Like many successful bodybuilders and athletic trainers, 61-year-old Winnipegger Valentine Payne starts every morning with a healthy breakfast.

“Always have some sort of fruit juice early in the morning,” said Payne, who wakes up at 3 a.m. every morning before heading to the Fort Rouge Leisure Centre where he trains clients.

Payne has been sculpting his physique and competing as a bodybuilder for 40 years, racking up trophy after trophy along the way – and it shows.

“I feel like 21,” said Payne. “That’s no lie.”

Payne’s clientele share his passion for fitness and healthy living.

As if bulging biceps at his age weren’t impressive enough, Valentine’s clients have said it’s his passion for transforming their lives that has motivated them to keep going.

“He saved my life,” said 66-year-old Steve Van Vlaenderen, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease four years ago.

The prognosis wasn’t great for Van Vlaenderen. His doctor told him he would have to be spoon fed in less than five years.

After picking up Valentine’s training tips — and more importantly, his nutrition plan — Van Vlaenderen dropped nearly 30 kilograms in just nine months. He used to wear size 40 pants that hung below his waist.

“I can function now, and I haven’t been on meds for six months.”

Van Vlaenderen no longer suffers from chronic pain or depression and credits his regained mobility to Payne’s help.

On a good day, Van Vlaenderen can lift 120 kilograms.

Van Vlaenderen said he’s improved so much that his doctor recently gave him a clean bill of health.

“If it wasn’t for Valentine, I don’t know where I would have been.”

Payne has never made that much money as a bodybuilder living on a personal trainer’s income.

“I’m not making a lot of money,” said Payne.

But for clients of his like Van Vlaenderen, it’s clear Payne’s work ethic and commitment to living a healthy life have been rewarding ends in themselves.

 “I always do more than I get paid to make an investment in my future,” said Payne.