Secrets to Fit at Any Age - Bill Pearl Interview

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<p>"Ever wondered what goes on in the mind of a Professional Bodybuilder?"Transcript of Interview with Bill Pearl, recorded March 10, 2003 on www.fitwisewell.com by Rob CooperGood morning, good afternoon, good evening, whatever the case may be in your part of the world. My name is Rob Cooper, I am the Former Fat Guy. I used to weigh 475 pounds 1989 I decided to do something about it, I decided to take responsibility for my health, learned everything I could learn about nutrition, health, fitness and started putting it all into practice. Over the course of a couple years I lost 288 pounds and now I kind of think of everything that I do as generated towards just improving my life. Thats the theme of this show is to help you find a mentor, help you find someone you can relate to, whether it be a vegetarian or a body builder or a Zen monk. Anybody that you might relate to so that you could possibly duplicate their results by putting into action things you learned from them. Todays guest is we have with us Mr. Bill Pearl. A five time Mr. Universe, Bill has been involved with body building since probably 1930.</p> <p>Rob: Bill, how are you today? Bill Pearl: Im just fine Rob, thank you for having me on your show. Rob: Oh its my pleasure, believe me, my pleasure. Now, I know who you are and Im sure a lot of people know who you are but I would like you just to talk about who you are. Explain who is Bill Pearl first of all. Bill Pearl: Ok, that wont take a whole lot of time Rob. To begin with I havent been in fitness since 1930, I was born in 1930, Rob.</p> <p>Rob: But I think you been thinking fitness since the days you were born. Bill Pearl: This is very, very true. Yes, Ive always been a health conscious type of an individual and most of my reasons for doing what Ive done has probably been caused by some form of an insecurity complex or an ego problem I was having and fortunately I had a, for me I had a, I have an older brother who is 3 years older as we were growing up every day I knew he was going to make me cry before the day was out so I got more involved in the fitness program not to for cosmetic aspects but to protect myself against my brother. And it just so happened that this sport continued to grow and I continued to stay into the sport and lo and behold, 50 years later, 60 years later Im still able to do quite well and perhaps Ive made an impact on the industry that you are also making now with your show. But I was a Mr. America winner, 1953. I then won the Mr. Universe contest in 1953 then again 1956, 61, 67, 1971. Rob: Thats amazing. Bill Pearl: Well thank you, I had a run of about 20 years and all the people that are very popular today such as Arnold Schwarzenegger (yah) as an example, we could talk about Clint Eastwood whoever it may be Sean Connery people whove been in the industry Ive been involved with them one way or another either competing against them or something that they have done. So I think the point that Im trying to make is the fact that if you take care of the sport the sport is going to take care of you. Rob: Right. Thats an amazing line up. Not only of your credentials for what youve accomplished in your titles Bill Pearl: Well thank you. Rob: But even, I didnt realize that youve worked with Sean Connery and Clint Eastwood. Bill Pearl: Sean Connery was in the 1953 Professional Mr. Universe contest and I happened to win the contest but he was one of the contestants and so Ive known Sean for over 50 years. Rob: Was he an amateur or was he a professional? Bill? Bill Pearl: Yes? Rob: Im sorry, was he was in the 1953 Mr. Universe?</p> <p>Bill Pearl: Yes he was, in London, England, yes. Rob: And you say he was competing as a contestant Bill Pearl: He competed in the contest and he did quite well but fortunately I was the winner. Fortunately for me I was the winner. Rob: Now thats the one where the English fellow got up and said Pearl is King. Bill Pearl: Well that happened actually in 1961 I believe it was or 1967, that happened later on in my career. Rob: I stand corrected. Thats when you went back and you decided to there was some of your, I dont know if they were friends but some people were saying that you were worried about competing against younger men and decided to go back and Bill Pearl: Well that happened in 1971, Rob, that was the last contest. I had won the Mr. Universe contest in 1967 and I retired from competition. I have always trained and will continue to train till the day I day. Im not going to stop working out. Thats obvious. But at the same token I was also heavily involved with North American Walk aerospace program. And my job was to keep executives of the aerospace program and several astronauts in condition for the aerospace flights. So I had my career had taken a turn and I was no longer interested competing in body building contests for the sake of winning a trophy. And then as you say there was some flak that had come down the line over the years that I was getting up a little bit and I was afraid of competing against the modern day body builders, quote, unquote at that particular time so I decided in 1971 that I would make an announcement that I would appear, compete again in the 1971 contest. Anybody and everybody who wanted to take a crack at me they had a chance, and fortunately again, I won. Rob: Now, you say youll be training until the day you die. Bill Pearl: Yes. Rob: You were born in 1930. Bill Pearl: Yes. Rob: That would put you at coming up on 73 now? Bill Pearl: Ah yes. Yah, I am.</p> <p>Rob: Okay. And I believe or have read that you get up at 3 am everyday to train. Bill Pearl: Well I get up at 2:30, Rob. Rob: Good Lord!! What time do you go to bed Bill? Bill Pearl: Around 7:30, 8 oclock. And people ask me, well why do you do that and I explain that we live in a little town of _ Talent, Oregon which has a little population of a thousand eight hundred people and there isnt a whole lot to do up here. Rob: Ok? Bill Pearl: So its just as easy to get up at 2:30 as it is to get up at 5:00. Rob: So you go to bed with the sun and get up with the sun. Bill Pearl: Thats right. And then we have a big barn behind our house which weve turned into a private health club for my friends and myself. And everyday a certain percentage of people Ive loved all my life, we get together and we all train 6 days per week, couple hours per day and nobody misses and we just get along fine. Rob: Hmm. Lets go back into the history of how you got started. Now I know that eventually you were taken under the wing by a fellow in California. Bill Pearl: A gentlemen, Leo Stern, yes Rob. Rob: But what did you, how did you start? I mean theres gonna be people listening to this show who have not done anything as far as physical fitness or body building or body building Rob: I understand. Bill Pearl: Im sure a lot of them dont want to get into body building, as a cosmetic reason but we both know that physical fitness will improve every aspect of your life. Rob: Um, there is no question about it. Ok, I would have to back up a little teeny bit to make this a little more understanding Bill Pearl: I was born on a warm springs Indian reservation back in 1930 and I went to Indian school for about 7 years and those times in my growing up, being an American Indian was not the most popular</p> <p>thing to be. And so when I had gone to public schools after my time there was a certain amount of degradation that went along with this, I had an inferiority complex because perhaps didnt dress like the others had dressed. I had some psychological problems that I was attempting to overcome in conjunction with my brother pounding on me constantly Rob: (laughs) Bill Pearl: the fact that I thought that if I could get big and strong that I may not be able to handle everything, but if anyone gave me a bad time I could control what was going to do through some sort of a force rather than a psychological aspect Rob: OK Bill Pearl: So it was a means of survival for me Rob: Ok Bill Pearl: But then as I continued on with my fitness program as a young kid growing up I found that the better I got, the more muscular I got, the bigger I got, I became more of a mentor to other people and me mentoring other people. And so it was kind of a status thing which I truly enjoyed and I liked and it gave me a reason to be slightly different than most people so I just continued doing it. Rob: People came to you for your knowledge! Bill Pearl: Thats exactly right, yes Rob: What did you do? Bill Pearl: What did I do when I began training? Rob: Yes, you say you wanted to get bigger to protect yourself Bill Pearl: Well, Ok, Yes, I ordered a , what they call a York Big 10 Special barbell set from York Pennsylvania, I ordered this set back in 1941 just at the beginning of the second world war, just before it broke out. And I got delivery in 1994. SO I actually waited 3 or 4 years to get my barbell set, from York, but in the interim I began doing all sorts of pushups and sit-ups and doing all types of exercise with makeshift equipment until my barbell and dumbbell set came along Rob: So you just did what you had to do?</p> <p>Bill Pearl: Thats right, and it was all trial and error Rob, there was no one telling me what to do, I just knew I had to do something and what I was doing , Anything was better than what I was doing. Rob: Right , now, what about how often did you train. Bill Pearl: How often did I train then? Rob: Ya? Bill Pearl: I trained 3 days a week, and now I train 6 days a week. And I train a couple of hours per day and I realize thats not necessary, but , physically its not necessary, but psychologically it is necessary. So I probably overdo, on everything that I do do in my life, but thats just me, I have a type A personality and I cant back off. Rob: Im the same way, whatever I do , I do 100% Bill Pearl: Alright, well then, I cant get away from it. And so, I could probably do better physically and perhaps even healthful wise if I did less, but I cant back off. Rob: Do you think being a type A and doing everything 100% would be, Um, are they any experiences of that being a negative part of your life? Bill Pearl: Probably so, because I think that other things in your life, such as your family life, people you surround and associate with suffer because of this, yes, I do Rob: Id have to agree with that. Bill Pearl: Yes Rob: How old would be when this was happening? Bill Pearl: I started weight training doing some form of an exercise with the understanding of improving myself when I was a ten year old kid, so Ive actually trained on a regular basis for 62 years. Rob: Wow, You got into the navy in , what year was that? Bill Pearl: I enrolled in the navy in 1950. Thats where I met this gentleman Leo Stern, he was in San Diego California, fortunately for me he kind enough to take me under his wing and he became my mentor. And without this gentleman Leo Stern there would be no Bill Pearl the bodybuilder. Most of everything Ive done in the industry</p> <p>Ive attempted to emulate what Leo has taught me or by following what he has currently he himself done. Rob: What did he teach, what did he tell you, or how did that even come about? Bill Pearl: Well, he had a health club, and I liked the health club, and I liked the way he controlled the club, the way he controlled the people who came to his health club, he was his own person, he didnt have to bow to anybody, he was self employed, if he wanted to close the gym he did, if he didnt, he didnt have to, and the whole aspect of how he conducted his life was something I felt I would like to do so, virtually everything Leo did, I tried to emulate him. Rob: I see, so you found a lifestyle Bill Pearl: Yes Rob: Did you have time to train when you were in the navy? Bill Pearl: Well I trained, in fact, I won the Mr American contest, the Mr Universe Contest, Mr California and Southern California while I was in the Navy, Yes Rob: In 1953 Bill Pearl: Yes, and I also became very involved in wrestling, I was a relatively good wrestler and I had won several Navy championships and so on, I was an alternate for the 1954 Olympic games so, I had a background in wrestling as well as bodybuilding at that time. Rob: Right, you tried track and field but you excelled at bodybuilding and wrestling Bill Pearl: Yes Rob: But before you were stationed in San Diego because you actually got stationed there and thats where you found your mentor, you were I guess in a few different places, did you have time to train before you got stationed in San Diego? Bill Pearl: Yes, I always found time to train Rob, it was a part of my life, it was so ingrained in me that thats what I had to do to get me where I wanted to go, nothing in the world bothered me, I would train under any circumstances, if I had to go out and start picking up things that were heavy, in a field, rocks, or God knows what all, I was going to do it Rob, I was adamant as to what I wanted to do.</p> <p>Rob: Good for you, thats exactly what I wanted to hear Bill. Bill Pearl: Yes Rob: Its so important for people to know that if youre going to get results, youve got to be committed and youve got to do whatever its going to take to get the job done. Bill Pearl: This is true Rob: It doesnt matter whether you can find a gym to train in or picking up rocks like you say Bill Pearl: Or actually, perhaps your listening audience can identify with is the fact that if you just get up and do anything Rob, if you just get up and down out of a chair five times in a row, that is a form of exercise Rob: Right Bill Pearl: And nobody in the world has to carry it to the extent that I have or you perhaps that you have to become very very healthy. Rob: I agree Bill Pearl: And I honestly feel that most of us in the world today, if we just get involved in a walking program. GO down to your local mall and start walking two or three days a week and keep at this thing and get some activity going in your life, that perhaps to be enough exercise that all of us have to have to carry us through for the type of lifestyle we currently want to live. Rob: Very good advice. Bill Pearl: My problem is that Ive carried it to a giant extreme but Im an extremist in everything that I do but I fully understand, nobody in the world who could be so stupid to do what I do. Back from a short break Rob: We were talking about people taking any sort of action to get get some kind of fitness. Bill Pearl: Well, the comment that I made when you mentioned that I train six days a week to keep fit, I believe it goes further than that</p> <p>Rob. I could stay fit on a great deal less than I do physically but I cant handle it psychologically because of the way that Ive played th is game over so many years that its a difficult thing to do, but if we could get the average Individual out there in your audience to just do some type of a program rather than just parking your car several feet away from the front of where theyre going to work each day and walk th...</p>