Dr. Jeffry Life believes he's the picture of health
PUSH IT: Dr. Jeffry Life, 71, lifts weights five days a week. His health regimen includes taking testosterone and human growth hormone. (Isaac Brekken / For The Times)
"These programs are completey illogical," says Dr. Robert Baratz, former president of the National Council Against Health Fraud and an assistant clinical professor at Boston University School of Medicine. "They defy what we know about science and biology. They prey upon people's desires to wind back the clock, as if such a thing were possible. But there is no mechanism for doing that in nature."
His T level, he was told, was terrible -- 100 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dl) on a scale where normal is more like 200 to 1,000 ng/dl. "280 might be a passing grade on that scale," he says, "but it's a D-minus. And mine was even worse -- an F." He scored another "F" in his HGH level, according to Cenegenics' tests.
In June 2003, Life became a Cenegenics patient, ultimately taking daily shots of HGH along with once-a-week testosterone shots, a regimen he still maintains.
The package isn't cheap -- about $1,500 a month, including $1,000 for the HGH. But, he says, it worked.
"I could feel the difference quickly. Clarity of thought, a new, sharper focus, increased sexual function, bigger muscles." He was so impressed that he packed up, moved to Las Vegas and joined the company.
After six months of seeing clients, Life had an idea to keep them motivated: Show them his body.
"They needed to know that I walked the walk."
That might have been the end of the story -- until a year later, when a writer from GQ magazine, in to do an anti-aging story, walked by Life's office. His eyes bugged out at the sight of the glossy 8 by 11 of the buffed, bald, jeans-wearing guy hanging on the wall.
The shot ended up in his article in the January 2006 issue of GQ.
"It was huge -- we were inundated," says Life. "My boss didn't want to admit it at first, but we all knew why: the old head/young body."
Last March, Life gave up his position as chief medical officer at the company to start his own anti-aging practice, which emphasizes diet, exercise and testosterone. "HGH is too controversial right now," he says, alluding to criticism of the hormone's potential health risks. "And most of the time, exercise, eating properly and getting your other hormones in a healthy range will correct an HGH deficiency in two months."
Life is still affiliated with Cenegenics, which pays him for use of the picture. He also uses it in his own ads and a billboard along I-15.
The picture has changed everything for Life. "It gives me the opportunity to spend more time on my book, my website business, coaching and capitalizing on my brand," he says, as excited as a new college graduate embarking on a life of endless possibilities. In fact, he is a student again.
Wearing his trademark black T-shirt and New Balance running shoes, he goes to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas twice a week to take sports nutrition and exercise physiology classes.
And, of course, he still works out like crazy. "After all, I've got to hold up my image," he says.
At the gym
The famous photo you see in ads today was taken in December 2004 when Life was 66. How does his body look now?
To find out, I met him at the Las Vegas Athletic Club, where Life hits different body parts five days a week at 7 a.m., normally with a trainer.