Hard Work — A Lesson Learned From Jimmy Cefalo via Coach Barberi


Originally posted July 2011

 

vaca 2014 zuma panorama

 

 

I wasn’t an athletic youth, but I always participated in sports related activities.  As kids we didn’t have video games, Facebook, computers or five hundred cable channels to occupy our time.  We played outside; in the parks, in the streets or in vacant, or not so vacant, lots — anywhere we could find a spot, we played sports.  Football, baseball and basketball where the big three.  But we also made up games that involved physical activity, we even had our own neighborhood Olympic Games.  Being overweight, I wasn’t the best,  I was often picked last, but still — I participated.

Over the summer between eighth and ninth grade I decided I was going to go out for football.  No matter how ridiculous it sounds in retrospect, I was going to play for the Pittston Area Patriots, Penn State Nitnany Lions and finally I would play in the National Football League.cefalo jersey

Summer program was the first step along my path.  My mom dropped me off at the front entrance to the high school.  Instead of turning right and going into the gym, I went straight. Beyond a second set of glass doors my gaze was fixed on the trophy case.  Little statuettes of championship seasons stared back at me, but it was the center item that had my full attention — the number 44 jersey worn by Jimmy Cefalo.

I daydreamed about playing on the gridiron wearing the Pittston red, white a blue.  I didn’t see nor hear anything else. Suddenly my day slumber was broken by a large hand that had fallen over my shoulder, it was that of legendary head football coach Bob Barbieri.  “You are going to be part of this son.”

I just nodded my head.  It was as if the hand of God himself had touched me.  He continued, “Jimmy was the best, a natural talent, but do you know what made him great?”

I couldn’t speak.  I simply stared at the jersey and then the coach.  “He worked and practiced harder than anyone else.”  He paused for a moment,  “In his time here he set track records as well as football, but no matter what he did, he didn’t rely solely on his natural abilities.”  Still awestruck I said nothing. Coach Barbieri led me down to the gym.

Icefalo athletic center only was on the team for two seasons.  I never started, heck I barely played, but I worked hard and enjoyed the game.  However, I took from those two years valuable lessons about hard work, maximizing potential and that winners were more than born — that even the best still had to practice.

If you live or lived in Northeast Pennsylvania and are around my age then you are acquainted with the names Jimmy Cefalo and Bob Barbieri.  I never knew Jimmy Cefalo beyond a handful of meetings,  but in addition to being Coach, Bob Barbieri was an teacher at the school.  His lessons extended beyond the football field and beyond the classroom, they extended into life.  They are lessons I used getting through boot camp, college, business and in overcoming obesity.  His words about Jimmy Cefalo echoed in my head when I began my journey  from Fat Then to Fit Now and I was determined to achieve my goals and work harder than anyone else.

 

 

 

6 months!

 

*****************************************************

 


Life is lived in color, but sometimes the answers remain black and white. 
 

 

Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy,

 

Joe

 

full color cover

 

Sometimes The Bastard Returns is available on Amazon.com

 

Paperback: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/1492763365

 

Kindle: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/B00HGVPCXG

 

Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com51tXIOPTNwL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

 

http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333

 

For over three and half years I maintained a 130 pound weight loss, then last year I lost my way and found a relapse in obesity. I am discussing my battle with recidivism.

 

**************The information, advice and opinions contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.***********

 

Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com

 

http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333

 

http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition-ebook/dp/B008R8KA1Q

 

and on Create Space https://www.createspace.com/3903024

)

Obesity, Willpower & Personal Responsibility


Originally posted May 2012

 

Obesity, Willpower & Personal Responsibility

Chiropractor Doc Joe Leonardi discusses the importance of choice and willpower in battling obesity.

6 months!

*****************************************************


Life is lived in color, but sometimes the answers remain black and white. 
 

Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy,

Joe

full color cover

Sometimes The Bastard Returns is available on Amazon.com

Paperback: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/1492763365

Kindle: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/B00HGVPCXG

Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com51tXIOPTNwL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333

For over three and half years I maintained a 130 pound weight loss, then last year I lost my way and found a relapse in obesity. I am discussing my battle with recidivism.

**************The information, advice and opinions contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.***********

Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333

http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition-ebook/dp/B008R8KA1Q

and on Create Space https://www.createspace.com/3903024

Weakness Is A Crime – Some Days I Am Weak & I Don’t Like It!


frj1951-1241280716I can’t tell you in any great detail the whys, but my business life continues to collapse around me.  I have tried everything I can think of, and pissed some good money down the drain on marketing to try and bring my business back from the brink.

I love practicing, which is why I have been fighting so very hard to hang on, working and hoping that the business will recover.  However, I’m just no longer sure I can make it happen.  There is a point of diminishing returns and the stress has had me burying my head in the sand in regards to many issues.  It is not a way I like to live my life, but the weight of the world can be more than burdensome, it can be down right crushing.  More than crushing, it can be, and often has been, frightening.

I spent much of my youth as a quitter.  No matter what I went out for or clubs/groups I joined, inevitably I would tire of it and simply give it up.  It was a quality I spent much of my adult life trying to improve upon, however, sometimes we can go too far in the opposite direction.

One example, and perhaps the most detrimental of my decisions, happened when I ran for congress.  I developed an illness and had a very serious post operative infection.  I should have dropped out of the race, but I was determined not to quit.  That decision, helped hasten the financial hole I was digging for myself —- but I did not, I would not, I could not quit.

340lbs March 1, 2008

340lbs March 1, 2008

Pride can be a double edged sword.  Pride can encourage us to be the very best we can, but it can also allow us to make incorrect decisions based upon not only pride, but vanity as well. Perhaps, in addition to, if not great than, was the negative impact on my health.  After literally fighting for my life, I allowed my health to fall apart.  Because of the illness I was unable to eat anything other than ice cream for several months, and after the surgery, I couldn’t even eat that.  My health deteriorated and I lost weight and muscle eventually dropping under 175 pounds.  But once I was correctly diagnosed and treated, I was able to eat again, and boy did I.  I went from gaunt and drawn to soft and round in a matter of months. The stress of trying to recover and run for office led me to eat and eat and eat and eat, and eventually to start drinking every night. My business was in shambles, my marriage was over and I weighed more than 300 pounds and was still climbing.  In retrospect, that was a time I should have quit. I should have put my focus on recovering from septicemia and saving my business.  But not only would I have quit, I would have quit in a very public manner.  This wasn’t just a few of my family members and friends, this was an entire congressional district that would have seen that Joe Leonardi was a quitter.

294lbs July 2013

294lbs July 2013

Perhaps pride is the wrong word, I’m thinking stupid is a more apt descriptor.

Now, I am in similar circumstances.  I battled back hard from this obesity relapse.  I am fit, I am healthy and physically, I feel fantastic. Yes, it is great to have my health, but these same stressors that led to my obesity, and relapse, are still present, and even more intense.  I have some serious decisions to make about my future.  There are days I feel like quitting, not just business, not just my healthy lifestyle, but life itself.  I feel like simply dropping out, going from just having my head in the sand, but the entirety of my being. I have to take my experiences and learn from them. Learn that there may be a time to re-evaluate and in fact it may be okay to quit, or perhaps more correctly, a time to start anew.

cant-build-muscle-31a

Being fit is what gets me through each day.

Waking up at 4:00am and starting my day pursuing physical fitness gives me something to look forward to each day.

Having my health gives me something to be thankful each and every day.

Is it time to leave behind practice and move into full time advocacy for fitness and wellness?

Is it time to leave behind the dank, dreary, darkness and hopelessness of Northeast PA?

I’m not sure what my future holds.  I’m yet unsure of what decisions I will make.

I am 100% sure that through it all, I will never give in to the demonic duo of alcohol and food, nor will I ever quit my healthy, fit lifestyle.

 


*******************************************************************************

Life is lived in color, but sometimes the answers remain black and white.  

Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy,

Joe

full color cover

Sometimes The Bastard Returns is available on Amazon.com Paperback: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-

20/detail/1492763365

 

Kindle: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/B00HGVPCXG Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com51tXIOPTNwL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333 For over three and half years I maintained a 130 pound weight loss, then last year I lost my way and found a relapse in obesity. I am discussing my battle with recidivism. **************The information, advice and opinions contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.*********** Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333 http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition-ebook/dp/B008R8KA1Q and on Create Space https://www.createspace.com/3903024************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************

 

My Goal Is To Uplift and Inspire Others To Take Control Of Themselves


I am often asked what I intend to do in the world of weight loss and fitness.  It is a valid question, one I ponder often.  Although, my answer shouldn’t  pigeonholed into simply weight loss and fitness.

Years ago, I pursued the almighty dollar with a zeal and zest that should have been reserved for living life.  I made a nice living, not wealthy, but I was doing okay.  I had nice things, I vacationed several times a year and I managed to save some money for later in life.  There were many sacrifices made along the way, including not seeing my dying father as often as I now wish I had.

Then, in what seems like the blink of an eye —  it all went away.  An illness, several misdiagnoses, and perhaps worst of all, some very bad choices on my part, led to a complete collapse of my life.

All I had earned — gone.

All I had built — gone.

My health, that I battled back from illness so hard to preserve — gone.

I spent many years blaming others, and through those same years I claimed victim-hood.  I turned to the solace of the bottle and health robbing foods.  My weight soared to 340lbs, and my health sunk to barely life-sustaining levels.  I was mad at the world, and in my sugar and alcohol soaked brain —  it was everyone else’s fault but mine.

I morphed into an over-sized shell of the person I longed to be, but instead of moving forward, toward my goals — I receded back, away from the man I wished to be. 

It took many years to find my way back, and once I did, I thought I had it beaten for good — sadly, as many of you are aware, that was not the case.  Thankfully, I never resumed drinking, but I did turn back to gluttony and sloth, once again slowing my progress toward becoming the person to which I aspired.

I want to help and inspire others.  Assist them in opening their eyes to the fact that the cause of their distress is often times their own decisions and their own lack of action.  To help them take control of themselves, and improve their physical fitness, so they then are in-turn able to take control of other aspects of their lives.

Unfortunately, there are many small minded, myopic individuals who feel it is more important to destroy and tear down others than to bolster and build up.  These people employ the methods of the bully, they pester, antagonize, provoke, annoy and belittle others, not to make a situations better, but to make themselves feel better about themselves.  In addition to ourselves, these are individuals we must overcome to move forward in living a better life.

I use harsh words in describing my battle with the bastard obesity, however, I never use those harsh words with others.  I work to keep fit and healthy to demonstrate via example, that no matter how far we have fallen, it is possible to lift ourselves and move forward, to achieve our goals in spite of what others proclaim.  There are many who tell us we can’t, not because they believe that —  but because their stock and trade is in our failure.  For them to feel important, for them to be fulfilled, for them to have a sense of self, they must have us believe that we are less than we are, and that we can never reach the goals to which we aspire.

I often state, that we should eat and exercise as if we will live forever, but we should live life as if it will end tomorrow.  We should relegate the minutia of which we have no control to the back-burner of our focus, and place emphasis on what, not only we can control, but what is of genuine importance — and that is taking great care of ourselves, so we can in turn, care for others.

The bully sets forth an agenda to destroy, a human being sets forth an intent to encourage.

*********************************************************************************

 Life is lived in color, but sometimes the answers remain black and white.   

Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy,

Joe

full color coverSometimes The Bastard Returns is available on Amazon.com Paperback: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/1492763365Kindle: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/B00HGVPCXG Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com51tXIOPTNwL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_ http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333 For over three and half years I maintained a 130 pound weight loss, then last year I lost my way and found a relapse in obesity. I am discussing my battle with recidivism. **************The information, advice and opinions contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.*********** Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333 http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition-ebook/dp/B008R8KA1Q and on Create Space https://www.createspace.com/3903024 ************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************

m

The Great Paradox: To Live A Better Life; Embrace The Certainty Of Your Death


I wrote and posted this in Jan. 2012, before the stress of that upcoming summer changed my life, and my bad choices led to a obesity relapse.  I now read this posting every day.  I must never forget and allow my choices to ever again give the bastard obesity a foothold in my life. 

Benjamin Franklin 1767

“…in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  Benjamin Franklin 

…all living things have to die. … We all die,some of us sooner then later.” Georgia Lass

Dead Like Me: Life After Death

There are events in our lives that make us aware of our own mortality.  I have had three definitive instances in my lifetime that have done this.  Unfortunately, that was all those particular instances did — made me aware.

Most of us know that one day we are going to die.  As we have grown into adulthood we have lost loved ones and we reflect on their life and we take a moment, especially if someone dies suddenly or unexpectedly,  to realize that one day that will be us.  Sometimes we reflect for more than a moment, other times even less.  However long we reflect or pause, we move on and forward, but inside we may not genuinely believe that one day that will be us.

Our mortality is one of those intangibles in life because it is so hard to grasp.  We learn by experience, and while a brush with death, battling a life threatening illness or a near death experience may remind us that we are merely mortal, we may not actually accept the fact.

You see that is, in my opinion, the difference that really matters.  We can be aware that we will one day die, but we may not really in our hearts accept it.  For most of us we look at our deaths as something that may happen and if we concede the certainty, we cling to the belief that it is a day that is a long way off.

After my cardiac catheterization I went from being aware of, to accepting of my ultimate demise.  It was a moment that freed me of many of my worries and concerns.  To not only know, but genuinely, whole-heartedly accepted the one truth about life, my person was suddenly set free.

I have written about the detriments of negative energy in the past.  It was a concept that I was always well aware of, but until the moment of my mortality acceptance, it was more metaphysical than substantive. When I embraced my mortality, when I accepted that one day I will die — it was then that I fully began to live.

I no longer allow the, often times, real worries of daily living to impact my life.

I no longer allow the uncontrollable actions of others to dampen my joy of living.

I no longer complain, whine and chatter endlessly about the unimportant aspects of every day existence.

I do not love nor even like, the area in which I reside.  I don’t like the attitude of despair and hopelessness. I am not a fan of cold temperatures, icy roads, snow or any other aspect associated with winter in the Northeastern Untied States. However, right now at this moment in time, this is where I am.  I am here because of decisions that I made, so instead of bemoaning the aspects I don’t care for, I focus exclusively on the positives that are present.

Because I not only acknowledge and accept, but dare I say relish my mortality, I embrace the dawn of each and every new morning. When I go out for a jog in the sometimes very frigid morning air, I allow the briskness of the atmosphere to stimulate my senses. When the white precipitations falls from the sky, instead of grumbling about shoveling it, I look forward to the manual work I am physically capable of performing.

It is also about perspective:

  • In the cold temperatures, I have a warm place to sleep.
  • In tough financial times, I have a family to love me and a family for me to love.

I no longer put off enjoying my life.  I recently went to Southern California to visit my sister and nephews.  Money isn’t as free as it has been in the past.  For a very brief moment I thought I should not go.  I juggled some bills, put off others and made the trek west.  The boys will only be young for a brief period of time and I want to be part of it as often as I can.

Because living a fit life is living a better life I have been quoted as saying, “Eat and exercise as if you will live forever; live as if you will die tomorrow.”

I have a goal of changing my residence to a warmer climate, near the ocean and earning enough to unite my family in that one location, yet as I work and plan toward that goal, I accept, that for reasons beyond my control, my life may end before I get there so — I will not allow today to pass in hopes of a tomorrow that may never arrive.

*********************************************************************************Life is lived in color, but sometimes the answers remain black and white.  Aloha, Ciao and Stay Healthy, Joe full color coverSometimes The Bastard Returns is available on Amazon.com Paperback: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/1492763365Kindle: http://astore.amazon.com/fathfinobl-20/detail/B00HGVPCXG Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.com51tXIOPTNwL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333 For over three and half years I maintained a 130 pound weight loss, then last year I lost my way and found a relapse in obesity. I am discussing my battle with recidivism. **************The information, advice and opinions contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.*********** Obesity Undone, is available in both paperback and kindle versions at amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition-ebook/dp/B008R8KA1Q and on CreateSpace https://www.createspace.com/3903024 ************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************

Inspiration and Motivation


cropped-header23.jpg

Over the last 3 weeks, I have read the below postings, which I wrote several years ago, at least once a day.  There are times when I need to be reminded that there are inspirational stories out there of people overcoming situations not brought on by their choices.

Being overweight and out of shape, in my case, are not the result of a tragic accident, illness or act of God… I chose to respond to stress poorly.  I then made very bad decisions about the food I fueled my body with, and I made the decision to stop working out.  I could have responded differently; I should have responded differently — but I did NOT.

The young woman I wrote about below, didn’t have any choices concerning her physical condition, what she did have a choice in was how she would respond.  She chose to not let anything  stand in her way.

 

Inspiration

By: Joe Leonardi

As I am writing this the Thanksgiving holiday has just passed, it is time to get back on the workout wagon.  A day of gorging and feasting is followed by a return to the track to run and the gym to lift weights.

The heating rays of our star Sol barely warms the northeast from November to March, but today’s cloud cover made for a particularly dank, dreary, desolate day.  So gray were the skies that my usually high motivation to exercise was replaced by the blahs.

I completed my laps around the stadium oval and drove off to the second half of my daily, personal biathlon. I parked my car, hefted my bulk from the driver’s seat, opened the trunk and grabbed my gear. I slowly passed through the gym entrance closing the door to the dismal day behind me. I peered down the hallway and fought the urge to turn on my heel and exit. Eventually, I plodded my way down what felt like an unending corridor. A stop at my locker to put my clothes away lasted longer than usual. I finally progressed to the weight room trying to come up with any excuse not to.

I scanned around hoping that someone was using the leg press machine – no one was. I stared at the one hundred pound plates I would need to lug up and onto the machine and thought ‘maybe I’ll just use the forty-fives’. My mind and body were both in agreement, I was not in the mood, but I forced myself onward.

As I neared the equipment the sun caught my eye. It was not the center of our solar system, it was the rays emanating from a young girl pausing between sets of her routine. A broad smile dominated her face as she talked with her barking, bellicose personal trainer. She then turned her attention back to the cold, unyielding iron. A smile no longer was apparent, it was replaced by a look of ferocious intensity. It is a look I have seen before; in the eyes of the elite athletes I have trained with and treated over the years – it was the look of a champion.

Then I noticed something that should have been apparent, but I was so caught up in first her joy for what she was doing, then the intensity which she carried it out, I did not see that she was missing one arm and one leg. The inability to grip the bar with two hands did not deter this young person’s enthusiasm for her training. I smiled outwardly, but inwardly I was ashamed at my mental attempts to avoid exercise.

Inspiration is found in many forms, but on this day,  inspiration was brought forth by another’s joy and passion; another’s delectation for an activity that I have had an on and off relationship with since my parents purchased my first barbell set from Sears when I was twelve. More inspirational though, was the way she was dealing with what was apparent adversity – seemingly she was ignoring it.

In the last Rocky movie, when junior was complaining about trying to live in his father’s large shadow, Stallone’s iconic character uttered the following statement. “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you!”

Sure it is a line from a movie, but the girl I watched today, she did not appear to cower. Now, I don’t know her story, I don’t know her name, I never saw her before today, I don’t know anything other than the following:

There are many excuses not to do, but there are few legitimate reasons. Life is not fair, it is not easy and no matter what our problems are, whether they appear trivial or extreme, they need to be handled and life needs to be more than just lived.

I was not the only one affected on this day. I chatted with another person who was equally inspired.

Finally, the word “can’t” should be abolished from my vocabulary. When I don’t feel like going to the gym or going to the track or facing a difficult situation I will forever remember what I saw today and will know what can be accomplished.

***************************************************************************

“Handicapped is a mental state!”

by: Joe Leonardi

Last December, I wrote a column describing a very inspirational moment.  I saw a young person who was missing her left arm and leg ferociously training with the look and intensity of many champion athletes I have met over the years. At the time I didn’t know her story. I didn’t even know her name.

Since that column appeared, I have had many people tell me about the incredible Stephanie Jallen. During a meeting with Senator Ray Musto and his wife, Frances, I was encouraged to have a face to face with Stephanie. I made a phone call to the Senator’s Pittston office and within hours I received a return phone call from Stephanie’s proud and supportive mother Deborah Jallen.

In the course of my life, I have had the chance to train with champion bodybuilders and strength athletes, I have broken bread with multi-millionaires, talked politics with national and state elected politicos and I even had the chance to campaign with the great Lynn Swann. The people I have met are all impressive in their own right, however compared to Stephanie Jallen, well, there is no comparison — Stephanie is in a league all her own.

This impressive person will make you forget that she has just embarked on her teenage years. She answers questions and discusses her life with the poise and confidence of someone who has spent eternity in the limelight.

I asked Stephanie how I should refer to her in this column.

Should I say she is handicapped?

A special needs person?

I wasn’t sure what term to use.

She told me I should refer to her as normal and that is when she uttered the title of this column.

Prior to skiing, Stephanie had been involved in basketball and soccer. Then a little over four years ago, she received a letter inviting her to a PA Center for Adapted Sports Clinic. There she discovered skiing. Instructors wanted Stephanie to ski in the seated position, but the nine year old Miss Jallen would not hear of it. She insisted and obviously got her way — she would ski standing up.

A chance meeting, with personal trainer Ernie Baul, occurred at a fundraiser that would impact her future training. Stephanie’s congenital condition caused her left side to be underdeveloped, leaving her arm very short, tapering down to one digit. Her left leg had to be amputated when she was an infant. Ernie focuses her training on underused muscles and works especially hard on keeping her hip, leg, knee and ankle strong and stable.

Stephanie told me that Ernie’s training program has translated into a dramatic improvement in her performance.

In the last year, the fiercely competitive athlete entered her first international competition — the Huntsman Cup in Utah.

How did she do?
How does three gold medals and a bronze sound?

Stephanie is a talented skier who is on track for the 2014 Paralympics to be held in Russia. Her ability has led her to be competing above her age level.

She is not limited by her lack of a full left arm, nor by her lack of a left leg.
She can, however, be limited by funding.

It is not an inexpensive endeavor Stephanie has undertaken. Unlike the professionals, USOC and corporate sponsors that dominate the Olympic games, the Paralympics have no such financial backing in place. Several fundraisers have been held, but money can become a limiting factor.

In today’s sports environment, we glorify steroid bloated baseball bashers, but sometimes true sports heroes are here at home.

Stephanie is getting help with her training thanks to the generous spirits of the before mentioned Ernie Ball, who trains her at no charge. Larry Danko has shown his heart fills his massive chest by allowing Stephanie pro bono use of his first class facility. We are the valley with a heart and it is my hope that we adopt Stephanie’s journey as our own.

The news continues to give us many people to be ashamed of — Stephanie Jallen is someone of whom we can be very proud!

I do not think of  Stephanie as a handicapped athlete.

I don’t think of  her as a special needs person.

When she wins the gold at the Paralympics, I won’t think of   her as a Paralympic Medalist.

She is — Stephanie Jallen, Athlete; Stephanie Jallen, Champion.

************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************

 

To Prevent Injuries —- FOCUS!


I am not an esoteric sort of person.  I don’t believe much in signs being sent my way; however after this week, I might have to rethink that attitude.

I have had three signs telling me that I need to write a posting concerning injury prevention.  I will be posting this to both my fitness/weight loss

An injury to one is an injury to all.

An injury to one is an injury to all. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

blog and my chiropractic blog, because it has significance for both.

I’m not trying to sell anyone out, and while I encourage comments, if you work out where I do, I ask that you not to speculate on who I am discussing.  It isn’t my intent to condemn or criticize any one individual, but to use these incidences as cautionary examples.

Can we prevent every potential injury while working out? Of course not.

No matter how focused we are, how proper our form is or how strong we are feeling — sometimes an injury can occur.  However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to prevent an injury.

Many people have different opinions about what is the most important aspect of preventing injuries, yes good form, as it pertains to an individual’s structure and function is important, and since I neither warm up nor stretch prior to a workout,(I know, let the condemnation begin), I don’t talk much about that.  To me there is no greater aid when it comes to injury prevention than focus and concentration.

I am astounded to see the lack of focus when I am at the gym, and that lack of focus comes not only from those working out, but on occasion, a personal trainer, which was one of my signs.

First off, let’s discuss the signs:

1-      I was in the middle of a set of seated rows, pulling the weight back when a person with whom I am familiar said hello to me.  Now, I don’t mean to be rude, but when I am in the middle of a set — I do NOT have conversations, or even acknowledge anyone else for that matter.  I am focused on the exercise, making sure that I am getting the most out of what I am doing, and also ensuring I don’t get injured.  When I am done, if the other person is between sets, I will go over apologize and say hello.  Well, this person must have felt rebuffed, because he then got in my field of vision and waved, then mimicked the exercise I was doing.  At that point, my concentration gone,  I simply let the handle go and stopped the set.

English: an exercise of shoulder

English: an exercise of shoulder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2-      This morning one of the personal trainers was training a group of three.  I was between sets and happened to glance over because of the loud conversation emanating from the multi-purpose rack. While one person was doing overhead presses, the other two and the trainer were rambling on and on about some topic not related to training.  Then, for some inexplicable reason, the person doing the overhead presses turned their head to the side and back a little, in the middle of a repetition.  I couldn’t believe the trainer did not correct this; does anyone not realize the stress and strain that intervertebral discs are under during an overhead press?  The spine can handle it because that stress is distributed evenly as long as the head is facing straight ahead, once twisting and torque is added to the equation —- the risk of bulging, herniation and or even fragmentation is increased.  Shocked at what I saw, I resisted the urge to say something, because I know it is pointless, I blocked them out and went about my workout.

3-      Finally, this morning, as I am driving to my office, a person is jogging on the sidewalk, when in the middle of the block the jogger decides to abruptly cross the street, directly in front of my car.  I gave a tap on the horn, but the jogger simply ignored me and then made another cut in front of another vehicle.  It was then I noticed the earbuds in each ear.  I was dumbfounded.  I mean really, blasting music or whatever, directly into your ears when jogging near, or in this case, in traffic?  Where is the common f*&^ing sense?

English: SAN DIEGO (Sept. 3, 2009) Fred Fusili...

My advice concerning focus is rather simple.  Once you, or another person, are approaching a barbell, dumbbell or any other weightlifting machine to perform a repetition or set, no conversation, acknowledgement or any other signs of contact should occur.  (Not including encouragement from a training partner or spotter) If you are doing the lifting, your attention should be focused 100% on the task at hand.  If you are nearing someone who is performing a set or repetition, show them that you respect not only the fact they are working out, but that you respect them.  Yes, I say hello to people, and on rare occasion have a conversation but only between one of my supersets or their sets, never when anyone is actually performing a rep, once my attention is directed at the exercise — that’s it, everything else is blocked out.

As far as headphones, I don’t think they have any place in an exercise routine.  The music, or whatever one is listening to, is nothing more than a distraction.  When I am jogging, I want to be in tune with myself; I want to be focused on the motion of my legs and arms, the pace of my breathing and yes the sounds around me; especially if traffic is nearby.

In the gym, when lifting weights, I use my auditory feedback to pace myself and garner feedback.  I get a kick out of everyone starring at the mirror, but they don’t realize the importance of sound as they are lifting weights.  Today, as I was doing leg extensions on an old Nautilus® machine; I listened to the chain clicking around the big old cam.  That noise allows me to know just where I am in the exercise, allowing me to pause just prior to the weight stack coming to rest.  While doing stiff legged deadlifts, if I hear the clang of the weights at the top, I know I’ve gone just a little too far; so I am listening for silence.

Additionally, if someone in the gym is in distress, I can hear their verbal cues that they may need assistance.  And, am I the only one who has ever had someone playing air drums bump into them when doing a set because they are more focused on their performance than others around them?

I know people are attached to their world canceling, isolating devices, but try working out without it for a few weeks.  Pay attention to every move, every breath, each and every bang and clang from the weights — and instead of detaching yourself from the energy surrounding you, become part of it.  You might realize you have been missing an important part of the experience.

This was a little long, but I hope that you can see the important of focus and concentration when exercising.  One little out of place twist or pull or step can cause a preventable injury.  So respect yourself, your surroundings and others — when the weight is being moved, keep conversation, not including a spotter’s encouragement, out of the equation until the weight is placed down or re-racked.

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http://www.amazon.com/Obesity-Undone-Beyond-Weight-Edition/dp/1477624333

https://www.createspace.com/3903024

http://www.obesityundone.com/

Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com and CarbSmart.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, What’s Weighing You Down, w/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at docjoeleonardi@betterlifeseminars.com and check out his website http://www.obesityundone.com/
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************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting and videos do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions No guarantees are made or to be implied.************