Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bodybuilder Johnny Valentin

Our next interview is with heavyweight Bodybuilder Johnny Valentin, who is a true warrior who does not give up or give in, but someone who will not only give some great health and fitness advice, but truly be inspired by his journey.

Johnny how did you get started in bodybuilding?
I was a huge dirt bike fanatic. I wanted to start racing and 2 weeks before my 1st race I got into a bad accident and broke my femur. That's when I start picking up Muscular Development magazine's and decided it's time to stop riding and start lifting.

What competitions did you compete in and what place did you come in?

2012 my 1st show the Bev Francis Atlantic States. I competed as a novice light heavyweight and placed 3rd

Took a year off

In 2014 I went up to the heavyweight class and competed the the South Jersey Championships where I placed 2nd.

In 2015 I competed at the Golds Classic as a Heavyweight. 2 weeks before the show I got sick and come show time I was on antibiotics and feeling horrible. I placed 2nd in novice heavyweight, 3rd in open heavyweight and 3rd in masters..

2 weeks later I was still fighting the same bug buy felt much better at the 2015 East Coast Championships and competed only in Novice since I still wasn't feeling to well. I took 1st place in the class.

   Kevin Levrone & Newark Police Officer & WORLD CLASS BODYBUILDER Jose Alicea

Who is your role model ?

My 1st role model when I got into bodybuilding was Kevin Levrone the "Maryland muscle machine " at that time when I started bodybuilding he was all over the covers of magazines and he physique was just phenomenal.
Johnny Valentin

What advice would you give to someone trying to lose belly fat?

Loosing belly fat.. the #1 thing would be dieting... you can work your ass off but if your not eating what your supposed to then you can't expect much to change.

   Fakhri Mubarak 
Who was the main person who got you into bodybuilding?

Who was the main cog in me stepping on stage to begin with. Back in 2012 when I stepped on stage it's wasn't planned at all.. about 10 weeks before the NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States. . I had a friend who was being coached by IFBB Pro Fakhri Mubarak outta NY. Well every time he came to see him traffic was a nightmare . I told my friend he needed to take the the train and hop on the metro to Queens. It's much easier.. well he didn't know the rail systems so I took him and showed him the way.. it was that day I walked into Fakhri 's store and he looked and me and said I need to step on stage. He said I owe it to myself. He said that the condition I walk around every day is better then the condition of some of these guys that step on stage. .. I was in total denial... well after a few weeks of pondering the idea of stepping on stage I finally realized that I needed to do this... I literally had a IFBB Pro telling me I owed it to myself to do this and I'd be stupid not to... so at 7 weeks out from the NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States I went and seen Fakhri and he worked me up a 7 week prep plan . And from that point on I was on mission to be the best I could be in only 7 weeks of prep... after all the hardwork and dedication was Done I Place 3rd in novice light heavyweight at the biggest show of the year... never would I have thought that was ever possible so I give it all to Fakhri for believing in me and helping me see it.. from that 1st moment I stepped on stage I knew I was born to do this.. it's people like Fakhri who are great to the bodybuilding community.. he's a great ambassador to the bodybuilding industry and his knowledge is priceless. 

Who else ?
I had help with a trainer in 2015. Before that point I've Always worked extremely hard in the gym, but I never had anyone show me how to train properly.. I learned everything from picking up magazines and reading.. well I'm friends with IFBB Pro Gloria Fauls. . I've watch her Transform over the years, but last year she made a huge change in her physique and did her best ever.. winning the Puerto Rico Pro
And finishing 7th in the mr. OLYMPIA! Since I was Always following her progress .. I asked her what she thought about me working with her trainer. . She highly recommended him and was kind enough to introduce me to him. From that point on he took over and corrected many flaws in my training mechanics and helped me push harder then ever.. I couldn't have asked for a better trainer. .. he to is a IFBB Pro Jimmy Agigian. .. back in his younger years he was labeled as the biggest bodybuilder in the world and made the cover of Iron Man Magazine. .. he's also a retired military vet so his disciplines through the roof.. he has helped me transform and transcend my physique to help me earn that 1st place trophy! I could have done it without him... he is the owner and operator of Superior Training Concepts in Mt. Laurel 

What  supplements do you use and why?
The supplements I use are from a company called Faktrition .. My nutrition coach Ifbb pro Fakhri Mubarak released his own product line. And the Protein I use is By ABT (advanced body technologies) .. a close friend of mine has been making his own protein line for 20 plus years... every batch is certified so you know your getting exactly what the label says.. I only used products that are back 100%. A lot of companies don't produce what the labels said.. if I'm using something to put into my body I always research and make sure I'm getting exactly what I'm supposed to.
Here is the link to their website:

Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I see myself heavily involved in the NPC/IFBB and possibly opening a gym.. more hordcore.. geared towards competitive athletes. . Down here in south jersey there's very few real hard core gyms like up north. As a bodybuilder it's fun and exciting to take road trips up north to the more well known bodybuilding gyms and workout in an environment fueled with high energy driven people whole compete.. you can literally feel the energy in the air and it is just awesome. . Here in South Jersey people look at me like I'm a crazy freak and there's not many legit bodybuilders around.

Johnny finally you are a true warrior in every way, so I must ask you have had a health battle ?
I'm  Going back 10years ago.. not alot of people know this about me but I was very sick at that time. I went to the ER because I knew something was wrong with me for a while and it was getting really bad. They started running test on me. A nurse came back with and EKG. I said what the hell is that for. The nurse said something is way off with me. My cholesterol was 678. A good cholesterol level is supposed to be 117 and under. So they wanted to take a look at my heart. I was terrified... well my heart was good... from that point on I was subjected to test after test after test... from every STD, to every kind of sickness they could think of... everything kept comming back negative.. finally they decide to do a kidney biopsy.. once I recovered from that they released me with a whole shit load of meds. That was a very terrifying 2weeks I spent in the hospital. Not having any idea what's going on with my body or even how long I was gonna live for..  what killed me mentally even more was that it was gonna take at least 2 months for the Biopsy to come back.. during those 2 months i was extremely sick.
At home I couldn't even walk out to my mailbox without being completely out of breath because my lungs were full of fluids.  I had to sleep on the recliner everyday, because if I laid down I would choke because of the fluids in my lungs.. I was constantly getting cramps everywhere and I could do nothing but sit their until they went away.. this was because my muscle enzymes were extremely high... it was definitely a tough time in my life.  The not know what was happening to my body was causing me to become sad, lonely & depressed.  All my friends and family were really scared for me. Nobody ever saw me like this. Everyone used to call me Johnny Abbs. Everyone knew me as iron man... a workout warrior... then not being able to walk out  get the mail without being completely out of breath. It was a definite stuggle..
Finally my results came back. I had to go see a Renal Specialist.. the Dr told me I have a rare disease  called Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis... it's something that's not heriditary.. it's not something that can get passed from another person.. it's a disease that anyone can get. But it's rare.. she then said I will no longer be able to workout because it will cause further damage.. she said that I have a 3% chance of getting better. And that I will be on dialysis in 5years.... wow that was like a shot to my heart. I was sent home with a whole shit load of meds. I was taking 27 pills a day... I was more depressed then  ever. With no hope in site for my future. I couldn't believe this happened to me...
Then 1 day I snapped out of it. I figured their million of sick people around the world that would die to walk a day I'm my shoes. I start researching everything. All the Meds they had me on had terrible side effects and we're a main cause of
All my cramping and issues I was having. Little by little I began eliminating my meds and replacing them with natural remedies... I had a check up every month with the doctor. Well guess what... I began seeing signs of light with my test results. The Dr asked if I was still taking my meds and I said yes... in time I began Going back to the gym and working out very lightly... the next visit she couldn't beleave how far I've come. She said "It just doesn't happen and she was very proud to have me as her patient because the whole time I remained very positive and happy I was just living and breathing.  She said she wished more patients were like me... " I eventually got healthy and manage to take control of my illness through living a healthy life style. The last visit I had with her she told me that my health was so good it was better then hers and she said "I don't even know why you come anymore lol... " I was the happiest I ever been in my life. At that point I said Dr, I gotta tell you something. .. I stopped taking all my meds a long time ago.. her jaw dropped!! I said I went and seen an earth doctor and I used all natural remedies.. she was in disbelief.  But their was nothing she could say. Their was no denying my results!!
I'm living proof that the Wil to live is stronger the the wil to be weak and give up. If i gave up and stay on all those meds i definatly dont even  know if i would be here now...Don't let anyone tell you how to live you life, & that you can and can't do things. . Regardless of what struggles you have your not the only 1. The world is full of people who are sick and suffering. We all have been blessed to even walk this earth. Appreciate all that your life has to offer. Choose a healthy lifestyle  and do your  best to be the best person that you can be to other and most importantly to yourself!  You never know what tomaro brings. But you are here right now so make every moment count. We're all blessed to be alive. When you look in the mirror look into you eyes and know inside that you beautiful soul. Love yourself and most importantly cherish your body. Give it the proper nutrition it needs to be as healthy as possible and live as long as God let's us.
2015 is here and I've come a long long way. 10years ago They told me I would never be able to workout again. This year I will be competing at NPC Nationals for first time! Life truly is a struggle. We all have our ups and downs.. just remember whatever life throws at you tackle it head on! Whatever obstacles get in you way bust through them! It's the tough times that we go through that makes us a stronger better person ! In the end all that matters is that you love & live your life the fullest and embrace all humanity with a kind heart.. love conquers all!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Lisa Mateo

 Pix 11 Lisa Mateo  mom, wife, reporter, host and the list goes on, but whatever she does its with heart,soul and passion and the end product is success! As we continue our look at people in the media, we are sure you will be seeing and hearing more from Lisa Mateo.

Lisa, you are a Jersey girl and Brooklynite who has really climbed up the ladder at PIX 11. You write, produce, report, have done traffic and weather, anchor and have your own show "Celebrity Taste Makers.” How do you feel being raised a Jersey girl has helped your career and exactly where in New Jersey are you from?
I feel like I was raised in the best of both worlds. I grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and attended PS 104 until about fourth grade when my parents decided to move to New Jersey. Many of my childhood memories…learning how to ride a bike, taking my big wheel for rides down the sidewalk, watching the NY marathon and my accent are all New York. But my life lessons are New Jersey. I grew up in the small town of Leonia in Bergen County. This is where I made childhood friends and developed a love for writing. At Rutgers, I blossomed from a quiet, shy girl into a more confident woman. I wasn’t afraid to ask questions, in fact I always wanted to know more and do more. It’s that drive that got me to where I am at WPIX. I started as a production assistant and quickly worked my way to producer, traffic reporter, features and news reporter, weather reporter and news anchor. It wasn’t easy, as I had to prove myself, so I always stayed late, asked if anyone needed help, and worked every holiday. 


How did you get your own show on WPIX, "Celebrity Taste Makers?”
The creator of Celebrity Taste Makers, Tony Monte, is a friend of our main anchor, Sukanya Krishnan, and always watched the PIX 11 Morning News. He saw me on air when I started doing traffic in the helicopter and loved how I lit up the screen. He said that if I could do that from a helicopter he knew I could do great things on my own show. I had a meeting with Tony and his partner, Melinda Martinez, and saw their passion behind what was just a concept at the time. The rest is history. We are currently in our fourth year of production and have more than 70 original episodes. I’ve had the honor of dining with a number of great celebrities, including Rita Moreno, Spike Lee, Mike Tyson, Kristin Chenoweth, Penn & Teller, Rupert Grint, Chazz Palminteri and Sandra Bernhard to name a few.

What has been your most memorable experience with PIX 11?
My most memorable experience at WPIX was 9-11. I was a producer at the time. Our program had just finished and we were getting out of our morning meeting. I remember hearing alerts coming in on the scanner from our assignment desk and looking at the reports popping up on CNN. Everyone sprang into action. But all I could keep thinking about was how my husband was about to come up off the subway at World Trade Center for work. Cell service was down. At PIX we started making calls to emergency personnel for the anchors to speak with on air and then finally I received the call I had been waiting for. My husband had gotten up from the subway to a dark World Trade with debris beginning to fall. No one knew what was happening. He rushed outside and looked up and that’s when he saw it on fire. He knew he would have to walk. A few blocks in he heard a rumbling and that’s when the first tower fell. Everyone ran. He made his way from the World Trade Center to our building on 42nd and 2nd…and so did everyone. The streets were filled with people covered in soot and just walking, still in shock. It was an eerie feeling. As producers, we talked with people on the street to get their reaction of what they witnessed. Their stories brought me to tears. I watched our reporters and anchors in awe of how they covered the story non-stop…and learned how difficult it is to separate yourself from a story, when you are actually living through it yourself. I was hooked. It was a day  that I, as well as many Americans and the world, will never forget.

You are a prominent and proud Latina. Talk to us on what your heritage means to you?
My parents were born in Puerto Rico and moved here to the states when they were very young. My father was raised in Brooklyn and my mother in the South Bronx. Growing up, they only spoke English to my sisters and I at home, so we learned through school. I took it upon myself to continue it into college. Although we are not fluent in the language, the culture is a part of our soul. The food, the music, the art, the family gatherings, and most of all the passion. My father always taught me that I had to work even harder in life as I was not only a minority, but a woman as well. My heritage is what makes me who I am.

Lisa Mateo is … dedicated and determined. Whether it’s to my family or job, I give my all in everything I do. 

Actor Danny Aiello is not only a friend and a fan of yours, but has become the Executive Producer of " Celebrity Taste Makers" how did they come to be?
The creator of Celebrity Taste Makers, Tony Monte, was walking in Soho and saw Danny Aiello on the street. He approached him about being a guest on the show. Danny saw the exact same passion I saw in Tony. He agreed to an episode and stayed in touch with Tony. It was just a natural progression to ask Danny to play a bigger role in the show, and he did it without hesitation. 

What’s your favorite recipe and why?
My favorite recipe is my own healthy twist on a Latino dish called Picadillo. Rather than ground beef, I use ground turkey and make it with sofrito (onions, peppers, garlic mixture) tomato sauce, 1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables and salt and pepper, and serve it over brown rice. I love this recipe because of its cultural connection, but also because it is healthy and quick to make. Being as I’m up at 2 am every day for the news, filming Celebrity Taste Makers on different days, doing mommy duties for my 2 kids, and now starting a fitness coaching business, I’m all about quick and healthy meals.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Jacqueline Paige- overweight and anxiety ridden to competing in Natural Bodybuilding Competition and living her best Life!

Jacqueline Paige is not only transformational person, but someone who will truly inspire you and help you to live your best life. As Newarknow continues to focus on health and fitness Jaqueline story is one that will stick out not only in crafting your best body, but also your heart and soul. Here's her story.

In recent years you had a total physical transformation, how did you do it?
Steve, to completely answer this question I have to go into a bit more detail. I have severe generalized anxiety. Basically, it is where I cannot turn off my brain.
The actual definition General Anxiety Disorder according to Web MD is: Generalized anxiety disorder (or GAD) is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. People with symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder tend to always expect disaster and can't stop worrying about health, money, family, work, or school. In people with GAD, the worry is often unrealistic or out of proportion for the situation. Daily life becomes a constant state of worry, fear, and dread. Eventually, the anxiety so dominates the person's thinking that it interferes with daily functioning, including work, school, social activities, and relationships.
The doctors like to say, “you suffer from severe general anxiety disorder” to which my response is, “Shut the hell up- I am BLESSED with severe anxiety disorder”. But WHY am I telling you about this mess of a problem when I am supposed to be telling you about my “successful” fitness/weight loss journey. You needed to know what I struggle with EVERY SINGLE DAY, my motivating factor… my lifeline.My weight loss journey started in November 2012. The highest I ever saw the scale go was 183 pounds. Now, for some people, that might be their target goal- but for me, and my body type, I was highly overweight. I struggled daily mentally, physically and emotionally. I ate fast food multiple times a week. “Cooking” was throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, pizza rolls in the microwave or if I got really ambitious, I would make loaded cheesy potatoes (and proceed to eat the whole pan). It wasn’t that I sat on my ass 24/7, or that I didn’t exercise- actually, quite the opposite. I had a stressful internship out in Wyoming working 60+ hours a week, was still taking online college courses, and went to the gym to “run” on the treadmill a few times a week. I never had time to just sit, yet I was getting progressively larger by the day. Although I didn’t love how I looked, I didn’t hate it. What I did hate is how I felt. I felt like shit 100% of the time. If I wasn’t struggling emotionally or mentally, it was probably because my body was too exhausted physically from my job and from my daily life activates that I was legitimately out of breath! I needed something to change.
My mom, being the beast, and by beast I mean amazing, gorgeous, ambitious woman she is, competed through the NANBF (North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation) as a figure competitor. I saw her lose weight, build muscle and gain confidence…and she looked and felt GREAT (everyone could tell). She was what I aspired to be like, not only because of her physical transformation, but because of the mental transformation and life change she was making as well.

January 2013 I made the decision and set the goal to do my first NANBF competition in May. That gave me five months to change my eating habits, start working out/building muscle, and gain the confidence to go on stage and “present” my best package. I complied a diet plan for the next five months (with the help of my mother and family friend, Jim), I started weight training six days a week with my mom, and started working towards a healthier lifestyle (not binge drinking, binge eating). In May 2013, I stepped on the stage at the NANBF Mr. and Ms. Minnesota show and completed my first “fitness” milestone. I ended up taking home a fourth place in my class. I dropped approximately fifty pounds from the time I started training to going on stage. Now, to say that was difficult, would be an understatement. Completely changing the way you eat, think, and LIVE not only affects you, but those around you. I was an emotional wreck. I didn’t fully understand the physiological effects taking place during my training. I was focused on losing weight and looking good in a bikini for a show… I wasn’t actually focused on changing my lifestyle. However, I had gotten bit by the “show bug”, I wanted to be on stage and do better- so I set another goal of the NANBF show in Elk River Minnesota in October 2013. I lifted hard, but hit the cardio harder. In October, I came in with an even better personal package, and ended up taking home fourth in my class again. I was so proud of myself physically but STILL struggled with myself mentally and emotionally. It was at that point when I realized I needed to take a step back and concentrate on myself mentally and emotionally getting stronger, rather than just physically getting stronger. I needed to educate myself.
It turns out the more I educated myself and others about my anxiety disorder, the worse I felt about myself. People tended to look at it as a weakness. I tried multiple medications, therapy… you name it, I tried it. I felt like a burden, a mutant, a ticking time bomb. In early October of 2014, a year after my NANBF Elk River show, I hit rock bottom. I had proceeded to push a majority of my loved ones away: my now ex-boyfriend, many friends, and family. I hit rock bottom, and cannot emphasize enough how thankful I am for the individuals who did stick with me, who continued to believe in me (even when I had completely given up on myself). I wanted to make myself feel better- to not let my anxiety overcome my life. So I decided to change my mindset, and let my lifestyle follow. I found a doctor named Chris, she’s amazing and LISTENS. I started reading The Positive Thinking Secret, and embracing the theories. To my surprise, I saw change. I believed things were going to get better, I believed that I could be positive (and that my anxiety could be positive) and it started to work! I am not saying that every day was perfect, or amazing… but every day was a good day (even if it did have some rough patches).
By January 2015, I was mentally and emotionally feeling the best I have ever felt. I wanted to try training for another show. Two shows were coming up, Natural Iowa, and Mr. and Ms. Minnesota. They were rapidly approaching (in May) and I thought it would be cool to try to peak for Mr. and Ms. MN since it had been my “starter” show. I trained doing limited cardio, and focusing primarily on weightlifting. My body composition had completely changed from the first time I stepped on stage. I trained with the mindset and belief that these competitions were me against me. Me and my mind now against who I was in 2013 and 2014. I stepped on stage at Iowa with a great personal package and didn’t place… but I was SO proud MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY and EMOTIONALLY. The week after Iowa, I stepped on stage at Mr. and Ms. Minnesota and blew my 2013 package out of the water. I ended up taking home third place in my novice class. My most recent show, was a DFAC show in Duluth, MN where I competed in one of the bikini classes. I was wanted to try the DFAC show format for the sole purpose that the shows are made for the competitors, put on by competitors. This was the most competitive show I have ever competed at, and I didn't end up placing (which I was more than ok with). The other athletes were amazing, and I felt blessed to be sharing the stage with them.

Now you compete in various competitions which ones and how do you like competing?

I have competed in five shows thus far. I have competed in four NANBF shows, and one DFAC show. (I think the above question answered this in more detail).
Who is your role model and why?  
This is probably cliche, but my mother is my biggest role model. She has gone through a transformation similar to mine, she works full time, is a mother of three kids, a wife, a christian, and one of the kindest people I know. She is selfless, blunt, funny, and I am blessed to call her MY mother.
What exercises and supplement do you perform and take?As for exercises, I try and mix it up as much as possible. I weight lift six days a week but it is ever changing. I am the operations manager for a gym, so I have the pleasure of collaborating now with my personal training director and staff. Not only do I get to learn from my staff at work, but looking at blogs and training videos online help me to change up my routine as well.
Supplements are an issue for me if I am speaking honestly. I take a multi vitamin on a daily basis along with glutamine, bcaas, and CLA. That is it for supplements. I have to be careful with what I introduce into my system for the fact that it can affect my anxiety.
What are your goals in life and in the fitness world?
My goals in life and in the fitness world are the same- Help other people realize they can achieve whatever they put their mind to.. and to realize that everyone is going through something (big or small).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thomas Trilivas Bodybuilder, animal rights advocate and true cat lover!

Nutley,New Jersey native Thomas Trilivas is becoming quite a brand for himself in bodybuilding just a short time ago he was overweight and out of shape, but as you will see in the following transformational pictures he has completely turned that around. As we here at Newarknow continue to look at people who help define fitness and health, we hope you also will be motivated and inspired by Tom and his words of advice. Tom is also a huge animal lover and his cats live like kings!

How did you get started in bodybuilding?

I got started very young about 13 yrs old with just basic weight training. I continued to train more many yrs on an off for sports or just to keep in shape but mainly because I just enjoyed it. Many times people had asked me to compete and I always said I wasn't good enough to do it. Finally at the age of 36 I stepped on stage and won the overall 1st place trophy for masters and also won the novice division. It was the start of
everything for me competitively.

 What was is like competing for the 1st time?
It was incredible. I was so nervous, I didn't think I was good enough. I actually was in the worst shape of my life in Feb 2014 because I stopped training do to moving my residence and working on my new home plus running my business. I then became somewhat depressed and got upset with myself so I decided to set a goal that I would step on stage in 6 months from Feb 6th 2014.... in only 5 months I stepped on stage and won at the tri state championships on July 19th. I then competed in the 6th month at a much bigger show Muscle Beach championships on Aug 9th and took home 3 more trophies... 2 first place and 1 second place. I was thrilled, amazed, shocked all at one time that in just 6 months from not working out at all I was winning multiple shows. I then made a decision to go into a National show called North Americans in Pittsburgh. It was a dream I had my whole life to compete for my pro card. I couldn't believe it was happening in just a 6 month period. I finished 12th out of 24 guys and I also got 8th in the masters division. It was an incredible experience and achievement

What advice would you give someone just starting out in bodybuilding?

I would give them the advice to stay consistent, always believe in yourself, set obtainable goals, don't ever listen to someone tell you something can't be done, and just make yourself happy don't compare yourself to others always compare yourself to you. If you are better then the last version of yourself you are winning!

Who influenced you the most in bodybuilding?

I had a friend named Oni that i trained with sometimes and at the same gym. He pushed me to compete telling me I had what it took to be successful and I am glad I listed to him!

 Describe who you are and where you want to be in 10 years?

 I am a very dedicated individual that is determined to get results not only in bodybuilding but in life! I try appreciate everything around me and the people who support me because life is very short and you need to live in the moment but plan for your future as well! I see myself in 10 yrs to be successful at what ever goals I have set for myself but always being the same person I was growing up with a very big heart, always caring for others, appreciating life, continuing to workout and not sure about competing at a competitive level in 10 yrs but you never know. I will just do what ever makes me happy at that time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Passaic's own Christian Villar is Slam Dunkin it all the way to the Top!

Our next interview is Passaic very own young entrepreneur Christian Villar owner of the North Jersey Pros basketball team and also a player on the team and Villar consulting. Villar has become a real role model to not only youngsters in Passaic, but also all over New Jersey and youngsters who meet him through his travels worldwide. At the young age of 5, Villar lost his father to a drunk driver and was raised by his mom. Villar is someone you will want to look at for as he and his company grows.
When I asked the Mayor of Passaic Dr. Alex Blanco to say a few words about Villar here is what he said, "I have known Mr. Villar for several years.  I would like to congratulate Chris for his outstanding accomplishments, and his involvement in the community of the City of Passaic. We have many similarities. We both come from disadvantage families. Both of our mothers worked in factories earning minimum wage salaries and pushed us to the path of higher education. We both  grew up in Passaic, went to PHS and college.

But what I really admire of Chris is the fact that he came back to Passaic City to serve as a role model for our youth, not only to the Hispanic community but in general.  Most people graduate college and move far away from their native cities. But Chris has worked at the YMCA as a youth counselor, after graduating college. He became an outreach counselor for Lincoln Middle School soon after left to obtain his master’s degree. He currently has a contract as the director with his consulting practice to run the River Drive residences which prevent homelessness in the city of Passaic and is part of Greater Passaic Clifton Community Center.  For the past two years, he has held Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for the homeless people and the YMCA residents. Chris knows the community and dedicate a lot of his time helping the needed and making Passaic City a better place.

Also, Chris is the sole owner of North Jersey Pros basketball team and Villar Consulting, LLC.  He has a Master’s in Public Administration & Nonprofit Management, as well as a BA in Social and Behavioral with minors in psychology & business administration, from Seton Hall University.  

As Mayor of the City of Passaic I am proud of Christian Villar's educational achievements and for his dedication to our city."

Dr. Alex D. Blanco                    

Christian you graduated from Passaic High School and went onto Seton Hall University afterwards achieving many of your goals. What do attribute to your success and what advice would you give to others?

I learned at a very young age coming from nothing that we all as humans come into this world with nothing and leave with nothing.  You can work hard and gain wealth, material things, etc but that can all be taken from you at any given moment but the one thing I realized that no one can ever take away you is your education/knowledge/ and your personal relationship with God.  I am grateful to Passaic High School and Seton Hall University because the education that I obtain there is what has allowed me to achieve all the things I ever wanted.  I can lose all I have today but the education, morals, and knowledge i have no one can ever take from me.  My advice to other is to analyze the famous quote “knowledge is power” because it is when applied correctly.

How did you start the North Jersey Pros Basketball team?

I started the North Jersey because I was able to combine my knowledge and education with my passion for basketball and helping other.  At the time I was playing professional basketball internationally and didn’t like being away from my family.  As an entrepreneur and businessman I was able to work basically from anywhere in the world because I was and still am the owner and sole practitioner of Villar Consulting, LLC. An independent consulting firm that assists individuals start their own nonprofit organizations and business, obtaining 501(c)3 tax exemption status, and assisting professional athletes with contract negotiations, endorsement deals, and starting their own foundations and businesses.  So I decided to put into practice everything I was doing for my clients. 

In 2009 I decided to start my own team that would be used as a tool to give back to the youth, allow me to continue playing but with control of where and when I played, and impact other players by giving them opportunity to play for my team and continue their professional basketball careers. I took the logo from my Villar Consulitng LLC  logo where the “I” in Villar is a man in a black suit and created the North Jersey Pros logo of a man taking off his suit like superman but underneath it had a basketball uniform.  To me this was very important because the team was now part of my consulting practice and I wanted to have brand identity among the two.  Furthermore, it symbolized a movement and concept for the youth. Basically what the logo and name wants to convey is that we all have a hero within us and can still be professional at any chosen career but that we can still live out our dreams and be “Pros” at whatever we chose to do.  At the time the Nets were still in New Jersey so I named the team North Jersey Pros because we were going to be the “Pros” from northern New Jersey that would represent the state worldwide.

Fast forward to the present moment and that vision I had is now a reality.  I have created a brand and team that is now composed of players with NBA, NBA summer league, and NBA Developmental League, and international professional basketball playing experience that now travels internationally and nationally to play other professional basketball teams from various professional basketball leagues and countries. So far we have helped 30+ players to obtain pro contracts and further their careers throughout the USA, Chile, Canada, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Iceland, Greece, Africa, Israel, China, and Japan. Most recently we played the Dominican Republic Men’s National Basketball team at the Atlanta Hawks facilities to help them prepare for their pre Olympic qualifying games.  Our Head Coach is no other than 2-Time NBA champion and 3-Time NBA 3point champion Craig Hodges. Our first ever Head Coach Matt Riccardi is now a member of the Brooklyn Nets.  I also use the team and players to conduct free basketball clinics where ever we play and no child or student has ever paid to watch us play.  While conducting the free clinics and camps we speak to the youth about the importance of obtaining and education and being “Pros” at whatever it is they have a passion for.  Not to ever let a title, jersey, team, money, or anything else determined their worth or who they are in life.

You are not only the CEO of the New Jersey Pros, but also a player on the team, how do manage to do both?

LOL. Not only am I the CEO, but I am the sole owner/financial supporter of the team and the one responsible for all goes on with the team and organization such as from the marketing, negotiations, player signing and recruiting, scheduling tours internationally, to even driving the bus when we used to travel by land to YES playing.  I have managed being a player and CEO by for the past 6 years by being a professional on and off the courts.  While in practice and game I am nothing more than a player because the coach is in full control of everything that goes on during practice and games.  Every minute I have ever played I have earned and players respect me both on and off the court because I can talk to them as team owner off the courts and as a teammate/brother while on the court.  I have never had an issue with any player to date as an owner or player because everyone that has ever worn a Pros uniform has been treated as family and once family always family.  Players know that I always put the brand and them before my game.

Who is your role model?

My mother has always been and will always be my biggest role model.

Many minorities look up to as a role model especially in the Latino community, what advice would give them?

My advice is simple.  Obtain an education, believe in yourself and go after whatever it is that you have your heart and mind set on. No one can stop YOU from doing YOU except YOU.  Be the best YOU can BE.  Is great to be a professional, successful, and even wealthy person but the most important thing one can be is a humble and loving individual towards life, each other, and this world. Live up to your standards and run your race at your pace.  Above all build a relationship with God because he is love and is the only one that will never leave you.  Even your shadow leaves you in the dark but He is light upon your life. 

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