After more than five decades of power lifting Red Deer’s Birchmans Pereira has every reason to sit back and just coach but instead he is still lifting at age 67.
“There is no age limit,” he says about his longevity. “Like in bodybuilding after certain years you can’t, karate you can’t, judo you can but you can’t compete until you get a medical clearance. Here you’re free until your 90 years old to compete.”
He makes it clear he wants to continue to push iron around until his youngest grandson, who is four, is old enough to compete with him on the same stage.
He’s already accomplished a similar feat with his son, another grandson, a niece and a nephew.
Pereira doesn’t hold back when he talks about the benefits of lifting hundreds of pounds and how it has given him his health along with a whole lot of confidence.
It’s his mental toughness and discipline which he claims allows him to continue to excel at the sport and he backed it up by winning his eighth world championship and adding a couple of world records in his class recently in Budapest, Hungary.
“It was easy because the weights for the world records were less than what I normally do,” he said about lifts of 405 lbs. and 505 lbs.
He is not shy when it comes to sharing his love of the sport along with the knowledge he’s garnered over the years and so he trains a small group of people at Peak Fitness in Red Deer and he doesn’t charge them for his services.
“It’s a pay it forward for him, “ said 64-year-old Monica Johnston, one of his students.
“He feels that if he teaches and trains us and we become fit we will teach and train somebody else and help out.
“When I was young I wanted to get involved in the sport, somebody helped me and didn’t charge me a penny and he told me if you can afford to do it without charging them, do it, it will make you a better person,” said Birchmans.
He takes great pride in his accomplishments but what really makes him smile is when he sees a member of his team fight through some adversity and come out on top.
An example would be Johnston who battles knee and hip issues but consented to give power lifting a try.
“She won two gold medals in her first competition and she was motivated and encouraged, and then her daughter, her son and a grandson decided to compete and they all did good,” he said.
He has a family history of diabetes and so he watches closely his sugar and carbohydrate intake which can be a daunting task for a man who claims to eat every two hours or so each day.
The combination of diet and exercise has been the basis for a man who holds many world records and isn’t close to being done yet. “You eat, you drink, you rest. You can’t do one better than the other,” he said. “If you don’t eat good you can’t drink good. If you don’t rest good, you can’t do good.”
It’s hard to argue that logic when you meet Birchmans.