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.

Don’t set yourself up for failure with diets

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Thursday, October 2, 2014 

Almost all of us want to lose weight. How many of you tried multiple diets, but after a short period of time, the temptation of old habits gets you? The diet fails because we set ourselves up for failure. You can’t completely stop old habits. It has to be a slow process that develops over time while becoming a lifestyle.

I’m going to teach you an optional way to cheat with diets. The goal is to help you succeed while transferring from bad eating habits to good.

I am a single parent of two teenagers, and I typically cook at least five days out of the week. Even though I’m teaching my kids healthy food choices, they still get their doughnuts and ice cream.

For starters, do your best to keep a healthy diet during the week, and let weekends be off-limits. Your mind will take better control of a diet if it knows a reward is coming in a few days. This doesn’t mean to eat unhealthy foods on the weekend, but if you want to, you can without guilt.

Try this — don’t eat any fried foods or sweets Monday through Friday. Then celebrate with your favorite dessert on Saturday. Continue doing this each week and healthier habits will develop.

If for some reason you venture off your diet during the week, don’t beat yourself up over it. Accept it as a rough patch toward a better eating lifestyle.

If you have an uncontrollable urge to cheat during the week then cheat with a snack and not the meal. Eat a candy bar between meals and still keep meals healthy. You’ve only blown the diet with a candy bar, not on a full meal. It won’t be as depressing.

Don’t be discouraged by what you’re not able to do, but encouraged by what you’ve accomplished.

Your ideal weight is really a mental state

By DAVID TEPERA | Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2014

We are all hardest on ourselves in regards to body image.

We know our own bad habits, food choices and lack of exercise.

There is no secret, dieting is one of the most challenging components of losing weight.

Every day through advertisement, we are bombarded with unhealthy food choices.

So, we mentally tell ourselves, “I don’t want to be fat, I don’t want to eat fried foods, ice cream, burgers or chips.”

We repeat this in our minds over and over.

Well, guess what happens?

All you’ve accomplished is to think about being fat and eating unhealthy foods – so, you become overweight and out of shape.

You have to change the way you think and your approach to life.

Mentally see yourself as the perfect image desired.

If you have a picture of it, tape it on the bathroom mirror.

Now, visualize yourself repeatedly as that image and create the feeling of it.

Carry yourself throughout the day with confidence as if you already possess that desired image. You’ll be amazed how life will transpire. Remember, we all look different, and it’s wonderful.

Just imagine if we all looked and dressed the same — how boring.

Now, moving forward.

Ladies, whenever you undress, say the words, “These stretch marks are really beauty marks proving that I’m an amazing beautiful mother.”

For men, say “This hair loss and extra wrinkles on my face make me look wise, distinguished and handsome.”

And, for all of us, say, “There is no person in the entire world that looks like me, and I love me.”

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.