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Finding the next milestone

Fitness: One man’s story of staying in shape at age 50

Posted: October 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 21, 2011 1:55 a.m.

James Madia decided at age 49 to get back into shape. He started at 26-percent body fat, with a goal to attain 10-percent body fat by his 50th birthday Oct. 31.

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Throughout the journey of our lives, we all have various milestones, which is exactly how James Madia saw his 50th birthday. It’s his check-in point to ensure he’s followed the proper path and arrived at his destination, which is to be in incredible shape at the age of 50.

Madia hasn’t always had a smooth journey. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa., he came grew up in a poor inner city with a single mom on welfare.

He was the oldest, with two sisters and a brother to look after. Madia didn’t finish his last two years of high school. Instead, he got married and had four children at a young age.

In 1985, James joined the police department. He started to lift weights, realizing that to be good at his job, he needed to not only have endurance but strength to handle any situation that came his way.

He first learned to lift weights from Muscle & Fitness magazine, where he would get ideas for different workouts and exercises to try. Madia never had a trainer; he learned from the other guys at the gym.

Using a mixture of bodybuilding and power-lifting type workouts, Madia had worked his way up to what was known as “The 300 Club,” which meant he could bench press 300 pounds — or more.

His journey took a few more twists and turns as Madia and his wife divorced, and she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after.

Within a year of being diagnosed, she died of cancer. This tumultuous time, during Madia’s 40s left him in the worst physical shape he’d ever been in.

In 2006, Madia married his current wife, Cyndi, and together they had his fifth child.

With more than 30 years of experience working out in gyms, Madia had suffered a few injuries including a torn ACL, a herniated disc in his back and a rotator cuff tear.

He was coming back from surgery on his shoulder, working with a physical therapist, and saw a milestone on the horizon, his 50th birthday.

Madia was 49 years old at 26 percent body fat.

He found out about the book “Men’s Health Power Training” by Robert Dos Remedios and was introduced to a TRX suspension trainer, which he incorporated into his workouts.

In the meantime, Cyndi Madia had joined Results Fitness looking for something different for her fitness routine. This peaked her husband’s curiosity. He had pegged Results Fitness as a gym for housewives, that it wasn’t a place for a guy like him who had been working out all his life.

He was wrong — after his first class at Results Fitness, Madia was completely humbled. The training was completely different than anything he had done before.

But did he have time to commit to working out? Along with working full time as a command officer in Inglewood, Madia had started graduate school part-time to earn his Master of Arts in Security Studies — Homeland Security.

Add five kids and a wife to look after, and Madia was worried he was not going to be able to train.

He started with a punch card at Results Fitness, taking two to three metabolic conditioning classes a week.

Madia realized that the workouts were giving him a boost, making him more productive in all other areas of his life.

As the saying goes, “You won’t find time; you have to make time,” and that’s exactly what Madia did.

In the first 23 weeks, he dropped 9 percentage points of body fat by just doing the metabolic classes. With the milestone of his 50th birthday ahead, Madia joined as a member of Results Fitness and worked with a trainer on an individualized program. He and Cyndi support each other to stay consistent.

Madia has a personal mantra of “Just get there!”, kind of like Nike’s “Just Do It.” For him, it is not an option to skip the gym.

On those mornings when the alarm goes off and he doesn’t want to go, he thinks to himself  —  just get there. By the time he gets to the gym, he’s glad he did, and ends up having a great workout.

At this point, Madia is zeroing in on his goal of attaining 10 percent body fat by his birthday, Oct. 31. That will be a total of 16 percent body fat lost in a year to reach his destination of being in incredible shape at the age of 50.

What keeps him motivated? Age is only a number to Madia. He surrounds himself with younger people who drive him to keep up.

Where he works, there has been a turnover, bringing in a number of new, young officers. The average age of the person he works with is 25. Madia feels part of his job is to set an example as a leader, which includes being physically fit.
Madia does admit that such a huge part of his success is mental.

“The physical challenge is easy when you have your mindset right,” he said.

Think about your next milestone and where you want to be. What is your marker to know you are on the right path toward accomplishing your goals?

Rachel Cosgrove is the author of “The Female Body Breakthrough” and co-owner of Results Fitness.

Results Fitness is located at 24420 Walnut St., Newhall. For a free Results Strategy Session, call (661) 799-7900. For more info, visit


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