Lessons Learned From Observing Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods, 2002

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I just read a news report that Tiger Woods has fallen out of professional golf’s top 50 list.  Tiger has not been out of the top 50 since 1996 — when he was in college; playing as an amateur.  It is really a stunning fall, because not too long ago it was as if Tiger would never let go of the number one spot, let alone fall from even the top 10.

Tiger Woods was golf’s greatest manufactured talent.  Of course, he has some natural athletic ability, but Tiger’s assent to greatness was a master plan; conceived, implemented and executed by his father.  Unlike others who were engineered a la Todd Marinovich or pushed into greatness as Jennifer Capriati was — Tiger avoided the many pitfalls and went on to reach the top of his sport’s world. That was, until November 2009.  It is hard to believe that it is almost the two year anniversary of the night that golf’s greatest player pinballed his big old SUV down a street and his lust for infidelity was brought out of the shadows, and the meticulously manufactured mirage of the perfect family man was revealed to be a serial adulterer.  It was in that moment that the coddled man-child was uncovered, and the facade of mythic mental discipline dissolved under a harsh hurricane of media scrutiny and never before experienced public disapproval.

What does any of this have to do with obesity, weight loss or fitness?  Maybe nothing, or perhaps — everything.

Those of you familiar with my writings are well acquainted with my extolling the virtues of the 3 E’s; Eating, Exercise and Energy.

I have often stated that none of the three can be out of balance.  Eating is the food you put into your body, exercise is the activity you put out to keep your body fit and energy is the mental state that keeps everything working in harmony.  Faltering in any one of the 3 can sabotage your plans for a healthful and fit life.

I’m not really sure what kind of eating plan Tiger follows or followed.  So, I can’t really comment on that aspect of the the 3 E’s.

I have read only brief accounts of his exercise plan, so it is hard to evaluate what he did or didn’t do. At his physical best, we rarely saw him in shorts, but when we did, I noticed that his physique was obviously out of balance.  His upper body definitely outpaced his legs and I often wondered if a contributing factor to his knee injuries were a result of improper physical training.  Since, I don’t know the specifics of his routine, I can’t say for sure, but it isn’t a stretch to conclude that it was a possibility that the exercise portion of the 3 E’s was out of kilter.

Finally, we come to mental energy.  The answer for much of Tiger’s demise rests squarely on this portion being out of control.  While Tiger, at times, demonstrated strong mental energy discipline on the course, I never really bought into the whole mental toughness myth that surrounded him much of his career.

Yes, on the course his steely gaze fixated on his target.

Yes, he worked hard on his game; arguably harder than anyone else.

Yes, when there was a noise, an errant shot, or slightest miscue  — Tiger sized temper tantrums could and would erupt.

A view of Tiger Woods as he walks off the 8th ...

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Since it was revealed that Tiger’s understanding of “forsaking all others, be faithful only to her so long as you both shall live” was, shall we say, not traditional. His golf game, in other words his job performance, has been pretty poor.  If he was actually an employee somewhere, he may have already been fired.  And, yes he had another injury — funny how the human body can sometimes have a negative physical response to mental stress. Tiger has experienced a complete energy cataclysm.

So, what can we, average every day folks, learn from Tiger’s energy collapse?  We can learn that we need to keep in balance the 3 E’s if we want to meet our own goals and be successful for ourselves.  Also, it may be important to learn that we must be true to ourselves.  Is it possible that part of Tiger’s fall was because he was more concerned with creating an image, than being his own person? It is a drain on our energy to try and be someone we aren’t; so why not just be ourselves?

Will Tiger turn Phoenix and rise from the ashes of his self inflicted hell?



My selfish, golf-fan self sure hopes so — I miss watching his dominating performance.

For Tiger to return to the top he must balance the 3 E’s.  To do so he needs to surround himself with people willing to tell him NO! He must surround himself with people more concerned about Eldrick than Tiger.  He must surround himself with someone who can direct him in managing the 3 E’s.

Hey Eldrick, my email is fatthenfitnow@me.com, if you want to return to dominance and win 18, 19, 20 or more major championships drop me a line — I will get you there!


Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet. His web site www.ObesityUndone.com is available to help you reach your goals.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, Bounce Back to Your Brilliance w/Angel Tyree, What’s Weighing You Downw/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 www.betterlifeseminars.com.
************The information in the videos is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting that I write 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.************


Hard Work; A Lesson Learned From My Youth

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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 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.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

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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.

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.

I 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.

Pittston City Aerial view. Downtown is seen in...

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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.


Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book; Fat Then Fit Now;  A life beyond wight loss.

He is available to speak at no charge to any school or any youth group. He will make himself available to any talk radio, internet podcasting or television outlet. He has appeared on Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Lisa Davis’ Your health radio; Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast; Hank Garner’s Podcast.



The Gym; Church For Your Physical Well Being

If the Church is the place for your spiritual well-being, then the gym can be your place for physical well-being.

In the gym, the sweat from your efforts are the cleansing waters of a baptism. The grunts and groans of effort are the hallelujahs of rejoicement.  And the clanging and banging of iron weights are the rhythmic chants of uplifting hymns.

There are those who claim you should not sweat, that sounds of effort should never escape your mouth and weights that are so heavy to elicit noise should not be hefted.

If you read my book, you will learn what I say to those who espouse moderation, it is my same answer to those who decry genuine effort. Instead of claiming the strain of others are a distraction;  feed off of their energy and strengthen your resolve from their struggle. You would also be surprised to discover, that those who put out hardcore effort, are often the first to help those who truly want to learn and improve themselves.

Zulfiya Chinshanlo World Champion 2009 53kg cl...

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I have been lifting weights on and off since I twelve. I will never forget the day my Mom and Dad purchased my first weightlifting set from Sears. I hurriedly opened the box.  The contents were 110 pounds of plastic covered cement and a short iron barbell with the plastic sleeves. I was in heaven, it was that day I began pumping plastic. A few years later, I graduated to a commercial gym, and it was there that I discovered the meaning of the phrase, pumping iron!

To me, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as the smell, noise and energy of a true weightlifting gym. I am brought to life by the clanging and banging of the iron, the grunts and groans that pass the lips of men and women as they try to blast out those last few muscle-building reps. It is cathartic, motivating and uplifting all at the same time.

I’m not sure if it is just me, but their seems to be an effort afoot to stop hard training, to cap enthusiasm and stifle the travails it takes to get real results. About a year ago, I was finishing up what was, to that point, a great workout. I was working two large opposing muscle groups; chest and back.  I was on my last of 36 sets, super-setting decline flyes with dead-lifts. I only had about 225 on the bar, but as we all know, the dead-lift is a brutal exercise, more so when done last and even more so when done as part of a superset. Well, I was brining the iron  down to the floor with some good old fashion banging. The sound of the weights against the rubber mat ramped my adrenaline causing a release of energy to explode me upright.  At the top position, my dead stop caused the weights to shake and there was the clanging.  Like a piston of a high revving engine,  I was rapidly moving up and down. Upon completion of the last set I re-racked the weight. I was soaked in sweat and my grip was almost completely shot; the bar slipped and the weights came crashing down onto the rack.

Gasping for breath I stood up tall, full of self-pride. I just completed three  more reps than I did last workout. Then it happened — the person next to me muttered under their breath, Jesus Christ.”

I paused, unable to believe what I just heard. I thought to myself;  you have to be kidding. I wanted to shout “THIS IS A GYM!” Of course, my parents raised me with manners, so I walked over and apologized. This person did not even acknowledge my apology. So, I edged a little closer and said it a bit louder. Finally, the person reluctantly accepted.

I was so ticked off that to burn off the excess energy, I did six more sets, three more supersets of machine benches and bent over rows. I noticed the mutterer was talking to someone else and when I was done with my sixth set, the person finally went and did another set. I wanted to yell again, “MAYBE IF YOU WOULD ACTUALLY PUT SOME ACTUAL EFFORT INTO YOUR  WORK OUT YOU MIGHT LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN YOU DID A YEAR AGO!” But damn my parents raising me to be polite. I just stripped the bar, something this person did NOT do, looked over and said, “good-bye.”

Honestly, is it just me?

When I go to workout I am there to WORKout.

I don’t sit around for 10 minutes between sets, I move from exercise to exercise only pausing long enough to change the weight. I try to be considerate:  I place a towel down on the benches,  I allow people to work in, I always lift under control, I rarely drop a weight, I respect the equipment, I strip every bar and every machine, I replace the weights back to the stacks, I put the dumbells back in their appropriate place on the rack and, I even put them in order if someone else didn’t.

So, am I out of line to workout so hard that iron weights ring aloud?

Am I incorrect to push a set to failure that on occasion the weight slips?

Is pushing one self passé?

Is brutal, barbaric,muscle bombing defunct?

Is old school clanging and banging dead?

Please, say it ain’t so!


Never stop sweating!

Never stop grunting!

Never, ever stop clanging and banging!

Frederick Winters during 1904 Summer Olympics

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