Growing up in New Jersey in the 1950s... We swam in a mercury- laden river along with other toxic waste, we ran in the cloud behind DDT Spraying trucks in our neighborhoods that was for killing mosquitoes, our walls were painted with Lead paint, our buildings were insulated with Asbestos, factories billowed all kinds of smoke over us, there were no Emission standards for gasoline and diesel cars & trucks, we had only 3 different types of vegetables in our house (ever), I only remember 3 different kinds of fruit, we had no idea of the 'source' of our meats, poultry and fish. Tobacco was allowed just about everywhere except Church and school.
I had measles, German measles, mumps, chicken pox, various flu s & asthma when I was a kid. Today I feel fantastic.
Bed rest, aspirin, Vick's VapoRub & Calamine lotion were used for everything except for the asthma- they put me in an oxygen tent for a few days when it was really bad. Then my Mom gave up on traditional medicine when they said I was allergic to everything they injected into my arm and they wanted us to get rid of my dog, carpeting, as well as wrap my mattress & pillow in plastic (see BubbleBoy).
But Mom said No to just about every Drug along with Inhalers & we kept our dog.
The Medical/Science/Pharmaceutical industries are as corrupt as Governments-- sadly follow the money... Current Drug regimens & Immunizations DO NOT Strengthen Immune Systems! (Actually just the opposite seems to occur)
Methinks that the current approach to fighting disease is backwards. The Human Body is nothing less than a Miraculous Gift that has incredible capacities to heal. Instead of dumping tons of resources into 'finding cures' in a laboratory, we would be much better served by getting our planet in order- land, water & air. The earth abounds with cures for 'what ails ya'.
Instead of 'science' being so arrogant in thinking they can improve what is naturally provided in this world, the goal should be to return it to its natural state. Of course that would take a Moral Compass which Governments, many Businesses, Educational Institutions, the Medical Community, the Science Community, the Agricultural Community, and Wall Street have not come close to displaying.
It's a shame because no one gets out alive anyway. And to think we have the God-given tools to greatly decrease Human Suffering yet many would sell their very souls for personal profit at the expense of all humanity. A sad state indeed.
Hoping we can all 'fight the good fight' on all levels with an eye to saving the planet for all generations to follow. I trust there is a Better Life after this!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!
Since 1889, the Market Street Mission in Morristown, NJ has been changing the lives of those who are homeless, poor and struggling with addiction.
Perillo Tours generously sponsored Russell Jones to spread some valuable encouragement to those in need during this Christmas Season. And what a night it was!
Russell owns My Back & Body Clinic at Perillo headquarters and is a dynamic presenter as well as long-time friend.
The men were on the edge of their seats as Russell performed his signature feats of strength while regaling them with stories that brought real hope to a group of men who many times feel hopeless.
And at the end it was announced that Perillo Tours had donated a copy of Russell’s best-selling book- ‘Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired: Solutions for a Better, Healthier Life’- for all in attendance.
It was as if Santa himself had walked in. After the books were all handed out, the men stood on line to get an autograph and express how grateful they were.
The group’s leader Dennis Gaynor commented: “It was an amazing evening. Everyone was touched in a positive way.”
This is about my education and real life experiences that might qualify me to speak about health and fitness. Although I have formal training by way of physical education type courses as well as Anatomy & Physiology, Applied Kinesiology and General Nutrition and professional certifications, it’s the real-life laboratory experiences that have had the most profound effect. By this I mean that my education goes way beyond the classroom. In fact it began before I was even old enough to go to kindergarten.
As all parents know, things don’t always work according to plan and I was not the healthiest of kids. In fact, I almost died at the age of four during one of my tougher bouts with bronchial asthma. This event really got Mom’s attention.
My Mom joined forces with some of the original ‘health nuts’. She wanted her new baby boy to be in perfect health and never get hurt and never cry and be very smart and handsome and happy. To this end, Mom jumped on board with health pioneers like Adelle Davis, Carlton Fredricks, Gaylord Hauser, and the guy on our black & white TV with his dog Happy… none other than Jack LaLanne.
Her diligence helped her uncover all kinds of ways to naturally support my immune system and minimize my dependence on pharmaceuticals. By high school, she even had a year-round system in place that kept me from wheezing every time I exerted myself and from catching every cold, sore throat, flu and other disease that came near me.
So from the very beginning the lab rat was… me. Brewer’s yeast, cod liver oil, calf’s liver once a week, lecithin, vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, E, calcium, magnesium, other minerals, Tiger’s Milk, fresh fruit and veggies were staples when I was a kid. And never white bread. It was peanut butter and jelly on Whole Wheat bread or cream cheese and walnuts on raisin bread.
One of the best lessons I learned was that eating is not just supposed to be about pleasure for the palate. I learned that food is fuel and nourishment. And when used correctly, can contribute greatly to one’s life force.
Over the years, I’ve made some adjustments to Mom’s system. The crazy thing is, that at age 52, I was healthier and physically stronger than I’d been in my entire life. And I'm still going very strong at 66!
Lest you think that my only physical challenge was some bronchial asthma, let me tell you a bit more. There was a period of years when I did not take care of myself and ignored Mom’s wisdom. This resulted in mind-numbing headaches (from allergies), a displaced vertebrae in my neck thanks to a hit in football, no cartilage in my right knee from a ‘me-being-out-of-shape’ basketball injury, alcohol and drug dependency issues. Add to that a motorcycle crash that shattered my left elbow & severed my tricep, tore a hole in my right shin that measured 6x12 inches, ripped up my left knee that took multiple surgeries & spare parts from a cadaver to repair. In addition, I’ve had a series of low back injuries that from time to time have left me incapacitated, a hiatal hernia, a displaced knuckle on my left hand, rosacea, a skin condition on my right foot, problems with bicep tendonitis in my right rotator cuff, acne, and very high cholesterol (probably a combination of genetics and an inability to properly deal with stress). Oh and a busted up hip from a 20 foot fall with a running chain saw in my hand. But the Tree Story is quite famous now and a great source of encouragement for many.
I’ve probably left something out but you get the picture. And I’m not complaining since it’s good to be alive. The knowledge gained by living through this stuff gives me a perspective that goes beyond a formal classroom or lab. The good news is that I'm loved & excited about every day I am given. It’s really hard to believe how incredible the human body is and how it can comeback from near-death injuries and sickness.
If I could overcome all the health problems and go on to be a world-class strongman at my age, I know that you can get on track to reach your health and fitness goals as well. I’ve also been asked to address the issue of training around and through injuries. No problem.
Dealing with people who are so smart and experienced regarding their personal health and wellness doesn't allow them to hear my voice. Yet, these same people are sick, overweight, weak, injured, taking meds and generally feel awful.
Compared to what everyone accepts as a 'healthy' way to live, my system is radical. Yet once learned and understood, it's quite simple & 'doable' but radical in today's accepted ways. Feeling is understanding.
How can my small voice compete with the sculpted young experts of our time? These young brash Health & Fitness experts were expounding their wisdom when I was young as well. But most all have disappeared since the needle they were on betrayed them. Their shortcuts did not stand the test of time. But so many people poured out their sweat and hard-earned money on the promise of a beautiful, healthy, pain-free body.
The gimmicks of those selling fitness have not changed much in the last 100 years.
So why listen to this voice? 65 years on this planet has taught me a few things. But what I know as true is not just theory or from a certification class or from an infomercial full of experts. Or even from the plain old youthful exuberance of believing that the way they train themselves is effective for all who 'buy in'. Heck in my 20s I could live on beer, pizza and ice cream and STILL have great abs!
But what are you going to do on that day when the cumulative effect of all your deleterious exercises and misguided eating and poorly informed way of supplementing catches up? One of my favorite words is 'cumulative'. In this case, it could take years to undo all the bad stuff. It's like you have to develop a new 'cumulative'. But it's not like you just have to change the way you train or eat or supplement and all is well.
It won't be that easy. The hardest part is changing your mind. But you must because this is really important. It's your health, your very life!
I'm so glad I learned this stuff. I'm glad I was humble enough to seek out great teachers and mentors. Well actually I was forced to be humble. All my injuries were crippling. But I still had hope and that allowed me to start over. And now I'm in better shape than I was 25 years ago and I exercise less than 2 hours a week!
I would love to help guide you through all the nonsense. Let's talk. Honest talk, honest results.
Just in case you're not really sure--
Russell Jones Speaks- Company Background
Vision- Inspire and equip people to make informed decisions to live healthier happier, and longer lives.
The Mission- Use Russell Jones Speaks, our umbrella brand, to raise awareness while informing people in fun and unique ways on how to improve their lives… no matter what their current situation is.
Under the umbrella, are three separate endeavors: 1) Promotion of our new book Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired: Solutions for a Better, Healthier Life, 2) Our motivational speaking business (RussellJonesSpeaks.com) with over 1,000 presentations since 1992, and 3) My Back and Body Clinic, Mr. Jones’ physical conditioning and strength training business, serving metro NY & NJ.
Audiences of the book, as well as those attending live presentations come away with new knowledge and ideas that can radically improve their lives, and also a new mindset of exceptional possibilities. This is not about telling people how to live, but helping to identify issues that may be holding them back and inspiring ongoing change. Even the most sophisticated of audiences begin to recognize the challenges of first identifying the causes of their struggles, and ultimately moving onto victory in accomplishing what would have appeared to be an impossible task.
To help reach the youth of America & beyond, another book is 97% complete called Success Secrets 4 Kids. With an emphasis on attitude & people skills, it will also help fill in health and wellness gaps typically ignored in today’s educational systems.
Our mission at My Back and Body Clinic is to provide personal attention to help with scoliosis, back pain, poor posture, and sports injuries. We strengthen the entire body in a unique way so one can be fully functional, feel good consistently, and hopefully, to act more confidently in all of their personal and business relationships! We are back care and rehabilitative fitness specialists who use a unique modality to speed up healing.
I was 1st asked this question in 1982. My resume included tractor-trailer driver, gas station attendant, security guard, dock worker and school teacher. At the time I owned a bar, eatery & music venue. While business was okay after 2 years, I sensed there was still a lot to learn.
I was invited to attend a business meeting & accepted the invite. There were folks from all walks of life who were also looking to better themselves. Of all the men and women who would show up for these meetings 3 really stand out- Mr. Fred Ponti, Mr. Geoff Fairfax and Mr. Tom White.
Every week there was a different aspect of business that was taught. I thought the education was great but the nice people were even greater.
In between meetings I was encouraged to read. There was a suggested reading list of books that addressed a myriad of topics but especially attitude, belief, vision, etc.
I'd come in and be greeted. 'Hey Russell, how are you doing this week? How's business? How's the family?' And I would let them know how I was really doing.
Without fail at some point during my telling 'how I was doing', one of the above referenced gentlemen would ask me the question, 'What book are you reading?'
Of course I would answer my new found friends with a full account of what I was reading & what I was learning. And each time Fred, Geoff or Tommy would just smile & nod affirmatively (umm- that's moving one's head up and down).
This went on for a few months. 'Hey Russell, how you doing?', my response then- 'What book are you reading?', my response, then a smile and nod.
I started to wonder why my new friends would check on how I was doing, ask me what I was reading and then just smile & nod knowingly. They never tried to solve whatever crisis I was in or give me advice. They didn't pry for more details.
And then I finally learned what the Game was.
Instead of sitting me down to counsel me on what was transpiring in my life and my assessment of it, they were being kind and encouraging.
I was so negative in how I viewed life, my attitude was so bad, my perspectives were so pessimistic & my words were so judgmental that looking back it boggles my mind. So in the kindest way possible my new pals were making a point about it. They could hear what I couldn't because all my education had fallen short, all of what my family tried to sow into me had failed.
How can Faith, Hope and Love become part of who we are if not for some form of teaching or real-life example?
So I found myself in an environment that was committed to nurturing a positive mindset over and over again. That's why it took me so long to 'get it'.
And the books were important. Classics. I read well over 100 books like that over the years. I even wrote one. The habit of not allowing the negative world to suck me in again was ingrained.
But to have the environment to practice a positive attitude was vital as well. As I wrote in Top Secrets of Success... 4 Kids, you become like who you hang out with. In the old days that was usually your circle of friends that you met up with or an organized group or even families who spend time together.
These days 'who you hang out with' has a much broader meaning. On your phone or computer- who do you spend a lot of time with? On TV or with movies- what type of shows are you getting your messages from? At least when I was coming up real people influenced me. Nowadays with the internet many times we can't even tell who is on the other end of a message.
So the solution goes back to what the guys showed me in 1982. I can choose a book. I can read it at my own pace. I can consider the message quietly. I can change my attitude about life and people. I can directly affect my health. I can influence my own dreams by what I allow in my head before I shut the light out.
And I can encourage others to do the same. And maybe just by asking the simple question we can make the world more peaceful. Maybe those whose only option is to scream at those with different experiences & points of view will now have another option.
Of course I do have the books that were suggested to me. They weren't just 'any' books. They were chosen. They were special.
So 'Hey, What Book Are You Reading?'
My Special Needs Child
Do you have a ‘classified’ or ‘special needs’ or ‘learning disabled’ child? This is a true story of what happened with our daughter and how we dealt with it. Please note that I realize that everyone’s situation is different as is the way they choose to address it.
My wife Lin really, really wanted to have children back around 1982. I couldn’t quite understand why since she already had ME. But she convinced me it might be a worthwhile pursuit and I kind of bought into the idea-- and by February 1985 there was one ‘in the oven’.
So preparation was made for the big day. The doctor said we should expect our little cherub on November 22, 1985. I was enrolled in natural childbirth classes with my wife (of course it was obligatory for me to ask the instructor ‘If it’s Natural Childbirth, why do we have to take a class?’).
Well, I never did complete the course because lo and behold our brand spankin’ new baby girl decided that 9 months was way too long to stay all cooped up. She entered the free world on September 22—a full 8 weeks early.
I guess there are reasons why 9 months is the suggested time for incubation because they had to keep our little girl there for an extra 2 weeks before she could come home. She was called a ‘Preemie’. But they finally let her out and we all began to settle in. And the last 24 years have been amazing.
Our little Jayne Lin seemed happy and healthy. She landed a job acting in a commercial when she was 4. It was awesome shooting all over Manhattan in New York City.
She went to school and in 1st grade we got ‘the call’. The school had tested and evaluated our daughter and had determined that she was to be ‘classified’. We were told that meant she would be put in ‘special classes’. My wife and I freaked out. ‘Not OUR daughter. Oh no. There must be some mistake. She’s normal. Whoever came to this decision must be an idiot!’
Even though I’m certified to teach in the great state of New Jersey, I wasn’t really sure about ‘classified’, ‘special education’, ‘learning disabilities’, etc. So I checked with a close family member who is an educational professional and she said ‘I know Jayne Lin and she is NOT a special needs kid. Don’t go along with the school on this’.
Well thanks for the advice but now what do we do? We talked it over with the school and with each other. The school was not changing their assessment. But we had our doubts especially since she was our child. I mean after Lin and I looked in the mirror and saw how perfect we were (it amazes me how we as parents think our children should be perfect when we’re all pretty much not), how could our little blonde beauty be less than perfect as well?
Maybe Mom and Dad had fallen short in preparing our girl for the rigors of 1st grade? We decided to do a bit of evaluating of our own. The summer between 1st and 2nd grade we encouraged Jayne Lin to enter a reading contest at the library. She read 113 books in 8 weeks and won the contest. Yes you read that right- 113 books. That didn’t seem to be very ‘learning disabled’ to me. Maybe the local public library was a better ‘fit’ for our daughter than the local public school.
We knew some people who knew some people whose children went to a small Christian school about 20 miles from home. Although we were attempting to live off my training business with Lin being a full-time Mom, we decided to give it a try. Jayne Lin got out of our mini-van the 1st day of school and immediately received a hug from her teacher. It was a good start and she thrived academically.
In fact, by age 12 our 7th grader made a special presentation at Montclair State University on ‘What It Takes to Become a Champion… not only in Sports but in Life’. She addressed a graduate class on Applied Sport Psychology and concluded with a question & answer session.
In 5th grade she had discovered basketball and was the best player on the worst team in the league—the team scored maybe 30 points ALL SEASON. Jayne told me she wanted to be a player. Oh no, I’m thinking to myself- small hands, no hops and not very fast getting up and down the court.
I counseled with a real coach about Jayne Lin’s physical limitations particularly for basketball. ‘No problem’, he said as long as she has heart and passion and the willingness to work hard. Pure ‘shooters’ are lacking in basketball because of all the time and hard work to become a good one.
And that’s what she did. Shoot and then shoot some more. Mom, Dad, little sister and little brother became permanent rebounders in ALL types of weather. I remember a late night shooting session in the driveway in the snow because J felt she needed the extra work.
Along with being an honor student, basketball opened up many doors for #33 to walk through, opportunities abounded. She played year round on travel teams, AAU teams, summer leagues, 3 on 3 tournaments, and shooting contests.
She started lifting weights when she was 12. She slept with a basketball (Pete Maravich, the basketball legend had done it as well). She travelled everywhere with a basketball.
By the end of 9th grade a very high profile private school accepted her to bolster their basketball program but they only took her because she had more than qualified academically. Her 1st week in the 10th grade writing class the teacher tore up her paper because it was way below the school’s standards (even though she was an honor student the year before in our local high school). The demands were high at the new school but she succeeded. By the end of high school she had a pretty decent resume-
Honor Student, Community Service Award (highest level), Christian Drama School, Youth Group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4 years AAU, bench press (free weight)- 150 lbs., squat (free weight)- 250lbs.
Two times New Jersey Star Ledger “Most Unheralded 1st Team”, Two Time 1st Team All-Conference
Her shooting demonstrations included making 18 foul shots in a row- eyes closed, and 100 out of 108 3-point shots made in 10 minutes.
After changing colleges, she took a job as a coach and was the Youngest High School Varsity Girl’s Basketball Head Coach in the State (some think the country) when she had just turned 20 years old.
Hired 3 weeks before start of the season, she started with 13 girls in the entire program- none close to blue chip/ most with zero to bare minimum experience. The team was serving a suspension from its league and was not eligible for county tourney play. They lost their leading scorer 3 games into the season when she cut practice, went snowboarding, ran into a tree and cracked her cheekbone. They had to finish a Christmas tournament game ‘Hoosiers’ style with only 4 players because 1 had fouled out and 4 were nailed to the bench for breaking team rules. With very limited access to her Home gym, many practices were in a local park on a running track. No licensed driver was available for the School Van so Coach Jayne had to borrow her mother’s mini-van to transport players and beg parents to help. After practices and/or games coach had to drive 2-3 kids home. And after the 1st week in February all games had to be away because the Home gym only had 1 basket available. AND AFTER ALL THAT, the team won enough to qualify for the State Tournament.
She left coaching to get back on the court. Jayne Lin played 2 years of college ball (with a few highlights), waitressed on the weekends and graduated last spring Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English.
Oh and she sang the National Anthem acapella before numerous games and then played.
And she has played basketball in Africa, Italy and Spain with a women’s team. It was during the Africa trip a few years back that she met her future husband (May 22, 2010). While she can shoot way better than him, he is a tremendous rebounder. A match made in basketball heaven :D.
So the Preemie baby who they wanted to classify has done okay so far. Other than some attacks of TKS (Teenage Knucklehead Syndrome), she has performed at a high level with some of the best and brightest while holding true to her values and beliefs. Although her room and inside her car can be disastrous, Lin and I think she might do better with her own place (with Mike).
Reflecting back in why the educators wanted to ‘classify’ our daughter, it could have been any number of things- bad educators, bad school environment, bad parents, immaturity… It really doesn’t matter even if she had gone into the ‘special classes’. I think every kid has it in them to do something fantastic- no matter what the test scores say.
Mom and Dad just have to stay calm, love on their children and stay the course doing as much of the right things as possible… AND GOOD THINGS WILL HAPPEN!
As my friend David DeNotaris always says, “Make it a Great Day”...bye4now...
#Overcoming Injury - At Any Age #RehabilitativePersonalTraining
Before beginning or continuing any exercise program it is critical to understand the role that injury plays in you being able to achieve your fitness goals.
One of the realities of life is that from time to time we all suffer an injury. And if it’s not too traumatic we can actually finish the game or whatever physical thing we are doing. However, injuries not properly dealt with lead to us developing ‘compensation’ patterns that put us at greater risk of further trouble.
For example when I was playing sports as a teenager I had many ankle sprains. Ice them to get the swelling down, tape them up tight and get back in the game or practice… right? That’s what I did but I found out years later that the improperly healed ligaments in my ankle were leading to a myriad of other problems- knees, back, hamstrings, etc.
I kept ‘compensating’ for all of my injuries in a variety of ways until physical activity was not fun anymore.
But this is what I learned a few years back. What controls your structure is your muscles and what controls your muscles is your nervous system. So it’s critical to see how your nervous system is controlling your muscles.
I use a technique to see if muscles are firing properly. I go around your body and test different muscles but I’m not testing to see how strong you are. I want to see if your muscles are able to turn on and turn off at the right time. This will show us how well your nervous system is controlling that muscle.
That’s important because the way that your muscles support your body and protect all of your joints is by Absorbing Force. So whenever you do an activity- sit in a chair, brush your teeth, walk, run- force is going to be entering your body and your muscles are going to have to be able to turn on in order to absorb that force.
Now if your nervous system is slightly imbalanced or has some kind of abnormal reflex and it’s not able to turn on the muscles at the right time, that muscle is not going to be able to absorb that force and that force is going to travel to another area--- like a tendon or a ligament or a disc in your neck or back or cartilage or meniscus or labrum or bursa, fascia, bone or some other muscle. Most structures are not designed to Absorb Force.
When force is transmitted to an area where it’s not supposed to be, it going to cause damage to that tissue. And that’s when you’re going to start getting sore or developing scar tissue or inflammation or stretching and fraying, degeneration of a disc or a bulge or herniation. You’ll start to develop problems that all stem from the same thing- your body not able to Absorb Force properly.
This is very important to understand because even the simplest movements can be very painful for many of us. Even the doctor’s prescription to ‘walk more it’s good for your health’ can be a very tough assignment. We all need to learn that ‘mind-less’ activity is not the solution to long term health.
More next time… all the best…
Russell Jones is an author, co-owner of My Back and Body Clinic in New Jersey, a Master-Level Rehabilitative Trainer, Strength Athlete & Motivational Speaker...
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