John Asbury, 61, realized about ten years ago that he was ready to prioritize his fitness. Though he remained fit in his younger years through skateboarding, he found that he did not find time to make it to the gym in his adult life as a devoted husband and father with a demanding career as a restaurant manager. This changed when he realized that his employer was providing him with a wellness stipend that was going to waste, and he decided to get a gym membership. 

John began going to the gym and lifting weights for 15-20 minutes, though he knew little about the sport or how to improve his physique. He took his fitness education into his own hands by reading articles and watching fitness videos on YouTube and Instagram. After about five years of self-education and seeing his progress, John decided to further enhance his fitness knowledge by becoming certified as a personal trainer. While he initially began his journey as a trainer to educate himself, John quickly realized he had a true passion for helping others. “Meeting clients who say they hate the gym, and then seeing them get the ‘fitness bug’ and learn to love the gym like I do is so rewarding,” John says. 

Through his experience weightlifting and as a personal trainer, John has found the best three areas to focus on are workouts, nutrition, and recovery — not in that order. Contrary to his initial belief that the gym is the most challenging part of training, John now recognizes it’s the fun and easy part, whereas building in the appropriate nutrition and rest is more difficult. “When I started, I went to the gym late at night after my family went to bed so I did not miss any time with them. However, coming home late, I realized I was not getting the rest and recovery I needed,” he remembers. 

Within the past couple of years, John decided to take his passion to the next level by training for bodybuilding competitions. He began working with a coach to help prepare him, which required a major focus on nutrition and training. While this was a challenge, John thrived, mainly due to his amazing support system at home. From helping with his meal prep, encouraging his gym time, and listening to his struggles during his training, John does not think he would have found much success in bodybuilding without his family. “Without a good support system, you may get stressed, and the cortisol caused by that stress will eat up your results and make all your hard work pretty useless,” he says. 

After competing in his first bodybuilding competition in May 2024, John is already looking forward to competing again next year and spending the rest of 2024 training hard in preparation. In the meantime, John plans to continue to enjoy feeling better than ever. “Age is just a number. My body feels better than when I was in my 20s. I feel more confident and have a better mental attitude than ever at 61,” John says. 

John continues to train clients at his favorite gym, The Yard in Arlington, working primarily with clients his age or older looking for better strength, stability, and functionality. John is also especially passionate about working with special needs clients, focusing on finding ways to help them feel good in their bodies while having fun exercising. Most recently, John was nominated to compete in Mr. Health and Fitness, a national bodybuilding competition where supporters can vote online to help him win. 

Find John on Instagram to see his fitness content or to inquire about training. You can also vote for him to become Mr. Health and Fitness at

By Zoe Harrison 

Photo by Tindall Stephens