Rocky Luedeker: 63-Year-Old Vegan Powerlifter

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I AM A 63-YEAR-OLD VEGAN POWERLIFTER from Sedona, Arizona. I enjoy snow skiing, hiking, and growing vegetables in my garden. I became vegetarian 32 years ago, and vegan 16 years ago. I believe that the vegan way of life is paramount for all humans. No animal should have to suffer or be enslaved for archaic human lifestyles. I am also very concerned about all the insects that are rapidly disappearing since they are so important to the environment, as insects are my favorite entities.

I started powerlifting when my son Nathaniel taught my daughter, Bianca, to powerlift. Bianca started doing competitions, and as I watched her, and then other family members compete, I was wondering why I was just sitting there as a spectator when I could be doing the same thing and getting records. That is how it all began in 2013. Of the six of us powerlifting in my family, three are vegan and three are vegetarians.

I compete in three Federations of Powerliftng: 100% Raw, USPA, and AAU. I compete in the 97 lb. class, but at times compete in the 105 lb. class in pursuit of more records.

I HOLD 14 WORLD RECORDS, 33 NATIONAL AND STATE RECORDS, AND HAVE SIX BEST LIFTER AWARDS.

I acquired the latest Best Lifter Master Female on March 10 at the UPSA Lumber Jack Open held in Flagstaff. It is determined by the Wilks score which factors in age, weight, and pounds lifted. I compete in the Raw division which means no support garments. I do Full Power, which is squats, bench press, deadlifts and curls. My best squat is 124 lbs. My best bench press is 89 lbs. And my best deadlift 184 lbs., twice my body weight. My top weight for arm curl is 45 lbs. I do 8-to-10 competitions a year, usually weighing in at about 92 lbs.

I work out every day, even if for just a half hour. I have my own weights at home with a bench press and curl bar. Once a week I go to the gym to work out on the machines for three hours.

I am basically a light eater. For dinner each night, I have a big salad. I eat a variety of foods with various grains, beans, vegetables, tofu and a bowl of fruit for dessert. The morning of a competition, I eat a bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter mixed in and a glass of grapefruit or orange juice. The only supplement that I take is turmeric. I do not use protein powder or take B12 or an other supplement. Eating high nutrient foods is why I never get sick anymore. I haven’t had a cold in years, the last time I had the flu was 2005! My energy levels are very high.

At competitions, I have had many young ladies tell me that I am an inspiration and that they want to be like me when they are my age. When I hear this, I want to achieve more so that I can continue to be a role model for every lady. There are women who tell me that they “could never do Powerlifting.” I always try to convince them that, YES, they can do it—and if they are vegan, they can lift even heavier weights than they probably think!

I also enjoy the adrenaline that gives me the extra boost to lift even more at a competition than I can in the gym because of the cheers of the audience. The fellow lifters are so great because they always give you the confidence before you lift, saying, “You can do this!” And afterwards they give you congratulations: “Great lifting out there!” It's one of the best moments in a competition—feeling that we are all a team.

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