Blueprint for Success

So you want to be in amazing shape? Try taking a page from Gordon Borgesí book. At 75 years of age, 209 lean pounds, 14 percent body fat, with arms measuring 18 Ĺ inches and a chest that spans 47 Ĺ inches, Borges is an awesome picture of Healthful vitally. He has been working out consistently for over 58 years now, and the proof of his success is undeniable.

How does he do it? There are no fancy tricks or gizmos involved here, just a strong commitment to the 12 key principles outlined below:

  1. Stretch before you train. This has been essential to keeping me healthy. I spend three to five minutes on the exercise bike and three to fivr minutes stretching before every workout.

  2. Weight training is indispensible to the way I feel today. What I enjoy most is having good health: being able to get out of a chair without being stiff , being able to carry groceries. Those are basic abilities we take for granted, but they eventually leave us with the passing of time.

  3. Train in moderation. Most beginners go into the gym wanting to see how much they can lift, and end up hurting themselves as a result. With me, weight training was primarily a way to maintain good health and a decent appearance over the years. Iíve never been a competitive weightlifter. Iíve never been a legitimate bodybuilder, but I have been conscious of my development.

  4. Donít hesitate to switch up your workouts. If the body isnít aware of whatís coming, the surprise tends to help the muscle grow.

  5. Allow your instincts to dictate what you do within the framework of your workouts. In the past, I would log everything and religiously adhere to a program. Now itís a seat-of-my pants kind of thing. Reacting instinctively helps keep me engaged.

  6. Keep the length of your workouts to between 40 minutes to one hour. The key is to make sure that you donít overdo it in the interests of sustaining your fitness over a long period of time. Itís good to be gung-ho if there is a special goal ahead, say, a bodybuilding competition. But if you go all out all the time, youíre going to burn out.

  7. Take one or two days off each week. It helps to rejuvenate you mentally and physically.

  8. I weight-train three or four times a week. Allowing 48-hours rest to give my body recovery time.

  9. Use free weights. That isnít to say I havenít used machines, but you can get better angles for developing various muscle groups using free weights that you canít get with machines.

  10. Proper form on all lifts is essential. It seems to really be one of the most important parts of working out. Reach a full contraction and go through a full range of motion on all movements.

  11. If youíre not motivated, youíre not going to train. Iíve been training for 58 years and itís not the easiest thing to do for that length of time. You have to have enthusiasm for what you want to accomplish.

  12. Youíre never to old to start.

At age 17, Gordon pursed weight training long before it become popular. Yes, for 58 years, he has vigorously strength-trained without interruption. Now, at age 75, he still finds weight training exciting and dynamic. Personal training became part of his life in the mid-1950s. Over these many years, he has trained men and women alike. To contact Gordon, send e-mail to:

Reprinted in Vista magazine - Issue 27, from Menís Fitness magazine - November 2001.

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