March 11, 2024

George Hincapie: On Healthspan, Human Performance, and Finding Balance

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Written By


photo of Vinita Tandon, MD

Medically Reviewed By

Vinita Tandon, MD

Lifeforce Medical Director

George Hincapie: On Healthspan, Human Performance, and Finding Balance

Having raced 17 Tour de France races and five Olympic Games, it’s safe to say that retired American professional cyclist George Hincapie knows a thing or two about health and human performance. We sat down with George to learn about his current health priorities and how Lifeforce has brought new life to his 50s.

On the important things in life….

Having my health and a healthy family around me is definitely my priority — and just being able to do fun things and appreciate them. Most mornings I try to write down 10, 15, or 20 things that I'm grateful for. They help keep me happy and motivated for the days to come.

Happiness evolves. I was so one-dimensional for most of my career, so I’ve had to redefine what happiness is for me. For so long it was all bike, bike, bike, and then it's gone. And of course I still love to ride, but the drive and the purpose is not the same. I have to find gratitude within that. Before, it was just such a natural thing: I'd wake up and I'd go ride my bike. It was very hard but it actually really completed me at times. 

So now that I'm 10 years away from that, I need to keep reminding myself that I was very fortunate to do that, and I’m fortunate that I don't have to do that anymore. It’s just the stage of life I'm in. That gratitude list has become more important for me.

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On the post-career injury that forced a change… 

I started to experience significant back issues when I stopped racing. I kept working out but I stopped taking care of myself and prioritizing my health. I stopped doing the stretching and the body care that you need. I was just kind of sick of being so diligent about food and everything I put in my body and was just like, you know what? I'm just going to try to enjoy it. But that enjoyment wears out pretty quickly once you realize the effects it has on your health. It was a good lesson. For the first couple of years my body slowly started to deteriorate to the point where I could barely stand up, my back was hurting that bad. I couldn't walk without excruciating pain and that's when I realized I need to really get on top of my taking care of myself. I want to continue working out for as long as I can and feel good about it. 

On getting back on track…

It's been four or five years now, and working with companies like Lifeforce has really helped. It's great to have a team behind me that knows exactly what they're doing. I know that I'm willing to do the physical work, but to have the expert eyes on it is definitely a good feeling. My doctor suggested a couple different nutraceuticals and I appreciate that the recommendation is coming from a doctor and I am not just guessing what I should be taking.

George Hincapie Health Optimization

On improving energy levels…

My energy levels are strong again. Today I did a three-hour bike ride with Olympic champion, Yolanda Neff, who's this amazing cyclist from Switzerland. I have that foundation where I can go out and ride with people and have no issues. I'm not completely exhausted like I was when I was racing bikes or when I wasn't so on top of my health. 

On the importance of prioritizing sleep…

I wear an Oura ring to track. I know what affects my sleep, and I stay on top of that. Sometimes If I'm just sitting around and not much is going on, I'm like, OK, I much prefer to go to bed super early than just sit around. So I do put a lot of importance on sleep now.

On adopting a clean diet and proper nutrition…

The recommendation from my Lifeforce team was to focus on eating a Mediterranean diet so that is mostly what I do. My Lifeforce doctor shared, after reviewing my recent biomarker testing, that I need to focus on incorporating more fiber. He suggested eating more dark leafy greens and more vegetables in general. So now I try to have some sort of green at least once or twice a day and before my meals. I’m looking forward to reviewing my next round of test results to see if this change affects my biomarkers.

On passing on his passion to his son…

It's been really fun to watch and to see how much more in-tune my kids are than I was at that age. My son is a health freak. He cooks his lunches on Sunday for school the whole week. He won't even eat pizza or barely have a hamburger. I'm just like, you're 15, you need to live a little! But it's been fun and really fulfilling to go on bike rides with him and just watch his progression from where he was at nine years old and hated riding the bike to where he is now, going on his own and riding all the time and working out at the gym. He's in beast mode right now and he's the national champion, which is pretty cool. 

On health priorities then vs. now…

During my career, it was all about how fast can I get up this mountain on the bike or how fast can I recover. Now it's much more balanced. I lift weights, I play tennis. It's more about how can I feel as good as possible every day. My performance on a bike is the lowest priority. I still love to ride, but I'm not delusional to think that I can keep up with professional cyclists or even my 15-year-old son. Arguably, I have a much better balance of health now. When you're a professional cyclist, all you do is ride your bike and even walking down the street or walking upstairs makes you tired. Now, I definitely take a much more complete approach to physical fitness — and my health.

Ready to prioritize your health and longevity? Learn more about Lifeforce and join George HERE

This article was medically reviewed by Vinita Tandon, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism. 

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