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8 February 2012

Hot 'n' Healthy: Ripped at 68, weightlifter pushes all ages to hit the gym

Ripped at 68
At age 68, Tony O’Connor is as sharp mentally as he is physically. A retired engineer, he has been a competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer for 47 years. He is quick to tell you he is still learning and goes online every day to do research to better serve his clients.
His clients range in age from 10 to 85. O’Connor likes to say, “It is never too soon or never too late.”
With a diverse client base, O’Connor adheres to doctors’ instructions and adapts his training sessions to accommodate clients with shoulder or back injuries, scoliosis, diabetes, pregnancy, etc.
Cheri Acreed, 62, was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, which causes musculoskeletal pain. She has taken several serious falls and attributes no broken bones to the flexibility and lean muscle mass she has developed while training with O’Connor.
“Since being diagnosed two years ago, Tony is the best thing that has happened to me physically and mentally,” Acreed says.
Originally from Birmingham, England, O’Connor weighed 125 lbs. at age 20. That was in 1963, and there were only gyms for boxing in England at that time — weightliftng was not an option. So he bought a small set of weights, began lifting on his own and never looked back.
He has won more competitions than we could list here, including at age 65, when he won the “Over 40 Amateur of the Year.” This competition included male competitive bodybuilders from 16 countries.
O’Connor and his wife, Mary Ann, promote the Southern Isles Bodybuilding, Figure and Wheelchair Championships that take place annually in Savannah. For more information, go to
Asked about weightlifting for seniors, O’Connor explained that people begin to lose lean muscle mass at age 35. Cardio is important, but weight bearing exercises promote lean muscle mass and are good for the heart and bones.
O’Connor says nutrition is different for everyone. He specializes in personal nutrition programs by balancing proteins and carbohydrates to feed lean muscle. When preparing for a bodybuilding competition, he manipulates his own diet to reach 2 percent body fat.
He says most people think they drink enough water, but they don’t. Drinking the right amount of water is key to building lean muscle and losing water weight.
O’Connor’s physique and accomplishments can be intimidating, but he’s actually a nice guy. If you are intimidated by physical fitness, his advice is: “Set a small goal and reach it. Then set another small goal and another. You will achieve lean muscle mass and lose body fat no matter your age or physical capabilities.”
If you want more information about O’Connor’s personal workout log, and search for Tony O’Connor. You can contact O’Connor at the Islands Family YMCA, 912-897-1192.
Many adults do not exercise because
of age and illness when, in fact, exercise may be the best medicine for you.
Research shows exercise can help
boost heart health, maintain a healthy
mind and body, keep joints flexible
and improve balance to minimize falls.
In our “Age is Just a Number” series,
we will introduce you to Hot ’n’ Healthy seniors who will inspire you whether you
are young or old.

About Dr Kevin Lau

Dr Kevin Lau DC is the founder of Health In Your Hands, a series of tools for Scoliosis prevention and treatment. The set includes his book Your Plan for Natural Scoliosis Prevention and Treatment, a companion Scoliosis Exercises for Prevention and Correction DVD and the innovative new iPhone application ScolioTrack. Dr Kevin Lau is a graduate in Doctor of Chiropractic from RMIT University in Melbourne Australia and Masters in Holistic Nutrition. He is a member of International Society On Scoliosis Orthopaedic and Rehabilitation Treatment (SOSORT), the leading international society on conservative treatment of spinal deformities. In 2006 I was awarded the "Best Health-care Provider Awards" by the largest Newspaper publication in Singapore on October 18 2006 as well as being interviewed on Primetime Channel News Asia as well as other TV and Radio. For more information on Dr Kevin Lau, watch his interviews or get a free sneak peek of his book, go to:

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