LAFAYETTE, La. — At age 52, Brian Guillory can do 50 pushups in one minute. That’s just part of the reason the guy nicknamed “Old School” by his younger classmates at the Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy won the class physical fitness award.
He only takes partial credit.
“I can do nothing without God,” Guillory said in an interview at Lafayette Community Correctional Center where he helps run the new sheriff’s office youth services program. “I give all my praise to him. You can say whatever you want to after that.”
Guillory came to the sheriff’s office two years ago, after 1 ½ years without a job. He’d been laid off from the oil field.
He loves where he is now.
“There’s so many opportunities to move forward,” Guillory said. “I should have been here 20 years ago. I’d be retired by now.”
But Guillory, who describes himself as a clerk, learned this year that he had to complete the Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy program. That meant hitting the books. And it meant meeting physical fitness standards.
Most of the academy’s Class 142, Guillory’s fellow students, were in their 20s and 30s.
Guillory had 12 years on the next-oldest member of the class.
But Guillory did more than just keep up with the young people. The class physical fitness award is not an honorary title, and there was no grading on the curve.
“We’ve had a few that were older that were in fantastic shape,” said Shannon Manning, training officer for the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and the academy. “As far as my recollection goes, we’ve never had anyone 52 win the physical fitness award before.
“We had people who train regularly in a gym. We even had a collegiate weightlifter. He beat them all. He’s a fantastic athlete.”
Guillory said he really did 51 push-ups in a minute, but scorekeepers didn’t count the last one.
He did 42 sit-ups in a minute. He exceeded the standards on a flexibility test and ran 1½ miles in 11:06.
He scored in the top percentile — that’s as good as it gets — in every category. That’s how he won the award.
“I kind of figured I could do everything at 100 percent, but to get above all the other kids, that felt very good,” Guillory said. “I knew some of them were shooting for it.”
In a way, Guillory had been shooting for the award all his life. “I have been called a lung with tennis shoes on,” Guillory said.
He and his two sons were all high-school athletes. One son, Dillon, played baseball for Teurlings and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is now with the Army’s 173rd Airborne in Italy. Son Garrett was an athlete at Acadiana High School.
“I stayed in good shape to keep up with them,” Guillory said. “All the football practice, baseball practice.”
Guillory was the exercise coordinator for a Carencro Youth Association wrestling team for 14 years.
And he runs. A lot.
He celebrated his 50th birthday with a 50-mile race in San Antonio.
“That was difficult,” Guillory said. “That was a mental thing also. The body, at one point or another, it’s going to get tired. But the brain is what says, ‘I’m done.’ So if you can get past that mental thing, you can keep on going. ...
“It gives me a certain high. I’ve been to that euphoria where you’re almost at the pass-out stage. You’re seeing white. That’s good to me.
“My friends call me a little extreme. But that’s a good feeling for me. When I get there, I know my body has done a lot.”
Son Garrett accompanied him to San Antonio and took charge of keeping Guillory fed and hydrated over the course of the 11-hour run.
“He sustained me,” Guillory said.
Later, he and son Dillon went back to Texas to take on a 13-mile mud obstacle course.
“That took a lot out of the old man,” Guillory said.
He has also run in a couple of marathons, enjoys triathlons and plans to compete in the Teche Run, kayaking 133 miles from Krotz Springs to Morgan City.
He stays in shape by running three to five miles a day, with exercises.
“The new thing that’s out right now is the CrossFit,” Guillory said, “where you run a little bit and do a certain exercise, you run a little bit, you do another exercise — a squat, a push-up, a pull-up. I’ve been doing that for years. Now they’ve given it a name.
“You really don’t need a gym for that. I do it outside.”
He runs at Girard Park, Acadiana Park and, once a week, at a school track near his house. Once a week, “I put on a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of shorts and just go.” He’s run to Carencro, Youngsville, Broussard and elsewhere.
Guillory watches what he eats, but it’s not a fanatical diet.
He has a glass of red wine in the evening. When he gets up, he blends a banana, strawberries, blueberries, a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, honey, cinnamon, oatmeal and tomato juice.
“I drink that down with my fish oil and a multivitamin,” Guillory said.
He eats fish or chicken at his other two meals, and treats himself to red meat once a week. He avoids dairy and “white stuff” — white flour, white rice and the like.
“That’s where the chemicals are,” Guillory said.
He drinks plenty of water and uses sunblock.
Not everyone can push as hard as Guillory does, and people his age probably shouldn’t unless they’re certain they’re in good health.
But Guillory has one bit of advice in any case: “Just move. People sit down and get the sedentary life, and it’s going to be over pretty soon. Just move.
“It’s not brain surgery. If you eat less, if you eat 1,000 calories and you work off 2,000 calories, something’s going to happen.
“Just move. Cut your yard. Gardening. Bowling. You’re not going to do the extreme things. But keep moving. That TV is going to kill us. And just get outside.”
Guillory, who once kept in shape to keep up with his kids, is looking forward to keeping up with grandchildren.
“Everything’s going well. Nothing hurts. So I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing,” he said.