ISLM #1 | Dr. Charles Eugster | Age Is Just A Number

#3 (9)

“I was a self-satisfied, balding lump of lard.”
– Dr. Charles Eugster

Dr. Charles Eugster was a world-record holding athlete, body builder, and author of Age Is Just a Number: What a 97 Year Old Record Breaker Can Teach Us About Growing Older.

He restarted competitive rowing at 63 and, in the period from 1997 to 2013, he won 40 Gold Medals at World Masters Rowing Regattas.  

At the age of 95 (in 2014), for the first time in his life, he started sprinting and became British Masters Outdoor Athletic Champion for the 100m and 200m in the Male 95+ category. He was the World Champion at 100m and 200m outdoor, plus European Masters Indoor Athletic Champion for the 60m and 200m in the M95+ category. He held the M95+ British Record for Masters Indoor Athletics at 60m and 200m, Outdoor at 100m, 200m and Long Jump, and the M95+ World Record for Masters Indoor Athletics 200m (55.48 in ’15, 2.4 seconds less than record set in ’13) and Outdoor 400m.

Charles was a dentist in private practice until the age of 75, publisher of a newsletter on clinical dentistry in 3 languages until the age of 82, and then employed at the age of 90 as Fitness Ambassador for INJOY Fitness Group (Germany). His 2012 TEDx Zurich speech has earned over 550,000 hits on YouTube, and the video of him breaking the World 200m record has to-date earned over 1 million hits.

On April 26, 2017, just a few weeks after again winning sprint titles in the European Masters Championships, Charles Eugster suddenly died of heart failure.

This interview is likely one of the last that he conducted and I was honored to have spent some time with a man who possessed an indomitable will and an irrepressible energy.  I hope you enjoy this rollicking episode as much as I did!

Want to hear another episode of a charismatic masters runner? In this episode, we explore with Wally Hesseltine the preparation and determination to run in ultra-endurance events like the Western States 100 (that's miles!).

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY:  What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode?  Would you like a transcript of this episode?  Who else would you like to see appear on the show?  Please let me know in the comments!

Scroll below for links and show notes…


  • Learn more about Dr. Charles Eugster



  • Charles' early years as a sickly child and the discovery that changed his life. [04:21]
  • The three secrets to healthy old living and why work is the most important factor of all. [13:27]
  • When and why Charles start to "rebuild" his body. [22:29]
  • Did Charles experience success right away in World Masters Rowing competitions? [25:39]
  • The cause of athletic injuries according to Charles. [27:50]
  • Why sprinting, building muscle, and high intensity interval training is critical to combat sarcopenia. [29:40]
  • Why supplementing with protein in old age is important for performance and healthy living. [34:10]
  • Muscle building, libido, and a "big surprise" that Charles shared with his trainer. [36:42]
  • A typical day in the life of Charles Eugster and the extraordinary physical effort of our forefathers. [38:20]
  • Strategies that Charles uses for nutrition, supplements, and recovery (and some thoughts on insects as food). [47:30]
  • Whether Charles attributes his athletic success to natural talent or something else. [52:13]
  • Age Is Just a Number--The Book. [56:43]
  • Why earning money is so important. [57:41]
  • What is the role of luck in Charles' success? [1:02:02]
  • What advice would Charles give to 20 year-olds today? [1:03:17]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:06:11]