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Luke proves naysayers wrong

Sunday, May 27, 2018


"The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing but in rising every time we fall." These powerful words from Nelson Mandela attest to the strength that we achieve through overcoming the challenges and adversity that we all must face on this amazing journey called life. "Fall seven times, stand up eight" says the Japanese proverb. Whether we manage to find success and joy in life's daily struggles is largely dependent on our ability to persevere. "Every adversity, every failure, and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit" is another life truth from Napoleon Hill.

Just as we develop strength through overcoming life's setbacks, in the field of fitness we build physical muscles through weight training, appropriately called strength or resistance training. It is a pillar of the fitness tripod together with endurance or cardio vascular training and flexibility. Among its many benefits are improved muscle strength and tone, protection from joint injury, improved mobility and balance, greater stamina, and the prevention and control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression, and obesity. Additionally, resistance training helps in weight management, increased bone density, and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. Added benefits include increased self esteem, decreased risk of injury, and a better night's sleep.

The predictable result of a sedentary lifestyle is an almost unavoidable increase in body weight. Most people accumulate fat as they age even if their eating patterns remain the same. Weight training studies show a three-four pound increase in muscle and a three-four pound decrease in fat weight. Hypertension is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is encouraging that numerous studies have indicate significant reductions in resting blood pressure after two or more months of regular or circuit weight training.

The stresses of life today result in depression, fatigue, tension, and overall mood disturbance. Studies suggest significant improvements associated with regular strength or resistance training. In addition, reasonable amounts of weight training can enable elderly adults to regain strength and fitness and reverse physical frailty.

Today, we share the story of Luke Hernandez, a former national footballer whose injury forced him off the field and into strength training. The words of Arnold Schwarzenegger are relevant here: "What we face may look insurmountable but I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn't think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know."

Keep training and keep shining!

Judy Alcantara

BA English Honours/Spanish

CIAR Cert [Cooper's institute of Aerobic Research]

Email: [email protected]


'Fall seven times, get up eight'

My name is Luke Hernandez. I have been a lover of football since I was four years old. I was overjoyed when I became a part of the national football team and put all my energy into giving it my best. I can remember as if it was yesterday. I was on the field and was moving towards the left. Accidentally another player took my right leg and pulled it to the right. I heard a loud pop which could be heard from far away. It was painful and I was devastated. It brought a crashing stop to my career. An MRI showed that I had an ACL or Anterior Cruciate Ligament rupture. I could not accept the fact that I might never again play the game that I loved so much and was in a state of total denial and despondency.

For one year from November to the following November, I had to sit out, missing the football season and feeling that there was nothing more for me. There was available surgery and while some people encouraged me to have it done, others were totally discouraging and insisted that I would never be able to participate in any form of fitness activities in the future. Finally with encouragement from my family, after one year I decided to have the surgery. To make things worse, while undergoing the operation I got a chemical burn behind my leg. It was the size of a copybook and took an additional two months to heal. The pain was excruciating. I couldn’t straighten my leg and fell countless times when trying to walk or even go to the bathroom. I have many tattoos but that pain is nothing compared to the terrible pain that I felt. In trying to stand the blood rushed to the injury site and made the agony unbearable.

I stopped play for one year after the surgery and would sit on the bench watching the players. Some told me that was it for me. I would look at the news and see that people were suffering all around the world. Some were hungry, some had no hope and no escape from their terrible lives. I started to think about how lucky I was to be alive and when I was on the bench and heard people complaining about pain or tiredness, I would tell them how lucky they were and that we should all make the best of what we have. They were even luckier than I was.

I loved my grandfather but he smoked and ate badly and eventually had a quadruple bypass. This made me start to think about the importance of good nutrition. I became involved in Herbal Life and concentrated on healthy eating. The struggle back to health was hard. I needed many, many months of physiotherapy. I pushed myself sometimes beyond endurance to overcome my injury. I had to prove the naysayers wrong, even the doctors who felt that my fitness days were over. Slowly but surely I got back on track. One of my tattoos is a quote I live by "fall seven times, get up eight." Today with God's help and the unending support of my family I am once again doing something that I love. I have found my niche as a personal fitness trainer. I am the founder of Guru Fitness, and I am committed to encouraging others to never give up in life. My clients know that I have zero tolerance for excuses. They can bring their children or their pets but they must show up for training. I tell them that though food is expensive it is better to sacrifice and choose clean food and avoid the sickness that results from bad eating. My motto is Never Give Up. After all that I have been through today, I have a successful business and trust that others will be motivated by my story.


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