Healthy To A Hundred: Author Dr. Rand McClain On 5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
14 min readApr 22, 2023

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Purpose — having purpose — even if it is to seek revenge against the person who pushed you off a ship at sea (yes, this is an actual incident in which one credited his survival in part) — helps keep one alive. Most of the survivors of the Holocaust reflect that not only did having a purpose, no matter how seemingly trivial, contribute to their survival, but remarked that they could see how once someone lost their sense of purpose, their health rapidly deteriorated and they died. (Viktor Frankl writes about this in his book “Pursuit of happiness”.) Humans have always sought meaning in life and in what we do, and in pursuit of that which means something to us, we find the drive, the raison d’etre, and the happiness that comes with having a purpose.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rand McClain.

Though nutrition and wellness have been ingrained in Dr. Rand McClain since childhood, his journey to becoming a leader in alternative and progressive medical treatments have been anything but orthodox. From being the youngest senior account manager in Deloitte’s history, to his stint as a professional boxer in Argentina, to being accepted to medical school at age 37 after being repeatedly told it was impossible, Dr. Rand has never been a fan of the “status quo”. Dr. Rand’s patients (many of which are A-List celebrities and world-class athletes) come to his practice, Regenerative & Sports Medicine, in search of the innovative treatments he specializes in.

From the latest in stem cell and hormone therapies, to IV drips that reduce trauma and anxiety, to human performance health programs and futuristic longevity treatments, Dr. Rand believes that your past health mistakes don’t define your future.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Well, the short version is that, after several different “careers’’ ranging from CPA to clothing manufacturer to lifeguard to personal trainer and actor/stuntman, I discovered I was going to be a father and decided I had better settle into a career I enjoyed and would stick with for the long haul. I always enjoyed health and fitness, earned a Master of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and had my share of injuries and other challenges requiring sometimes unique medical care and treatment so I decided to pursue a career as a medical doctor. Having been through so many injuries and medical diagnoses as well as being an older candidate (37 years old at the time), I believe was an advantage once I was accepted into a medical program providing me with a unique and certainly well-seasoned perspective on the practice of medicine.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

That’s a hard one because there will be so many interesting moments and stories. I suppose one worth sharing for its instructive value is that our medical system as it stands is both well-advanced and archaic. The technology and knowledge base seems to grow logarithmically, but the teaching/learning process doctors go through is archaic such that I recall reading within one of our medical textbooks that our ability to learn is severely limited by lack of sleep and overload — specifically pointing to medical school and residency as “what not to do”. In addition, the idea that there is a very distinct and bold line between each year of residency status, attending or chief status (not to mention — perhaps even more importantly — the distinction made between nurses, some of whom have been working thirty years or more in their field) rather than a blurred line representing a team effort of medical providers is woefully outdated and less than ideal. As a first year resident, I remember having over 75 patients to attend to while “on call” including a full ICU and PICU (critical acute care units), and only two residents on service, and, it was considered “poor form” and inappropriate to wake the senior resident unless there occurred a true emergency. Nuts!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Another difficult question to answer because there were so many people who helped me along the way. From my nanny, Sophie Watson, (I was a single dad during medical school and internship) to so many understanding and kind people such as my organic chemistry professor, co-author of peer-reviewed publications, and friend, Dr. Gagik Melikyan, to my friend and peer, Dr. Robert Cole. Sophie was always there without fail to watch over my daughter while I was in school or at the hospital. Gagik saw me one day staring at the chalkboard through the door window taking notes with my 1-year-old daughter in tow and invited me into the class anyway. Rob made allowances for my time (lack thereof) by accepting me as his shadow (never considered by him before or afterwards) and giving me freedom to choose surgical procedures to assist from the surgical scheduling board each morning. I stay in touch frequently with these God-sends and many others who helped me along the way to this day.

I was blessed in so many ways from the local police officers who kept an eye on me at night near medical school (I slept in my car while in med school and the surrounding neighborhood was not the safest), to the professors who were understanding if I were not always in attendance, to those administrative individuals or doctors on service who looked me in the eye, sized me up, and gave me a chance to perform and learn.

And, of course, there are my parents and my now wife, Melanie, who stood by and helped where they could.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Leaders are those who inspire faith. They do so by:

  1. Walk the talk: Seeing me put forth the effort, understanding what it took and takes to “get the job done”, as they say, and seeing the successful outcomes with patients provides a basis for faith.
  2. Integrity: My Team and patients know that the patients come first and that I/we will provide my/our services with that in mind and with each individual’s circumstances evaluated separately and respectfully, with deference and dignity. My Team witnesses the sacrifices we make in time and money — always to the benefit of the patient — no matter what, and keeping in mind that success should be viewed in both the short and long term.
  3. Empathy/sympathy: Being empathetic or sympathetic as the case may be not only provides comfort to those around you but demonstrates commonality and respect as well as an ease in communication. Bridging the often perceived gap between doctor and patient or “boss” and employee invokes confidence in patients and employees, and, in the vernacular, “keeps it real”.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

This one is easier for me to comment on. I entered the field of medicine at 37 with a much different attitude and perspective than I, and I imagine most at age 22 did not and would not have. In addition, having incurred so many injuries and illnesses leading up to that point as well as being a doctor, I believe gave me additional perspective and knowledge. As for contribution, I like to think that I can take some of the mystery out of medicine and science by explaining it in common terms. Not dumbing it down, but simply making it easier to understand without having to have the understanding of and a familiarity and command over the medical terms. And, I enjoy explaining the way the body and the treatments work which I believe — for most individuals — leads to more compliance with treatments and lifestyle and an additional confidence in what they are doing. For those who don’t want to know how the watch is made and would rather simply know what time it is, other doctors may suit them better (though, I usually notice when a patient’s eyelids are drooping and they prefer to cut to the chase).

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

I’ve only lived 60 years and while I have traveled probably more than many, I have not found that one elixir. I truly believe that the key is not in finding one, but rather selecting from many that are then selected and combined to suit each individual depending upon the individual.

Further, while it may be somewhat anticlimactic, I am absolutely convinced that exercise — when so many things are incorporated properly into one’s life — is the one “great secret” to healthspan. I call it “The Great Equalizer” because it can even compensate for some bad habits and negative influences upon healthspan such as not getting enough sleep, poor nutrition and even genetic predispositions to certain illnesses. I see patients who have exercised their entire life and I see a common strength and hardiness that I don’t see in others. Not to say that it is ever too late to start exercising, but that base of exercise built up over one’s lifetime provides such a perch for great health and resiliency from injury and illness and bad choices. It is worth remembering that the very definition of life includes movement.

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)

Sleep — without sleep — 7–9 hours of good quality sleep each night — eventually you prematurely “wear out” the cellular functioning of oneself. There are countless examples of the negative influence on physiology driven by lack of sleep and enumerated by sleep experts such as Dr. Michael Breus and Dr. Matthew Walker.

Exercise — countless studies and expert opinions support the need for movement, preferably daily and throughout the day. Sitting for long periods is not good, yet it is the way we perform many of our jobs. Punctuating the day with regular movement — even if it is just to the water fountain and back — is essential for our physiology to work at its best.

Nutrition — you are what you eat still holds true. You cannot support a race car with low octane fuel and little or no motor oil. While we know some basics about nutrition: do not overeat — (including both sitting and that exceeding output (unless one is trying to gain weight) — but most of the studies regarding nutrition are seriously flawed. My best advice is to start with a particular diet (Mediterranean Diet, eg) and make adjustments to your individual needs and circumstances. No one particular diet suits all individuals and there may be significant variation in nutrition that works for one versus another individual.

Connection — observation of those humans as well as other animals reveal that connection to others is important not just for survival and evolution, but for physical and mental well-being. Newborn babies that are fed and kept safe, but do not receive touch and other forms of contact through the senses fail to thrive and can die. We humans are no exception and it is notable that those long-lived humans — centenarians — that we observe all have a broad and sturdy support system of individuals with them.

Purpose — having purpose — even if it is to seek revenge against the person who pushed you off a ship at sea (yes, this is an actual incident in which one credited his survival in part) — helps keep one alive. Most of the survivors of the Holocaust reflect that not only did having a purpose, no matter how seemingly trivial, contribute to their survival, but remarked that they could see how once someone lost their sense of purpose, their health rapidly deteriorated and they died. (Viktor Frankl writes about this in his book “Pursuit of happiness”.) Humans have always sought meaning in life and in what we do, and in pursuit of that which means something to us, we find the drive, the raison d’etre, and the happiness that comes with having a purpose.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

Joseph Campbell determined through his life’s work that one of the secrets to happiness, joy and meaning in life is to “Follow Your Bliss”. If you find a passion in life, pursue it. If you are lucky enough to find that passion in your work, then I believe you are truly blessed, There will always be happiness, joy and meaning if you follow something in which you are passionate and if it also serves others — as it would with “working” at your passion — then I have to believe that this is only magnified both not only for oneself but for the others served.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

Right now, most who study this question would undoubtedly agree that it is a loosely 50–50 proposition. However, drilling a little deeper, we find that genetics provides a window — certainly with a limit — but within that window, each individual can make a very significant difference as to how far one can live healthily within that window. For those interested, the science behind this relates to the difference between genetics and epigenetics.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

Another tough question that I and many others would like to be able to answer and one I ask myself frequently. For me, I do not know if it was a predisposition (genetics) to tenacity or something or some moment that shaped my outlook, but when challenges arose and arise, I always adopt the idea that it is just that — a challenge. And, experience — whether personal or shared by others — shows that almost every challenge is surmountable. As Sean Connery’s character in “The Untouchables” movie asked, “What are you prepared to do?” The simple but practical approach is to take what you have, do what you can, and start immediately on solving the problem (“challenge”).

Many have their tricks for making it easier whether it be support from loved ones, exercise, certain rituals, but I find that for many of the successful, the best and almost only way to manage challenges is with incremental success. Just keep chipping away at the goal and savor even the smallest of victories and life’s simple pleasures along the way. I can remember a moment sitting outside my van in which I often slept, cooking hot dogs and baked beans on my Hibachi grill in the California sun one afternoon, and thinking to myself that I could wallow in the fact that I was broke, working three jobs, a single dad and still in med school or I could appreciate that I was in CA, the sun was out, I was warm, my daughter was with me, and I am eating (I love hot dogs and baked beans, btw). The ability to “choose” one’s focus and attitude is such a powerful and helpful tool!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

This is also a hard one because, at 60 years old, I had quite a few “life lessons” presented to me along with quotes to help me “survive” (sometimes literally), adapt, succeed, digest and learn.

This one from fighter James Corbett has always been one of my favorites:

“Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the center of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round — remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped.”

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

It would be nothing new but perhaps a new take on the need to “take a moment”. If we instituted a “mandatory” (however defined) break of 20–30 minutes (even as little as 15 minutes) per day that must be filled with movement and gratitude. Movement because it is so important for well-being and gratitude (counting one’s blessings no matter how small) because it is an antidote for anxiety — something which drives poor health and negative emotions and actions many times. In addition, wherever possible, this must take place where one can appreciate the outdoors. There is solid science supporting our human connection to — not concrete — but Nature.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

They can connect with me through my website https://drrandmcclain.com/ or social media channels:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dr.randmcclain/
LinkedIN: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rand-mcclain/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dr_randmcclain

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrRandMcClain

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 best-selling author, syndicated columnist, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC. He has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been featured on Fox News, The Wrap, and has worked with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, BuzzFeed, Food Network, WW and Bloomberg. Savio has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad. His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.

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Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor