Interview with Lew Hollander: World’s Oldest IronMan Triathlete

IMG_8449 modifLew Hollander holds the world record for being the oldest person to complete an IronMan Triathlon as well as the record for being the oldest person to complete the IronMan Triathlon Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

Red Rush: You’ve run about 2,000 races, correct?

Lew Hollander: That’s an estimation, counting all the little races and the endurance riding.

RR: Which triathlon is your favorite?

LH: Roth, Germany. That’s a great race. It’s probably everyone’s favorite. It’s very well run. You ride through all these little Bavarian towns on your bicycle. Some have cobblestone streets. That’s not so great on a bike, but there are tables set up along the route and on all the tables are beers. People sit at those tables and drink beer. It’s a comfortable race, a lot more comfortable than dangerous.

There’s no crowd control. That’s the way it is there. I rode through one of these towns and somebody said “That’s Lew Hollander, seventy-year-old triathlete”–I was seventy then–and everyone cheered and they  pushed me and my bike up a hill which is sort of scary even though they were trying to help.

RR: Are there any that you don’t like to do?

LH: They are all a little dangerous, especially the swim. But any one that I finish is a good one.

797645_1031_0018RR: What’s the wildest thing that’s ever happened in a race. By wild, I mean interesting or weird.

LH: I don’t know about wild, but I have two ghost stories.

1) I’m riding my bike one year. They made a big point of making sure that the riders had handlebar inserts. Somebody in one of the races had been thrown over his handlebars and was killed. So they changed the rule that if you didn’t have a handlebar plug, you were disqualified.

I’m coming back. It’s ninety degrees out and miserable. I notice that I don’t have a plug in my handlebar. There will be some marshal or somebody waiting for me when I get to the bike exchange to make sure I’m wearing my helmet and that I have a plug, some bureaucrat. I thought about stuffing  wrappers into the hole or taping over it, so he wouldn’t notice.

I start getting closer to town, and I’m getting into panic mode. I thought about buying one at the bike shop. It’s just off the course. I could steal one or do whatever. My imagination is running away. It’s just a plug in the bike. I’m trying to weigh my options. I look down at the ground, and there was a plug.  It looked brand new. There are two sizes of plug and it just happens to be the right size for my bike.

There was nobody around. Never in my life had I ever seen a plug lying in the road. Nobody I know has. I’ve never lost one either. It was like a miracle. When I got in, I had a plug.

2)This other one is a little scarier. I was running one year, about seven miles, not too far into the race. I met a very sweet girl, about 23 or so, an aid worker. Aid workers are the race course volunteers who bring you water or aid.

She says, “I’ll run the rest of the way with you. It’s only eighteen miles.” She turned out to be very sweet. She ran all the way in. You’re not supposed to have outside assistance in the races, but she was an aid worker and part of the race, so it was all right.  We talked all the way around. She told me her story. She was from Calgary; her husband had died three weeks earlier. I was enthralled by this young lady. I wanted to connect her to my son. I thought they would hit it off. We ran to the finish line up to a little barrier. She turned off the to the right.

I said, “No, no. Finish.” I wanted a picture of her to show my son and get those two in communication. I grabbed her hand. “Come get your picture taken.” We ran through the arch and toward the big lights of the cameras. I introduced this woman to my wife. Got her address and name.

Later, I went to get the picture and looked at. I dropped the picture. There was nobody else in it. I’m a scientist. I got my microscope out and looked to see if she was behind me or something. I couldn’t find any trace. I did write her. Tried to find her. Nobody ever answered. Life is filled with mysteries. I like that a lot.

797665_1017_0023 RR: How important is nutrition for training and longevity? 

LH: You are what you eat. Nutrition in the broad sense, you survive.  I don’t eat anything I can’t identify the part to. No hot dogs or hamburgers. I guess, I eat candy bars. Who knows what are in those? But I like to see a bone or a wing or some feather. Nothing ground up. I try and eat healthy.

I like to say without chocolate, life is darkness and chaos.  I also left bacon off my list of things that I can’t eat, so I could eat it.

RR: Do you feel there is a psychological component to the aging process?  A sense of people saying I can’t do such and such because I’m x years old. 

LH: Oh, absolutely.  There is nothing unique about Lew Hollander. There are people who bike faster, think better, run faster, do everything better than me. I’m pretty persistent. I fall down just like everyone but I keep going. I think people find excuses for a more leisurely lifestyle. “I’m too tired. I’m too cold.”

If I know I have an entry in a race, I like to think backwards. I’m crossing a finish line. I have to do it in seventeen hours. What do I have to do to be at that spot? I need good running shoes. If they don’t fit well, I’d be in pain by mile seventeen. How about my eating? How about my weight? I can’t eat that it’ll cause me to gain weight. I won’t be able to finish.

You can preserve your quality of life. The older you get, the longer you have to push at it. I know a lot of people who are still alive at my age, but they are being wheeled around with an oxygen bottle, waiting for the coroner to come. One of the big differences is the quality of life. You had better start training at forty.

I was checking out of the Sheridan in Clearwater years back and a lady goes, “Hey, look at this guy. He’s eighty and he did the Iron Man.” A guy looks at me and says “What do you take?” I said, “Nothing. You want to spend a day with me and see what I do? This was a conscious decision.”  He didn’t want to come with me.

You get your first forty years free. You can overcome and repair a lot of damage then. You get to forty and then you have to pay. Life, your length of life, is like a bank account. You can put money in, or you can take it out. You can be in debt and die early and you’ll be miserable.

Eat right and exercise and have a full life. That’s money in the bank.

RR: Can you talk about your motto of “Go Anaerobic Every Day?” 

LH: I talked to a guy in a Triathlon club in Mississippi. He said “You go anaerobic everyday. We run that way because you told us. We run up hill that we named Hollander Hill.”

How do you know when you’re going anaerobic? When you can’t breathe. It’s not rocket science. You run as hard as you can. The next time run a little farther until you clear your anaerobic threshold.

I’m a physicist. What I think, I’m really out on a limb here. This is only an observation. I think when you’re in that state,  I think a whole lot of things happen to your endocrine system, your pituitary, your thyroid. All these things are linked together. You were designed to die at thirty-five like the cavemen. All those glands and hormones just start to give out. When you go anaerobic, your body goes “this guy is serious” and it keeps producing that stuff.  Most people won’t make that choice.

0e0de28adc53e17e2eb7c339119c096bRR: Congratulations on your win in Florida. 

LH: I opened a new age group at the next Hawaiian Iron Man. 85-90. I tell people that two things helped me. Idaho potatoes and Red Rush beet juice. I drink Red Rush all the time. I love it. I drank three during my race in Florida.

I  have always recognized the necessities of nitric oxide. Most people are not aware of the value of nitric oxide. It’s necessary to the ATP cycle. You can use it to lose weight and it helps your sex drive.

I think you have a good product. Why not take it? Why not increase your nitric oxide? If you want a better life, take nitric oxide.

I also take Red Rush for ping pong. I think it elevates your reaction time and your ability.

RR: Do you have races between now and Kona in 2015? 

I have like twenty races between then. I just did the Hot Chocolate Run in Seattle. I do something every weekend: a run, a bike race or a swim race.

I put my max effort into everything. That’s my philosophy: persistence. I heard a talk once at a high school graduation. “Everybody falls down.  Everybody, every day. The great ones get right back up.” Just suck it up and keep going.

Lew-Hollander-cutout

The Great Wheelbarrow Race Brings Opportunities and Red Rush Awareness

RR Awareness

Shared by Nikola Wilkie, AIM Star Sapphire Director

Recently I had the opportunity to volunteer my professional massage services to a group of bravados participating in an annual fundraiser called The Great Wheelbarrow Race. This year, forty-two teams of ten pushed their barrows along the historical gold mining path of yesteryear, which is now the main road from Mareeba to Chillagoe. Jumping in and out of a minibus that carried each team, they relayed with runs of twenty to thirty seconds. It is exhausting to run without the action of your arms and a precarious business climbing on and off a moving vehicle.

I took along five boxes of Red Rush and offered a bottle to anyone who gave a donation to my selected charity. The competitors ranged from elite athletes to the unfit, who thought they would just give it a go for the sake of charity. It’s a funny thing with Red Rush because the effect is profound but very gentle. Some people find it difficult to give direct credit to simply having more oxygen in their muscles. Unless they have a comparison, they don’t realize the strength of the change; they only notice that the exercise was easier. However, there were quite a few who came back for more.

A few serious athletes who tried the Red Rush were in training for the Asia-Pacific IronMan held in Cairns each year in June. Leo, a runner, does a 1¾-hour circuit regularly. With one bottle of Red Rush, he took six minutes off his circuit time. He said extra training for six months would have been needed to build enough strength to reduce his time by that much.

Aaron tried Red Rush only once and then used it before he competed in a Mountain Bike Challenge. His response to my question of how he managed the grueling 35km rural, reef and rainforest track, he said, “Did it quicker and climbed all hills 18 minutes faster. Am I fitter or did Red Rush help me? Probably both. I took two bottles, one bottle two hours before the race and one at the start of the race.”

I have worked as a naturopath in Cairns for twenty years and have been sharing the ideas behind the Healthy Cell Concept through Living Well information sessions. Those interested in improving their health, needing support and wanting to learn more about how to stay on track come along for just an hour each week. It’s a great way to encourage each other.

The Climb with Peak Endurance and Red Rush

Climb

In July 2015, Dimitri attempted to climb to the steep summit of Banff’s Mount Rundle— an elevation gain of 5,175 feet. This Preferred Member in Edmonton, Alberta, had AIM on his side. As for the fear factor, Dimitri admitted, “I’m really afraid of heights.”

Dimitri has been taking a variety of AIM products, including BarleyLife, since he was a young boy. He and his family had been introduced to “Nutrition that Works” by AIM Director Janet Breitkreutz.

A few days before the climb, Janet recommended that he take Peak Endurance and Red Rush. “I needed all the help I could get,” Dimitri acknowledged. “My friends and I made a pact in the spring to get in shape for the climb, but it never happened for me. I’m thirty-four now. I used to be quite athletic and fit, but I never kept that up.” At the same time, Dimitri had resolved to, “. . . push until I get to the top. I know myself. Even if I’m hurting, I’m not going to stop.”

The day arrived, and suddenly the peak loomed before Dimitri and his five friends. The idea was to scramble: climbing to the top without ropes. “The mountain went from flat to immediate elevation,” Dimitri stated. “Most of the guys were starting to hurt. Not even a quarter of the way up, I looked like someone was pouring water on me; I was sweating so badly.”

At midway, Dimitri continued to feel the burn, but each time it would go away after a few minutes of rest. “I didn’t feel any muscle cramping or gasping for breath,” he stated. “I was sipping water and Peak Endurance all the way up. Earlier I had taken one bottle of Red Rush, which really helped my breathing.”

At one point, the trail unexpectedly narrowed, and Dimitri felt his legs buckle at the sight of a vertical 1,000-foot drop. “I could feel my backpack tipping me over the edge. I had to lie down on the ground and was too scared to move,” Dimitri recalled. “Even though I could see the mountaintop, I really felt that was the end of the climb for me. All I could think about was my wife Jamie and our daughter Zarah, and what would happen to them if I fell.” One of Dimitri’s buddies encouraged him with the news that the path widened just ahead. Slowly, Dimitri moved through his fear and continued the climb.

When the group was only 400 feet from the peak—still at least an hour’s climb—dark clouds began moving in and thunder sounded. The risk of being caught on a sheer peak in a storm ended the ascent for half the group. “We were so close,” Dimitri exclaimed, “but it just wasn’t worth the risk to my family.” The remaining three who reached the top were fortunate. The storm passed them by.

“The truth is,” Dimitri added, “I was out of water and Peak Endurance for the descent. If I had tried going to the top, I never would have made it down the mountain. God was taking care of me.”

The days following the climb were not as painful as Dimitri had expected. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to move the next day,” he explained, “but I was okay. The other guys were really sore, looking like they had been horseback riding.” Dimitri believes his recovery had a lot to do with taking AIM products. “They’re amazing!”

Meet the Newest AIM Athlete Sue Phillips-Leclerc

SPL

Obstacle course racing is an up-and-coming sport, growing exponentially in popularity. The competition is fierce, but the activity is enjoyable and accessible enough that any fitness-minded person who wants to can sign up and spend an afternoon leaping walls, swinging from monkey bars or crawling through mud beneath barbed wire. In 2011, one million Americans participated in an obstacle course race of some type and the number has grown from there.

With that in mind, The AIM Companies is proud to announce our newest sponsored athlete: AIM Member Sue Phillips-Leclerc, an obstacle course racer from New York State. If she looks familiar, that’s because she’s a long-time Red Rush athlete who was also featured in an article alongside her obstacle-course-racing daughter. Sue’s positive attitude and dedication to fitness and nutrition made her an ideal candidate for sponsorship.

“Nutrition has always been very important to me,” she said. “I find that balance is the key. I try to make healthy choices for most of my meals but definitely like ‘treats’ that aren’t the healthiest. I had to stick to a strict diet for figure competitions, —Sue is a former professional bodybuilder—and it was very hard for me. The great thing about obstacle course racing is I find that I don’t have to obsess about my diet. The training keeps me pretty stoked.”

In 2016, Sue has her sights set on the Master’s podium at the Battlefrog Racing series and the Spartan Races, but she’s most excited about the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships in Toronto. The OCRW is only two years old, but it’s already Sue’s favorite due to the variety of obstacles and the chance to meet and run with elite athletes from all around the world. She’s spent the winter months training hard for the upcoming season.

“I’m currently on a running program to increase my mileage and trying like heck to get faster. I’ve never been a good runner or very fast, so this has been challenging for me. I’ve also continued with weight training and exercises to help increase my grip strength. I live in upstate NY, very close to the Adirondack Mountains, so trail running and hiking are a big part of my training as well.

“My husband has renovated our garage into an awesome OCR ‘Torture Chamber.’ There are uphill monkey bars, hanging items (nunchakus, rings, cones, ropes, balls, etc.), a rowing machine, weights, incline trainers, climbing walls and various other apparatus to build grip strength. The climbing rigs are getting longer and more challenging at OCRs, so I am making sure that I’m prepared.”

Another way that she’s preparing for the races is through AIM nutrition and Red Rush. “The only supplements I take are protein, greens and Red Rush. After taking Red Rush for the first few workouts, the difference was considerable! Some mornings I wake up with muscle soreness to the point I don’t think I can train, and then I drink a Red Rush. It’s remarkable how it gets the blood flowing, and I can get a great workout in. I have never used another product so convenient and effective!”

 

Nutritional Strides with AIM

NikolaMelinda

Recently, two of our Australian contingency undertook foot odysseys. Star Sapphire Director and Naturopath Nikola Wilkie marched beachside next to thunderous waves down the coast of western Victoria, Australia, and AIM Australian General Manager, Melinda Lewis walked through the Southern Alps, and both were powered by AIM products.

Nikola’s Journey
I walked 115km (71 miles) of the Great Ocean Walk along the coast line of western Victoria. It was a moderate walk with some difficult stretches. Carrying my own water for the day, food, and clothing ready for a change of weather was heavy enough to make me sink deeply into the sand along the beaches. In preparation for the walk, I had only been doing two laps at the Red Arrow, a popular hill circuit in Cairns, three or four times a week. Not much really, so I was expecting to suffer a bit during the seven-day walk.

I started each morning with AIM’s BarleyLife®, Just Carrots®, and RediBeets®, a heaping teaspoon of each and mid-morning another Garden Trio®, mid-afternoon another one. Each night, I slept well—after a 20km (12 miles) walk up hill and across sandy beaches, who wouldn’t?—and woke refreshed and bright. I was a bit stiff in the joints as I got out of bed on the first day, but after that I was amazingly good. I had plenty of energy, was alert and not too tired. My feet were worn out at the end of the day but by the next morning, I was good to go again.

I am so impressed with the effect of the juices. They kept my lactic acid levels low, the inflammation levels of my under-used joints as almost un-noticeable, my energy up and my mind alert. I couldn’t have asked for more.

Melinda’s Journey

Each year I participate in a walking holiday, and this year was a twelve-day adventure to the Southern Alps bordering France and Italy. I was with a group of eighteen, and we walked up to 18km (11 miles) per day with altitude increases of up to 950m (3,117 ft). Most days our walks started in towns and villages that were around 1200m (3,937 ft) above sea level.

After five days of walking, I witnessed the group’s fitness levels increasing. The steeper ascents didn’t feel as arduous. Keep in mind that to participate in one of these tours, a good degree of fitness and health is required. Strength and resistance training is also needed. We were up around 2900m (9,514 ft), and some parts of the walk were so rough and steep that some walkers would take as little as five steps and would be out of breath.

On the last day, we visited the peak of Mt. Blanc. Of the eighteen, only two of us were able to walk up and down steps and around the viewing platform—3842m (12,605 ft) above sea level— without becoming breathless or suffering from dizziness. Most other visitors struggled with the altitude. Also, it was amazing to watch members of the group downing multiple cups of Italian espressos to get them started each day. I didn’t feel the need for this. I took an AIM Red Rush™ nitric oxide performance shot one hour before our walks commenced. The beauty of it all was that a twelve-pack of Red Rush fit perfectly in my suitcase.

In the Business of Helping People

Helping

Snake River CrossFit boasts a capable staff of well-trained athletes and fitness experts, but the heart and soul of the gym are its owners, Frank and Michaela Beauvais (AIM Members.) They have been married for thirteen years and have two children. As a Captain and a fitness trainer in the Nampa Fire Department, Frank knew that marriage was often difficult for rescue workers due to long, irregular hours, so he suggested CrossFit as an activity that he and his wife could share. They started in their garage, and that home gym grew into their current business.

Michaela, who shoulders the task of running the gym while Frank spends days at a time stationed at the firehouse, studied Exercise Physiology at Boise State and has years of experience studying and working in the fields of injury rehabilitation, massage therapy, and nutrition to name just a few.

CrossFit has allowed her to “pull from all of her studies and work experiences to help people find connection, function, and wholeness as they create stronger versions of themselves.This might mean someone returning to physical activity after just having a baby, regaining their strength after surgery, or finding courage to attend class after years of inactivity. I just feel like the more I can learn, the more people I can help. We have many athletes who have been able to get off of blood pressure and cholesterol-controlling medications because of the changes they have made in their nutrition and physical activity. Many have stopped taking anti-depressants, anti-anxiety prescriptions, and pain medications. We’ve had some people lose substantial amounts of weight. We have one gentleman who is under 300 pounds for the first time in years and others gain weight along with new-found confidence, wellness, and strength.”

As a firefighter, Frank uses fitness every day. “The population isn’t getting any smaller, and I’m not getting any larger. That means I need to become stronger. I don’t want to face someone’s wife or husband and tell them that I wasn’t strong enough to save their spouse. Firefighters are in the business of helping people.” This is a philosophy that the couple shares in their gym and in their relationship with AIM. “There has never been an element of ‘How can I profit off this?’ and granted there is an underlying monetary piece to everything, but it’s so far down on the list of importance that it doesn’t get in the way of the greater good of making people feel better.

“That’s why it has been so easy. I have no reservations about the company. It’s an open book to me. They talk about a CrossFit honesty where we don’t miss a rep, where we don’t miscount. We will always do what we think is right. That’s a pretty broad statement, but it rings true. So when people do approach a CrossFit gym, I think knowing that you have a good product that is backed by an American company that is doing good things and employing good people, I think that is where you’ll be able to make in-roads. Letting the products speak for themselves. You can pronounce everything that’s on the label. We work way too hard to put stuff into our bodies that we don’t need. So if we can get a product that is priced right that is made by Americans and if we can get a product that we feel is good, it will be a great relationship. If Red Rush didn’t do what it says, we wouldn’t have it in the gym. It actually makes me happy. “

Dixie Shaw: Mom Knows Best!

Dixie Shaw

Dixie Shaw, Royal Emerald Director from Gilmer, Texas, knows nutrition. She and her husband Eddie own and operate an online health store where they sell the AIM products alongside other equipment essential to a healthy lifestyle. She discovered AIM shortly after giving birth to one of their children. “I wanted to lose weight and get in shape,” Dixie said. A friend told her to try AIM Herbal Fiberblend. After using it for a few months, she signed up as a Member.

“I use AIM BarleyLife often, but Herbal Fiberblend is probably my favorite product. I take it almost every day. We use a lot of the other AIM products: Cell Wellness Restorer, CalciAIM, AIMega, Composure and CellSparc 360. Our new favorite product is AIM Red Rush. We rotate in a lot of the other products when we need them.”

Dixie also knows motherhood. She’s had five children and home-schooled them all. Reading, writing and arithmetic weren’t the only things that she instilled in her kids. She also taught them the value of eating right and healthy living.

“We took BarleyLife nearly every day. We ate healthy and cooked everything from scratch. We ground our own grains and almost never ate out. I taught them everything that I could about nutrition. They’d listen to me talking to clients on the phone. I showed them how to read food labels at the supermarket. If one of them brought home something like a cake mix full of artificial ingredients, I didn’t like that too well. I’d say ‘We don’t do that here.’ We tried to make everything from scratch. Then you know what goes into your food. Our youngest child just graduated chef school and became a chef.”

Today, Dixie and Eddie’s children are all grown. The oldest is thirty-three and the youngest—a fan of dry BarleyLife while growing up—is twenty-one years old, each one of them married. They all remember AIM conferences fondly. The first conference they attended as a family was in Phoenix, and the whole clan even journeyed all the way to Hawaii. The Utah conference was the final AIM-related trip the Shaws made together.

“My kids were almost never sick. Little kids are sick all the time, but ours just weren’t. We hardly have anyone sick in our family. That’s probably our greatest AIM success story. After using the products for twenty years, we are still healthy. We look about ten years younger than our actual ages. That’s something I’ve noticed about a lot of AIM Members. I think it’s the anti-aging effects of the products. I love that.”