81-year-old is king of the gym

May 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
We've all met amazing people in our lives that not only inspire, but also motivate. ABC7's Mike Shumann visits a gym legend in Livermore and even tried to challenge the fitness guru.

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Tom Simonds has been working out twice a day, six days a week at 24 Hour Fitness in Livermore since it opened in 1998.

"Movement is life! You quit using it, pretty soon you can't use it," says Simonds.

This St. Louis native taught high school in Dublin for 43 years and he's been a fitness fanatic his entire life. He will turn 81 in August. Most guess Simonds is in his 60's and he is an inspiration to everyone in his gym half his age.

"Tom is a rarity. Everyone looks to him for information and motivation," says 24 Hour Fitness Club manager Tony Riccardi.

"They call him a living legend around here. A lot of people are very inspired by him," says Christina Simonds, Tom's daughter.

And that is part of his enjoyment in coming to the gym.

"I love people. To be honest, I like to give them a little help," says Simonds.

Simonds started lifting while serving in the Korean War.

"Back then it was all free weights. They didn't have all these fancy machines," says Shumann.
"Nooo. This is like a candy store," says Simonds.

Simonds battles arthritis, a heart condition, and claims the keys to long life are: attitude, exercise, and diet.

"I sound like a preacher. I'm not, I'm an ex-teacher," says Simonds.

After an hour with Simonds, Shumann was inspired and decided to accept his fitness challenge. Can you guess who won?

Thankfully, there are no injuries to report, but Shumann said he had to take a few days off for "general soreness."

Congratulations Simonds!

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