Archive for the 'Inspirational' Category
Zorahgail Balino knows her way around the gym. She can deadlift over 300 pounds, runs half marathons, lifts sandbags, jumps rope, performs weighted pull-ups, and cranks out burpees on the regular. She is strong, well conditioned, and an all around good person.
She first emailed me a few years ago after running her first half marathon. I specifically recall the email as she mentioned successfully completing the race with very little distance work beforehand. She had apparently trained with some of the routines from my Infinite Intensity book along with one dedicated running session per week. In the time since, I have heard from her on occasion and become accustomed to her impressive exercise videos on Facebook. She is quite well rounded in terms of bodyweight exercise ability, free weight lifting, and endurance.
What I didn’t realize about Zorahgail was that she lost over 90 pounds. It wasn’t long ago that she tipped the scales at well over 215 pounds. While I’ve grown accustomed to seeing her perform pull-ups, I had no idea that she performed her first ever pull-up back around the time she first contacted me.
She didn’t began exercising until 2006. At the time, she was only able to walk. She started by walking two miles a day. She described the walks as so taxing that they would often bring her to tears. Fortunately, Zorahgail persevered through the difficult times and refused to give up. Look at her now. She’s not just strong for a woman. She’s just plain strong.
Yet despite her recent success, don’t expect Zorahgail to slow down anytime soon. She recently submitted an application to participate in the 2013 American Ninja Warrior television show. The video below was included as part of her application. There are several exercise displays presented throughout the clip. There are also topics discussed that are not exercise related but were part of the application process. Listening to her describe her past makes me appreciate what she has accomplished even more.
Zorahgail is not a lifelong athlete. She was a regular person who decided it was time for a change. Looking at the 2nd image of her above, no one in their wildest dreams could have guessed that she’d be running half marathons and knocking out weighted pull-ups with ease.
In her own words,
I want people to watch my video and walk away with hope, that no matter what happened yesterday, just keep doing work today and your life will change.
She is certainly a testament to those words. Zorahgail is the epitome of hard and consistent work with the basics. There is nothing fancy about what she does in the gym. She thrives on the basics and continues to DO WORK! Anyone who is hesitant to begin training should find inspiration in her story. It is never to late to start and you may surprise yourself in terms of how much can be accomplished.
I wish Zorahgail all the best with American Ninja Warrior and whatever else she decides to pursue.
Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. – George Bernard Shaw11 comments
Craig DeMartino, Jarem Frye, and Pete Davis call themselves the Gimp Monkeys. These climbers made the first all-disabled ascent of Yosemite Valley’s El Capitan in June 2012. The inspiring video below documents their story.
As you watch the film, you will quickly understand what Craig DeMartino meant after stating the following,
We are climbers first, disabled second.
These men refuse to be limited or defined by their disabilities. Yet while their accomplishments are undoubtedly incredible, I am not surprised after hearing them speak. Each man lives with a strong belief that failure is not an option.
As you will see below, their actions certainly back up their words.
The right attitude and one arm will beat the wrong attitude and two arms every time. – Pete Davis9 comments
If you click the image below, you’ll see an email that I received last week.
Upon reading the message, I was literally blown away. It is a tremendous honor to be acknowledged as someone who assisted with such an inspiring comeback. I cannot fathom what this man has endured at such a young age. For him to find inspiration through my material is an amazing feeling.
As a father, I always strive to positively influence my children, but never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined impacting a stranger’s life so significantly. When I first read the email, I found myself at a loss for words. I literally stared at the screen in awe.
It was late at night after a long day of work. I had been responding to emails and planned to read one more. That one more happened to be from Anthony. As I read through his message, my mind raced all over the place. The first thing I thought of was my children. I couldn’t imagine watching them deal with what Anthony has endured.
Initially, I didn’t know how to respond. I waited until the next morning. I replied to the email and heard back from him again shortly after. Anthony shared additional details about his training and I found myself even more amazed and inspired.
Here’s a young man who was so sick that he was confined to a wheelchair for three months. When he was able to walk again, he could hardly make it to the bathroom without gasping for air. Six months later, he’s doing pull-ups, pushups, one leg squats, and lifting a sandbag. To call his comeback amazing is an understatement.
I’ve been around the fight game for many years as an athlete and trainer, but I doubt that I’ve ever met anyone with as much fight in them as Anthony. Whatever pain I’ve felt would surely pale in comparison to what he lived with on a daily basis. Yet despite the pain and fatigue that plagued him, Anthony found a way to get up and move. Once he got started, he refused to give up.
Anthony may have written to me in thanks, but after hearing what he’s been through, I feel as if I’m the one who should be thanking him. His story has inspired me. Just hearing that he found inspiration in some way through my material makes me want to work that much harder. If I inspired him to fight back against such formidable odds, how can I ever hold myself to anything less?
A bad day in most of our lives would be a walk in the park for someone like Anthony. If he found the resiliency to train under such arduous circumstances, how does the average person ever make a valid excuse? I may even find myself using Anthony’s story in the gym if I see someone slacking. No matter how tired you feel, I’m sure what you feel isn’t nearly as painful as what he’s been through. If Anthony can fight himself out of a wheelchair on to a life of shouldering sandbags, I’m sure we can all find the energy to train after a long day of work.
I am honored to have influenced Anthony, but even more grateful for the inspiration that he has given me.
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can. – Sydney Smith14 comments
If you need a mid-week pick me up, look no further than the video below. It’s one of the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen plenty. Be warned though, if you watch it late at night, you may have trouble falling asleep.
Be prepared to get fired up!
Learning about what you’re made of is always time well spent. – Henry Rollins7 comments
I came across the following video on Facebook and knew immediately that it was worthy of a share. What you’ll see and hear throughout are a series of tremendous physical displays with inspiring background audio.
It is always refreshing to see such an inspiring series of movements that rely almost exclusively on bodyweight resistance. You will not find any high-tech tools throughout the video. What you’ll see more than anything is nothing but a series of bars. These individuals make the most of their surroundings and are never at a loss for creativity. Their success does not come from a gym membership. It comes from their own drive and desire to pursue physical mastery.
If you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way. Lack of equipment is not an excuse. The human body was designed to move. The possibilities for movement are literally endless. With creativity and desire, you can make the most of almost any situation.
It always seems impossible until it’s done. – Nelson Mandela2 comments
If you think you are having a bad day, watch the video below and you may reconsider. What you’ll see is a young man who has battled through diabetes, a coma, stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and coronary heart disease. At a such a young age, Michael Maldonado has endured more than most of us will experience in a lifetime. He has been knocked to the ground more times than Rocky Balboa yet continues to get up and fight. There is absolutely no quit in him.
I wish Michael the best and hope that he can continue to defy the odds. Those interesting in learning more about him can follow him at the link below:
Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall. – Confucius7 comments
I received an email this morning from a man who has struggled to adjust to life in a wheelchair since an automobile accident last year. As a former athlete, he described the physical and mental challenge that his new life has presented. He openly discussed his battle with depression and needed advice.
Not knowing what it is like to live through such a traumatic accident, I had no real world experience to share. As a result, my first thought was to instead share a story of a man who has overcome similar circumstances. I thought back to an entry that I made last year about Barstarzz athlete Joshua Rucker (see here).
Joshua Rucker is as inspiring as anyone you’ll ever see. He has continued to train with passion and purpose despite lower body paralysis. Upon looking up his story today, I came across Joshua’s own Youtube channel where he regularly posts training videos. I shared the channel with the individual who emailed me and immediately received a grateful response. He was both amazed and inspired at what he saw from Joshua Rucker. He also asked if I would share his story on the blog to help others who be may struggling with similar circumstances. He went on to say that he had visited my blog several times before. He wanted to write me, but would always end up deleting his message before sending it.
With that in mind, here is a link to Joshua Rucker’s Youtube channel.
You can also see him in recent action below. The following video was taken at the 2013 Los Angeles Fitness Expo.
And for those interested, Joshua Rucker is not alone with his calisthenics ability. Below is one of many additional examples.
Hopefully, others who are struggling with similar circumstances can find hope and inspiration by watching the videos above. Joshua Rucker and many others continue to thrive and control their own destiny regardless of the difficult hand that life has dealt to them. I’m sure I speak for many by saying that I’m blown away and inspired beyond words by seeing him train so passionately.
People are always blaming circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get ahead in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them. – George Bernard Shaw4 comments
The video below was recently posted to my Facebook page. Prior to watching it this morning, I had not heard of the woman seen within (Jenny LaBaw). It took but a few moments however to realize that she deserved a spot within the inspirational section of this blog.
Jenny LaBaw was diagnosed with epilepsy as a child. Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that affects approximately 50 million people around the world. It is a serious disorder. We aren’t talking about a minor bump, bruise, or sprain. Those affected by epilepsy will deal with it for the rest of their lives. There isn’t a cure. The hope instead is to control it.
Fortunately, Jenny LaBaw has accomplished that objective. While the disorder may still affect her, she is in control. Jenny refused to listen when doctors told her what she could or couldn’t achieve. She decided to find out for herself, rather than submitting to the opinion of others.
Jenny is prime example that no one knows what you can or can’t do. No one lives inside your body. What they believe you can do is nothing but an opinion. There will always be critics, naysayers, and those who continually share their pessimistic beliefs. And while everyone is entitled to an opinion, we are also entitled to ignore them. You don’t need to listen.
Imagine how many goals have been crushed by pessimists who said it couldn’t be done. Rather than submitting to such opinions, put on your blinders and continue to march forward. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Maybe you won’t reach all of your goals, but I’m sure you’ll accomplish much more by trying.
To become successful in life, you can’t waste time listening to what others believe can be done. Even acknowledging their doubt is wasted energy. Time is limited, so don’t waste it constantly arguing with someone who doesn’t think you can make it. As Jenny LaBaw has demonstrated, we can all accomplish much more than what most people believe can be done.
Ignore those who believe otherwise and take control of your life. The future has yet to be written. It is your right to write it yourself. Jenny LaBaw has overcome the odds and serves as an inspiration to many. If she is able to train at such a high level despite the disorder, what’s your excuse?
I’ll answer that for you… There is no excuse.
The doubters said,
“Man can not fly,”
The doers said,
“Maybe, but we’ll try,”
And finally soared
In the morning glow
Watched from below.”
- Bruce Lee
The video below features a presentation by South Bronx teacher Stephen Ritz. Throughout the speech, Ritz is both passionate and comical as he explains a program that started within his school. His classroom created the first indoor, edible wall. With the help of students and the local community, his program has already produced over 25,000 pounds of fresh vegetables.
His presentation makes for an entertaining video that is well worth a look. I’m not sharing it with hopes that everyone creates an edible wall (although that would be nice). Instead, my reasons for sharing the video are to highlight the passion of a man who took it upon himself to better his community.
Stephen Ritz is a real life example of the powerful quote listed at the bottom of this entry. His idea has already grown exponentially, perhaps even faster than his vegetables. His passion couldn’t be more real or powerful. Fortunately, it is also something that we can all possess. Once you find what you are passionate about, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. No one can save the world, but we all have the ability to positively impact the lives of others in some way.
I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. – Edward Everett Hale1 comment
If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen a few posts about Dick and Rick Hoyt. Their story is so powerful and touching that I feel obliged to regularly share it. As a father, Dick Hoyt inspired me to be the best parent that I could be. What he has done for his son is amazing. It hits me hard just thinking about it.
It’s rare that I come across any story that is even close to the Hoyt’s in terms of inspiration and impact. There is one that I recently came across however that fits the bill. The video below chronicles the amazing story of brothers Connor and Cayden Long.
If you are a parent, I will warn you. It’s not easy to get through the entire video with dry eyes. What Connor has done and continues to do is beyond incredible.
It’s nice to be reminded that there are still great people in the world.
He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.10 comments