Jack Maley ’79 Breaks World Bench Press Record

Jack Maley and his trainer in a gym

Jack Maley (right) and his power-lifting coach, Bob DeBolt.

At 66, the advertising exec follows the mantra ‘life is for living’ in all his pursuits

by Tony Moore

Jack Maley ’79 has built a successful career in advertising with the likes of Time Life, Saatchi & Saatchi and now his own agency, m3, expanding the marketing footprint of such brands as AT&T, America Online, Bristol-Myers, Tupperware and Con Edison.

But when the former English major's not working on global brands, he’s working on himself, in a big way. A dedicated fitness enthusiast, Maley recently set the new International Power Lifting League world record in Barranquilla, Colombia, bench-pressing 360 pounds—breaking his own record in the 65-69 age category.

How did he do it? “State of mind is essential to hitting your peak ... in any pursuit,” he says. To explore his journey to the June 2023 world record, and get an inside look at the mindset and regimen that got him there, read on to experience his firsthand account.

March 2023

Last week I benched 358.6 pounds in a competition at the heroic Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, N.J., which beat the United States Powerlifting Association world record in the 65-69 age category and 220-pound level by half a pound.

This addictive, challenging journey launched seven years ago when my college roommate, Steve Hoffman '80, a coach in the NFL, sent me a video of him benching 315 (about the weight of an adult gorilla) in the Tennessee Titans' weight room. Watching him hit this epic "bench mark" inspired me to match and beat his feat. I didn't set out to break a world record. I actually wasn't aware that these "old guy" records existed. I simply set out to beat Steve. Leverage the competitive spirit. Steve and I met in 1976 at college summer football camp. We both stepped into the line for QBs (there we're 11!), which marked the beginning of 47 years of competing. We're still at it. Steve is with the Atlanta Falcons now.

Power Lifting Serious Weight

And right from the jump, the issue of "age" became a thing. “Jack, you're 60. At your age there's no way you can build enough lean muscle to go from benching 200”—where I started in 2015—"to 316. Plus, you'll hurt yourself, and ‘at your age’ you don't heal very fast, if at all. You're going to blow out your shoulder, rip your pec right off the bone.” And more vivid injury scenarios. Plus ... and ... but ... The rat-a-tat of negativity came from within and from without. 

Power lifting appears to be a solo sport, but not at the competitive level. You need a team. I have a deeply experienced coach (Bob DeBolt, how about that name for a power-lifting coach), advisors on diet and supplementation and the active, positive support of family and friends. Also required are the usual suspects of success: a belief set or mission, strategy, discipline, focus, working smart, persistence, managing risk and execution.

A Belief Set: Essential Health

As we age, it is essential to maintain physical activity and strength training to promote overall health and quality of life. A favorite guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, when asked about the purpose of life said simply, "Life is for living." Regular exercise will improve cardiovascular health, maintain muscle mass and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis. 

It's well documented that exercise will also improve mental health and cognitive function, promote a sharper mind and reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Exercise promotes a sense of well-being and can reduce stress and anxiety, promoting a more balanced and fulfilling life. Throw in a world record, and who can resist?!

Discipline and Focus: Get to the Gym

I spend three to four days in the gym, an hour at a time. It's not that much time in the scheme of things. But every minute is focused and productive, thanks mostly to Bob DeBolt. Without him, none of this is possible.

Execution & Persistence: Eating andAging

To build muscle, fuel up. 3,000-4,000 calories a day, 200 grams of protein—sometimes more. At 25, that sounds like a delicious challenge. At 66, it's very difficult to eat that much. At times it feels gluttonous and gross. So all foods need to be clean (try to avoid food from boxes or bags) and nutrient dense. I live near dairy farms, which is where I do my food shopping.


Sleep is crucial to the recovery process. Seven to eight hours of sleep are required. You also need off days, several days between workouts to let your body recover. Build them in! The recovery process is where the gains lie.

If you're hiring and have some candidates that have passed the 60-year-old mark, rejoice. If they've given up, your interview will reveal that right away. If they are on a focused health journey, give them a hard look ... there's a good chance you have discovered deep experience plus high-energy gold.

Inspiring Aging Idols

Quincy Jones is 89 going on 30. I enjoyed a dinner with him about 10 years ago at his home in Bel Air, California. He was 79 years old at the time with a growling V12 under his hood. He was involved in dozens of projects in music, theater, tech, movies, design. Every project detail was fresh in his head. His energy and enthusiasm was awe inspiring. He was funny, animated and genuinely interested in what the four of us at the table were up to.

Next Goal

Join the 1,000-pound club (bench, squat and deadlift total over 1,000 pounds).


Published July 26, 2023