Senior powerlifter dedicates life to making others healthier

Gary Miller, at 65-years-old and weighing only 144 pounds, can bench press 380 pounds and he is known in Pahrump as a weightlifter who has broken many world records.

But what people don’t know is that he wasn’t always as fit as he is now and was once 40 pounds overweight.

For Miller, nutrition and building strength became a way of life when his 11-year-old daughter made him realize he was not healthy. “My daughter came up to me and said, ‘I can’t see your belt because your belly is so big,’” Miller said. “At the time I weighed around 175 pounds and I realized I had to make a change.”

Miller changed his life by lifting weights. Since his weight loss, Miller has dedicated his life to others to help them get healthy. He is now a certified weight trainer and helps others with nutrition.

“Eating well is 80 percent of the battle,” he said.

Gary spends hours training people in weights and helping them to be healthier and thinner.

“I own a private gym at my house,” he said. “People pay me to lose weight and get healthy and I provide all the equipment at no charge.”

Since Custom Health and Fitness closed, Miller could be another choice as a workout option.

Miller has a distinct philosophy. The more muscle mass you put on, the more energy you need to burn for those muscles.

“Your body burns 60 calories per pound of muscle,” Miller said. “For 10 pounds of muscle, that is 600 calories.”

From that sentence, people are probably saying that with Gary Miller you would just be pounding weights all day and you would be wrong.

Miller is the first to admit that the battle of the bulge must be won with proper eating and nutrition.

“You can’t just go out and lift weights and then eat all you want,” he said. “It doesn’t work that way.”

He then told a story of a good friend of his.

“Just so you know, we lost eight or nine powerlifters to heart attacks,” Miller said. “Just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you’re healthy. I had a friend that decided he was going to put on weight for weightlifting. He was 205 and decided he wanted to eat whatever he wanted. He went up to 220 pounds. He then kept eating and went up to the 241-pound class. He had a heart attack. After that, he lost the weight and was down to 198 pounds but he started eating badly and had to have part of his colon removed.”

The bottom line for Miller is “nutrition is the name of the game.”

The fact that he believes in good nutrition combined with a good weightlifting regimen goes against the old-school power lifters.

“There are guys that still believe in the formula that weight times momentum equals power,” he said “This means they believe to lift heavy weights, you have to be heavy. And that simply is not true for this formula does not take into consideration technique. Simply put, if you think you can be heavy and that will make you lift 500 pounds without the strength, that won’t happen. You have to have the strength.”

Miller is the perfect example, weighing 148 pounds and being able to bench 380 pounds.

“When a client comes to me I go over their health and nutrition and even give them a nutrition package,” he said. “They get a chart where they can choose their meals. It’s a lot of hours if I choose their meals for them and they might not even like it so it is better if they do it. People quickly realize that if you take in 2,000 calories and burn 2,000 calories you won’t lose weight. When you work out and put on more muscle, then your muscles help you to burn those calories.”

He also said it is important to know when to eat.

“When your body trains hard it produces insulin,” Miller said. “The primary function of the insulin is to replace glycogen in your muscle. So the best time to eat carbohydrates is after you train, when you need to replace that glycogen and the worst time is when you are resting in between workouts.”

Miller also promotes a powerlifting contest, which he organizes and is this Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Pahrump Nugget. Walk-ins are welcome and the cost is $65 per division. Spectator admission is $5 per person. The contest is sponsored by the World Association for Benchers and Deadlifters.

To contact Gary Miller phone:775-209-4916.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at