A longtime Butler resident who was known for a popular fitness program has died.
Paul Gaudino passed away earlier this week in St. Petersburg, Florida at the age of 87.
Fondly known as the “Exerciseman,” Gaudino was a staple on Armstrong television with the Paul Gaudino Family Fitness Show.
He initially got his start in body building in the 1960s. But according to his daughter Debbie, Paul left the sport due to the rise of steroid use.
“He knew as soon as steroids made it into the sport, he would never win. He may not have been the best student in school, but he was smart enough to know and never, ever would take a steroid,” Debbie said.
Paul worked out at the Butler YMCA and wanted to teach a class. But the only timeslot available was a Monday night class.
“He takes this one-day-a-week class, at 9 p.m. on a Monday, and he starts with like two people who showed up,” Gaudino said. “But after just a few short months, word of mouth spread until it was standing room only in the gym.”
Gaudino wanted to take his efforts outside of the classroom as well, and began developing a one-mile track at Butler Memorial Park. It eventually led to a group of jogger joining him and his wife every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
“Back then, a mile was an insanely long way to go. He was ahead of his time and inately intelligent about exercise. He told people that they didn’t need to run a mile, but rather jog a mile and take it easy,” Gaudino said. “He had strangers join him and they would do this little bit of exercise of three days a week.”
He would eventually start his fitness television show in 1970 and would remain on Armstrong until he left for Florida in 2012. He would stay connected with his audience by streaming shows online.
“My father would use his iPhone to try and figure out how to put a doggone 20 minute exercise show on his Facebook page,” Gaudino said. “My father had great determination.”
Even toward the end of his life as Gaudino was battling cancer, he would make an effort to exercise.
“He would sit on the couch and just do ankle rolls. Anything to get the blood moving,” Debbie said.
She added that her father’s determination and commitment to exercise undoubtedly led to a longer life than many of his siblings and family members.
“My father’s dad died when he was 55. None of his brothers made it out of their 60s.
Debbie says that her father would take great peace in knowing that he influenced people to stay healthy.
“I think if people keep exercising or have good health habits because of him, that would make him happy. That he inspired them to move their bodies as long as they possibly can,” Gaudino said.
Arrangements for Paul Gaudino will be set for a later date.
Gaudino was 87.
“He was such an honorable man. I didn’t realize it as a kid, but as an adult when you get older you realize how many bad people there are out there, you realize what a gem I had,” Debbie said.