A STEP AHEAD OF STRESS

Note by neckberg: The following excerption is from Mike Mentzer’s bodybuilding magazine ‘Workout’. Yes, Mr. Mentzer used to run a mag but with a short run (1 Year). Thanks to Irene L. Hause for sending this piece of bodybuilding history.! 

 

Author’s Note: This 1985 article appeared in WorkOut magazine as a companion piece to “Urban Stress Survival” by John Lovern, Ph.D. Legendary bodybuilder Mike Mentzer was the publisher and editor-in-chief of WorkOut.

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A STEP AHEAD OF STRESS

by

Irene L. Hause

WorkOut

Volume 1, Number 5

May 1985

For someone who counsels urban stress victims, fitness activities keep him moving ahead of the pitfalls of stress.

It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning and Ed Storti is 50 miles from home. As he raises his hand to ring the doorbell of the unfamiliar house, his only assurance is the familiarity of what he’ll face head on when the door opens — a level of anxiety so high that it permeates the very air he breathes. A woman opens the door, looks at Storti, points toward the living room, and whispers, “He’s in there.”

Then let’s get [started],” Storti responds. The smell of stale booze and cigarette smoke is almost overwhelming. A few rays of early morning sun fall across the sofa, illuminating the unshaven face of a snoring 45-year-old man who looks 60. His expensive suit is rumpled and soiled.

See,” the woman says, tears welling up in her tired eyes, “my husband doesn’t even make time to take off his tie anymore. He just comes home from work, turns on the TV, and starts drinking. And he says he doesn’t have a problem!”

Four hours later, after he’s checked the reluctant executive into a treatment facility, Ed Storti, 41, is taking deep, revitalizing breaths of the cool ocean breeze as he completes a five-mile jog near his San Pedro, California, home. The hours he’d spent preparing (“prepping”) the alcoholic’s wife and son for their roles in the confrontation had been productive. Ed Storti can relax now.

When you’re talking time pressures and emotional stress, I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t make exercise a part of my life. Otherwise, I’m sure that I would be heavier, wouldn’t have the stamina, and wouldn’t project my zest for life.”

Ed is an intervention specialist, a professional trained to verbally persuade alcohol and/or drug abusers to seek treatment for their addictive diseases. That’s just one of his many duties as Vice President of Marketing at San Pedro Peninsula Hospital’s Chemical Dependency Recovery Complex. His job also includes planning, budgeting, guesting on radio talk shows, community education, and representing the hospital at conventions across the United States. He recently made his first television appearance on Gary Collins’ Hour Magazine and is three-quarters finished with the first draft of his book on intervention.

Whenever I travel, I make exercise a priority. Can I work out and run in or near my hotel? I need that for preparation or comedown from a tough job. It’s very easy to sit in a hotel room feeling bleak and tired, but if I work out, I feel good. Exercise is what brings it about. I can sweat and feel good!

A friend recently had quadruple bypass surgery, and he’s supposed to run and work out, and he considers it all a big pain. When I told him it’s really a privilege to sweat, he looked at me like I was nuts! I was almost embarrassed when I saw his look, but I was considering when a physician told me I’d never walk again!”

That was in 1972 when Ed was a longshoreman on the Long Beach docks. A load of steel slipped, with his left leg as the target. “I had two surgeries and three years of physical therapy. That was really a period of transition in my life. I went back to school, got my degree, and went to work for the Probation Department before I became an alcoholism counselor at the hospital in 1977.

I had been doing some running before the accident, and I told the doctor that I wanted to run again. I can now run, snow and water ski, although I have to wear a Lennox derotation brace to do it. I’m in much better condition that I was at age 18. In high school I weighed 190 and was very embarrassed because I couldn’t climb the rope in gym class. Now I weigh 160, and when I’m running around the high school track, I stop four or five times and climb a 20-foot rope!”

Regular weight training is also a part of Ed’s life. “I like working out! It’s fun! And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that middle-aged lifters look better than middle-aged runners whose only exercise in doing 10 miles a day. Those guys look like they’ve starved themselves! Lifters look younger and project a healthier image.

I’m not into training for competition, but I like the firmness, the good feeling of building a muscle. I started lifting at Vic Tanny’s when I was 19, and I learned back then that it takes consistency. If you want to see disciplined people, it’s got to be bodybuilders! The first bodybuilding show I ever saw was the California Grand Prix, and that’s when I truly saw the art in bodybuilding. Going to contests makes me more consistent in my own workouts.”

Ed and his longtime friend, John Oliveri, a longshoreman, put together a gym in Oliveri’s garage. Says Ed, “I have no need to belong to a gym. I have never been one who has needed someone to push me. I can work out alone, if there is good music! John and I have free weights, a bench, a Roman chair, an incline board, and a machine for curls and extensions. So we get a pretty good all-around workout, not what the big boys do, but it’s good for our purpose. We work out three days a week, sometimes four. Occasionally I run the mile and a half to John’s place, work out, then run back home. My favorite time to work out is late afternoon, especially if I’m facing a long evening.

There are people out there who have never experienced good health, so they don’t know what they’re missing. Most people sit on their butts and complain about life — ‘poor me, I’m overweight, I’m out of condition’ — they are the ‘looky-loos’.” Once you experience good health then deprive yourself of it, you feel terrible! But we tend to really do a number on ourselves. We ‘go for it’ for three or four months, stop, then ‘die’ each time we start again. We get to a point where we feel good about our bodies and ourselves, then we take that feeling away from ourselves because we subconsciously think that we don’t deserve to feel that good!”

My attitude changed about 10 years ago. I’d find myself going back to cigarettes and not running. I was sabotaging my own peace and tranquility by looking for other types of releases, but smoking, drinking, and overeating didn’t get it for me. I now care enough about myself that I feel I owe that sense of well-being to myself as a gift. Exercise gives me the long term serenity I think everyone looks for.”

A family man, Ed is very proud of the fact that his wife JoAnn, 39, and their children, Karianne, 12, and Kristopher, 9, are so supportive of his exercise program. “The time I spend running and lifting have never been a problem with them — never! They know I enjoy it. They’d rather have quality time with me, when I feel good, rather than listening to me fret about wanting to be elsewhere working out. Running is my time to myself. Sometimes I take my son to the gym, and we go to Little League together — he’s very good at baseball. He recently drew a picture of me, and he wrote on it, ‘I love Dad. Dad loves God. He loves work. He loves running. He loves skiing. He loves weightlifting.”

Christopher Storti knows his father well.

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