How Lee Priest Has Transformed Training From His 20s to 50s

lee priest diet

“The Blond Myth” continues to lift heavy weights decades later.  

Professional bodybuilder Lee Priest has been working on his physique for quite some time now. The 50-year-old Australian has three decades of lifting under his belt, racking impressive accolades and trophies. This article will cover how Lee Priest trains, which includes seated cable rows, now that he’s in his 50s compared to when he was in his 20s.

However, as he explains in his most recent video, published on Sam’s Fitness – Gym Equipment YouTube channel on May 5, 2023, that doesn’t mean he’s lifted the same way this whole time.  Watch the full video here:

Full Name: Lee Andrew McCutcheon “Lee Priest”
Weight Height Date Of Birth
225-235 lbs. 5’4’’ 07/06/1972
Profession Era Nationality
Bodybuilder, Entrepreneur, Author 2000, 2010 Australian


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A post shared by Lee Priest (@leepriestofficial72)

Lee Priest’s Workout Tips for People Over 50

“The Blonde Myth” lets us in on his process for maintaining muscle and how he’s shifted his focus to cardiovascular training to keep himself fit.

Funny enough, he’s kept the same principle throughout his lifting career — lifting heavy. The exercises remain the same, but with injuries and age, the “heavy” portion isn’t as impressive as it used to be. Even so, he knows that lifting heavy gives him the most bang for his buck, so he continues to push his body through compound exercises at 70-80 percent of his one-rep max weight and not too many repetitions.

Another tip he mentions is exercise variations that allow you to lift lighter with proper form and still get significant benefits from the lift. “Whatever feels comfortable for you,” Priest says. “Don’t be one of those people where they go, Well, he does them seated, so I have to do them seated when you could…feel it better just standing up.”

Someone could do a workout regimen that includes a ton of vanity movements that target smaller muscles, but Lee Priest has a message for those who do that:

“The main key is your rear delts’ only a small muscle. Don’t go…80 pounds. It’s like, come on, you’re just pulling with your arms, you’re not really focusing on your rear delts. So leave your ego at the door when you’re training [rear delts].”

The Lee Priest Training Routine

This full-body workout can be done two or three times a week, seeing as older individuals benefit from acute training more than chronic training. 

Exercise Sets Reps
Hammer Machine 4 8-12
Seated Cable Row 4 8-12
Cable Chest Fly 3 10-15
Cable Rear Delt Machine 3 10-15
Hack Squat 3 10-15

*Note: Lee Priest also does two hours of daily cardio (split into two sessions; one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening). 

For those who want a workout for their 20s or 30s, we wrote about Lee Priest’s upper body workout schedule from when he was a bit younger.

Hammer Machine Press

This press allows Priest to pinpoint his pectoralis major without overly fatiguing his triceps. The beauty is that he can get a perfect squeeze at the top of the movement while the machine assists his stabilizer muscles. (If it were a flat bench press, the stabilizers would have to take on the entire load throughout the movement.)

He can pack on the plates with a lower rep range and go for pure strength on this movement.

Seated Cable Row

Lee Priest does seated cable rowThe posterior antithesis of the hammer machine, seated cable rows, builds widespread lats and allows Priest to get a sweet pinch in the middle back. With progressive overload, he can continue strengthening with this single movement for outstanding back definition.

He can switch it up with an upright cable row for more shoulder work. But, again, the key is to work the back in conjunction with the chest so that he doesn’t overdevelop one versus the other.

Cable Chest Fly & Cable Rear Delt Machine

Lee Priest grows incredible chest size and definition with the low cable fly. And the rear delt machine creates definition in his rear deltoids, with higher reps and lower weights achieving maximum fatigue.

The chest flies and rear delt work is secondary to the previous two exercises. Still, it allows him to work those smaller muscles surrounding the pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi. Plus, he can experiment with his arms’ range of motion on these lighter exercises, filling out his upper body correctly.

Hack Squat

Legs are vital for overall health, as leg exercises produce more human growth hormone (HGH) than any other body part. Three sets here of the hack squat, though someone could variate the reps and sets, such as pyramid training, to ensure the quadriceps are properly fatigued. This exercise has a higher rep range because it produces more human growth hormone than lower rep ranges (1). 

Hack squats focus on the quads and glutes while keeping form intact and providing the safest squat variation due to the security bars on either side of the platform.

Priest’s Take on Cardio and Diet

In the video, Priest talks about how he gets at least two hours of cardio daily and “walks the dog.” His cardio methods include the treadmill and stationary bike. As a result, he burns many calories and keeps his physique close to the competition form (2). 

Priest has an interesting clean meal/dirty meal/clean meal approach. First, he’ll consume a meal that is macronutrient friendly. Then Priest walks to McDonald’s or some other food establishment to satisfy his cravings. After that, he’ll finish another macro-friendly meal.

This does a few things:

  1. It keeps him mentally satisfied, avoiding burnout.
  2. He can shuttle macros to the proper places post-workout.
  3. When he needs to cut weight, he can remove the bad meals. 

This diet “plan” works well with the two-plus hours of daily cardio. In addition, it counterbalances the junk food that is a weekly — if not daily — part of Lee Priest’s life.

So if your primary concern is remaining healthy in your older years (in every sense of the word “healthy”), perhaps this is a solid protocol.

Lee Priest’s Life Story Explored On Film

Lee Priest has had a long and complicated career in the bodybuilding industry filled with highs and lows. In 2019, Generation Iron Network released a feature film documentary exploring and chronicling Priest’s entire life story – from his discovery of bodybuilding through to his ban from the IFBB and his rise as a social media figure.

Titled, Lee Priest Vs Bodybuilding – the film provides rare insight into the mind and soul behind the sometimes controversial bodybuilding figure. You can watch all the original films on the Generation Iron Catalogue right here.

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  1. Kang, Ho-Youl2; Martino, Paul F.1; Russo, Vincenzo1; Ryder, Jeffrey W.1; Craig, Bruce W.1. The Influence of Repetitions Maximum on GH Release Following the Back Squat and Leg Press in Trained Men: Preliminary Results. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 10(3):p 148-152, August 1996. 
  2. Craig, Bruce W.1; Lucas, Jeff2; Pohlman, Roberta2; Stelling, Herbert3. The Effects of Running, Weightlifting and a Combination of Both on Growth Hormone Release. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 5(4):p 198-203, November 1991.
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.