My BFL Story - Body for LIFE Champion Sherman Goodrich

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My BFL Story - Body for LIFE Champion Sherman Goodrich

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At the tender age of 70, Sherman Goodrich has become the world’s oldest Body-for-Life® Challenge Champion. He competed and won in the 46 and over class. Here, in part, is how it all went down.


By way of introduction, my name is Sherman Goodrich and, while I am better known—if at all—as the sports cartoonist for the Arizona Republic, I thought you might have a keener interest in the fact that I recently reinvented myself in another field entirely. This change in myself I have realized is one that could conceivably hold out life-changing results for many of you as well.

For the past 13 years, EAS® has sponsored an international fitness competition known as the Body-for-LIFE® Challenge. In 2006 and ‘07 I entered in high hopes of winning. I was disappointed both times—though not to the point of pondering self-destruction or watching Celebrity Apprentice—and moved on. I had, after all, gone from a 98 pound weakling to a 170 pound weakling. I skipped the 12-week program in ’08…not out of desolation…just for lack of time. Last year, on my 70th birthday, I decided to enter the Body-for-LIFE Challenge one more time in an all out effort to capture that coveted brass ring. Hey, why not?

Well, it turns out that there was a revision to the age groups since my last attempt and I ended up competing with contestants in their 40’s. As you can imagine, I now really had my work cut out for me. And, like it or not, there are some things that forty-six year olds can do with relative ease that tend to tax those of us three score and ten. On the other hand, it makes each victory that much sweeter.

If the aforementioned drawback didn’t pose enough of a disadvantage, shortly before the scheduled starting date, my wife ended up in emergency with what was thought to a bad case of the flu. Turns out she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and close to a diabetic coma. After a week in the hospital she was back home and we found ourselves working on a major adjustment in both of our daily lifestyles.

Okay…so instead of starting on my birthday, I found it best to put the Body-for-LIFE Challenge on hold until the 4th of July. That way I could direct more energy toward my wife’s recovery, and that’s one challenge we needed to face together. As of this writing, she is much better. Thanks for asking.

While still setting my sights on that new start date, I attempted to lift a tractor tire (with the tractor still attached) and blew out my right rotator cuff, so another setback was imminent.

Following a cortisone shot, it was time to buckle down to business and beat the deadline for the last available ‘Challenge’ time slot. I developed a routine to work around—and occasionally through—the pain that proved quite successful. (I’ve since even learned to bowl left-handed. Now there’s a real adventure). Throughout the Body-for-LIFE challenge, I practiced an entirely different set of exercises to keep the strength up in my shoulder without aggravating the condition.

Out of desperation perhaps, coupled with a modicum of curiosity to see if it could be done, an entirely new and unique fitness program began to take shape and ultimately became the basis for my twelve-week workout schedule. While it was designed for those of us who feel the aches and pains, to one degree or another, of being past our prime …it is effective enough to challenge even seasoned athletes. Trust me.

Anyway…long story short (or is it too late for that?), I once again received a nice certificate in that famous red and white Body-for-LIFE envelope that read in essence, “Thanks for participating and completing the 12 week program.” Heaving a heavy sigh, I began looking forward to making another run at winning in 2010. A week or so later however, a phone call bowled me over with a hearty, “Congratulations! You’re a winner!”
With over 100,000 entries, the results can now be seen here at www.bodyforlife.com . I still find it hard to believe that my picture’s right there on the home page. Once in a while I go back just to see if it’s still there. Guess what…it is. Yay!

As a cancer survivor on the shady side of seventy, I’ve faced tougher odds than winning this event. I don’t pretend to look as ripped or quite as buff as some of my younger competitors. I also don’t pretend that this little blip in the scheme of things is deserving of any particular kudos or attention. My hope is that there are some other seniors out there who might possibly glean inspiration from this success story, where they might otherwise only find despair.

To them—and to you—let me offer these words of caution: Side effects from entering the Body-for-Life Challenge may include more energy…greater strength…more spring in your step…bigger muscles…smaller waistlines…and a better outlook on life. Not to mention a ten thousand dollar cash prize.


Thanks for listening…
Sherman Goodrich (Your Buddy-for-LIFE)
HALFTIME (Sports cartoons)

  • Sherman, on my first day I read your message and must respond to you "what a great job". It is an accomplishment and an inspiration you have certainly inspired me. When I read your story I can't help but think of the little train that could. Under some of the worst set backs you still stayed the course and were determined to follow through. Way to go!  By the way how do you like your new jewelry,  

    Best regards

    Scott H.  California

  • Sherman, I too am in the over the 46 group and knocking at 65...I want to tell you I can relate to your story and have been inspired to get down to my home gym and get started...I had prolonged my Challenge way to long and started back on June 5th....so I wanted to say thanks for a great story of a "Real Champion."  John