Growing stronger with age holds true when we’re still young, but don’t tell that to Leonard Overholt. When Leonard turned 88, he set a goal some worried was too high.
“He said, ‘I want to bench [press] 100 lbs. when I’m 90,’ and I’m like, 'Hmm, what are you doing now?’” Susie Nelson recalled. Susie is Leonard’s trainer at Meadow Creek Tennis Club in Lakewood. She remembers the 88-year-old Leonard could only lift 65 lbs.
“So, I’m like, ‘Let’s go with 90. Ninety when you’re 90,’” Susie said.
For the past two years, Susie has worked day after day with Leonard and watched him grow stronger.
“He’s amazing,” she said. “He has a goal and he just – he just wants to do it.”
If Leonard’s feeling his age, he’ll be the very last to admit it. After tiring reps on the bench press, Susie usually asks Leonard how he’s feeling. “Feeling fine as frog hair,” is Leonard’s typical response.
On Monday morning, Leonard set out to prove age was just a number. On this day, his 90th birthday, he laid down on the bench press as a crowd gathered around him inside the fitness club.
“Again. Whole focus,” Susie whispered to Leonard. “Ready?”
“Here we go. Lock ‘em out,” she said, as Leonard took hold of the bar.
Susie counted as Leonard brought the 90-lb bar down to his chest three times. The crowd cheered as Leonard finished his last rep and Susie helped him put the bar back in place.
"Do you want to try and do heavier?” Susie asked.
“Sure,” Leonard laughed.
Leonard had already set the bar so high. Why not push a litter higher?
“We’re going to go for 100!” Susie said, adding weight to the bar.
The crowd clapped as Leonard gripped the bar and pushed.
“Down and up” Susie said. Leonard struggled.
“Come on! Come on! Come on!” Susie encouraged him.
Leonard pushed the 100 lb. bar with all his might. He brought it back up from his chest without any help.
“You did it!” Susie said, giving Leonard a hug. “We did it girl. Not me,” Leonard said.
On a Monday inside a Denver gym, a 90-year-old seemed to defy his age.
“If I can get one old person to start exercising it’ll be worth it,” Leonard said.
We can’t wait to see how much he’ll be benching when he turns 100.