This past Monday, Dr. Ivan Hernandez of Executive Park Physical Therapy in Yonkers, New York launched his annual six-week virtual weight loss Transformation Program. Inspired by his own personal metamorphosis, Dr. Ivan has made it his mission to help men and women regain their health, specifically after life-altering experiences. Dr. Ivan talks staying healthy in the New Year, his 6 Week Transformation and his new book Courage to Continue slated to release in Spring 2017.
How did you become a fitness enthusiast?
Fitness has always been apart of my life. Following in the footsteps of my older brother who was in sports, the start of my fitness journey revolved around baseball and basketball. As I entered early adulthood, my fitness training centered around strength and conditioning while participating in various activities to maintain my fitness level. These include competing in marathons and triathlons, bodybuilding, and recreational sports. I have always been physically active, which is consistent with my personality and my philosophy of “movement is life. If you’re not moving you’re not living.”
In 2015, you suffered from a mild heart attack, what was the cause of that?
For the most part, I was very healthy. I did all the things that are the epitome of a healthy lifestyle, including: being physically active, having a nutritious diet, and adequate rest. There was one element I neglected, which was mental health. Due to the events of my current social life and not practicing stress management techniques, the unfortunate result was a mild heart attack. That’s why stress management has become a major pillar of health that I advocate for.
Stress actually plays a major part in many health issues. What are your thoughts on how to keep stress levels down?
There are a number of ways including exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and yoga. The goal is to partake in an activity that calms down the nervous system.
How were you able to change the pain of personal, financial, mental and physical struggles into productivity?
I was motivated by the fear of failing. When my back was against the wall, as a father, I was determined to persevere for the sake of my children. They are my biggest motivation. With them looking up to me and everyone else that relied on me, I had to make it work. I was confident that things could only get better as long as I remained positive and focused.
What is the idea behind your 6-week transformation program?
Through my extensive expertise in fitness and my own health experiences, I wanted to help people beyond the bonds of my office and create an affordable resource to help people achieve their fitness goals and gain strength efficiently and safely. And because everyone is different, each participant’s program will be customized based on his or her health history and needs.
You have a new book coming out called Courage to Continue: Surmounting life’s Adversities Boldly, what will the book be about?
The book will cover my life experiences and ups and downs of my health and wellness story. I want my readers to seize their adversity with vigilance and use it as an opportunity to reach their own personal fulfillment. If it wasn’t for all I had went through I wouldn’t have been proactive in being a public educator in wellness and disease prevention.
I also want to show that wellness goes beyond the body. It involves the mind and the spirit, and the book will hone on the other areas of wellness and the 5 pillars of health.
What’s one thing that men can stop doing today that would make them healthier?
Men can start by lowering the amount of processed food and sugar they intake through their diet. The advice I often give when food shopping is remaining on the perimeter aisles of the grocery store when shopping. Typically anything sold in the center of the grocery store are processed, filled with GMO’s and unhealthy for you.
Everyone starts the New Year with enthusiasm about being healthy. How can men continue to keep the momentum through the entire year?
It all starts with a positive outlook and perspective and having realistic expectations about what your fitness journey will entail. Often times we are looking for immediate results and success in a short amount of time. However, fitness and any transformation require effort and consistency. It is important to remain consistent for at least 3 weeks. It’s roughly around that time that your body acclimates to these new activities and adopts them as a part of your lifestyle.
Click here if you are interested in Dr. Ivan’s Weight Loss Transformation Program.