Vegetarian for Life

Meet the incredible 81-year-old vegan whose mission is to complete ONE MILLION press-ups

Posted by Katie on 06/03/19 in Articles, Life After Retirement

After raising money for charity by successfully completing 1,000 press-ups in an hour Paul Youd now has his sights set on a staggering one million press ups spread out over 10 years – which is more than 274 a day – all to show what is possible on a vegan diet.

He said: “A few years ago I raised around £850 for charity for completing 1,000 press ups in an hour. I used to think that people had a set exercise routine and they stuck to it and that was that. But I wanted to push myself even further and do 3,000 press ups a week. Last night it took me 39 minutes to do 1,000 so I have done a fair amount this week.”

He has so far already clocked up 170,000 press-ups after starting the challenge on his 80th birthday in September 2017.

He added: “I’m going to do it. I am determined.”

Since going vegan 15 years ago, Paul describes his energy as ‘unlimited’ and he does kettlebell routines as well as weekly chin-ups.

Paul said: “I dance across the room in the morning to open the curtains and skip down the path when I leave the house. I have so much energy. I feel so good, I feel like a 40-year-old. I want to show people the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle because it’s never too late to go vegan.”

The spritely grandfather of four (soon-to-be five) is on no medication and said he hasn’t needed to see a doctor in 5 years.

He added: “I used to have really painful arthritis in my fingers. All I would get from the doctor was ibuprofen. It would hurt to lift a kettle or even just pull the duvet up in bed. But since going vegan the pain has gone. I feel so happy and energetic.”

Paul, from Taunton, Somerset, said it took him a few years to fully make the switch to a vegan lifestyle after the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

He said: “I had never really taken an interest into meat, where it was coming from and animals’ welfare but that seemed to spark it off. I then started looking into the egg and dairy industry and realised just how cruel it was and just knew I couldn’t be part of it any more. It took around 2 years for the blinkers to come off, then I went vegan.”

His wife, Teresa, 70, eats mainly plant-based at home but his two adult children aren’t vegan.

Paul, a retired civil servant, now teaches bread-making to adults with learning disabilities and also to those using foodbanks to help food go a little further.

He added: “I’ve always been the one to stand out in the family so they just accept it.”

“Although because I’m going to be out every weekend with the animal rights activists, I have promised to do more around the house. It’s only fair.”

Paul is also aiming to continue taking part in weekly ‘Cube of Truth’ events. These are sessions in busy areas where people anonymously stand together and share footage from dairy farms, egg factories and slaughter houses.

He said: “The response we get at these events is so positive, people just don’t really know what is going on. I think everyone is vegan at heart because no-one wants to see an animal suffering or in pain. So this is a way to align people’s actions with their morals.”

Speaking about the rise in veganism he said it’s ‘incredible’.

He added: “When I went vegan it wasn’t really the done thing, I remember eating out was a lot more tricky than it is today. But to see the increase of veganism is fantastic. It’s going to grow exponentially. I want to be part of that and help educate and inspire others to see the benefits.”

Amanda Woodvine, CEO of charity Vegetarian for Life, which supports older vegans and vegetarians, said: “Paul’s energy is great to see and just goes to show that you can be strong, healthy and live life to the full on a vegan lifestyle at any age.

“Paul demonstrates that people can switch to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle at any point in their life. We have a wealth of recipes available if anyone is wanting to give it a go.”

“We wish him luck on his challenge and hope that he achieves his goal.”

Visit or call the charity on 0161 257 0887 for more information.

Visit to read Paul’s blog.


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