Many people have an idealized vision of how they might spend their later years in life. For some, it’s traveling the world; for others, it's golfing along the coast and days of less worry. But for so many more, these dreams never become a reality. What they didn't realize is that their health was slowly fading away. Ultimately, trading in days that should have been spent relaxing for doctors’ offices and long lines at the pharmacy.
It's only then that they realize how years of neglect have taken their toll. Sadly, there are many that give-in; there are many that concede; there are many that quickly wave life's white flag. But then there is Ed, who at the age of 75 isn’t just refusing to give up but determined to go after new health and fitness goals.
Not Your Typical Retiree
Ed Urbano is not your typical California retiree; while many of his peers are content spending their days in care homes, you are more likely to find Ed in the gym setting new personal records and at home prepping his meals. There is much you might assume about this remarkably fit older man. You might think that this now award-winning bodybuilder has spent his entire life dedicated to health and fitness, but that wasn’t always the case - not even close. In fact, it wasn’t until he was well into his 60s that he made the changes in his life that would ultimately lead him to compete on the bodybuilding stage.
A Series of Habits
Having spent his life as a carpenter, Ed understood that to get results, you needed to put in hard work. Despite his understanding of fitness and its importance, he’ll be the first to admit that he hasn’t always taken nutrition seriously. A life filled with the typical all-American meals and disregarded nutrition labels hasn’t made new habits come easy. Ed’s approach to health and fitness has come through a series of small changes that over time became good habits.
Understanding nutrition has been key to living healthier and his success in bodybuilding. What were once overlooked nutrition panels, are now carefully examined. This habit has made it easier for him to identify ingredients that do more harm than good, enabling him to make good decisions faster. He has come to understand the different macros, how they affect his body - the amounts working for him or against him.
Despite his good habits and knowing better, he still struggles with the same thing most people do - portion control. We've all faced that moment at the end of a meal; we know we are full, but we want just a little more. Ultimately, Ed makes the conscious decision based upon what he wants more – his goal or that extra serving?
The Right Mindset
Many people have negative views on aging. Their mind is made long before they reach their 30s; they believe that aging is not something to be celebrated, but something you spend a lifetime ignoring and sequentially enduring.
But not Ed, he believes that regardless of your age you can increase your quality of life with the right mindset. If you tell yourself that you are too old and can’t do it, well then you won’t. But if you believe in yourself, then you can accomplish anything. Age shouldn’t stop you from trying to better yourself; if anything it should drive you to do better, because at that point in your life you have more to lose. It’s this same mindset that gives Ed the confidence to step on stage, sometimes competing against men half his age.
While forming good habits and believing in yourself are two essential elements of being healthy, there is another thing that has made a significant impact on Ed's life - gratitude. According to an article written by Dr. Alex Korb in Psychology Today, studies have shown that being grateful can have a profound effect on health and wellbeing. Individuals were more likely to get quality sleep and less likely to have anxiety and depression.
Ed is incredibly grateful to God and all the people that have believed in him as he has taken on bodybuilding. He believes that his faith, along with their kindness and support have impacted his health and happiness in more ways than anything else. For him, his success is another way of saying thank you to everyone that has helped him along the way. Even those that have wished him well or simply offered a kind word as he stepped off stage, Ed appreciates you.
As you can see, regardless of your age and where you are in your fitness journey, there is much you can learn from Ed. Through gratitude, mindset, and a series of habits Ed has created a life he never thought possible. He hopes that by sharing his story, he will inspire both young and old to take control of their health. As Ed would say, "You only get one shot at this life, you better make it count."
"I find that if you surround yourself with people who are continually pushing their limits, it creates a culture of excellence, where a "no excuses" mentality becomes a core belief." Traci Callahan