The Difference We Can Make In Someone Else ’ s Life
By Lorne David Opler
It started out , not necessarily as a whim , but more a sense of “ who me ?” I was already 53 years old at the time when the notion of competing in a natural physique contest first came to my mind . Yes , I was a regular in the gym and was in decent shape , but I hardly ( and never ) considered myself a bodybuilder . Bodybuilding , in my understanding , was the realm of big guys , genetically gifted guys and especially much younger guys . Me ? I was ( am ) short , thin boned , advanced in age and with a body much more suited for endurance sports ; which is why , in years prior , I was a marathoner and triathlete . So , the notion of competing on stage struck me as novel when someone first suggested to me almost 10 years ago ; but intriguing too . I was intrigued by the idea of training for a physique event even though I had no idea how to even start the process after a few attempts at a bent over back row , I had to give up . I was in far too much pain .
My unrealistic hope that I would heal in only a few days , was dashed when I learned that I had herniated a vertebral disc at the L4-L5 level of my lumbar spine . My planned week ( maybe two weeks ) out of the gym , turned into several prolonged absences from the gym over the next six years . Unwilling to allow my injury to completely heal and impatient to return to lifting , whenever I felt pain free long enough I would return to the gym only to reinjure the disc , sending me back to the physiotherapist ’ s clinic , back to the massage therapist ’ s table and with strict orders not to lift ! This on again / off again routine would last at
So , I did what most people do when they need information . I went online , where I discovered the Ontario Physique Association and that ’ s when I began what has now been an almost decade long friendship with Ron Hache , then President of the OPA and now of the CPA . With an email to the OPA to learn about natural competitions , Ron replied with enthusiasm , guidance and support . And it ’ s been like that ever since .
Thanks to Ron ’ s continuous encouragement , and like that “ Little Engine That Could ” which we all read about in our childhood , I began saying to myself , “ I think I can .” And so in 2013 , I began my quest to get on stage . There was only one thing getting in the way of making good on my ambition ; my back injury . In 2007 , when performing a hang clean in the gym , my back completely gave out . Years of poor technique on heavy leg days , woefully insufficient conditioning and no pre-workout dynamic stretching or post-workout static stretching , left my joints very tight and my low back very unstable . And even after the back gave out and I crashed to the gym floor , perhaps like many of us die-hard lifters , I was determined to finish my workout , not withstanding that I knew ( as much as I want to deny it ), I just sustained a serious injury . But