SARASOTA - It is not out of the ordinary for people in their 60's to be active and to be good at their activities. But it is a little unusual to be performing feats of strength and being one of the best in the world at it.
Back in 1974, Al Vaughan decided to get serious about weight-lifting. He was always athletic, but a friend turned him onto the wonders of weights. “I always liked being in shape. I was a basketball player in high school, baseball player, football player, and just something about being physically fit. And I think you can be any age and lift weights.”
Almost 40 years later at the age of 62 he has done better than just staying shape. He has become one of the best all-natural bodybuilders in the world. “I you would have told me then that I would be a world ranked bodybuilder, or a national champion, I would’ve just shook my head or said ‘there’s no way’.”
Because of bodybuilding and the competitions, Vaughn has traveled and discovered a lot about the world. He has also discovered a lot about himself. “It just teaches you discipline. You carry that discipline with you throughout your entire life, and just makes you a better person, makes you more focused as a human being. And I think to achieve anything in life, you need that.”
He trains 6 days a week at Crunch Fitness on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota, and while there he has proved to be an inspiration to those around him. “It's amazing. I've never seen anybody in as good shape as he is. He's an inspiration,” says fitness enthusiast Paul Dowling.
Vaughn is a self-made man -- all-natural, no steroids or foreign substances. He takes a lot of pride in that, and the fact that he is in his prime, not in the twilight of his life. “I’ve been competing 36 years, and the best condition of my life at the age of 62. I just won nationals for the 2nd and 3rd time. I just want to continue to push myself, because I have exceeded my expectations, but I'm not finished yet.”
Vaughan is a retired Sarasota County prison guard who works part-time at Publix, working around his workout and competition schedule, of course.