<NOTE> I’ve been working with Len for 2 years on improving his fitness and physique and he has completely transformed himself. So much so-I’m trying to get him to compete in a Men’s Masters Fitness Comp. Len is truly an amazing man and we’re both very excited to drop this interview for all of you.
1 .Can you give us a brief background about yourself (where you were born, how it was like growing up, education, where you lived, etc.)?
I grew up in Queens, NY. My parents are both Holocaust survivors and they taught me that life has no limits except what I put on myself. They taught me to be a survivor, to cherish family, and the virtue of education and work. I grew up in public school and went to The Bronx High School of Science. I left my local neighborhood and friends to go to one of the best high schools in the country. I then did my undergraduate work at SUNY Binghamton. I went to medical school at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY, my internship at Beth Israel Medical Center, and my specialty in Radiation Oncology at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. My childhood was filled with playing music (I started playing piano at age 6), and fitness. I grew up as a chubby kid and in 8th grade I started to learn about nutrition and exercise.
2. As a Medical Doctor and Owner and Founder of The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology, you have a busy day to day existence. How did everything get started for you and what prompted your decision to follow these paths?
My grandfather was living in house when I was young and he was dying of esophageal cancer. I was very close with him. When he passed away I vowed that I would dedicate myself to treating cancer and seeing that patients would be treated better than how he spent the last months of his life. I was the clinical director of one of the largest private practice groups in Eastern, NY when my wife said we need to have a better way to treat cancer patients in Manhattan, where we live. I left the practice, became Chairman of Radiation Oncology at Staten Island University Hospital in NY, and ultimately took everything we owned and build the most state-of-the-art radiation oncology center in Manhattan, with integrative cancer care.
3. Can you tell us more about your business and how you see it evolving over the next 20 years? Talk about your life as a musician?
Our center focuses on the whole person as the patient. The center is aesthetically gorgeous, with two aquariums- an underwater Bonsai garden and a saltwater tank, and an eco-fireplace. We have the most sophisticated equipment in the country and treat all types of adult cancers. Our staff is loving and beautiful. The evolution of the center is to be able to do bigger and better things. We are becoming part of one of the largest hospital systems in New York, which will allow our way of treating to extending to more and more people.
4. As an individual who lives a healthy and fit lifestyle, we’re curious, what does your daily diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”?
My diet evolves, as I do. Currently, I am up at 4:30 am as our 9-year-old daughter is a competitive figure skater and on the rink by 6 am before school. I train after dropping her off as my wife stays and takes care of our daughter. My first meal is typical afterwards whenI get to the office. I have a protein shake- Muscle Milk Light, 2 teaspoons of PB2 powdered peanut butter, 1 cup of almond milk, a teaspoon of coffee, and 2 Truvia. I then make sure I drink water all day until my next meal which is lunch. Usually protein in the form of any lean meat or fish. I sometimes supplement with salad or organic soup. At around 3, I will typically have a low-carb protein bar. Dinner is lean protein, vegetables, and grains for carbs. If I am hungry at night I will have a protein shake, or tablespoon of natural peanut butter, or if I am craving fruit I will have fruit then. I make sure I drink water throughout the day. And coffee. I am a big advocate. Do I cheat?… I allow myself certain days or meals to follow what my body is craving. Usually it is complex carbs. Then I really feel it- gastric discomfort, fatigue, and happy to get back to my routine.
5. What does your training routine consist of? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
Another big evolutionary process for me. I spent my teenage years into my 30’s doing heavy lifting and getting large for my frame. After residency, I shifted my training routine. Today my main focus is on interval training cardio. 30 minutes on the Stairmaster doing intervals. Cardio is 4-5 days per week. Once a week I usually do a full body weight training routine, focusing on 3 sets per body part, 15 reps each. I take about 30 seconds to a minute between sets. On other days I do very intense kettle bells- 30-45 minutes one to twice a week. Muscle memory has served me well and cardio and resistance training keeps me where I would like to be at the moment. Then I push forward.
6. In addition to your diet and training, do you believe in supplements? If so, which kinds do you use and what results have these given you?
I do believe in supplements as they apply personally and individually. I take armor thyroid, L-theanine, folate, and pregnenolone. I also make sure I get the right amount of essential fatty acids.
7. We’ve had the opportunity to work together in helping you craft a world class physique. How would you describe your overall experience working with Fab Fit Over 40?
Priceless. I learned how to apply science to my nutrition and training. A lot of old myths were dispelled and replaced with facts and science. I am in the best shape of my life now at 45 (about to be 46) and am on a path to ensuring that every day is about improvement.
8.Were there any key factors sticking out during our time working together? (In regards to life, fitness, conversations etc.)
Yes- when I would ask you questions about how to get leaner and you simply say “diet.” I would try to ask you the same question in different ways to get an answer I would prefer but you never wavered. Diet. Simple.
9.Talk about your Wife and Children. How supportive and accommodating are they to your Fabulously Fit Lifestyle.
My wife and children are not only supportive but are integral into my lifestyle. Without their support and accommodating their schedules I would not be able to create mine. My wife also trains very intensely while taking care of our daughter, working full time, and dealing with me! Not an easy task. My daughter, at 9, knows how essential certain foods are for hear mental and physical acuity. She knows when and how to eat when she burns through her fuel after intense training. She understands the role of carbs, protein, and fats, all from a healthy point of view. My wife and I coordinate training time but she definitely recognizes my need to get my workout in for some good mental well being. Life is about communicating and giving love and that applies to everything, including lifestyle. Now our 22-year-old son has incorporated fitness into his lifestyle living on his own.
10. As a parent and having multiple interests, how do you make time to juggle everything and also workout? Where does your motivation come from to stay consistent with your fitness and career and strive to assist others with theirs?
One word- support. I could not juggle everything without the support and understanding of my wife (maybe that’s actually two words then!) And decisions have to be mutually respectful. I have my goals and plans and so does she so we have to work together. Now once you get that support and you have made the time, then you just do it. You decide what is a priority and make it happen. If you say you don’t have time you are just saying it is not a priority or not important enough. Clearly there are times that I cannot get a workout in- family comes first. Work and patients come first. But being healthy and training keep me mentally sharp as well soI do find time, even if I have to make it up at some point. My children and my patients look to me as an example. If I make sure I don’t let myself down, then that message will transpire to them.
11.Do you want your children to follow in your healthy and fit footsteps?
Absolutely. When I was growing up there were so few resources for health, nutrition, and fitness. I worked out at a tiny gym in Jamaica, Queens, the size of a 1 bedroom apartment. I actually went to a camp at around age 13 to learn how to eat and exercise. It was important to me even at that age, and so I pushed my parents to let me go. Today, I love that my wife and I can teach our children what we have learned and experienced and help them incorporate that into their lives so they can create their journey with more knowledge and support.
12.As a Medical Doctor, what advice would you give someone (at any age) who wants to transition their life towards a more healthy and fit lifestyle, but don’t know where to start?
Know that you are not alone. I am a big fan of your website and everyone should go to http://fabfitover40.com. There are also some great physicians who specialize in bio-identical hormone replacement and have a fund of knowledge from a purely medical standpoint. Couple that with the experience and knowledge that Jay, Monica, and the team of contributors to the site and you can learn what you need to start this incredibly and necessary journey.
13. What is next for you in this new year? What are your future plans and goals? Do you think you might compete in a Masters Men’s Fitness Competition?
I am smiling while I write this as a reserve the competitions for you! My journey is definitely a personal one for me. Next is to simply continue to improve. Stay consistent. Improve my diet (less cheat times). I have been focusing on gratitude for all I have been given, all I have, and all I will have, and that applies to everything in my life- love, family, health, career, money, physique, and essentially everything. My goal is to improve on that personal journey for me and the rest will follow.
14.Any shout outs? Lastly, where can we find you on the Internet?
Yes- thanks! I want to thank my wife and children for their love, support, tolerance, and accommodating me so much! My company site is http://www.thefarbercenter.com. From there people can go to our blog and twitter pages. Please like us on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/thefarbercenter. Also, find me on Linkedin. Many thanks to you for all your support, wisdom, knowledge, and love.
Love you too brother! Thank you for being such an incredible comrade and friend. See you soon!
Be the BEST YOU at Any Age!
If you need help with your diet and nutrition and are struggling to lose the last bit of unwanted body fat-consider Coaching with Fab Fit Over 40!