My Bodybuilding Journey!

I came into bodybuilding at 72 years of age when I found myself looking, feeling and acting old. I found that it not only improved my physique, but it also gave me a healthy perspective on people and the world.
I have been honored by Bodybuilding.com to be invited to have this page on their web site. We are justly most interested in bodybuilders who began the sport early in life and still have youthful physiques to show the results of their dedication and hard work.

However, there are other bodybuilders who have passed the years when they could be considered young. Some of these began working out at an early age and have continued on to their present vibrant seniority.

What Can Bodybuilding Accomplish?

Then, there are others who, like me, began rather late in life, but whose minds and spirits as well as their physiques, now testify to what bodybuilding can accomplish. The rejuvenation that I have experienced from bodybuilding has given me the motto: "It is never too late to become what you might have been."

The regular entries in this journal will be a verbal and pictorial record of what I have and am accomplishing through bodybuilding and reflections on the program that I follow.

It is my intent that this journal may serve to motivate others who think their age or condition precludes them from bodybuilding to become rejuvenated through bodybuilding. I encourage any who are interested in a new and vital life through bodybuilding to contact me with any questions or comments at johnpasco@bodybuilders.com.

As a background for what this Journal's succeeding entries shall contain, let me now give you a sketch of my life which has led me to my rejuvenation through bodybuilding. Perhaps then you will understand why I place such importance on the sport. Perhaps you will find some parallel of it in your own life.

This Is To You Out There

Just the other day, my son, Hans, was looking at some old photos in his collection of pictures taken as he was growing up. He came upon a picture of me taken about 15 years ago and showed it to his eight-year-old daughter, my grand daughter Lauren. It showed me standing with him. She asked who that was in the picture with him and he said, "That is your grandfather."

She said, "Oh, Dad, that's not my grandfather that man is an old man!" You see, my grand daughter has only seen me since I have been rejuvenated through bodybuilding. I cannot fully express to you how much that child's eye view rewards me for the time and focus I have dedicated to the sport in these recent years.

I believe that there are many "out there" who would like to merit such comments by their children, grand children and friends. It is to those men I address this page on Bodybuilding.com.

Growing Up

I was born in 1928, the last of my parents' six children. It was the days of the "Great Depression", and my father worked hard to supply all necessities for his family. Our food were simple and sparse, but contained all the required food groups, vitamins and minerals. Still I was a very scrawny youngster and so I was given such supplements as were available at the time, such items as cod liver oil and something called "Cocoa Quinine".

Still, I did not gain weight or musculature. I looked in silent admiration at the ads of Charles Atlas and just knew I would never be anything more than the boy in the ads who wished he could look like Atlas. I was shunned by the youths of my age in their sandlot games, withdrew into my own self and my secret, then unfulfilled, desires to be big and muscular.

Benefits Of The GI Bill

Upon graduation from high school at the ending of World War II, I enlisted in the army primarily to benefit from the benefits of the GI Bill, but more importantly to see if military training could produce in me the long hoped for physical development. There was some early development, but it was not enough.

When I attempted to be accepted for paratrooper training, I was rejected on physical grounds. I continued in the service and rapidly rose to be Sergeant Major for the Japanese island of Kyushu in the occupation army days. In that duty the authorities recorded me as a soldier with extreme patriotism, and that notice was to earn me future duty, which duty was to develop my physique.

I did not know that at the time, however. I was discharged from the Regular Army, but immediately enlisted in the Army Reserve and returned to active duty. During that duty, the same authorities that had noted my patriotism indicated that I should enter the army's cryptographic school to learn that skill, and I did. After finishing the cryptographic training, it was further indicated to me that I should leave active duty and pursue my own announced desire to graduate from college and seminary to become an ordained clergyman. I did so.

College

While in college, the Korean War began and the authorities insured that I was not recalled to duty in that conflict. Upon graduating from Penn State University with a BA in English and graduation from General Theological Seminary with an STM, I went on to serve the church-required two years in a civilian parish. My being recalled to Regular Army service as a chaplain marked the completion of those years.

A brief period of 'testing' as chaplain to a special Infantry battalion preceded my assignment to the 101st Airborne Division where I qualified as a paratrooper, became a member of the Army's elite STRAC Force, and received specialized training in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor of the Special Forces.

The needs of my future assignment for a greatly improved physique were met in those assignments. At last I had begun to move toward the physique wanted all my life.

I then learned that the special work for which I had been selected as long ago as my early days in the army was to be of the clandestine nature required in our Cold War day needs. I was assigned to our forces serving in Germany where my specific duty required me to spend much time in Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland, my clergy status and garb serving as a cloak for my real work.

Duty required and enabled me to become proficient in downhill skiing. Additionally, I became a member of a German fencing club to condition me in the off-skiing months. This further enhanced my physique. By the end of this duty in 1964, I was in excellent physical shape.

Civilian Ministry

With my release from active duty as a Regular Army officer that year, I returned to the civilian ministry. The end of the military duty, sadly, was also the end of keeping in good physical condition for almost 30 years. I entered into the sedentary life of a rural clergyman, more devoted to books and philosophical/theological concerns than physical condition. The 30 years saw a rapid and continued decline in my physique. In 1992, I retired from the active ministry and moved to Dallas from Oklahoma.

I was aware that my nature still called me to edge play and I tried such, but my now-deteriorated physique did not measure up to those extremes. I also was then diagnosed with cancer of the prostate and underwent a radical prostatectomy.

That surgery was then thought to have removed all the cancer. While still longing, as I had in my youth, to have a good physique, I believed that I was now "too old" and should just take it easy until "the end".

Physical Training

Then, my nephew, Robert Crosby, moved to Dallas and encouraged me to begin physical training in a local gym. I heeded his advice and began light workouts at a local sports club. After just a couple of months, I began to see my former good physique trying to come back to me. This so encouraged me that I began daily workouts. What might have been a set back then occurred. My cancer came out of remission and required 12 weeks of radiation therapy.

I told the oncology radiologist, himself a black belt in karate, that I would undergo the radiation only if it would not interfere with my workouts and he agreed to this. For the 12 weeks I went daily in the mornings to the gym for workouts and then to the hospital in the afternoons for the radiology.

Toward the end of the therapy, I asked the doctor why it was that all the others undergoing the same treatment at the hospital had bad side effects while I had none of them. He replied that I should give the credit to my working out regularly. With the end of the period of radiation, the cancer was again in remission and continues to be so now.

My First Contest

I now returned with a vengeance to working out. A trainer at the gym asked me, in jest, "Why are you here so often? Are you going to enter a bodybuilding contest or something?" I found the answer springing to my tongue spontaneously from deep within me, "Yes, I am!" I knew absolutely nothing at all about bodybuilding and certainly nothing about bodybuilding competition.

I wrote to the Chairman of the National Physique Committee for advice on how to proceed, and he was kind enough to put me in touch with qualified bodybuilding trainers in this area. Thus I met and engaged as my trainer/manager, Dror Erez, Mr. Israel '95, and he remains my trainer to this day. I am indebted to him for the progress I have made in the past two years and my accomplishments in contests.

While I shall return to the consideration in subsequent entries in this Journal, there just is no substitute for anyone, but especially for us "senior" bodybuilders, having a competent, bodybuilding trainer to guide us. I know I could not have accomplished what I have and I certainly could not attain the goals for which I strive without my trainer/manager.

Thanks,