Campbell may be turning 80 in October, but he still is a
fitness instructor and is training in Hurst, Texas, for
an upcoming lifting competition.
Texas ó Gerald Campbell is giving up his career as a fitness
instructor and going full-time into bodybuilding before his
80 in October.
retiring from that because my wife and I want to travel more
while we still have good health," Campbell said.
"Another reason is that I canít work out myself as much
as I need to for heavyweight bodybuilding."
goal before his birthday is to bench press 280 pounds. Thatís
115 pounds more than his weight of 165. On Saturday, he bench
pressed 245 pounds, breaking his own record, at the Texas
Push/Pull Showdown in Mesquite.
tried to do 260, but I couldnít get it past halfway
up," Campbell said.
try again for that 260-pound mark in the July 26,
world-qualifying Dallas Southwest Regional Bench Press and
Dead Lift Championships competition in Irving. Then comes 280.
Campbell lifts more than his personal best he breaks a record,
said Bryan Dobson, Campbellís trainer and owner of MetroFlex
Gym in Fort Worth, Texas.
are only a handful of people in the world at Campbellís age
and weight who are capable of a bench press anywhere near what
he can do, Dobson said.
be in the top of the 165-pound weight class in Masters 70
plus," Dobson said. "For his body weight, the weight
heís lifting is competitive with 20-year-olds."
describes Campbell as "phenomenal," and he isnít
alone in that opinion. The 140 or so people Campbell trains at
Hurst Senior Center and Euless Family Life Center compare him
with Jack LaLanne, a pioneer in personal training whose
innovative techniques and equipment, and a 34-year run on TV,
helped earn him the title Godfather of Fitness.
woman destined to take Campbellís place in front of those
seniors, Hurst resident Tricia Whitlock, 41, thinks heís the
he started training me, I was struggling to keep up with him
during abdominal exercises, even some of the flexibility
exercises that he does," Whitlock said. "Geraldís
just amazing. His eyes are bright and his mind is quick. Heís
a very good role model for me."
Varley, 45, Hurst Senior Centerís activities coordinator,
said Campbell is a huge asset that she and the seniors will
helped develop our fitness programs," Varley said.
"Heís just very passionate about everything."
like LaLanne, Campbell has been on a personal fitness crusade
since he was 15.
buddy, Bobby Risinger, and I bought some weights at a garage
sale," Campbell said. "We set íem up in my garage.
We didnít know anything about it, but we started lifting
weights and learning the proper way to do it."
friends worked out together for three years, until "Bobby
went in the Air Force, and I didnít," Campbell said.
"So I kept working out."
ó who made his living selling insurance, before he retired
at 65 ó also became a personal trainer in his late teens.
Soon afterward, he gave up weightlifting and took up running.
like running because it builds up the heart," Campbell
said. "If the heart donít work right there isnít
anything going to work right."
said his wife of 45 years, Dolores, also is a runner.
used to run 10 miles a day together back in our 40s and
50s," Campbell said. "I would run 10 miles in the
morning and another 10 with her after work. One year I logged
said he kept running well into his 70s, "because old age
was chasing me and I wanted to stay ahead of it."
marathons ó his best time was three hours and 10 minutes
when he was 44 ó and seven 50-mile races, Campbell decided
to give his feet a break. But old age hasnít gained that
much on him, because he started power lifting again about 30
donít think working out adds years to your life, but it adds
quality," Campbell said. "As long as God keeps me
healthy I want to have good quality of life. I donít want to
walk with a cane, or a walker or be in a wheelchair."
competitions are about pushing himself, Campbell said.
competition youíll always do more than you will by
yourself," Campbell said.
while he does want to set records, he isnít looking for
immortality through record books.
not records for publicity as much as it is for other older
people to say ĎThat guy did it. By cracky I think I might
try to do it.í" he said.