least until 2013 , at which time , feeling pain free for a sufficiently long enough time , and buoyed by Ron ’ s affirmations , I felt ready to tackle the gym again with plans to prepare for my first contest . But it was not meant to be . I continued to re-injure myself over the next few years . However , a positive pattern did seem to be emerging . The disc re-injuries seemed to occur with less frequently and with less severity than in the years immediately following the disc herniation . This , combined with Ron ’ s unwavering inspiration , kept my spirits up and kept my eye on the stage . By 2019 , I had gone re-injury free for a substantial period of time , once again triggering that “ Little Engine That Could ” voice inside of me . “ I think I can ” now ! I really think I can do it this time ! Backing up my determination was my ever-present cheering section , A . K . A . – Ron Hache .
For several months , ably aided and inspired by my training coach , the gifted and brilliant chiropractor and former competitive bodybuilder , Rob Goto , D . C ., I put my body through the rigors and intensity of competition preparation , from gym workouts , to diet regimens to posing sessions , training completely and all naturally . When my application was finally submitted for the 2019 GNC / Allmax Canfitpro Natural Championship , my six-year dream of climbing on stage was poised to actually happen . And it did . On Saturday August 17 , I climbed on to the stage for my very first meet at age 59 . With my competitors about 20 years younger than me , I was not surprised that I didn ’ t place well in the judging . In fact , I placed dead last . But it didn ’ t matter . Because my prize came not in a medal , not in a trophy , but in a handshake – perhaps one of the most genuine , heartfelt and meaningful handshakes I have ever received – from my cheering section , Ron Hache , who always believed in me , who never stopped encouraging me , and always inspired me to not . give . up . Add his beaming smile , his pat on the back and his heartfelt words of congratulations , Ron made me feel that I was , in fact , a real winner .
When I first began to think of penning my reflections of my first physique event , my aim in writing was more than just to reminisce on the experience . It was really about encouraging and maybe even inspiring other middle age and older men to consider taking up the challenge of physical self-improvement . But as I began putting words on the screen , I realized that my wish to inspire other older men is in part , a function of what Ron did for me . Thank you Ron .
Let us all , each of us who reads this story , find the “ Ron ” inside of ourselves to motivate someone else . As fitness enthusiasts , we are blessed with a plethora of attributes we can put to good use in helping others ; from our sense of discipline , to our capacity to persevere , to our confidence in our abilities to achieve . We have so much to give to others . Let ’ s take our skills and successes in the gym and on stage to make a difference in someone else ’ s life ; to help someone become a better version of themselves , to give them a boost of confidence , and make them believe that they can accomplish their goal , whatever that goal is - as Ron has made me believe I
was able to accomplish mine .
Lorne David Opler , M . Ed ., is an Adjunct Professor of Fitness and Health Promotion at Fleming College and Cambrian College ; an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a freelance fitness writer . Contact him at : trainerlorne @ gmail . com