The Great Joe Rollino at 103
The Great Joe Rollino as a young man.
Joe Rollino, was 104, just 2 months shy of turning 105, when he was fatally injured by a minivan in Brooklyn on January 11, 2010. He was on his daily early morning walk to pick up coffee, a tabloid, and a lottery ticket. Until the end he was strong, healthy, and a picture of health!
If not for the New York Times, I would never have heard of Joe Rollino. He was man from a different time. Growing up near the turn of the century, quitting school at 10 years old to join the carnival. He led a career as a Coney Island strongman, a boxer, and a trainer, who billed himself as "The Strongest Man in the World".
At 5-feet-4-inches 122 pounds, in his prime he once lifted 475 pounds with his teeth, 675 pounds with just one finger, and moved 3200 pounds with his back. He bent quarters with his teeth and fingers and continued to demonstrate his coin-bending skills into his 100's.
"Pound for pound, in the feats that he practiced, he was one of the greatest performing strongmen we've ever had, if the lifts he's credited with are accurate. For his size, Joe was apparently one of the strongest men who ever lived."
-Terry Todd, co-director of the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at the University of Texas, who knew Joe for 40 years-
What Can We Learn From New York City's Oldest & Strongest Man?
- He was a lifelong vegetarian, as was his mother--which at the time was unusual.
- He never drank, smoked, or indulged in sweets. At his 104th birthday party he blew out all the candles on his cake, but passed on eating a piece. He said if he never would have made it to 104 if he ate that kind of stuff.
- He ate oatmeal every morning.
- "He was the picture of health until he died. He had no glasses, no hearing aid. He had no assistive walking device and didn't take any prescription drugs of any kind," according to his close friend Arthur Dreschler, president of Joe's club, "The Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongmen".
- Rain or shine he still walked 5 miles every morning (albeit a little slowly), and exercised daily--which sometimes included swimming laps in the Atlantic ocean. He continued to lift weights five days a week--even exercising before his 104th birthday party luncheon.
- He was a devotee of the "Iron Game", a body-building philosophy that supports weight-lifting as an enjoyable lifelong hobby but strongly eschews steroid use.
- He was a longtime member of the Coney Island Polar Bear Athletic Club--a group who swims in the icy Atlantic ocean 3 to 4 times a week. They call it "winter bathing" and attribute their good health to the practice. They believe "if they stay in for 5 to 10 minutes, the cold water kills germs that fester inside one's body." All the Polar Bear members claim that once they started "winter bathing" they haven't been sick. Same for Joe, who at 103 said he couldn't remember the last time he was sick. His friend, fellow Polar Bear buddy, and former Brooklyn homicide detective, Louis Scarcella, said Joe held the Club's record, swimming every day, no matter the weather for eight years, never missing a day.
- "Muscle strapped to bone" is how Louis Scarcella described Joe. Until the day he died, people described him as physically active, agile, and loose. Mentally lucid and sound. "His memory was nothing short of astounding, especially when you consider he fought at about 122 pounds, often against boxers weighing 50 pounds more than he. To say he was a physical marvel, would be a gross understatement."
- "If he told me he was 75, I would have said he looked great for his age, and here he was 104 years old," said extremely-fit 61 year old retired NYPD detective, Arthur Perry.
- Friends said he lived life to the fullest, and looked forward to every day with enthusiasm. He was never skeptical, cynical, angry or resentful.
To read more about Joe click here.
The Other Side of The Vigor Quest--$10,000 a Year for H.C.G., Growth Hormones, and Testosterone
Contrast Joe Rollino's simple healthy low-tech lifestyle with the kind of big buck pharmaceutical techniques featured in the fascinating January 17th, New York Times Magazine article by Tom Dunkel, "Vigor Quest". Click here for the full article.
It's the kind of anti-aging medicine that costs lots of out-of-pocket-cash, and follows controversial skimpy medical evidence. It might bring vigor for now, but serious adverse effects down the road. The jury is still out. It's part good common sense, like a low glycemic-diet, weight-training, aerobic exercise, omega-3 supplements--and part human lab rat experimentation.
But its devotees say, "Lifestyle alone isn't enough."
To combat the corrosive effects of aging, every three months the followers of Cenegenics Medical Institute's brand of anti-aging medicine--and they now number around 10,000--get 10 vials of blood drawn, in order to measure all sorts of hormone and blood chemistry levels--checking to see what sort of pharmaceutical tweaking is in order.
A little more testosterone? A bit more human growth hormone? Perhaps some H.C.G.--human chorionic gondatropin, a commonly used fertility drug that is distilled from the urine of pregnant women, and can stimulate the testes to secrete more testosterone.
Author Dunkel interviewed John Bellizzi, a 51 year-old amateur soccer player and businessman from Rye, NY, who got fed up with using Advil, hot tubs, and surgery to keep him in the game.
Two years ago Bellizzi consulted with Manhattan endocrinologist Dr. Florence Comite, who is affiliated with Cenegentics. Comite calls her work, "...aggressive prevention, the basis of which is metabolism modulation. Twenty years from now, this will be the standard of care." She's like an "ace mechanic who keeps Bellizzi running in spite of worn parts."
Turns out, Comite has impeccable credentials--she's Yale-trained, with former stints at the N.I.H., and as a part-time faculty member at Yale.
Now, two years after working with Comite, Bellizzi is a believer. He no longer collapses on the couch after soccer games, he can play an hour longer than before, he feels mentally sharper, and he is 15 pounds lighter. It might be the changes in his diet, eliminating the junk food, adding some mainstream supplements, and having a more well-rounded exercise regimen.
Bellizzi credits his turnaround to the controversial H.C.G. he injects--which also happens to have a list of scary side effects.
The Cenegenics' Poster Child Dr. Jeffrey Life
Who hasn't seen this picture of Dr. Life in every airline's complimentary magazine? He's the 71 year old doctor, who was once fat and unfit, until he re-invented himself with diet, exercise, and the Cenegenics brand of pharmaceuticals.
For Life this means:
- 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day
- Co-Q10 twice a day
- 5,000 IU of vitamin D a day
- 4 grams of fish oil a day
- 10 mg of melatonin at bedtime
- A testosterone injection once a week
- A human growth hormone injection once a day
Read the article. Interesting provocative reading, but no thank you! I'm sticking with my simple lifestyle modification plan of diet and exercise! It's the Start of the New Year, the Start of the New Decade, and the Start of My Sixties. Some Simple Strategies for Staying Healthy and Happy. At Least I Can Hope!
So, what do you think? Joe Rollino or Dr. Jeffrey Life?