All posts by David

Growing up with a father who was a high school football coach, I was around sports my entire life. Even to this day, at the age of 55, I'm a professional physique competitor. So, as you can read from my blog, I see the world as one big sports arena that teaches us all lessons on life. Enjoy, because today, your life will change.

How do you see yourself?

By David Tepera, November 9, 2018

Being in the fitness industry, I’m surrounded by all body types. This is from the morbidly obese to the almost severe anorexia, and, of course, all the in-betweens.

But, what doesn’t surprise me anymore is how almost everyone is not happy with their bodies. Believe it or not, people who compete in physique and bodybuilding competitions are the worst when it comes to self-body shaming. A lot of these competitors develop a condition known as muscle dysmorphia.

To us, we see huge well-developed muscles. To people with this disorder, they see themselves as having small underdeveloped bodies.

Also, what happens to some extreme competitors, they look their absolute best on the day of the show, but quickly lose discipline, eat everything in sight, and completely fall off the wagon when it comes to training.

Because of these extreme conditions, Tina, Dylan and I keep our bodies within four to six weeks of competition year-round. We don’t allow ourselves to be depressed over a few pounds of extra body fat. We know, within a few weeks, along with discipline, we can be competition ready.

Now, how about you? Do you find yourself constantly body-shaming? Listen, women, it’s normal to carry extra weight around your butt and hips. Guys, as you get older, it’s normal to carry weight around your midsection.

I tell all my clients, our goal is to add lean muscle mass, increase metabolism, and improve cardiovascular function. As we accomplish these goals, the fat will burn its way off.

Really, the most important process of exercise is to help live a more energetic life. It’s a fun world out there, so get out of the habit of running to the couch each night. Yes, we are all exhausted from a hard-day’s work, but through time, your body and mind will crave exercise.

By now, if you’ve been reading my column long enough, you learned how exercise is an anti-depressant.

I’m only 57 years old, but I know for a fact, if it wasn’t for a healthy lifestyle, I would not be here today.

So, tonight, when you’re about to get in the shower, take a hard look at yourself in the mirror. Make a commitment to never say another negative word about your looks. Find the beauty that you possess because I guarantee, you are the most magnificent, incredible amazing person you know.

All you need to do is smile, laugh, love and take care of yourself. That’s how I see it.

Don’t stop, recover in motion

By David Tepera, October 31, 2018

A technique used with all my personal training clients is called “recover in motion.” To give you a better understanding, here’s an example: While training the lower body, instead of taking time to rest from an exhausting set of weights, I have them perform upper body exercises while the lower body recovers.

In high school, I was part of an all-state water polo team. Coach Don Boyd’s practices were brutal. The only time we were allowed to rest was treading water.

If you’ve ever been a sprinter in track, after a hard sprint, the coaches have you walk it off instead of collapsing to the ground. The body will recover in motion. You get my point?

Now, this technique needs to be used in all aspects of life. Have you been laid off from work? There’s no time to rest. You must immediately update your resume and get back out there and interview.

Maybe, you’ve been through a devastating divorce or other depressing circumstances. There’s no time for a pity party. It’s your wakeup call to better yourself. Go join a gym, read every positive book possible, and only surround yourself with successful happy people.

Six years ago, I lost my oldest son to PTSD after serving four years at war. Being a single parent of his brother and sister, I had no choice but to keep everyone in motion. The worst nightmare possible became my reality.

There were many days and nights I fought depression in the mirror, but I wouldn’t allow myself to stop moving. Even though Dustin’s memory will never fade, I vowed to fight my way through life in his honor. When Dylan and I compete on stage in physique contests, we wear Dustin’s dog-tags in our posing trunks. Those dog-tags are more precious than the medals we win.

Look, we all have our challenging circumstances. Don’t let anything or anyone defeat you. You are alive with only a short time on this precious earth. Get out there, be kind, loving and respect all people. This world is going through some troubled times, so don’t add to the problem, be the solution.

All you have to do is recover in motion.

If you’re losing, increase you’re intensity

By David Tepera, October 24, 2018

If you’ve played enough sports, you’ve heard coaches tell players, “we’ve got to take it to another level.” This usually happens when the opponent is winning, and someone needs to dig deep to put forth more effort.

Of course, in team sports, some players have more pride than others, who hate losing and will step up their game. While others accept defeat.

One particular season, when coaching La Marque’s varsity soccer team, we were getting hammered by eight goals at halftime. I told my players, the only thing the other team proved was that eight goals can be scored within a half. Our practices are brutal, our teamwork ethic is beyond any others, so it’s time to increase our intensity and dominate this game.

Now, I used more explanative words, but you get my point. Just know, we came back and won that game to send us into the playoffs.

Besides being a former high school coach, I also grew up a coach’s son, so the words “increasing your intensity” was common language to me. This really followed me into my adult life to never accept defeat, and fight my way back in the game of life.

Remember, there’s competition in everything you do. There might be a job promotion in sight, and the decision will be you or a co-worker. Who ever increases their work intensity will land the job.

How about business owners? There’s plenty of competition selling the same products, but what’s your niche? Is your customer service plan top notch? Do you excite your employees because they are your direct line to consumers?

Part of my business requires personal training for people wanting to build lean muscle. So, as Tina and I frequent many gyms, we take notice of other personal trainers and how they interact with clients.

There are plenty of qualified personal trainers competing for business, but it surprises us of how many trainers are passive and somewhat non-attentive.

Here’s my advice to trainers; get off your phone, continue to encourage, interact, and increase your personality intensity. People have invested hard-earned money in you, so don’t be boring and passive. People want a coach who will push them to success, not someone who likes to sit around and gossip.

So, remember, no matter what you’re involved in, if you recognize that you’re not getting to the next level, then today start increasing your intensity.

It’s time to reflect, refuel & refocus

By David Tepera, October 17, 2018

Do you really enjoy the sport you’re playing? Do you look forward going to work each day? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with the person you’re dating?

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, then I’m truly excited for you. But, if you answered “no”, then it’s time to reflect, refuel and refocus.

When my kids were small, I did my best to expose them to as many sports as possible. They were playing up to 3-4 different sports per year, but would always take summers off. The kids and dad needed a break.

During that time, I let them determine which sport was their passion. My goal was to prepare them for high school to which they could excel and love the game. I never pushed them in the direction I preferred.

If you’ve raised your kids through youth sports, I’m sure we can all agree, there’s that parent pushing their kid and taking all the fun out of it.

Now don’t misunderstand me, most parents push their kids so they’ll learn to be successful, including the hard work to get there. But, we all know the parent living through their kid’s athletic ability because they are hiding behind their lack of.

Whose dream job are you working? Was this your path or the job your parents or spouse pushed you into?

I understand we must pay the bills, but why be miserable all day every day? It’s your life and you have control of it, so reflect, refuel, refocus, and go after that dream job.

I spent 20 years in the medical industry, and the last year was absolutely miserable due to new management. It was making me depressed, so I put a plan together and started my own business at the age of 56.

Why are you wasting life with someone you don’t really care for? Is it for convenience, or are you someone who can’t be independent?

It’s not fair to them or you because you’re preventing both of you from finding true love. Don’t just settle for anyone. Get out in this amazing world, volunteer, and you’ll meet someone with common interests.

So, if you’re not happy with your current status in any aspect of life, then today is your day to turn it all around. It’s time to reflect, refuel and refocus.

As you age, pick up the pace

By David Tepera, October 10, 2018

Throughout the years, as I’m getting older, I’ve noticed how much I’m slowing down physically.

To some of you, 57 isn’t old, but to others, it’s ancient. So, I started taking notice of younger people’s mannerisms. Their quick movements of arms, legs, including head turns. It was quite obvious, I’ve slowed down more than I wanted to accept.

Well, this prompted me to pick up the pace. Now, it does take me a little time to get moving in the morning due to old injuries, but once my body has warmed up — it’s on!

My pace is quicker, my speech is enthusiastic, plus I force my body to project more energy. I’ve been doing this most of the year, and it’s now become my standard. I’m known to be a “hand talker,” so now, I’m moving so fast I could land planes.

People are surprised when I reveal my age because everything about me reflects a younger man.

Listen, we can’t stop Father Time. He has won every battle throughout human history. But, you can sure put up a good fight and enjoy life longer with more energy. You just got to put your mind to it.

Next time you’re walking in the mall, parking lots, to and from the mailbox, or where ever, pick up your pace. Try to out-walk everyone in your path. Treat it like a race and pass everyone up.

In your head, you should be thinking, “get out of my way all you lazy farts, this young’n is coming through.”

I now out-walk my kids. They’re constantly telling me to slow down. I tell them to catch up because I’m not slowing down until I lay my head on the pillow tonight.

Believe me, once you get adjusted to this new standard, you’ll enjoy life to the fullest. Your body will produce endorphins, plus metabolism will kick into a higher gear. I’m actually staying leaner from all the extra expended energy.

Hopefully, you understand that this faster pace mentality should be used in all aspects of life, including athletes, coaches, employers, employees, spouses and any driven person reading this. No matter what you’re involved in, increase the energy level.

Come on now, don’t accept getting older as an excuse to slow down. Stay in this fight and throw some punches at Father Time. Knock him down, kick him in the head, and use your fast pace as you sprint off into a new energetic life.

Accept the right fit for you

By David Tepera, October 3, 2018

I want to share a lesson learned, back in 1993, when preparing for my first marathon. I had spent over seven months training and was fully prepared to complete the 26.2-mile race. Through my excitement to conquer such a feat, I chose to treat myself by purchasing the most expensive running shoes available at that time.

Well, that was a huge mistake because they ended up being too narrow, and after a few miles, they were killing my feet. I had to disappointedly drop out of the race because these shoes were not the right fit for me.

This made me reflect over my life because I’ve spent most of my time on a budget. I always wanted a luxury car, expensive house, wear the finest of clothes, but that never really happened.

So, there came a time of reality when I recognized that any good working car will get me to my destination. My house already provided the family with a roof, electricity, running water and food in the fridge. The clothes I wear didn’t reflect my character, but the way I treat people did.

Now, don’t get me wrong. If you can afford those luxuries, I’m truly excited for you. You deserve it for the path you’ve chosen. I just want others to recognize it doesn’t determine your quality of life. It’s how you go about in this world treating others with respect and dignity.

Once I discovered this reality, I also discovered how wealthy I already am because every day I enjoy making people smile, lifting them up, including being a good person and role model for my children.

My point today is for each of us to love who we are and make your current status the right fit for you. Yes, we should all keep pushing forward to improve our lives, but also take in the moment and love each other.

A few years back, I downgraded to the smallest and least expensive house possible to accommodate my two teenage children and I. At first, the kids were disappointed because they weren’t sure of the neighborhood. But, once I told them that now I can afford to buy them each a used car, then they loved the house. You get my point?

It’s funny that something as small as a pair of running shoes is our reminder to find and accept the right fit for us all.

Time to take “A.C.T.I.O.N.”

By David Tepera, September 26, 2018

My company Ageless Muscle builds its brand according to several philosophies. I want to share one of our strongest determining factors, which is the word “A.C.T.I.O.N.” We break down each letter to give it meaning to drive us forward. I’m abbreviating our definitions because there’s limited space for my column.

A

Activate your mind, body and spirit into positive action.

C

Compete in every aspect of life to be at your best.

T

Thoughts lead to action, which will determine your destiny.

I

Initiate action, quit being passive and take control.

O

Opportunity; create it, don’t wait for it.

N

Now is when you take-action. It doesn’t matter if you’re not ready, just get the process started and you’ll figure it out.

Now, my hopes that all of you are doing some serious soul searching at this moment. Our “A.C.T.I.O.N.” philosophy can be used for athletes, work place situations, parents, children, seniors and so-on.

Probably the most important position of all head coaches is the ability to motivate your players.

Even though I was a successful high school coach, I learned my motivational skills from my father. Dad had an old-school technique that could get the best from every player.

For you employers, when’s the last time you showed leadership to inspire your employees into action? Who reflects the strongest mindset within a family, and teaches others the importance of a strong character?

Marriage is a 50/50 partnership. Do you support and lift each other up? Is it truly a partnership, or is one more-needy than the other?

Really, we must all face reality, and realize our current status is due to our actions or lack of.

Don’t worry about yesterday because you can make an immediate change by taking on the mindset of “A.C.T.I.O.N.” Today is your day to take back life.

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.