65-Year-Old All-Star Trainer Outruns the Athletes He Trains

Written by Rebecca Turley

Professional athletes have already proven themselves to be highly motivated individuals. However, even they need help once in a while. It takes a special kind of trainer to push these people past their own impressive limits, and there might be no one better for the job than trainer Mackie Shilstone.

The 65 year old has been training professionally for decades, and he claims the secret to his success is simple. The best way to train professional athletes of all kinds is to learn their sport alongside them.

“I become them, I’m a chameleon,” said Shilstone.

Working with famed athletes like tennis elite Serena Williams, and NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, Shilstone took the time to become familiar with both football and tennis. While he will not be winning Wimbledon anytime soon, by training alongside Williams, Shilstone was able to identify Williams’ specific needs and tailor a program built to enhance her longevity as a player.

If he has any gift, it is in his ability to break down and analyze an athlete’s strengths and weaknesses and find ways to refocus their training to take advantage of these. Former NFL kicker Morten Anderson played for the New Orleans, Saints for 25 years. He claims that Shilstone’s training was responsible for his incredible longevity in the NFL.

Beyond just specialized workouts, Shilstone also believes it is important to show athletes their limits and move past them. Anderson said that Shilstone was never afraid to use his age to push the kicker to new levels. Shilstone would run backwards, keeping pace as Anderson ran as fast as possible. Watching a senior effortlessly outpace him helped Anderson overcome what he previously saw as his peak.

“I tell people, ‘I’m trying to kill myself, and you’re trying to survive,’ ” Shilstone says. “That’s the difference.” While Shilstone’s advice has helped to push many professional athletes to excel, he also serves as an example to elderly people everywhere that think they have hit the boundaries of their physical fitness. It is never too late to start working on physical fitness, and trainers like Shilstone can help guide older fitness novices into a healthy lifestyle.