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RIPPED 50-year-old reveals how he got into the best shape of his life by starting his own fitness company after losing everything in a market crash

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/16/2019 Dailymail.com Reporter

Gains: Businessman Todd Vande Hei, 50, of Southern California reached his peak of physical health and career success at middle age, and now teaches others they can do the same © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Gains: Businessman Todd Vande Hei, 50, of Southern California reached his peak of physical health and career success at middle age, and now teaches others they can do the same A 50-year-old CEO turned his life around to prove to our youth-obsessed society that men reach their peak of hunkiness and career success by middle age.

The credit crunch nearly destroyed alpha male businessman Todd Vande Hei, from Southern California, but now he is in the best shape of his life.

Determined to turn his life around, he started Stark, a fitness company aimed at CEOs from large companies, and in the process earned himself a nice set of pecs.

a man standing in front of a building: Active recovery: After losing his job in the carpet industry and struggling through the property market collapse, Todd founded fitness company Stark

Active recovery: After losing his job in the carpet industry and struggling through the property market collapse, Todd founded fitness company Stark
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Todd ran a public manufacturing company in the carpet industry before being fired by the board of directors in his mid-30s. He then retired but lost everything five years later as the property market collapsed.

While Todd was employed at his old job he suffered a range of medical issues including neck pain, shoulder pain, lower back problems, high blood pressure and arrhythmia.

He experienced headaches and migraines four to five times a week, and even suffered a one-time cluster of grand mal seizures on a golf course. 

Caused by abnormal electrical activity throughout the brain, grand mal seizures are they are typically related to epilepsy, but can also be triggered by other health problems like low blood sugar or a high fever.

Like Todd, many people who suffer a grand mal seizure never experience another one. 

Todd teamed up with a personal trainer friend to found Stark, a fitness company inspired by Fortune 100 CEOs who building their own teams of specialists.

Instead of a single personal trainer, Stark's method uses a team of health experts including a trainer, nutritionist, a program designer and a neuromuscular specialist to help clients achieve their fitness goals. 

'Beginning with training, we added nutrition, supplements, then Chiropractic, and then lastly Naturopathic Medicine,' Todd said, describing his company. 

a person posing for the camera: Reaching high: Focusing on CEOs of large companies, the Stark fitness method uses a team of trainers and health experts rather than a personal trainer

Reaching high: Focusing on CEOs of large companies, the Stark fitness method uses a team of trainers and health experts rather than a personal trainer
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

'As we became more sophisticated in our approach and applied treatments to the health issues I experienced, all of the chronic problems of the past faded away. The outcome you can see in my current photographs.' 

Todd documents his fitness progress on his Instagram, with the help of photographer Lauren Hillary

'I'm shocked and proud of what my team has been able to accomplish,' he has said of his success. 

'I don't completely understand all of the science but instead of keeping my shirt on at the beach because of embarrassment I now look for opportunities to take it off. 

'At my age, having a good physique is an experience worth savoring because I have a greater awareness of how fleeting everything is.' 

Todd weight trains three or four times a week while doing light cardio, stretching, yoga or kite surfing on his days off. 

The five-foot-seven CEO currently weighs 160 lbs and explains he sees himself as an example of what his company can help people achieve.

'Because I'm one of the founders of Stark and own the business, I have no problems with motivation,' he said.

'I represent the work product, and am, sort of, the "pace car'" for everyone else. In other words, if I'm not dedicated to what we do and how we do it, my ability to lead is diminished.

a man playing frisbee on a sandy beach: Proud: 'Instead of keeping my shirt on at the beach because of embarrassment I now look for opportunities to take it off,' said Todd, pictured before his transformation with his son

Proud: 'Instead of keeping my shirt on at the beach because of embarrassment I now look for opportunities to take it off,' said Todd, pictured before his transformation with his son
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

'My medical problems have been the biggest of my challenges but I don't think I'm a unique 50-year-old in that regard.  

'I'm just more aware of how much control I have over the outcomes, whereas in the past, I felt as though I was '"dealt a bad hand." And, so, I can't just go out and train hard like a 20-year-old. 

'I have to be strategic in my approach by doing constant self-care on those problem areas, taking the proper supplements, and relying on those members of our team to treat me.'

Todd doesn't think people are shocked at his age due to his grey hair and white beard but explained most young men tell him they hope to be in his shape when the reach 50. 

He had some advice for anyone starting out on their own fitness journey.

'Whatever your physiological state, whatever your ailments, you are in the driver's seat,' he added.

'Seek out professionals who are willing to care for you like an individual but take full responsibility for your health. And measure what you're doing and your progress like you would in any other important part of your life.

'In other words, don't just go to the gym, get on the elliptical, break a sweat, and fool yourself into thinking you've accomplished something. 

'If you measure, you will learn about your body, and over time, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

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