Durban - With his bulging biceps and taut six-pack, 75-year-old “man of steel” Fanie du Toit wants to prove age is nothing but a number when he takes on the youngsters in the over-40 category at the International Federation of Bodybuilding KZN championship.
Du Toit will compete in the event - on Saturday at the Playhouse Opera Theatre - for the 13th time.
The veteran hopes to leave his mark on the championship as he did when he won it in 1967, when it was known as the Mr Natal Championship.
He has also competed six times in the Mr South Africa bodybuilding championships, claiming the over-40 category title in 1981. One of Du Toit’s most memorable moments in a distinguished career was when he received the 1967 Mr Natal Championship trophy from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I was at my peak way back then and the competition was really tough. When I won I was overwhelmed with emotion. Arnold was a guest of the legendary Reg Park, who was also a former Mr Universe winner. Receiving the trophy from him was a great honour.” Unfortunately Du Toit does not have a copy of that picture.
He said good discipline and healthy nutrition were key factors in maintaining his body in such pristine condition all these years.
“I had a lot of proteins and maintained a well-balanced diet. I ate a lot of chicken and vegetables. I also filled the body with carbohydrates. At one stage I bench-pressed 165kg and squatted 200kg.”
Du Toit said the sport called for great discipline and he was normally in bed by 8pm and up at 6am. He said his wife had encouraged him to bulk up when he was looking like a “rake” in his younger days.
When asked if he had women swarming around him in his young days, he laughed. “I only ever had eyes for one woman, though people did stop and stare at me back then.”
He still spends up to an hour a day training at home and runs 3km on the beach twice a week.
His son, Rod du Toit, said the family were very proud of their dad’s career and related how the family still rally around him in the run-up to a competition by shaving and oiling him.