By Mark McConville
THE CREDIT crunch nearly destroyed this businessman but the now butch 50-year-old turned his life around to prove to our youth-obsessed society that men reach their peak of both hunkiness and career success by middle age.
Alpha male CEO Todd Vande Hei, from Southern California, USA, 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.
Determined to turn his life around he started Stark with a personal trainer friend, a fitness company aimed at CEOS from large companies, and in the process got into the best shape of his life.
While Todd was employed at his old job he suffered a range of medical issues including neck pain, shoulder pain, lower back problems, headaches and migraines four to five times a week, high blood pressure and arrhythmia while he also suffered a one-time cluster of grand mal seizures on a golf course.
“Beginning with training, we added nutrition, supplements, then Chiropractic, and then lastly Naturopathic Medicine,” he said, describing his company.
“As we became more sophisticated in our approach and applied treatments (exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, supplements, and other treatments) to the health issues I experienced (along with all of our clients), all of the chronic problems of the past faded away. The outcome you can see in my current photographs.
“I’m shocked and proud of what my team has been able to accomplish. 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 savouring 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 11st 7lbs 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. 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.
For more information see https://www.starklife.us/