You are a Champion

By David Tepera, July 25, 2018

Recently, I was in a meeting with former athletes discussing business opportunities. As we were sharing our past adventures, one question we kept asking “were you part of the success or failure?”

Of course, we each boasted about the many trophies, medals and awards that were won throughout our careers. But, I kept asking for a reality check. You can’t just roll straight to first place. There must be losses and defeats along the way to help make you better and stronger.

I went around the table and asked each one to share their worst defeat, including what lesson was learned from it.

I heard a variety of interesting stories about team’s losing in the final seconds of a game. But the individual losses were the most compelling.

One gentlemen was a former triathlete who lost in the last mile because he ran out of stamina. Another was a former Golden Gloves boxer who received a TKO in the first round for improper strategy of his opponent. And lastly, there was a female body builder who took third place due to her diet being out-of-wack on competition day. She trusted her nutritionist, but her midsection came out sloppy and looked too blocky.

So, if you study the lessons from each of these athletes, the losing factors were stamina, strategy and trust. Don’t think I was unscathed. My defeats had all three factors, including many others.

Now, my question for each of you: “what areas in life are you losing because you lack stamina, a plan with no strategy, and trusting the wrong people?”

How about relationships? Has this person verbally worn you out where you you’ve lost energy? Are you in a marriage without a long term strategic plan? Did you get duped by someone you’ve poured your heart out to?

Just know, you’re not alone, and this happens everyday to people. You must take a breath, regroup yourself and press forward.

Chalk the whole experience as an important lesson. Let it make you stronger, wiser and more determined for success.

Remember, the people who started this article also won multiple triathlons, knocked out other opponents and became a world champion body builder.

That my friend is you — a grand champion in this world!

Have a “so what” Attitude

By David Tepera, July 18, 2018

As most of you know, I train or give advice to others about diets, exercise and weight training. When it comes to weight training, I need to know all your previous injuries, surgeries and medical history. This information is most important in order to customize a program that best fits your goals.

Plenty of my clients are in the older population, so the “aches and pain” list can be quite extensive. What catches them off-guard is when I say, “so what?”

Now, I’m not into “no-pain, no-gain” mentality. I only tell them “so what” to get my point across.

I let them know even my competitive clients have aches and pains. Once muscles start getting stronger, those aches and pains will begin diminishing.

Just know, I constantly maintain communication during training to prevent injuries and your trainer should do also.

Look, as we get older, we all will have aches and pains. It’s now part of our daily life, so we must learn to treat it or deal with it. I know way too many people who use the excuse of little aches and pains to keep them from enjoying life.

How many of you finally reached retirement? You’ve been working all these years putting in the daily grind to raise a family, so now it’s your turn to let loose.

Are you letting little aches and pain prevent you from having fun? Are you just sitting at home whining to everyone about being old?

Every time I hear someone complain about being old, I tell them “so what?” Think about it. You made it. You have the privilege of being retired and doing what ever you please.

It’s time to travel and see this beautiful country. Everyone loves an older person who loves life. Not that grumpy old fart who constantly complains. Suck up your little aches and pain, put on some music and run around your house naked. It might not be pretty, but it’s hilarious. Be silly and act like a teenager with no worries.

I know I’m only 57, but I enjoy talking and messing with complete strangers. The kids think I’m crazy, but since most people think I’m an old man, I’m harmless.

There’s a lot of fun right outside your front door. Now get out there, enjoy life and have a “so what” attitude.

You’re not average

By David Tepera, July 10, 2018

As a kid growing up into my mid-20s, I thought of myself as an average person. It was never a problem shopping because I wore average-size clothes and shoes. Also, during that time, I worked at average-paying jobs, including living the life as another average person in our society.

Of course, like most 20-something year-olds, I was a bit lost and had no idea of my future since I wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. I didn’t have the drive and thought I didn’t possess the intelligence to become successful.

What forever changed my life? At 26, I took a weight lifting class at College of the Mainland taught by J.B. Bryant. Bryant’s class was more than just understanding the weight room. It was more like an anatomy and physiology class. Bryant taught us the scientific terminology of each muscle group, methods, angles, technique and so on.

I was so intrigued I signed up for that class each semester for two years. Within the first year, my chest grew 4 inches, along with the rest of my body. Finally, this average-size young man was sporting some serious muscle.

I was getting attention from all my friends and family members. And yes, the ladies took notice, too. It became common for people to walk up and ask me exercise and diet questions.

For the first time in my life, I felt beyond average. Not only my body, but my confidence level was growing each day. I knew one day, with perseverance, through exercise, diet and fitness, I could help others get beyond average.

So, now, the same question is for you. Do you feel like just another average person grinding out another day for an average paycheck? Do you still have the same old routine over the past many years? What is your confidence level?

Listen, people can build one’s self-esteem in countless ways, but today, I’m focusing on the benefits of weight and strength training.

I promise, adding lean muscle to your body changes your life. And, for all you people who think you’re too old, I’ve got some information coming soon for you. So, never give up and throw in the towel because you’re not average.

Chase to the rescue

By David Tepera, July 4, 2018

For the past 30 years, I’ve been getting haircuts at Martin’s Barber Shop in League City. Martin is an exceptional barber, but was on vacation the week of my physique competition.

What’s important for all body builders and physique competitors is to not have any body hair due to a specialized competition spray tan. The tan is very gooey and won’t stick to any hair. I was in desperate need to have what little hair on my back removed. Martin always helped.

Well, I thought it was a non-issue and tried another men’s barber shop, but was told they didn’t shave backs. I called four other local shops and was told the same thing. One shop laughed at me and hung up. Now, I was frustrated and mumbling some questionable words to myself.

Then, my phone rang, and the gentleman on the other end asked if I had just called his shop requesting a shave? I told him yes and explained my situation.

He told me his name was Chase, he’d never been asked or shaved back hair, but told me “money is money, so come on in.”

Chase was a young man in his mid-20s with tattoos from his fingers to his neck, sporting a straight brimmed cap. He seemed intimidating, but was very polite and had a cool look.

There was another man sitting in the chair as Chase trimmed his beard. I sat and studied Chase as he professionally, respectfully and with precision, gave an impressive shave.

At that moment, I knew something was special about Chase, and I wanted a whole new look. I walked out looking years younger and feeling good about myself. Believe me, Chase got a big fat tip because he was the only one willing to come to my rescue.

Recently, I met Chase for breakfast because I wanted to hear his life story. Chase had a rough past of self destruction, but overcame all the obstacles years ago. He turned his life around, became an impressive barber and has a baby on the way.

Also know, while I was in his shop, a young man came in excited about getting into barber school because Chase helped him.

I believe most of us have checkered pasts or are a little ashamed of immature decisions at an early age. Chase is a self-made man and has not only changed his life, but is continuing to help others.

If you’re in the League City area, Chase cuts hair in a shop off I-45. For the first five callers (281-662-0682), your cuts are free because I’ve already paid for them. All I’m asking is to leave a good tip for a good guy who came to my rescue.

Never say “Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve”

By David Tepera, June 27, 2018

For all of you who follow my column each week, you’re aware that my training partner Tina and I recently competed in a national physique competition.

For your understanding, all body builders, fitness and physique competitor’s biggest goal, is to win a pro card. Once you’ve become a pro, then all kinds of opportunities can happen like sponsors, endorsements, money earnings, and much more.

The only way to win a pro card is by taking first place in either multiple national events or winning first in a national pro qualifier. Just know, people fly in from other countries to compete in these shows because they are, too, trying to obtain a pro card.

I was fortunate to obtain a pro card in my age group back in 2016. Since then, I’ve helped others chase their dreams of competing on stage, including my son Dylan and Tina.

During Tina’s journey all year to chase her pro card at this last event, she told me that no matter what place she earned, there was no way she was going to walk away saying “I should’ve, would’ve or could’ve.”

Tina trained like no other person I’ve ever encountered for a physique contest. I really don’t have enough space in this column to write down all the prep and hard work she put in seven days a week for the past six months. Her days started at 4:30 a.m. and ended at 9 p.m., which included training twice a day.

My question to you is, “if you really want something, and you’re truly giving it your all, will you walk away never saying I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve?”

There are many athletes with a summer break returning to school in a few months. Are you training for next season to make first string and have an impact to a winning season?

How do you prepare for a job interview or promotion? What kind of parent or spouse are you to your family?

This question can be asked for almost every aspect of your life. Don’t be like every other average person. Step up your game to be a leader and change your life because you can positively change everyone around you.

Just so you know, Tina not only won her pro card, but won three first places in multiple events. She stole the show and kicked everyone’s butt. I, too, took first place in the men’s pro athletic division.

Time for the Real World

By David Tepera, June 5, 2018

Well, it’s another graduating year for many high school and college students. Depending on your situation and economics, you’re about to embark on the real world.

I think we all know, none of us are ever fully prepared for what lies ahead. But, you can at least give yourself a decent start.

So, the biggest question is, “is your social media clean?” Do you realize that almost all employers research your social media?

It was so interesting to me that last year I was in a business meeting hoping to increase my income. The main gentleman conducting the meeting began by telling me all that he learned from researching my name. Since my profile was clean and wholesome, I eventually landed the business.

I have to admit, if it had been 35 years earlier, it might not have turned out in my favor.

You see, it’s a whole different world out there for you youngsters. The positives are that the world is very connected. The negatives are that we’ve all lost our privacy. So, early decisions will affect your future.

What about all you athletes hoping for a scholarship? What will the university find on your social sites? Do you reflect maturity, because if it’s a choice between you and another athlete, your social sites might be the determining factor?

My sister Karen, who is a well-known executive in the apartment industry, told a story about a young lady they wanted to hire, but she had a small theft charge on her record from when she was 17 years old. The young lady and several friends had stolen some CDs from a music store while in high school.

Now she’s 30-something and still battling a dumb mistake as a teenager. She did eventually get the job, but still, how embarrassing to know this will follow you the rest of your life.

Look, whatever happened yesterday is over. The only thing you can control is now. So, maybe it’s time for you to troll through your files and do some deletion. So, no more pointing the finger at others, and take full responsibility for your actions.

I know I’m being a little straight forward today, but as your parents will agree, sometimes you need someone to give you a sense of reality.

It’s a tough world out there, but there’s lots of opportunity, life experience, failure, victory and a whole lot of fun.

So, get ready, put your big-boy pants on, and find a way to make this world a better place. You are our future.

Find Your Happy Place

By David Tepera, June 19, 2018

There’s no escaping, typically in some kind of way — we all face adversity and negative situations every single day. It’s just a part of life that we must adjust and move on. Of course, the most difficult part is learning to let go and find continual happiness.

So, the question is, “what puts you in your happy place?” Some examples are walking your dog, riding a bike, lifting weights and exercising. The list is endless according to your lifestyle.

Notice, my examples were all health related because if you put your body in motion, the endorphins will create a sense of happiness and self-awareness.

One trick I taught myself years ago, was once negative thoughts took over my mind, I would force myself to only think about life experiences that made me smile or laugh. For me, of course, most of these happy thoughts came from raising my children.

You see, we all get caught up in the grind of everyday life. You have a full-time job, a family to raise, including all the activities, plus the stress of paying the bills.

We must learn to take a step back, try to relax and realize it’s all going to be OK. Don’t let the stresses of life take away your happiness. Every negative situation we’ve ever faced has come to an end. Learn to fight through it, stay focused with your head up high, and see all the good that surrounds you.

When’s the last time you’ve taken a family vacation? I’m actually relaxing at a beach house with my family this week of my article. I find it funny that I give diet and exercise tips daily, but this week, I’m eating all the foods that I tell people not to eat. I’m enjoying it all because when vacation is over, I’ll get back to eating healthy and training again.

So, even though I’m a professional athlete, I realize that it’s important to spend quality fun time with my family and let everything else go. This week, I’ve chosen to create more happy memories so I can reflect on them when times become challenging. You starting to understand?

I’m hoping, at this very moment, while you’re reading this article, that you’re digging into that memory bank and withdrawing some happy special times from your life. Let your mind concentrate on each one of them as though it’s happening now because today — you’ve found your happy place.

The Mind is Stronger than the Body

By David Tepera, June 12, 2018

My training partner Tina, friends and I will be competing in physique competitions over the next several weeks. So, I’ve been helping others tweak their diets in order to dial in the best condition for show day.

It’s always interesting to me, that during the last few weeks of prep work, all these athletes start questioning if their bodies are ready for competition. But really, they are in top shape to conquer and win their perspective divisions.

Typically, all athletes want to get bigger, stronger and faster, right? Whenever you walk into the gym, do you vision yourself as the best athlete? I tell my clients to leave all negative thoughts outside. There’s only room for positive words and support in this house.

If you feel it, you’ll be it. So, quit body-shaming yourself and find that warrior deep in your soul.

What thoughts dominate your days? Where ever your mind spends most of its time, is who you are and where you’re going.

I actually know a few people dealing with different forms of health issues. Are you going to let it make you a victim, or are you going to decide to live and take on the challenge?

You can’t always control what happens to you, but you have complete control on how to respond. Force your mind to only see a healthy energetic body while looking in the mirror.

Touch your arms, legs and feel the beat of your heart. Embrace the heat and energy your body is producing. That my friend is life in motion.

Are you in a dead-end job? Do you regret going to work each morning? I don’t care how long you’re currently working, if you hate it, do something about it. Why not? It’s your life.

Take your passion and find a way to make income at it. I promise, if you do the right research, you’ll find and land that dream job. But, you have to already vision yourself working in that environment. Remember, your mind has to see it, then the body will follow.

Look, focus on what you want, not what already happened. Let it go and move forward. Be the person you always fantasize about. You should not only control your life but create it.

“If you think you can, or think you cannot, either way, your right.” — Henry Ford

Fall in love with yourself

By David Tepera, May 30, 2018

Well, summer weather is here, and is your body ready for a swimsuit? How many diets have you already failed this year, as well as in your entire adult life? Are you tired of disappointing yourself?

There’s not one person reading this column today that hasn’t failed a diet or two. Here’s my best advice: stop dieting. All it takes is making small adjustments until it becomes habit, then making another adjustment.

Look, fall in love with yourself, and don’t worry about what other’s think. I’ve written this before, but no matter how you look at this moment, there are lots of people out there that find you sexy.

I know plenty of men who prefer big or tight butts, tall or short women and other parts of different sizes. Women feel the same way about men, or whatever your sexual preference is. I’m sure each of you fall into those categories.

This world is full of different races, colors, hair texture, body types and so on. I promise, each of you is uniquely beautiful.

Ever since I became a mature adult, I see beauty and sexy in everyone. Admit it, there are plenty of choices out there that fit your preferences.

Yes, I constantly help people with diets and exercise, but I also let them know how beautiful they already are. My only goal in helping others is for them to be healthier so they can enjoy life.

I know a young lady who’s very depressed and upset because she’s gained more weight than ever before. Over the past month, she’s desperately been trying to lose weight, and has lost almost 10 pounds. I let her know it’s not a sprint, but a marathon.

Think about it. If you lose just one pound a week, at the end of three months, you’ll have lost almost 15 pounds.

So, really, don’t be embarrassed, just strut your stuff and lead with confidence. Life is way too short to beat yourself up over the models used in advertisements.

Now, wear some comfy clothes, have fun, shake that big butt and go enjoy the outdoors.

You’re already a multimillionaire

By David Tepera, May 23, 2018

Recently, a close friend asked me to speak to his son, whom I’ll call Jim, because he keeps expressing feelings about “lack of worthiness.” I know Jim well, so I asked him to completely describe himself to me.

His description contained these words and more: lost, depressed, worthless, financially broke and no future.

I told him, it’s not only common to feel that way as a young man, but people of all ages will have this battle throughout life. But, just know, it’s more common of people out of high school and early 20s.

For the past 18 years of your life, your future was already set as you went through 12 years of school, including kindergarten. Now, your future is undetermined and finding your way into society with a destiny will take time.

My first topic of conversation was to reply to Jim’s statement of worthlessness and being broke.

So, I asked Jim, “If someone offered you a million dollars for one of your legs, would you do it? If someone offered you five million for both legs, would you? How about 10 million for both arms?”

Well, you guessed it, Jim, like all of us, replied “no way.” I then led Jim to a mirror and told him to stare at that handsome, brilliant and lucky man to have all his body parts. Guess what my friend, “You’re already a multimillionaire, so let’s start the process to find your passion.”

Jim understood my point, so we went through a list of all his good qualities like being kind, loving, dependable, and even a sports fanatic.

I told Jim, “Do you know there’s a shortage of volunteer youth coaches, referees and umpires? I promise, since you’re a former star athlete, these young kids will learn a lot from you. Your sense of worthiness will soar knowing how you not only impact young athletes, but their families as well. You have an opportunity to change lives.”

At this moment, I know there’s plenty of people reading my column today sharing the same feelings as Jim. Believe me, I’ve been there several times in my life, too.

Almost all of us are surrounded by people who unconditionally love us. They accept our faults, and will continue to cheer us on, as long as we keep fighting the battle of life. I promise, your determination will lead you to destiny

I understand, we all want a better version of ourselves, but also recognize, loving yourself first is more important than loving others.

Now it’s your turn, go look in the mirror and see that multimillionaire staring back and blow a big kiss.