The tough keep go­ing through tough times

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - ERNIE SCHRAMAYR Ernie Schramayr, CPT, is a Med­i­cal Ex­er­cise Spe­cial­ist in Hamil­ton who helps his clients man­age med­i­cal con­di­tions with ex­er­cise. You can fol­low him at ernies­fit­ness­ 905-741-7532 or ernies­fit­ness­

In my years as an ath­lete and as a Med­i­cal Ex­er­cise Spe­cial­ist, I’ve known peo­ple who you would re­fer to as “tough.” They are the ones you can rely on, no mat­ter the cir­cum­stances. They never wa­ver and they stay on task at all times. For the ath­letes, they con­tinue to com­pete re­gard­less of set­backs or pain. For the med­i­cal ex­er­cise clients, they are the ones who do their home­work ... al­ways. Not “feel­ing like it” is ir­rel­e­vant to them. They just do what needs to be done.

Of the ath­letes and clients I’ve known, there is one who stands out as be­ing ex­cep­tional for his abil­ity to per­se­vere and stay on task. Gord Wad­dell is the owner of United Fam­ily Martial Arts on Dun­durn Street in Hamil­ton. In the 12 years that I’ve known him, he’s been a train­ing part­ner, a one-time client and a friend. He is a big man with a shaved head, a goa­tee and a boom­ing voice. He is also tough. Very tough.

Ear­lier in life, Gord was a chef, but for the past 23 years he has been in­volved in martial arts and has won two world karate cham­pi­onships and com­peted in tour­na­ments around North Amer­ica. Like all ath­letes in con­tact sports, he has suf­fered through a long list of in­juries and has had eight surg­eries to cor­rect them. Th­ese days, Gord is “Sen­sei” to his stu­dents and he con­tin­ues to in­spire with his work ethic as well as his com­mit­ment to help­ing peo­ple be­come bet­ter ver­sions of them­selves both in martial arts and in life.

As part of today’s col­umn, I asked Gord for an in­sight into his mind­set and how he has man­aged to stay pos­i­tive de­spite all the phys­i­cal trauma that he’s suf­fered to win world ti­tles, build a suc­cess­ful busi­ness and live a happy life as a hus­band and fa­ther. Here are five es­sen­tial points he out­lined to help any­one keep go­ing when all they feel like do­ing is stop­ping.

1. Al­ways lis­ten to your doc­tor and fol­low the plan laid out for your re­cov­ery. At the same time, make it clear that you are de­ter­mined to re­turn to health as quickly as pos­si­ble.

2. Set goals for your­self be­yond just “get­ting bet­ter.” Vi­su­al­ize your­self do­ing what­ever it is that you want to do af­ter your re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Think more of the out­comes, not the pro­cesses.

3. Fo­cus on what you CAN do. When he was re­cov­er­ing from foot surgery, Gord spent ex­tra time per­form­ing upper body work­outs; when his shoul­der was re­paired, he did more leg work and car­dio­vas­cu­lar train­ing.

4. Lead by ex­am­ple. Af­ter each surgery, Gord would re­mind him­self that there were oth­ers watch­ing him. He told him­self that if he gave up, it would give his stu­dents the per­mis­sion to give up on them­selves. Think of your­self as a leader with oth­ers look­ing to you for in­spi­ra­tion.

5. Keep things in per­spec­tive. As much as you might be hurt­ing, there is al­ways some­one who has it much worse than you do.

Men­tal tough­ness is an in­nate qual­ity to some, but it is also a skill that can be mas­tered by any­one. Use the strate­gies men­tioned to make your­self bet­ter at stay­ing on task de­spite the phys­i­cal pain and chal­lenge you might be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. There is a say­ing that is worth re­peat­ing: Tough times don’t last but tough peo­ple do.

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