Today I want to share with you a great success story that I think will inspire many of you. This is the story of Kevin Saunders, who is 57 now, and was completely paralyzed from the chest down with NO CORE BALANCE feeling or movement from his chest to his toes many years ago in a grain elevator explosion in Texas. Below is his story:
“I used Labrada Nutrition’s with Lee’s Lean Body Coaching along with Lee’s Facebook tips on proper workouts and nutrition to lay the foundation to get in elite shape! Thanks Lee!”
This picture was taken just after finishing my workout for this week of my 12 week training schedule on 4-19-13. I started working out 3 months ago in late January of 2013 in order to lay the foundation to get back in elite shape, as I live a very active lifestyle even though I’m completely paralyzed from the chest down with NO CORE BALANCE. I also have a picture below taken as I just started my training back in late January of us throwing overhead medicine ball passes with my partner Raymond Herrera.
Before I started my body fat was at 20.55% as I hadn’t really been working out or eating right since the summer of 2012 all the way to January 18, 2013. As I had spent this last fall working as motivational coach with the Kansas State University football team. This was the first time in our schools history we made it to be Number 1 in the BCS with 2 weeks left in the season and our Heisman finalist, QB Collin Klein, came out the Friday before our next to last game and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated as the Heisman favorite. Kansas State University won the 2 major BIG XII Conference titles in football this last fall & men’s basketball this last season and we also had the BIG XII Coaches of the year in football with our Head Coach Bill Snyder and in men’s basketball with our Head Coach Bruce Weber! Congratulations to everyone involved as it is a great honor to win both conference titles in men’s football and basketball during same school year in any major conference.
I was very honored to also be chosen to be featured in a commercial that will play this year 2013 in men’s football and basketball for Kansas State University in “The Wildcat Way campaign” which can be seen at: www.k-state.edu/wildcatway. I’m at the top right of the page pushing strong for the finish line in my racing wheelchair. If you click on the picture of me in my racer you can see the commercial and some other information about me as a motivational coach and motivational speaker, author and athlete. After seeing my fitness and shape as a former elite athlete in the Olympics / Paralympics as a multiple medalist I was honored and humbled to earn title the world’s greatest wheelchair athlete. I knew it was time to get back to working out and eating right to get back that Lean Labrada body back!
In 3 months my body fat has dropped from 20.55% to 10.8% and I have gained over 15.5 lbs. of lean body mass. While my weight dropped very little most importantly my lean body or muscle mass has grown by over 15 lbs. so I am shaping up! Also my endurance and strength have risen significantly which is essential for a person like me paralyzed completely from the chest down to use my arms to get me and my wheelchair everywhere I want to go & live life with passion and travel around the world speaking to groups of all kinds. Whether I’m speaking as a motivational speaker or motivational coach it is important for me to walk my talk or my case ROLL IT in my wheelchair!
I also work as a safety speaker since I was injured on the job right after graduating from Kansas State University as a Federal Inspector where I was blown over a 2 story building and flew over 300 feet [the length of a football field] landing hard onto a concrete parking lot, where my body was broken over at the chest like most people bend at the waist.
God gave me a 2nd chance at life when I didn’t die that day in those horrific explosions that tore that facility apart and I want to give my very best back to others by helping inspire & motivate them to reach beyond their limits & break new barriers to reach new levels of excellence, achievement & possibility. Whether it is speaking education or speaking fitness to our nation’s youth, teachers and parents it’s important to know that education along with inspiration, motivation and personal desire and passion can help you reach goals you may have never dreamed possible. The great thing is you can reach your goals if you keep your faith strong, keep working hard knowing “There’s Always A Way!” to write your own “Blueprint for Success” when you Never Give Up!
A big part of getting in shape along with the intense weight workouts / strength conditioning or cardiovascular workouts for me is using plyometric / flexibility workouts before I start my weight training or strength conditioning exercises to help stretch my muscles properly before I began my heavier weight lifting to help prevent injury. An example of plyometric or flexibility workout would be throwing a medicine ball to your partner when you are around about 10 feet apart from each other. Then throw it hard on a straight line overhead or chest passes trying to get in at least 500 to a 1,000- or 1,500 passes within 30 minutes.
When it comes to the weight of the medicine ball and the amount of time you use it is something to build up to if you haven’t had many or any workouts using the medicine ball like this. What helped me or anyone to prevent injuries is to properly warm up and I like using a 6 lbs. medicine ball for this vs. a 10 to 12 lbs. and doing anywhere from 500 to 1,500 passes throwing them as fast as you can, depending on your fitness and endurance level it stretches and lathers me up, which similar to what they do a race horse before they train or race them to get you are warmed up to prevent the horse being injured or not ready to go full speed.. So, I use the medicine ball to help improve my flexibility and strength endurance before I began to do strength conditioning exercises. When I finish my strength conditioning workout I want to make sure and do some cool down exercises with rubber bands at the end of my exercises to stretch those muscles, ligaments and tendons. This helps prevent injury warming up and cooling down are essential to me.
Eating right and keeping your metabolism burning continuously and by eating smaller balanced meals with small snacks always high in protein to build muscle, carbohydrates to give me energy for my workouts and throughout the day without crashing and feeling tired and vegetables or a salad is a BIG part of the equation for getting the Lean Body you want. By eating like this I help ensure my metabolic rate is running all day long which helps me stay alert and energetic so I can get my other business work done too.
Getting the leanest proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables and fats and making sure you have the correct portion size right for you and your goals for the meals and snacks you are going to be eating is paramount! This consists of eating 3 smaller balanced meals high in lean protein about 6 ounces for men or 4 ounces for women [Fish and sunlight are great sources of vitamin D which an essential vitamin our bodies need], good clean carbohydrates like steamed rice 1 cup for men or ½ cup for women and 1 cup of good vegetables for men or ½ cup for women – you can substitute a salad for the vegetables if you want. Then you can have 2 snacks, one in the mid-morning around 10:30 am you can have a Lean Body protein shake with a couple table spoons of some type of berries in it or apple, banana [the banana can provide our body with potassium it needs] etc. In the afternoon around 3:30 pm you can have another protein shake with fruit in it or another small balanced in meal in the same portion sizes listed above. Than have your small balanced meal for your dinner meal and if your still hungry around 9 pm you can have a Lean Body Shake or 6 to 8 egg whites or 1 cup of low-fat stage cheese around 9 to 10 pm.
In the next 3 months I will start to increase the amount of cardiovascular exercise when combined with strength conditioning which will help me or help you to get ripped or help girls or women just get all those shapely curls.
It has helped me greatly to not only change up my strength conditioning work outs every 2 weeks we go from high repetitions with a lighter weight and then to heavy weights with 6 to 10 reps. Also my cardio vascular workouts longer distance for 2 weeks then I go to fartlek training is a form of interval or speed training. Running or in my case pushing a racing wheelchair or hand-cycle involves varying your pace throughout your run, alternating between fast segments and slow jogs. Unlike traditional interval training that involves specific timed or measured segments, fartleks are more unstructured. Work-rest intervals can be based on how the body feels. With fartlek training, you can experiment with pace and endurance, and to experience changes of pace. Many runners, especially beginners, enjoy fartlek training because it involves speed work. I do sprints in my racing wheelchair by pushing full speed as hard as I can then pushing in my wheelchair at 50% to 75% of maximum speed alternating every 30 seconds to as long as 5 minutes during the 1 hour cardiovascular workout as your cardiovascular conditioning improves. I my cardiovascular endurance increases I also incorporate interval training that involves specific timed or measured segments I push full speed or ½ or ¾ speed for different time periods to keep my body always in a state of preparedness. As a person in a wheelchair paralyzed from the chest down with NO CORE BALANCE it is very important for me to be ready to take on whatever physical and mental challenge I am challenged with at any time.
Also I can vary the medicine ball workouts from lower weighted ball say 6 lbs. with faster throws to heavier medicine ball 10 to 15 lbs. [or whatever weight of medicine ball works best for you * IMPORTANT you want push yourself pass previous limitations and know the difference between pain and injury] with fewer passes doing both with high intensity, just the heavier the weight the fewer the reps. The medicine ball / plyometric 30 minute plus workouts, which are exercises used to help me increase flexibility and my strength endurance. This has also helped me lose more body fat making it even easier for me to transfer from my SUV paralyzed completely from the chest down by using only my arms and pulling my wheelchair in and out and hopping curbs or riding escalators so I can go wherever and wherever I need to go. This way I can keep up with fast paced people on their feet. To find out more about how to get the proper workouts and nutrition to get in the best shape of your life see: www.labrada.com
Now after the 3 months / 12 week period of laying my foundation I am increasing my intensity and amount of weight I lift and the intensity and speed with which I push my racing wheelchair or hand-cycle and increasing the intensity speed, and power I use to throw the medicine ball with. I am also incorporating the increased intensity, speed and power into my cross-training exercise as well from boxing, tennis racquetball fencing and other sports which require strength endurance, cardiovascular endurance and maximum flexibility. There are a lot more sports and activities out there for even a person like me paralyzed from the chest down to do!
Thanks again I ‘m going to keep learning, keep pushing, keep raising the intensity, keep raising and raising the bar in all I do. My next goal is to get back in elite shape, so I can be more alert and have more energy and be more productive in all I do with my Lean Body.
Thanks Lee for everything!
Wishing you all continued success in reaching your fitness goals and all the goals you have in your lives!
Saunders & Associates Speaking
First person with a disability appointed to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Nutrition by President George H.W. Bush
Only person reappointed to the Council by President Bill Clinton
Appointed as a Constituent Expert for George W. Bush administration
Only 20 people are chosen nationwide to be appointed to this Council by the President of the United Sates.
Multiple World Paralympic Champion
Top 100 Speakers in America
And for all of you remember, that I am here to help. Be sure to check out the sample diets and workouts below if you are in need of a nutrition and training program.
For sample diets => https://www.labrada.com/yourgoals
For weekly workouts => https://www.labrada.com/forum/muscle-building-workouts/
Yours for a Lean Body,
Your Lean Body Coach™