Vancouver, B.c. Canada (PressExposure) January 07, 2008 -- Cal Smith is not your ordinary Senior
Instead of aging, the 77-year-old author of a new diet book with the rather confusing title 'the No-diet Diet', has actually been getting younger. Burnaby resident Cal Smith was a fat and unfit old man at the dawn of the year 2000, but has since become a senior super-star with unusual strength and a youthful physique.
While most people in their seventies experience gradual strength and muslce-loss, Cal's have increased dramatically to the point where he now bench presses 225 pounds - more weight than most men of any age can handle. And he continues to grow stronger.
At the same time, his fat has almost diappeared and his muscles have developed to the point where he would be quite at home in a body-building parade at Muscle Beach. More than that is the fact that his racquetball skill and stamina have also improved dramatically. He had never been able to improve his skill beyond D level until last year. Now, suddenly, he has become a solid A player.
The changes are not magical. "Anyone can do anything they want to do," Smith declares, "if only they want it bad enough. Most people want something, but make all kinds of excuses for not going after it, and it seems that our talent for creating excuses far outpaces our ambitions as we get older."
Smith is proof positive that old muscles can still grow and fat burned off, giving lie to the 'urban myth' that muscles won't grow after a person turns 60. He's added an inch to his chest and 1/2 inch to his arms in the past year alone.
Still, his ability to turn back the hands of time is more than a little unusual. He was never considered athletic or strong in his life before. He trained a bit with weights off and on throughout his middle years, but was never able to lift more than his bodyweight of 165 pounds. As he grew older, he grew weaker and shorter until, by the year 2000 he had shrunk to 5' 7", was 60-pounds overweight, and was barely able to lift 95 pounds.
As soon as the new century dawned however, Cal appears to have started growing younger. His doctor says that his heart has grown stronger, his previously high blood pressure has stabilized at normal levels, his arthritic problems have eased significantly, his recuperating powers appear to be increasing, and his physical abilities are absolutely amazing.
The changes really got going in the fall of 2000 when he joined a senior weight-lifting class at a Surrey Community Center. A year later, at the age of seventy-one, he placed 2nd in a National fitness contest to a 55-year-old from Ontario.
Then, in November 2004, a gym accident put an end to all physical activity for a year while he recovered from three cracked ribs. His 'spotter' accidentally let a 135 pound barbell drop onto his chest.
"Maybe that's what helped me," Cal jokes. "Arnold Schwarzenegger once told me 'no pain, no gain' and that accident was certainly painful. My Bench press was 165 at the time. It has gone up 70 pounds since. I guess he was right"
Everything about Cal belies his advanced age. He walks, taks and looks younger. But even that isn't really what makes him different from most seniors. It's his ability for self-motivation.
"Anyone can do anything they want to do," he declares, "if only they want it bad enough. Most people want something, but make all kinds of excuses for not going after it. If they have a sore shoulder they don't go to the gym because it hurts. Why not? It hurts at home too, doesn't it? Doing leg exercises has nothing to do with shoulders.
Some people say they can't afford the cost. Well it doesn't cost much to do pushups at home, and there are lots of weights you can lift around the house. Besides, Senior memberships at most gyms cost less money than a daily coffee at McDonalds, and it costs a lot more to neglect your body, in both money and pain, than it does to take care of it."
Cal believes strongly that nobody is too old to turn back the clock if they really want to.
"Even if someone is 100 and crippled up with arthritis," he says, "he or she can improve their physical condition by picking up a weight they can barely handle - even if it is only one or two pounds - and putting it back down, for five or six repetitions. Do that today, then again a couple of days later - plus one or two extra reps - and keep doing that adding a bit more weight and a few more reps as the weeks go by.
If that person eventually succeeds in doubling that little starting weight, his weight-lifting feat surpasses anything I have done."
Cal is the author of a new diet book called the 'No-diet Diet' and is working on a second one called 'LOOKING GOOD - 90 days to the Finish Line'. You can learn more about his diet and fitness techniques at http://calsbooks.com