Start putting your playbook together

By David Tepera, April 2, 2019

According to the level of sport, there’s always some type of playbook necessary to improve mental and physical skills for players.

During the 1990s, while an assistant football coach at La Marque High School, we had scout teams attend games of the opponents. Every Sunday afternoon, all the coaches would get together, break down film, and go over scouting reports.

It was these reports that developed our playbook to prepare for next Friday’s game. We would spend all week preparing offensive and defensive players for every statistical scenario possible of the opponent’s tendencies based on the scouting reports.

Of course, if you were around during the 1990s, the mastermind of Coach Alan Weddell took all of us to five consecutive state championship runs.

For those of you who attend or watch football games, those laminated cards the coaches are holding have every opponent scenario possible so that decisions can be made in an instant. Yes, that’s the gameday playbook.

Now, let’s think about our lives. Do you have a written plan for success, or are you just punching the clock each day to ride below the radar with no ambition?

All successful people have a playbook for goals. This could be for education, marriage, occupational, business, sports and of course, diet and exercise.

Before we start each kinesiology program for clients, we have them fill out forms listing all medical conditions, including health and fitness goals. After their first consultation, we put together a playbook for success.

Now remember, there’s lots of obstacles we all encounter each day when trying to achieve our goals. That’s the importance of a playbook. We must prepare for every scenario possible to prevent from being sacked.

You might be on the goal line of success, but a family emergency occurs which takes precedence. Just use a timeout to take care of urgency, then proceed to score a touchdown and win the battle.

One of my clients was on pace to get down to 15 percent body fat by the end of April, but her mother fell and broke her hip. So, my client had to travel out-of-state to care for her for a few weeks.

This was my client’s “timeout” because all training came to an abrupt halt. The good news is that mom is ok and my client is back on track.

So now, it’s time to pull out a pencil and paper to start putting your playbook together. Write out everything you want to accomplish, laminate the paper and place it on your refrigerator.

This is your day to start the journey of winning because you have a playbook of success.

Crunch week for a professional body builder

By David Tepera, March 20, 2019

For those of you who are new to my column, Tina and I are the oldest professional physique champions in Galveston County. During the past 3 years, I’ve competed in a total of seven competitions.

Just know, in the body building world, that’s considered a lot of shows because the extreme training and diet can take its toll on the body. Besides my son Dylan, Tina and I have decided to take this year off to focus on our growing business, but as always, will continue to lift weights and eat healthy.

People are usually fascinated when I explain the last week of dieting heading into a show. So, here’s a peek inside our world.

Most body building competitions are scheduled on Saturdays. Your body type and competitive category will determine how many weeks out extreme dieting is needed. For us, we stay relatively lean all year, so we don’t have to panic as we strip fat heading into a show.

On days 7 and 6, we drink up to two gallons of water, along with sodium and carb loading — each day after, dropping a half-gallon, with continual reduction of sodium and carbs.

On Friday, the day before the show, we are down to only half-gallon of water and two days without carbs. Believe me, by Friday night, we look horrible. Our muscle bellies are flat, body fat hovers around 5-7 percent, to which our skin shrink wraps around the body. You can see every muscle fiber and veins poking through our skin.

But here’s the kicker, the night before the show, we eat a large steak, baked potato, green veggies and a glass of red wine. Our bodies will absorb every nutrient, so by Saturday morning, our muscles are fully loaded, along with a small waist line.

We look absolutely amazing, and it’s a beautiful, freaky sight to look at. Check out our website for competition pictures.

Now, Saturday is game day, so we can only sip water infrequently throughout the day. There are two shows — one in the morning, and the winners in the evening. We have been fortunate to always be in the winners’ bracket.

The only time we eat on Saturday is 15 minutes before we walk on stage. We eat a small potato, rice cake or a spoon full of rice. Then, chase it with raw honey, and start pumping up with dumbbells or stretch bands. This will give your muscles a strong pump to dial-in their fullest.

Believe me, by Saturday night, our energy is completely depleted, and it takes every ounce of determination to squeeze out an exhausting posing routine.

So, as you can see, it’s not easy to be a professional physique champion. The discipline is off the charts. Next time you decide to start dieting, get in the zone and design your own crunch week.

You won’t fall when you have momentum

By David Tepera, March 16, 2019

Seventeen years ago, when I was 40, I trained and ran the Houston marathon. Since that time, plus due to age, I stopped running because pounding on the pavement can be damaging to your joints. My choice of outside exercise is riding my bicycle.

One of the many lessons while riding is to keep momentum. If you don’t continue peddling, you’d eventually fall down.

Each time I go for an adventure on my bike, I remind myself that the experience is similar to life. No matter what road block I encounter, I must find a way to keep moving.

Even today, I still have many dreams with hopes of our business to continue striving. To take a passage I once read “if you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs”.

There comes a time in life you must not regret the mistakes and failures. Only use these as lessons to help strengthen your character to become a better person.

We’ve all fallen off our bikes, but we learn that once there’s momentum, it gets much easier. The best part is to maintain speed because now you can coast without much effort.

What dreams are you building? Have you started peddling? What’s the speed of your momentum? Sometimes you must dig deep because the hill of life has become steeper. Maybe, you’re fighting against a strong wind, and it takes all your energy to fight through it. But, with determination and pride, you can win the battle.

No matter the circumstances, find a way to keep moving. One of my clients is 71 years old. It’s been impressive over the past few months to watch her body develop into an athlete. Yes, her muscles are bigger, she’s much stronger, along with diminishing aches and pains.

Unlike most older people, this client chose not to throw in the towel, but to keep moving with life. This is the strongest she’s been in her adult life. I get to observe this phenomenal with all my clients.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t give up. Choose to be different than people your age. Let them hang-out in rocking chairs to talk about the weather. Tell them you just finished 3 sets of bicep curls for 20 reps – as you flex your guns.

Now, continue peddling your bicycle of dreams, keep the momentum and you’ll never fall off again.

What drives you to success?

By David Tepera, March 5, 2019

Several weeks back, we were in a business meeting with other self-made companies. Our goal was to share experiences with hopes to gain a variety of ideas. There were many stories told, but my No. 1 question was “what drives you to success?”

Of course, most of the companies were financially driven, but for us, it’s the feeling of freedom from the corporate world to control our own destiny. We know success will continue because our mission is about caring for people to help change their lives.

There’s no secret, this world can be a tough ride to grind out each day. Throughout the years, we’ve all been beaten down by failures, people and society, but we must not let those knock-downs keep us from getting back up.

It’s time to shake off the dust, clear our heads, and shift gears to get out there and conquer our goals. Remember, most other people don’t want you to succeed because you make them feel lazy and undriven. This is your life, so don’t waste any more time listening to their negative thoughts.

Let’s think about it, I’m sure you have multiple goals. This could be weight loss, exercise, academics, sports, marriage, religion, business and so much more. But, the real question is “what drives you to success?”

Do you want to be your own boss, tired of being overweight, make the team, quit the habit, be a role model for your children and so on?

It’s time to create a new life to reach these goals of success. I’m fortunate to have many clients who share their personal stories with me. My style of training is therapeutic to help keep them motivated through life’s challenges. One lady is overcoming complications of PTSD, and uses training to control her stress as a single mother of three children.

Another client finally realized he wasn’t getting any younger, was way out-of-shape, and wanted to enjoy life to the fullest through a consistent weight-lifting kinesiology program.

So, come on now, it’s never too late, don’t just fade away and let Father Time sweep you away. Each day gives you another opportunity to chase those goals.

Now is the time to buckle up, get your game face on, and begin your journey to success.

Not a bad life for an unlikely athlete

By David Tepera, February 27, 2019

In case you weren’t aware, the rodeo is the largest event Houston hosts each year. Last year’s rodeo brought in over 2.4 million visitors during the 20-day event. To give you a better perspective, the Houston Texans had 574,000 attendees through the whole season.

Typically, we think only humans can be athletes, but since it’s rodeo season, I’d like to share a few facts about American Bucking Bulls (ABB).

First of all, the rodeo is highly regulated and the members are incredible animal lovers. There’s the Professional Bull Riders Association, or PBR, that maintains the safety for bulls and its riders.

The ABB is a top breed of bulls bred specifically to compete. They are part of an elite program that breeds genetically superior bucking bulls. Currently, there are over 200,000 animals alive with bucking bull genetics. Their lineage, like race horses, can be traced a long way.

Believe it or not, these bulls know they are competing and are trained in a rodeo atmosphere. This starts at the age of 1 to get accustom the sounds of a highly attended event by using surround sound speakers. Then, by the age of 2, they’re loaded with weights on their backs called a “bucking dummy.” This dummy is remotely operated to only stay on the bulls for 8 seconds.

Just know, these bucking bulls enjoy the excitement of a rodeo event, and knows it will only compete once for the entire night.

Also, the spurs from the cowboys are not sharp. They are dull and only used for grip due to the bull’s skin being seven times thicker than humans.

Over the many years, the PBR has crafted chutes to eliminate all injuries from bulls and riders.

The animals can only be transported for 10 hours a day, and must ride in 6-10 inches of sawdust. Not only that, they are fed high-quality hay every day loaded with vitamins and nutritional supplements to keep them healthy.

Most bulls compete around the ages of 4-5, with some up to 10 years. They live well into their teens. Once they do retire, they become sires and breed more bucking bull calves.

I do find it funny that these bulls are pampered and have the best of treatment from humans, and then, every once in a while, they get to buck one off and kick its butt.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s not a bad life for an unlikely athlete.

In sports and in life, learn to enjoy the journey

By David Tepera, February 21, 2019

When competing in sports, there’s the ultimate goal to win trophies or championships. Depending on which sport, the season could be a couple of months or up to a year.

Last year, Dylan, Tina and I competed in a national body building championship, and it took over seven months to prepare for it. Since I’m already a masters pro champion, our goal was for Tina to win her pro card.

Just know, in 2018, Dylan was still competing in the teen category, so pro status opportunity wasn’t available, even though he won first place.

Along the way, during those long seven grinding months, our lives were completely consumed with training and dieting. In body building, there’s rarely a day off when preparing for a show.

There were many days that getting to the gym was tiring, constantly eating clean foods was old and boring, plus recovering from extensive workouts became exhausting.

It was during these challenging times, I would make everyone stop and take in the moment. My message to them was, “remember, being on stage is just one day, but our journey to get there should be the moments we must bond and embrace.”

Isn’t that what life’s all about? Don’t we all set goals for ourselves to complete? This could be education, a long prosperous marriage, raising children, running a marathon or any athletic event.

Each one of those examples takes a long time to accomplish, but it will one day come to an end. Even our lives have a final destination, so what impact did you make along the way?

We all get up each day to fight our way through the grind of life, but we must take a step back and realize the journey is the most important part of it.

Sometimes you don’t win championships or trophies, but if you gave it your best, you’ll love the process to get there. Those are the memories you should cherish the most.

Don’t forget, you’re in other people’s journey, so give your kids a big hug, embrace your spouse, and let loved ones know how much you care. Remember, it’s the journey of life that will determine your final destination, so enjoy the ride.

Go beyond the obstacles to bloom with greatness

By David Tepera, February 14, 2019

I once observed a wild flower blooming through the crack of an old sidewalk. I couldn’t believe how something could survive, plus look so beautiful, under all the elements it must encounter.

There’s no one to help fertilize and water its soil. No one to protect it from the Texas wind, heat, or being trampled from the busy pedestrians. But, somehow, this flower reached to the skies, with determination, to show all its beauty.

How many stories have we heard about people who found financial success coming from poverty?

Oprah Winfrey was raised by a single mother and lived without running water and electricity. She is now worth $3.1 billion. Oprah kept her focus on school, participated in beauty pageants, and worked at a radio station before getting her big break.

How many famous athletes with severe disabilities overcame the obstacles?

James Abbott, a former baseball pitcher, was born without a right hand. He was named the best amateur baseball athlete in the nation in 1987. Abbott played 10 seasons in Major League Baseball with the Angels, White Sox, Yankees and Brewers from 1989 to 1999.

What separates all these people from the average person? What traits do successful people have in common?

Persistence and determination are at the top of the list. No matter what obstacles you face, you should keep taking small step towards your goals. You can’t achieve or find success without commitment.

Years ago, when my oldest son Dustin was around 10 years old, I took him with me on a business trip to the border of Mexico. I wanted Dustin to observe other children at his age who live in very questionable conditions. The whole purpose was for Dustin to never create excuses for not succeeding.

There are plenty of us who take the basics of life for granted. We’ve become spoiled to having fundamentals of food, housing and a booming economy. But, for some reason, you still have a hand out wanting more.

Why aren’t you putting a hand in? Are you getting up each day to not only better yourself, but also others?

Let today be just like that wild flower. No matter your circumstances, find a way to reach to the skies and bloom with greatness.

If not now, then when?

By David Tepera, February 6, 2019

Lately, I received emails from people pertaining to joining a gym, plus starting to eat healthier, as soon as they receive their tax returns. Of course, my question to them is: “Why you waiting? Yes, a gym membership will help, but why not start doing something now?”

Here’s my best advice; start exercising your body during the time slot you’re expecting once you’ve joined a local gym. I’m referring to random exercises like walking, riding a bike, jumping jacks, sit-ups, and so on. What will happen is over time, your body will adjust to exercising at this particular time each day. So, when you finally can afford a gym, your body is ready to go. Make sense?

Let’s ask ourselves this same question, ”If not now, when?” to other areas of our lives.

How many of you keep putting off seeing relatives, going to evening classes, completing projects, attending church, taking vacation, cooking healthy, etc.?

Let’s be for real, you’re not really going to save any more money than you’re doing right now. Procrastinating has been your downfall for way too long. It’s what has kept you stale, blah, depressed, and stuck-in-a-rut.

Look around you. It’s possible you’re socializing with others who’ve lost their ambition. Break away from the norm. You no longer have time to waste. The time is now, today, this very moment that you’ve decided to change your life.

How many times did you fall learning to ride a bike? Plus, once learned, how many times did you slip and fall again? But did that stop you from getting back on again? Nope, because before long, you were riding wheelies down the street.

I have a 54-year-old client who has been battling stage four bone cancer. Without the consent of his doctor, he took off for a three-day mountain climb and snow-skied back down. Sounds like a Tim McGraw song doesn’t it?

Now, I’m not telling any of you to do anything against a doctor’s orders, but I believe you get my point. We don’t know when Father Time comes a knocking. If you’re like me, I read the obituaries every day in The Daily News. It’s never empty.

Pull out your phone, snap a picture of your meanest face possible, save it, and look at it throughout each day. It’s your reminder that no one or any obstacle can stop you from your goals.

So, the answer to the question “when?” is “now.”

Moving the chains

By David Tepera, January 30, 2019

If you’re not familiar with the football term “move the chains,” it’s pertaining to the sideline down-and-distance markers. These markers are 10 yards apart held by chain-links. So, every offense’s motive is to drive the ball 10 yards, within four downs, in order to move the chains. Of course, the ultimate goal is to reach the end zone to score points.

Since the new year has started, many people have reached out to me pertaining to diets, fitness, life skills, parenting, employment and much more.

Let’s try to keep this simple. Really, when wanting to improve, enhance or move forward with any aspect of life, just move the chains.

For example, you want to quit smoking? Try to smoke every three hours instead of every two hours or however often of your habit. Hopefully, with each day and week, the desire becomes less and less. The good news is — you’ll move the chains.

You can use this example with anything. Want to strengthen religion? Increase prayer frequency and attend church. How about adding one healthy decision per day? Fruit instead of chips, grilled over fried, mustard over mayonnaise, water over soda and so-on.

How about being kind to the first five people you meet each day? Eventually, this kindness will become part of your character.

Want to be a better employee with hopes for promotions? Ask to take on a small project at no extra pay. Show them you are the go-to worker who’ll get the job done. I promise, all eyes will be on you. Make sure to treat coworkers with respect.

Bottom line, no matter what’s going on in your life, there’s room to improve by moving the chains.

Don’t forget, a football team gets four tries to move the chains. There will be times in your life where you’ll get sacked, fumble or get hurt. But, don’t let that be a permanent setback. Just get up, shake off the dust, regroup and get back in the game.

Many of my clients have medical conditions that makes daily life a challenge, but each week, along with our style of weight training, they’re getting stronger and enjoying life.

So, remember, each day is another opportunity to better ourselves. Now, jump up, rejoice and see that life is an amazing adventure. Make this is your day to “move the chains”.

Get up and do something about it

By David Tepera, January 23, 2019

So, you’ve been bombarded with advertising to eat foods that are sugar-free, gluten-free, fat-free, low-sodium, non-dairy, no carbs, high-protein, no-protein, yada-yada-yada.

As I was growing up, I can’t think of any of my older relatives who were overweight. Believe me, none of them ate that crap, and really, neither do we or my adult children.

The only reason you’re fat and obese is because of lack of exercise. You’re being suckered into buying expensive foods and crazy diet programs because you’re lazy. Bam! Yep, I said it, and the truth hurts.

My late grandma Tepera was a lean religious lady who lived to be 92. Grandma ate fried chicken, homemade bread, Czech kolaches and other foods that are now considered bad. Now, she did eat fresh vegetables grown in her garden. Boy, I sure miss her cooking.

Bottom line, grandma was not lazy. She was on the go from before the sun rose until after sundown. This work ethic was instilled into my dad who passed it along to my sister Karen and I.

What are you passing on to your younger generation? Maybe, it’s time for you to get off the couch and do something about it.

Your body is a reflection of your lifestyle. How many of you have to hold your breath in order to bend over and tie your shoes? It totally sucks doesn’t it?

In the far past, there were times I needed a good tongue lashing to wake up and be productive. Right now, as you read these words, I’m so in your face that you can smell the coffee on my breath.

There’s a reason at the end of each column I write “keep moving and improving.” If you don’t, you’ll wither away and die earlier than expected.

From now on, delete the words “lazy” and “undisciplined” from your vocabulary. It’s you that’s going to change and be a leader amongst your family, friends and coworkers.

So, put down this paper, tie up your sneakers and head out the door to begin your new journey of health and fitness. There’s a lean, mean-fighting machine lurking inside of you, so get mad and let that tiger out — now!