In his book, “Will of Iron: A Champion’s Journey”, Peter Nielsen talks about how two near-death experiences and other complications transformed his life.

On Feb. 19, the internationally-known fitness and lifestyle guru brought his amazing story to Dearborn, captivating his audience with his unique message of hope, inspiration, and motivation. Nielsen appeared at Henry Ford Village for an invitation-only appearance before residents and guests.

Nielsen’s understanding of daily physical and mental challenges helped him connect with the appreciative audience. His 45-minute presentation focused not only on good eating habits and exercise but also on changing one’s mindset in order to live a longer, healthier life.

“The gift of life is something a lot of us take for granted, and then, when we get to a certain age, we start to feel mortal,” Nielsen said. “What I want to do is put more quality in the choices that you make moving forward…to change your mindset.”

Nielsen spoke of his life on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, and being diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. At the tender age of 15, and again at 40, Nielsen nearly died from inflammatory bowel disease. Those challenges led him on his lifelong journey to spiritual and physical health.

Nielsen has won more than 50 bodybuilding awards – including Mr. International Universe and Mr. America – and, in his late 50s, remains in top physical condition. His media empire consisting of books, radio, and television programs reaches more than 100-million people in 110 countries. His current TV series, “Peter N. Nielsen’s Life Coaching”, airs on Discovery Life Network.

His talk touched on the dangers of the overconsumption of sugar – which he called “the gateway to cancer” – and eating habits in general. Other topics included proper exercise for seniors, and overcoming divorce, grief, abuse, and other life events which prevent people from living to their full potential.

Nielsen’s visit was a perfect fit for the senior living community’s active residents and those interested in living there. Several of them – known as Henry Ford Village Ambassadors – attended the event and helped visitors afterward with their questions.

Trudy McCreadie is very involved in wellness programming at HFV and is active in local theater; Jim McCreadie is a hobby shop regular, model shipbuilder, and is part of the train club; Liz Chaney teaches some of the Technology workshops for fellow residents; Don Hoenig is an accomplished painter who can often be seen working in the art studio.

In his closing remarks, Nielsen urged them and other HFV residents to follow his “Peter’s Principles” of clean, healthy living.

“The life that we have is a gift to us from our Creator. What we do with our time is a gift back to Him,” Nielsen said. “Age is just a number. Talk is cheap. Be a walking, talking example of how you want people to think of you and remember you.”