Over the years, Larry McNutt has participated in dozens of bodybuilding competitions but, at 79 years old, he's mostly kept in shape for the health benefits rather than the limelight.
"I'd like to do one more next year when I'm 80," McNutt said. "I think it helps my credentials in the other things I do, but it's kind of expensive and a little bit stressful."
The "other things" include his work as a personal trainer out of his home in Grand Junction. McNutt, who competed in the 2019 Colorado Natural Bodybuilding State Championships hosted in the Grand Valley, didn't get into fitness until after suffering a leg injury in a car accident when he was 43. He was looking for ways to rehabilitate when a friend suggested weightlifting.
"I had a friend that was an assistant coach at the junior college and he invited me to work out with their morning crew and just do a few reps and get some therapy like that," McNutt said. "I put it off for a couple months and finally he talked me into going over there and he showed me a couple exercises. I did one repetition of a low cable row and I knew right then that was what I was going to do for the rest of my life."
That's when weightlifting turned into a regular regimen from that point on, and friends started to notice a physical transformation.
After a few years of lifting, McNutt, who was living in California at the time, started to have friends approach him and suggest that he should enter a bodybuilding competition. He was eventually persuaded to enter the Bay Area Bodybuilding Show in San Francisco.
He finished in third place in the Men's Masters and his motivation to enter more competitions took hold.
Competitions only increased McNutt's devotion to weightlifting and fitness. He owned a flooring company and stored carpets in a warehouse, but he decided that the space could be better utilized. So he slowly started adding fitness equipment to the space. Eventually the word got out that McNutt had a pretty nice facility.
"Before I knew it I had a gym with people coming in and working out with me," McNutt said. "It was quite a metamorphosis."
In that period, the late 1980s and early '90s, McNutt competed in more than two dozen shows, which was his most active stretch in competition. While the number of competitions decreased over the years, he never lost interest in keeping his fitness level.
"It's not necessarily an addiction, but it's like a habit that you develop to keep your lifestyle going," McNutt said. "I haven't really gotten any bigger or better or more gnarly over the years, but I've been able to maintain."
He has an interesting way at looking his lifestyle.
"I think weightlifting is similar to alcoholism or being hooked on nicotine, except it's a good habit instead of a bad habit."
McNutt continued to live in California until 2008 when the housing market crashed. He had a cousin living in Grand Junction, so McNutt moved here to try and find work installing flooring, but the recession hit here soon after.
He's lived in Grand Junction for the last decade working as a trainer for several gyms. Today he's living in semi-retirement, but he is still advocating for people of all ages to improve their fitness.
"I think the philosophy is that you're never too old to get started and you're never old enough to quit," McNutt said. "That's the whole thing about it. All you have to do is just a little bit of something every day and eventually you'll get into a routine, just like brushing your teeth, and you'll have a better life for it. I know that."