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“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Literally!)” Philippians 4:13

May 4th, 2015 Posted in CHRI
bill_photo3I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face. The doctor had been to the house and asked me to close my eyes then one at a time he had me raise my arms and legs. She told me years later, that nothing had moved, I was paralyzed. I know she had prayed me through it. She prayed me back when I was lost in a nearby swamp, out of a spring flooded drainage ditch when I was dragged under still wearing a heavy snow suit, back from hospitals when I was in motorcycle or car crashes and for the rest of my life through every heartbreak and emergency I inflicted on her. I believe thanks to her prayers the Polio only left me with minor challenges, so minor that I wouldn’t bring it up for more than 50 years. Too many other kids lost their mobility or their lives and I felt guilty for getting off so easily.High School football was the highlight of my sports activities. I was tall and skinny but I played tackle on both the offence and defence. The coach said he wouldn’t throw me the ball because he couldn’t tell which way I was running! After I was married, I tried to stay in shape by exercising with machines, weights, and a tread mill. Later, I tried golf which wasn’t bad as long as a power cart carried the bag and chased the ball. Whatever I tried, whether it was a sport, jogging or dancing my focus was more on avoiding paying the price with the pain that would come later then on becoming really good at it.Finally, at 64 years old, working full time with a lengthy commute I could see the potential for health hazards related to the sedentary senior’s lifestyle looming on my horizon. I began to search for a solution, hoping that even at my age there might be one last chance to be the athlete I never was.

bill_photo2Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for my relationship with the living God, for a beautiful loving wife of 45 years, for our amazing children and their growing families but why not ask for the one thing I never had: sports prowess!

Around that time Pierre a co-worker and friend sent me a blog written by a prominent photographer extolling the virtues of a powerlifting program called “Stronglifts” by a young Belgian named Mehdi.

The principle had great appeal because it was simple: start by lifting the empty bar and add 5 or 10 pounds a week. “Stronglifts” provided an accountability system and I began walking down our farm lane to a makeshift gym in the former old milkhouse, 3 times a week. There, I would spend an hour, following the training program as written.

A year later I was stronger than I have ever been in my life. I Googled advice, chatted on weightlifting forums and researched diet. People told me it was difficult or impossible to gain serious muscle mass at my age; they were wrong! Eating 1-2 grams of protein for every pound of body weight, taking the highest quality nutritional supplements in the world and eating a small nutritious meal every 2-3 hours a day I grew from a tall, slim 190 pounds to a meaty 238. From the empty bar I began to lift my body weight and more.

In September 2014 I travelled to Hamilton Ontario to a powerlifting qualifying competition with a good family friend and world powerlifting record holder, Leon Brown. My wife Denise who was always there for me, including spotting when I did the bench press, travelled with me and helped me prepare, mentally and physically.

bill_photo1I qualified for the Provincial meet in November of that year and came back to Hamilton to win the silver medal in my class.

Then, in April 2015 at 67 years old, only 3 years after deciding to be a powerlifter, I set 4 national records, 5 provincial records and won the Gold Medal at the Canadian National Powerlifting Championship in St. John’s Newfoundland.

Now, I’ve set new goals that I’m working toward but I’m not doing it without going over every step with my lifetime coach. He already knows the outcome because after all He is God. He was with me in the beginning and He will be with me in the end. I’m not doing this to live longer but with Him as my coach, I am living stronger.

Bill Stevens is the General Manager at Ottawa’s Family Radio CHRI.
If you have questions for Bill you can reach him at bill@chri.ca.

 

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