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    Robert Durbin, 66, is not shy about his killer abs. “Wanna see the eight-pack?” he asks. He lifts up his shirt to show off a chiseled stomach: the product of his late-in-life commitment to healthy living and the gym. 

    Durbin, also known as Rock-Hard Papaw, posts daily workout videos and encouragement (“AGE IS JUST A NUMBER!”) to his 10,000 Instagram followers. Though he was recently diagnosed with with colon cancer, he says, “I’m still the luckiest guy, even with cancer. I’m going to beat it — that’s just all there is to it. Cancer won’t keep me out the gym.” 

    Louisville Magazine: Have you always been so active? 

    Durbin: "To be honest with you, I really started to get disgusted with everything about myself when I was about 56. I’m 5’8’’ and weighed 222 pounds. I couldn’t do nothing. I had bad ankles — I’ve had 13 surgeries on my ankles. I got in poor health. I got a heart condition. I watched all my kids from the living room. I couldn’t go out, couldn’t play games or nothing. Then the grandbabies started coming along, and I thought, ‘I’m not going to sit here watching them too. So I went to the YMCA with my cane and my braces and my walker and it took me 45 minutes to walk that first mile. I just worked up from there. I got down to 170 pounds. I got the abs. I was kinda wantin’ to be a bodybuilder."


    Lou Mag: What’s your diet plan? 

    Durbin: "You don’t get to eat anything that tastes good is all. Red meat’s out right now; I’ll never eat another piece of red meat. I get most of my protein from vegetables. Peas are one of the best sources of protein you can get."


    Lou Mag: What does your workout routine look like? 

    Durbin: "It seems like I can’t get enough of it. I get up at 3:30 and start my morning ab work and cardio at 4. I eat breakfast at 5, then a shower, then my second meal. Then I head to the gym for about three hours. I do at least 300 push-ups a day at the house. Right now when I leave here I’ll probably go down to the river and find something to hang off. (Durbin’s latest workout of choice is “flagging” from a Zejax bar or sign post, using his body weight as resistance. He also likes to go to the skate park downtown, where us uses the half-pipe to do running wall flips.)"

    Lou Mag: Can you keep up with your grandkids now? 
    Durbin: "Oh, yeah. The grandkids came up with the nickname ‘Rock-Hard Papaw.’ My little six-year-old grandson, he calls me ‘Papaw Muscles.’ He likes to climb the rock wall at the New Albany with me."

    This article originally appeared in Louisville Fit Magazine.  To see more and to subscribe, click here.

    Image: Adam Mescan  

    Elizabeth Myers's picture

    About Elizabeth Myers

    Big fan of bacon and bourbon, deep fried anything, sweet tea and sweet nothings.

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