Each week, journalist and content producer Stephanie Stephens celebrates healthy living with a famous figure age 45+.
With his indomitable air of “tough enough,” actor and producer Danny Trejo is a Hollywood institution, an action star who rose to fame under the unlikeliest of circumstances. He’d done hard drugs by the time he was 12, and as he grew, life didn’t just straighten itself out. Released from California’s Soledad Prison in 1985, he determined to help others who’d also been dealt tough hands—Trejo became an intervention counselor to addicts.
That year, while on the set of the film Runaway Train to help a client, he got hired as both a trainer—he’d been a champion boxer in prison—and an extra. And so it goes. Since then, Trejo has appeared in an astounding number of projects—more than 280—along with television shows and music videos. Looks like 2014 will find him in more than 30 productions. How does anybody do that?
On that long list, he’s starred alongside Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Heat and Johnny Depp in Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Fans may know him best from the Machete, Death Race, and Bad Ass film series—three of them. And yes, we know he’s not usually known as the “warm and fuzzy” guy, but did you catch him in the recently-released Muppets Most Wanted? He tells Kermit the Frog that he’s a triple threat: “a dancer, a singer, and a murderer.” It’s true that he frequently plays a killer.
Trejo and Danny Glover star in 2014′s Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses (now out on Blu-ray and digital HD). They train young boxers, and along the action-packed way, the pair—and justice—win the day and more. On TV, playing comedian George Lopez’s uncle, Trejo is a regular on FX’s Saint George.
The actor is also a father of three who turns 70 in May. He’s preached to troubled youth that “the bad guy always loses and the good guy always wins. It’s the one thing movies and real life see eye-to-eye on.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about your health so far?
I have learned that I’m in good health and I want to keep it that way. It is important to be healthy for work.
How do you sustain a positive mental outlook, “get happy?”
I definitely try to look at life as a glass half full, instead of half empty.
What do you do to encourage someone you love to make a positive change?
I simply try to help everyone in any way I can. I try to help people have an attitude of gratitude; this helps others make positive changes.
What does the word “health” mean to you?
The word “health,” to me, means long life.
How does your career in entertainment influence your health?
I have to maintain a certain weight and diet. I try to eat well so I can sustain plenty of energy.
What do you do for physical activity?
I like to exercise daily. Walking and working out with no heavy weights is my routine.
What do you eat?
I like to eat healthy at every meal.
• Breakfast: oatmeal and one piece of toast, along with fruit
• Lunch: tuna salad
• Dinner: chicken breast with vegetables
My favorite restaurant is Los Tres Hermanos in Los Angeles. They always fix me healthy Mexican food. I love their chicken salad!
Trejo advice: “If you are healthy, the people around you will be healthy as well.”
Stephanie Stephens, M.A. is a host, spokesperson and consultant for the active mature female demographic—midlife and boomer. She writes, produces, and hosts her multimedia channel, Mind Your Body TV, featuring timely health and lifestyle blogs, podcasts, and videos—also seen on YouTube and syndicated by AOL/On.