What I Learned from Shifting My Perspective to Living Long, Living Young and Living Well

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Beaches of Maui, Hawaii. September of 2017

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” — Calvin Coolidge

Allow me to provide some perspective on my Vogel family’s history. Prior to me being born in 1993, my grandma Smith (my dad’s mother) passed away from a battle with breast cancer. Moving forward, to Thanksgiving and Christmas 2011, my parents and I noticed Grammy (my mom’s mother) wasn’t doing well health wise. Not too far after that, she passed away in January 2012 from a quick and painful battle with pancreatic cancer.

In addition to that, Grandpa Vogel (my dad’s father) passed away later in 2012 from a battle with pancreatic cancer. My mom’s biological father, who I never knew, passed away a few years ago as well. It’s fair to say health scares with my family have been prevalent throughout life, and trust me, I cannot be the only one to have gone through these tragic times.

In hindsight, I’m not telling anyone any of this for sympathy, I’ve gotten over it throughout the years. However, recognizing we get very few at bats in life is the bigger picture I’d like to hit home for my fellow readers. Our bodies are our temples and we should treat them as such.

Yes, there are diseases all throughout the world that aren’t curable yet but there are precautionary measures and steps we can take to lay the foundation for living much longer than our grandparents, living and feeling younger during our lifetimes, and most importantly, practicing wellness through exercise, nutrition and proper supplementation.

“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself and be lenient to everybody else.” — Henry Ward Beecher

Moving right along, for those of you who didn’t know, from the fall of 2011 until late 2015 I was playing rugby almost year round. Falls consisted of competitive seasons for four years when I was playing in Western, PA. The spring was more tournaments, hot practices and fun times out on the pitch.

I lived for this. It was the competitive side in me coming out. As athletes, we’re always looking for the competitive edge in virtually everything we’re doing. Whether it’s our sport of choice, in the classroom, in the management board room, on a phone call, or in the weight room, we want to win. We absolutely hate losing more than anything else.

When I first started to lift weights consistently it was about 6 years ago. I never lifted (much) growing up playing baseball because it all was very natural to me. Throwing baseballs thousands of times during practice, taking hundreds of swings, running and doing resistance work with bands were the peak of my workouts in my mid to late teens.

Needless to say, there was a big shift that needed to occur when I started playing rugby. To be honest, I had never really played a contact sport before. I had no clue what I was doing when I entered Washington & Jefferson’s gym. It was at first a foreign concept to me. What were all of these machines for? What did they do? How do I get the most effective work out of this exercise? Is this the right or wrong form? I don’t know about you but those were some of the thoughts I had in my mind.

Thankfully coaches and the older players were there for to teach the noobies, right? Long story short, I was hooked a few months let alone years into the process. I loved the pump I got, I loved sweating out my bodies toxins (back then there were a lot) and I wanted to see what sort of peak performance my body could achieve.

With all of that being said, this was probably the first point in my life at 19 or 20 years old I started spending my own money on pre-workouts, protein and supplements. For the most part, that regimen consisted of Cellucor’s C4 original pre-workout, a standard whey protein and Nature Made fish oil. Why those? Well word-of-mouth advertising works pretty well and that’s what I saw a lot of other guys taking. It wasn’t rocket science!

To be honest, other than more energy from the C4, I didn’t notice very good results from what I was taking. My body did have plenty of other stimulants, coffee and food in it so maybe I wasn’t paying close enough attention. Maybe it was a placebo effect, who knows?

Fast forward to April of 2014. It’s the spring time and our rugby club was traveling to California University of Pennsylvania for a normal (15 vs 15) club match. Right before the end of the first half I went to tackle one of Cal’s ball carriers and braced for the impact of the hit on their turf.

The next thing I know my right shoulder is pushed back and there’s a lot of tension and pressure on both my shoulder and rotator cuff. Cal’s trainers weren’t able to do anything to help me at that point. I’ll spare all of the details but next thing I know I’m in an ambulance, shot up with a pain killer and on my way to Monongahela Valley Hospital. My shoulder was put back in place roughly 2 hours after the initial hit occurred and thankfully all of that tension was gone.

The fun part was the next 3–6 months of physical therapy, time during finals week with my right arm in a sling and having to rebuild up all of the muscles in my shoulders and deltoid which I had lost.

It wasn’t until the end of October and November of 2015 before I finally got control of my diet/nutrition and found supplements that actually worked for me. I won’t be able to due all of those health and nutrition supplements justice right now (for the sake and length of this blog) so feel free to message me directly or touch base if you’re genuinely interested. During this time, the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, I asked myself these three questions:

  1. What am I trying to do?
  2. How I am trying to do it?
  3. Could there be a better way?

“Health is not merely the absence of disease; it is the balance of mind, body and soul.” — Hippocrates

What I was trying to do was first lose weight and then put on lean muscle after an imbalanced diet I had for four years in college. Checked that one off the list of things to do. How I was doing this was by eating much better (cleaner) and consistently working out 5–6 days per week. To this day, to keep a clear conscious, I’m working out at least 4–5 days a week. Lastly, as with most things in life, there was a better way.

Whether it was bright and early in the morning, during a lunch break, after work or late at night, I have always found the time (30–60 minutes) to workout. I always saw my dad dedicate the same time for his workouts and calisthenics growing up so I knew I could do the same. The man played every single sport under the sun whether it was baseball, softball, football, basketball, running track or doing gymnastics. However, later in life with more working hours, family and household responsibilities I saw the discipline he once had slip away. Also, the energy simply wasn’t there.

For the Millennial generation, I feel as if we’re practicing an all around healthier route than our peers, colleagues, friends, family or grandparents did. Simply look around, today we have so many organic and health conscious options to buy and consume our food from than ever before. It’s actually impressive!

Overlooking fast food options has been rather simple for myself and overall health now. Do I go to Chipotle and have a cheat meal every now and then? Absolutely but in moderation that won’t kill me. Especially when consuming heart health fish oils and drinking digestive enzymes. Eating fat burgers every day and consuming large amounts of soda, sugar and other high processed foods doesn’t surprise me when I hear that cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.

The amount of stress on individuals plates today is too high and very hard to fathom. Whether it’s poor health, too many hours and stress at work, not getting enough time to see family or always worrying about money, the odds are stacked against the majority of the U.S. population. It’s fair to say there’s a better way and I certainly wouldn’t want that for anyone us, let alone my family or future family.

What I’ve learned from shifting my perspective to living long, living young and living well is that health has to be a number one priority for people today. No excuses! Again, we only have one body so we might as well maximize it to its fullest potential.

At the end of our lives we shouldn’t necessarily measure the quantity of it but rather the quality we’ve experienced. No one’s going to wish they spent more hours in the office, logged more miles on an airliner for corporate travel, taken another conference call or brought on a client they wish they had not. We’re built to love and cherish the quality of time spent with our parents, children, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandmothers, grandfathers and everyone else that holds a special place in our hearts.

For years now, I’ve been putting out a lot of content regarding health, lifting, wellness, business and financial literacy (as it isn’t something we’re taught growing up), reading, books and much more. All along I’ve been working full-time over the past two years in the financial services industry, in addition to working part-time for a global product brokerage, wellness franchise and internet marketing company.

I’d like to start interacting with more of you and seeing how I can help you directly with your health, wellness, or any other aspects of live so you might see more content from me featuring specific products, services, business news, opportunities, e-commerce trends and plenty of other things I’m learning and teaching from reading books, listening to audios/podcasts and attending seminars. If you have any questions or concerns, go ahead and leave your comments below.

My passions have become aspects of my life I’m planning to do full-time in the near future. I just want to be transparent and let everybody know that I’m not in the bait-and-switch game, nor would I ever be based on my values, ethics and integrity in today’s marketplace.

As always, thank you for reading!

My Very Best,

Donovan Vogel

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Philadelphia based teaching financial literacy | Prospering all other hours | Writer | Lifter | Reader | Traveler | Freedom & Wellness

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