I’m a champion bodybuilder in my 80s who decided to get in shape and give up smoking when I was 54.


Though JIM Shaffer freely admits he wasn’t born with a natural talent for sports, he did find the motivation to make a positive change in his life when he was 54 years old.

The ex-smoker signed up for a gym membership after he had an epiphany that it was time to not only put away his cigarette packs.


Shaffer began competing in bodybuilding events after receiving encouragement from others in the gym


Growing Boulder, an uplifting media outlet, claims that Shaffer has always had a passion for performing on stage.

He was a member of the Doo Wop group the Premiers in the 1950s when he was a young man in Chicago.

After leaving the blues scene, he tried his hand at shoe sales and restaurant management.

He had been a chain smoker for decades before deciding to put his health first.

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“I was 54 and you just figure it’s time,” Shaffer said of his retirement.

After giving up cigarettes, he had to find other ways to occupy his time.

The gym became his new escape.

Every piece began to fit into place before his eyes.

“One thing would reinforce the other,” he added.

Shaffer’s body went through remarkable transformations after he began his exercise routine.

Muscles were appearing where none had existed before.

The results became his new addiction.

What he meant was, “I just kept turning it up another notch,” he explained.

After 15 years of making the gym his second home, Shaffer’s dedication was noticed.

A couple of his gym buddies urged him to compete in a show.

The self-proclaimed introvert initially found the prospect of competing to be quite intimidating.

I just thought it was too complicated for me to handle, he admitted. “I was toying with the idea, but I just couldn’t picture myself in a little speedo and all over body hair removal, plus I’m not really an extrovert.”

The then-68-year-old decided to give it a go, and he did so while wearing a speedo.

Since he had nothing to lose (except maybe the game), he decided to give it a shot. Yes, he actually did that.

Shaffer came in fourth place out of four.

He was unfazed by the setback. Instead, he decided to try to win by a narrow margin over a single opponent.

I examined it and fixed the problematic areas,” he said.

This way of thinking proved to be extremely effective, and as Shaffer gained more competition experience, he started coming out on top.

Now 75 years old, he still competes for the sheer joy of performing.

Where else can an old guy get glory like that, Shaffer wondered, “when people are cheering for you and screaming for you in the audience”?

The bodybuilder now enjoys giving back.

In order to show that anyone can gain from exercise, he has started training others.

Megan Murphy, a client of his, uses a wheelchair. The older trainer is a constant source of motivation for her.

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“He’s got a better body than most 30-year-olds,” Murphy said. “It’s all in your head; it’s not how many years you’ve lived.”

It’s just unimaginable what you can achieve, is the simple message the visionary likes to leave for others who may find themselves in the same position he once was in.

The bodybuilder grew up in Chicago and was previously part of a Doo Wop group called the Premiers


Shaffer smoked cigarettes for 54 years


Now in his 80s, Shaffer feels that he is in the best shape of his life


The champion bodybuilder is also training other people to show them how anyone can benefit from a healthy lifestyle



Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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