Doug Brolus and Ed Urbano
Staying Fit for LifeOctober 2017
By Jon Vanzile
Douglas Brolus (back).
Few teenagers end up becoming lifelong friends with their idols. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Doug Brolus when, as a 15-year-old looking to learn more about exercise, he reached out to Jack LaLanne.
By the time Brolus placed his call to LaLanne’s television studio, he had already developed the traits that would carry him into the rarefied air of celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Leno. He was persistent, friendly, charismatic, and most of all, open to learning everything he could about exercise and nutrition.
Brolus, now a buff 58-year-old, grew up in Michigan, far from Muscle Beach or the television studios and stages where the early bodybuilding movement of his youth was taking shape. Still, he was always interested in fitness.
“When I was 9 years old, my father bought me a chin-up bar and I started doing chin-ups,” he remembered. “I became proficient and developed biceps and abdominals.”
Not too long afterward, he was visiting his grandmother’s house when he saw The Jack LaLanne Show.
At the time, LaLanne was changing the way Americans thought about nutrition, exercise and fitness. A charismatic showman, LaLanne, who died in 2011 at age 96, was also a pioneer in exercise science. He popularized healthy eating as well as the concept of working muscles to the point of fatigue and taking minimal breaks between sets—both of which are fundamental to weightlifting today.
He also loved his stunts. Throughout his life, LaLanne was known for amazing feats such as swimming the length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater or doing more than 1,000 push-ups in 23 minutes.
For Brolus—himself an outgoing kid—finding LaLanne was like coming home. Brolus had started weightlifting at age 11 and was already developing the abs that would make him semi-famous in the smaller world of natural bodybuilding. By high school, he was winning pitching contests in baseball and going out for football. Reaching out to LaLanne seemed like a natural thing to do.
“I was 15 when I called his studio,” Brolus said. “I left a message with my name and number. I didn’t think he’d call back, but he did, and we became friends.”
Before long, Brolus was invited out to LaLanne’s Hollywood Hills home, where LaLanne showed him some exercise techniques in his private gym and they hit it off. The resulting friendship changed Brolus’s life. Over the next decades he became a regular visitor to California, where he met the heavyweights of the emerging bodybuilding world, including Joe Weider, co-founder of the International Federation of Bodybuilding, and the soon-to-be-legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I still go to California every year,” Brolus says from his home in Michigan. “Every year I always call Arnold and sometimes see him. He’s always interested in what I’m doing.”
A Life of Exercise
One of the most remarkable aspects of Brolus’s story is how unlikely it all is. As he proudly notes, he is self-taught in nutrition and exercise science, relying on resources like Life Extension Magazine®. Professionally, he’s an anatomical artist who has drawn “every single part” of the human anatomy, but his interest in nutrition and exercise is purely amateur and his competitive career as a bodybuilder was short.
At age 19, he won Best Abdominals in the Mr. Michigan contest, but that proved to be the highest level he would achieve in the world of bodybuilding—for a very good reason. Brolus wasn’t afraid to train hard and ate a clean diet, but he drew the line at using steroids.
“I did compete in Mr. Michigan, but I was competing against guys full of anabolic steroids, and I refused to put those in my body,” he says. “I got tired of being beat out by these guys full of drugs. It was like running a Volkswagen against a Ferrari.”
He even found this to be true in the so-called “natural” competitions, like the Mr. Hercules Natural Contest. The athletes there simply took drugs that weren’t tested for, or came up with ways around the testing protocols. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t worth it to Brolus to sacrifice his health.
Today, Brolus works out twice a week, getting up at 5 a.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays for several-hour gym sessions. He alternates between heavy exercises to build muscle and lighter reps to develop fast-twitch muscles and maintain his lean physique.
Brolus relies on supplements to address a number of issues, including longevity and disease prevention, reducing inflammation, and of course maximizing his results from the gym.
For his diet, he relies on turkey and baked salmon as his primary proteins, typically accompanied by salads and fruit. For breakfast, he’ll often have eggs, plus one tablespoon of honey four times a week. At lunch, he relies on figs and dates, Greek yogurt with pineapple, and more lean protein. He often adds barrel-aged apple cider vinegar with meals for its high potassium content.
“I also eat three apples a day,” he says. “One with breakfast, one with lunch, and one with dinner. They’re full of nutrients and pectin.”
Brolus is also a big fan of Life Extension®.
“I always tell people that Life Extension Magazine is one of the best I’ve ever seen,” he says. “The research is great and Life Extension has the highest quality supplements to back it up.”
Ed Urbano: An Inspired Friend
Once upon a time, Doug Brolus changed his life with a phone call—so it’s only fitting that he would later pay it forward when he received a call from a Californian named Ed Urbano.
Urbano was a full-time carpenter by trade who had exercised on and off for most of his life, until he retired. After retirement, however, he started hitting the gym much harder, going four times a week and keeping up a rigorous program of weightlifting and cardio.
“I got some surprises about how it worked,” the 74-year-old recalls. “I thought as long as I hit the iron hard and heavy, I’d build muscle. But you’re lucky just to maintain at my age. The results came slow.”
He discovered Brolus online and called him to ask a question, only to hit it off and launch a friendship after Brolus mentioned he was still traveling to California once a year to meet with friends and do the occasional photo shoot.
“One year, he said to me, ‘Why don’t you come along?’” Urbano remembers. “So I did, and it was the opportunity of a lifetime. I met Arnold and Jay Leno on the shoot. It was incredible, and I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
It was actually Urbano who introduced Brolus to Life Extension. Urbano says he relies almost exclusively on Life Extension products as the highest-quality supplements on the market. He stocks up during the annual Life Extension Super Sale to prepare for the year ahead and enthusiastically recommends the company’s supplements to other “older guys” who want the kind of results he gets.
Today, Brolus and Urbano are planning for another photo shoot and still getting lots of attention for their fitness level. As Urbano notes, he knows plenty of people his age who “can’t walk across a room” while he credits regular exercise with allowing him to stay strong and healthy even into his mid-70s.
In fact, if there’s any takeaway from their story, it’s this: the benefits of exercise and good nutrition are available to anyone, old or young, male or female. Both Brolus and Urbano are self-taught and motivated purely by their own gains and health. The fact that it ended up taking them into the pages of Life Extension Magazine, and into meetings with fitness superstars, is a happy side effect of a lifelong interest in staying as healthy as possible for as long as possible—and simply having fun.
“I still can’t believe I’m going to be in a magazine,” Urbano says when asked if this is his first time appearing in a health magazine. “I’d love to know that I helped someone get excited about weight training. Everybody can make a difference in their body and go for their personal best. You can have quality until the end.”
Doug Brolus’s booklet, Developing Prize Winning Abdominals, is available online for $7.99 at premierbodybuildingandfitness.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.