*reproduced from "The Core" for World Gym Members, September 2004 issue


The Former Bodybuilding Champion and Kickboxing Promoter Turns the Tables on Aging

From muscle–might to flabby-physique, at what age do people begin to allow their workout routines or personal health deteriorate? Well, hardly anyone has been as active in the personal health and fitness industry, while winning competitions as long as Wally Emery, who is now 68. And he’s been through it all.


Beginning in 1952 at the age of sixteen, Emery was crowned Mr. Muscle Beach, championing his rookie appearance into the world of bodybuilding competitions. Inspired by a photo of Mr. Universe, Steve Reeves, Wally purchased each dumbbell and weight, one by one, and worked out in his family’s backyard brick barbecue house. Since no gyms existed locally for Wally during that era, he spent his months and years locked away, training with an intense passion to succeed. He would later compete internationally in Europe during the dawn of the sport and place among the greats during the 1956 Mr. Europe and 1956 Mr. Universe competitions.

His early start at bodybuilding, however, would dissipate as Emery adjusted his goals from working out to working-American. Like most of us, it is nearly impossible to balance the contradicting goal of supreme fitness versus ultimate career success, mixed with the inevitability of aging.

This volatile lifestyle finally caught up to Emery when three years ago he suffered a major heart attack. He went under the knife for open-heart surgery which ended up becoming a quintuple by-pass to clear up the 98 percent blockage that existed. Frustrated with the consequences of his current health and previous lifestyle, Emery signed up for competition in the ‘Body for LIFE’ program in which he used the ‘Bowflex’ Home Fitness Gym in a championship effort to regain his previous self-image and self-respect.

“It was really tough at first because after a life altering event like that you go through a lot of anxiety and depression,” Emery explains. “After about the forth week I didn’t know if I could continue. When they saw you open like that there is incredible pressure on your peck and chest area. I felt like I might rip open.”

But Emery is a man of drive and character. The first to bring the sport of kickboxing to Las Vegas in the 1970’s he also holds black belts in two styles of Korean Karate, Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwan Do. During this time he became the principal partner, along with Chuck Norris, in owning and operating several schools of martial arts throughout California. Emery’s personal motivation following surgery could not keep the former fitness legend away from the Bowflex and changing both his body and his self –image

“I got really enthusiastic about my progress,” Emery clarified “It’s really convenient because you can go from just 10 pounds of resistance to up to 410 pounds in a few seconds. I keep mine in my office and it’s great for people who are unable to travel to the gym like myself.”

The man, who began his training to compete internationally in the sport of bodybuilding in his own backyard at the age of 14, used the Bowflex to slash his body fat from an unhealthy 21.5 percent to a trim 10.6 percent and cut 18 pounds of excess weight from his body.

Walley Emery 12 weeks before

“Working out gives you a mental facelift. I express to people what they can do if they just take that first step. A lot of the time people feel if they have a major health problem that you might as well forget it. You feel better, look better, and it changes your whole life attitude.”

However, Emery recommends using the ‘Bowflex’ in conjunction with a gym, where a personal trainer may be used to supplement a workout. Emery recalls that, “the Bowflex is great because you can work up to more intense forms of strength training. Diet is also essential and I had to cut smoking and a lot of drinking from my habits as well as junk food.” You may visit your local World Gym for receiving personalized training, lifestyle and dieting attention.

The busy world of corporate and working America has left less and less time for the average person to maintain their personal health. But Emery explains it best. “Try to focus on track, making it a part of your life and daily routine. You won’t have a corporate life if you don’t live a healthy life.”

Walley Emery 12 weeks after

Emery, being a professional trainer who has trained such successful sports teams as the then Los Angeles Rams (now St. Louis) and the Los Angeles Kings, is now active in the sports medicine world, and now is the main distributor for sports therapy and pain management company called ‘H-wave therapy ‘ begun by his friend, Jim Heaney. Emery now works in his hometown of Lodi, California. “I enjoy being able to talk one on one with people and their health concerns, and if I think I can help them then that’s just great.”

Emery concludes that anyone who works out to maintain health and a positive mental outlook, regardless of age is a, “champion unto themselves” and the ‘Bowflex’ strength

Training system will help them to achieve such a goal. Emery feels that if he can return from such a life –altering experience and make the best of it using the Bowflex, then you probably can too.

For more information on the Bowflex Home Gym, visit their website at Bowflex

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