Renewed passion for bodybuilding leads to competition-spec body and new love.

A few years ago, Japanese Twitter user Shirapyon (@lonestarsde66) hit a low point in his life. His wife suddenly left him, and he was, in his own words, “A bald, dumpy, middle-aged guy.”

Looking for something to kick-start his emotional recovery, he recalled how he used to exercise pretty regularly, but had fallen out of his fitness habits after graduating from college. Of course, it’s all too easy to put off hitting the gym when you can tell yourself, “Eh, I’ll just go tomorrow,” so to give himself a goal and a deadline to work towards, Shirapyon decided to sign up for a bodybuilding contest.

So did he stick to his fitness commitment? Take a look for yourself, with these before/after photos.

Needless to say, Shirapyon’s results have gone far beyond the mild toning of a stereotypical mid-life crisis, and he’s since become a frequent bodybuilding competitor. While he’s yet to capture any overall championships, he’s repeatedly placed in the top 10, including an impressive fourth-place finish in the recent Tokyo Open Bodybuilding tournament’s over-40-years-old division.

▼ Shirapyon poses with his plaque

▼ What a difference a few years and a lot of weightlifting makes.

Shirapyon is now so into the fitness-focused lifestyle that he’s parlaying it into some entertainment world gigs, such as running a “muscle taxi” booth at the recent Niconico Chokaigi pop culture celebration.

He’s also cosplayed as smooth-headed, muscle-bound anime martial artist Tien Shinhan, from Dragon Ball.

And aside from a new physique, Shirapyon has also found a new love, and is now in a happy relationship with a woman he met through one of the bodybuilding events he competed in.

But Shirapyon doesn’t share his story just to show off his body, but in hopes of inspiring others. One motto he often repeats is “If you want to be reborn, do it while you’re still alive,” which is actually a Japanese song lyric that a famous bodybuilder wrote on an autograph placard that hangs in the gym where Shirapyon lifts. Shirapyon’s other profound statement, though, is one he thought of on his own:

“Don’t make any excuses until after you’ve tried everything you can.”

Because as he’s proven, even if you’re unhappy with yourself when you’re middle-aged, you’ve still got half a life left to become the person you want to be.

Source: Twitter/@lonestarsde66 via Hachima Kiko
Featured image: Twitter/@lonestarsde66
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