Jose Paula, 47, of Tampa, FL, lived under the cloak of limiting beliefs imposed by well-meaning doctors for nearly 20 years before he finally decided enough was enough. He simply could not approach his life this way anymore. In 2014, this Desert Storm veteran took his physical fitness into his own hands and began carving a new version of his physical abilities. “I could not live with the doubt. I knew deep down in my heart that I was capable of doing more,” Jose said. “The doctors had predicted a limiting future for me and I was never happy with their prediction. It was time to create my own future.”
After serving in the U.S. Army for four years from 1988-1992 in the Persian Gulf War, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm, Jose was living in New York and had just started a new career with Mellon Bank when his life forever changed in a tragic accident. On June 15, 1996, Jose found himself trapped inside a burning apartment after a company applying a highly flammable substance to fix a hardwood floor caused a stove to explode.
The fire left Jose with second, third, and fourth degree burns on 70 percent of his body with burns covering both legs completely. He spent six months in the hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries. At one point, his doctors warned him that because his burns were so severe and an infection had set in, he might lose both his legs.
Fortunately, Jose did not lose his legs. But, they were so damaged they could not support his weight. Jose confessed that this was an extremely difficult time for him. “I had very dark days and nights, and at various points, especially after the surgeries, I wanted to end my life. But I never found the courage to do it,” he said. “Perhaps, I actually never lost hope.” Beside him through this extremely challenging time was the woman who became his wife and the mother of his children. She never gave up on him.
Lifelong Limitations and Excuses
Jose eventually relearned how to walk, but his doctors all cautioned him against strenuous exercise, telling him to never push his legs because they simply could not handle the strain. For years, Jose heeded their advice, the doctors’ well-intended words echoing in his mind, constantly reminding him what he could not do.
Jose found other excuses besides the medical professionals’ words to keep him from the gym. They included excuses many other people use to avoid making changes they want but are afraid to make. Jose said his excuses included, I want to spend more time with the kids; I want to spend more time with the family; there is not enough time in the day for me to go to the gym; my career is a priority; I’m not actually into working out. “You name the excuse, I had used them all.”
Time for A Change
In January 2014, Jose resolved to change his life and stopped living with limiting beliefs, fears, and physical limitations. It started with a leg workout with a trainer friend who unknowingly helped Jose push past the mental hurdles that had held him back for nearly 20 years. After that workout, Jose realized his future was not limited in the way he had always been told.
Accountability and Motivation
Jose used Instagram to help him overcome the challenges of making a major lifestyle change. He created
@gohardno3xcuse to remind him daily what he stood for. He used social media to help him document, visualize and track his fitness journey. “I came late to this game and do not have the luxury to take my time in the gym,” he said.
Something interesting happened for Jose along the way. Other fitness enthusiasts started to take notice of his commitment and no-nonsense approach to his fitness goals. His Instagram started gaining steady followers as others noticed his no-excuse posts and over time he built a following of more 38K followers! Jose posts his workouts at 5 a.m. and in doing so helps thousands of others achieve their fitness goals.
Jose doesn’t believe in diets. Instead, he focuses on lifestyle changes and works with Fernando Salas, franchisee of Max Muscle Nutrition in Wesley Chapel, Florida to refine his nutritional and supplemental needs to sustain his intense workouts. Fernando recommended quality supplements to help Jose achieve his goals. Jose takes LipoRed, MaxPro, Cleanse & Lean, Pro BCAA, and MaxxTOR.
Now that Jose has found his fitness passion and rewritten the script playing in his mind from what his body can’t do to what it can do, it seems like anything is possible. This humble and hardworking man intends to still be working out at the age of 105 and believes longevity is the key. He plans to strike the balance between challenging himself, but not abusing his physical abilities, all while continuing to inspire others through fitness.
“At 47, I feel as strong as ever,” he said. He is gearing up to produce a clothing line that will represent his passion and personal brand. He intends to work three times as hard as everyone else and remain 100 percent overcommitted. All of this never would have happened if Jose had not pushed past his mental block and fears. Today, he is a true testament that you can achieve more than you think possible if you only try.
Jose's Tips for Overcoming Obstacles
1. Identify Your Obstacle(s). Most people cannot overcome obstacles that hinder their progress to achieve a dream or a goal because most people do not know what their obstacles are. The best way to identify an obstacle is to determine if you fear doing something – most fears are obstacles.
2. Before Going To Bed, Review Your Plan To Tackle Obstacles. Every night, write down what you’re going to do the following day to fight a fear or an obstacle head on. If you do not put together a plan, review it every night before going to bed, and execute on that plan the following morning/day, you will never get over the hurdle.
3. Visualize, Visualize, Visualize. See yourself having achieved a goal or dream and how it would feel when you get there. Envision the potential of your goal and/or dream: how may lives will you change and/or improve once you have achieved your goal/dream? Self-centered goals and dreams are not healthy. You should always impact the lives of others for the better. Once you understand the magnitude of your goal and dream on the lives of others, you are unstoppable and no obstacle will hold you back. MS&F