#makea180 Athlete Spotlight: Cleve Wilson
Age: 69 years young
Occupation: Realtor with First State Realty, LLC
Read his transformation story:
“I have always been actively involved with sports and sport specific training from an early age. Process of elimination led me into track and racing half-mile, mile and cross country. During those college years I had excellent coaching and learned that focused endurance training was the key to excelling in whatever races I competed in. There is no ‘shortcut’ to success in any sport if you expect to win.
After college, I started to run in the local road racing events during the 1970’s and 80’s. I loved to compete! Total running mileage and speed work translated into success again. At the time I saw little to no value in weight or strength training. I was lucky enough to train with the most famous New Zealand Olympic running coach of all time, Arthur Lydiard, telling us, ” Have you ever seen a deer lifting weights? If you want to be a great runner you need to RUN and running hills will give you all the strength you need.” So, 99% of my early years training was road and track running. When you are in your 20’s that is arguably correct but after 40 not so much.
As I got older, especially after 55, I noticed that running was so much more difficult and I was getting more and more injuries than I ever had before, not to mention getting slower and slower! Running was always so easy, why was it becoming such a chore?
Finally, it occurred to me that I was a bit heavier and my legs were not as lean and muscular as they used to be. My son-in-law, Jeff Soileau, kept telling me that I needed to start coming to Alamo 180 gym and begin strength training with him. He said that he could help me regain the strength in my legs, core and upper body that I simply lost over the years. Could he be right? What did I have to lose? I soon realized I had REALLY lost a lot of strength all over my body which was just a natural progression of aging.
When I started, I could not even do one “pull-up” and 40 simple squats were enough to end my productive day! I would limp around like the old man I was for two days! I have been going to the gym regularly for a few months over a year and have been training seriously for about one year. I have come a long, long way and
have been doing it in a slow, sensible progression. I have to admit that Jeff has been really good at tamping back my natural tendency to ‘push the envelope’ and made sure I do not overwork.
Because of strength training my running has really increased in mileage, average training speed and even racing speed. I am not having all the injuries and I have slowly dropped about 15 lbs. I feel years younger. I have regained my waistline and I am enjoying running again. I wish I had started doing weight and cross-training several years ago but at least I am doing it now while I still can. Today, I am most proud of my ability to do weighted “pull-up” sets and more than I ever thought I could do at my age. My new challenge is “The Torture”, Coach Jeff (I have other names for him), was so kind to visit upon me: Five sets of The Bulgarian single leg squats AND the weighted single leg deadlifts with 25 lb. kettle bell. These are, at present, the end of my productive day again, temporarily. Soon this torture will be routine and Jeff will invent another for me to conquer. Progress.
LIFE is only as good as your ability to enjoy it the way you want to enjoy it. I am
convinced that what I am doing for myself today is going to allow me to truly enjoy
the most of everyday I have left to live. I refuse to surrender to the aging process
without a fight. Think of what you have to lose and what the reality of that means.
See you at the gym.”
Did you read our February #makea180 Athlete Spotlight? Read the inspiring transformation story here!