venetian, California native has been lifting weights for 74 years.
“I was 15. I didn’t have any weights, but my dad had a couple of steel balls, about 3 pounds each…I started training with them,” said the 89-year-old.For the next seven decades, Arlington would Gold Gym Join some of the greatest bodybuilders in history to set his own bodybuilding record: In 2018, Guinness named the retiree The oldest competitive bodybuilder in the world.
What kept Jim in the gym for so many years? The retiree thinks getting stronger is in his genes. “I did ’23 and Me’ and I found my Neanderthal DNA was in the 60th percentile. There are more people in the pool now and I’m at the 70th percentile,” he laughs Say.
As long as Arlington has the strength, it needs something more than Cro-Magnon genes. He takes a break from his weekly routine to talk about how he got started in the gym, the advice he got from some of the greats, and some advice for youngsters. Unless there’s a belated challenger to challenge his record, that’s you.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
How did you start training? How old were you then?
When I was about 12, I was in the pharmacy and they had a place where the kids could go in and read comic books, at least until the pharmacist kicked them out. I can’t believe seeing this muscle magazine, even their forearms are so big! I’m just freaked out by me.
I mailed a book by George Jowitt. He sends the entire book for $0.25. “How to build a strong chest“Or how to build back and legs etc. So this is when I was 15. I didn’t have any weights, but my dad had a couple of steel balls, about 3 pounds each, that I could hold in my hands. I started training with them and followed the instructions in the manual. In just a few months I went from 115 pounds at 5’8” to 128 pounds.
How did you keep training for so long?
The answer is that I am goal-oriented. And then the other thing is, for some reason I can’t understand, people seem to be inspired by me. This keeps me going because it motivates me and other people can be inspired by me even if I can’t believe they are!
If people want to have the same longevity, how should their training evolve over the decades?
As early as around 1974, Arnold Schwarzenegger The greatest bodybuilder in the world. The person closest to him was Ken Waller. He eventually became Mr. Universe in 1975.
So after a day of working out, I saw Ken Waller in front of Gold’s Gym – the original Gold’s Gym [where Bill works out]. I said, Ken, what’s the secret to bodybuilding? The secret to bodybuilding, he says, is to do what works for you. I thought to myself, well, thank you so much.
But that’s essentially what you have to do – experiment and see what works for you. So what works for you once doesn’t mean it will work for you next time. The main thing your body wants to do isn’t to add extra muscle.so you have to really beat a lot Gain a lot of fat at the same time, then train to your race shape.
What did you eat during your bulk phase?
In my thirties, Paul Anderson was the strongest man in the world. Someone asked him how to train. “I do a set of squats and drink a quart of milk. Then I do a set of squats and drink a quart of milk,” Paul said.
In my thirties, I only did it for about 30 days. I drank two quarts of skim milk, I put two quarts of powdered milk in it, and added enough molasses so I could drink it. I have an inside sales job so I keep these in a drawer and a long plastic tube. So I can sit there and sip this concoction all day. I get a little nourishment throughout the day. I also had a pound of meat and a pint of cheese.
I started with a normal weight, 150 lbs. I gained 65 pounds in about nine months. Then I lost 35 pounds in 56 days. When I started at 150, my waist was 32 inches. I climbed the highs with a 38″ waist. My waist is 32 inches and I am down to 180 lbs. It didn’t give me a good enough physique to compete in Mr. Los Angeles, which is my goal. But I ended up with 15″, 17″ arms.
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What is working for you now? What’s your training regimen like at 89?
I do a split routine. I divide my body into three parts: for example, I’ll do my legs on Monday. And Wednesday’s mid-section, including the abs, chest, and lower and mid-back. Then I do shoulders and arms on Friday.
On Fridays, I do pulley reverse flight. Then I do pulley front raises for the anterior deltoid. Then I work on the side lift.Then I would do two different curl exercise, Missionary Curl and Pulley Curl. Then I dip the machine, then pull the triceps.
I did a warm-up set of 20 reps. Then I would use heavier weights, the same weight for a set of 10, 8 and 6 with short rest periods of about 30 seconds.
What to eat to recover? Are you shaking?
I made a little more than a scoop of Optimum protein, and some olive oil. Olive oil is my main fatty food. I don’t do any carbs at all.
um i eat vegetable. I am experimenting with this diet from Dr. Gundry. The longevity paradox. It’s all about getting rid of “leaky gut”. Mainly eat foods such as sweet potatoes and mushrooms. About a liter of olive oil per week.
What’s a strategy for you that people should try as they go on to lift weights for a lifetime?
When I was between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I was happy with all the pounds I used, except for squats. I can only squat 5 times with 220 lbs. So I decided I would specialize. So what I did, I gave up any other training, I trained squats five days a week. I would do a warm-up with no weights at all, and then I would load 220 lbs. I would do a set with it and add 1.25 lbs to each side – 2.5 lbs on the horizontal bar.
I will do it five times.Then I go back to another weight  for the last group. That’s it. Then the next day, I gained 2.5 pounds per workout for five workouts. That’s 12.5 pounds per week. I didn’t do any training on weekends. I hit 300 lbs. So when I went back to college, a few weeks after this, I told these people what I had done. I have weights in my room and they pack 300 lbs. In my casual clothes, I did it five times and it was easy. Then I kept going until 15 o’clock. At that point, I say, “I think I’ve made my point,” and put the bar back on the rack.
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