Men Over 50 Gain Muscle and Lose Weight

Dale Hedrick, 55, Creates Life Balance Through Bodybuilding

Think you’re too busy for the fitness lifestyle?  Take a cue from Dale Hedrick, who at age 55 not only finds time for Bodybuilding, he uses the sport to bring balance into his busy life

Fitness doesn't take away from life balance, it contributes to it.

Fitness doesn’t take away from life balance, it contributes to it.bring balance into his busy life.

Q:  Tell us about the physical activities you stay involved in.

A: I am an avid weight lifter and bodybuilder, who trains six days a week. I got started weight lifting back in my college days as a way to add bulk, but with little success. As a hard-gainer, I had real trouble putting size on my frame and never broke 160 pounds until I was nearly 40 years old.

At that time I was probably my own worst enemy and didn’t even know it. Along with my lifting I was running five or more miles a day, 4-5 days a week. Cardiovascularly speaking, I was in great shape but, all that running was keeping me from bulking up.

Today, I continue to lift weights and train in the gym six days a week, doing only one or two body parts each day and using the step mill or treadmill, on off days for 30-60 minutes. This helps to insure that I keep my muscle growth while staying lean.

I am also an avid backpacker, who enjoys the out of doors. Keeping fit enables me to enjoy this type of high-adventure activity. It takes some real endurance to hike 8-10 miles a day with 40 or more pounds of gear on your back.

Q: Why the interest in this area?

A: I gravitated to bodybuilding slowly. I have worked out over 30 years but in my 40 reasoned that I needed a goal to make my training meaningful. I determined that if I set a bodybuilding competition as a personal goal, it would give me the motivation to stay with the rigid diet required to reach that chiseled muscular state that had always eluded me. My training was never a barrier but, until I had a goal that forced me to stick to the diet, I was never able to achieve the ripped, muscular condition necessary to win in a competition. It worked, and at 42 I was able to place in my first competition in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. From that point it became an obsession to repeat that level of physical conditioning again and again. Now at 55, I’m motivated to hold on to my peak physical conditioning as long as humanly possible.

Q: How do you stay in shape for your activities?

A: Clearly, the weight lifting and the cardio combination combined with a high protein, low-carb diet are keys to getting into the shape required to be a physique competitor. I follow a strict diet, which includes only complex carbs like oatmeal, green beans, sweet potatoes, and green veggies while getting 250 to 300 grams of protein each day.

Q: Tell us about your workouts. What do you do? How often?

A: My workouts vary from month to month depending on whether I’m in off-season or pre competition training, or weather my goal is adding size or leaning out. But generally my workouts are spread across the week as follows:

Monday: Chest/Triceps

Straight Bar Bench Press 2 warm up sets, 4 sets of  12-15 reps

Dumbbell Presses 2 warm up sets, 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Dumbbell incline press: 2-3 warm-up sets, 4 sets, 8-12 reps

Dumbbell decline press: 4 sets, 8-12 reps

Cable Tricep Pushdowns 7-8 drop sets of 10 reps

Cable Tricep Extensions 4 sets of 12-15 reps

Dumbbell kickbacks 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Nose-busters / Rainbows 4 sets of 10-12 reps

Dumbbell Overhead Press: 3 sets, 12-15 reps

Tuesday: Shoulders / Biceps

Front Dumbbell Raise: 4 sets, 12-15 reps

Dumbbell Fly’s: 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Machine shoulder press: 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Standing Dumbbell Raise Front and Side: 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Bent-Over Dumbbell Raise (Drop Sets) 40/35/25 lbs: 4 sets, 8reps

Machine Bar Curls: 2 warm-up sets, 4 sets, 12-15 reps

Cambered bar curls: 4 sets, 8-10 reps

Seated Dumbbell curls: 4 sets, 12-15 reps

Hammer Curls: 4 sets, 12-15 reps

Machine push-downs: 4 sets, 8-12 reps

Seated dumbbell extensions: 4 sets, 8-12 reps

Wednesday: Cardio / Abs / Small Muscle Groups

Standing Dumbbell Shrugs, 4 Sets, 20 Reps.

Seated, Bent Over Shrugs, 4 Sets, 20 Reps.

Machine Shrugs, 3 Sets, 15-20 reps

Forearm Grip Machine, 4 Sets, 30-50 Reps

Standing Barbell Curls, 4 Sets, 30-50 Reps.

Seated or Standing Calf Raises, 4 Sets, 20-30 Reps

Lower Back Extensions, 3-4 Sets, 15 Reps

Abs (I alternate my ab exercised daily) Options:

Machine Crunches 4 Sets, 30 reps

Hanging Side Leg Raises, 3 Sets, 20-30 reps each side

Crunches on Incline Bench, 4 Sets 25-30 Reps

Thursday: Legs

Squats: 2 warm-up sets, 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Leg Press Machine: 4 sets, 10-15 reps\

Dumbbell Stiff-legged Deadlift: 3 sets, 10-12 reps

Lunges: 2-3 sets, Length of Floor X/2 Directions 3 Times

Lying Hamstring or Single leg curls: 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Leg extensions: 2-3 warm-sup sets, 4 sets, 10-12 reps

Friday: Back

Wide-grip pull-downs: 2 warm-up sets, 4 sets, 10-12 reps

T-Bar Rows, 4 Sets, 12-15 Reps

Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets, 10 reps

Close-grip rows: 4 sets, 8-12 reps

Saturday: Off

Sunday: Abs / Cardio

Abs (I alternate my Ab exercised daily) Options:

Machine Crunches 4 Sets, 30 reps

Hanging Side Leg Raises, 3 Sets, 20-30 reps each side

Crunches on Incline Bench, 4 Sets 25-30 Reps

Step Mill 30-45 Minutes or Treadmill 60 Minutes

Q: How do you keep yourself motivated?

A: I am essentially self-motivated by a desire to stay fit and not turn into the typical middle aged guy! LOL

One thing that motivates me is training at the gym. I find that it is more motivating to workout with others. I’ve never been much for training on my own at home, in the basement. I feed off the energy of others. Presently, I train with a few different guys throughout the week. We push each other and I find that it helps me get out of my comfort zone with regard to sets, reps and poundage.

I also train at a few different gyms, alternating facilities depending on which muscle group I’m working on and what equipment is available.  Changing up the location keeps things fresh.

Q: What is your biggest personal challenge to achieving and maintaining fitness over 50? How do you overcome that challenge?

A: My biggest challenge to maintaining fitness goals are the demands of my job and family life. I am a father of three boys, who are involved in a variety of activities such as baseball, lacrosse, marching band and orchestra. Their schedules naturally put demands on my time so I have to plan ahead to insure that I can get into the gym at a time that won’t conflict with their activities. One way I do this is by working out in the morning before work or doing my cardio at lunch. I’m fortunate in that I work 5 minutes from a great gym.

I am also a Scoutmaster for a Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio Boy Scout Troop of 40 boys. This can be demanding all on its own. I’ve found that my fitness goals give me the energy to keep up with all of these young people and the activities they enjoy like camping, hiking, rock climbing.  A Scout pledges in their Oath, “to keep myself physical strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” I’m just trying to model that behavior for the Scouts.

Q: How do you approach diet and nutrition? What are your meals like? What kind of supplements do you take, if any?

A:  Again, my diet varies throughout the year depending on whether

I’m in the off seasons or contest prep phase.  I try to eat clean throughout the year but do enjoy a good German Beer from time to time, so I do cheat. However, for the most part I try to keep my protein intake between 250 and 300 grams per day while limiting my carbohydrates to the complex variety (Oats, Green Beans, other green veggies, yams, etc.

My typical weekly diet is as follows:

2- 3 Gallons of Water Each Day

Meal 1:

1 Cup of Oatmeal

8 – 10 Egg Whites

Mulit Vitamin

Vitamin C

B- Complex

Amino Acids and BCAAs


3 Scoop Protein Shake (@ 60 Grams of high quality Protein) with water

Meal 2:

6-8 Oz of Fish, Chicken or lean Ground Meat.

1 Cup of Green Beans or other Green Veggies or 1 Cup of Steamed Rice


2 Scoops of Protein in Water and 10 Almonds (Raw or Dry Roasted)

Meal 3:

6-8 oz Chicken or Can of Tuna

Green Salad (no dressing) Vinegar is OK
Afternoon Snack:

8 Oz Fish

1 Cup of Rice

Meals 4-6:

Combination of Meals 2 and 3. Keep selections to one serving of each.

Before Bed:

3 Scoop Protein Shake or 8 – 10 Egg whites

Amino Acids and BCAAs (4 Caps / Each)

Q: What supplement schedule gave you the greatest gains?

A: Supplementation is very important for muscle recovery and building.

I take BCAAs and Amino 3000s after each workout and throughout the day.

I also take 2 Scoops of Glutamine in each protein shake I drink throughout the day.

1 – Multi Vitamin          1 – Vitamin C                 1 – B-12 Cap

4 – BCAA Caps                 4 – Amino 3000s           2- Fat Burner Caps (Only during Contest Prep.)


4 – BCAA Caps         4 – Amino 3000s     2- Fat Burner Caps (Only during Contest Prep.)   2 – Fish Oil or Flax Seed Caps

Q: Have you overcome injuries and/or surgeries? What were they? How did you overcome them?

A:  Injuries seem to be a way of life for a weightlifter but, there are ways to minimize the chances of an injury and shorten the recovery time if you do get an injury.

To prevent injury I make sure that I’m really warmed up before I lift. I usually do 20 minutes of light cardio and stretching before I pick up any weights. I also make sure to dress warm to keep in the heat so my muscles don’t cool off. Many injuries are repetitive motion injuries like tendinitis, to which I’m particular susceptible.
Right now I’m working through a shoulder injury, following my last contest season.  The bicep tendon is inflamed at the attachment point in my shoulder.
When I get an injury like this I get to the doctor quickly and also visit my chiropractor. The doctor prescribed an anti-inflammatory, which is working wonders. My chiropractor is getting me back in alignment and the combination of both is helping with my recovery.

Q: Do you have a target weight and/or body fat level you maintain?  What is it? How do you achieve it?

A: Currently, I am in an off season training cycle. I am working on regaining some bulk and clean muscle size to add to my frame.  My goal is to push my weight back up to 215 pounds of clean muscle weight before starting my pre contest cutting phase in January.  This entails eating large amounts of protein and complex carbs.

Once I top out and begin contest cutting phase my goal is to get into competition condition at 180 to 185 pounds. This would be up to 10 pounds heavier that the last time I stepped on stage.  The trick is to get ripped and keep good clean muscle size at the same time. Sounds crazy but to get in lean stage-ready condition you have to really work on the bulking phase first.

Q: What are your health and fitness goals for the future?

A: My current fitness goal is essentially what I described above.  Spend the next five to six months bulking up, then cut weight with a target goal of 185 pounds of lean, ripped muscle so that I will be ready to compete in the Spring 2014 Bodybuilding Competition season.

My long-term goal is to continue to be a fitness competitor as long as possible with a goal of staying fit and active, prolonging good quality of life as long as humanly possible.

Click here and find out how to get in the best shape of your life – after age 50!

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