Jim Arrington was recognized by Guinness World Records as the planet’s oldest bodybuilder in 2015. Today, at 90, he’s still entering and winning competitions. It’s an interesting path for someone who says his motivation is the fact that he has always been unimpressed with his physique.
Sickly to Superhero
Born six weeks prematurely, Jim struggled early in life with his health and was best described as sickly. He was frail and had asthma and other illnesses. He recounts that by the age of 14, he had grown tired of his frailty and wanted to be a “superhero.” So, he began lifting his father’s 3 pound weights with the goal of being Mr. America.
Jim says he has stuck with bodybuilding for more than 75 years because he’s goal-oriented. He claims that physical strength actually isn’t that important to him. Which brings us back to his belief that his physique isn’t impressive. He states that he has very small bones, ligaments, and even hands. He says his wife is stronger than him in many ways, often opening things he can’t because of her larger hands.
Learning to Adapt
Additionally, Jim says that at his age he has to be much more careful when training and can’t abuse his body. His body tells him when he tries to do something he no longer can. It’s disheartening, but he keeps going and adapting.
That includes adapting his diet. While Jim used to have a diet based on red meat and milk, because those were foods he wasn’t allergic to in his youth, today he eats a more Mediterranean style diet. It is serving him well as he’s still in the gym and still strong.
Today he continues to enter competitions for over-80s and is trying to get bodybuilding to create an over-90s division. It just might happen. According to the other, much younger bodybuilders at his gym, they all want to be like Jim when they grow up.
Jim has not only spent a lifetime creating meaningful change for himself, but he’s had a blast doing it. He’s set goals and gone beyond them. And he’s inspiring others to do the same. There’s no end in sight for Jim. That’s what we call living at 100%.
Want to see Jim in action and hear what some of the other bodybuilders have to say about him? Watch the video here. Want to read more and see Jim’s nude photo shoot for Men’s Health magazine? Keep reading….