Are you a kitten or a lion?

By David Tepera, September 19, 2018

There’s no secret, this world has many challenges we face daily. Depending on your current status, these challenges could be quite difficult to manage.

There comes a time in life where we must face these challenges head-on. So, my question to you is “are you a kitten or a lion?”

Most people want to avoid adversity hoping it will just go away, but that’s not reality. When you’re a kitten, you only create disappointment for not taking action. Most of the time, adversity will hang around unless you stand up and become a lion.

It’s important to understand, with each challenge you conquer, you become stronger, plus increase confidence level.

As an athlete, don’t accept the mentality of sitting on the bench. Yes, we all have taken turns of bench riding, but that’s your wakeup call to become a lion. Obviously, there are skills needing improvement.

As a former high school coach, my advice is to meet with the coach one-on-one, and ask for advice to improve weaknesses. I guarantee that coach will have you in their sights, and respect you for manning up.

Now, let’s say your skill level is subpar, but don’t get discouraged. I used to tell my football players that when they mess up, they better be going full force.

For example, a running back steps the wrong direction when receiving a handoff from the quarterback. Obviously, the running back isn’t going to get the ball, so don’t stop, and throw a hard block on the defense because you left your quarterback stranded. It could possibly still become a successful play.

Are you starting to understand the difference between kittens and lions?

Look, this lion mentality should be used for getting job promotions, communication with spouses, co-workers, even bullies, and so on.

It’s time to stop being a kitten because it’s getting you nowhere. A lion’s roar is one of the most powerful sounds in the jungle. Every animal will scatter when the lion approaches.

Now, I’m not telling you to be mean to people. Today is about standing up to get your life moving forward.

We have this amazing journey in life, and the best part, you get to determine the destination.

Next time you get into an intense situation, or need to be heard, get in their face and let out the biggest roar possible. I guarantee you’ll be getting a new job. OK, just kidding, but I think I’ve made my point.

What’s Your Vision?

By David Tepera, September 12, 2018

Here is a question from an emailer I received recently.

“Mr. Fitness, I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere. I hate my job and it’s making life at home miserable for my family. I want to set an example for my children. Any suggestions?”

Of course, the emailer and I went into much more detail, but you get the message. So, the following is a general response for all of you, “Where do you see yourself in two years, and what’s your vision?”

Deep down, we all know who we truly are, and probably disappointed that we haven’t reached the success we were hoping for. This pertains to people of all ages.

Sometimes, we get caught up just surviving each month to pay the bills, and forget to chase our passions. This is why we get stuck in a rut, which can add to depression.

It’s interesting to me that about every 10 years, I rediscover myself and make some serious changes. The good news is with each new change, life gets better, but there’s plenty of setbacks in the beginning.

So, maybe it’s time to ask yourself “What’s your vision?” This question is for all walks of life — student athletes, employers, employees, mothers, fathers, and so on.

No matter your position, do you only train enough to be on the team, or are you putting in the extra work to be at your personal best? You should keep a vision in your head that you’re the star player in that perspective position, and act like it.

Do you dread going to work each day? Where do you want to be in two years? What steps and changes will it take to get there? If you truly want it, you’ll find the way. Make a written plan with small victories that help reach your vision.

This is how martial arts helped me. The ultimate goal was to obtain a black belt. Every three to six months, I would test for another belt level. With each new belt, I would gain more experience, and become a better fighter. So, after four years, I earned the opportunity to test for my first-degree black belt in American Tae Kwon Do under master Al Garza.

The martial arts experience helped me to goal set in my personal and business life. I hope this makes sense.

Now, if you feel you’ve reached the end of the road and going nowhere, then it’s time to drive down a new road. Sometimes, you can’t see what lies ahead, but keep moving because your true destiny is waiting on you to conquer.

No-noes of the gym bozos

By David Tepera, September 5, 2018

Throughout the years, I received plenty of emails about people getting frustrated with certain gym bozos. So, I’ve decided to give some advice about gym etiquette.

Guys, rerack your weights. No one cares about how much weight you can lift, so put them back on the rack. One day, when you grow up, you’ll learn it’s not how much you lift, but how you lift. Remember, women and older people use the weight room, too. Otherwise, you’re a bozo.

Next, if a woman wants your advice about how to lift weights, she’ll ask you. It’s a corny move when you try to act like you’re a former personal trainer. There’s a reason why she’s wearing earphones — to keep you away. Besides, that woman could probably teach you a thing or two about lifting.

If you have a sweat problem, carry a towel and wipe up after yourself. The gym is typically disgusting, so we don’t want to bathe in your bacteria. Don’t be a bozo.

For those of you who like to drop and bang your weights, there’s hardcore gyms available for you. We would like to use the same weight machine before you break it. You’re costing gym owners for repairs.

If you feel the need to scream while lifting, go back to the hardcore gyms and lift with the other screamers. You’re not impressing anyone — but yourself. Everyone else thinks you’re a bozo.

For modern day lifters, get off your phone. People are waiting to use your weight machine. You can text later, if not, go stand off to the side.

Also, it’s very nervy to be on a cardio machine while someone next to you is yelling into their phone. We don’t care about your drama with the significant other. See a therapist.

Look, people use the gym for multiple purposes. Most people want to get in, hit it hard, and get out. When you see someone you know, and feel the need to say something, make it quick because a lengthy conversation cools people down and takes them out of the zone.

As professional athletes, Tina and I are well-known in the local gyms where we do our training. We’ve come to realize people want our advice about different aspects of training and diet. We will take a moment, give one piece of advice, then hand you our card for further correspondence.

Bottom line, be respectful to all other people in the gym. The gym is there for everyone’s needs, so don’t be a bozo.

Make this your best day ever

By David Tepera, August 30, 2018

Well, here we go with another school year starting. All the kiddos are excited to see old friends, plus make new ones. For us older folks, don’t you remember the excitement and anxiety of the first day of school? We’d wear our new clothes, slick back our hair with Brylcreem (just a little dab’ll do ya), looking forward to a new start, and hoping for the best school year ever.

As a former high school athlete, I was excited participating and watching all the La Marque Cougar teams getting ready to battle through another season. We, like all other schools, were hoping to be district champs and possess the bragging rights with our rivals.

My thought is for all parents, this is your new start, too. As parents, we learn valuable lessons each school year to help improve our own skills. This might be the year to instill better homework and studying time. Maybe, we should get more involved in our children’s activities, volunteer at school functions, plus get to know our kid’s friends.

During the 1990s, I was a high school science teacher. One observation that was clear to me was the best well-behaved students had very involved parents.

Now that I run my own business, I try to treat each week as a new start. Instead of dreading Mondays, I pump myself up like it’s a brand-new week to change lives. My goal each day is to make an impact to help people love themselves.

I would like you to take a moment and reflect on your life. We all have lessons learned from the past, but think mostly about your biggest victories. Try to bask in the euphoric emotions you possessed when you conquered an obstacle. That exuberant feeling of winning a long, hard-fought battle — not just in sporting events, but in life. Maybe it was completing night school, defeating an illness, picking yourself up after a divorce, or conquering a bad addiction. The life list can go on and on, just depending on your situation.

But that’s just it, every time we conquer life, we get a new start. Don’t let any situation keep you down. Kick it to the curb and keep your pace. There’s an amazing destiny that your journey is taking you towards. All it takes is making this your best day ever.

Throw Excuses Out the Window

By David Tepera, August 22, 2018

So, you woke up this morning, put your clothes on, and they felt a little tighter than last time you wore them. Hmm, maybe they shrunk in the dryer.

Or, you walked up a flight of stairs and found yourself a little out of breath. Hmm, it must be because you’re getting older, your knees are wearing out, and it takes more effort.

Look, I believe you’re starting to get my point. The obesity rate average in America is now 37 percent, with a continual increase per year. Really, this means almost four out of 10 people are considered obese.

Recently, I was school shopping with my kids at Baybrook Mall. I sat them down, told them to observe all the families and count how many people we would consider obese.

As you guessed it, the numbers were astonishing to where we couldn’t keep up with it. It would had been easier counting the few people who were not overweight. Plus, it’s always sad to me to observe obese parents with obese children.

So, let’s be for real. What’s your excuse? Bottom line, it’s called discipline. Yep, you’ve lost control, thrown in the towel and took the path of laziness.

I know I’m being a bit harsh today, but, also, I’m not categorizing being overweight in the obese category. I let all my clients understand that being slightly overweight is quite normal and healthy.

You see, when most of my clients come to me, they’re in despair and desperately wanting to get their bodies healthy again. I get the full pleasure of training and slowly watching the transformation process as these people start regaining energy and find happiness. In case you didn’t know, exercise and weight training helps with depression.

What about other areas in your life? Do you enjoy your job? Do you stay in debt from overreaching your income? Which type of friends do you socialize with? Are you in a challenging relationship?

This life list could go on and on. My goal today is for you to take back control of your life, and throw excuses out the window. Believe me, years ago, I was an “excuse guy” for way too long. Once I recognized that nothing is going to change unless I change myself, then my life journey turned around.

Today is your day. Get up, get mad, and don’t let anyone stop you from being the amazing person you were destined to be.

Dieting is the biggest challenge

By David Tepera, August 15, 2018

I think we can all agree, the most difficult part about getting our bodies in shape is dieting. I actually receive more questions about diet than anything else in the fitness industry.

It’s interesting because most people I speak with know they’re making terrible food choices, but can’t seem to get control of themselves.

I often tell people, when it comes to dieting, food becomes a chore, not pleasure.

What typically surprises clients is when they’re trying to add lean muscle, lose fat or both, they must eat every two to three hours. For some reason, most people think to lose weight, you must starve yourself.

Well, guess what? You’re right. You will lose weight, but some of that weight loss is muscle tissue. To lose weight properly, you must eat and never go hungry.

Remember in 1988 when Oprah Winfrey stepped on stage to millions of viewers, and modeled an old pair of her size 10 Calvin Klein jeans?

For four months, under a doctor’s supervision, Oprah only drank a 400-calorie-a-day liquid to lose 67 pounds. She even wheeled in 67 pounds of blob in a wheel barrel to show the audience. Oprah was every woman’s hero for her weight loss success. I will agree, it takes a lot of discipline to pull that off.

But, that was one of the worst diets to ever hit the market, and here’s why.

In case you didn’t know, within two days, Oprah could no longer wear those jeans — ever. The first thing Oprah did when she walked off stage was destroy a whole bag of potato chips in her dressing room, and the diet catastrophe process began.

Oprah’s body went into a catabolic state, which is what happens when you starve yourself. Our bodies are determined to keep organs functioning and will do what’s necessary for survival. What this means is Oprah’s body chewed up her own muscle tissue as fuel to survive.

Now, when Oprah started eating again, she added more fat onto less muscle. That’s why she looked like crap for a long time.

What happens with most diets is you are forced to eliminate certain foods. I’m not referring to fried or other processed foods, but actual healthy nutritional food. Our bodies need all the macro and micro nutrients that comes with all fresh foods. This pertains to protein, carbs, veggies and healthy fats. Yes, fats.

Just remember, when it comes to getting our bodies healthy again, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

It’s Never too Late

By David Tepera, August 8, 2018

Recently, I was a guest on The Michael Berry radio show. For more than an hour we discussed diets, weight training and fitness pertaining more toward the older population.

Of course, those of you who’ve come to know me, my time on the air included bursts of motivational energy. I kept expressing how it’s never too late to reach your goals.

Once the show ended, I was inundated with massive emails and phone calls spanning different parts of the country. It was interesting because almost everyone reaching out to me had lost their passion in life. They had already given up, thrown in the towel and were letting father-time wither them away.

I was humbled to learn that my words had sparked their desire to get back in this game of life.

People were tired of not having energy, lacking discipline and completely losing confidence within themselves.

Listen, we all go through difficult times throughout our lives. It’s those challenges that must strengthen our determination to keep pressing forward. Don’t run and hide. Face adversity head-on because no matter the outcome, you’ll keep your pride for giving it your best.

Those of you who think you’re too old, my question is, “why?” Who told you you’re too old to set goals? Be different than others and continue to be the best of you!

Last month, I resigned from 20 years in the medical industry. I’ve now dedicated my time to helping others recognize it’s never too late to get back in shape and add lean muscle.

Training will give you more energy, strengthen muscles and bones, delay or slow down osteoarthritis, fight depression and develop a zest for life.

I always preach to others about respecting all people, but now it’s time for you to respect yourself. It’s your body, your life, so get up and take control of your final destiny.

Don’t just walk through the pearly gates of heaven, slide and tumble in head first.

If you need guidance or more understanding, reach out to us through our company website www.ageless-muscle.com.

Just remember, it’s never too late — ever.

What are your tribal instincts?

By David Tepera, August 1, 2018

Have you ever noticed how people migrate toward winning teams? When the Houston Astros were battling through the playoffs, you could see Astro’s paraphernalia everywhere. Everyone wants to be associated with a winning team.

The reason this phenomenon happens is because people need to feel like winners themselves, even if it’s off the backs of other’s efforts. It’s our tribal instinct.

Sports bars are a multimillion dollar business because of people wanting to gather, cheer on their team and feel like champions themselves.

All this is because of ancestral survival. Think about it. The only reason you are alive today is because your ancestors gathered in large numbers to fight off the enemy. A larger crowd creates a stronger defense. So, area tribes would combine to rule the territory.

What’s interesting is how professional players are gauged by the number of jerseys they sell. This is one of the strongest indicators of tribal people. You are all connected to a particular player by marketing his name and number.

Now, this is just my personal opinion and preference, but I told my kids that I’ll never wear some strangers name on the back of my shirt. The only name I’m supporting is “Tepera.”

Just know, my family does own and wear Toronto Blue Jays number 52 because our cousin Ryan Tepera is a pitcher.

So, the question to you is, “What type of tribe are you creating at home?” Do you instill pride and integrity into your children? Are they being raised to respect and treat all people with kindness?

I’m not telling you how to raise your children. We all have a variety of methods hoping for the best outcome. I’m only helping you realize our tribal instinct because personally, I feel this is one reason why some kids get pulled into gangs or become involved in unlawful activity.

But, on the flip-side, youth sports are thriving and a strong good-sportsmanship environment will push kids into a healthier tribal gathering.

Remember, every tribe has a leader others will look up to and follow. I’m sure there’s a family that needs someone to step up, take over and help strengthen the family tree. Just keep in mind, leadership is created by action, not just words.

You are a Champion

By David Tepera, July 25, 2018

Recently, I was in a meeting with former athletes discussing business opportunities. As we were sharing our past adventures, one question we kept asking “were you part of the success or failure?”

Of course, we each boasted about the many trophies, medals and awards that were won throughout our careers. But, I kept asking for a reality check. You can’t just roll straight to first place. There must be losses and defeats along the way to help make you better and stronger.

I went around the table and asked each one to share their worst defeat, including what lesson was learned from it.

I heard a variety of interesting stories about team’s losing in the final seconds of a game. But the individual losses were the most compelling.

One gentlemen was a former triathlete who lost in the last mile because he ran out of stamina. Another was a former Golden Gloves boxer who received a TKO in the first round for improper strategy of his opponent. And lastly, there was a female body builder who took third place due to her diet being out-of-wack on competition day. She trusted her nutritionist, but her midsection came out sloppy and looked too blocky.

So, if you study the lessons from each of these athletes, the losing factors were stamina, strategy and trust. Don’t think I was unscathed. My defeats had all three factors, including many others.

Now, my question for each of you: “what areas in life are you losing because you lack stamina, a plan with no strategy, and trusting the wrong people?”

How about relationships? Has this person verbally worn you out where you you’ve lost energy? Are you in a marriage without a long term strategic plan? Did you get duped by someone you’ve poured your heart out to?

Just know, you’re not alone, and this happens everyday to people. You must take a breath, regroup yourself and press forward.

Chalk the whole experience as an important lesson. Let it make you stronger, wiser and more determined for success.

Remember, the people who started this article also won multiple triathlons, knocked out other opponents and became a world champion body builder.

That my friend is you — a grand champion in this world!

Have a “so what” Attitude

By David Tepera, July 18, 2018

As most of you know, I train or give advice to others about diets, exercise and weight training. When it comes to weight training, I need to know all your previous injuries, surgeries and medical history. This information is most important in order to customize a program that best fits your goals.

Plenty of my clients are in the older population, so the “aches and pain” list can be quite extensive. What catches them off-guard is when I say, “so what?”

Now, I’m not into “no-pain, no-gain” mentality. I only tell them “so what” to get my point across.

I let them know even my competitive clients have aches and pains. Once muscles start getting stronger, those aches and pains will begin diminishing.

Just know, I constantly maintain communication during training to prevent injuries and your trainer should do also.

Look, as we get older, we all will have aches and pains. It’s now part of our daily life, so we must learn to treat it or deal with it. I know way too many people who use the excuse of little aches and pains to keep them from enjoying life.

How many of you finally reached retirement? You’ve been working all these years putting in the daily grind to raise a family, so now it’s your turn to let loose.

Are you letting little aches and pain prevent you from having fun? Are you just sitting at home whining to everyone about being old?

Every time I hear someone complain about being old, I tell them “so what?” Think about it. You made it. You have the privilege of being retired and doing what ever you please.

It’s time to travel and see this beautiful country. Everyone loves an older person who loves life. Not that grumpy old fart who constantly complains. Suck up your little aches and pain, put on some music and run around your house naked. It might not be pretty, but it’s hilarious. Be silly and act like a teenager with no worries.

I know I’m only 57, but I enjoy talking and messing with complete strangers. The kids think I’m crazy, but since most people think I’m an old man, I’m harmless.

There’s a lot of fun right outside your front door. Now get out there, enjoy life and have a “so what” attitude.