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15th Anniversary of Fitness for One and All

By Gary F. Zeolla

 

      Fitness for One and All (FOA) was founded on July 12, 2003. It is now August 1, 2018, so FOA just passed its 15th anniversary. Lots has happened in those fifteen years, for the website, its newsletter, and books available through the website, along with in my life in regard to my health and powerlifting. In this article, I will overview all of these points.

 

The Website

 

      FOA had its roots in my Christian Darkness to Light (DTL) website. The DTL website went online in July of 1996. Its content was and is Christian-oriented. But I eventually began posting information about the health problems I was suffering with and how I was dealing with them. I did so as it was my hope that my experiences would be of help to others. When I began powerlifting again, I also began posting articles about powerlifting and fitness in general.

      But it seemed “out of place” to keep posting so much material on health, fitness, and powerlifting on my Christian DTL website. As such, I decided to combine these materials together into a separate site. It is because some of the articles on this new website were previously posted on the DTL site that the date of initial posting indicated on them is before the time the FOA website went online.

      The purpose statement for the FOA website at its founding and still today is “Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals.” The name “Fitness for One and All” reflects the diversity of the material covered in the articles and other items seen on the website.

      There are now 670 pages on the website. The main subject areas are: General Health and Fitness, Powerlifting and Strength Training, Nutrition, Guest Articles, Dealing with Health Difficulties, and Supplements. Each of these main subjects are then divided into subtopics. For instance, the subtopics for the first subject are: Basic Fitness, TV Shows Reviews, Healthy Living and the Christian, and Miscellaneous.

      With all of these subjects and subtopics, there truly is information that is directed to people with a wide variety health, fitness, and performance goals.

      All of these articles are written in as simple manner as possible, though all of the concepts are covered in detail. As such, the person of average intelligence should be able to understand them.

      In fact, that is the style in all of my writings. Although they are thorough, covering the subject in as much detail as necessary to cover every aspect of the topic, they are written so that the average person can understand them, with the important concepts repeated as often as I feel is necessary for the average person to grasp them. That is why my writings tend to be rather long. But if you put the effort into reading them all the way through, you will be fully versed on the topic.

 

FitTips Newsletter

 

      When the website first went online, I had just been certified as a personal trainer. With that certification, the organization (Fitness Pro Advantage) I was involved with sent out a weekly email newsletter. That newsletter was titled simply “FitTips.” I resent that newsletter through my website.

      However, I became dissatisfied with some of the articles in it. Consequently, I began writing the articles and sending out the newsletter myself.

      With that change, the name of this newsletter officially became FitTips for One and All. The newsletter is HTML formatted for increased visual effect. The new FitTips newsletter was initially published on a somewhat sporadic basis, coming out anywhere from once a week to once a month. But later, I settled on a monthly distribution, then even later, on a bimonthly (every other month) frequency.

      The reason for the bimonthly format is I alternate publishing an issue of FitTips for One and All with my Darkness to Light Newsletter sent out through my Christian website. That means, to get a newsletter each month from me, you would need to subscribe to both newsletters. Follow the preceding links to do so.

      The first issue of the  FitTips for One and All newsletter sent out with the new format was numbered Volume I, Number 1 and sent out on September 12, 2003. This most recent issue is Volume XVI, Number 4 and was sent out on August 1, 2018. Therefore, the newsletter will also soon celebrate its 15th anniversary.

      Each issue of FitTips for One and All usually includes one main article. That article is then posted on the website, but by subscribing to the newsletter, you will get the new article first.

      The newsletter also indicates any additional new items that have been posted on the FOA website. In addition, it indicates any new items that have been posted on my Darkness to Light and Biblical and Constitutional Politics websites.

      Therefore, by subscribing to the newsletter, you can stay up-to-date as to anything new on any of my websites.

 

Books

 

      There are now five books available through the FOA website. The most recent is Creationist Diet: Second Edition: Bible and Science Based Nutrition. It is an update to the First Edition, which was published way back in the summer of 2001. The First Edition had a different subtitle, Nutrition and God-given Foods according to the Bible. An update to it was a book I had been wanting to write for some time, as I long regretted the viewpoint on diet presented in the First Edition.

      That viewpoint was a vegan diet. I had begun such a diet shortly before publishing that book, though prior to that, I had been following a near-vegetarian or near-vegan diet for quite some time, going all the way back to college in the early 1980s. But my health had been poor for years and totally failed shortly after that book was published. As such, it was obvious a vegan diet was not working for me.

      Consequently, I did a lot of experimenting, research, and restudying of the Bible, and that led me to revamp my own eating plan. Since that new eating plan worked week for me, I wanted to write about it, in hopes my new-found ideas on diet might help others.

      However, rather than updating the Creationist Diet book, I wrote a new book in 2007 on nutrition and the Bible, using a phrase from the subtitle of the Creationist Diet book in the new book, so it was titled God-given Foods Eating Plan. I am still following the eating plan advocated in that book, and I do believe it is scientifically and Biblically sound. As such, that book basically replaced the First Edition of my Creationist Diet book.

      But it still bugged me that the original Creationist Diet book was available. That is why I decided to write a Second Edition, as a full replacement for the First Edition. It was finished May 9, 2017 and is 553 pages, two and half times as long as the First Edition.

      It should be noted, there is very little redundant material between my God-given Foods Eating Plan and my Creationist Diet: Second Edition books, so to get my full perspective on diet and nutrition, it is best to read both books. Both advocate similar eating plans, though in quite different manners.

      In addition to these books on nutrition, there is a short book available on the website titled Overcoming Back Pain: A Mind-Body Solution. The background to this booklet is, I was a national champion powerlifter in college. In the 123-pound weight class, I was able to squat and deadlift over 400 pounds. But I had to cease competing due to low back pain that developed in the fall of 1982. For the next thirteen years the pain or the fear of it severely limited what physical activities I could engage in, and I couldn’t lift more than twenty pounds without experiencing pain.

      Then the pain worsened in the spring of 1994 to the point where I was crippled by it for the next six years. I couldn’t even lift more than two pounds due to the pain. I also had to spend the bulk of my day lying flat on my back. During those years of crippling low back pain, I tried just about every traditional and alternative treatment that is recommended for back pain. But nothing worked.

      However, I finally found complete relief in the spring of 2000. And in the eighteen years since that time, the pain has not returned in any significant degree, and I am now living my life back pain free. In fact, I am powerlifting again.

      This booklet describes the traditional and alternative back pain treatments I tried and what finally worked. As such, if the reader is suffering from low back pain, be assured there is a solution. I am living proof of that.

      With having started powerlifting, I also wrote a book on powerlifting titled, Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting: A Comprehensive Guide to the World’s Strongest Sport. This book is geared towards the beginner to intermediate powerlifter, along with the person just thinking about getting into the sport. It presents sound training, competition, dietary, and supplement advice to aid the reader in starting and progressing in the sport of powerlifting. It will also help the reader to wade through the maze of federations, divisions, and supportive gear now found in powerlifting.

      In addition, this book details some of the personal difficulties I have encountered in my many years of training and competition in the hopes that doing so will help the reader to avoid the same mistakes and problems. Therefore, this book is truly a compressive guide to powerlifting.

 

My Health

 

      I have struggled with many health problems throughout my life. That is the reason for the Dealing with Health Difficulties section of the FOA website. One of these difficulties was indicated previously, crippling low back pain. That problem I completely overcame, but the other problems I still deal with every day. They include Stiff Person Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.

      Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) is a very rare auto-immune disorder. At one time I was very stiff all day long, being barely able to walk. Periodically, I would have episodes of being completely paralyzed for hours to days at a time.

      The all day long stiffness lasted about a year, starting in the fall of 2001. It then tapered off until I was about back to normal by the fall of 2003, but I was still rather stiff in the mornings. The episodes of being completely paralyzed began in the winter of 2001-2002. At one time, they were coming almost weekly, but then also tapered off so I only had an episode every few months. The last episode for some time occurred in the fall of 2005, so I thought I was completely over this problem. But it came roaring back in the August of 2009, when I had two flare-ups within a week. The second was particularly serious and left me almost completely paralyzed for two days.

      For the next four years I was still rather stiff in the mornings and had periodic flare-ups of being paralyzed. But again, thank God, the stiffness has mostly alleviated, and I have not had a flare-up since then.

      Fibromyalgia is basically chronic pain plus chronic fatigue. I was diagnosed with it on August 27, 2001. I got the pain mostly under control using the same mind-body techniques I used to overcome the back pain. It only flares up when I am stressed out, but the fatigue is still a problem. I have to rest periodically throughout the day. I am always exhausted by the evenings and am too tired to go out anywhere.

      The fatigue is one reason I have no social life and am unable to work outside of my home. It is also part of the reason I set up a home gym, as traveling back and forth to a commercial gym left me too exhausted. It is also why I only enter powerlifting contests close to my home, as lengthy drives would be too exhausting, and with the way things are now at airports, an airplane trip would be out of the question.

      But a greater reason for only being able to work and work out at home is the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). I had allergies all of my life, but they began to worsen in the fall of 2000. By the summer of 2005, they had worsened to the point of being described as MCS and is now my worst health problem.

      I am terribly allergic to any kind of chemicals, including any kind of cosmetic products. That is why I have a hard time being around people, as people have chemicals on their bodies, clothing, and coats (perfume, cologne, make-up, hair spray, cigarette smoke, remnants of detergent and soap, etc.). As a result, I rarely leave my home and never have visitors to my home. See My Life with MCS for more in this regard.

      These are the worst of my problems, but below is a full list of health problems I have dealt with in my life (more or less in order of developing them).

 

Various Childhood Accidents

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Reactive Hypoglycemia

Binge/ starve eating disorder

Insomnia

Numerous food and seasonal allergies

Low back pain

First bicycle accident

Neurological “tics”

TMJ

Unexplained noises in my head at night

Crippling low back pain

Second bicycle accident

Clinically low testosterone levels

Restless Leg Syndrome

Fibromyalgia

Stiff Person Syndrome

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

 

      Each of these problems is discussed at some point on the website, and they are overviewed near the end of the autobiography posted on my personal website.

 

My Powerlifting and Career Plans

 

      As already indicated, I have been powerlifting since college. Actually, I entered two bench press meets in high school, the first way back in 1978. That first meet was a disaster, as I bombed out, but the second went well, with me winning a fourth-place trophy.

      It was in college that I began entering full powerlifting contests (squat, bench press, and deadlift), and I did very well. I was a two-time Pennsylvania Collegiate Powerlifting Champion, winning Best Lifter the second year. I won National Collegiate Powerlifting Championships my sophomore year in the 114-pound weight class and was runner-up at Nationals my junior year at 123s. I broke every PA state collegiate record in both weight classes (except for the bench at 114s) and one national collegiate record (425-pound squat at 123s). I also had won a whole wall-full of trophies.

      I majored in Nutrition Science (Penn State; 1983). My plans while in college were that I would make a name for myself with my lifting, and then between my lifting experience and my nutrition degree, I would open a gym and be able to counsel people in both exercise and diet. I thus had had planned on starting a personal trainer service long before “personal trainer” even became a term, let alone a profession.

      But the aforementioned back pain forced me to stop powerlifting in my senior year in college and led to me giving up on that career path. When I overcame the back pain in 2000, I began training with free weights again and to think about competing again. I entered my first contest in 21 years in April 2003. I continued to compete until June of 2009, during which time I entered ten contests.

      It was also during this time that I started FOA and wrote all of the preceding mentioned books, except the most recent, so I sort of resumed my career plans in the fitness industry.

      But then after the June 2009 contest, my health took another turn for the worse, and I did not compete for the next six years. But I then entered a contest on February 28, 2015. Including that contest, I have entered five contests so far in the ‘10s, with plans to enter a sixth contest later this month (August 18, 2018).

      I have now broken three all-time raw American masters (over 50 years old) American records and one all-time master world record, with hopes to break a second world record at my upcoming contest. I am listed on the Top 20 all-time raw open (all ages) ranking lists for two weight classes and two different categories, and I have set or broken 55 federation records. For further details, see My Powerlifting Accomplishments.

      With my ongoing experience in powerlifting, the largest section on the FOA website is the section on Powerlifting and Strength Training. On it, I have been posting my Full Workout Logs, along with Workout Videos. For each contest, I post a very detailed Contest Report.

      There are now hundreds of workout videos available, and dozens of pages of workout logs. It is my hope that others might be able to use my training methods to aid them in developing effective training methods for themselves.

      To that end, I hope to write a second book on powerlifting in the near future. It will be titled, Powerlifting to a T: Training Plans for Powerlifters and Other Strength Athletes. The title refers to the book presenting various training plans, all beginning with the letter “T,” which I have designed and used with good success.

 

Conclusion

 

      Much has happened in the past fifteen years since Fitness for One and All first went online, and FOA has grown to be a great resource for many health and fitness topics. It is my hope and prayer it continues to be a source of quality information for the wide variety of covered topics.

 

15th Anniversary of Fitness for One and All. Copyright 2018 by Gary F. Zeolla.

The above article was posted on this website August 1, 2018.

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