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

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 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.