For a man to enjoy his work and accept his lot in life is indeed
a gift from God (Ecclesiastes 5:19). This verse from the Holy
Bible could sum up my whole bodybuilding career. When I was
a kid I was very skinny and it seemed as though nothing I did
helped me gain weight. I would see the Charles Atlas ads in the
back of magazines and think
Wow! If only I could do that. My
mom thought buying a set of weights for me would be a waste of
money. She thought I wouldn’t keep it up, so I made my own. I
used an iron pipe with bricks attached to the end and used duct
tape wrapped around a rock as my collars to keep the weights
from falling off. To increase the weight I added more bricks. So
at the age of 13 my bodybuilding journey began.
When I was 16, we learned I had a spinal condition, not from lifting weights, but it was genetic in nature. I had to stop lifting and didn’t lift again until I was in the Air Force some 3 years later. I entered basic training at 5′9″ and 135 lbs. Later, while stationed at Loring Air Force Base in Maine, I met Tom Kerrigan who became my training partner for the next 4 years. It was here that I was first introduced to Beverly International. I began taking Beverly Vitamin Packs and eating anything that didn’t move. I gained 30 lbs in 6 months and my bench press went from 175 lbs to 275 lbs. I began competing in powerlifting meets and later bodybuilding competitions as well.
In September 1977, I opened Nautilus Fitness Center in Spartanburg, SC. I was 26 years old and I quickly learned that just because you own a gym doesn’t mean you will be able train and compete any time you want. I had a family and the most important thing was providing financially for them. Even though I continued to train, I gave up competing for many years.
In the late 90’s I decided to give competitive bodybuilding one more try. The big difference was that in 1987 I had gone to a Billy Graham Crusade in Columbia, South Carolina and had given my life and my business to the Lord. When I began to compete again I only wanted to give glory to Him. I was doing very well placing 1st or 2nd in every show. In 2005 after competing and winning my division in the Carolina Supernatural in Asheville, NC I decided that this one would be my last competition. Later that evening after the competition was over, the show promoter asked me if I would consider taking over the Carolina Supernatural as promoter. After my longtime friend, Art Littlejohn offered to help; we decided it would be a great venture. We moved the show to Spartanburg, SC and June 13, 2015 will be its 20th anniversary.
When I turned 60, I got the itch to compete again. I really wanted to know if I still had it. I knew that I would have to be more focused than ever. I couldn’t miss even one day of training and my meals had to be perfect. I have been taking and selling Beverly International supplements in my health club for years, so I knew they would be a major factor if I was going to be my best. I wasn’t leaving anything to chance as I set my goal on the 2011 Master’s Universe. One month out from the show I was amazed that I looked better at 60 than I had at 50. Everyone wanted to know what I was doing. I was more than happy to tell them what Beverly supplements I was taking and how that it had paid off as I won the Master’s Universe. I thought, what a way to end a career.
However, in 2014 I was at it again, preparing for the SNBF Grand
Finale in Georgia. This one posed a unique challenge as we had
already committed to going on a
Journeys of Paul cruise of the
Mediterranean only weeks before the competition. I had to eat
clean, as well as get my workouts in, while on the cruise. I had
just 2 weeks until the competition once I returned from the cruise.
Once again, I was blessed to win the Masters 60 and over division.
The only problem was, I met 2 promoters from Franklin,
NC that night who were promoting a show they were having in
March 2015. Yes, you guessed it. I was on my way to training
for still another show. This time my wife just gave me a blank
stare when I told her once again that this would definitely be my
last competition. When I walked off the stage in Franklin, NC in
March it was different. I realized God had blessed me once again
with a win. Psalm 18:35 says,
You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me. God gave me a peace in
my heart that night. This was indeed the last time.
The 10 years of training and competing has been a great experience
and I have been blessed not to have any major injuries. I
believe it’s not how hard you train but how smart you train. As
you age your body is more prone to injury and recovery takes
longer. That is why it is so important to eat clean and take the
right supplements. My training is always very intense but I never
try to train like I did 30 years ago. Bodybuilding is all about shaping
your body as a sculptor would shape a very expensive piece
of marble. One mistake can be very detrimental. If you want to
be able to train in your 60’s, 70’s and beyond, you must be smart
and listen to your body.
Nutrition and Supplements
In my bodybuilding career I have always tried to have a perfect balance of 3 major factors: nutrition, training and rest. Nutrition is first because without the right fuel for the body it would be like having a fast car but using a low grade fuel. You could never win a race. In this area I believe you need to find out what works and stick with it. Too many people change their meal plan before they even give it time to work.
- The following pre-contest meal plan is one that has worked or me for many years:
- Meal #1: 12 egg whites, ½ cup oatmeal, ½ cup blueberries
- Meal #2: 2 scoops UMP, 15 raw almonds
- Meal #3: 10oz grilled chicken, ¾ baked sweet potato, 4 cups salad, 4 TBSP oil and vinegar dressing Meal #4: 2 scoops UMP, 15 raw almonds
- Meal #5: 10oz tuna (water packed) or 99% lean ground turkey, 3 cups raw or steamed cabbage
- Meal #6: 16oz wild caught cod, 3 cups steamed broccoli or asparagus
- Meal #7: Carb Load Meal (Sunday and Wednesday only) 1 cup oatmeal and 1 cup baked sweet potato. The seventh meal is only added to my program when my body fat is 7% or lower. I consume 1 ½ to 2 gallons of water daily.
- Supplements Schedule
- 1 Super Pak with meal 1
- 5 Density with meals 1, 3, and 6
- 3 Quadracarn with meals 1, 3, and 6
- 3 EFA Gold with meal 1
- 3 Joint Care with meals 1 & 3
- 5 GH Factor 15 minutes before meal 1
- 2 Scoops of Muscle Synergy 15 minutes before training
- 1 Scoop of Glutamine Select before and during workout
The second major factor is muscle stimulation or training. Notice I didn’t say annihilation but stimulation. Remember at 60 and over you must train smart if you want to be injury free. I train 5 days a week using a lot of supersets. My training usually lasts about one hour and 30-45 minutes. Like my meal plan, I rarely change my training. As I have gotten older, I do use more machines than earlier in my career, because there is less chance of injury.
- Day One: Chest, Arms, Shoulders
- • Nautilus Decline or Decline Dumbbell Presses – 2x12 warm up, 3x12 (increasing weight each set)
- • Incline Smith Machine Press – 3x10 (increasing weight each set)
- • Nautilus Decline Machine & Pec Dec (superset) – 3x10 (same weight)
- • Cable Crossover – 3x12
- 3 Giant Sets (do all six exercises with no rest between, then rest 45 seconds, and repeat for 3 rounds of 10 reps)
- • E-Z Bar Curls
- • Triceps Press Down
- • Seated DB Alternate Curls
- • DB Kick-Backs
- • Dumbbell Concentration Curls
- • Nautilus Nitro Triceps Machine
- • Nautilus (or dumbbell) Lateral Raises – 3x12
- • Nautilus (or dumbbell) Military Press – 3x12
- • Bent Over Cable Lateral – 3x12
- • Nautilus Rear Delt Machine – 3x12
- Day TWO: LEGS
- • Leg Extension – 2x12 warmup, 4x12 (increasing weight each set)
- • Leg Press – 4x12 (increasing weight each set)
- • Dumbbell Walking Lunge – 5x24
- • Seated Leg Curl – 4x12
- • One Leg Isolation Leg Extension – 3x12 (hold at the top)
- • Calf Raises – 10x20
- Day THREE: BACK
- • Nautilus Pullover Machine – 2x12 light warm-up
- • Wide Grip Cable Pulldowns – 3x12
- • Cable Row – 3x12
- • DB Row – 3x12 each arm
- • Nautilus Pullover – 3x12 (work sets)
- • Hyperextensions – 3x15-20
- DAY’S FOUR AND FIVE: Repeat Days 1 & 2
- • Weighted Abdominal exercises are performed every other day:
- • Nautilus Ab Machine – 3x15
- • Cable Crunch – 3x15
- • Knee-Ins (with ankle weights) – 3x15
- • Nautilus Decline Machine & Pec Dec (superset) – 3x10 (same weight)
I do no structured cardio training such as bike, treadmill, etc. My fast training pace utilizing super sets, tri sets, and giant sets takes care of the cardio aspect for me.
Rest / Conclusion
The third major factor in bodybuilding success is to make sure you get plenty of rest. A lack of sleep and rest can cause many problems. This is especially true as we get older. It becomes very important to let your body recuperate and rejuvenate so you will be 100% for your next training session.
In closing, remember, it’s all about attitude. If you think you are old, then you probably are. Personally, I believe 60 is the new 40!
Over 45 Starterand Intermediate Workouts
If someone over 45 wants to get into serious shape after having not been in the gym in a long time or never having worked out at all..
- Certain steps must be taken.
- 1. Face the fact that you are not 25 any longer. I am not saying you can’t make some great gains, but you need to train smart.
- 2. If it has been years since you last worked out, then of course it would be wise to get a physical just to be on the safe side.
- 3. Let a good certified trainer or coach help you get started. If you can’t afford a trainer the following routine would be a good starting place.
- I prefer machines over weights for someone just starting out. Machines are a controlled movement and there is less chance of injury.
- If you are a member of a gym with machines the following routine would be for you. Your training would be a full body workout, every other day, 3 days per week.
Beginner Full Body Program:3 Days Per Week
- Warm-up 5 minutes on a cardio machine, bike, treadmill, etc...
- Low back machine 1 x 12
- Leg Extension (for quads) 1 x 12
- Leg Curl (for hamstrings) 1 x 12
- Row Machine (for back) 1 x 12
- Pec Deck (for chest) 1 x 12
- Lateral Raise (for shoulders) 1 x 12
- Bicep Curl Machine (for biceps) 1 x 12
- Triceps Machine (for triceps) 1 x 12
- Abdominal Machine (for abs) 1 x 12
- Complete your workout with 15 to 20 minutes of cardio.
- This entire workout should take 45 min-1 hour.
After a few weeks you should be ready to begin a more aggressive program, but keep in mind we are still laying the foundation. You will still be working out 3 days per week, but now on a split routine. Take 1 or 2 days rest after each workout. Begin each session with 5 minutes of cardio for a warm-up. At the end of each session, or on off days, perform 20-30 minutes of cardio.
- Day One: Chest, Back, Abdominals
- • Flat Dumbbell Press 3 x 10
- • Incline Dumbbell Press 3 x 10
- • Pec Deck or Dumbbell Flyes 3 x 10
- • Pulldowns Wide Grip 3 x 10
- • Pulldowns Close Grip 3 x 10
- • Bentover Rows with Dumbbells 3 x 10
- • Crunches 3 sets x 20
- • Abdominal Machine 3 sets x 20
- • Knee Ins 3 sets x 20
- Day TWO: Legs, Abdominals
- • Leg Extension 3 x 10
- • Lunges (stationary) 3 x 10
- • Leg Curl 3 x 10
- • Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 x 10
- • Calf Raise 5 x 20
- Abdominals: same as Day 1
- Day THREE: Arms and Shoulders
- • E-Z Bar Curl 3 x 10
- • Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curls 3 x 10
- • Concentration Curls 3 x 10
- • Triceps Pressdown 3 x 10
- • Lying Nose Breakers 3 x 10
- • Dumbbell Kick Backs 3 x 10
- • Seated Dumbbell Press 3 x 10
- • Seated Lateral Raises 3 x 10
- • Standing Front Alternate Raises 3 x 10
For Beginners and Intermediates
45 and older.
To get the best gains possible, the right supplements are a must. They also must be high quality supplements.
Number 1 for me is protein. It is very hard to get enough through food sources. This is a must for building lean muscle. I always recommend UMP or Muscle Provider. Quite simply, it is the best on the market!
My number 2 recommendation is Mass Aminos. If you are training hard and eating clean, then you want to keep that hard earned muscle. Without mass aminos you may very well lose muscle.
Number 3 is Quadracarn. I believe this is probably the best product on the market for a person who wants to feel and look younger, healthier, and more vibrant. Number 4 is the Beverly Super Pak. It is hard to get everything you need in a one-a-day vitamin like many people take. With the Super Pak you get what you need daily in the way of vitamins and minerals without having to think about it. It is also easy to take the packet with you when you travel.
Depending on the individual need, I would suggest taking Lean Out or 7-Keto for someone trying to lose weight. Both of these products are great aids for that in addition to eating clean.
As we age it is important to remember that your body will treat you only as good as you treat it. The worst thing you can do for your body is nothing. A great motivation is to set attainable, short-term goals and stay focused until you have reached your goal. Then you can set your next goal. Your reward will be a healthier, happier you!
- John Lankford at a Glance
- Age: 64
- Occupation: Owner Nautilus Fitness Center, Spartanburg, SC (established 1977)
- Family: Marilyn (wife), Laura, 37 (daughter), John, 44 and Andrew, 31 (sons)
- Years of Training: 50
- Height: 5′8″
- Weight: 172 (off-season), 162 (contest)
- Favorite Supplements: UMP Strawberry (It tastes great). Quadracarn has made all the difference in my training and physique; at 64 I really feel 40!
- What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before? If you want to be the best, you need to use the best. Beverly supplements are second to none, and that’s no nonsense!
- Favorite Music: Contemporary Christian
- Most Inspiring Book: Holy Bible
- Hobbies Outside of Bodybuilding: Playing the guitar, golf, being with family
- Words to live by:
He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose.Jim Elliott