At 73, Bodybuilder Still Winning Contests: 'The More I Do It, The More I Want to Do'

Robert 'Stonewall' Jackson is a lean, mean, bodybuilding machine -- at age 73.

We should all be as fit as 73-year-old Robert “Stonewall” Jackson.

The Texan is buffed and bulked and still winning bodybuilding competitions when many folks his age are in poor health and nursing homes.

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On April 8, his birthday, he took first place in two divisions at a competition in Fort Worth.

He’s been lifting weights and posing in contests for more than four decades.

“The more I do it, the more I want to do,” he told Monday from his  home, where he is raising two grandchildren, Nasjah, 6, and Prince, 7.

Until last year, he could lift 450 pounds.

“You get this old, I’m not supposed to be lifting that much,” he says, and then cracks himself up laughing. “I keep going. I lift weights, but not like I used to.”

His life, he says, has been a good one.

He’s certainly looked good for nearly all of it. And he’s experienced extreme highs and some devastating lows.

He played professional football, for the Oakland Raiders, competing in 1968’s Super Bowl II against Green Bay (they won 33-14).

But he was drafted by the U.S. Army that same year and shipped off to Vietnam, ending his professional career and beginning a fondness for marijuana with occasional forays into heroin and cocaine.

Back in the States, he was busted on a drug conspiracy charge and served seven years in prison, he says.

On the inside, he came to his senses. He began working with fellow inmates, helping them exercise their bodies and encouraging them to discuss their emotional problems with him.

When he got out, he became a gym rat. He asked a lot of  weight-training questions, he said. Someone told him he’d make a good bodybuilder.

So he started working with dumbbells. He entered competitions. He began winning them.

“I stuck with it for four decades,” he said.  His motivation, he says, comes from people telling him he looks fantastic.

“I feel good about it,” he said.

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But he doesn’t let it go to his head.

“I don’t hang around too much with women,” he said.

"I got my grandkids. I hang around with one lady, but we’re just friends," he added, laughing. "She doesn’t like it when I’m out of her sight."

He's an early riser — sometimes waking up at 2 a.m., and begins his workout. Some cardio, a dose of walking the treadmill, a stint on the elliptical machine, then on to weights, he said.

He takes his grandkids to school and then he works out some more.

“I can’t sit still,” he said. “The older I get, the more ‘up’ I want to be.”

But he's not without some age-related problems. His knees aren’t what they used to be, so he can’t lift heavy weights anymore.

“I put it like this here — some mornings if I don’t feel like working out, I just go in and start working out. Then I feel good. When I don’t work out, I don’t feel too good.”

And every day, he says, he feels glad just to be here.

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