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Breaking the Myth: "I'm just getting old" [E026]

man catching wavesFather’s Day is right around the corner and Dr. Bryan and Dr. Jason wanted to interview a special guy in our community – Bill Logan. He is the father of one of Dr. Jason’s good friends. Bill Logan is breaking the myth around getting old and starts to drop wisdom about how he stays fit at 77 years old.

Table Of Contents

Breaking the Myth of Getting Old: An Introduction

Bryan: Hey everybody! On this Father’s Day weekend we decided to bring a little special treat for you, and go a different direction. One of our friends’ fathers, Bill Logan, is a competitive athlete and has been for over 65 years. At age 77, he dropped a lot of wisdom in this episode that we thought would be wonderful for all of us fathers, and all of us out there that are trying to continue to stay health as long as we possibly can. Be sure to stay towards the end of the episode, all the way up to the end because that’s when he really actually drops some great wisdom, and some points that I think all of us can learn from. Enjoy this episode and happy Father’s Day.

Bryan: Welcome back to The Wellness Connection Show. It’s a beautiful day here in summer of Saint Louis as we begin that. I’m Dr. Bryan Joseph, joined by my co-host as always Dr. Jason Hamed.

Jason: Hello everyone!

Bryan: Today… There’s a common statement that gets brought up so frequently whenever we’re working with patients, or just having discussions about what you’re willing to do to stay healthy, and so frequently people, they tend to use that excuse of, “I’m getting too old,” or “I can’t do things like I used to do it,” or “It’s just not the same way as it once was.” And so, today Dr. Jason brought a family friend, in a way, as a guest today, who we’re going to interview and actually share at age 77 how he is still going strong, actively, physically.

Being A Competitive Athlete Since The Age Of 18

Jason: Bill go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience.

Bill: Yes. I’m Bill Logan and Ed Logan is my son who Jay knows quite well. But, I live down at Lake Perry, which is 14 miles west of Perryville, Missouri, and have been a competitive athlete since the age of 18. Started bike racing at Indiana University in the Little 500 bike race. Many of you have probably seen Breaking Away, the movie, and was racing, and I actually had teammates from that particular bike race. So, that’s how I got started in an active lifestyle. Stayed with cycling, I actually was going to quit cycling altogether when I got my master’s degree and started teaching, but a buddy of mine from Saint Louis who was instrumental in United States cycling racing, got be involved. So, we started racing the circuit throughout the United States and Canada, and that continued for about 20 years.

Jason: So, you got into fitness at 18. Is that what I heard?

Bill: That is correct. Yes.

Cycling in the 1960s

Jason: And, what was it that drew you into being active at 18, and specifically going into cycle at 18? We’re talking about what year by the way? What year are we looking at?

Bill: 1960.

Jason: 1960, which is way before obviously Tour de France is on television, and all day long, and millions of dollars for endorsements. I mean, this is like a cult type of culture at that time I’m sure, right?

Bill: It was indeed. There was very few publications. No television coverage of cycling. Very few cyclists, actually, in the United States.

Jason: Probably not well known like for the rigors that you were about to get involved with. I mean, cycling for those of you who don’t know, specially at the level that Bill was and is competing, is an absolute just torture chamber. I mean, to level, to hold that type of fitness, and hold that level of pushing pedals for that long, it’s unbelievable.

Bryan: The one race that I raced with Ed, your son, actually, and the group of guys that actually run together, I cannot believe. I can swim all right, and I can jog way, but these guys can fly on the bike. And, they’ve been talking about how fast Ed’s dad was. So, I can only imagine in your prime how fast you were on this bike because biking is a challenging sport, like very much so.

Bill: Yes, definitely different than running. Running is first aerobics. Cycling is first strength, so if a runner wants to come over to cycling, they have to really change the configuration of their musculature. The reason I really like cycling, it was because it was a combination of both of those things.

From losing at try outs to getting fired up

Bill: The reason I actually got into it to be honest with you is I graduated with a guy from high school that never did anything in competitive athletics, and the Little 500, which I alluded to earlier was a bike race in which was patterned after the Indianapolis 500, and there were 33 teams that would qualify each year, and so he said, “Well, why don’t you try out for this team?” So, he took me out in the hills of Bloomington, Indiana, and crushed me, and I thought, “There’s a lot to this. If I’m going to do it, I’m really going to have to train.”

Jason: Yeah. Did you get fired up though? Were you like, “This guy who just crushed me, I’m going to train and go get him”?

Bill: Yeah, I was. Immediately I said, “This can’t happen.”

Eating the orange whole

Jason: So, one time Ed and I were… Your son Ed and I were hanging out, talking, and we were talking about drive and mental focus. And, he told me a story about that cycling days, and he was speaking third person regards to someone that was a competitor of yours. Thinking he was going to go all in on the cycling thing, and as Ed says it, tells a story, was actually making a run to potentially be a professional cyclist.

Jason: And so, he was competing against you in a race, and he was holding side-by-side with you, or really on your wheel, as they say in cycling, and yet he thought he had it. He thought he had some gas in him, and all of a sudden he so you reach into your cycling jersey, pull out an orange, and for those of you who don’t know, when your riding really fast, you don’t have a lot of hands where you can just go ahead and make a five course meal and eat with utensils, but he did say, that you pulled out an orange and instead of ripping off the orange, you ate it like an apple.

Jason: With the peel. And the guy said quote unquote: “I knew and I saw Bill Logan eat an orange whole that I was no way shape or form cut out for competitive professional cycling.” So, first and foremost for the record, is that story true?

Bill: That story’s true.

Jason: I love it! The myth is true! I love it! You have no idea how much that made my day.

Bill’s Time In USA Cycling

Jason: So, now you’re in USA Cycling. You’re doing some of the… this is after college, right at this time?

Bill: That is correct. Yes.

Jason: Okay. So, talk to us about that. It was at this time, was any kids born or where you just totally…

Bill: Our oldest son was born while we were at Indiana University. Eddie followed a year and a half later. We were up in Wisconsin teaching.

Jason: And so then, you were still on the circuit though?

Bill: That is correct.

Jason: Were you local or were you traveling?

Bill: We traveled all over. I have a story that Wisconsin was so cold that one year in June, the only time I did not wear a jacket was the four weekends that we traveled out of state, but we traveled everywhere. Like I said, all through the Midwest, some of the West Coast, some Canada races. Yes.

Jason: As you look now, how old were you at that time?

Bill: I started it at 18. Started really serious USA racing at the age of 22.

“Hit Or Miss” training

Jason: So at 22, okay. What were, as a 22 year old, what were… and you look now at some of the advancements in training, you look at some of the things that… you know Ed’s got in his house, and he can train indoors, and whatnot. Where was the gap that you now see is a ton of resources that people now have that you didn’t have in your 20s to train, the equipment or whatnot?

Bill: Again, there was very little published information on how to train. We learned a lot by making mistakes, and that’s fortunately not the way it’s done today. We didn’t have heart rate monitors. We didn’t have power measuring devices. And, those two are very important in training nowadays.

Jason: There was no Peloton bike that hooked up to the internet.

Bill: None of that. We did have Schwinn stationary trainers, and that’s about the highest level that we had at that point.

Why Bill continued to compete

Bryan: Let me just jump into your mind for just a second if I can. I think a lot of people engage in activities physically, in their teens and their 20s, and sometimes in their 30s, but then you start to see it wears off where people start to fade in their 40s, and then specially in their 50s, and then certainly in their 60s, and then in their 70s there’s very few people that… I’m sure a lot of your friends are probably not in the best of health. What was going through your brain as you were aging in regards to now you’re on the upper edge of the age brackets if you will, but you still were competing? Why were you doing this? What were you thinking?

Bill: The interesting thing is at the age of 20, we all don’t… we’re pretty sure we’re not going to die. And, things start changing, you get into your 30s, I was still racing competitively at 34, then took a year off and thought I was done with all racing of any kind. And, believe or not, I went from 160 pounds to 208 pounds in a years time. Of course, you know you don’t feel as good. You can’t do the normal things that you want to do.

Bill: Was in healthcare at this time and was really affected by what I saw with people at various ages. We would see people come into the ICU pretty well physically shot out of the wagon in their late 30s, early 40s, and basically it was because of the lifestyle. And, that really opened my eyes and I said, “No way that I’m going to let this happen.”

Physical activity is important

Bill: So, I got back into training. Started running as well as biking, and got back into good physical form. You guys know as well as I do that 50% of… or 57% of mobility mortality factors are ourselves. What do we do? Do we take responsibility? And, what we see nowadays is, and the hard association is finally recognize that exercise as being an important factor. Smoking, high blood pressure, obesity being the three major factors in your mobility, they found that exercise is just as important.

Bill: Physical inactivity is as big a factor as any of the other three. And so, I realized that working with the patient population that I needed to make changes, I needed to get back to exercising. The problem I think that people have with exercising is there’s not a carrot out there. Why should I exercise? And, what happens the less we do, the less we can do, the less we want to do. But, putting a carrot out there some way, shape or form to get you into doing the things you need to do, not smoking, losing weight, controlling your hypertension, and exercising. It becomes more and more important as you go through that 30s to 40s, and even more significantly as you get into 50s, 60s and 70s.

Jason: Let me talk on that, but actually before I do, you just brought a thought to me. I was recently watching a documentary on Joe Weider, the guy who created all the gyms and GNCs and whatnot, and he had such a hard time establishing gyms. At one time, they thought you were crazy to actually get a building and put weights in it for people to work out.

Bill’s Motivation To Exercise At His Age

Bryan: So, I think a couple of things, number one I think it’s awesome that just the observation of you seeing other people’s quality of life diminish is really what drove you to actually keep yourself moving, and it wasn’t just to move on a bike. In many ways, that bounced over to your ability to still be involved in life, right? To be physically active in other dimensions of life, which I think a lot of the times when we think of just training for a race, it’s more than just a race. I mean, the fact that you’re 77 and sitting here in great vibrant health is a not different than what probably the masses of people your age are in position, their health, with the position of their health.

Bill: That’s a fantastic point. Why do I exercise at this age? Yeah, I love to compete. I still do, but what I love more is to be able to do the things now in my mid 70s, closer to 80. But, I can do things now that I could’ve done in my 50s and my 40s. Can I do them as well? No, but as for instance, mowing the grass, call me crazy or whatever, I enjoy doing that, and I don’t sit on the mower, I push the mower.

Always listen to the whisper

Bryan: Well, the beautiful part is you have the option to be able to do it, where a lot of people your age can’t even choose to say… they can look at it and say, “I can’t physically even go out there and do it if I wanted.” I think the other thing that I want to bring up is, I would imagine in your career you’ve had injuries. I would imagine, right? And, so frequently, even myself when I played sports, one injury can stop your entire career, and then you can use that as a crutch or an excuse to not get back and rehabilitate yourself, or to heal it. Were there any major injuries or injuries that plagued you that dealt with throughout your career? And, how did you work your way through those?

Bill: Bike racing is inherently dangerous. Many times, you’ll fall in bike races, but the thing is you have to work through them and keep focused on what it takes to get back. Running is a funny sport, just from a standpoint of almost always when I felt an injury coming on, I felt little significant factors, like maybe a pain to the outside portion of the knee coming on. And, I’ve learned over the years I never push past the pain.

Bryan: That’s a great point. Yeah. One that we can all learn from, right?

Jason: Yeah. 100%. When the body’s whispering, if you don’t listen to it, it will turn into a scream. So, always listen to the whisper because the scream is coming.

World Duathlon Champion At 71

Bill: Now, what’s interesting though is that I’ll follow a five-year cycle. I’ll cycle race for two years, I’ll take a year in between where I restart running lightly, and then the next two years I’ll duathlons. And then, I’ll go back to the cycling because what I’ve seen over the years in duathlons as people age, their running gets worse and worse every, well it’s a not a decade, it’s every three or four years.

Bryan: Better chance of winning.

Jason: Real quick, Bill. Some of the audience members might not actually know what a duathlon is, so why don’t you go ahead and just let them know what that is.

Bill: Duathlon at the national and world level is you do a 10k run, which is 6.2 miles, and you do a 25 mile bike, and then you do a 5k run.

Jason: And then, just so I can brag on you a little bit or you can brag on yourself, you were world champion? Is that correct?

Bill: In a duathlon in 2013. Yes.

Jason: At the age of… let me do my math… you’re 78 in July, so we’re looking at seventy what?

Bill: 71, I think

Why he got into duathlon and the 10% rule

Jason: Go ahead, tell them about that. So, you have a cycle that you do, was that something you picked up? Did you start doing that in your 30s or as the decades went on and your body’s ability to recover changed, you just adapted to that, right? Is that what I’m hearing correctly?

Bill: Yeah. That is correct. And, what I noticed is that little injuries like foot or ankle injuries, knee, thigh, hamstring type of injuries… Everybody that’s a runner has some sort of something always going on. You have weak areas. As for instance if I break the 10% rule, and the 10% rule is basically you don’t increase the intensity or the duration of your exercise any more than 10%. So, if you start breaking that 10% rule, say you’re long run is eight miles, and you decide to go 12, you’re definitely breaking that rule. And, that’s when injuries happen.

Jason: That’s another nugget for everyone listening. So, if you didn’t just pick that up folks, let’s just replay that one and hold on to that. So, whatever level of fitness you are at, doesn’t matter, don’t have to be a world class athlete like Bill here, but any level, wherever you’re at, honor it. And, as you are trying to increase, increase in increments of 10%. That means 10% more time, 10% more weight, or 10% more intensity. Whatever your game is, whether it be cardiovascular, whether it be in the weight room, whether it be yoga, whatever, when you increase by more than 10% too quickly, you are going to get an injury, as said by a man who’s been training for over 60 years. That’s a gem.

Let your body heal to it’s injuries

Bill: Yeah. The fact is a lot of the times, people get those injuries and they say, “Well, why should I do this?” Instead of just backing off, letting their body heal. I coach out in Montana that is probably one of the most motivated cyclists I’ve ever seen, and his difficult to coach from the standpoint of that motivation, that a little bit is good, a whole lot’s got to be a whole lot better. And so, he’ll get into a sickness syndrome from over-training and all, so we really had to monitor a lot of things about our body as we go along.

Jason: Speaking of which, as you look now at the… Actually, as you look back at all the years that you’ve trained, and the lessons you’ve learnt, the wisdom you’ve gained, the injuries you’ve recovered from, how you’ve improved training, the advances in technology, everything else that’s now available to someone, anyone in any walk of life wherever they are in their fitness journey, if you could speak into someone right now that’s either, as Dr Bryan said, maybe was training that got hurt, and they decide just to stop, or maybe there’s someone that’s just still on the fence, and they’re just nervous about starting, exercising, get into fitness. What words would you have for them in regards to your journey and then helping to motivate, inspire them to take step? What would you say?

“You don’t have time not to exercise”

Bill: There’s two things really that I heard in the hospital said, and an awful lot from people. One, I don’t have time to exercise. And, my response to that was always, “You don’t have time not to exercise,” because you got to take care of your body first. And the other thing is, “I’m too old to exercise.” What’s interesting about competition at the age level that I’m at, many of the very best athletes in the world at my age level didn’t start until their 40s or 50s.

Jason: That’s awesome. That’s awesome.

Bill’s Future Goals And Ambitions

Photographer: Robert Baker | Source: Unsplash

Bryan: Where are you going from here? What are your goals? How long do you want to see this go? Are you at the end of this or do you still have ambitions and goals to try to continue to compete?

Bill: Every year, right at the end of whatever the last competition is, whether it’s the nationals or the worlds, I sit down within two days I’ve got it planned out exactly what the next competition is, exactly where am I failing, where am I not as strong as I should be, what could I do better. As for instance, 2012 World Duathlons in Nancy, France, I made two major mistakes, and one of them was nutrition, and I thought, “You know what. I clean up those mistakes, I’ll have a much better crack at it next year.” And, that’s what happened. The real fun thing about exercise, the real fun thing about training is that you never quit learning, absolutely never quit learning.

Bill’s training routine

Bryan: Are there fundamentals in your training that are musts? Do you have a good stretch routine? Do you have a good nutrition regiment? Do you get a massage every so often? Are there things that you have to do to keep your body in good shape?

Bill: To me the stretching was not as important in cycling, but by golly it’s important in running, because if I don’t stretch my hamstrings and stretch my calves, I’m going to have an injury, I can just tell you that’s going to happen, and that’s true almost everybody running.

Jason: As far as a recovery technique, some people are using lasers and cold therapies, chiropractic, physiotherapy, stretching, yoga, Dr. Bryan just got done with hot yoga this morning…

Bryan: All sorts of performance enhancement, supplements that you see endurance athletes taking…

Jason: So, it’s just straight stretching and eating whole foods and clean foods?

Bill: I just make sure that I’m well hydrated. That’s the key factor, because there’s been studies about long-term endurance athletes and incidents of cardiac arrhythmias. And, I’ve had a history of on/off atrial fibrillation, and it happens if I get dehydrated. It happens if I don’t rest, if I don’t get enough sleep, so I do go to bed pretty early every night. Get up pretty early in the day, and that really starts the day off well. Then, I get my exercise in, and then I can go on with the day. The advent of the drinks of sodium and electrolyte replacement drinks actually was occurring back about the time I was getting into cycling, and that’s been very helpful. What works for one guy or gal, does not work for another. And, you just have to find out what works for you.

The 48-hour rule

Bryan: But, I think you ripped out a couple of the basic fundamentals that we talk on every week, we do these podcasts, is really rest and recovery is vital. Hydration is extremely important no matter what dimension we’re talking about, and then stretching or elongating and caring for your skeletal system is hugely important.

Bill: I don’t know if you gentlemen have heard the 48-hour rule or utilized that, but I’ve found that the body pretty much feels on Tuesday exactly what it was doing on Sunday.

Bryan: That makes sense. I can’t walk after that.

Jason: We literally just had that conversation before you walked in here, Bill. Yeah.

Bryan: Yeah.

Bill: What really opened my eyes is one of my cyclists said, “Well, why do you give us a hard workout on Tuesday and a hard workout on Thursday, and then you tell us all the time that the 48 rule is important?” And so, I started rethinking that quite a bit, and we put together two hard workouts in a row. Maybe a high intensity workout in a Tuesday and an endurance long workout on Wednesday, and then the next two days are easy. If I’ve got somebody racing on Sunday, Friday is always the easy day. I don’t care what they do on Saturday, but they have to have that rest two days before.

Jason: That’s awesome.

Closing Thoughts: Be Like Bill!

Jason: A couple of things just in closing is you’ve alluded to it a few times, are you coaching now?

Bill: Yes. Yes.

Jason: Are you? Okay.

Bill: Yeah.

Jason: Were you taking on clients and helping them?

Bill: Right.

Jason: Do you have a website?

Bill: No. I do not, but I work basically on the internet and just communicate back and forth via email.

Jason: What we’ll do is this, is in our show notes is we’ll put a link to anything that you have in regards to people that they can contact you. That way, if there is someone who’s listening that’s a cyclist or someone who’s getting into endurance sports or duathletes, and would like to work with a legend like yourself-

Bryan: Or Jay, what we can do if we does not have a website, if you’re listening to this, and you’re looking… you’re a cyclist, and you want some help, then just send us a comment, and we’ll actually connect you with him. We’ll get you connected.

Bill being a perfect role model

Bryan: Let me say this, is we started this podcast in January with the intention, Bill, to try to help more people get well and stay well naturally, and live long, healthy, quality lives. You’re a perfect example of what we talk about each week in regards to treating your frame, your body, and keeping as Jay says, motion as a part of your life, paying attention to the fuel that you’re putting in your system. It’s cool because this episode we were talking about it before we started recording, should come out right around Father’s Day weekend. My father was pretty uni-dimensional.

Bryan: He did not put a lot of energy into taking care of his health, nor did Jason’s, but my grandfather did, and because of it, he was somebody that I got to spend tons of quality time with in his 70s and 80s. And, you’re giving your family a huge gift by you putting in the work now, and it’s so, so cool to see the fruits of what you’ve done, and people on the other end of this broadcast need to understand that what you do today makes a difference not just in your life, but all the people around you that you’ll be spending time with. So, thanks so much for joining us.

Bill: You’re very welcome.

Jason: We’ve been blessed to have you today, man. Thank you for spending time with us.

Bryan: Well, if you liked what you heard. You can find this at thewellnessconnection.come26, and if this blessed you on this Father’s Day weekend which we hope it did, please share it with somebody else that you think could benefit from it. Thanks so much, Bill, for joining together, or today, and as always, we’ll see you soon.

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