Powerlifting Senior Sets World Records

Becoming a septuagenarian senior citizen doesn't mean that the beginning of a slow slide into decreased physical activity and fitness levels. For Oneida Indian Nation native (Wolf Clan) and grandfather Ray Fougnier, turning 70 was the beginning of his interest in weightlifting. He told Indian Country ( that he got into powerlifting as a senior in order to stay physically fit and prevent diabetes, saying "Weightlifting really helps to control sugar in the blood." Fougnier believes that Native Americans need to be wary of a sedentary lifestyle "especially if we’re predisposed to diabetes, blood pressure, cancer, heart disease", and to be aware of their diet and exercise levels.

ray fougnier, powerlifting, native american, oneida nation, senior citizen, septuagenarian, age 71Above, Ray at age 71 (Photo: United South & Eastern Tribes)

Ray Fougnier had been a science teacher and head of the American Indian Program at Cornell University, enjoying retirement for 8 years before he began powerlifting at age 70 in January 2013. The first year he competed, he set raw powerlifting records in his age division (70-74) in the Raw Nationals Championship (raw powerlifting requires athletes to have no assistance or support from equipment while lifting). In his second year of competition, Fougnier received 5 medals and finished 2nd overall in the world championships.

This past April 2016 Ray Fougnier set 4 world records (deadlift, squat, bench press, and overall score) for his age division at the North American Championships of the Amateur Athletic Union in Laughlin, Nevada and has qualified to compete again in the AAU World Powerlifting Championships in Las Vegas (September 2016). He is sponsored by the Oneida Indian Nation He told Indian Country ( after his most recent win that "Health and fitness have always been a priority for me, but it is my hope that with this new national and international platform, I can serve as a positive role model who helps inspire Native peoples and children to embrace an active lifestyle.”

ray fougnier, powerlifting, world records, seniors, weightlifting, older adults, oneida nation, native american, older adult men., physical fitness(Photo: Marlene Fougnier | Indian Country/TODAY MEDIA

Fougnier works out 3 days a week for 2 hours daily and follows a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and protein. His tip for for seniors and older adult men who are interested in increasing their activity levels and fitness regimen:

At my age I need to have more recovery time. I can’t lift like younger lifters lift. You need to be a little more restrained in the type of abuse you put your body through. That’s why I only work only three days a week.

At age 73, Ray Fougner is an inspiration for older adults and senior citizens (male and female) to embrace a healthy lifestyle and begin on the path to physical fitness

Anita Hamilton

50+ World editor & baby boomer writer Anita Hamilton has always been interested in the "real people" stories behind the characters that create and inhabit the world of music, books, movies, television shows, current events, history, etc. A lifelong love of research (ok, nosiness) and writing, combined with a loving and supportive family complete with 3 mini-dachshund minions, keeps her busy.


Billy Brown September 2nd, 2019 at 1:14pm

My name is Billy Brown living in Greece, I started lifting January 2019 and this is now September 2019, I will be 70 years old in December this year, my progress in the local gym has impressed all the lifters, my body weight is 85 kg, my bench press id 215 lb squat 265 lb and just started dead lifting 2 weeks passed that is also 265 lb, Ray Fougnier gives me great encouragement to carry on, what I would like to know is , what is Rays Body weight
PS keep up the great work Ray

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