Category Archives: Fitness

Is your Christmas going to help you get in better shape?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How many of you are getting Christmas gifts geared toward fitness? New bikes, running shoes, gym memberships, work out apparel, treadmills and so on.

The kids and I always get a kick each year around this time, counting all the people on the side of the road cardioing with their new Christmas gifts.

It’s truly great to see everyone trying their best to start a fitness program to get in better shape with a new healthy lifestyle. The sad part is, by mid-February, the numbers rapidly dwindle.

Admit it, your in-house equipment becomes a laundry clothes rack. All the new bicycles end up taking space in the garage gathering dust.

Statistics show that most people quit and give up after about six weeks. Only 7 percent of people stay with their new program and change their lives.

There’s no secret, losing weight and getting in better shape is one of the hardest tasks to accomplish. You have to remember how long it took you to get overweight and out of shape.

First of all, get rid of your weight scale. Scales will only be frustrating because your weight will fluctuate. You see, what happens is when you’ve been sedentary for a long period of time, your muscle mass has atrophied (shrunk). Muscle is 5 times heavier than adipose tissue (fat).

When you start working out, your muscles will grow while you’re losing fat weight, and that will offset your scale.

The only true way to measure if you’re making gains, is to strip naked and look in the mirror. Of course, we all do that anyway, but do some “flex time”. Squeeze all your muscles to see which ones are starting to show up. Do some naked jumping jacks to see what’s jiggling the most, not counting reproductive parts.

Have fun with the new Christmas gifts and make 2015 the best year ever. Don’t forget to love to all people, and I’ll see you on the side of the road

Help strengthen relationships through fitness

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Have your kids grown up and are out of the house? Do you look at your spouse and ask “Who are you?” For the last 18 plus years, your lives were focused around raising your kids. And now, there is a major void in your lives. The most important thing you had in common is gone.

This is actually an exciting time in your mature lives — you get to date again. Now, it’s time to rekindle and strengthen the love you once had for each other.

My personal thought: there’s no better way to fall in love again than through fitness. 

I’ve interviewed multiple couples in my local gym, ranging from mid 20s to almost 90 years old. Almost all of them warm up together on a variety of cardio machines, lift weights together, join a cardio class or do their own thing to end up back together before they leave the gym. Not only are you improving your health, but improving your relationships at the same time. 

You don’t always need a gym. You can take walks, bike rides and perform various core exercises together at home. Why not try something completely different and go ice or roller skating? You should get a huge laugh out of it, and who cares if you’re the oldest people there?

It gets even better. Now, you can grocery shop together to choose best diet and healthy foods. At home, share the kitchen and learn to cook heathy in a variety of ways.

The kitchen is a great place to flirt. Preparing food, cooking, setting tables, and cleaning up can be a sexy romantic environment. It’s your private time, so why not grab here, pinch there and wear loose comfy clothes, if you know what I mean? By the way, I don’t recommend olive oil for anything but cooking.

Always make sure to give daily compliments and encouragement.  Hearing a compliment from the person you love is most special. 

Put a smile on each other’s face, and enjoy being teenagers again, with a mature twist.

Hit a dead end in fitness program? Mix it up

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Have you been working out a few months or more, and your body isn’t making any improvements? During the first few months, you were losing weight, getting sore muscles and dropping dress and belt sizes. Now, nothing seems to be happening. Are you stuck and getting frustrated?

This happens to all of us, and the answer is somewhat simple. Your body has adjusted to your workouts, met the demands you placed upon it, and has settled. 

You can’t keep doing the same routine over and over. You have to play tricks on your body which forces it to continually adjust. 

For cardio, find at least three different types of exercises and regularly change it up. Each week, pick a different cardio exercise like treadmill, bike, speed walk, stair climber, Precor and others. Get your heart rate up where you feel it beating in your chest.

For weightlifting, change the order of muscle groups in your routine, use different machines and free weights, use heavy weights one week and the following week use light weights with high repetition. 

Confuse your body with variety of workouts and it will continually make changes.

This will get you out of a rut, plus it’s a lot more fun. We are all creatures of habit, and making changes throws us out of our comfort zone. That’s why us older folks struggle with all the new technology in the world. By the way, when did Etch-a-Sketch turn into iPads? 

You have one life. This is no dress rehearsal. Every day needs to be a step closer to your goals, no matter your age. Don’t throw in the towel on life — use it to wipe off sweat. Challenge yourself today, step out of your comfort zone and make a difference in you and the people around you.

Consider investing in a personal trainer

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Have you ever walked into a gym and were overwhelmed by all the fitness equipment? It can be intimidating looking at the sea of weights and cardio machines. You probably felt like a high school freshman on the first day of school.

If you haven’t worked out in quite some time or need help accomplishing fitness goals, then seek a personal trainer.

There are many qualified trainers who will help acclimate to a gym environment. You’ll learn which weight lifting equipment targets specific muscle groups and how to activate cardio machines to burn calories.

A good trainer will listen to your specific goals and set up personalized programs to accomplish them. Trainers should be highly motivating, informative and completely focused on you during the hour training sessions.

Here is my personal advice in choosing a personal trainer. First of all, when starting a program, only invest in minimal amount of training sessions. You need to make sure there is a personality connection with your trainer, and they are truly involved with your fitness goals. You’ll have a tendency to purchase larger amounts of training sessions due to overall costs being lower, but you don’t want to be stuck and disappointed if this trainer isn’t for you.

Second, if the trainer is pushing you to purchase supplements and products, then they are only interested in making money. You don’t need to purchase any products when starting a fitness program. Your body will make improvements, and energy levels will increase by just getting in motion.

After a period of time, if you feel the need, then a qualified personal trainer or nutritionist will help set up a personalized diet program.

Remember, training sessions are your “Me Time”, so make the most out of it!

Weight training, cardio helps conquer depression

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

This week’s article is dedicated to a couple of friends of mine battling depression due to personal tragedies. We’ve all had or will encounter adverse situations in our lives, like divorce, loss of a loved one and unemployment. I’ve experienced all three, and weight training became my medicine. My goal was to wear myself out in order to sleep at night, but it helped me to start enjoying life again. To my surprise, I was able to get into incredible shape through the process.

Duke University performed a study finding 60 percent of people who trained four months for 40 minutes four times a week overcame depression without the use of antidepressant medication.

A Harvard study found that 10 weeks of strength training reduced clinical depression more successfully than counseling.

Now, don’t misunderstand me, some people need professional help, along with support from family and friends. I’m only giving you an option to consider because it worked for me personally.

Some proven facts from weight training are — instant release of endorphins which is the “feel good” hormone, stress reduction, increased energy levels and improved immune system.

Go outside to walk, run or bike and move faster than before. Feel the fresh air filling your lungs, the sun radiating on your skin and the sweat pouring to cool your body against the wind.

Get into a weight room to take out all your anxiety and frustration against the hard cold iron. Challenge yourself and push more weight than usual. Use every force of muscle to its limits with a “take no prisoner” attitude. You’ll walk out of that gym ready to conquer whatever life throws at you.

You’re going to feel better, look better and receive plenty of attention and compliments on your new body.

Remember, you can’t always control what happens to you, but you can always control how you respond to it. Surround yourself around happy people, watch comedy shows and movies, read motivational books and put on some great music to dance around the house showing off your best moves.

Life is awesome because you’re in it with me. Through my years, I’ve found beauty and love in everyone and it’s changed my life forever.

1st marathon a humbling experience

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2014

First of all, if you have the desire to run a marathon, get proper shoes, train and go for it. It is quite an exhilarating experience and athletic accomplishment. Besides the physical grind it takes to complete a marathon, there’s a mental toughness component as well.

I don’t recommend training for too many marathons because the constant road pounding takes its toll on your feet, knees and hips, especially for women. Ladies, you’re not built for long distance running unless you don’t have childbearing hips. Female femur bones are torqued from hips to knees, and can cause wear and pain. Of course, there are exceptions, and I commend your dedication.

Fourteen years ago, I decided to run the Houston marathon for my 40th birthday. The race is typically in January, so I started training in August. My training was progressing very well in distance and time. Then my daughter was born in November, and all training stopped. I was the father who did all late night feedings.

January came around and I hadn’t run in over two months. I decided to go for it, since I’d already invested money into the race. The weather was sunny and cool, which made for perfect running conditions.

The race started and I felt fairly well until the 12th mile. That’s when King Kong jumped on my back and I carried him the rest of the way. I did finish the 26.2 mile race, which took me five and a half hours.

There are large crowds of people who attend these events cheering on the runners. During my last few miles, the crowd felt sorry for me and kept yelling “You’re going to make it.” That’s what happens when you look like a zombie limping down the road.

I finally crossed the finish line crying like a newborn baby. Someone snapped a picture and sent it to me. I had the picture blown up to poster size, so I could boast to all my friends and family. Well, to my humility, the oversized picture exposed my crocodile tears and large snot bubbles exploding from my nostrils. The poster never made it to the wall.

It took me two months to recover and I haven’t run since.

Get moving and start exercising outside the box

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Several readers contacted me expressing they just don’t have time to exercise. Even though I could argue with that statement, let me help you think outside the box.

If this pertains to you, then you have to become creative within your particular lifestyle. How can you find ways of exercising throughout daily activities and work?

We’ve all heard “take the stairs, not the escalator or elevator.” This is actually true. I work in multiple hospitals throughout Houston using many parking garages. I chose to trade in my briefcase for a backpack. I strap it on tight and briskly walk using the stairs — if it’s less than four stories.

Here are some examples from people I know about how they added exercising into their lives.

My fiancé lives in a two-story home. One day, she walked up and down the stairs 18 times. The next day she was so sore she could barely walk it three times.

This is a great leg and butt-toning exercise. Try taking two stairs at a time and deep stretch with each step. If you don’t live in a two-story building, then step up and down on a sturdy chair or stool against a wall.

A friend of mine in League City bought an extra 10 bags of 40-pound mulch. He placed them in the corner of his backyard. Each evening he picks them up and transfers them to the other side of the yard.

Some other suggestions:

How many pushups, situps, squat/thrusts and jumping jacks can you perform during TV commercials?

Buy a $5 jump rope.

Fill plastic grocery bags with canned food and do arm curls while preparing meals in the kitchen.

Turn the music up on house cleaning day and dance like nobody’s watching. You’re guaranteed to work up a good sweat.

The list is endless, so send me your creative ideas.

Selecting a gym

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A comedian once said “I like being married for two reasons: 1) I got really tired of dating, and 2) I got really tired of exercising.”

So, how many of you married people fall into that category? Do you have Dunlap disease? Your belly done lapped over your belt!

Now it’s time to get a gym membership, so you ask, “which is the best gym for me?”

First, you should find the closest gym to your residence. If the gym is too far, then you’ll find an excuse not to go. Convenience is essential.

Second, gym hours are important. Some of you are early risers and getting a workout before work or other obligations is best. A large number of Daily News readers are shift workers. There are gyms that never close except on certain holidays.

Third, what are your goals? Most of us are trying to lose weight and gain muscle. If it’s just losing weight, then almost all gyms will be accommodating because of the variety of cardio equipment. If it’s to gain muscle, the gym must have a variety of weight machines and free weights.

Note: Men, your testosterone levels are highest in the morning.

Fourth, gym costs. Select a gym that fits your budget. My advice is to stay away from long-term contracts. Only buy month-to-month memberships. Sadly, statistics show most people quit after six weeks. Some gyms add extra costs for exercise classes. Just know the person selling memberships most likely gets commission on the amount of your deposit.

Typically, there are discounts for seniors, corporate accounts and family add-ons. Most gyms offer membership specials at the end of month to meet sales quotas.

One benefit of a gym membership is the people you meet. Be friendly and enjoy. Working out should be fun, not a chore and become a lifestyle.


Get up and get your body moving with some simple cardio

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, September 3, 2014

So, you looked in the mirror and found some more wrinkles. You turned around and asked, “why is my butt melting down my legs?” Men, why is your hair falling off your head and landing on your back? Some of you ladies ask, “why are my breasts trying to touch my belly button?”

Well, welcome to the 50-Plus Club. The good news is even though you can’t stop gravity, you can sure slow it down and enjoy a more energetic life.

For beginners, you have to find ways of moving your body in order to increase metabolism — your body burning fat. Start walking, even if it’s a slow pace. Increase your pace, distance and time each week. Your immediate goal should be at least 20 minutes. Anything less will not truly increase metabolism.

You don’t need to do more than 45 minutes or an hour of cardio. If you can last that long, then it’s time to increase your intensity with a faster pace. Quick note: Cardio in the morning on an empty stomach will burn more fat.

For me, it’s leisurely cruises on my bicycle. With this ridiculous summer heat, a bicycle will create a constant breeze keeping you somewhat cool.

Find something that’s a little challenging and fun. Check The Daily News and community websites. There are many organizations that offer a variety of classes. Plus, you get to meet people your age. I know people in their 60s and 70s taking martial art classes.

For those who have gym memberships, find at least three different cardio machines you enjoy and mix it up every week.

You should do cardio a minimal of three times a week. Really, it needs to be every day for best results. It is inevitable that something will come up on particular days to prevent you from exercising, so your goal is every day.