Think “Over 50” is Too Late? Just Ask Inspirational Greg Dasenbrock!
For anyone over 50 thinking it’s “too late” to get into the best shape of your life, just read Greg Dasenbrock’s interview. At age 49 Greg had several very serious health complications that, unfortunately, are all too common in men at this age.
However, with the help of renowned trainer Sean Harley and a “can-do/will-do” attitude, in a mere 24 months Greg completely reversed his physical conditions and now competes as a masters bodybuilder.
Greg shows that, through a disciplined approach to both exercise and diet, any man over 50 can not only improve his health significantly, he can be in the best shape of his life. Read Greg’s motivating interview now!
Q: Tell us about the physical activities you stay involved in.
A: Predominately my weight training and Bodybuilding, but I do still enjoy Cycling, Golf, Football and chasing my Grand-Kids around… I started weight training at 49 years old after 30yrs of inactivity. It has not always been easy but it is great to have my health back and be in better shape than I ever was!
Q: Why the interest in this area?
A: I have always enjoyed being competitive, but my lack of exercise over the years lead me to be less so, I had lost my athleticism and my fitness. In addition, over those years my inactivity and poor health practices (smoking and bad diet) started to lead to health issues. I started taking medications for high blood pressure in my early 30’s… in my early 40’s I added two medications to control blood sugars (Type II). I tried running and other means of cardio to slow down the progression but it was not until I switched over to weight training and adding back the muscle I had lost that not only slowed the continued downward trend in my blood sugars but actually reversed them to a normal range! Shortly after beginning the weight training and new diet my Doctor halved my dosages and after 6 months of hard work he took me off those medications (Actos and Metphormin) completely with assurances from me that I would continue with my training regimen. Today, August 10th as I type this, it is my 2 year anniversary staying off those medications!
Q: How do you stay in shape for your activities?
A: My main focus the last 24-30 months has been my weight training. The focus being on adding lean muscle and dropping body fat. I use different cardio routines to help shed the fat. The gym has a machine for testing and I use it often to gauge how I’m doing and if my routine needs to me tweaked a bit to get where I need to be. The goal being to keep the hard earned muscle and lower the body fat number…
Q: Tell us about your workouts. What do you do? How often?
A: I’m on a 5-day split for weight training right now. This allows me to concentrate on one muscle group at a time and allows for ample rest/recovery for each group as well, very important for us “over 50” types.
Sun – Back
Tue – Shoulders/Calves
Wed – Legs
Thu – Arms
Fri – no weights
Sat – no weights
On Monday’s and Wednesday’s my sessions are with a trainer (Sean Harley). These two areas I need his help to push me past my comfort zone. Legs and chest are my weakest areas. I think it is extremely important to enlist help when needed to help you stay focused on the goal.
My cardio is HIIT; alternating stairs and track (sprints) each week. Other days I get cardio in where I can except Wednesday’s (Legs) I’m usually toast after that workout. My office is right on a local trail so I get out often for a Run/Walk session. My favorite session over lunch is run 1.75mi down the trail to a local school where there is a set of steps I like… So, 20min to the steps… Then 20min of stair work… Then 20min back to my office. I use an app for my phone from “Digifit” and a heart rate belt… I can really blaze calories during that hour!
On “Track” days, I head to a local High School and do sprints. Sometimes I’ll do 40yd dash intervals on the field or, pick a lane and get in some 100M sprints.
I can’t get close to sub 10sec like Usain Bolt, but it still feels good to fly down the track again!
Q: How do you keep yourself motivated?
A: For me it has actually gotten easier to stay motivated as I progress. Just to see myself grow and progress when I see myself in the mirror has continued to motivate me! Another way I stay motivated is knowing that if I stay on this path I will continue to stay off my Type II medications! No small feat! But I am proof it can be done… Did I mention Grand-Kids? Yeah, I need to be there for them as well. There is also no substitute for hearing “you have Grand-Kids?” or “you’re how old?” hearing that feedback is a great motivator!
Q: What is your biggest personal challenge to achieving and maintaining fitness over 50? How do you overcome that challenge?
A: Just sticking with it! I think that being over 50 we must try much harder to make gains in strength, be that much more diligent in our nutrition plans for sure.
I surround myself with only those that are on my team. Those folks who cheer me on; those folks who are positive. Negativity must be pushed aside. It can be very difficult especially in a work environment like mine to stay on plan, at my office I am that odd guy who does “that bodybuilding thing…” that guy who probably only eats “leaves, twigs and such…”. The one thing that I hear is “He must be on ____” (fill in the blank…) I try to see this as a challenge to educate a little, assure the naysayers I did this through hard work and dedication, I am all natural and they can make the same changes too if they really want it bad enough!
Q: How do you approach diet and nutrition? What are your meals like? What kind of supplements do you take, if any?
A: My diet follows my training schedule basically. My nutrition follows the normal pattern you would expect; I track my “macros” Protein, Carbs and Fat intake and I eat 6 times per day… But keep in mind that I have the extra challenge of controlling my blood sugars through food; so for me it’s not only what I eat, but WHEN I eat it.
A sample of my nutrition week goes like:
Since Wednesday’s are my “Leg” day I typically load up the Carbs first thing in the AM and up to my workout, then taper down after my “Post workout” meal.
Sun/Mon/Thu my Carb intake is lower and timed again around my workouts.
Tue/Fri/Sat I am ultra-low Carbs.
To keep calorie intake up I add back fats and protein. I stay very basic with my supplements. A Men’s “Multi” vitamin is very important, Whey Isolate in various flavors are always on hand, BCAA’s for recovery, I also add a “Pre-Workout” supplement as well to fuel my workouts.
Most of my meals are consistent with a bodybuilding diet… Chicken, Turkey, Fish, etc… I still get a lot of my meal ideas from my “Diabetic Lifestyle” websites, they are brimming with many great low carb, low sugar recipes.
This is why the Bodybuilding lifestyle is perfect for a person struggling with Diabetes!
Q: Have you overcome injuries and/or surgeries? What were they? How did you overcome them?
A: I’ve been blessed that I had been relatively healthy and free from injuries, but in March 2009 I needed to have my right shoulder repaired. Especially if I wanted to start lifting again! I had ignored it long enough and it had gotten so bad that I was not allowed any more shots to ease the impingement. I had a rotator cuff tear repaired as well as an Acromioplasty done. 5wks in a sling then I was allowed some movement, I rocked my rehab and was released from care at 7wks post-surgery as long as I promised not to ruin the work that had been done. The months after were filled with thousands of reps of stretches and resistance band work… light dumbbells as well. In November 2009 is when I joined Sean Harley’s “IThinkFit Gym” here in Omaha… When I started at IThinkFit I was overweight, weak and tentative about lifting weights alongside guys half my age who were far more advanced than I was. I had to put the ego aside and just do the work.
Q: Do you have a target weight and/or body fat level you maintain? What is it? How do you achieve it?
A: My Doctor has a target weight and body fat goal for me; she likes to see me between 175-180 with a body fat % around 15%… Simple reason is that my lab work results from blood tests are all “optimal” when I am in that range…
However… She has to be conservative
At my very best I was at 170lbs and 10% last Nov. for a competition, my personal goal is to get that body fat under 10% and win my “Masters 50+” as well as the “Masters 40+” divisions this November!
I concentrate more on my diet and will be more diligent in tracking my intake.
I still have not found the best combo that works for me, but I continue to tweak my diet until I find that good fit. I will also be stepping up my HIIT Cardio sessions per week to burn off the extra fat…
Q: What are your health and fitness goals for the future?
A: In 2011 I competed in two bodybuilding shows. Had you asked me before that if I would ever have done something like that I’d have said “hell no!”. Posing on stage in front of folks would not have been on the top of my “bucket list”! As it turned out, it wasn’t a big deal at all, and I had a blast! And I highly recommend it to anyone, especially folks my age. I got to show off my transformation, my progress and hang out with other cool old dudes! I gained a lot of new friends and some cool hardware in 2011, I plan to do a show this November 3rd here in Omaha to show off my progress over this last year of hard work…