They say the quest for physical perfection is a young man’s game. Those who say that don’t know C.T. Fletcher, who won’t let age—or his new heart—stop him from pumping iron. These days, the Compton, CA, native has a new perspective formed through years of experience.

Fletcher became famous on YouTube for his inspiring rags-to-riches story and his profanity-laced workouts, in which he screams at his partners such motivational platitudes as, “It’s still your motherfuckin’ set!” But long before his internet fame, the Arkansas native had been crushing weights for decades. The only obstacle that’s been able to slow down—but not stop—Fletcher has been his 2018 heart transplant.

These days, Fletcher is more of an old sage than a beefed-up hype man that motivates younger powerlifters.

“I’m supermellow outside of the gym,” he explained on the Muscle & Fitness podcast, M&F Reps. “But inside of the gym, I’m the beast of the valley, the one that you heard about. I am the Compton Superman inside the gym.”

In Fletcher’s training heyday, health came second to power. “The only thing that mattered was being big and strong,” he says. “Strongest man on the planet, that was the goal. Now I couldn’t care less about that.”

At the height of his popularity—and his body weight—Fletcher admits to being a burger-eating muscle machine hell-bent on hitting records, not counting carbs.

“I ate like these guys competing in the World’s Strongest Man competition,” he says. “You hear about all these 10,000-, 20,000-calorie diets. I just ate everything that wasn’t nailed down.”

C.T. Fletcher still hits the weights, there’s no doubt about that but he’s now become more of the observant, proud dad, watching his son, appropriately named Samson, smash the weights. He says his son benches 475, squats more than 500, and deadlifts 600-plus pounds. So did he put pressure on his son to carry on the Fletcher tradition?

“My dad was a preacher, and he would kick my ass if I wasn’t a preacher, so I don’t want to be like my dad,” Fletcher says. “So I let [my son] do what he wants to do.”

As far as the new and next generation of powerlifters, Fletcher advises hitting the weights for its long-term benefits, not quick rewards.

“It takes a little time. Be persistent, that’s the thing,” he says. “If you want it, you really want it, you have to be obsessed with it.”

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