Open My Heart Now Baby – Day 16 Post Op.

25 04 2015
DAY 16 POST OP Pumping little pink weights and getting the blood  flowing.

DAY 16 POST OP Pumping little pink weights and getting the blood flowing.

It’s been 16 day’s since my open heart surgery.  In these past  16 days I learned some things. That I have an amazing support system of friends and relatives, that I don’t like sitting in the back seat of the car and that Kevin Bacon has nothing on Dr. Bavaria when it comes to six degrees of separation.  It seems like everyday someone emails me or tells me that Dr. Bavaria did their father’s surgery, their mom mom’s valve replacement or they’ve worked with him, for him, or think he’s god. I think he’s god too.

DAY 1 -  Post op ICU hours after surgery. Today is the first time I have seen this picture. Wow

DAY 1 – Post op ICU hours after surgery. Today is the first time I have seen this photo.

It was kinda neat in an eerie and peculiar way to have a nurse stop by my room to tell me she watched my surgery and how 4 fellows, who are doctors doing their fellowship, pulled the wires that were holding my sternum closed while one fellow wired, sewed and glued me shut. Her words: “It was so cool. They literally leaned  back with their body weight and pulled on the wires while one fellow closed you up.”  I’d actually like to see my video. My post op report came in the mail today and I learned I was cross clamped for 160 minutes and on bypass for 217 minutes. Technically dead for a large part of my 6 hour surgery.  Body temperature lowered and then brought back to life by reconnecting my heart.  My father with his disposable flip phone took a picture of me in the ICU and sent it today.  My emotions vary looking at this picture, but mainly I’m thinking that I couldn’t imagine seeing one of my kids like this.  In the 16 days since surgery I’ve made some progress.   And although you would look at me and never know I just had major surgery I am dealing with  daily killer headaches, went  AFib two days ago and I get dizzy and light headed if I get up  too fast. I have noticed I am burping a lot but am totally blaming that on the pig valve, lol. I am not craving bacon, have not regained my love of coffee and peanut butter yet but chocolate still makes everything better.

Over the years I have often got asked while working out what I was training for? My response always was on the likes of “My next birthday”  but my usual response was “life”.  I just didn’t know I was actually training for open heart surgery. My abs made sitting up on day two without assistance easier, my thunder thighs from spinning made getting off the toilet easier and  my glutes from squatting made getting out of bed a tad less difficult.

I have eased back to work teaching spin off the bike, giving orders for TREAD & SHRED class and training a couple of clients who know I am not picking up their weights, demonstrating spiderman push-ups and by no means jumping rope with them.  I love, love, love  jumping rope.   I seriously cannot sit and watch any more daytime TV because it has convinced me that this is why America is full of overweight lazy people. Honestly all of my silly shows on Bravo that I am addicted to seem like rocket science compared to the amount of talk shows, Judge shows and game shows on TV.   I’ll take any Housewives shows over the annoying ladies on the View, Kathy Lee Gifford who gave me a migraine, and I will say it…… watching Kelly Ripa is like watching a puppet with a hand up its ass. Oh, and  “Let’s Make a Deal.” ….. How about” Let’s get a job”, “Let’s Volunteer”  or “let’s go workout.” ” I’ll take the box marked LIFE that Carol Merril is standing in  front of Monty.”

I have been told I look great.  People can’t believe I had open heart surgery, that I should be home resting, taking time off. I have even been told that I should look into going on disability. Are you serious?  Disability? What’s my disability?  I wake up everyday and I have a pulse, and I say “thank you.”  The only disability is a bad attitude and the belief that you are owed something in life.   I have a choice to make everyday…. to be mad about what I went through or to move forward and be happy that each day I am stronger than the day before. I am a lucky girl.  Hallelujah brother that my girls will come home from college in the next few weeks and will see me looking like their normal mom, tell me my scar is gross and ask me if we can we go to the mall.   If I have one thing to say is that life is good and yes I love Madonna.

Please follow my fitness blog and now my journey after open heart surgery. To read the original pre-op post Fit, Fifty & WTF go to hopenagy.wordpress.com and scroll to 4/7/2015

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YOU DON’T WORKOUT BECAUSE OF WHAT? by Hope Nagy

10 02 2014

“Success is not to be measured by the position someone has reached in life, but the obstacles he has overcome while trying to succeed.”  Booker T. Washngton

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Johnny Quinn IFBB

“I can’t exercise.” I hear it every day from people I know personally, not strangers.  Bad knee, bad back, bad hip, headaches, etc. And while I don’t discredit their discomfort, as I too have a bad knee, a bad back and my newest pain my hip, I do question their reasoning for not exercising.  I personally know people on disability for ailments that I question, “you really can’t work with that?” This is a subject that makes my blood boil and is something that I have a hard time with. I mean, if you could exercise and feel better, lessen the pain, and improve the quality of your life, why wouldn’t you?

While at the gym recently I noticed a guy with an amazing physique that was training with a fellow trainer Joe Quinn of ProQ Fitness  What I noticed first and then later say’s it all, and is the reason why I personally can’t accept some of the reasons why able bodied people tell me they can’t exercise.

Joe yelled over to me to see if I could I help him with a spot for this client. It wasn’t until I was walking over to them that I noticed that the guy with the huge biceps was in a wheel chair and was about to do a shoulder press with some heavy weight that needed a little assist. When the set was done Joe introduced me to his younger brother Johnny.  I walked away but throughout my workout I couldn’t help but watch Johnny because there seemed to be no obstacles in his way.  Although Johnny has some huge muscles I found 12 that were by far being used the most: Zygomaticus major and minor (4), Orbicularis oculi (2), Levator labii superioris (2), Levator anguli oris (2) and Risorius (2)… the 12 muscles that make up a smile.  A smile that said: I am one lucky guy to be able to exercise.

Meet Johnny Quinn, IFBB International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness.

In 1998, Johnny was involved in a near fatal motorcycle accident that left him with a 10% chance to live. Two broken femurs, a broken arm, a broken jaw, massive head trauma and a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down.  He was 21 when this happened.

At age 19 if I asked Johnny Quinn what is the meaning of success in one word, what would teen Johnny have answered me? 

Wealthy

Your body screamed “COMPETITION” when I first saw you at the gym.  Some people notice eyes, some breasts, I notice biceps. Are you use to people staring at your physique?

Thanks! At first I felt like everyone would look at me because I was in a wheelchair. Now, I’m up on stage showing off my body and the last thing people see is the chair.

After the accident how many months did you spend at Magee Rehabilitation in Philadelphia?

One month in ICU, three months at Magee Rehab. Three long months, but it gave me the foundation to rebuild my life.

Prior to your accident you worked out, but nothing like now.  After the accident and being confined to a wheel chair you told me you watched your stomach get bigger and bigger.  Some people would have never even dreamed of heading back into the gym but you decided to take back control of your body, and head back to the gym. 

Mentally I was determined to beat this thing from day one. I never lost control of that.  The first year out was the toughest, but I had a lot of support from my family and friends. I discovered that with God all things are possible, and took it one day at a time. Oh, I had some battles with fear, anxiety & depression but I never let it take control. However, physically, I had to heal before I could really do any weight training. I had to focus on just being able to perform the daily activities of life. About two years after I got home I felt strong enough and independent enough to join back at the gym and to start weight training. The rest is history.

First days back at the gym, what was it like?

Without the use of my legs or my core muscles that help stabilize myself, training was very challenging at first and frustrating. We just had to think outside the box and always think safety too. I have titanium rods in my spine and have to be careful not to break them. Once we did start learning what works and developing a routine, it felt like a victory in itself. It was basically trial and error to see what works best. I am still discovering different ways to train the muscle in a different way to shock it and stimulate more growth.

You were shown a Flex magazine article which featured Men’s Wheelchair Body Building. That picture spoke something to you?

As soon as I saw that article and pics of those wheelchair bodybuilders I knew that’s what I wanted to do. If I had to be in a wheelchair, I wanted to look like that!

How long after your injury did you enter your first body building competition? 

My first competition was in 2001, three years after my injury. I was the only guy in a wheelchair, but once I got out on stage and heard the response from the audience after I rocked the house with my posing routine, I was hooked.  The support from all the other bodybuilders was awesome too! As nervous as I was they made me feel relaxed and confident in myself. It was a life changing event. It’s now 12 years later and I have since become an IFBB Pro Wheelchair Bodybuilder.

Are you always training? 

Bodybuilding is a way of life, a lifestyle. You are always training to make improvements for the next show, consistency is the key. It takes persistence, dedication, and devotion. Not everyone can do it. I’ll take a week or two off after a competition, but I get back on a schedule depending on my next show. However, taking some time off is always needed if you want to survive in this business.

Finish this sentence….. When this show is done I am eating ……..

Pizza, cheesburger and fries!

Yummy but I think I hear the Mcgurgles!  What’s playing in your ear buds when training?

Heavy Metal

What playing on the stage when you’re posing?

At first heavy metal, but then I wanted to do a song that meant something and allowed me to share my faith, so I toned it down and tried some christian praise songs. That was definitely moving, but I needed more power. I found this christian metal band “Disciple” who have the power and message together, so that is my music these days.

Here you are more than  decade later I’d say you proved the doctors wrong and then some, and some more!

I guarantee I would never have done many of the things in my life that I’ve done sif not for my accident. Most of all being a professional bodybuilder.

In the past 12 years tell me what shows you have competed in?

 In 2002 I competed in my first NPC National Wheelchair Bodybuilding show in Florida, where I placed 4th in my weight division. I continued to compete each year getting bigger and better each year. Along with the NPC Wheelchair Nationals in Palm Beach, Florida every year I also competed at the NPC Junior Nationals in New Orleans, now called the NPC USA Wheelchair Championships. Two shows a year is enough, and they are really the only wheelchair shows out there. In 2010 I achieved my goal I set from day 1, and that was to win the Overall title at the NPC Wheelchair Nationals. Winning the overall title earned me my official IFBB Pro Card. That was a great feeling of accomplishment. My greatest actually.

Tell me about your training program.

I train 4 days a week. One body part at a time, except for arms. That way I can focus 100% to one muscle and just kill it. Get in and get out. So many people spend way to much time in the gym. I’ll add cardio in getting ready for a show.

Diet? Share please! We want to know. 

Diet is the key to successful bodybuilding. You have to eat to grow. My diet consists of 6 meals a day. My protein sources consist of grilled chicken, turkey, lean red meat, eggs, fish, and whey protein powder by Tak-N Sports Supplements. Carbs are mostly oatmeal, sweet or white potatoes, rice (white or brown) and cream of rice. Green veggies also like broccoli, asparagus, and green beans. I never used to calculate my calories. I just judged by how I look, but since I turned pro I want to take it to the next level, which is why I started working with Vic Tringali at teamvic.com With his knowledge and experience I look to make some major improvements in size & conditioning. After only 10 weeks of contest prep with him last year I made tremendous improvements from the previous year to take 3rd place at the 2013 IFBB Houston Pro Show. My calorie intake for the show was around 1800-1900 per day. This off season it’s probably around 4000. With a good off season program & contest prep with Vic this year I look forward to making some serious gains. Just wait and see what the finished product looks like come October. Stay tuned!

4000 calories off season do you know what us gals would do to be able to eat 4000 calories? Any Supplements?

Lots of whey protein powder by Tak-N Sports Supplements.  Amino acids, creatine, glutamine. Whole food is the most important thing though.

One moment can change your life but what  do you think makes the difference between the person who can accept the change and the challenges it brings and the person who throws in the towel?

It comes from within. It comes from the heart and when you invite Jesus into your heart, then there’s nothing too hard for you to overcome.  Because with God all things are possible. Sometimes it takes something tragic to happen for you to realize that, but it doesn’t have to.

You have a smile that lights up a room. You’re big and strong looking but you don’t look angry and mean.  Or am I wrong? Do you have good days and bad days? 

I always have good & bad days. I’m human. I get angry at myself than anything, but I try to always keep a positive mind. Yeah I try to play the tough guy part, but I am a big softy. I’m Italian. However, I will release the wrath of God if necessary. Lol!

Do you sometimes listen to people bitch about their problems and think, OMG you have have no idea what a real problem is! Or how about people who take beter care of their cars then their health?  Choose not to exercise.  I often say to people, do you know how many others would trade places with you to have your heart, your lungs, your legs?

I agree, but like I said, that’s why I like to get out and share my story and mostly just let people see the way I live my life. Walk the walk, not just talk the talk. No pun intended.. Bodybuilding puts me in the spotlight and I like to use that as an avenue to encourage & inspire people.

Your brother Joe owner of  ProQfitness.com Personal Training is one of your biggest fans.  Joe had this to say about you. 

          Joe Quinn“I am his biggest fan! I am a proud big brother of all his life accomplishments, which to me seem unprecedented. His ability to thrive in moments of extreme misfortune and tremendous adversity is attractive, heroic and nothing short of amazing. He utilizes his ambitions when a specific opportunity presents itself.  Johnny is a celebrity in my eyes.”

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Joe has been a tremendous help. Believe it or not Joe and I just started training together over the past two years. He has been   there as my training partner and pretty much my right hand man. He comes to my shows and helps me get ready.  Its nice to be able to spend time with my brother like this. Its a team effort! I can always count on him.

 Joe spoke about  training someone in a wheelchair.

          Joe Quinn “Learning how to train someone in a wheelchair was a whole new ball game. Most of my learning and expertise came from Johnny himself and I was able to obtain some valuable techniques from other fitness experts in the field. Once becoming familiar with the training process,  the biggest obstacle as a trainer in this setting is Patience. There is a lot of transferring of Johnny in and out of the wheelchair from one machine/exercise to the next in a very specific and safe fashion. I have to stay alert and  very attentive.” 

I know God and your faith is a huge part of your life.  Who else are thankful for?

I am thankful for so many people in my life who have made an impact one way or another.  But the one I can single out is my mom, who has put my life before hers since I was born, and has been like a rock through everything, I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. I owe my life to her. She is a blessing from God.

Is there anything you can live without?

It’s amazing what you can adapt to in the face of adversity and after all I’ve been through there’s nothing I can’t live without.

Today at age 37 I am asking you what is your definition of “success”?

Fulfilling Gods will for my life, meeting Him in heaven to hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servent.”

Do we stop when we are done or are we never finished?  Do we ever reach all of our goals?

I think that if we don’t continue to set goals our lives will become stagnant.

I love the quote form Epictetus: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters”  

Thats what makes the man!

BAM! (just had to say that. lol) Thanks Johnny 

Johnny will be competing next in October in Houston Texas.  Besides bodybuilding Johnny works full time for an Insurance Company and also does motivaional speaking engagements. You can learn more about Johnny at Johnnyquinn.com or contact him at quinnyjt21@aol.com

Personal Training by Joe Quinn  ProQfitness.com

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Biking in Whistler Canada a Mountain Bikers Oasis by Hope Nagy

12 10 2013

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I just got back from a  trip to Whistler, in Canada.   Home to the  2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games ,Whistler is about a two and a half hour car ride from Vancouver along the scenic Highway 99, also known as the Sea to  Sky Highway. Whistler in  the winter months is a mecca for skiers and snowboarders.  In the spring, summer, and a little bit into the fall it is a mountain bikers paradise.  From cross country to downhill, Whistler offers it all. The views are amazing, also shared by road cyclists and hikers.

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SEA TO SKY HIGHWAY 

If you’re planning a trip to Whistler for mountain biking, I will tell you that September is the least expensive time of the year to go because it’s the end of bike season.   I would recommend going spring or summer if you can afford it.  Even though the prices for a hotel room are exceptionally low in September the risk of rain is high, as I found out first hand. Also the local bike shops sell off their rentals at the end of the season to make room for next years new models, so I did have a hard time finding decent bikes even though there are a lot of shops in Whistler Village and the surrounding areas. After several calls in the weeks prior to my vacation I was able to rent myself a 2014 Santa Cruz Juliana and my boyfriend a Santa Cruz 29’er Tallboy from Evolution.    Evolution Whistler: Snowboard, Skate, Bike, Fashion store is located right in Whistler Village, were very accommodating, and the bikes we rented were pristine.  Suddenly my vintage 2001 Cannondale Scalpel might need to be replaced by a new Santa Cruz!  I normally ride a men’s frame, but I enjoyed the ride and feel of this women’s bike. My boyfriend Kevin, who usually rides a 26″ tire, loved his 29’er Tallboy and confirmed for him that he wants to make the switch to a larger tire.

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Whistler is home to Whistler Bike Park, http://bike.whistlerblackcomb.com. The park is for riders of all levels. They have tight single track with drop offs, steep rock faces, roots, twists and turns, and ramps. After watching the awesome videos on their site  this non-armour clad gal decided to go the route of the hills and cross-country trails outside the bike park .  Body armour and motocross style downhill helmets are a must. The sight of dozens of downhillers walking their bikes through Whistler Village is pretty cool, and watching the downhillers race down the mountain is even cooler. I wish I had the balls to ride downhill!

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I was lucky after a shout out on my Facebook page MotivateHopeStrength, to have the company Whistler Bike Guide recommended to me.  Some guides take their vacations at the end of the season, but I totally lucked out. Not only did I find a great guide, but I got the man who published the first Whistler bike guide, and one of the designers of the Whistler Trail System at Lost Lake Park!  Grant Lamont  guided us up some awesome climbs, and quick twisting descending single tracks. No map for us needed.  Grant lead and we followed.  The trail system is 126 miles of single track in the forest, and the trails are marked like a ski slope. Green circles, blue squares and black diamonds.  Every trail system has a name and we rode most of the Zappa system, with names like Disco Boy, we also caught a ride on Comfortably Numb and the ever popular River Runs Through it.   Grant gave us a three hour plus tour that gave me the hill climbs I wanted, and the downhills that my boyfriend loves.  His expertise was appreciated, and made the ride more enjoyable since we didn’t have to think about getting lost, and instead got to enjoy the ride. He also gave us an in-depth history of the trail system along with some other entertaining stories.

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 Grant Lamont –Whistler Bike Guide

Whistler Village was quaint.  Great shops, lodging, restaurants, and an over abundance of coffee shops.   Like most resort towns, Whistler is pricey.  The Four Seasons Whistler was beautiful and at the off-season rate it was very affordable.  When I search for a hotel it must have a gym/fitness room.   Location and a quality gym are my top priorities. I really wish more hotels would understand that a lot of us gym rats actually do base our choice of lodging based on it’s fitness room.    I give the Four Seasons Whistler a 10 out of 10 for the beautiful room, impeccable service and amenities, but only an 8.5 out of 10 for the fitness center.  The cardio equipment was in abundance and was like new.  At least 10 treadmills, ellipticals, bikes and even 14 sparkling new Schwinn Spin bikes. There were a few machines all that I didn’t particularly care for and one that was broken.   I never saw one person use these machines, most likely because they were awkward and were not user friendly. The small weight area had just one bench, which sat snugly in a very small area making it impossible for more than one person to lift. I will say I was pleasantly surprised that there was a bench press with a bar and plates, and a nicely sized aerobic room where they hold classes in the busier season.  For a hotel of this size and grandeur the weight area could be a little bigger so that at least two people could use it at the same time. I did love that the gym was located right next to the spa and I throughly enjoyed going right from the gym to the outside hot tubes, steam rooms and showers. Note to the Four Seasons, you can hire me to design and equip your fitness rooms!

FOUR SEASON WHISTLER

FOUR SEASON WHISTLER

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Heading back to Vancouver we stopped at the Capilano Bridge Suspension Park.  Spectacular and breathtaking bridges, cat walks contained in a rain forest. The perfect ending to a perfect trip! Now… where should I go next?

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Hope Nagy Personal Trainer

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You Always Had the Power My Dear

9 10 2013

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The email usually starts the same “Hi my name is…” Then the person goes on to tell me that they are interested in hiring a personal trainer because they need to lose weight, never worked out, need to be pushed, motivated and accountable to someone, getting married, etc.  But a year ago I got an e-mail that included this:

After successfully losing more than 160 pounds over 6+ years, working a crazy desk job and being lax about working out, the pounds have started to creep back.  I’m getting married in December (and have already ordered my dress) so I’m looking to get stronger and healthier.

Can you  possibly get any stronger than the strength and dedication it took to lose 160 lbs this gal already had?  The answer is yes, yes and YES!!!!!

One of the best things about this new client that came to me in September of 2012 and was getting married in December is she wasn’t my typical bride to be. She didn’t say the things I usually hear from brides. The I’m wearing a strapless dress and I want to lose 40 pounds have sculpted arms, accentuated collar bones,  and my legs are fine cause the dress is covering them.”  Christine told me I don’t expect miracles in the next few months I just want to look good in my dress. Did I actually have a bride that I didn’t have to give my I’m not a magician speech and that these requests come with hard work and SWEAT?   Christine lost weight in the few months and  look absolutely gorgeous in her dress.  But this story isn’t about brides and training and looking great in a wedding dress. The real story begins the 6 years before I met Christine and continues with the year we have spent together once a week, burpee after burpee after burpee.  See un like most brides after their big day Christine didn’t turn down her exercise regime, or take time off.   This married lady turned it up and the pounds went down and down each week. Putting us at this very moment I am typing to 50 pounds in a little over one year.

Like most girls who are not comfortable in a gym atmosphere, finding somewhere to workout  that is not in everyone’s view is where they either request to train or somehow manage to move me. Can we go over there they say.   Listen gals let’s get this straight. Nobody is looking at you. The guys and gals in front of the mirrors are so vain they don’t have time to look at you!

So what prompts most over weight people to make a change? Sometimes it’s  a trip to the doctor, blood test results or maybe heart disease.   Christine had no alarming medical diagnosis she just was sick and tired of being over weight.   No more talking about it,  waiting for the right time, New Years Day or a Monday.  She pressed go and got up and went and put her plan into action with cleaning up her diet and exercising.  A year ago I was told by Christine that she doesn’t run. She does now. Did her first 5K this year.  “I can’t do a push-up” has been replaced with “how many and do I clap or burpee in between ?”  In 12 months I never heard Christine say  “I can’t do that.” She ALWAYS says to me the words, “I’ll try.”  One pound losses were never a bummer for Christine. No losses we never upsetting, but just more motivation for her to tighten up her diet and exercise a little harder.   This past year I witnessed the decline of jean sizes this year and saw how exciting it was for Christine to get rid of the old clothes and go shopping for new ones. My favorite texts said “Hi!!! I just bought a pair of 27, yes 27, True Religion jeans. I don’t have muffin top. I’m in shock!” and “I can’t believe the ass in the mirror is mine!”  That ass has done a million squats, of every version I can think of in the last 12 months, it better look good or my ass is grass! My business card is stamped on that ass of hers.

Whether Christine’s goal was looking good in her wedding dress, or recently zipping up a dress she wanted to wear to a friend’s wedding, she always set realistic goals and then worked, not wished towards that goal.  When she said to me in her initial e-mail she wanted to get stronger, she didn’t realize that she already had an over abundance of strength and dedication that even i I could not give her.  That type of strength has to come from inside. That strength is what is needed to succeed and never give up.  No personal trainer is going to give that to you. Trainers  might push you, pull you, and tug some things out of you give you muscular strength, endurance and cardio but  dedication and the POWER to succeed is internal and has to come from you.

Gone are the pink baby weights and hiding in the corner.  Christine is pressing steel in double digits, running, spinning, squatting, and standing in front of the mirror. Why? Because I tell her to. Look at your muscles. Check out your form. That’s what the mirrors are for. That’s why we gym rats hog the mirrors. Watching your body’s muscles is like sculpting a piece of art.

When someone loses weight they also lose some inhibitions. Confidence is often gained. Strength surfaces and is used in multiple ways. Yes there will be the haters. “You’re too skinny”, “You’re obsessed”.  Your real friends will let you know if they see a problem or in Christine’s case I told her recently  “I’ll tell you if you’re getting too skinny.”

There is a great saying from Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz: “You always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it yourself.”

Christine you are an inspiration to the many people who have to lose weight and to get healthy. Being your bad bitch, oops, I mean bad witch this year was rewarding to me, and your constant smile and positive attitude is so refreshing. I thank you and I’ll get you my pretty at this weeks training.

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Christine and a friends dog

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Christine & Tom December 2012

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Hope Nagy Certified Personal Trainer

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