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Medcan Inspires: Charlie Evans

Powering through 300-pound Romanian deadlifts at 70: how a hardworking executive was inspired to get into the best shape of his life.

The health assessment that changed Charlie Evans’s life happened three years after the birth of his daughter. At the time, Evans was vice-president of taxation at Moore Corporation, the business forms and commercial printing business.

When Evans walked into Medcan for his annual health assessment, he knew he had allowed his fitness and diet to slide. His job was demanding, and he had a toddler at home. But even he was surprised to see that he weighed 220 pounds, heavier than he’d ever been. “I guess I really slipped,” he recalls.

Evans’s Medcan physician was Dr. Lorne Greenspan. Evans shared details about his lifestyle and athletic background with the doctor. He played hockey at a high level, ran track and cross-country, and was on the football team. “In high school, I was a jock,” he says.

Following the conversation, Evans recalls the doctor checking his heart, requiring him to remove his shirt. “The fact that I was overweight was probably pretty evident,” he recalls. Dr. Greenspan sensed Evans’ embarrassment. To put his patient at ease, Evans says Dr. Greenspan said: “You know underneath there is an athletic body.”

The comment stuck with Evans. “I began to think, maybe it’s time to get back into shape,” he said. “I was an older father, and I wanted to be around [for my daughter].”

Evans decided to make fitness a priority. With the help of a Medcan dietitian, he focused on carbohydrate reduction and a diet high in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins such as chicken and fish. He began running every day, too. “I thought, ‘okay, if I come back to see this guy, I want to make sure that I’m shredded,’” he says.

The hard work paid off. At Evans’s next health assessment, he’d lost 40 pounds and had a body fat percentage that was nearing single digits. That health assessment happened in the early 2000s, and since then, Evans has kept the weight off. He’s 70 today, retired, and has taken advantage of his free time by working out, eating well and staying aerobically fit.

Today, he feels like he’s stronger and in better shape than he ever has been before. And whenever Evans notices a weight gain, he knows there’s no need to panic—that the nutrition team and other support systems at Medcan are there to support clients, no matter what stage of the journey they’re in. “In essence, Medcan gave me basic training,” he says. “That interaction set me up for subsequent battles,” he says. “I know what the drill is, when my body loses its definition and needs a tune up.”

That is great news for Evans because sarcopenia, or age-related decline in muscle mass, is thought to be a major contributor to mortality in older people, with one large, longitudinal study showing the decline in strength to be twice as large in men. To mitigate this risk, do as Evans does—pursue a strength-building fitness regimen. “I swear, I’m putting on muscle mass,” Evans says.

Along with his regular weight lifting and muscle training, Evans includes at least 15 minutes of cardio in his workouts, and always stretches to help with his mobility. “The most important muscle in my body is my heart,” says Evans. “I have to take care of that first.”

Whenever Evans notices a slip in his fitness routine or a slight weight gain, he looks in the mirror and remembers Dr. Greenspan’s words of encouragement. “He saw the athletic body under there” which reminds himself to “get back to work.”

Evans’s physical strength does not go unnoticed. He gets approached at the gym on a regular basis, usually by younger people who are amazed at his abilities, often asking him questions like, “How old are you?” and “You’re lifting 300-pound Romanian deadlifts! What’s going on?” The compliments fuel his drive to become stronger and healthier. “It’s one thing to work out, but to work out with a purpose is better,” he says.

To provide motivation, he sets fitness goals for himself. Two years ago, he achieved a muscle up. This is a difficult manoeuvre that requires enormous strength. Starting in a pull-up position, you move from a chin-up into a press with your arms straight and torso completely above the bars. (This can also be done with rings.) Evans’s latest goal is to perform a handstand pushup, and given his clear determination, we are confident that he will be able to achieve this.

Achieving such goals are nice. But for Charlie Evans, a Medcan Hero for his dedication to lifelong fitness, the biggest inspiration will always be his daughter, who is 24 today. “When you leave, you want your child to be as old as possible and as mature as possible,” Evans says. “The wonderful thing is to have more time.”

Do you know someone who deserves recognition for their contribution to the wellness of our community? Send us your Medcan Inspires nomination at inspires@medcan.com.

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