Children can learn lesson from youth sports

By David Tepera, August 14, 2019

Recently, I read a study of how the participation in youth sports is down 39 percent over the past many years. I do understand several factors could be involved, from single parenting to finances.

As you all know, I was a single parent for more than 15 years of two kids. They were in second and fourth grade when all this took place. Yes, there were many challenges, but since I was raised in an athletic environment, I wanted my children to have the same experiences.

In today’s world, kids are locked up on their phones and laptops thinking that social media are their friends. We are losing our kids to understanding the importance of socializing in the real world. It is the only way to become independently successful, and not a cyberbully.

So, what are the benefits of youth sports? At an early age, kids learn that it takes practice to improve skills, lessons from losing and failing, the joy of victory, success through teamwork, getting back up after falling and the list is endless. It’s no secret, all these lessons will carry over into adulthood.

People who’ve played sports develop a competitive spirit that will help catapult them into our society’s workforce. Typically, that’s who you call a boss or owner. If you don’t like it, reignite your competitive self and begin the journey to control your own destiny.

Now, for those of you who have challenges to get your kids involved in youth sports, here’s my best suggestion. Look into your city’s parks and recreation department. The youth leagues are the least expensive, practice only one hour on one day out of the week, with all games on Saturdays.

As parents, you’ll develop friends with other teammates’ parents, where some carpool to help get kids to and from practice or games. Through each season, I personally made new friends, as they all stood on the sidelines cheering for everyone. I felt fortunate because I was typically the head or assistant coach. I wanted to make sure every kid had a great experience, along with equal playing time.

There were times where one of my children’s teammates had physical challenges. It was heart warming to watch kids learn to help someone who might seem less fortunate to have the same experiences.

So, my lesson today is for you to find a way to help get our kids back involved with society. They are our future and must learn the importance of getting along with others and contribute to making this world a better place. Maybe, it can all start by having fun playing youth sports.

Dig deep to cross the finish line

By David Tepera, August 7, 2019

Back in 2000, I ran the Houston marathon for my 40th birthday. My daughter Daylyn was born several months before, and since I did most of the early morning feedings, my training had come to a halt.

Believe me, by the time the race started, I was not in long distance running shape, but I decided to give it my best.

It took me more than five hours to complete the race, but I crossed that finish line. I wasn’t only a physical mess, I was mentally depleted as well. I was crying like a baby crossing the line because I didn’t know if I could dig it out.

During the race, I reflected over other areas of my life where I needed to dig deep to cross the finish line. Just like you, there are many.

What parts of life are you running a marathon? How many of you, after a hard day’s work, are going to night school, taking online classes, going to trade school or working a second job to help pay the extra bills?

Most of us have been involved with failed relationships, but did you give it your best? How many of you have ever started a project and never finished? Look around the house, it’s still waiting on the final touches.

We all have those days where we want to throw our hands to the sky and just give up.

During my children’s childhood, they played multiple sports. I wanted to expose them to as many sports as possible, so they could find their passion by high school. There were only a few sports they didn’t care for, but I made them finish the season. I didn’t want them to be quitters because that’s the easy way out, and all of us can quit.

The message today is to find a way to cross the finish line in everything you do. Finish your education, be an equal partner in relationships, seek higher power and continue to explore ways to be a better person.

Crossing the finish line is never easy because of all the energy spent trying to get there, but you have a passion and desire buried deep inside you. Just when you’re ready to fall on your face, dig deep, grind it out and find a way because that finish line is right there in front of you.

On your mark, get set, GO!

Stay motivated, and keep moving forward

By David Tepera, July 31, 2019

One of the largest reasons people quit exercising is motivation. All of us can get excited about starting a new diet, cardio or a weight-training program, but sticking with it is another matter.

Bottom line, losing motivation becomes your enemy.

At Ageless Muscle, we inform all our clients they won’t start seeing results until the fifth week. You see, there’s more than just building muscle when lifting weights. Your bones will harden and become more-dense, plus tendons strengthen to bones. It just takes the body time to adjust to all the weight resistance put upon it.

My message is to never give up. Not only find your motivation but learn to keep it. We are familiar with New Year’s resolution people who fill the gym every January, and by February or March, they’ve given up. If they’ve only stayed consistent for a few more weeks, the body was ready to grow and improve.

Of course, lack of or losing motivation happens in all aspects of life. Remember how excited you were when courting your spouse? You showered them with love, showed respect and gave them your undivided attention.

Hopefully, you became best friends, but through time, you turned into a slacker, got too comfortable and lost motivation. This is when relationships start to fail.

We’ve all seen people who get divorced, then start getting in shape again to hit the dating scene. Why didn’t you do that during your marriage? Tina and I are training partners, and because of our busy schedules, the gym gives us bonding time.

How about when you started your job? Remember the excitement of a new beginning? Why did you lose interest? For every single supervisor, people don’t quit companies, they quit because of your lack of leadership.

Nothing is truly as empowering as finding a religion or church that fits your beliefs. Seeking a higher power will put you in positive mindset to go out in this world and be a better person.

Now, what kills motivation? It’s easy to slip back into destructive ways. You must create a new norm. Surround yourself with positive people. Look around, your friends could be slackers, too. Slackers want others to fail because it makes them feel better about themselves, so break away.

Today is your day to get excited about life again. All you need to do is get motivated and keep moving forward. You got this!

Challenge yourself with new goals

By David Tepera, July 24, 2019

There’s no secret, as we get older, we lose our physical strength. That’s why we are in awe of older athletes competing at a pro level.

Remember professional hockey player Gordie Howe? He played 32 seasons, had numerous record-breaking stats and played until he was 52 years old.

All you youngins need to google search Jack LaLanne. He was known as the Godfather of Fitness. LaLanne spent his entire adult life preaching the benefits of health and fitness.

He actually opened the first health club in the nation. LaLanne had many crazy stats as an older man, but one example was in 1984, at the age of 70, handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, he towed 10 rowboats, one with several guests, for one whole mile.

LaLanne lived to be 96 years old and even performed his daily exercises the day before his death.

I know, I’m not even close to the same playing field as the men I just wrote about, but Tina and I take pride knowing, as a couple, we are the oldest professional physique champions in the greater Houston area.

I’m turning 58 in a couple of weeks and received my pro status at the ripe ol’ age of 55. We don’t just compete, we win!

Now, what about you? I know as you age, you feel muscles and energy slipping away. I’m telling you, don’t accept it. Yes, Father Time and gravity wins in the end, but you can still have an energetic and vital life to the end. It’s what we take pride in for all our clients.

Today is your opportunity to start setting new physical goals. What are yours?

Sixty-nine-year-old Greg wanted to surf again, so within a few months of proper weight training, he surfed Hawaii for the first time in 15 years.

Don’t let others be your role model. Be the person you inspire to be. My nephew Logan never exercised his entire life and is planning his first half-marathon. I told him that with each step, he will set a new personal record, so don’t even think of quitting until you cross the finish line.

I hope all this makes sense to you. It doesn’t matter what age or gender, we all have a strong level of determination deep within us. Once you get into motion, determination will rise to the top to accomplish any goal put upon it.

Today, would had been my son’s 30th birthday. From all his family and friends, happy heavenly birthday Army Specialist Dustin Ray Tepera.

What choices did you make today?

By David Tepera, July 18, 2019

Each morning, when you wake, choices taken will determine your destiny. Every word and every action made will be your choice. You can’t control the actions of others, but you have complete control of yours.

More than 15 years ago, before Tina, I had become a single father. It was at that moment I knew that all my choices would now affect two small children.

I wanted to be the best father and role model possible, so I started off with personal improvements. The kids needed to not only hear positive reinforcement, but to witness it as well. Remember, your kids see your every action. It’s more than what you say, it’s what you do.

Yes, of course, we all make human mistakes, but it’s the lessons learned that is more important.

When the kids were in elementary school, I would wake them each morning with an impromptu funny song that I played on a keyboard in their room. I wanted the kids to start each day laughing and loving daddy. Even today, they still make fun over my dumb lyrics.

Now, how about you? If you’re not happy with being overweight, are you taking the time to cook healthy meals, or you still driving through for fast foods? Have you started that exercise program you’ve been telling yourself for way too long to start?

Do you get to work early to show dependability? Are you asking for extra projects to prove your worth?

How do you treat everyday people? I learned long ago from a multi-millionaire friend of mine to treat all people with respect. Mike talks to the doorman the same as the CEO. And, he’s right, everyone deserves the same respect.

When you’re in the gym using free weight machines, do you rerack the weights, or are you one of those meatheads who leaves many weights on the machine. Just know, you might feel like the king of the gym, but we all know you’re insecure.

Now, do a little soul searching and start making healthier choices. This doesn’t just pertain to physical improvements, but reaching for a positive mindset. Taking these choices seriously will change your life.

We are only on this Earth for a short time, so stop wasting life being a miserable person. This world is in constant motion, and if you only watch the news channels and surf social media, you’re caught up with people dividing our country. Don’t be someone adding to the problems, shut your laptop and be part of the solution. It’s easy because you have that choice!

Don’t stop until you’re done

By David Tepera, July 2, 2019

Being in the health and fitness industry, we interact with people from all walks of life. Everyone who comes to us is looking to improve their quality of life.

Through our weight lifting programs, we teach our clients to not only defeat physical impairments, but to overcome daily challenges as well.

Now, how is this possible by lifting weights? To build and grow muscle, you must push yourself a little harder with each session.

For example, I place a number of repetitions in a client’s head, which gives them a mental goal. They know, as their body is wearing down, they must dig a little deeper to finish the set.

Bottom line, “You don’t stop when you’re tired, you stop when you’re done.” Remember, lifting weights is more than a physical challenge, it becomes a mental battle as well.

For the clients and us, it’s extremely rewarding to witness the victory of overcoming a challenge that was once perceived impossible. Knowing you can push yourself and conquer challenges, will give the confidence to battle something much bigger.

Now, isn’t that what life is all about? Don’t we all face challenges each day? Your current status is from all the battles won and lost. Yes, we can’t always win the battle, but if you keep pursuing, you’ll win the war.

Most of our clients are in the older population, so they typically have medical conditions, osteoarthritis, along with minimal muscle mass from being inactive.

We understand, as we get older, we are concerned about injuring ourselves through exercise. I want you to know, it doesn’t matter what your age is, you can still build muscle, have more energy and change your life.

It’s important to seek out an experienced, quality personal trainer. As we get older, CrossFit, jumping on boxes, including balancing on balls training is not for us. You will get injured.

Now, let’s think about everyone one of us, from young to old and male to female. When’s the last time you challenged yourself to accomplish a goal? How many times did you give up because you got tired? How bad do you want it? Don’t let anyone or any obstacle keep you from your destiny.

Just like athletes and our clients, you can’t stop because you’re tired, you stop when you’re done.

How do you deal with depression?

By David Tepera, July 10, 2019

Iknow depression can be a touchy subject, but through our weight training programs, we help many clients dealing with different forms of depression and PTSD.

I’ve been humbled through the years as a variety of people seek my advice for different situations. I try to explain, “in our darkest times, immediate decisions could determine the long-term outcome.”

If you’ve been reading my column long enough, you know, I’m just like you through my list of tragedies and life-changing events.

You see, exercise and weight lifting saved my life. Not because of the physical benefits, but for helping keep my sanity.

When times get tough, some people reach for the liquor bottle or hang out at local bars. Others run to buffets and gorge on food. For me, I was lifting weights at the gym, running miles on end and was desperately trying to wear myself out.

Yes, I was getting in incredible shape, but my purpose was to be so worn-out that I could sleep at night. My situations were many years ago, but another possible tragedy could be around the corner.

You have to admit, our minds can be our worst enemy when dealing with negative challenges and depression.

Now, don’t get me wrong, professional therapy and seeking religion are typically our best resources for treatment. But, let’s be for real, most of us don’t want others to know our battles.

I could quote countless medical studies supporting the benefits of exercise to help create a positive mental state. The surge of endorphins throughout your body can be life altering.

In 2018, I decided to resign from a 20-year orthopedic career to help change people’s lives through a unique weight training program. It’s become a family business and our passion.

So, my message today is hopefully an opportunity to give you another outlook. Just tie up your sneakers, go outside and take a long walk. Feel the sun beating on your skin and realize you’re still alive and there’s a reason we all need you.

You were put here on this Earth with a purpose, and one day, it will be beautiful. Well, guess what? That day is today, so get out there, punch depression in the face and start enjoying this amazing life.

We all develop calluses throughout life

By David Tepera, June 26, 2019

Unless you perform manual labor, it’s rare to find calluses on people’s hands. All our clients get excited when they see small calluses forming on their palms from lifting weights.

If you’ve ever shook hands with a weight lifter, you’d be impressed with the thickness of their hands. Tina, Dylan and I have been lifting for years, so our calluses are extremely profound.

I know most people love having soft hands, but for me, I find a fit woman’s callused hands to be sexy. Tina thinks I’m weird, but it’s an indicator of hard work and dedication. Remember, we are professional athletes, so it’s part of our phenotype makeup.

Recently, I was reflecting over my life’s journey to all the hardships I’ve faced throughout my 58 years on this Earth. As I studied the calluses on my hands, I realized other parts of my body have hardened.

How many of you had your heart broken, faced unemployment, divorce, depression or the loss of a close family member? I’ve experienced all the above, but I chose to make them mold me into a better person.

I realized tragedies will callus your soul, heart and mind. I’m not pertaining in a negative way but to help you get through the next challenges of life.

Just like a weight lifters’ callused hands, as the weight gets heavier, the calluses get thicker. This is what happens to your internal body as well. With each heavyweight life throws at you, your heart and soul will thicken.

Just because you got knocked down on the canvas, doesn’t mean you’re out for the count. We must all get back up and continue the fight.

What challenges are you facing today? Just know, you’re not alone because we all have them. Maybe, you need a support group, escape route, religion, or just someone to understand, love and help through the process.

I want you to understand calluses will make you stronger, undefeated, super-human and ready for the next big challenge. With each heavy, life-altering experience, your callused body will thicken until no one or tragedy can penetrate your soul.

So, take today, look in the mirror and stare deep at that beautiful person glaring back. Make yourself realize those life experiences created calluses in order for you to become the best person possible. Now, get out there and kick some butt.

How do you measure up?

By David Tepera, June 19, 2019

In every sport, many types of measurements are required to produce the best outcome.

Most football fans are familiar with NFL prospects competing at the combine each year. Speed, strength, weight, height, vertical leap and tons more are put into a measured algorithm to calculate the best player for the money NFL teams will invest.

Some players’ combine results guarantee an opportunity for a draft, others will bomb and dreams will fade.

An interesting fact, Tom Brady had one of the worst combine results in 2000. His 40-yard dash was at a whopping 5.28 seconds. Brady’s time is still the slowest among active NFL starting quarterbacks. Just know, all his other measurements were some of the worst as well.

The New England Patriots needed a backup quarterback, so they drafted Brady in the sixth round. During his second season, Drew Bledsoe was injured, and the rest is history. Brady has played in nine Super Bowls winning six of them, his record-breaking stats are too many for this column.

You see, Brady didn’t let others’ stats be the indicator of his skills, determination and drive to be the best.

Now, the questions is “how do you measure up?” Don’t compare yourself with others. You have control of your own destiny. It’s you who determines progress. Some use the weight scale for fat loss, increased weights when getting stronger, education, employment status or, hopefully, how you treat people.

Years ago, I told my kids, I know I’ve succeeded as I witness them treating all people with respect. That, to me, is more important than an academic education. We all know people in supervising positions who verbally belittle others because they think they’re better than us. To me, it’s disgusting. We are all grown adults and should be treated as such.

Take today to find your personal measurements. Are you someone that makes our society a better place? If you’re not sure or would like to make a difference, volunteering is a great start. Every week, The Daily News has a list of volunteers needed for multiple organizations.

Tina is one of the founders of Friendswood Animal Advocates, which, like many other animal organizations, are always looking for volunteers. We are actually fostering a dog who’s needing a new home.

So, take your measurements and proceed to surpass every goal imaginable. You got this!

What happens when life confronts you?

By David Tepera, June 11, 2019

There are times in life when we are faced with challenging conditions. Some could be perceived small, but some will definitely be of serious nature.

In the world of sports, all athletes prepare for defensive and offensive scenarios. The goal is to produce a better outcome with each game’s confrontation.

As professional athletes, my family takes on this same mentality. We understand the importance of maintaining our bodies in year-round shape for competition. We witness competitors scrambling in the last few weeks to dial in their bodies. Some will make it, some won’t and it will be embarrassing for them.

What types of confrontations are you dealing with? Is it a dead-end job, bankruptcy, divorce or death of a loved one? These are all serious situations, but how you respond will determine your future.

It’s these confrontations that require immediate action. Yes, we all want to curl up in the fetal position hoping it will all go away, but it won’t.

We hear of heroes during fires, hurricanes, bombings and so-on. Most of the time, these are common folks like us. They were faced with a serious confrontation and their natural instinct was to help another human being.

Look, we are all the same. We are heroes with instinct to battle what life throws at us. Let what confronts you only strengthen you. Make sense?

We won’t win every battle, but we can win pride by giving our best. Losing will teach lessons of weaknesses.

Two years ago, Tina took second place that had five different countries competing. Instead of being satisfied with the outcome, she went on a seven-month journey to improve her game. Her next showing was three first places and two pro cards.

The best part of this story, is that the lady who came in second place under Tina, learned her lesson, too. Valerie truly improved her physique and will compete for her pro card in July.

Now, what are you going to do about confrontations you are facing? Are you satisfied with second place, a participation trophy or sitting on the bench? I’m not just pertaining to sports, I’m referencing life. You fill in the blank.

Be your hero of the day. It was you who faced confrontation and gave it your best. Raise your hands in victory, do an end-zone dance and walk off with your head held high.