If a measure of a man were simply his size and strength, Odd Haugen would be at the top of the list. This is remarkable when you consider the fact that even though this six foot four three hundred pound giant of a man is approaching the age of 60; he continues to demonstrate the ability to compete with those half his age.
Born in 1950 in Tingvoll, Norway, Odd was fascinated with those possessing strength. Tarzan movies and magazines were his motivation; however, fitness facilities and barbells were few and far between. At the age of 10 he began to pursue his passion by finding any way to get the necessary devices he needed to enhance his strength. He used birch trees to fashion dumbells, worked delivering papers to earn money for materials to build weight devices, and even took courses in metal shop so he would have an understanding of how to build strength training devices. He also began consuming protein products, which had to be mixed, and were not very palatable. His passion in pursuit of size and strength paid off. He was able to win Junior Mr. Norway in the late 1960’s prior to coming to New York as a high school exchange student. This opportunity had a profound impact on Odd and was his first introduction to American football and wrestling. He naturally excelled in both sports and amazingly remained undefeated with the exception of matches against the state champion who was able to defeat him on two occasions.
After his student exchange experience, Odd returned to Norway and in 1970 won the IFBB Mr. Norway Senior National Bodybuilding Championships. His experience with western football served him well. He was able to return to the United States and from 1970 to 1973 attended Western Maryland (McDaniel) College. He lettered in football, track, and wrestling, and in 1972 was named the most outstanding defensive player, All Maryland College First Team, All Conference First Team. This would lead to Odd being signed by the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers during the 1973-74 seasons. He played a few preseason games for the 49ers until being sidelined by injuries.
From the age of 25 to 32, Odd spent most of his time training and practicing social sports such as tennis and skiing, and only sporadically trained with weights. As he points out, most people would have thought he was in outstanding shape from his overall appearance, however he realized at a certain juncture that something was lacking in his fitness regime. He gradually began working his way back into the strength training that had been such a vital part of his youth. Slowly, he began incorporating weight training into his workout schedule and, as with so many other things, he committed himself to the pursuit of outstanding performance and excellence. His accomplishments from this point on are too lengthy to list; however, some of the highlights of his remarkable treatise to strength and powerlifting would be the 1996 AAU Masters National Powerlifting Champion; 1997 United States Powerlifting Federation Masters National Powerlifting Champion; 1999 AFSA Strongest Man in America USA Strong Man Champion and Hawaii Strongest Man for 2000, 2001 and 2003.
One would think that retirement would certainly be warranted, considering that at the age of 53 he was the winner of the Hawaii Strongest Man competition. One would question what more could be accomplished, but nothing could be further from the truth. Odd Haugen is one of those rare individuals who will never end the quest for physical and mental accomplishments that exceed his previous benchmark. Most recently, anyone who has tuned in to the World’s Strongest Man competition featured on ESPN would immediately take notice of the name Odd Haugen competing against individuals half his age, and yet winning events with his dynamic strength and mental perseverance.
Odd does not follow any particular dietary regime; however, he has always ensured that he consumed enough protein and avoided overeating fatty foods. He has also supplemented his diet with multivitamins and minerals, with hefty dosages of with vitamin C. His recommendation for anyone wanting to maintain longevity and physical strength is "move." As he points out, living today can easily diminish movement. You need to sometimes walk and avoid using a car.
His career has not been without injury. Recently, he suffered a bicep tear. This injury might knock many out of competition forever; however, this was not the case with Odd Haugen even though he suffered this setback while in his fifties. His preparation prior to surgery and post surgery led to a full and fast recovery. He credits a great deal of this to his using other muscles that enhanced his overall healing time. Five weeks after surgery, he had reached 95 percent of the physical therapy goals. Squatting is an exercise that he used to aid in his pre surgical preparation and post surgical recovery.
Odd Haugen firmly believes in the self-fulfilling prophecy. He believes that most individuals age themselves through the thinking process. He never doubts that he can compete with anyone at any age. He readily acknowledges his busy schedule does not provide him the opportunity to train at the same level as a youngster without his commitments. As President of dotFIT, LLC, he is very busy. Raising three children also places special demands upon him. Nevertheless, he makes no excuses and continues to put forth strength efforts that are astonishing.
Odd Haugen is an enigma and a role model for all ages. He is living proof of what can be accomplished through dedication and determination. Most importantly, he has his priorities straight. When you ask him what has been his greatest accomplishment, he quickly responds, " my three children," and does not mention his strength and powerlifting accomplishments. This is truly a great man who is Ageless/Timeless.