Newsletter No. 5

In my very first Carrero Muscle Newsletter I described in great detail how Fortitude Creates Champions. I am now going to speak of a quality one must possess all throughout ones Exercise Regimen presently, and for years to come. This particular quality of being tenacious, stubborn and refusing to relent in the face of opposition, continuing to chase ones goals and dreams no matter what the circumstances of the situation… The quality which directly contributes to the longevity of ones health and well being while weight training, performing cardio vascular exercises, maintaining ones discipline while on a nutritional program… I am speaking about Persistence!

During my Interview and Training segments on National Television, featured in my “Fortitude Creates Champions DVD”, it is mentioned how I was able to overcome one of the most serious injuries that I have ever had the displeasure of experiencing during my entire competitive career: a herniated disc between my fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae. I remember very vividly performing Incline Bench Presses on a smith machine with 365lbs. for reps. Unfortunately for me, at this particular gym, the Incline Bench used at the smith machine station was only long enough to give back support up to the top of the traps. Consequentially, my head and neck did not have the proper support necessary while performing such an exercise for the upper chest area. Somewhere during my third set of Incline Bench Presses while blasting out repetitions, I felt a relatively minor twinge behind my neck. After I completed the set, I proceeded to perform a variety of very careful neck stretches and rotation movements to determine if anything was wrong. At this moment in time, I felt fine. So, I continued with another great training session as I always do and called it a day.

Scene from “Fortitude Creates Champions DVD” – Joe Carrero Wins The Tournament Of Champions Overall Crown

The following day after a good nights rest, I was to open my eyes and awaken, ready for another fantastic day of weight training, cardio work, sun tanning and all around Championship Bodybuilding Competition preparation. Unbeknownst to me on this day, I would awaken to feel some of the most severe physical pain that I have ever experienced in my entire life. There was only one way to describe the excruciating pain that I was feeling; it felt as if someone had taken a very sharp Samurai Sword, inserted it into the top of my trapezius muscles aligned with my spine, and pushed it directly downward into the lower lumbar region of my back! It hurt! My spine could not even support the weight of my own head! And as if this was not bad enough, in addition, I could not even feel my left arm! Now we all know what it feels like when a part of our body so call “falls asleep” and becomes numb; this is what my left side felt like from my deltoid all the way down to my fingertips! The panic and the shock that I was experiencing as I began to evaluate the severity of an injury that was not a muscle pull, not a sore tendon or ligament, and was unlike anything that I had ever felt, was inconceivable! I knew that this was serious, and that I was going to be out of the gym for an unknown amount of time into the foreseeable future. Suddenly it hit. My thoughts were racing. Over and over again in my mind the one question that was screaming at me in a silent yet deafening tone in my thought process was becoming louder. Will I ever be able to compete again? This very important and ominous question would soon be addressed. After several days of indescribable pain, to make matters even worse, the numbness on my left side now became the beginning of a left pectoral, triceps and upper lat that were atrophying by the minute; within one week, my left pectoral, triceps and lat were just an outline of where muscle had been days earlier! I frantically proceeded to contact a Chiropractor that I knew personally from working out at the gym. Being that I knew this Doctor on a personal level, and he knew who I am and what I am all about, a Bodybuilding Champion, I trusted his medical advice and opinion. After several x-rays and a careful evaluation, he determined that I had a herniated disc between the fifth and sixth cervical vertebrae, and that the nerves that generate the left pectoral, triceps and lat were being cut off from circulation. Not what I wanted to hear. The Doctor then informed me that he had a colleague who is a Specialist, a Neurologist, who could further diagnose my situation, and that he works directly with professional athletes with neurological injuries. Finally I was beginning to think hopeful. However, this was not to last. I made an appointment to meet with the Neurologist immediately, the next day. Once again, after reviewing the x-rays taken from the day before, and several additional tests, the diagnosis was the same. I informed the Doctor that I am an up and coming National Bodybuilding Champion and that I needed to know how long an injury of this magnitude takes to heal, and when can I expect to compete again? I will never forget the look on his face and what he was about to say; it was as if he was about to crush my world and dreams with one answer and he knew it. Not taking any pleasure in what he was about to tell me, he replied, “You are going to have to wear a neck brace for up to a year to take the pressure from the weight of your head off of your spine, and, unfortunately, the damage and atrophied muscle on your left side will be permanent and not regenerate.” Once again I heard this voice in my mind shouting at me – “WHAT? This cannot be happening!” This well respected, extremely well educated Physician was basically telling me that my Bodybuilding career was over! He wanted to refer me to a rehabilitation facility where I could begin my therapy on the way to a “not so full recovery.” With a respectful, yet disappointed and doubtful reply I declined by saying, “With all do respect, with an attitude like that I would be finished before I start. I will rehabilitate myself.” I took the neck brace, paid the fee, and walked out the door determined to prove him, and my friend the Chiropractor from the gym – WRONG!

Scene from “Fortitude Creates Champions DVD” – Ms. Olympia Cory Everson comments on Joe Carreros Symmetry, Thick Muscle, Definition and Shape as she announces Joe the California State Light-Heavyweight Champion

At this moment in time in my Bodybuilding career I had to borrow a phrase from the great American essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson when he wrote, “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” After nine months of very careful, methodical, intricate and strict rehabilitation, I was once again able to fulfill my dreams of competing again when I competed in the San Francisco Bodybuilding Championships at the Palace Of Fine Arts in beautiful San Francisco and Won the Overall Title with a perfect score; All First Place Votes! Within the next two years I was also able to capture the Tournament Of Champions Overall Crown, and the California State Light-Heavyweight Championships, once again with perfect scores! How I rehabilitated my injury will be explained at another time. To this day my left pectoral, triceps and lat are fully recovered with perfect symmetry to my right side, and no sign of ever having had the injury in the first place. The moral of this Bodybuilding Story is that the quality known as Persistence, and never succumbing to obstacles in the way of your dreams, no matter what anyone tells you, is the key to success in any venture one selects as their passion in life whether it is athletic competition or business. Do not follow where the path may lead… go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Fortitude Creates Champions!


Joe Carrero
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