At 90, Jim Arrington is the world’s oldest body builder. But if you ask him, he’s just getting started.
Arrington, who gave the title “Sine bodybuilder” at the Guinness book of world records in 2018, recently stripped down in a photoshoot for Men’s Health to prove that every body – regardless of age – is perfect.
For the lifelong fitness enthusiast, it was also an opportunity to educate other seniors about the importance of nurturing relationships with their bodies.
“At my age, your body is much more fragile,” Arrington told the publication. “You have to be more careful when you train, and you can’t abuse it – your tendons tend to want to separate. In the last five years, my left bicep broke loose, and I had a little bit [of a] Tear in my right bicep, too. So you can’t do things you used to be able to do. It’s very incomprehensible, but it’s important to keep the soldier away.”
From the age of 14, discovered the public bodybuilding after reading George Jowett’s book Mighty chest shaped, Arrington has dedicated his life to fitness.
Ironically, achieving his dreams required much more mental work than it did physically.
“I’ve stuck with it for over 75 years because I’m still goal-oriented,” he said. “Mr America was my goal. But after five years, I saw that I didn’t really have the genetics. I learned the secret to bodybuilding back in 1974 from Ken Waller, Mr. Universe in 1975. He told me to do what works for you. I thought, Well, thank you very much. But basically that’s what you have to do – experiment to see what works for you.”
“Physical strength is not that important to me,” said the great-grandfather. “I like to be strong, but I have very small bones, ligaments, and everything. My wife is stronger than me in many ways because she has much bigger hands. Sometimes I can’t open something or I need a lot of fingers, and she can.”
In total, Arrington has competed in more than 60 competitions and won 16. And he yet he has big goals, and he plans to take very few breaks until he achieves them.
“My goal now: I entered the IFBB Legion Master Pro in Reno [Nevada]. I joined the over 80’s, but I’m trying to convince them they should be over 90’s! The other thing [that keeps me training] it’s that for some reason, and I don’t understand it, I seem to be inspired by people.”
Arrington is no stranger to using her platform to help empower others.
In a 2017 interview with People, friend Arrington recalled a bittersweet moment in his 80s, when he realized he was alone on the competition stage. Still, he decided to continue.
“If someone older than me doesn’t come, I’m sweeping the competition,” he joked about the time. “I’m small-boned and I wouldn’t be able to spend that much to be a Mr. America, so I guess my strategy was to live and outlive everyone by waiting for everyone to grow up or die!”
Arrington was also quick to point out to other dreamers that the joy is in the journey — not the destination.
“Everybody always says there’s something they need to work on a little bit more, and they say they’re not ready yet, they tell themselves they’ll compete later,” he said. “You can’t look at it like that, you need the experience – you just have to do it.”
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