by Frank Manganella


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FITNESS, HEALTH AND LONGEVITY A Personal Journey is my story about the passion I have for fitness and exercise and to provide information that I feel is useful in today’s fast pace world. It’s more than illustrations and descriptions of exercises. It’s my desire to share the amazing changes that happen to people, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

From witnessing teenage high school students experience, for the first time, their strength potential, to those who are middle age on the edge of becoming a candidate for requiring prescription medication to needing no medication at all, and finally seniors who were fragile become fit, energetic and agile is so extremely motivation that I became inspired to undertake this project and share it with you.

FITNESS, HEALTH AND LONGEVITY A Personal Journey takes you into my life as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and a person whose life changed dramatically once my calling was realized and fulfilled. I share my discovery that because we all are body, mind and spirit, you too can expect dramatic changes in your life.

Time to sit back, relax and enjoy reading this book. Then check with your health care provider, get up off your backside, start moving, and enjoy your personal journey to fitness, health and longevity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781504363396
Publisher: Balboa Press
Publication date: 08/15/2016
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 512,571
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.20(d)

Read an Excerpt

Fitness, Health & Longevity

A Personal Journey

By Frank Manganella

Balboa Press

Copyright © 2016 Frank Manganella
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-5043-6339-6



Live Your Dream, and Dream Big

At the time I received my certification, I was employed as a sales representative. It was a great job with great pay and benefits. The only problem was that the company was going through a reduction in force. No one had job security. I was fortunate and had survived two company restructures. But late in 1994, while grocery shopping, I ran into an old friend I hadn't seen in a few years.

During our conversation, he asked if I was still lifting weights and whether I would be interested in training his son, a junior on his high school's cross country team. He expressed concern that the coaches wanted his son to get stronger but that he wasn't confident about their knowledge or ability regarding strength training. His son weighed only 103 pounds.

I responded that I would love to, informing my friend that I had just become certified basically to expand my personal knowledge. I learned to train with weights, not just lift them. I could do this in the basement of my home, where I had my own gym. I could train his son in the evening.

We started training on January 18, 1995. Our goal was to prepare him for a run that a local university was hosting in March. He trained diligently.

Late in the afternoon on the day of the big race, there was a knock at my door. It was my friend, glowing, with his son, my client, smiling like I'd never seen before. My client took his hands from behind his back and revealed his prize: a shiny trophy for a first-place finish. He had won the race. I was thrilled. He and his dad thanked me profusely, and my client said, "You know, there's something to this weight training. Do you think you can help my friend? He's on the basketball team and wants to get stronger."

I responded, "Absolutely!"

After planning the sessions and saying our good-byes, I closed my front door and experienced a feeling I never had before: a sense of accomplishment, pride, and joy. Just knowing that I might have had a positive impact on another's life moved me to tears. Now I had to know how many others I could help. I always had a dream about helping others in a big way. I was about to see.

One thing led to another, and within a short time, I had six high school student athletes training in my basement. It was amazing. The kids trained hard. I had the opportunity to listen to their complaints about high school sports, especially the lack of appreciation they felt from their coaches, parents, and fans. My basement became their safe place. There, they were able to train their bodies and clear their minds. They knew that I appreciated them and the effort they gave.

"This is so much bigger than just bending your arm with a weight in your hand," I thought. I was witnessing physical, mental, and spiritual changes in these young adults. Thus, I concluded that since we are body, mind, and spirit, once we begin to focus on one area of our being (in this case, the body), the other areas of our being start to speak up loud and clear. "Hey, I'm your spirit. I'm not happy. Help me too." The changes I'd witnessed in those young adults were bigger than big. They could only be described as miraculous. Their self-confidence grew, and they questioned and changed what was not working for them in their lives. They were strong, fit, and healthy.

Although they achieved what I described as miraculous results, I couldn't help but feel that there was a more efficient way to exercise. All of the lifting programs I researched and implemented with the student athletes called for either a two- or three-day split routine, which meant exercising some body parts on day one, other body parts on day two, and even other body parts on day three. Then, there is one day of rest, and you repeat the cycle. I felt that lifting so frequently was not necessary. Training my clients and myself in that manner didn't leave much time for anything else. The students were able to find time to study, but things like a social life or time for family were being compromised. The student athletes I trained did not have that kind of time or commitment to that type of training. I needed to prove my theory that the same miraculous results could be achieved without spending so many hours every day exercising.

A few years later, in 1997, I attended a Penn State football game. I was so impressed with the size, strength, speed, and flexibility of those athletes. Their physiques matched those of my boyhood heroes. I marveled at their pregame warm-up. They were executing drills with perfection. Suddenly, I heard someone blow a whistle on the field. The players jumped into single-file along on the field, five yards apart. Again, the whistle blew. Immediately, a hundred players went into a stretch position in unison and held it until the whistle blew again. They repeated this for several minutes, all in unison, no one out of step. What discipline! Who the hell was this man with the whistle? Searching the game program I had purchased, I discovered his name was John Thomas. He was the head strength-and-conditioning coach. "Wow! How the heck did they train? My athletes are good but not this good," I thought. When I returned home from the game, I immediately tried to find out how those athletes trained. I couldn't find any information. Damn!

Later that year, I attended a fitness seminar in Philadelphia sponsored by Reebok. I was so excited because I felt that the seminar would validate my intuition that training four, five, or six days a week was unnecessary and counterproductive and could possibly lead to injury. I had the opportunity to speak with some of the presenters and interact with many in attendance, but I left disappointed. I'm sure that if I had tested their body fat, it would have registered lean. I knew they had endurance just by my looking at them. Something was missing, though: They lacked that healthy glow. They just didn't look healthy. They were fit, but to me, they were not healthy.

My Search Ends

My excitement for Penn State football and my desire to learn more about the team's workouts led me to purchase season tickets. I couldn't help notice how much bigger, stronger, and faster the players got during their four or five years as a Penn State football player. The difference in physiques from freshman year to senior year was amazing. How the heck did they train?

December 27, 1999, is a day I will never forget, for it changed my life forever.

Penn State was playing Texas A&M in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, and I decided to attend the game. On the evening before the game, I was in the lobby of the hotel where the Penn State players and coaches were staying, and I saw John Thomas. I introduced myself, and we started talking about weight training and discovered that we shared many of the same philosophies regarding working out, supplements, and nutrition. We ended our conversation with JT (John Thomas) inviting me to attend his off-season winter workouts to see and learn firsthand the type of training done at Penn State. I had been invited to the Penn State weight room. Holy shit!

On January 15, 2000, another day I will never forget, JT, along with his assistant Jeremy Scott (who would later become the head strength-and-conditioning coach for football at Temple University), allowed me to witness firsthand what my intuition had been telling me all along.

I was blown away by how the athletes trained with weights. I'd never seen anything like it before — there was a total concentration and focus with a steady rhythm of sweat dripping off their foreheads. At Penn State, the athletes strength-trained their entire bodies in one hour. Since the human body functions as one unit, total body training is the logical approach.

I finally found the healthy glow I was searching for in the faces and body language of the athletes at Penn State. Yes, they were young men in their prime, but so too had been the participants at the seminar I had attended in Philadelphia a year earlier.

The athletes at Penn State just looked fit and healthy. They were strong, flexible, and in incredible condition, just like my boyhood heroes, the old-school strongmen. As I learned more about the training at Penn State, I discovered the following key points:

• Based on the sport season, they lifted two or three times per week for one-hour sessions. Many people today overestimate how much time they have to dedicate to exercise to live a long, healthy life.

• In those one-hour sessions, they worked hard. There was no bullshit — it was work or go home. Based on my experience, one hour was not a lot of time to work out; it was the quality of the workout that mattered, not the quantity of time or quantity of exercises.

• In those one-hour sessions, they did exercises for their entire body, usually performing only one set of an exercise. This was not the norm. Everything I knew up to that point was doing multiple sets, usually three, of every exercise ever invented for a body part. Those athletes knew how to achieve the effect of multiple sets in just one set. This was mind-blowing. Later, I discovered that in the mid-1940s, Dr. Thomas Delmore used multiple sets in rehabilitating World War II veterans. This is the protocol for lifting weights even to this day.

• They did aerobic training on the days when they were not lifting.

• Both male and female athletes performed this type of training.

The name of this training is HIT, high-intensity training, developed by Arthur Jones in the 1970s.

I immediately knew the HIT strength-training program would be a perfect fit for my clients. They would have the option of training two or three times a week for one-hour sessions. We would do one set of an exercise for every body part, training the entire body in one session. The only thing they had to learn was how to lift hard and execute the perfect rep every time.

It was pure and simple with no frills or gimmicks — just working your muscles hard in a slow manner using proper form until positive muscle failure (which means you cannot do another rep without momentum, swinging, or jerking).

Buddha once said, "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many or it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

This form of weight training just feels right to me. After observation and analysis, HIT falls in line with my beliefs and is conductive to the good and benefit of one and all.

Once again, the basic element of this strength-training system is to perform every repetition in every set in a slow, controlled motion to minimize momentum and maximize muscle tension and fiber recruitment.

I couldn't wait to implement this training method with my clients, especially with my student athletes and younger clients.



While all this was happening in my basement, I was still working in sales, but I was becoming less and less interested in it. I was being so fulfilled training the student athletes that the dog-eat-dog world of sales was wearing me down.

Once again, my body, mind, and spirit were aligned, but my mind and spirit were saying, "Hey, this sales job is killing you." Of course, I didn't listen and continued doing both jobs until I had an eye-opening experience.

I knew deep down that the sales job was becoming more and more stressful. The downsizing continued. People were losing their jobs. I kept getting staffed, but there were with larger sales territories and some overnight trips. With those changes, I had to sacrifice my time training the students. I was now training twelve kids. Both jobs were being compromised. I was not happy, nor was I raised to believe in doing a half-assed job. Oh, how I prayed for an answer.

Looking back, I know now that the universe, God, destiny — whatever title you choose to call it — was sending me the signs I was praying for. The problem was that I was so preoccupied with prayer that I failed to recognize the signs that I was receiving.

One day, while scanning the television stations, I stopped at a channel that was broadcasting a speech by Les Brown, a very famous motivational speaker. His message was that there is greatness inside you and that you should not to die with your dreams, desires, and ideas unfulfilled. This left me breathless and inspired. Still, I prayed for an answer. During Sunday Mass, I listened attentively to a sermon about a CEO who decided to leave corporate America and pursue his dream to be a teacher. He taught in one of the poorest and most violent school districts in New York. He was directly responsible for a countless number of his students becoming successful. Sadly, he was shot, killed, and robbed by one of the students in the district. The moral was that if you put your hand on someone's shoulder and that person walks away with your imprint, you have succeeded in life. What a message! Once again, I was left breathless and inspired. Still, I continued to pray.

Late one Friday, after one of the most stressful days on the sales job, I decided to go for a jog to clear my head, calm my thoughts, and figure out how to handle the pressure I was feeling from training the students and performing the sales job. During my run, it happened. I felt enormous pressure and tightness in my chest, I had difficulty breathing, and I was sweating profusely. "Holy shit! I'm having a heart attack," I said to myself. "F**k! This is the big one. Damn, I'm only forty years old, and I know I'm in good shape. What the f**k?" Somehow, I made it home.

I must have been in a state of denial because I waited until the following Monday to call my doctor and explain what had happened. He ordered me to the hospital, and I was given a stress test. Shortly after the test, during which I tried my hardest to imitate the feelings I had had on the jog, my doctor came in, looked me in the eye, and said, "Frank, you're fine. You're the healthiest guy I know, and the results of your stress test prove that. I'm sure you know that negative expectations, fear, and anxiety can actually make people feel ill. Are you under stress?"

I replied, "Yes, a tremendous amount. But this was real! Do your mean to tell me that my mind can have this effect on my body?"

"Yes, absolutely," he said. I recall an example of this phenomenon. You imagine cutting a lemon in half, put it into your mouth, and bite down on it. Notice that your mouth produced more saliva. That is the power of the mind. My doctor continued, "Let me prescribe something for you." Now, I'm not a fan of pills. I know many people who think they are great and rely on them to function, they are not for me.

I recall a quote that read, "You can tell a person's health by how many he takes two of — pills or stairs."

I'm more of a prevention kind of guy, not someone who just wants my symptoms treated. There is an old aphorism that reads, "Prevention is better than cure." I knew the source of my stress, and I also knew that there are two ways to handle stress — accept it (cope) or make a change (run like hell). I thanked my doctor and went home to try to figure out what to do with my life. Should I start taking medication? I didn't want chemicals in my body. When I arrived home, my decision became clear. Waiting for me was a certified letter from my employer stating that another downsizing was on the way. I was staffed, but I was to have a larger sales territory and even more overnight stays. My new assignment meant that I would leave my house on Monday morning and come home Friday night.

"Oh no," I thought. "What about the kids?" I refused the new assignment, resigned from my sales job, and put my heart and soul into training those student athletes. Prayer answered!

The lesson I learned was that life as we know it can change in an instant. Feeling like I was having a heart attack made me realize how precious life is. I recall watching Oprah Winfrey one afternoon way back in 1995. Her first guest was someone who invented a digital clock that was designed to run backward. In fact, I saw one in my local post office in 1999 counting down to the millennium. As this digital clock was running backward, Oprah asked her guest, "So why did you invent this?"

He responded, "Well, let's say you're pregnant. You can program nine months in hours and minutes and time the birth of your baby. Or, let's say you're getting married. You can program the number of hours and minutes until your wedding day."

Oprah then responded, "Wow, three minutes of my life just went by!"

"Yes," he said. "I really didn't design it to do that, but you can also program seventy-eight years of life expectancy and watch the time tick away."


Excerpted from Fitness, Health & Longevity by Frank Manganella. Copyright © 2016 Frank Manganella. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction, vii,
Preface, ix,
Chapter 1 Fitness — My Personal Journey, 1,
Chapter 2 Health — My Personal Journey, 7,
Chapter 3 Longevity — My Personal Journey, 14,
Chapter 4 High-Intensity Training, 19,
Chapter 5 Physical Changes — More than Muscle, 23,
Chapter 6 The Ultimate Psychological Benefit, 26,
Chapter 7 Nutrition and Weight Management, 28,
Chapter 8 Tips for Success, 35,
Chapter 9 Sample Exercise Program, 40,
Chapter 10 Exercise Tips and Illustrations, 46,
Chapter 11 What to Do if You Are New to Exercise, 76,
One Final Message, 79,
Acknowledgments, 83,
About the Author, 85,

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