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Own Your Health: Mackie Shilstone

July 2016

By Michael Downey

Mackie Shilstone
Mackie Shilstone

Researchers now recognize that regular, strenuous exercise is a powerful anti-aging tool. If that’s the case, then Mackie Shilstone may live forever. He’s an exercise machine.

Shilstone is arguably America’s most influential fitness and performance expert, having played a pivotal role in the success and career extension of more than 3,000 professional athletes and teams.

His clients have included baseball greats Ozzie Smith and Brian Dozier, boxers Michael Spinks, Riddick Bowe, Roy Jones Jr., and Bernard Hopkins, tennis ace Serena Williams, and two-time Superbowl-winning quarterback Peyton Manning. Shilstone is among the top 50 most influential people in boxing history, says KO Magazine. He helped his friend, actor John Goodman, drop 125 pounds—so far—and former Playboy Model of the Year Breann McGregor credits him for her striking figure.

Shilstone offers recommendations for Life Extension® readers that cover exercise routines, dietary choices, and supplements.

Do As I Do—Well, At Least, Try

Do As I Do—Well, At Least, Try  

Stretching the twilight era of the careers of many professional athletes well past their expected retirement age has brought Mackie Shilstone his greatest fame. Ozzie Smith devoted part of his Hall-of-Fame induction speech to Shilstone, acknowledging that his training with the premier sports performance manager enabled him to extend his career by an additional 11 years.

Two factors in Shilstone’s workouts are particularly impressive—almost unbelievable.

To understand the first factor, it’s critical to know that he is not the kind of trainer who stands next to his pro-athlete clients, urging them to work harder. He says that the best way to train top athletes is to analyze the physical skills of their sport, break them down into their essential elements, design a tailored program accordingly, and then perform those specialized exercises right alongside them. The truly impressive part? None of his star-athlete clients can keep up with him!

The second, and most compelling, factor is that he has just received his Medicare card. Yes, the trainer that none of his pro-athlete clients can keep up with just turned age 65 in March.

Shilstone calls tennis great Serena Williams—one of his clients—Lois. Why? Because she calls him Superman.

“Mackie is not human,” says Williams. “No one has ever been able to beat him—champion or not. I’m still working on it.”

Another client who credits Shilstone’s extreme workouts with his career longevity—and who also couldn’t keep up with the famous trainer—is former New Orleans Saints kicker Morten Andersen, who retired in 2008 at age 48.

“I would be going full speed,” says Anderson, “and he would be jogging backwards, saying to me, ‘Let’s go—that the best you’ve got?’”

Shilstone seems not be aging. At 65, he looks much younger, weighs 147 pounds, and has 10% body fat, blood pressure of 105/65, and a resting pulse rate between 42 and 48. The enthusiasm in his eyes when he talks simply beams energy.

Sure, he’s incredibly fit. But how is it possible for him to keep up with—and outperform—professional athletes less than half his age?

The answer is a highly nutritious diet that includes supplements, a punishing daily exercise regimen, keeping mentally active—he has written seven books, co-owns eight GNC franchises, and spent seven years as the Director of Health and Fitness for the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute—and above all, a capacity for suffering that is as much motivational as physical.

When clients ask his secret, he has a stock answer. “I’m trying to kill myself,” he tells them. “But you’re just trying to survive.”

And now, he can taunt his 20-something clients who are unable to keep up with him by waving his Medicare card in their faces.

Shilstone has read Life Extension Magazine® for five years and offers advice to fellow readers.

“For a longer, healthier life—aiming for compressed morbidity at a much later part of your life—follow a Mediterranean-style eating plan, do regular cardiovascular and resistance exercise and take appropriate nutritional supplementation,” he says, adding, “and a positive outlook on life, prayer, and good family associations.”

Diet and Supplements

Shilstone hasn’t eaten red meat in 35 years.

A typical breakfast includes a blended drink containing water, fruits, 5,000 mg of vitamin C, a teaspoon of green vegetable powder, two tablespoons of Bulgarian yogurt, 20 grams of whey protein isolate, and a teaspoon of cod liver oil with vitamin D. After that, he may have a slice of rye toast with omega-3 peanut butter.

Lunch is often salmon or turkey, with salad and water.

Dinner, following a 20-minute bike ride, is frequently grilled chicken, fish, or a turkey burger, with green vegetables and a glass of white wine.

He takes an array of nutritional supplements daily, including:

  • An omega-3 (1,280 mg) with added vitamin D3 (1,000 IU), twice daily with breakfast and dinner
  • Cod liver oil with vitamin D3 (with his morning blender drink)
  • Life Extension®’s Super Bio-Curcumin (400 mg), at breakfast
  • Life Extension®’s Optimized Resveratrol (250 mg), with breakfast
  • Glucosamine/chondroitin formula (1,500/1,200 mg), with breakfast
  • DHA fatty acid (830 mg)
  • Probiotics (12 billion live colony-forming units), before breakfast
  • Magnesium citrate (150 mg and another 300 mg at bedtime)
  • Zinc citrate (50 mg), twice daily after meals
  • BioSil™ hair, skin, and nails formula
  • Life Extension®’s CoffeeGenic® Green Coffee Extract (400 mg), before dinner
  • Life Extension®’s TMG (Trimethylglycine, 1,000 mg), at dinner, and
  • A premium multivitamin formula with dinner

For youthful skin, he uses RejuveneX® Factor Firming Serum, morning and night.

“After three decades of working with star athletes, I know that what you put in your mouth can make the difference between winning, losing, or just competing,” Shilstone says. “And after three decades of conducting hospital-based weight management and wellness programs, I’ve seen the end results of poor eating habits and a lack of exercise—susceptibility to cancer, metabolic syndrome, visceral fat gain, diabetes, and heart disease.”

Power Workouts

Power Workouts  

Shilstone’s day starts at 4:48 am. He spends an hour catching up on Life Extension® and various technical journals. “I don’t feel I’ve started my day unless I’ve expanded my mind,” he says.

Then he cycles 12 minutes from his New Orleans home to Newman High School, where he prepared Peyton Manning for the 2015 Super Bowl season. There, he follows his grueling, six-days-a-week regimen. Packed into 12- to 15-minute blocks—for a tight total of 90 minutes of actual movement, excluding resting and walking times—are running, jumping, stability-ball exercises, traditional weight routines, static and dynamic stretching, medicine-ball throws, kettle-bell exercises, chin-ups, lunges and rotations with resistance cords, squats and squat jumps, and jumping crossovers.

He then stretches for 12 minutes before riding his bicycle back home—taking 15 minutes this time, instead of 12. “I take it a little easier after my workout,” he says.

Medicare card or not, he has no plans to cut back on his workouts. And his passion for promoting healthy life extension goes well beyond helping professional athletes and celebrities to seniors who have never followed a nutritious diet or regularly exercised. He has helped hundreds of non-athletes, both through his books and personally, and says that there are no barriers between professional athletes and the average person—“only different target goals and differing training times to reach those goals.”

Advice for Aging Readers

For Life Extension® readers with limited time who still want to optimize their health and prevent the age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia, Shilstone recommends high-intensity interval (HIT) training—an exercise strategy that alternates brief periods of highly intense exercise at the limit of one’s ability with longer less-intense recovery periods, greatly shortening the overall time required for high-value workouts. He says high-intensity training has, in some ways, provided the same cardiovascular benefits of extended, continuous, cardiovascular exercise.

“Exercise using interval cardiovascular training four times a week and work out with resistance-type exercise three or four times a week,” he suggests, “and increase your protein intake [with] diet and whey isolate protein during the day, along with casein protein before bed.” He also suggests a muscle-building amino acid product once or twice daily, as well as 3 grams of a compound known as HMB or (beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate), which may enhance strength gains, especially on untrained athletes just starting a strength-training program.

Aging individuals who feel that bad knees, stiff joints, chronic fatigue, or other movement issues may prevent them from exercising, let alone using high-intensity training, might take a lesson from Shilstone’s experience. Rather than preventing exercise, he suggests, these problems may result from a lack of it. After a lifetime of staying extremely active, Shilstone has only experienced minimal knee discomfort—and he doesn’t attribute this to great luck or good genes.

Advice for Aging Readers  

“I attribute it to my resistance-exercise routine with emphasis on eccentric quadriceps and hamstrings and my comprehensive hip-strengthening (glutes) routine, along with a daily core exercise routine.”

Fatigue is often a result of poor sleep quality, but daily exercise can enhance restorative sleep.

But Shilstone stresses that rigorous daily exercise isn’t a goal in itself. “I don’t live for my workout,” he says. “I workout to live.” In his down time, he enjoys reading books about great leaders, present and past.

As examples of how much living he has experienced outside of the gym, Shilstone has served as a Clinical Instructor of Public Health and Preventative Medicine at Louisiana State Health Sciences Center, Adjunct Instructor in the School of Allied Health at Nicholls State University, and Adjunct Professor at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University. He has also served as a special advisor to the US Olympic Committee on Sports Nutrition and an advisor to the Louisiana Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Of his seven books on fitness and healthy lifestyles, the one best-suited to aging individuals might be Stop Renting Your Health—Own It: A Three Step Approach. This 165-page guide covers the metabolism changes that accompany aging and how to promote wellness and prevent the muscle loss of sarcopenia. Critically, it outlines the same unique, science-based approach that Shilstone uses with celebrities and sports professionals—and it is available as a free download from his website.

As for the not-insignificant challenge of finding the motivation to just get started and keep going, Shilstone says, “Some people dream of success, while others wake up and work hard to try and make it happen. It takes a commitment for a person to get his or her health-and-performance age below that of their chronological age—and commitment means that you are either all-in or you’re out.

“It’s never too late to get healthy,” he adds, “but you need to start with a vision and ask yourself how you want to die. The answer will show you how to live.”

So how does he want to die? “I’m not going to go out broken,” he stresses. “I’m going out standing up.”

He muses on what science may be able to contribute to human longevity.

“I think science is on the brink of extending life with the human genome project, blood testing for genetic markers, caloric restriction to attack cancer cells and achieve apoptosis, along with breakthroughs in exercise science such as the use of high-intensity interval training.”

Mackie Shilstone’s book, Stop Renting Your Health—Own It: A Three Step Approach, is available as a free download at http://www.mackieshilstone.com/stop-renting-your-health-own-it/ Readers can learn about, and buy, any of his other books by visiting http://www.mackieshilstone.com/category/publications/ or by visiting amazon.com

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.