Given the fact that the Global Anti-Aging Market was valued at $63.01 Billion US dollars in the year 2022, there is widespread intrigue in the wellness routines of seniors who seem to be defying the natural aging process by keeping their bodies looking fit and young despite their chronological age.
One public figure who falls within the camp of older adults with an impressively ripped physique is US Democratic Politician Robert F. Kennedy Jr., more commonly known by his initials or nickname RFK Jr.
At 69.5 years old, RFK Jr. has enviable muscles and impressive fitness and strength, even for men several decades his junior.
So, what is Robert F Kennedy Jr.‘s secret in terms of staying fit and young? What is RFK Jr.’s diet and workout routine? What anti-aging tricks or hacks does RFK Jr. use to look so shredded and spry at nearly 70 years old?
In this article, we will take a deep dive into Robert F Kennedy Jr.‘s diet plan and exercise routine, along with his anti-aging strategies, to evaluate the health benefits and pros and cons of his workout routine and diet.
We will look at:
- What Is Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Diet?
- What Is Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Workout Routine?
- How Does RFK Jr Stay Looking Young?
Let’s get started!
What Is Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Diet?
A big part of keeping your body fit and healthy is following a nutritious diet that supports your ideal body weight, prevents nutrient deficiencies, and enables you to have enough energy to be active and recover from workouts.
So, what diet does RFK Junior follow?
“I do intermittent fasting, so I have my first meal around noon, and then I try to stop eating around six or seven,” shared Robert F. Kennedy Jr on a recent episode of the Lex Friedman podcast.There are countless iterations of intermittent fasting diets, but RFK Jr‘s intermittent fasting diet schedule falls under the umbrella of “time-restricted feeding“ or “time-restricted eating“ intermittent fasting diet.
This means that there is a certain number of hours per day, or a given window of time, in which you must consume all of your total calories for the day. The rest of the day and night is spent fasting.
Because RFK Jr. generally tries to stop eating by 6 PM (occasionally dragging the eating window to 7 PM) and does not have his first meal until 12 PM, he is only eating for six hours per day and fasting for the other 18 hours.
Thus, we can describe RFK Jr’s diet as 18/6 intermittent fasting.
It’s not clear what RFK Jr’s diet consists of in terms of what he eats, but intermittent fasting is a popular approach to controlling caloric intake for the purposes of achieving a healthy body weight and for other purported benefits of fasting.
Aside from weight loss and improved body composition, additional benefits of intermittent fasting diets like RFK Jr’s eating schedule include:
- Reducing oxidative stress and chronic inflammation
- Decreasing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides levels
- Promoting autophagy (cell cleanup) and cellular health
- Boosting the secretion of human growth hormone (HGH)
- Improving blood sugar regulation
- Reducing the risk of disease, including cancer, heart failure, and neurodegenerative diseases
What Is Robert F Kennedy Jr’s Workout Routine?
With a chiseled physique, it’s no surprise that RFK Jr. has a disciplined and consistent exercise plan.
In fact, according to the podcast interview, RFK Junior has been exercising consistently for the past 50 years.
Even though he will be 70 years old in January of the coming year (2024), RFK Jr. is still very active with his workout routine, combining both cardio and strength training on most days of the week.
So, how does RFK Jr work out? Every day starts with a daily hike to get in some cardio.
“I hike every day in the morning. I go to a meeting first thing in the morning—a 12-step meeting, and then I hike, and I hike uphill,” explains RFK Jr. when asked about his exercise routine. “I hike a mile and a half up and a mile and a half down with my dogs, and then I do my meditations.”
In addition to hiking for cardio, RFK Jr.’s workout routine also has a strong emphasis on strength training.
When expounding upon his fitness program, RFK Jr. said that after his hike and meditations:
“Then I go to the gym. I go to the gym for 35 minutes. I have been exercising for 50 years, and what I’ve found is that it’s sustainable if I do short just periods (short workouts).”
This means RFK Jr. hits the gym for weightlifting four days per week.
“I do four different routines at the gym, and I never relax in the gym. I go in and have a very intense exercise (session),” explains Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “I lift. I do back one day, chest one day, legs, and then a miscellaneous.”
Although the specific weightlifting exercises RFK Jr. does during his strength training workouts have not yet been publicized, his strength training routine is intense in terms of the number of sets he does per exercise and the relative weights he lifts.
“My first set of everything, I try to reach failure at 12 reps. And then my fourth set of everything is a strip set.”
A strip set is another weightlifting term for a drop set.
When evaluating Robert F. Kennedy Junior‘s workout routine, it is clear, even without all of the detailed minutiae of exactly what exercises he is doing in his strength training workouts and what pace he is hiking, that he is surpassing the guidelines for physical activity for adults set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the British Heart Foundation.
These guidelines recommend that adults accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week and two full-body strength training workouts.
This is to reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, obesity, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
This works out to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity five days per week.
Although we can’t say for sure if RFK Jr’s hikes are done at a vigorous pace or moderate pace, according to the Compendium of Physical Activities, hiking has a METs value of 5.3.
The Department of Health and Human Services categorizes light-intensity activity as any activity that is 3.0 METs or less. Moderate-intensity activity spans from 3.0-6.0 METs, while vigorous-intensity activity is anything at or above 6.0 METs.
Thus, Robert F. Kennedy Jr’s cardio routine likely falls under “moderate-intensity cardio.”
Hiking one and a half miles uphill and then one and a half miles downhill means that RFK Junior is hiking 3 miles per day.
According to Ramblers, the average hiking speed for adults is about 2.5 miles per hour.
This means that it takes 24 minutes to hike a mile, and it may take about 72 minutes for RFK to do his daily 3-mile hike.
So, if he does his hike all seven days per week, RFK Jr. is getting 504 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week (nearly 8.5 hours).
Even if he takes a few days off per week, RFK Jr’s exercise routine will meet the minimum recommendations for aerobic exercise.
The benefit of hiking vs walking, particularly the hiking exercise routine RFK Junior reports following, is that hiking involves incline walking (and decline walking).
This helps utilize different muscle groups, and incline hiking helps increase your heart rate and burn more calories than walking on flat or level ground.
This is because you have to overcome more resistance from gravity as you ascend an incline or hike uphill, so it is more cardiovascularly, metabolically, and muscularly challenging to walk up an incline than on level terrain.
Hiking downhill is easier from a cardiovascular standpoint than level walking, but it utilizes different muscle groups by placing more emphasis on the quadriceps and core muscles.
Finally, even though hiking may not be as high-intensity as exercises like running, it is still lower impact than running in the way that walking is.
The weightlifting routine that RFK Jr follows can be described as high-intensity resistance training, somewhat like HIRT, particularly since he noted that he isn’t taking time to rest during his gym workouts.
This approach to weightlifting is sort of like circuit training, but it sounds like it is even more intense because he is performing his sets to failure.
RFK Jr reports that his first set includes 12 reps, and he tries to hit failure at 12 reps.
According to the strength continuum set forth by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), if you are maxing out at 12 reps, you are using a weight that is at least 70% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM) for the exercise.
This means that RFK Jr’s strength training routine is primarily geared towards hypertrophy, or building muscle, as opposed to maximizing strength or increasing muscular endurance.
How Does RFK Jr Stay Looking Young?
In terms of RFK Jr’s anti-aging protocol, his regimen to keep healthy centers around taking a lot of vitamins to support his nutrient needs and taking bioidentical testosterone as part of a physician-guided hormone replacement therapy.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr describes his anti-aging routine as follows:
“I take a lot of vitamins. I can’t even list them to you here because I couldn’t remember them all, but I take a ton of vitamins and nutrients, and then I’m on an anti-aging protocol from my doctor that includes testosterone replacement, but I don’t take any steroids—I don’t take any anabolic steroids or anything like that. The TRT that I use is bioidentical to what my body produces.”
Hormone replacement therapy for older men or post-menopausal women is not uncommon.
In terms of natural, endogenous testosterone production, evidence suggests that testosterone levels decrease by about 1 to 2% per year after age 30. There can also be other medical causes that lead to decreased testosterone levels.
For example, certain chronic diseases, medications, and obesity can impede testosterone production and may decrease testosterone levels faster than would be expected with aging.
Because testosterone plays numerous important roles in the body, testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) may be implemented as an anti-aging protocol to prevent the symptoms of low testosterone or age-related decreases in testosterone production in older men.
Additionally, because testosterone helps support muscle growth and repair, low testosterone can cause muscle weakness, poor or slow recovery from workouts, and a noticeable decrease in strength and athletic performance.
A severe or significant testosterone deficiency in men can cause infertility, difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection, and hypogonadism (reduced testicular size).
It is unclear how long RFK Jr has been on testosterone replacement therapy, but given his age group and the fact that he is working with his doctor rather than taking anabolic steroids to artificially boost testosterone production, it seems reasonable to conclude that RFK Jr is following a medically-implicated, medically-sound, and safe anti-aging treatment.
Ultimately, while Americans are very polarized, it does seem evident that for a man pushing 70 years old, Robert F Kennedy Junior is looking fit and strong.
And, while we are all individuals and respond to exercise programs and diets differently after delving into the anti-aging, diet, and workout routine of RFK Jr, his protocols for maintaining health and strength seem pretty sound, and they certainly appear to be working well for him.
If you are an older adult looking to improve your own strength, check out our strength training for seniors to combat aging here.