Saturday, April 2, 2011
Charles Eugster, a 91 year old bodybuilder
The Guardian, Saturday 2 April 2011:
My personal trainer and I are always getting into arguments about what part of my body needs the most work. I'm not happy with my abs – I have the remains of a small spare tyre – but she says my bottom is a catastrophe because it's so flat. What we both agree on is that bodies can be remodelled, no matter how old you are.
I was a very sickly child. From the age of six I had constant headaches and chronic tonsilitis. I became pale, sluggish and my growth was slow. I remember noticing one day that my best friend, who was a year younger than me, was slightly taller and that I was very upset about it.
At 13, I had my tonsils removed and as my health improved, everything changed. I shot up and suddenly I was full of energy. I thought back to myself as a frail, sickly boy, and vowed never to be like that again. I took up boxing, rowing and rugby. Staying fit and strong became my priority.
After school I trained to be a dentist, but sport remained an important hobby. I only once let myself go. As I crept into my 40s, I adopted my wife's sedentary lifestyle. We spent a lot of time doing nothing. Inevitably, my blood pressure plummeted and one day I felt a sharp pain in my legs – only to discover the dark, earthworm-like patterns of varicose veins across my calves. It was my first brush with old age, and I didn't like it. Immediately I resumed rowing to stay fit.
Life went on. My wife and I divorced. At 60, I discovered veteran's rowing and started competing internationally, eventually winning 36 gold medals. I'm not a particularly talented sportsman, but I've always been a great trier. At 75, many of my friends began to pass away. People were getting older around me, but I was only just ready to retire. I carried on rowing and publishing a dentistry newsletter until I was 82.
Then at 85 I had a crisis. Read more>>