When I graduated from college, I was the proverbial 131-pound weakling.

You can only imagine my astonishment, when I was asked to join a power-lifting team.


The bully on the beach didn’t even bother to kick sand on me.

And now I was being asked to train-and-compete in the squat, bench-press and dead-lift.

The reason I was asked to join the power-lifting club in Glendale, California was they needed someone to compete in the midget-weight division (e.g., 132.25 pounds to 148.75 pounds).

Mumsy later would state I did not know what it was like to wake up hungry in the middle of the night. I proved her wrong, reminding her how I could not weigh 149-pounds or more when I stepped on the scales before a power-lifting contest … so I starved myself immediately before a meet.

My initial goal was to bench-press 200 pounds or “two-ooo-ooo” as my weight-lifting friends called it. I finally made it and threw a party.

It was the age of AH-Nold and “Pumping Iron.” Some of my male friends thought it was strange that I had an AH-Nold calendar. I was interested in different exercises that came with every month (e.g., curls, flies, lat pulls…).

After toiling as a cub reporter for the Whittier Daily News (yep Richard Nixon’s home town), I would train each evening for about 90-minutes. I found out that I was mentally tired, but not physically tired. I was no longer the proverbial 131-pound weakling.

Eventually I started winning against my fellow midget-weight competitors. I still have a few medals and faded photos from those Glory Days.

I can still remember people taking pictures of me in my weight-lifting suit (why would anyone take a picture of me?) at the Venice Beach Weight Pen. There were gorgeous creatures, roller skating nearby in skimpy gravity-defying two-piece bikinis, and yet people seemed to be more interested in the power lifters.


And then all the cameras turned.

It was AH-Nold holding hands with his sexual trophy du jour, and for some reason the photographers at the pen wanted the former multi-time Mr. Olympia to take off his shirt. He just couldn’t do that…until he did.

My power-lifting competition usually originated from the poles of the California criminal-justice system. They were either cops or cons. Both had plenty of time to train and were naturals for the Southern California squat, bench press and dead-lift competitions.

At Knott’s Berry Farm, a poor-man’s Disneyland, in Orange County, I weighed in at 146-pounds. My ex-con competition weighed in at the exact same weight. That day, I recorded my personal bests: 305-pounds in the squat; 245-pounds in the bench press and 400-pounds in the dead lift.

The last lift was a religious experience, praying to Darwin that I would not drop the weight and thus losing the lift before the judge told me to bring it down to the surface. I looked up and the three-judges were thumbs-up for my lift. My teammates jumped on me.

My competition had not even started his three dead lifts. He finished at 646-pounds, crushing my personal record 400-pound lift by a mere 246-pounds.

Hmmm…he weighs exactly the same weight as me. He trains the same as me. He may be stronger, but 246-pounds stronger in one lift? Wonder if he had a little pharmaceutical assistance?

Do you think so?

It was time to cease my competition in power lifting.

It is now 30-years later. I still train with weights at least three-days per week.

In between, I run about two-days per week. I walk at least two miles on my non-cross training days.

Longevity is super on the maternal side of my family. Bad tickers are prevalent on the paternal side of my family.

My resistance-training routines now consist of lower-weights and more reps, increasing the aerobic benefits. For example, I do three-sets of eight free-weight 135-pound bench presses to exercise my pectorals. My curls and triceps exercises are three sets of 15 with enough weight to offer resistance without rocking and rolling (e.g., cheating).

On certain days, my workouts are torture because I am not strong…and yet with the aid of classic rock on my iPod, I make it through. I feel physically and mentally better as a result. It is an awesome natural high.

Mick Jagger amazes me. He is 69-years old and will hit 70 on July 26. He dances and prances two-hours a night in his all-black outfit, and reportedly has a 28-inch waist.


I don’t doubt these reports.

I want to be that svelte, that nimble and have that stamina when I hit that age.

Deep down inside, I accept being follicly challenged (something about balding men having more testosterone). I live with being the average height for an American male or somewhat vertically challenged.

Damn it all, I will not be horizontally challenged. I am determined to maintain my tight tummy and ectomorphic/mesomorphic profile.

Through the religious observance of cross-training using both resistance and aerobic techniques, I will achieve my goal of having a fit-and-trim corpse.