Bodybuilder makes astonishing recovery after open heart surgery

THE confidence of a powerful bodybuilder was shattered a year ago when he was warned he only had three months to live.

Col Casselden had successfully conquered skin cancer on his face after having surgery seven years ago.

The 66-year-old, from Winsford, was on medication for atrial fibrillation, a heart condition that causes an irregular heart rate, but was shocked to discover his life was at risk.

“I was told I had only three months to live unless I had open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve,” said Col, of Poole Street.

“I had a progressive disease. The valve gets smaller and smaller.

“The doctor said I could have a stroke or heart attack at any time. I was scared to leave the house in case I didn’t come back.”

Dad-of-two Col was in theatre for six hours and the operation was a success but he surprised medics with his astonishing quick recovery.

“They advised me not to lift any weights for seven months but I was back in the gym in six weeks,” said Col, who used to run his own business customising cars.

“I was that strong, I’m convinced that’s why I survived. I’ve got great willpower. It’s a year since my surgery and I’m training harder than I ever have.

” I regularly bench press 300lbs for repetitions and perform squats with 280lbs.”

Weighing in at 15 stone, he now has a 48-inch chest and 18-inch biceps.

Col only discovered bodybuilding while he was working as a teenager laying kerbs on Winsford Bypass.

“I’d only ever seen muscle men in films,” he said. “Then I saw one of the road workers who looked like Hercules! I couldn’t believe it.”

Col ordered some weights and has built a gym at the back of his home.

He said: “I was always naturally skinny, a classic seven stone weakling and wanted to look good. I’ve been training religiously for 45 years.”

When he was working he had a phenomenal appetite.

“I used to have a dozen raw eggs every day in between meals,” said Col. “I used to go into Aldi and buy 10 dozen at once!”

Now retired, he has two eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast and chicken or steak with jacket potatoes for dinner. In between he has protein drinks and supplements.

“A lot of people think it’s going to the gym and lifting weights that makes you big,” added Col, who has two grandchildren. “But 80 per cent is diet. Your body is like a machine, it needs fuel.

“There is no age barrier to physical fitness. Anyone can do it. I inspire myself and have a daily routine. With me it’s a way of life like eating and sleeping. It’s a great sense of achievement.”

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