Local bodybuilder Lee Naylor believes he has redeemed himself.
The 70-year-old grandmasters-category bodybuilder has recently qualified for the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation (CBBF) nationals. This would not be Naylor’s first try at the nationals, but it represents a chance to further redeem himself.
Last July, Naylor placed top three at the Vancouver Professional/Amateur Show and Expo, a provincial-level competition. At that competition, he had to do his compulsory poses in the morning and evening, plus a posedown and since he placed in the top five, he also had to do a routine. He placed third and qualified for the nationals.
Two weeks after the Vancouver Pro-Am, he flew out to do the nationals, but an unexpected twist would lead him to flop in the competition.
“I was at the gym working and I got really dizzy,” said Naylor. “I picked up a bug.”
Naylor still pushed himself to participate because he had spent a lot of money on registration, flights and hotels. The “insane” six-hour registration also worsened his condition, along with the cold air conditioning. He didn’t get to pump up either before the competition.
“People said I looked awesome up there, but the point is I didn’t place in the top five, because I was sick,” said Naylor.
Failing miserably at the nationals meant that Naylor had to compete at the provincial level again to qualify. This July, he competed there and took first place.
“This is redemption, right here,” said Naylor. “It was in my mind to requalify.”
The process to becoming the champion involved going to another championship, the Emerald Cup in Bellevue, Wash,. in April. Through participating in the Emerald Cup, Naylor learned how to diet and bodybuild better. He managed to get “ripped” just weeks from the provincials.
Placing at the provincials gives Naylor a two-year window to enter the nationals. He expects to take a year off and then participate in the second year.
“I am going to concentrate on weak points and my body needs a break to rejuvenate,” said Naylor. “Going to two in a row is pretty rough on this old guy.”
To Naylor, the biggest challenge at a competition is getting on the stage. People looking to compete have to survive a process of disciplined dieting, frequent gym visits, consultation with dietitians, coaches and trainers, and for people over 50, working harder than a younger person would have to. As a result, few competitors come from that age group.
“When you get older, things happen. Like, people get sick, diseases … there are so many factors that people can’t compete anymore,” said Naylor. “And the dieting is tremendous.
“Anybody who gets on that stage, I admire and respect highly because not everybody can do that.”
Naylor explained that after 25 years of age, testosterone depletes slowly. Age also makes skin wrinkly and bones to shrink in size.
“And then later on in life, men start to be a bit more lethargic and they’re less interested in exercise. Then they get pudgy, they get their daddy tummy and they’re not as active as they used to be,” said Naylor. “When we work out we have to work harder to get results than a young person.”