Category Archives: Inspiration

It was hard to get here, but harder to stay here

By David Tepera, September 11, 2019

My 18-year-old daughter Daylyn has had a rough go over the past several years.

Her volleyball career ended the summer before her sophomore year in high school because of an extensive corrective knee surgery. Daylyn had the same procedure on the other knee the following year before her junior year.

Since the recovery time took many months, and her physical activity was limited, Daylyn had put on some significant weight.

You have to remember, Daylyn lives in a house with professional physique competitors. Among Tina, her brother Dylan and I, it’s an environment of extreme health and fitness.

There were times when Daylyn felt like an outcast when we were out in the public eye. We never made an issue of this because she is a beautiful young lady, but it created some depression.

Now, fast forward to this past summer before Daylyn’s senior year of high school. On her own, Daylyn started a new journey of exercise and diet. She didn’t ask any of us for advice. Daylyn wanted to control her own destiny, and believe me, she did.

Well, her senior year has started, and Daylyn lost 62 pounds. Yes, she did that within three months.

Recently, Daylyn and I were discussing her mental journey of achievement because she is able to keep the weight off through a healthy diet.

Daylyn’s response to me was, “It was hard to get there, but it’s harder to stay there.” I explained to Daylyn that is true in every sense of life.

If you own a successful business, you must stay on your game to stay at the top because competitors are trying to take it away from you.

How many of you courted your spouse to win them over and fall in love? After many years, marriage can be challenging, so you must continue to keep it exciting.

When you’re a starter for a team, remember someone is working to take your spot. You better keep upping your skills, or you’ll sit on the bench.

The true message today is to never get complacent and be on cruise control. You worked hard for your accomplishments, so work harder to stay there.

What scents bring you happiness?

By David Tepera, December 5, 2018

One of my kinesiology clients is a local high school head basketball coach. He invited me to attend one of his rivalry basketball games, so I did.

It’s been several years since my son Dylan graduated high school as an athlete, plus over 20 years since I coached high school sports.

At the game, you’d hear the squeak of sneakers from a sudden stop, referee whistles, crowd cheers, music and much more. But, what captured me the most was the scent of the freshly varnished gymnasium floor.

Remember, besides being a former coach, I also grew up a high school coach’s son. My whole life has been surrounded by a variety of sports.

That varnished floor took me way back to my childhood getting to hang out with my dad. So, I ran through all the scents that brought me into a happy place. I missed the sun melting wet grass on the playing fields, the stench of chlorine from all the years of water polo, including the leather smell from the balls I used in a variety of sports.

Besides sport-related, what other scents bring you back to happy times? What about baby powder? We loved the innocence of soft baby skin as they smiled into our eyes.

How about all the crafty people? Do you walk in a lumber yard and get excited smelling the fresh cut pine boards? You know that you’re about to attempt building a master piece of a fence.

I love the scent of nurseries while picking out this year’s flowers, shrubs and soil.

I recently visited a friend’s mother’s house who was cooking homemade fried chicken. I fought back tears because it reminded me of all the wonderful memories of my late grandma Tepera.

Look, we all get bombarded with negative people and situations each day. It’s part of life that we must learn to accept and deal with. My only resolution to eliminating these factors is replacing them with happy thoughts. Now, I try to incorporate scents into these thoughts, plus it takes me to a higher level of happiness. I truly hope I’m making sense of scent. OK, corny joke.

Take a moment and really put some thought into the scents with the most wonderful memories. I promise, in a short time, the list will become endless.

So, take a deep breath, and realize what a wonderful life we truly possess. All you need is to open your mind and take in the scents of happiness

Maybe it’s time to upgrade your life

By David Tepera, November 29, 2018

While in college, I trained and competed in my first triathlon. As a former water polo player and competitive swimmer, the swimming portion came easy. I was a decent runner, so keeping up with the pack was doable.

Now, where I lost all opportunity of winning was during the 50-mile biking event. Being a poor college kid in the 1980s, my bicycle was bought at a garage sale for only $50. At that time, I didn’t understand the importance of a quality bike in order to compete.

Since the biking event was last, most of the strong competitors flew by while leaving me in the dust — as my chain made horrible rattling noises.

It was at that moment I realized, that if I want to truly compete as a triathlete, then I would need to invest and upgrade my bike.

This experience followed me into my adult life and career. There’s been times where I felt stagnant and not getting ahead. I knew the only way to make another leap forward was to improve me personally.

How about you? Do you feel stuck-in-a-rut? You fight the daily grind, but you just can’t seem to catch a break.

Just like me, this is your wake-up call. It’s time to make an upgrade. This could pertain to night school, changing your social circle, seeking religion, joining a gym or a help group. The list is endless according to your situation.

Now, notice I didn’t refer to anything materialistic when it’s about upgrade.

We all prefer to fly below the radar so no one takes notice, but maybe it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and focus on you.

We are fortunate to live in a country with countless opportunities and unlimited resources. A good friend of mine is in her late 50s, and just went back to school to work on a PhD.

Forget what other’s think. This is your life, so take back control. We all know our weaknesses, so get out there to overcome them. That’s the beauty and reward of success, it takes hard work and perseverance.

It’s in you. You’re smarter than you give yourself credit for. Find a way, and make this the day to upgrade your life.

Thanksgiving a time for family bonding

By David Tepera, November 22, 2018

As most of you know, I was fortunate to be one of the assistant football coaches during the 1990s state championship runs at La Marque high school.

There’s no secret, a lot of these players were from different neighborhoods that had rivalry issues. But, through an amazing football program from head coach Alan Weddell, all these players came together to build a winning brotherhood.

One of the best parts of the whole experience was not only players bonding, but coaches, parents and the entire community. Every game was sold out with standing room only crowds, reporters from all over the area, along with police escorts to and from games. We all felt like rock stars. It was one of the most memorable times in my adult career.

Whenever a group of people come together with a common goal, a championship can be won. We must find a way to release our differences, have each other’s back and fight our way to the top.

This week, there will be many of us celebrating Thanksgiving together. If you’re like our family, there will be relatives and friends coming from all over to gather during this special holiday.

This is a time for people to forget their political views, discrepancies and all other differences. Believe me, there’s no winner in these debates.

For me, I only get to see some relatives once a year, so I take this opportunity to love and cherish the moments. I’m looking forward to seeing Tom and Jean from Philadelphia, along with my sister Karen and her family.

Our only goal is to reflect over past memories while creating new ones. It might be hard to think about, but it’s possible this could be the last year to see each other, so make it the best.

Maybe, it’s time to shut the TV off to play board games, teach the young’ns how to shuffle bones, play cards and so on. These types of activities force people to interact, smile, laugh and have a good ole time.

Think about it, don’t let this special holiday be a time of turmoil, make it an opportunity to express love and togetherness.

Don’t forget, ask a lonely neighbor or coworker to come join in on your celebration.

So, remember, just like my football team, leave the differences at the door, come together for family bonding and make this Thanksgiving a state championship victory.

We must all learn to fly

By David Tepera, November 14, 2018

Not too long ago, I was riding my bicycle along some wooded trails. By nature’s luck, I got to witness a young bird learning to fly for the first time.

This little bird was perched on a limb with its mother nudging it to leap. It was obvious the young bird was scared as it fought and struggled to stay in the tree. Finally, after a few minutes, the bird leaped with wings uncoordinatedly flapping as it crashed to the cushioned grass below.

I watched as the bird gathered its bearing and attempted to fly again. It barely cleared the grass line to only make it a few feet. With each attempt, it flew a little further. But, after several tries and many failures, the bird glided to the next tree.

It was an exciting experience because I knew I was witnessing a choice of survival. It wasn’t long before the little bird was soaring in the wind, and had overcame the scariest moment of its young life.

Isn’t this little bird in all of us? Aren’t we scared to take a leap, get out of our comfort zone and possibly fall on our face?

Are you disappointed that you’re not where you were expecting to be at your age? Do you regret not trying out for the team or participating in an organization? At some point in life, we all dread not going out on a limb and leaping.

But, just like the little bird, with each attempt, you’ll fly a little further until you soar to the next destination.

July 2018, I took one of the biggest leaps in my life. I resigned from the medical industry to start my own business. I was scared because I have the responsibility of some serious bills, plus taking care of a family.

I decided to not try it part time, but to go all in and give it 100 percent full effort. Yes, at first, I was barely making enough money to survive. There were other medical companies wanting to hire my services, but I knew deep in my heart to keep pushing forward.

With each week, I flew a little further, and within a few months, I was picking up speed as I soared with the wind.

Even though I work seven days a week, my business partner Tina and I celebrate our continual successes. As the business grows, we get to change other people’s lives to where we know that we’ve made a difference in this world.

Bottom line, it’s OK and normal to be scared, but take the leap. When you crash to the ground below, it’s not as hard as once thought. Before you know it, you’ll learn to fly.

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.