MARINA DEL REY, Sept. 11, 2007 (KABC-TV) - When it comes to staying healthy into old age, one man seems to have the answer. He's 72 years old and buff as a 20-something. Jim Morris is a former Mr. America, and still going strong.
His biceps are bulging, his triceps terrific, and his pecs are, well, impeccable. And if you think the physique belongs to some young 20-something bodybuilder, think again. The man behind the muscle is 72-year-old Jim Morris.
As a matter of fact, Jim just turned 72 last Friday, and says he's never felt better.
"I feel fabulous, honestly," said Jim. "I don't take any medications, I don't have any pain. All my joints are wonderful."
That's remarkable when you consider he's being heavy lifting pretty much every day for the last 47 years.
Jim moved to L.A. in 1969. His workouts back then helped to pump up the popularity of Venice's Muscle Beach, lifting weights right alongside the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 1973, the then 37-year-old Morris won the title of Mr. America.
"That was the highlight of my life," said Jim.
His success is more significant when you consider that he's black and openly gay, and competing at a time when the combination was rare -- especially in the muscle-bound world of body building.
Jim believes the color of his skin was one of his greatest strengths.
"In the '60s and '70s, remember 'Black is beautiful?' While the activists were out saying it, I was on stage showing it," said Jim.
But how does he keep the physique? He still works out for an hour a day, six days a week. And his diet is made up of nuts, beans, fruits, and vegetables. That means no meat, no chicken, no fish, and according to Jim, cheese is the worst.
He shares more of the mind behind his muscle in this month's "Iron Man" magazine. He's the oldest man ever to be featured.
"People say you look so good for your age. I don't think so. I think this is the way 70 should look," said Jim.
His last contest was Mr. Olympia Masters. He won in the over-60 category.