Strong to the Finish

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Robert Yamasaki listens from the top spot on the podium as the U.S. national anthem is played during an awards ceremony last month at the 2014 International Powerlifting Federation Raw Classic WorldPowerlifting Championship in South Africa. (Photo provided by Robert Yamasaki)

Robert Yamasaki listens from the top spot on the podium as the U.S. national anthem is played during an awards ceremony last month at the 2014 International Powerlifting Federation Raw Classic WorldPowerlifting Championship in South Africa. (Photo provided by Robert Yamasaki)

POTCHEFSTROOM, South Africa.–At the age of 61, Robert Yamasaki of Valencia stood head and muscular shoulders above the competition, during last month’s International Powerlifting Federation Raw Classic World Powerlifting Championship in South Africa.

With over 500 competitors from 40 countries, Yamasaki won three gold medals and broke three world records in the 60-69 age/163 lb. class. He also brought home the Best Lifter award for his age class, beating all other heavyweights. This award is determined by a cal­culation of body weight to weight lifted.

Yamasaki has been training and competing for over 40 years. (Photo provided by Robert Yamasaki)

Yamasaki has been training and competing for over 40 years. (Photo provided by Robert Yamasaki)

His final result was a total weight of 1,229 pounds in the three lifts — squat: 440 pounds; bench press: 270 pounds; and dead lift: 518 pounds. His efforts earned him the medals and the records, but not before those watching thought it was over as they watched Ya­masaki’s second dead lift attempt when he fell flat on his back due to both calves cramping. He came back on the third attempt, switching from sumo to conventional style to win the gold.

This was his second contest this year, with two yet to come. Yamasaki has the distinction of competing in both raw and equipped competitions – doubling his competition schedule. Later this year, he will compete at the World Masters Powerlifting Cham­pionships in the Czech Republic, an equipped event. All athletes are tested for performance-enhancing drugs, to ensure the continued integ­rity of the sport.

Yamasaki has been weight train­ing for over 40 years. In 2012, he competed in his first powerlifting contest at a state championship in Valencia and has been breaking re­cords ever since. With a total of 20 World records, 14 American records, and 12 National records under his belt – without a loss – Yamasaki has strived to be an example of how to stay strong forever.

He follows a vigorous workout routine that he created from research­ing the best programs in the world. He is highly systematic in his ap­proach to planning each workout in advance, executing each goal each day, leading up to the day of com­petition.

Training for two hours, five days a week at the local gym, Yamasaki never misses his 4:30 a.m. workout. Often mistaken for a 40-year-old and stronger than ever, his near half-century commitment to fitness and strength training keeps him young, spry, and strong.

“It’s never too late. Always be­lieve in yourself and never, ever give up,” Yamasaki says.

Footage of Yamasaki in compe­titions can be found by searching “StrongForeverClub” on YouTube. com.

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