Friends and family of YMCA member Ernie Fowler celebrated his 100th birthday a few days early at the Magdalena Ecke YMCA Tuesday. But the festivities didn't happen without the Encinitas resident sneaking in a workout.
He used the machines to work his chest, back and legs. One reporter said she was exhausted just looking at the man who works out five times a week.
“You should watch me do sit-ups,” he said. He records every repetition of every exercise with a pencil on a YMCA exercise log.
After his workout, he went to a room full of friends and family who sang him “Happy Birthday” and “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”
When asked what his birthday wish was, the jokester pointed at the cake in front of him.
“I wish I don’t have to eat that whole cake,” he said.
His secret for longevity?
“Stay active, stay alive—that’s very helpful—and breathe quite constantly,” he said.
And his diet? He’s not too picky.
“I usually like to eat something that my teeth will chew,” he said.
Fowler—whose actual birthday is Jan. 22— joined in 2009 and that’s when Neil Cooper, of Carlsbad, first met him and admires the way he constantly pushes himself.
“He’s marching around—doing his exercises, going on the treadmill. He’s slow and he’s there and he’s always smiling,” Cooper said. "It’s difficult for him to walk, but he’s there. He’s upbeat. He’s very sharp with a great sense of humor.”
Fowler has made various friends and, he told a room full of them Tuesday that he is impressed with the YMCA because it is “like a big family.”
“You’re like that with each other and that’s rare in our culture,” he said.
Appropriately so, Fowler is also the local YMCA's "Member of the Month."