Recently I came across a photo of myself looking, let’s say, less-than-formidable as I trudged the backstreets of Liverpool, England.

It was taken in 2016, when I was 61, during a European vacation. 

Viewing the photo in November of 2021, at age 66, I was pretty sure I didn’t look like that anymore. To confirm, I snapped a shot of myself in the changing room of my gym here in my hometown, Tempe, Arizona, after a workout. 

I posted both photos on Twitter with a short, encouraging message to others seeking post-60 improvement. 

I figured I might inspire a few dozen people. 

Two days later, I saw this: 

Two photos, one at age 61 and another at 66, show a man with improved senior fitness.
The infamous viral tweet.

Roughly 13,500 “likes” is insane – my previous high was about 400. 

I had tapped into something. Many people, apparently, want to hear it’s not too late. 

So, here’s… 

The Rest of the Story

I’m originally from Oregon and a lifelong journalist. Before becoming Editorial Director at Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics, I’d been a television reporter and anchor, done features for the Washington Post and Discover magazine, and written or co-written 10 books on everything from woodworking to budgeting to cooking (for better or worse, almost everything fascinates me). 

Fun, but aside from dodging subpoenas, teargas, and cranky editors, the reporting gig is relatively sedentary. 

Years passed. Pounds accreted. Worse was a general sense of being constantly tired. 

At age 55, it hit me that the mainstream fitness advice I’d been following – eat a semi-vegetarian diet and jog a few miles three or four times a week – wasn’t cutting it. 

Then on Twitter, I found a community of researchers and athletes who pushed a different plan. Given that most of these folks looked amazingly strong, fit, and happy, they seemed credible.  

I also found a website, Mark’s Daily Apple, that promoted a “paleo” approach: that is, building health by taking lifestyle cues from human evolution. 

Putting It Together

Here’s a summary of advice from these sources, and from my own research in medical journals: 

But the biggest of all? 

A Slow Start

From age 55 to 61, I implemented this, but without much intensity and focus. This was a crazy busy time in my professional life, and I just could not get to the gym as much as I wanted. I also continued to sometimes munch carb-heavy favorites such as pizza. 

But shortly after the age-61 picture was taken, I shifted to a higher gear. 

More lifting. No pizza. 

Then, at age 64, I began working as the editorial director of Vital Choice. 

That was a game-changer. At my new job, I dived deep into the theory that seafood was a driving force in human evolution. I realized that fish and shellfish and their brain-building omega-3 fats broke humans out of the small-brained hominid pack in southern Africa roughly 160,000 years ago… and we’ve needed those fats ever since to keep our big brains running well. Studies have also indicated omega-3s may contribute to better muscle protein synthesis; that is, muscle growth. 

Seafood Strategy

I now firmly believe it is nearly impossible to be optimally physically and mentally healthy without eating seafood. I regard 20 ounces per week as my absolute minimum. 

A photo of a fillet of salmon on a bed of vegetables, a meal that can contribute to senior fitness.
Here’s a typical dinner for me – broiled sockeye salmon. Actually, this is a product photo from our marketing department, because my actual meals need better lighting. But you get the idea.

Most weeks, I eat closer to 30 ounces, or about one four-ounce filet per day, along with plenty of eggs and beef. 

I also discovered this life-changing video, which transformed my vision of what senior fitness could be. 

I began to push much harder in the weight room: at least four times a week, for an intense hour. And I started intermittent fasting, eating only between noon and 8 pm, which studies suggest is associated with improvements in conditions such obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and neurological disorders

Aside from consuming copious seafood, which I love, none of this was easy. But the benefits went far beyond the physical. The new strength in my body is reflected in a new outlook, an overwhelming sense of gratitude for each new day. 

It’s impossible to tease apart the factors that have created this. Lifting, fasting, sun, and lots of fish all work together, I suspect, in ways too wonderful and complex to separate. 

Healthy and Grateful

A fit senior man in a weightlifting gym.
I look rather friendly here, but I usually scowl and grunt in the gym. Scares the kids away so the old guys can use the good barbells.

Everyone needs a focus. This gave me one. I consider my life to be a senior-fitness experiment to discover how strong and healthy a Social Security recipient can be. 

Lately, I am truly surprising myself. I’ve lifted weights lazily and sporadically since I was in my 20s. The poundage I hoist now with a truly disciplined focus is the same as when I was 30. 

It’s delightful for a guy whose junk mail consists entirely of AARP flyers to be no weaker – not even a little – at this point in the game. 


I’ve greatly abbreviated my journey here, but hope I’ve communicated the essential elements. 

Here’s to looking – and feeling – formidable, with the help of a little discipline and a great deal of salmon

It really is never too late. 

Sockeye salmon banner ad collection link

Brad Lemley is the editorial director of Vital Choice. He is a former Contributing Editor at Discover Magazine and writer for the Washington Post. His website is

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