When the bank asks me what I do for a living, I say that I am a business owner; a strength and conditioning writer and coach; a husband to a very patient and caring wife; and a father to a compassionate, strong willed, and spirited young lady. In reality, I help ordinary, everyday people look, feel, and perform how they truly want too, and then I write about it, among other topics.
Since this is supposed to be a “bio” page: I first got my feet wet in the field of strength athletics as a powerlifter in 1987 where I held seven California teenage state titles in the American Drug Free Powerlifting Association (ADFPA). I then transitioned into bodybuilding while attending college where I placed first place in my first bodybuilding show, 1991 Teenage Mr. Chico, subsequently finishing second in the Teenage Mr. California a week later. Over time, I worked my way into the top national line-ups at several National Physique Committee (NPC) bodybuilding shows, including the NPC USA and North American Championships. I also hold several Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Nutrition designations through various exercise science institutions and possess a university degree in behavioral psychology with a heavy emphasis in applied sport psychology and brain science.
For the last 25-plus years, I have worked in the business of helping people develop, refine, and push their body in order to feel amazing and confident about their body and its athletic performance capabilities. Currently, I am a “serious physique and strength athlete,” meaning that I enjoy building a lean, muscular, powerful, and aesthetic body, but I stop short of actual competitive bodybuilding, powerlifting, or strongman due to the marked increase in potential for serious injury. I build my body for me because I love it, it is healthy, it keeps me grounded and sane, and because I can. It is an incredible privilege to be able to push myself to the absolute limits of my abilities at 40-plus years of age. Not to mention, actually looking like you lift weights is fun, garners the attention and positive admiration of others, and allows you the ability to encourage and promote positive behavior in others, not just the chubby personal trainers or internet arm chair gurus that send you hate mail and write whiny blog posts about how unfair the world is.
Here is where the rubber meets the road. As I have matured and embraced the term mashed-up meathead, I have been forced to recognize the many hormonal, physical, psychological, interpersonal, social, sexual, and spiritual issues, concerns, and challenges that come with male maturity and the midlife transition. This time-honored midlife stew can easily develop into a full blown crisis, manifesting in symptoms of andropause, a condition often characterized by hot flashes in men, erectile dysfunction, low libido, irritability, lack of energy, difficulty sleeping, poor concentration, muscle loss, and fatigue. The resulting low levels of testosterone brought about by an androgen deficiency can further lead to the development of a soul-crushing midlife crisis, a condition in men whereby conscious feelings, ideas, and impulses give rise to feelings of anxiety, depression, and insecurity; poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle behaviors; self-indulgence and risk-taking, and the unrecognized fulfillment of achievement, leadership, and responsibility. For me, addressing the issues of identity and self-confidence “the hard way” has actually been a blessing because I have been able to combine the personal character strengths that I was blessed with, like intelligence, tenacity, and perseverance, to help me become a very good problem solver; steward of knowledge; and a much better husband, father, friend, and coach.
This process also taught me to better appreciate the “no bullshit” side of the physique transformation and strength training processes. Trust me, losing fat, building muscle, and gaining functional power and strength is a lot more than just a simple math equation, especially when you are still trying to add slabs of muscle, lose fat, and build lungs of steel by pushing the limits of your physical and mental capabilities through your 40's, 50's, 60's, and beyond.
We have all heard the cliche from wimpy, dried up gymsters that push broscience as a legitimate form of knowledge, “Hey, your metabolism sucks! You need to eat more. Move less, do more cardio. Join a crossfit gym. Detox. And maybe, if all fails, amputate an arm.” Well, sad to say my dear arm chair guru, the only action of significance involves a person’s willingness to ultimately decide to change and be willing to fail, rinse, and repeat.
So, here it is: Transformation success typically comes down to one of four things:
- Information overload. There is too much information consumption and not enough action.
- No wiggle room. You will fail without room for failure, if you feel me?
- Plan of action. Find a plan of action that you can follow long enough and consistently enough for permanent results.
- Self-Accountability. If it is only you in the fight, your brain will sabotage you at every turn.
In life you discover that there are many routes to any one destination. The trick is finding the best route for the individual traveler. Therefore, if you are male and in your 40's and beyond, you have undoubtedly noticed that the majority of your peers are physically declining, some more rapidly than others. My goal is to inform and educate you that if you start believing you are over the hill at 40-plus and that your body has suddenly gotten all snow flaky and limp, then that will become the hard truth. If you are maintaining on the other hand, you are doing much better than most of your peers, so keep it up! And look, if you know someone your age that is still packing on muscle, setting personal PR’s, and staying injury free, it probably means they decided at some point in time long ago to start believing in themselves, table mediocrity, and do something about it. Remember, getting older means you have been around the block a time or two, it is a sign of respect that you have earned. It means you have put in work, gained some serious muscle, and know your way around the weight room.
My friends in iron, "Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light," and never let anyone convince you that you cannot make great changes to your training, to your health, and to your life.
Modern Mature Male's Mission, Vision, and Values
Brett Place has been proactively working with men’s groups and organizations with a focus on helping men become the best Men, best Husbands, and best Fathers they can possibly be. He’s a husband and a father and has been with the same amazing woman since 2005. In 2018 he felt it was time to put together a definitive online man’s guide to informing and educating over 40 males in their understanding and pursuit to overcome mental and physical health and wellness challenges linked to the midlife transition. This collection of informational resources has helped men discover how to be “The Men that Embody the Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Marks of Male Strength, Maturity, and Manhood the World Needs, Requires, and Deserves.” He believes that today is one of the most difficult times in history for men to thrive and be the powerful male role models that they were meant to be. Divorce is epidemic and most children are being raised without a father or proper male influence. Most men are alone and do not have the proper male mentoring and healthy connections that are vital to their lasting development as men. His motivation for doing this crucial work is for the children, as they are our future. It’s time for men to step-up and become the role models and leaders that our women, children, and society greatly need.
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