Ed Eubanks recently celebrated his milestone 70th birthday, but the longtime fitness guru feels like he’s in the springtime of his life.
“I want to keep going until I’m 170 if I can. I want to be the best I can be,” Ed said.
He certainly has the energy of a man much younger than his age. Ed said when his wife of 45 years, Dianna, retired, she suggested he apply for a lifeguard position at the St. Peters Rec-Plex because “I was kind of in her way.”
“She said, ‘Why don’t you go up to the Rec-Plex and get a job as a lifeguard?’” Ed recalled. “That was three years ago.”
Ed, who lives in St. Peters, loves being at the Rec-Plex.
“This place is an absolute gem for St. Peters and for this part of the country,” Ed said. “It’s one of the better facilities. You won’t find one that has more activities to do than here. Everybody that is within an hour’s drive of this place, or further, should take advantage of it because it’s good for anybody of any age.
“This building’s now 25 years old, but I want it to stand tall. … This is such a wonderful complex now. It’s amazing.”
Ed, a survivor of prostate cancer, is a fervent believer in the power of positive thinking. That aligns perfectly with his approach to maintaining a high level of fitness. He still does at least 100 pushups every day, something he began as a teenager growing up in the southwestern Illinois town of Granite City.
“Stay in shape and you’ll have a better life,” he says.
Ed also believes staying in shape gives him a chance to help other people.
“I always thought it would be horrible if right now we had an earthquake and this wall collapsed and I was able to get out but I couldn’t get you out because I was too weak. That would haunt me forever,” Ed said. “So I want to be in the best shape I can be at every stage and every age so I can be of service whenever I’m needed — to my family and friends and at work.”
A typical day for Ed begins at 3 a.m. He exercises, eats breakfast and arrives at the Rec-Plex about 4:20. He keeps a keen eye on the indoor pools four days a week, usually working between 28 and 30 hours.
Seldom, if ever, does Ed fail to look forward to what life has to offer.
“There are days when you wake up and the body says, ‘Do it,’ and the mind says, ‘I don’t think so. Let’s go back to sleep,’” Ed said. “You can’t do that.
“My cup is always half-full. That’s the way I try to look at every day. If something’s not working the way it should or if today I’m not feeling as strong as I was yesterday, what do I have to do to get better and heal myself today so I can be back at 110 percent?”
What steered Ed down this path of physical wellbeing?
“My father was military and was very fit,” he said. “As he got older, he was in a public relations job with the military. He was in a suit and tie every day, but he wasn’t exercising. Then when he got older, things started to happen as they do with all of us as we age. He had some issues. … I felt bad about that. I felt bad that he wasn’t able to do all the things he might want to do. So being a scrawny kid, I wanted to be a little bit bigger and a little bit better.”
Ed has met bodybuilding legends Bill Pearl, a former Mr. Universe, Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But long before those encounters, he crossed paths with a talented high school wrestler who inspired him to improve his fitness.
“He was about 185 pounds,” Ed said. “He was just ripped, just chiseled. He looked great. He showed me (how to do) pushups and I went home to see how many I could do. I could do 15, and I was determined to do 20. The last five looked like I was doing ‘The Worm’ on the ground. But I concentrated on (pushups) and got those better, to where I could do them.”
Ed is the inventor of “1 Minute Workout,” a pulley-based exercise system that attaches over the frame of a standard door. More than 150 exercises can be performed on the unit, building many different muscle groups.
The idea came to Ed after he woke up in the middle of the night. He engineered it and has the system for sale to anyone interested. Ed says he is proud that doctors have endorsed the product.
“People can do a full-body workout in seven or eight minutes a week, one minute a day,” Ed said. “It can hold up to 800 pounds of pressure with every (exercise) slot. I take it with me everywhere. There’s not a body part or a muscle that you can’t exercise, and that’s what I wanted.”
Ed agrees that one of the interesting aspects of being physically active is the increased energy level enjoyed by people after they work out.
“Any time we do exercise, our body naturally produces endorphins,” he said. “Endorphins give you a natural feeling of euphoria, a natural high. We don’t have to take drugs. Just do some physical exercise and you’ll feel better.”