Home / Blog / Former 'Mr. Pittsburgh' overcomes cancer, creates fitness hotline for seniors

Former 'Mr. Pittsburgh' overcomes cancer, creates fitness hotline for seniors

Oct 08, 2023Oct 08, 2023

TribLIVE's Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.

Nick Majoris still has the green fiberglass mask with holes that was placed over his head and bolted to a table during radiation treatments for throat cancer.

It has "X" marks where the radiation was directed.

A reminder of a time when he didn't feel well, he keeps it to remind him how far he's come. He believes he's here today because he dedicated a big part of his life to being fit.

Earning the title "Mr. Pittsburgh" in 1960, Majoris never thought he’d get cancer.

At 81, he's using his recovery to help inspire other seniors who are facing medical issues or who just need someone to talk to.

Majoris has created the Senior Lives Matter hotline, on which he is available from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The phone number is 412-445-8079, and the service is free.

With a degree in sports medicine, Majoris worked for many years as a director for the former European Health Spas. He has spent a good portion of his life as a personal trainer. He's been called "The Macho Man" because he was featured in the music video from The Village People — he met the band through Pittsburgh-based concert promoter DiCesare Engler Productions.

Majoris has an upbeat personality, and, despite thinking he is "The Macho Man" and nothing can happen to him, something happened to him. Since his diagnosis in 2021, he has overcome being on a feeding tube for six months to slowly introducing soft foods. He works out at 4 a.m. every day and meets his first client at 5 a.m.

"It's never too late," said Majoris, who began lifting weights at age 12. "I want to help people because ‘Senior Lives Matter.’ "

"It's about giving back," said Majoris, whose wellness center is in Treesdale, Adams Township. "I have been working with people, and I want to help people. I want to talk to them about their health and also their life. It's important to be a good listener. And some seniors have nobody."

The Richland resident said he is willing to go to peoples houses if they need him to. Connecting with these seniors is a mission for Majoris. He said he met many people at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside.

"I have seen miracles," said Majoris, an Army veteran originally from Johnstown. "It's about eating better and exercising, but it's also about knowing a person's health history and what makes them tick. And, they need to have a desire to do this. Attitude is so important. It can make or break you."

Majoris said people don't need heavy weights to work out. He designs programs without those. He uses a vibration machine as well as broomsticks, balls and stretching bands.

Standing on a vibrating platform while exercising can be beneficial, he said. By forcing the muscles to contract and relax dozens of times each second, it could aid weight loss, burn fat, improve flexibility, enhance blood flow, reduce muscle soreness after exercise, build strength and decrease the stress hormone cortisol.

According to the Mayo Clinic, whole-body vibration can offer fitness and health benefits, but it's not clear if it's as good for you as regular exercise

such as walking, biking or swimming.

Majoris, who has worked with athletes from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Steelers, recommends potential clients consult a physician before working with him.

The father of two and grandfather of four has 12 to 15 clients, plus a few he advises on the phone.

"You can't go anywhere in your car without gas," he said. "I am the gas. I am the one to help get you moving forward."

Konrad Mayr, 72, of Upper St. Clair has been into fitness all his life, jogging and riding his bike. He recently started walking more and working out with Majoris.

"Thanks to Nick, he helps people overcome obstacles," Mayr said. "Nick is familiar with how the human body works, and talks with you so he understands you as a person and not just a client. Everything he is does is with you in mind."

Mayr and Majoris met through mutual friends from Austria, which is where Mayr is from. The two became friends, Mayr said, having an occasional beer together.

Majoris understands the intricacies of the body and tailors a workout to the person he is training, Mayr said.

"His workout tools are simple and inventive," Mayr said. "His training is extremely valuable. He is interested in a person's overall health and maintaining a good balance in life.

"To me, he's a never-ending source of creativity when it comes to devising a workout."

Majoris offers his own testimony on the benefits of staying in shape.

"God has blessed me with the gift of helping people," he said. "I’ve overcome cancer. And if I wasn't healthy to begin with, I would be dead."

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE's Daily and Weekly email newsletters deliver the news you want and information you need, right to your inbox.