It's never too late to change your lifestyle Going for weightlifting gold – at the age of 78

It’s never too late to change your lifestyle: Going for weightlifting gold – at the age of 78

Don Vaughan is a 78-year-old resident of West Vancouver. But right now he’s in Trenton, Ontario at the 2016 Canadian Master Weightlifting Championships where he’s competing.

To get here he’s been working out six days a week – a mix of workouts at his local community centre with a trainer, his cross-fit gym and some swimming. He gets lots of support, encouragement and advice from his team at Copeman Healthcare including his doctor, kinesiologist, physiotherapist and family health nurse practitioner.

We would admire this dedication to fitness in someone half his age, but knowing he’s 78 changes our perspective. Does he know something no one else does? Or is he just blessed with good genes?
One thing he knows for certain is the importance of healthy eating. He’s been fueling himself for optimal health and performance under the guidance of his Copeman dietitian Sarah Kasman. He weighs a lean 153 pounds on his 5’9” frame.

Although this is an ideal weight for his health, it’s also a part of his strategy for competition. You don’t pay this kind of attention to your diet, and workout consistently six days per week without wanting to succeed.

“It’s rare to see that kind of dedication,” says Ms. Kasman. “He’s very meticulous about his diet. He reads food labels and keeps track of everything in the MyFitnessPal app. He was able to lower his weight for competition, while keeping up his strength. This was all through his commitment to improving nutrition quality and nutrient timing. He’s very motivated”

Yes, he is motivated. He wants to win. This has been on his mind during the months leading up to the competition.

But there are other reasons too.

And to find out these reasons, we have to go back just over eight years ago to 2007.

Don Vaughan had just turned 70. He weighed 175 pounds and didn’t do a lick of exercise. He was drinking a couple of rum and cokes at the end of each day, and often polished off a bag of chips before dinner.

He’d also just had a heart attack.

He had never given his health much thought – even though both his father and grandfather died from heart failure at the age of 75.

Don’s family doctor gave him a prescription for nitroglycerin, and told him to take it whenever he had chest pains. He was supposed to do this for six weeks, which was the soonest he could get an appointment to see a cardiologist.

After a couple of days with some scary episodes, his son took him to Copeman Healthcare. He didn’t think his dad would survive for six weeks.

Don visited Dr. Mark Gelfer at Copeman Healthcare on a Friday, and by Monday, Don was the recipient of a stent in his blocked artery.

Don doesn’t believe he would still be alive if he didn’t visit Copeman Healthcare when he did.
Today he says he’s got a team of doctors and support professionals that rival any professional athlete. He says the greatest outcome of becoming a Copeman member is that he feels better now than he did in his fifties. He’s stronger, healthier and has more energy. He’s having more fun and thinks that life is getting better as he ages.

But before he starts planning his health and competitive goals for his eighties, he’s got to compete in Trenton. He’s put so much work and effort into it.

And it’s paid off.

Don Vaughan won gold at the Canadian Masters Weightlifting Championships. He also broke two four-year-old records.

We can’t wait to see what comes next for him.