A lesson in focusing on task at hand

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Late last year while exercising in my local gym, I noticed a woman, probably in her 40s, training a young lady who had to be around 20 years of age. It was obvious that the younger lady was mentally challenged, for she never smiled, never talked or made eye contact with anyone.

Because of my curiosity, I struck a conversation to enquire about their situation. The older woman’s name was Vickie, and she told me that she had recently become Sarah’s guardian. Vickie also mentioned that since she regularly worked out in the gym, she decided to start taking Sarah with her.

Well, about five months had passed before we crossed paths again. Oh my goodness, I was in complete shock. Sarah had transformed her body into what looked like an Olympic athlete. She had lost most of her body fat and replaced it with muscle.

I expressed my surprise and joy to Vickie, then asked how Sarah, under her circumstances, was able to accomplish this transformation?

Vickie’s reply was that due to Sarah’s disability, she can only focus on one task at a time and gives it 100 percent effort. This is part of her mentality that helps her function in life.

Sarah noticed I was complimenting her because she looked deep into my eyes and produced a huge smile. My heart melted, and all I could do in return was to nod my head with a warming grin.

There are two “take-aways” from Sarah’s story. First, if we could all learn to give 100 percent focus on the task at hand, how more productive and organized our lives would be — be that occupational, educational, projects, relationships, spiritual, fitness and diet.

Second, I don’t have a PHD, but how many other mentally or physically challenged people would benefit from the use of a gym?

One thing I do know for certain, getting yourself in better shape produces confidence and endorphins.

Because of my crazy workout schedule, I haven’t seen Vickie and Sarah since then. But, the lesson learned from Sarah, will last me a lifetime.

You can’t outwork a bad diet

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 

I believe it was Steve Weatherford, punter for the New York Giants, who said “you can’t outwork a bad diet.” How true is this?

I’ve been training in the same gym for over 10 years. I’ve observed people who’ve been training the same amount of time and have not made any positive body changes. Obviously, the only reason is due to a bad diet.

There is one particular very overweight gentleman, who kills it on the treadmill and then plays at least an hour of competitive basketball. He is typically soaked in sweat when he leaves the gym.

Maybe, he is content with his high body fat percentage, but just a few positive tweaks of a diet would help him lose excessive weight.

How about you? Most people think if they perform lots of cardio, they can continue loading up on bad foods. Quit fooling yourself, you will stay fat.

The only plus is your legs will get strong because they have to support all that fat you’re carrying. Notice how most obese people have big strong calves. So, when they do decide to lose weight, they’ll have beautiful muscular legs.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I applaud everyone putting their bodies in motion to be healthier. But, if you’re trying to lose weight, then a proper diet is the only way.

Cardio exercise will boost metabolism, which helps the body shrink fat cells. But, loading up on greasy fried food, chips and cookies will fill them back up.

Why take the time and effort to put your body through vigorous exercise if you’re going to blow it all on bad foods?

You can lose more fat weight from dieting alone, instead of killing yourself with exercise. If you’ve been following my column, then you know you there’s no need to starve yourself to lose weight. Find my column “Eat if you want to lose weight”.

Proper equipment a must in some events

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Back when I was attending college, one of my professors encouraged me to compete in an upcoming triathlon. I was a very strong swimmer and a decent runner, so I decided to give it a try.

I was in need of bicycle, so I bought one at a garage sale for $50. I figured, like running shoes, your speed is up to the person wearing them. 

Since I was in college and working part-time, I only trained by myself. I was one of the crazy people racing down the feeder roads. My bike made all kinds of funny noises, but I didn’t give any thought.

Race day finally came. I was in great shape and ready to compete. The swimming event started and I was flying by the other competitors. Next, came the running portion, and I was still feeling confident, producing a great stride and keeping up with the front of the pack.

Well, then came the finale of the 50-mile bike ride. It was easy to find my bike amongst the other 1,000 because it was the only one with a kick-stand. I was a little embarrassed, but strapped on my helmet and took off with hopes of a medal. 

I didn’t get 100 yards and people were already speeding by me. I couldn’t believe it. How was this happening?

Then, a very much older man caught up with me, patted me on the back and said, “hang in there sonny,” and left me in the dirt. Now, I was plenty mad because almost everyone was passing me. Plus, I couldn’t hear them coming from all the noise my bike was making. 

At the end of race, I asked someone if I could test their bike. Oh my goodness, it probably weighed less than five pounds. When I peddled it, it took off like lightning.

It was obvious, if I wanted to compete in more triathlons, I would need a bike of this caliber. I asked the young man how much a bike like this would cost. His reply, “probably all these bikes are anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000.”

This was 1986 and I was a broke college kid. I grabbed my $50 bike, loaded it up in my $600 truck, and left with my tail between my legs.

So, what’s the moral of this story? If you want to compete in specific events, then you’ll probably need to invest in proper competitive equipment. 

By the way, I gave that old $50 bike to a homeless man. He was one happy fella.

Can you make Sports Center’s Top 10 plays in other parts of your life?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, April 29, 2015 

Every day, ESPN’s SportsCenter shows the top 10 plays for all sports from the previous day. My family and I enjoy watching since some of the plays reflect spectacular feats of athleticism.

Before my kids start one of their own games, we talk about performing well enough to make SportsCenter’s Top 10.

This made me think and evaluate other parts of my life. Do I make top 10 plays as a parent, spouse, business man, writer or even with my health?

What about you? We teach our kids to perform at their best, but are you setting the example. Just know, your kids are watching your every move and making their own judgements.

Which parent are you? The one who comes home, complains about work, expects dinner to be ready, plops on the couch and yells at kids because you can’t hear the TV.

When’s the last time you got up a little earlier and made your special breakfast for everyone? How about that house project that’s been lingering around for months? Maybe it’s time to come home to your kids and play catch, kick a soccer ball or shoot some hoops.

Make a date night with your spouse, and do something you both enjoyed when dating. This will help you remember why you fell in love.

Maybe it’s time to step up your game at work and ask to take on extra projects. Show your bosses that you’re the “go to” employee.

Now, it’s time to embrace your life and make SportsCenter Top 10 plays in every aspect of it. Be the person you want your kids to become. Love your spouse and thank them for all they’ve done for you and family.

I promise, you’ll start loving every minute of every day because you stopped wasting time and have a purpose in life

Your body ready for swimsuit weather?

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Is it really Spring Break already? Are you ready for “take my shirt off” weather, or wearing swimming suits in public?

I wonder how many of you, by now, have quit your New Year resolution for fitness and diet? Statistically, the answer to that question is around 90 percent.

I can give you all the fitness and diet tips needed to get in better shape, but my advice won’t make a difference unless you take a “that’s it” attitude.

What do I mean by “that’s’ it”? It means you’re fire-blasting mad and aggressively motivated.

You’re mad, because you’ve lacked self-discipline, and allowed yourself to become a lazy, grease-eating blob. Yep, I just got in your face and told the truth, unlike the people around you. I hope you’re so mad that you punched my picture. You already know your worst diet habits, so tell yourself “that’s it — no more.

I am not driving through a fast food restaurant to and from work anymore.”

You’re now motivated because you’ve come to accept your failures, realize you can’t go back in time and will start making positive changes. Right now is what you control; right now is attitude.

When you’re mad, you get an attitude. Take that same attitude toward getting in better shape and making proper diet choices. Go at it like a prize fighter, because we all have a fighter in us. Come out swinging and kick your lazy bad habit’s butt.

There’s no better self-reward than accomplishing goals in diet and exercise.

Like I’ve written before, it’s not about perfection, its’ progression.

Today’s step is one step closer to goals than yesterday.

Now, get real, try on your swimming suit or take your shirt off. Tell yourself “that’s it, I’m going into ‘beast mode’” and will have my body ready by summer time.

Look out everyone, there’s a new hottie in town.

All athletes’ seasons end, but there is so much more

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Back in 2008, I coached my son’s 9 year old Little League baseball team. There was one particular kid, whom I will call Mike, born with several birth defects.

Mike’s parents were very distraught and depressed because, due to Mike’s disabilities, this was to be his last season to play competitive baseball.

You see, Mike was not an ordinary boy. He had a passion and knowledge of the game like no other 9 year old I’d ever encountered. You could ask Mike about any professional baseball player, and he could tell their history and statistics. To say it was impressive is an understatement.

At the end of the season, I met with Mike’s parents to give them my thoughts. I told them Mike has a gift. All players’ seasons will eventually end, but Mike’s love for the game of baseball will be forever.

I have a vision of Mike being a sports radio commentator, a television sports newscaster, working as a scout for a professional baseball team or maybe writing a sports column.

Mike’s parents stared at me with this blank look on their face, then the tears started flowing. They let me know, what I had just said, never occurred to them. They couldn’t stop thanking me enough, and it was the best group hug I’d ever received.

What about you? What do you have a passion and desire for — be it personal, business, fitness or spiritual? If you truly want something, and give full effort, then there is a niche and a place for you.

Mike and his family moved away, but I’m able to keep up with them through Facebook.

Just so you know, Mike is in now in high school and is doing well.

Knee pain and exercise

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2015

There have been many readers contacting me in regards to knee pain. Most of them are no longer exercising due to the onset of osteoarthritis.

There are many reasons for knee pain which should be checked by an orthopedic surgeon.

This article will focus on osteoarthritis (OA) only.

We will all eventually develop different levels of this disease. There are four grade levels with four being the worst.

Don’t use the excuse of knee pain as a reason to not exercise. Really, the best way to slow the progression of OA is to strengthen the muscles around the joint. This gives it better stability and support.

Typically, knee joints are at their most vulnerable point during 60 degrees of flexion. You experience this climbing stairs and getting up from a chair or toilet.

There are a variety of exercises for you to choose from that are not demanding on your knees.

Pool exercises are a great choice because water is buoyant which prevents extra weight forces on knees and hips. Use a kickboard to move up and down the pool. Try sitting on the steps of the pool, flutter kick to feel quadricep muscles burning.

You can grab the edge of a pool, in the shallow end, and perform deep knee bends. It’s important to maintain a full range of motion as you strengthen leg muscles.

Another non-weight bearing exercise that helps build leg muscles is bicycling. You can enjoy the outdoors or use a stationary bike. Either one, will produce blood flow and increase flexibility.

Don’t let knee pain stop you from exercising, but let it be a motivator. Besides, most orthopedists will start you off with physical therapy anyway.

Retirement should be the start of a new life

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Recently, I visited south Florida for business. Some surgeon friends and I were there for advanced orthopedic training.

As we all know, this is a densely populated area for retired senior citizens. To my surprise, these seniors were living life to the fullest. They were wearing clothes of fashion, had stylish hairdos and jewelry, driving convertible cars, sporting dark tans, and were busy with many physical activities.

These activities included swimming, golfing. biking, tennis, dancing and training in the gym.

My Florida surgeon friend told me these people come to him for multiple joint replacements due to osteoarthritis. They weren’t there to just take the pain away, but to get back to an active lifestyle as quick as possible.

So, let me ask you, who are retired, have you made a bucket list or a life list? Do you look at retirement as time closer to death or as a new beginning?

Maybe you should get a personal trainer, take dancing lessons, play golf or tennis. What activities have you always desired to do? You are never too old to try something new or out of your comfort zone.

You shouldn’t care what your family or friends think. Either you will make them jealous, or maybe they’ll join you.

Former President George Bush, even to this day, skydives every year on his birthday. Isn’t he like 100 years old?

We all have an inner kid in us. Find yours, and enjoy retirement like it’s a continual vacation because it is. You’ve earned it!

I know I’m getting a little older, but to be honest, some of these great grandmas in Florida were looking kind of hot, and so can you.

Lessons in sports help children in many ways

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two years ago, when my daughter Daylyn was 12 years old, she fell in love with the game of volleyball.

In previous years, she played in many recreation leagues. We decided to step up her game, and try to join one of the club leagues. This would give her the opportunity to improve her skills and knowledge of the game.

Daylyn had missed the first set of tryouts, but one particular team allowed her to join a practice. The coach wanted to determine if she was good enough to make the team.

Oh my goodness, all these girls were very skilled with a fast-paced practice. Everyone knew what they were doing except for Daylyn. She was spinning in circles trying to keep up. It was obvious, she was a sheep thrown to the wolves.

Daylyn would glance at me every once in a while with tear-swollen eyes, biting her lip to keep from showing her emotions. But, my little girl never gave up, producing her best and battling through each drill. All I could do was to keep giving a thumbs-up signal for encouragement.

I’m glad she couldn’t see my face, for I had a steady stream of tears flowing down the crevices of my cheeks.

The real message here is for all you parents who put your kids in competitive youth sports. Just know, through all the bumps, bruises, scratches and falling down to get back up in the game, that your child will grow up with an edge in the competitive game of life.

We understand, it can be a cruel and challenging world, but with a sports background, you learn the drive to win and be your best.

Just so you know, Daylyn did make the team. She was chosen for possessing strong will and perseverance.

Through the season, Daylyn went from the only girl who struggled with overhand serves, to one of the team’s power servers

Paying tribute to heads of large households

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This article is a tribute to the parents of large or blended families with children in multiple activities.

I, too, am part of a modern day blended family. Between my spouse and I, we have one teenager in college and four very active teenagers in multiple sports in three different schools. Yes, our house is a crazy house sometimes.

Here is a typical day out of the week — 4 p.m. basketball game at one school, 5:30 p.m. basketball game at another school, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. baseball scrimmage and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. club volleyball practice.

And, yes, between the both of us, we make it to all of these to cheer on our kids.

Don’t forget, there is dinner, laundry and homework during and after all of this.

I’m sure there are lots of families who can relate. We chose long ago to not see this as a burden or sacrifice, but to embrace and cherish every moment. We recognize our kids will only be with us for a short period of time.

Just know, if your kids don’t appreciate you now, they will once they have their own children. Believe it or not, you are their role model and they should want to grow up and be the same type of awesome parent.

Our children’s successes in sports, academics and any other activity lie completely in the hands of parents.

I give my standing ovation to all you amazing parents because we see you in the stands with us.

Like I told my spouse, no matter how crazy and challenging the days are, we all come home together at night to sleep in our loving home.

Sometimes at the end of the day, I feel like the family in the old Waltons TV show. I lie in bed and want to shout out “good night John boy”.