Like so many other gyms, the Anytime Fitness in Semmes, Alabama, selects one particular member each month to be honored with the title of “Member of the Month.”
In those halls of steel and iron, eligible candidates grunt and sweat their way to weight-lifting increases and waistline decreases, aided by the holy trinity of supplements — pre-workout, BCAAs and protein powder.
Hallowed be thy gains.
And though selecting a worthy champion who stands out among the rest can often prove difficult for the gym’s general manager, Ashley Seaman, January was not a month characterized by any such neck-and-neck progress.
That’s because none could stack up against the prowess of the gym’s plaid-shirt-and-denim-overall-wearing 91-year-old, Lloyd Black.
The Air Force veteran-turned-high school principal from Ackerman, Mississippi, joined the gym along with his second wife, Mary — Black’s first wife passed after 48 loving years of marriage — nearly a year ago after coming to terms with what he felt were inadequate fitness levels.
“Simple tasks were becoming hard, if not impossible,” he wrote on his “Member of the Month” sheet.
So, Black traded in his sedentary habits for an active lifestyle of clangin’ and bangin’, and now drives himself to the gym every other day.
After an understandably tough start — just 10 minutes of walking on the treadmill initially exhausted the gym’s most senior member — Black now routinely takes strolls that last 30 minutes.
The man others laud for his contagious smile also makes sure to never skip leg day, Seaman noticed. Oftentimes, fellow gym goers and staff will find him throwing around steel on the gym’s leg press or one of the facility’s upper body machines.
“It just improves the way you feel,” Black told AL.com.
That progress has also translated to productivity at home, where Black continues to cut every inch of grass and weeds on his 7-acre property.
Those in the company of Lloyd, meanwhile, say his sharp, relentless humor consistently improves the days of those of those fortunate enough to be around him.
“He’s always laughing and telling a joke,” Seaman told AL.com.
One ongoing joke, the hilarity-inducing denim overall gym getup, is not lost on the veteran, who admitted he wears them not for their undeniably bewitching fashion statement, but out of sheer necessity.
“I don’t have any hips,” he told AL.com, laughing. “And I can’t keep my pants up!”
Hips or no, the veteran who counts “my daddy, who never gave up” as the most inspirational person in his life is inspiring so many others in his own right.
“I want people to think, ‘If he can do it, why can’t we?’” Seaman told AL.com. “Fitness isn’t about age. It’s about healthy living.”
At 91 years old, Black now feels healthier than he has in years. The medicine of laughter probably doesn’t hurt, either.
“I’ve been a blessed person,” he told AL.com. “I’m in good health. I thank the Lord for that. I still think humor in life is good.
“If I had my life to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.”