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A 30 day Spirit-Mind-Body Cleanse
By Dominic Novak
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2013 Dominic Novak
All rights reserved.
Growing up in White Plains, NY I was a shy kid with not many friends. I was the last kid born out of 4 kids. My dad and mom were exhausted when they had me at their ages of 40 and 39 respectively. Back in the day, my father was always traveling for work and never home and my mom was running back and forth between kids and work. I remember being alone a lot growing up. When we needed to do something or decide on something I would have to follow in order; my sister, then brother, then other sister, so in other words I had no say in anything and quite frankly my say didn't count. I was quiet a good deal of the time because of this. I think I became a bit withdrawn and lacked confidence, but at the time I was young and did not understand what this meant. I assumed this is how families were and I just followed along not realizing how this would affect me later in life.
Basketball was an outlet for me and something I was good at. I started playing when I was eight years old. I was always tall for my age so that was a big advantage for me in playing with other smaller kids. At the age of fourteen I stopped growing and other kids caught up in height and weight and some even surpassed me. They were able to use their height and weight to their advantage on the basketball court. I didn't know how to improve other than to play more basketball. One day I was watching tv and I noticed Jack Lalanne. He had his tv show and he was doing callisthenic exercises. I was enamored at his muscular physique and I instantly became a fan. I knew that I was thin and weak and needed to gain strength and endurance to help me to become a better basketball player. I started to do some of the exercises I saw on the show and I could feel what happened when my body started moving utilizing my weight as resistance. I was hooked. I discovered that the more I worked out the better I felt and the stronger I became on the basketball court.
I immediately realized the time spent off the court was as essential as time on the court. There was a huge benefit to being in better shape. Throughout my teenage years I was exercising 3 times per week focusing on calisthenics, pushups, sit-ups and sprints. I would tune into Jack Lalanne's tv show for encouragement and exercises. My teenage years were spent playing basketball and working out. I could not get enough. I was enamored with the way I felt both during and after a workout. From the endorphin release when an exercise is performed to a feeling of self confidence from my body becoming more fit and toned, I thrived on the experience of exercising and looked forward to learning more exercises and becoming more fit.
I played basketball for White Plains High School all four years. Our teams were decent but as most average teams faired we lacked an identity. Everyone on the team wanted to be "the guy". We had many shooters and only a few defenders. I could have been the star but with everyone out for themselves I tried to build unity and drill the concept of team to our players. It was not an easy process but through perseverance and consistency we got better. My senior year we reached the playoffs for the first time in years. We lost but we made major improvement from the start of the year to our last game. I earned high praise from the coaches. I felt like I was underutilized potential and I could have given more of myself under better circumstances. I think I was too laid back in my approach, probable because of my up bringing I was not very engaging and aggressive. I kept thinking if only I was more selfish I could have received more offers from colleges to play basketball. I was sad to leave high school but looked forward to college.
After high school I wanted to pursue college basketball but unfortunately, I was not a great student in high school so my choices of colleges were few. I wanted to play college basketball so I decided to tryout for the Pace College basketball team. It was a so called "tryout" because the coaches knew who they wanted to be on the team. I was devastated. This was the first time in my life I had failed at something I was good at. Even though I knew my grades were not great, I had always counted on basketball to make me happy and feed my ego. I found it hard to recover from the let down of not making the team. I then turned to my other passion to make me happy. I began to focus more on working out as an outlet. I decided to increase my effort in my workouts.
My second failure at Pace College was my first speech I had to give in oral speech class. I stood up and mouthed a few words and saw all those faces looking back at me and quickly sat back down. The humiliation was awful for me. Somehow I managed to get through high school without ever making an oral presentation. There was a big difference between being a on a team and saying a few words to my teammates, to standing up in front of a room and talking about myself to strangers. I again was devastated. I remembered being quiet, shy and withdrawn most of my childhood and just doing what I was told and not voicing any opinion. The concept of me being in front of strangers and talking about myself was so foreign to me. I felt as though people were looking right through me and I was a fraud. I needed to take cover and hid myself from the exposure of everyone's eyes. I felt a strong feeling of not being good enough to fit in, not smart enough and not confident enough to succeed. That was the last time I attended that oral speech class. In fact, it bothered me so much that I decided to change schools. I was so hurt by these two experiences the only way I knew to move forward was to push them deep down inside me. By hiding them they would go away. I made no attempt to turn to my family or teacher for help. I shouldered the experience the only way I knew how by pushing it away, hiding it and not addressing it. I decided to start over with a fresh start at another school. Why dwell on the past it is easier to pretend that it did not exist, (wrong!).
I decided to attend Springfield College, in Springfield Massachusetts, and learn about how the body works. I studied exercise science, fascinated by all the major muscle groups in the body. This experience paved the way for my understanding of the human body and the desire to experiment with my own training. I learned a lot in school and applied what I learned to my workouts. I began to develop a good physique. I was still shy but gaining in confidence in my body each day and each workout. I began competing in fitness shows. I felt like it was a good experience for me because I lacked confidence and the fitness shows helped me to gain some. Springfield College was also a very good experience for me. I learned a lot about the human body and how it worked. It was time to put to use all this information I had learned.
I enjoyed training so much that it became my passion. My success inspired me to help others get into shape. After college, I began my career as a personal trainer. I started working with a few people initially. Once I showed my passion in working with clients', they began to tell their friends and spouses about my training and I became very busy working with many people of all ages and sizes-young to old, thin to obese, in shape to out of shape. This experience was incredible for me. Everyone I trained benefited from fundamentally sound nutritional and training plans. My program consisted of strengthening and stretching the muscles using different techniques such as strength training, functional training and yoga. These movements allowed my clients' to gain lean muscle and keep limber and functional. I developed a nutritional plan for each client that included protein and fiber to give them the energy they need during the day, as well as the recovery needed from strenuous workouts.
I always knew that I had a gift for personal training because I grew up shy and sensitive. This sensitive side of me really helped in taking care of clients' needs. I was there for them and rarely talked about me. I wanted them to improve as much as they wanted to improve. During the session, I always took an approach of making the exercises harder not easier. Through varying the speed, motion and reps, I would constantly keep the clients interested in their workout. This combination of being sensitive and a tough coach was great for forming relationships with the clients, yet also enabled me to give them killer workouts and, most important of all, they felt and saw the results. I was able to amass many clients and grow my business by hiring two other trainers. I was living my dream. I was good at my passion. I was getting older and working hard but inside I was the same scared little boy that could not wait to sit down during the speech class in college. I was nervous and scared.
Personal training came very easy to me. I was comfortable working with people. It feed my ego, I was good at it and being recognized for it, and became very successful financially. My business took off and I had a waiting list of clients who wanted to train with me. Although I had two trainers I was grooming the clients still wanted to work with me. I became addicted to the feeling of success and money. As I became successful, I realized that I longed for more success, more money and more clients. I could only work so many hours a day. I already started at 5am and worked until 8pm, sometimes 9pm. I would go home and fall asleep and start it all over again the next day. This was a seven day per week routine. My only free time I would workout. It was hard to find time to eat. I would take a few moments between clients and excuse myself and go into the men's bathroom and eat. I would get such pains in my chest from eating way too fast. It was a crazy life, but the only one in which I knew. I craved the success I was having and the money I was earning but I hated the lifestyle and the non stop one client after another with no breaks. I was exhausted internally by the pace of the day but hungered for the success, acknowledgement and accomplishment. My life was 24/7 with no emotional and mental developmental time for me. I did not know how to stop the life I was leading. I felt like I was dying inside. The little man in me was not good at keeping the lifestyle pace I was leading. My life was becoming out of control.
As years went by the good feelings from the personal training had left and I began to feel more and more inadequate with my life. I guess once my regular clients' settled in and I had been working with them for many years my ego was not fed anymore. The routine of the schedule was the same each day and it was every day seven days per week. I was working crazy hours and I felt empty inside with no confidence and nowhere to turn for help. I had to appear confident in front of clients' but inside I was living a lie. I craved success and money but internally I was having a very difficult time. I began viewing my clients' as numbers instead of people. I took them for granted. I started going out on Friday and Saturday evenings to clubs partying and drinking with friends. Sometimes I would stay out all night and then go to work right after. I felt very empty inside. This unfortunately began a period in my life were I was living hard and working hard. The emptiness inside I was feeling went away when I would go out and party with my "so called friends." I call them "so called friends" because they were enabling me to forget how empty I was feeling inside by partying and drinking for a few hours. I guess it is hard for me looking back to blame anyone but myself for how I was feeling. I felt trapped in a life that was out of control. I needed to break the day to day and do something positive and different to turn my life around. After much contemplation, I decided I would try to push my career forward and write a book on personal training. This seemed logical because I was training so many people that all I had to do was write down what I did with my clients' and I could reach more people and become more successful. Maybe the success from the book would stop the empty feeling inside I was gradually feeling more and more each day.
As years went by I tried several times to make attempts at furthering my career by writing a manuscript but they were all weak attempts on my part. I had no focus, and I did not believe in myself. Because I didn't get a master's degree or keep up with my education I felt like I was not good enough to write a book. I felt inadequate and empty inside and I was not happy. I created doubt by saying I am not good enough or I am not educated enough. Once doubt is formed in the mind it is really difficult to break that label. As doubt sets in, I put limits on my ability to further my career. This created stress in my life, stress in my relationships, internal stress that I didn't really know I had because the feelings were so deeply ingrained in me. I did not start to understand about this until I took the quality, quiet time to reflect and meditate years later. This brought out all of my deep seated feelings of insecurity that I had to deal with. For many years beginning early on I lacked confidence and could not take criticism very well. I would study in school and then not do well on tests. I lacked focus in school, focus on projects and focus in general. I was immature emotionally and doubted myself in everything I did, except basketball and then when I failed at that personal training took its place. I was insecure and became negative in my thoughts. I always felt like I was positive but my emptiness inside lead to a negative outlook on life. I continued to push myself through the years justifying in my mind everything was okay because I was successful and making money, but the emptiness inside grew greater and greater.
Fast forward years later, I'm married to a beautiful woman and I have two beautiful daughters with a wonderful house and a growing personal training business. I managed to push forward and grow my business even though I was having a hard time internally. The success I was having kept me going, as well as providing for my family, but it was only a matter of time until my internal war would get the best of me. I realized that I had masked my internal suffering with a family that I could not get close to because I lacked the emotional skills necessary to be there for them. Also, along the way there were material possessions, such as nice cars and clothes that camouflaged my internal unhappiness. I needed to do something to get stronger internally or I was going to lose everything that I cared for in life.
MY SPIRIT IS BORN!
I started to look for ways that I could get help. What are your options if you are stressed out, anxious, worried all the time and feeling as though an internal war is going to explode inside of you. My first option was to research medication to take for stress and anxiety. The drawback to that option is once you start you have to continue taking the medication for the rest of your life. I was not prepared to take any drugs, let alone take it for the rest of my life. My second option was to seek a therapist and discuss my problems. When I researched therapists the data supported they are good at getting you to talk about your problems, as I had seen one in the past, without discussing solutions to remedy the problem. Two options neither one was suitable for me. I knew that exercise and nutrition were always an important solution when it comes to anxiety and stress relief. I had these two covered. I could not train any more consistent and my nutrition was fantastic. What are the solutions in this quick fix society that we live in. The more that I investigated the more confused I became. I was lost and knew that I needed help to deal with the collision course my family, my business and my emotional stress were headed towards.
Sunday late morning came and my wife took my kids shopping for the majority of the day. I was so spent from the workload of the week, the stress of my business losing clients because of the economy and the demands of my family life that my body was so tight and achy. I feel asleep in my daughters' play room only to awake and see all the toys that I never helped put together, let alone played with them with. There must have been about one hundred toys that were on the ground. A tremendous level of sadness overtook me at that moment. I have been so consumed with me and my success and what I can provide my family that I sacrificed time spent with them. I lost the early years of my daughters' childhood not being there for them. I fell on the ground and could not hold back the pain that I was holding in. I let it all out the stress, the sadness and the failures. As I was crying, I could feel the deep level of pain that I have been holding onto for so long and realized just how much pain I was in. Just then I experienced a revelation from my past. I remembered my dad saying to me before I went to sleep one night, "son God will always be there for you anytime you call upon him." Why would I remember this now. After a few moments of reflecting on my relationship with my dad, I realized my behavior with my family was mirroring my relationship with my Dad. My Dad was never there for me to talk to growing up. He worked incredible hard and provided for our schooling, clothing and the food on our table but he could not get close to me. This feeling became so overwhelming for me. I was sad and lonely on the inside. I picked myself up from the ground and sat into the chair and closed my eyes and said. Father help me. I said it over and over again until I heard the click of my computer downstairs in the kitchen. Somebody has emailed me. I went down stairs to check it out and see who it was. It was my writing coach who had looked at my material I had given her and she gave me the most incredible motivating message. "Dom I know you are going to succeed." I know God helped her write that email. The timing of her message was so amazing. I was speechless for about thirty minutes. I was in awe of what I had just experienced. A wave of love and care that was so deep came over me like I have never felt before. It was a feeling of purity, love and deep affection like I have never experienced before. All of a sudden I felt calm and relaxed. After several moments, I realized God spoke and sent his healing powers down to me and forgave me for the many years of selfishness. My pain and anguish were taken away and replaced with love and peace. I was amazed and in awe of God's unfailing love and faithfulness. I will never forget this day as long as I live!
Excerpted from H.E.A.L. by Dominic Novak. Copyright © 2013 Dominic Novak. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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Table of Contents
MY STORY.................... 1
MY SPIRIT IS BORN!.................... 11
REACH MY DESTINY!.................... 14
NOURISH THE SOUL/CLEANSE THE MIND.................... 18
ACTS OF KINDNESS.................... 23
FINAL THOUGHTS BEFORE BEGINNING.................... 25
ABOUT THE AUTHOR.................... 95