DOVER — For 64-year-old Carl Stevens, age has no barrier. It’s a limitation that people put on their minds.
“You can’t use age as an excuse to quit,” Mr. Stevens said.
The Dover resident continues to defeat Father Time, as he competitively powerlifts, breaking numerous records along the way.
His most recent accomplishment was breaking four state marks in his age and weight class at the USA Powerlifting Regional Competition, which was held last month in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
The event hosted over 150 powerlifters of all ages from Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
During the competition, Mr. Stevens lifted 120 kilograms in the squat, 72.5 kilograms in the bench press and 175 kilograms in the deadlift. That is a total of 367.5 kilograms, or 808.5 pounds.
“Setting four new Delaware state records is very exciting,” Mr. Stevens said.
“Anyone who lifts weights knows that it takes a good diet, dedication and a supportive spouse (Christine) to move up to this level of competition.”
Mr. Stevens never really lifted weights in his earlier years. Powerlifting was something he happened to stumble across a few years ago.
“I needed to start exercising in 2015,” Mr. Stevens said. “I started doing Crossfit and I did that for a couple of years, but I
really got interested in the lifting part of it. The exercises were a little difficult for me, but the lifting part I really enjoyed.
“I kind of crossfaded out the exercises and started focusing on the lifting more and started competitively lifting in 2017.”
When he entered his first event at the 2017 Delaware Senior Olympics he didn’t know what to expect.
“I was a little nervous because I never lifted in a competition before,” Mr. Stevens said. “I was hesitant at first but once I got going I felt good. Before I knew it I ended up winning and broke a state record for the deadlift. I lifted 330 pounds for my age group of 60 to 64.”
Mr. Stevens said he’s happy that he found something that he really excels.
“You go through your whole life and you do things that you just may be average at, but I’ve really found something that I’m good at,” Mr. Stevens said.
“Then when I started winning all of these awards it really hit me that it was something that I was meant to do.”
Mr. Stevens said he trains about three times a week at a home gym that he built for himself.
“I have a room in my house that I converted to a gym,” Mr. Stevens said.
“I think it’s better than some small gyms in my opinion. I decided to do that because I was going to the gym and while I was there somebody was always using the equipment when I wanted to go. Or just thinking about the amount of time it would take me to get there would discourage me from going at times.”
“It takes up too much of your day, whereas I can just go down there now. Do what I want to do and I’m done,” Mr. Stevens added. “It saves the travel time.”
Mr. Stevens said he doesn’t let his age defy who he is. He still has personal goals he’s trying to set for himself moving forward.
“I didn’t lift at all when I was younger,” he added. “I wished I would have started earlier because I would be a little further than I am now. But I still have a while to go.”
Mr. Stevens also is an American Council on Exercise certified personal trainer pursuing a senior fitness specialist certification with hopes of opening a personal training business to help other seniors maintain their strength.
“I just want to see how far I can go,” Mr. Stevens said.
“I’m hoping in the future to open up a personal training facility and use my records and accomplishments as a resume, like ‘Hey look this is what I’ve done. Let me show you how to do it.’
“When you lose your strength as you get older you lose your balance and when you lose your balance you fall and when you fall you lose your confidence. I just want to show people my age that they can do this.”
Mr. Stevens said he’s not competing with anyone but himself.
“It’s me against the weights,” Mr. Stevens said.
“I’m just after pursuing myself. I don’t think about my age at all. I only think about it when it comes up. I have a friend in Maryland that’s 74 and he still lifts competitively. That’s what motivates me to keep going.”
Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover.