September 22nd, 2009

Message from a 74-year-old bodybuilder


Seventy-four-year-old Japanese champion bodybuilder Tosaka says “anyone can stay young and healthy if they exercise from time to time.”

Sure. The voiceover then goes on to say, without missing a beat, [emphasis mine] “Tosaka spends most of his time working out at a small gym in Tokyo…”

He also probably spends most of his meals eating raw fish, because there’s not an ounce of fat on him. Nevertheless, you have to admit the guy looks extraordinary (video here).

33 Responses to “Message from a 74-year-old bodybuilder”

  1. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    And when he dies, he will be dead.

  2. Mel Williams Says:

    We have our very own in Jack Lalanne. When I was a little kid in the late 50s, I remember very clearly Lalanne in his jumpsuit, on our Zenith television, proselitizing the virtues of exercise. I learned later that he was also one of the original health food proponents.

    And as far as I know, he’s alive and well, into his 90s.

  3. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    What? he’s not on the sumo diet?

  4. Tatyana Says:

    …fish and tons of steroids…

  5. PA Cat Says:

    Well, it sure beats having to look at yet another photo of Teh Won in a swimsuit.

  6. njartist49 Says:

    Narcissism is such a wonderful disease.

  7. Gray Says:

    I’m with Baklava: Brutal workouts and scotch.

    It’s worked for the past 20 years for me and it’s helping me through this Obamanation.

    The Japanese like scotch.

  8. Greg Says:


    He doesn’t have the look of a steroid user to me. Maybe steroids don’t work so well on the elderly, but his size is well within the realistic range for natural non-steroid-users with good genetics and incredible discipline.

    What makes Mr. Tosaka look so amazing is his extremely low body fat percentage. It is often said that the easiest way to look like you’ve gained 10 pounds of muscle is to lose 10 pounds of fat.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    I’m with Baklava: Brutal workouts and scotch.

    That was me, Gray.

    This dude is damned impressive, albeit perhaps a bit narcissistic and gay.

    If Obama gets re-elected that’s gonna be me, except I’ll also have cirrhosis of the liver.

  10. rickl Says:

    Thanks, but I’ll skip the brutal workouts and go straight for the scotch.

  11. Gringo Says:

    My uncle has survived to 86, but unfortunately the leukemia medication is losing its effectiveness. He still does consulting work. He says that one thing that has kept going him this long has been going to the gym three times a week. While he sometimes has to force himself to go, he says that he always feels better after the workout. He has also maintained his Scotch consumption.

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    Wise move, rickl.

  13. Gray Says:

    That was me, Gray.

    Oop. Sorry.

    I had just read a post by Baklava on the other post and it was stuck in my head.

  14. Gray Says:

    Though I confess that occasionally after a brutal workout, I enjoy a dram of Drambuie. Sometimes I like the honey and heather flavor.

    Anyhow, it’s a sports drink….

  15. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    At the risk of being brutalized for my narcissism, I will relate that for four years, age 64 to age 68, I participated in Masters Bodybuilding. The gent who got me involved was a crazy Nowegian who was as genetically gifted as Mr. Tosaka. He helped me get in the best shape of my life and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. (except for the dieting.)

    If you have the genetics, you can build some muscle even in your sixties, but Mr. Tosaka (IMO) and my friend built their muscle as young men and then improved it as they aged. However, if one tends toward thin and lanky, it can be hard to build really impressive muscles even when you are young. I see lanky young men working very hard in the gym, but unable to build much muscle. It’s the genetics that make a lot of difference.

    Contest preparation requires a lot of discipline in eating and drinking for the two months leading up to the contest. You want to be at your contest weight and ripped about 10-12 days before the contest. Then you eat mostly low glycemic carbs to fill your muscles up with glycogen.(It makes them more full looking.) You also monitor your water intake and urine output trying to get all the water out from under your skin. That is what gives the thin, translucent quality to the skin that bodybuilders are aiming for. If you do it just right, you look lean, hard, and vascular like Mr. Tosada. This drying out process is tricky because you can become dehydrated and have enormous cramps when you’re posing. Which means you have to get some water and electolytes in your system or you will end up writhing in pain on the floor. But the extra water and electrolytes will show up almost immediately and make you less ripped and hard looking. Just some of the details of what is a demanding sport.

    The bodybuilders I met at the contests were all great people. There was a lot of comraderie because everyone knew how much work had gone into getting ready. Of course these were all small, amateur shows. There was a Washington/Oregon circuit and it was mostly the same people at the shows. My Norwegian friend almost always won first. I won’t mention where I placed.

    I congratulate Mr. Tosaka on staying with it. Seeing him in such fantastic shape at 74 makes me envious. My friend fell off his roof and was so badly injured that he was unable to get back into hard workouts. Without his coaching and encouragement, I just drifted away from it. (I never cared for the dieting- nor did my wife, who found it very boring.) I still like to work out at the gym and believe it helps me stay healthy at 76.

  16. Douglas Says:

    Nevertheless, you have to admit the guy looks extraordinary

    are you an 84 year old cougar?

  17. Douglas Says:

    AVI, “And when he dies, he will be dead.”

    I tell you, that man is a PHILOSOPHER!

  18. Tatyana Says:

    the guy doesn’t look amazing to me.
    He looks like he has a mental disorder: a compulsive exercising. He lives to exercise, not exercises to live.

    He’s useful, I guess, as a poster boy (hehe), but how many men would like to duplicate his lifestyle?

  19. Cincinnatus Says:

    Laughing at what the winner said:
    “I was very nervous, but now I am relieved. The runner up is a man who goes to my gym. He’s been working very hard lately, AND he’s two years younger than me.”

  20. Artfldgr Says:

    dont ya love when someone with good genetics tries to convince the others that what and who they are, are not a product of such.

    you see, it isnt the seed, its all the air, water and sun that makes it what it is. why an acorn turns into an oak is just a mystery.

  21. Greg Says:

    I suspect most people are amazed to discover that a 74 year old man can look like that.

    As for him having mental disorder, well, lets compare him to athletes or fitness competitors. How many hours a week do you think he works out? How many hours do fitness models work at aerobics and conditioning? How hard and long do professional athletes train? How about distance runners? I’ll bet he spends no more, and probably way less, time in the gym than those others do training. That said, there is a certain obsessive dedication necessary to achieve success in any of those endeavors.

    I doubt many men would want to duplicate his lifestyle although many may envy his muscles. Also, as Artfldgr points out above they really shouldn’t try. Very few people have the genetics to succeed in body building, no matter how hard they work at it.


  22. Ymarsakar Says:

    People can build muscle that works just as well, but if they are going for superficial looks, obviously genetics will happen.

  23. Synova Says:

    The video was preceded by a Dunkin Donuts commercial. 😛

    Yes, genetics determines if someone has the potential to be a world class athlete or supermodel. But I think we mess ourselves over when we think about that (or when exercise (or weight loss) is presented as a way to be beautiful) because we know it’s not a realistic goal.

    Working to meet our own potential rather than comparing ourselves to others might be less discouraging.

  24. LabRat Says:

    There’s a difference between having a competition quality physique (not attainable for most) and maintaining a level of musculoskeletal integrity that supports robust health and activity levels well into senescence- which IS attainable for anyone without a degenerative disease. The principle “use it or lose it” applies at any age, but it becomes more extreme the older you get. It’s been demonstrated in multiple studies that even bedbound seniors can improve their strength and bone density using the same principles a young athlete does- just scaled appropriately.

    For me, it’s the principle of the grandmothers. I have good genes on both sides of my family for longevity, but one grandmother smoked all her life and engaged in nothing more active than light gardening by the time she was sixty or so. She was literally brought down by a broken hip- with brittle bones, she was completely unable to recover from a simple fall and succumbed within the year to the kinds of illnesses that strike the bedbound. (In her case, pneumonia and congestive heart failure.) My other grandmother believed in regular bodyweight exercises and got up and walked away from two strokes; multiple system failure eventually claimed her, but it was years later and she was able to keep practicing medicine until only a few years before that naturally-mandated death.

  25. Artfldgr Says:

    I think my point was misunderstood in different ways.

    greg had it right because he kept it in context. most people couldnt maintain the regimen that this man did, or jack la lane. that even that is part of his genetics.

    however the other part of my comment was more to the fact that such rare specimens are used as some example that everyone can do it.

    the situation is an admonishment in the form of old church brimfire sinfulness. you are all lazy, you could all be like him, but you are not because why?

    funny thing is that everyone made a lot of fun of one man, but he did more for average people exercising. laugh all you want, but richard simmons never had that message.

    labrat went to the trouble to make sure that the good info was coming out over that other message which was quiet.

    in a way this is what happens when a population no longer believes as much in individualism and inherent talent.

    then the talented think everyone can do what they do, and everyone thinks they can do what the talented do.

    the rest that flowers from that explains a lot of the mess…

  26. Capn Eddie Ricketyback Says:

    I just turned 75 earlier this month, and keep fit by fitness walking 4 miles per day and proper nutrition. I’m 5’10” and 170 lbs. Blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. well within limits. I also used to do 50 pushups and 100 sit-ups every day, but drifted away from that after about age 65. That keeps me in good health, but I sometimes regret discontinuing the pushups & sit-ups, as I’m noticing some flab under my upper arms these days and my waist is about 2 inches larger than it should be.

    It hasn’t always been this way. When I turned 50 I was about 50 lbs heavier than I am now, and never did any kind of exercise. I decided at that time that it may be a good idea to get into some kind of decent shape and embarked upon this quest.

    I would never want to go back to being overweight again. I lead a very active life, and have much more energy than almost anyone I know my age who is overweight (those few who are still alive), and many who are much younger.

  27. Tatyana Says:

    you assume that I don’t extend the same opinion to professional athletes.
    I do. I think their life is meaningless. They train, and train and train – and never get to do anything useful with their sculpted muscles and enhanced physique. To spend whole life in a gym or stadium – only to be able to run those 100m, or 50km? What a waste.
    It’s like somebody who spent all their life going from one school to another, and died at 80 while enrolled in yet another university, yet another major – but never had to use all the knowledge he acquired.

  28. Charles Says:


    “mental disorder”?


    Sounds to me that some of folks posting comments here are a bit envious of this man’s hard work, dedication, and will-power.

    BTW, when you (Occam’s Beard!) use the word “gay” as a slur it says more about your own ignorance than it does about the one you are trying to trash.

  29. Gray Says:

    They train, and train and train – and never get to do anything useful with their sculpted muscles and enhanced physique.

    I agree: They should have joined the Army like I did….

  30. Tatyana Says:

    Gray: yes!

    After all, the guy who ran the first marathon was delivering an important message, not just running for vanity.

  31. Florance Mednis Says:


  32. cosmitone review Says:

    I hardly leave responses, but i did some searching and wound up here neo-neocon »
    Blog Archive » Message freom a 74-year-old bodybuilder.
    And I actually do have some questions for you if you tend not to mind.

    Is it simply me or does it look like a few of the comments appear as if they
    are coming from brain deazd folks? 😛 And,
    if youu are writing on additional places, I would like to follow anything new you have to post.
    Could you list of the complete urls of all your communal sites
    like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

  33. Berrada Says:

    Thy guy is wonderfull He feels happy ,have good shape ,looks young and can do anything he wants :dancing ,travelling ,dating with young woman Repects !

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