Pressing 50 in high-def


Hitting the half-century mark makes for a lot of self-reflection. When CARAG resident Jeffrey Alspaugh was thinking about his 50th birthday he challenged himself to focus on something big.

Although Jeffrey has lifted weights for most of his adult life, he’d never entered a body building contest. Lifting since he was in high school, his initial motivation was to gain weight because he had grown up skinny. The exercise and muscle building help give him confidence. So it was a way of life for him. But that was about to change because now he was thinking about focusing that weekly pattern of weight lifting into an all-over body plan–he would compete in the Minnesota Mr. Universe contest.

He decided to train only three months before the competition. Because of that he had to have the most efficient plan for winning. That plan oddly enough was just as much about shedding fat as it was about gaining muscle. Looking at Alspaugh before the contest you wouldn’t think he had any fat to shed. But therein lies one of the keys to winning. Working with the muscle you have and defining it as much as possible by removing excess fat makes you more aesthetically competitive to the judges. He would go on a strict diet of low carbs and fats diet. The toughest part of that he said was the cravings he had for one of his favorite foods, Old Chicago pepperoni pizza rolls.

In twelve weeks he went from 197 pounds to 177 pounds and at six feet, one inch that gave him less than 10 percent body fat. Although his weight loss was in a very measured way, he was nothing if not religious about his program. Fitness Together owner, Randy Zarecki says Alspaugh is one of our most dedicated clients. He sets a goal and meets it. He was easy to work with because he was very specific about his goal.

Given his crazy work travel schedule it would take a lot of planning to reach his goal. But managed to find hotels with gyms to exercise while away from home.

His plan read like a tour of Uptown businesses. He received coaching, training and performance tips from Fitness Together and kept up the alternate days’ workouts at Snap Fitness.

He got his tanning done at Planet Beach and haircut at Floyd’s Barbershop. He finished with a trip to Walgreen’s to get some hair removal cream.

Jeffrey’s only fear about the actual contest he said was “making a fool of myself.” But that didn’t happen. He was confident and his posing session went very smoothly considering he couldn’t wear his glasses and things were a little blurry. “That actually helped. Without my glasses I couldn’t make out anyone’s faces so I was less nervous.”

With his background in theatre he was able to put together a posing routine set to music for the evening part of the show. But he would probably have spent less time on that because only after did he realize that it was not part of the official judging.

In the 45 to 60 age category, Alspaugh came in eighth out of eleven, but respectable for a first timer in three months of training at age fifty.

When asked if there was anything that he would have done differently, Alspaugh responded, “I would have worked on refining the pumping up beforehand”. Muscles swell after heavy lifting and most contestants have become very skilled at timing their “swell” so that they are at their maximum during their performance.

And will Alspaugh try it again. After a measured pause he says, “Maybe?” He hasn’t decided yet but he continues to workout, has managed to keep off most of the fat and is still able to enjoy a few pizza rolls and beer occasionally.

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