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By Gary F. Zeolla
With my websites, newsletters, books, and powerlifting, I have had many people ask me about my background, so below is a an autobiography. All links on this page open in a new window, so this page will always be available for you to come back to. Click any picture for a larger image (opens in same window). The last major update of this bio was on September, 19, 2022.
High School and College
I was born in 1961 near Pittsburgh, PA. I ran track in junior high school. My best time (if I remember correctly) was 6.3 seconds for the 50 yard dash. I wrestled in middle high school. I “lettered” in tenth grade. Most of the matches I won were not due to skill or speed but due to me being stronger than my opponent. This was in part due to being naturally strong and in part due to having been lifting weights in my basement since junior high school.
But it was in high school that I found the sport that I really loved when I entered two bench press contests. I bombed out of the first contest, mainly due to my form being terrible. But I joined a gym after that and learned how to do the lift correctly. I entered the same contest a year later and won a trophy. The meet director said if there was a trophy for “most improved lifter” I would have won that as well. And with that, I was “hooked” on powerlifting.
I graduated from high school in 1979. I then went to Penn State University and majored in Nutrition Science. It was in in college that I began entering full powerlifting contests (squat, bench press, and deadlift), and I did very well. I was a two-time Pennsylvania Collegiate Powerlifting Champion, winning Best Lifter the second year. I won National Collegiate Powerlifting Championships my sophomore year in the 114 pound weight class and was runner-up at Nationals my junior year at 123s. I broke every PA state collegiate record in both weight classes (except for the bench at 114s) and one national collegiate record (425 pound squat at 123s). I also had won a whole wall-full of trophies. It should also be noted that this was at a time when there was only one powerlifting federation (the USPF), so the championships and records were true championships and records.
My plans at that time were that I would make a name for myself with my lifting, and then between my lifting experience and my nutrition degree, I would open a gym and be able to counsel people in both exercise and diet. I thus had had planned on starting a personal trainer service long before “personal trainer” even became a term, let alone a profession. If you had asked me back then who I was, I would have replied that I was Gary Zeolla, the Powerlifter. My whole identity was wrapped up in my athletic abilities. But in my senior year in college, it all came crashing down. Health problems forced me to stop competing and eventually to stop lifting weights altogether.
On other matters, in high school, I was basically a loner, dating very little and having few friends. In college, I dated some, but not much. I was in one relationship that lasted the one summer that I spent at Penn State, but it ended badly. I was friends with other members of the Penn State Barbell Club and had a few “drinking buddies.” But that was about it. I had little concern for spiritual matters through high school and college. I went to Catholic church until I was 18, but only because my parents wanted me to. But in college, I never gave church or God any thought.
I graduated from college in 1983. Since I could no longer lift weights let alone compete, I pretty much lost interest in the opening a gym and personal trainer idea. Needless to say, this was emotionally devastating. To go from being a national champion powerlifter to being crippled by health problems was just too much to take. Watching my formerly muscular body waste away wasn’t very pleasant either. With losing my career plans, I was left with no direction in life. I ended up working as a short-order cook at various establishments over the next several years.
As a result, I was quite a mess. As with many people, it took hitting rock bottom before I began looking up and considering spiritual issues. But I was not one to “just believe” something to make myself feel better. As a result, I began doing a lot of reading and searching on my own. I studied the teachings and integrity of the various religions and philosophies the world has to offer.
After about three years I became convinced the Christian faith was the only belief system that was logically and historically sound. But if the Christian faith was true, that meant I was a sinner, condemned before God, in need of a Savior. After much struggle over this admission, in the winter of 1986, God brought me to my knees as I repented of my sins and placed my faith in Jesus Christ. It was that faith in Christ that enabled me to deal with all that was going wrong in my life.
Through the 1980s I attended several Christian singles groups. I made some friends at these groups and dated some as a result, but again, not much. I was in one rather good relationship that lasted a summer in the mid-80s, but unfortunately, things did not work out. Another relationship that winter ended badly.
Eventually, I decided to go to seminary. I chose Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary and moved to Denver, Colorado in March of 1988. I began working towards a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Religion. Unfortunately, my health worsened while in Denver, which lead to financial problems. As a result, I was forced to leave seminary with two-thirds of the credits necessary for graduation completed. I moved back to western Pennsylvania in December of 1990.
While in Denver, I made a few friends, but didn’t date at all.
Darkness to Light
After returning to Pennsylvania, with the backing of my church, I started Darkness to Light, a Christian ministry. It began with the publication of a hardcopy newsletter in July 1991. The name for the ministry comes from Acts 26:18:
“… to open their eyes [in order] to turn [them] back from darkness to light and [from] the authority of Satan to God, [in order for] them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among the ones having been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18; ALT3; bolding added).
It is my belief that people turn from darkness to light when they come to believe the teachings of the Bible and live in accordance with them. The purpose statement for Darkness to Light is, “Explaining and Defending the Christian Faith.”
However, in September 1998 I had to stop publication of the hardcopy newsletter due to my health situation. But I had already set up a website for Darkness to Light in July 1996, which continues to this day. The website currently has over 1,500 pages. Posted on the site are articles dealing with Christian theology, apologetics (defense of the Christian faith), cults, ethics, Bible versions, and much more. I also began to have books published in 2000, including a translation of the Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The above Scripture quote is from my translation. I also started a free email newsletter in September 2003, which now has about 1,000 subscribers.
To date, I have published 146 issues of the Darkness to Light newsletter. All of the back issues are posted on the website, as is subscription information. For more on DTL, see the articles under “About this Ministry” on the About page.
Fitness Website and Powerlifting Again
Along with the Christian content, I eventually began posting information on my website about the health problems I was suffering with and how I was dealing with them. I did so as it was my hope that my experiences would be of help to others.
Then in the summer of 2002, my health situation seemed to be improving, so I began working out with free weights for the first time in almost two decades. Then in April of 2003, I entered my first powerlifting in 21 years. Shortly thereafter, my health took another turn for the worse and has remained very poor ever since. But I continued to lift weights as it seemed to benefit my health situation, which my doctors concurred with. I also continued to compete until June 2009.
For the years 2003 to 2009, I was either the #1 or #2 ranked master (over 40 years old) lifter in the USA in the 114 pound weight class. I also always ranked near the top of the Top 100 charts for all ages. I set or broke 48 powerlifting records, set in five different powerlifting federations, while winning Best Lifter at three contest. For further details, see My Powerlifting Accomplishments.
When I began lifting again, I also began posting articles about powerlifting and fitness in general on my DTL website. But it seemed out of place to keep posting so much material on health, powerlifting, and fitness on a Christian site, so I decided to start a new website. That new site is called Fitness for One and All. It went online July 12, 2003. The purpose statement for this site is "Helping people to attain their health, fitness, and performance goals." I also began publishing a free FitTips for One and All email newsletter.
The name “Fitness for One and All” reflects the diversity of the material covered in the articles and other items seen on the website and in the newsletter. There truly is information in these sources that are directed to people with a wide variety health, fitness, and performance goals. But the largest section is admittedly the section on Powerlifting and Strength Training.
There are now over 500 pages on the site, and the newsletter has about 200 subscribers. To date, I have published 146 issues of the FitTips for One and All newsletter. All of the back issues are posted on the website, as is subscription information.
My Life Today
I dated someone for a couple of years during the mid-90s, but when my health took a turn for the worse, it was not possible to continue the relationship. Since then I have not dated at all, as my health makes it difficult to do so. In addition, the rare times I might have had a chance with someone, I always seem to do or say the wrong thing at the wrong time and or not do or say the right thing at the right time mess things up. That has been the case throughout my life, much to my frustration. As a result, I never got married. Also due to my health situation, I have had few real life friends.
My health is such now that I basically live an isolated life. This is mainly due to suffering from Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). I rarely leave my home and have little social life. But my parents have always been there for me, though my mom passed away 5-1/2 years ago (see Mom went to be with the LORD). With her gone, I live with my dad, so we help each other out and keep each other company. I also see some of my other family members on special occasions. I never had children, but I have a niece and two nephews and through them six great-nephews and three great-nieces.
I’ve never been able to be much a part of their lives as I would like to be. But I try to attend my family’s get-togethers as much as possible, though I miss most of them. The picture below is from when my entire family went to see the full-size replica of Noah’s Ark and the Creation Museum in Kentucky in May 2021. Those are exhibits I would have very much liked to see. But such a trip would have been too much for me. My family knows that, so no one even bothered to invite me. The trip was also just one week after I received my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, so I was still being very cautious (see Why I Decided to Get Vaccinated). But even without that, it just would have been too much for me, as are other such trips my family often takes.
However, I was able to make it when the whole family went to an Oriental restaurant in downtown Pittsburgh in February 2022. That's me on the far right.
For further details on these aspects of my life, see the next to last chapter in my book God’s Sex Plan: Volume Two: What the New Testament Teaches About Human Sexuality. But here, I thank God for the Internet. At least I am able to communicate with and make friends with people online. I still get emails from people commenting on my websites and books, though not near as much as I used to. I also participate regularly on social media. My handle on all social media is GZeolla. I am on Facebook, Gab, Parler, Truth Social, and Twitter.
Given my health situation, it is not possible for me to work outside of my home, so I have a home office set up where I do my writing and work on my websites, newsletters, and books. But I am only able to work a very limited number of hours a week, so I am not able to accomplish near as much as I would like to. That is also why I am self-employed, as there is no way I could for someone else, even remotely. That would almost certainly require meeting deadlines, but there are often days when I get no work done due to a flare-up of one health problem or another. That means, I need to work for myself, so that I can work when I am able, and not work when I am not able.
Also due to my health situation, I couldn’t handle going to a commercial gym anymore, so I had no choice but to set up a home gym and work out at home. Having a home office and home gym makes things very convenient, but also very lonely. But I thank the LORD for both my home office and my home gym, so that I can continue these activities.
I have never had a major problem with my MCS at powerlifting contests. I can only assume adrenaline gets me through the grueling day that is a powerlifting contest. But I always crash severely afterwards, so I only enter one or two contests a year, and I only enter contests that are within a 3-4 hour driving distance from my home, as a lengthy travel would have made things too difficult.
Between 2003-2009, I entered ten contests. But after the contest in 2009, injuries and health problems forced me to stop competing. Over the next four years my health grew even worse, and I ceased to be able to work out with any degree of intensity. As a result, I lost a significant amount of strength and muscular bodyweight, and emotionally and spiritually I was not doing well.
But then in the fall of 2013 things began to turn around. Over the next several months I was able to gradually increase the intensity of my workouts and to regain the lost bodyweight. For details in this regard, see Regaining Muscular Bodyweight and Strength. I also gradually began to feel better emotionally and spiritually. For details see Steps to Being Emotionally and Spiritually Uplifted.
After that, I began training hard again. On February 28, 2015, I competed in my first powerlifting contest in six years, and it went very well. I entered nine contest after that, and all also went very well. I now hold several All-time American and world record in the raw, masters (50-59 age) and 60+ age divisions, along with over 100 federation records. For further details, see Summary of Powerlifting Contests, USA Rankings, Records, and Times Bodyweight. The pictures below are from a contest in 2019 (IPA PA States).
But then, my last contest was on March 27, 2021. Just before that, new health problems developed that have kept me from competing since then and maybe never again. More on that later.
But here, for further details on my current eating plan, see the final chapter in my book Creationist Diet: Second Edition. For further details on my training and the sport of powerlifting in general, see my book Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting.
I have been wanting an outlet for my political views for some time. But my poor health situation prevents me from getting actively involved in politics. But I am able to write. Therefore, around Christmas 2016, I began setting up a website about politics. It went online New Year’s Day 2017. The name of the site is Biblical and Constitutional Politics. The tag line for the site is “Political articles and commentary from a conservative Christian and politically conservative perspective.” It now has posted on it over 150 articles and hundreds of shorter commentaries. For details on my life story in regards to politics and the background for the site, see About BCP and Its Director.
Spiritual Struggles and Trust in God
With all the problems I have experienced in my life, you can be sure I have asked God “why” many times. There have also been times when I have felt abandoned by God, or at least that He is very distant. But through it all, I have never doubted my salvation. I know the Christian faith is true. I know that Christ died for my sins, and I know God is there for me now, even if I do not always feel His presence. It is trust in Him that enables me to go on. I know that despite everything, He is in control and has a purpose behind all of it.
I can see “God’s fingerprints” throughout my life. Things have not gone the way I would have wanted them, to say the least. I struggle with my health and financial problems, and the loneliness can get to me. But God has clearly been working in my life. In that I can take comfort. And most of the time, I do feel His presence, and that gives me peace that has no natural explanation.
Given all of this, now if you ask me who I am, as with other Christians, I can say I am a sinner saved by grace. Moreover, I am someone who is very thankful that despite all of the problems I have faced in my life, God continues to enable me to perform ministry in His service. In fact, I would say that all things considered, between my ministry, writing, and powerlifting, by God’s grace, I have accomplished a lot in my life. That is the reason for my book The LORD Has It Under Control.
But most of all, I am thankful for the eternal salvation that Christ has provided me by His death on the cross for my sins. I know beyond any doubt that a better life awaits me after this one. If you, the reader, would like to experience the peace and love of God and to know that you are forgiven and saved, see the Forgiveness and Salvation section of my Christian website.
Music and Other Media
Music has always been an important part of my life. In high school and college, I mainly listened to hard rock and heavy metal, especially when I was working out (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Alice Cooper). But I also listened to some softer rock when I was relaxing (Bread, Jim Croce, Beach Boys, Chicago). But once I became a Christian, I began listening to almost exclusively Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). There is now available softer Christian rock (Michael Card, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Selah, Mercy Me), hard rock (Petra, White Heart, Kutless, Plumb, Decypher Down), and even heavy metal (Stryper, Bride, White Cross, Barren Cross).
I enjoy all of these forms. I might on occasion listen to “Classic Rock” for the nostalgia and secular hard rock while working out, but I mostly listen to such Christian music. You can hear the music I work out to in my Workout Videos. I listen to CCM when I can while working on my PC and doing other daily activities. It helps me keep my mind on the LORD rather than on myself and my problems, so rather than feeling lonely, I can bask in His presence and worship Him. But most of the time I listen to classical music while working, as it is easier to concentrate with it on.
I am also particular about my other media habits, rarely watching “regular” modern-day TV shows or movies. I mainly watch the news and political commentary, Christian programming, and older TV show and movies. For details on all of my media habits, see the next to last chapter in my book God’s Sex Plan: Volume Two: What the New Testament Teaches About Human Sexuality.
Since that book was published, I came across the Bott Radio App. It has live Christian programming, along with about 50 podcasts. These are mostly sermons by a wide variety of preachers, through there are other types of Christian programming as well. I mainly listen to the podcasts, cycling through many of them. From what I have heard, most all are theologically sound and listening to them can be very uplifting.
As of September 2022, I have written over 45 books total: thirty Christian books, five fitness books, and eleven politics books.
My Christian Books
for details on these Christian books.
See also the articles 3½ Years of Extensive Writing and Responses to Negative Reviews of My Christian Books on Amazon.
My Fitness Books
for details on these fitness books.
See also the article Responses to Negative Reviews of My Fitness Books on Amazon.
My Politics Books
Click here for details on my politics books.
For more such pictures and further details, see Me and My Books: 2000-2021.
Unfortunately, sales of these books have never been anywhere as brisk as I would like. As a result,. my financial situation remains poor, as it has been all of my life. But I am encouraged by the fact that the vast majority of those who do read my books find them to be beneficial. For more in that regard, see my two-part article Responses to Negative Reviews of My Christian Books on Amazon and my article Responses to Negative Reviews of My Fitness Books on Amazon.
Below is a picture of all of the trophies and other awards I have won as of March 2021. These trophies were won in three different periods. The first picture is the trophies I won back in 1979-1985. The T-shirt is also an award for my last contest from that time period. The quality is not so good, as it was scanned from a two print pictures taped together. The second picture is my trophies from 2003-2009 and 2015-2021. Those two long breaks were due to health problems keeping me from competing or even training hard. I am now in another break and don't know if I will compete again or not.
When I took the second picture, I missed two awards that were above my computer desk, so I took a picture of them separately. There are 43 awards total. Two are missing, as the figurine on them was of an Olympic lifter, which made no sense, so they are boxed up somewhere. For more such pictures and further details, see Me and My Powerlifting Trophies: 2003-2021. For further details on all I have accomplished in the sport of powerlifting, see My Powerlifting Accomplishments and Summary of Powerlifting Contests, USA Rankings, and Records.
Below is a list of health problems I have dealt with in my life (more or less in order of developing them).
Various Childhood Accidents
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Binge/ starve eating disorder
Numerous food and seasonal allergies
Low back pain
First bicycle accident
Unexplained noises in my head at night
Crippling low back pain
Second bicycle accident
Clinically low testosterone levels
Restless Leg Syndrome
Stiff Person Syndrome
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity
Left Shoulder Rotator Cuff Injury
Right Shoulder Rotator Cuff Injury
In one of the childhood accidents, I broke my left wrist. To this day, I cannot comfortably turn my left hand into a full underhand position. That is why, if you look closely at my deadlift videos, you’ll see I am holding the bar with an overhand grip with my left hand and underhand with my right. Most powerlifters who are right-handed as I am do the opposite.
From another accident, I have a scar on my chin. It sticks out, so I always cut it if I shave with a blade, and if I use an electric shaver, it burns too much. That is why I have worn a beard since I could first grow one back in high school.
Reactive hypoglycemia refers to low blood sugar shortly after eating, especially after consuming high glycemic carbs. I was diagnosed with this condition in December of 2007, but most likely I have had it most of my life, and it probably contributed to developing the eating disorder. The eating plan outlined in my God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition books now keep the hypoglycemia under control. That eating plan has kept me from experiencing other problems from the hypoglycemia, such as diabetes and becoming overweight, that most sufferers experience.
The eating disorder lasted for about 25 years, from junior high school until 1997. I stopped the eating disorder by deciding one day that I simply could not do that to myself anymore. I prayed for Christ’s strength, and by His grace, I have not had a problem with it since then. My eating plan also helps in this regard by keeping my blood sugar on an even keel, thus eliminating the cravings. I discuss this issue at further length in a section on “Restrictive Diets” in my Creationist Diet book.
The low back pain began in college and is the reason I had to stop powerlifting in 1982, but then in 1994, it worsened to the point of completely crippling me, which condition then lasted for six years. But in the spring of 2000, I overcame the back pain completely using mind-body techniques. I explain in detail how in my booklet Overcoming Back Pain: A Mind-Body Solution.
The first bicycle accident occurred in the summer of 1985. In it, I injured my right knee, which required surgery. It bothered me for some time, until I began to use free wights again and specifically do squats. Since then, it has not been a problem, as long as I wear knee support (sleeves or wraps) when doing heavy squats.
The second bicycle accident occurred July 28, 1999 and was much more serious. I collapsed my right lung, broke my right scapula and clavicle and cracked the shoulder socket, fractured my left elbow, and sustained a concussion. If I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I probably would have been killed. I recovered fully from the various injuries from both bicycle accidents, except that my right shoulder is still weaker than the left. That is why my bench press is not that good.
Much later, X-rays and an MRI for another problem showed I have developed significant arthritis in my right shoulder around where the bones were cracked in the accident.
The clinically low testosterone levels were first detected in the spring of 2005, but I believe they actually began around the fall of 1997 when I saw a significant drop in my sex drive. But it took years for me to convince any doctor that low testosterone levels might be a problem and to do a blood text. Once my belief was confirmed, I researched natural methods for elevating testosterone levels. I was able to correct the problem by following the eating plan outlined in the first nutrition book above . By following that eating plan, I tripled my testosterone levels, from being clinically low to being in the middle of the normal range.
The neurological or organic “tics” are minor muscle spasms that feel somewhat like someone is pinching me repeatedly. They first began occurring in February 1989 and were diagnosed by a neurologist in Denver. When they occur, they can last from a couple of seconds to several days. When they occur at night, which is when they usually do, they keep me from sleeping.
TMJ stands for Temporo-Mandibular Joint. This is a problem with the jaw joint that causes grinding and popping in the ears. It began in the spring of 1989. I wear a mouth guard at night and when I work out, which helps some.
The unexplained noises in my head at night are just that, unexplained. They began in the spring of 1990. They include popping, cracking, and snapping sounds. But even after all of these years no doctor has ever been able to explain what is happening let alone offer a solution.
Much later, and even stranger, around the summer of 2019, I began to hear what sounds like barking dogs. But none of my neighbors leave their dogs out a night. It is usually just one or two barks, but it is enough to wake me up, and getting back to sleep often is a struggle. I also sometimes heard ringing, beeping, or clicking sounds, but I am sure to not have any electronics in my bedroom that might make such sounds.
Restless Leg Syndrome is an involuntary jerking of the limbs at night. It began in January 2001. I was able to get it mostly under control by taking supplemental NADH. But I eventually became sensitive to it and had to stop taking it. I now take a prescription drug for it, but it is still a problem on occasion.
When any of the above four problems flare-up, they can wake me up or keep me from falling asleep, and I often experience one or more of them through the course of the night. As such, I almost never get a good night’s sleep.
In fact, when I first developed the RLS, I was unable to sleep for two weeks. That led to a case of the flu that lasted for ten days. Even after I recovered from the flu, I never felt the same again. Over the next several months, I continued to experience fatigue and then areas of pain. The pain began in my left side then progressed over most of my body.
I was then diagnosed with Fibromyalgia on August 27, 2001 by my PCP. Fibromyalgia is basically chronic pain plus chronic fatigue. I got the pain mostly under control using the same mind-body techniques I used to overcome the back pain. It only flares up when I am stressed out or in an allergic state, but the fatigue is an ongoing problem. I have to rest periodically throughout the day. I am always exhausted by the evenings and am too tired to go out anywhere.
The fatigue is one reason I have virtually no social life and am unable to work outside of my home. It is also part of the reason I set up a home gym as traveling back and forth to a commercial gym left me too exhausted. It is also why I only enter contests close to my home, as lengthy drives would be too exhausting, and with the way things are now at airports, an airplane trip would be out of the question.
Stiff Person Syndrome is a very rare auto-immune disorder. At one time I was very stiff all day long, being barely able to walk. Periodically, I would have episodes of being completely paralyzed for hours to days at a time. The worst episode was in September of 2002 when I was paralyzed for ten days. It was after that experience that I wrote the article Suffering and Spiritual Struggles. The all day long stiffness lasted about a year, starting in the fall of 2001. It then tapered off until I was about back to normal by the fall of 2003, but was still rather stiff in the mornings.
The last such episode for some time occurred in the fall of 2005, so I thought I was completely over this problem. But it came roaring back in the August of 2009, when I had two flare-ups within a week. The second was particularly serious and left me almost completely paralyzed for two days. For the next four years I was still rather stiff in the mornings and had periodic flare-ups of being paralyzed. The most recent is mentioned in the article Healthy Habits and the Christian. But again, thank God the ongoing stiffness has mostly alleviated, though I still have periodic flare-ups. For further details, see Stiff Person Syndrome Setback.
Now, I always feel stiff and very fatigued the morning after I leave my home and whenever I get any kind of injection, such as after my second dose of the Pfizer Covid vaccine in May of 2021 or after getting Novocain at the dentist in April 2022. That stiffness and fatigue usually alleviates by the afternoon, though sometimes it can last all the next day and into the following day.
But a greater reason for only being able to work and work out at home is the Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. I had allergies all of my life, but they began to worsen in the fall of 2000. By the summer of 2005, they had worsened to the point of being diagnosed as MCS by an immunologist in Pittsburgh. It is now my worst problem.
I am terribly allergic to any kind of chemicals, including any kind of cosmetic products. That is why I have a hard time being around people as people have chemicals on their bodies, clothing, and coats (perfume, cologne, make-up, hair spray, cigarette smoke, remnants of detergent and soap, etc.). As a result, I rarely leave my home and never have visitors to my home. I also can only consume natural/ organic foods, so I have hard time eating out. I am also sensitive to most drugs and even supplements.
When I am exposed to something I am sensitive to, it can cause any or all of the preceding problems to flare-up. A second exposure to something usually causes a worst reaction. Thus, for instance, I was okay with a first cortisone shot, but second cortisone shot caused my tics to flare up for three days. Or eating Thanksgiving leftovers left me stiff, in pain, and fatigued all the next day. See My Life with MCS for more in this regard.
Again, as a result of these sensitivities, I rarely leave my home and never have visitors to my home. That is another reason why I set up a home gym, as I could never handle going to a commercial gym on a regular basis. But I need to work out, as doing so helps alleviate the stiffness and overall body pain.
If I do leave my home, I always feel awful afterwards, that day and into the next day or two or even longer, as already described. But often, I have problems in my home, just opening packages and such. Basically, I need to be careful about everything I touch, consume, or even get near that might be problematic.
The left shoulder rotator cuff injury occurred on March 14, 2021, two weeks before my last powerlifting contest. It began with pain in my left shoulder and triceps. It got progressively worse over the next several weeks. It was diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon as a rotator cuff tear, later confirmed by an MRI as being two tears and a biceps subluxation. That led to surgery on August 20, 2021.
That surgery was successful. But as I was recovering from it, by the spring of 2022, I developed the same pain symptoms in my right shoulder and triceps. An MRI showed once again two rotator cuff tears and other problems, most notably arthritis as a result of the breaks from my second bicycle accident. After much ado, I finally had surgery to repair the tears on July 15, 2022.
Now, mid-October 2022, it has been over 1-1/2 years since this whole rotator cuff tears order began and since I have had full use of both arms at the same time. It is really getting tiresome. But my left shoulder seems fully recovered, though I cannot tell for sure due to being limited in my activities due to my right shoulder. That shoulder is recovering slowly but surely. But it will still be next year, sometime in 2023, before it is fully recovered.
Despite, or better, because of all of these problems, I have been competing in powerlifting contests since 2003. It is very difficult to do so given these problems, and entering a contest always leaves me wiped out for the next week. That is why I have only entered one or two contests a year. But doing so gives me an incentive to keep working out at a high intensity, which, as indicated, helps with both my physical and emotional problems.
It was being unable to do so due to injuries and a worsening of my health problems that led in part to a worsening of my mental and spiritual states in 2010-13. But the LORD brought me out of that state, as I took steps to improve my physical state (again, see Steps to Being Emotionally and Spiritually Uplifted and Regaining Muscular Bodyweight and Strength).
And now I am struggling due to not being able to work out with much intensity due to my rotator cuff injuries. But a renewed faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is enabling me to deal with the absence of competition this time. Whether I ever powerlift again is an open question and in the hands of the LORD. But if I do, it probably won't be until late 2023 or more probably 2024.
Most of these problems are discussed in further detail on the Dealing with Health Difficulties section my fitness website.
I’ve had many people make suggestions in regards to my health problems over the years. But before you do, I’ve already tried just about everything both traditional and alternative health care have to offer for my various health problems. The medical doctors cannot help me as I’ve been allergic to or experienced negative side effects from almost every medication they’ve tried prescribing, including every allergy medication. And most of their tests come back negative, so they cannot figure out what is wrong with me, let alone offer any real suggestions.
As for alternative treatments, I’ve tried a wide variety of different “natural” treatments, and they either made no difference at all or made me even worse. In fact, I blame a particular alternative treatment (NAET) for my health becoming as poor as it is today, and I strongly discourage anyone from trying it. But what alternative treatments have done is to cause me to waste a whole lot of money as such treatments are usually not covered by insurance.
In addition, I’ve experimented with a long list of supplements. I’ve found a couple that have helped somewhat, but I’ve been allergic to or have had negative side effects from most of them. Thus again, I’ve wasted a lot of money. Some of the various treatments I’ve tried are discussed on the above mentioned section of my fitness site, and some of the supplements I’ve tried are discussed on the Supplements section of that site.
Sometimes I would feel like the woman described in Mark 5:26, “and having suffered many [things] under many physicians and having spent all the [things] with her [fig., everything that she had] and not having been benefited at all, but rather having come to [be] much worse” (ALT3). But I have now come to accept my health problems and have no intents of trying anything else to try to overcome them. I discuss this attitude in the chapter on Jeremiah in my Under Control book.
In regards to diet, as mentioned, I have a degree in Nutrition Science, so I know a lot about the subject and have tried many different types of diets. It was while I was following a vegan (and thus dairy free) diet that my current health problems began. And it was when I also went gluten free that my health grew worse. I’ve tried a gluten-free diet a couple of more times since and either got even worse or it made no difference. I’ve also tried a low-carb diet and other restrictive types of diets, all to no avail, or again, they made me worse. The low-carb diet, for instance, caused my LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels to skyrocket. As a result, I discourage people from trying any such restrictive diets. After much personal experimentation, research, and Bible study, I came up a non-restrictive dietary plan that works best for me. It is described in my God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition books.
As such, please refrain from making suggestions. I know people are just trying to help, but please understand, I’ve probably already tried whatever you might suggest. But prayer and encouraging words are always appreciated.
My Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Schedule
I have been able to remain productive, to work on my books and other writings and to train for powerlifting despite all of the above health problems due to having a home office and a home gym. They enable me to have a rather unique daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Explaining my schedule will help the reader to better understand my rather complex health situation and my life in general.
The reason for the unique daily schedule is, due to my fibromyalgia fatigue, I can only work or work out for an hour to so at a time before I start to get tired. If I try to push through the fatigue, I end up extremely exhausted. I have found it best to take a break before that happens by doing something else or by laying down and resting for about half an hour before I am able to continue working or working out. If I don’t stop and end up exhausted, I need to rest a much longer time to recover.
As such, I work out six days a week in the late afternoons for about an hour or so each time, while most powerlifters tend to work out for 1-1/2 to two hours four times a week. But with my plan, I can get in the training I need to in order to continue to compete in powerlifting at a high level. I work in my home office in the mornings and early afternoons before my workouts and in the evening after my workouts. Although, usually I am exhausted in the evenings, so I rest for an hour after dinner watching TV, then work for about an hour. That I why I go to bed at 9:30 pm every night. In that way, I am often awake and work for an hour before breakfast. Given my health difficulties, there are also many times when I cannot sleep, so I get up in the middle of night, work for an hour or so, until I feel tired enough that I think I can get back to sleep, then go back to bed.
I also have a daybed in my home office, so when I get tired during the day, I can easily lay down and rest and even take a nap if needed. In addition, given my reactive hypoglycemia, I have found it best to eat several small meals a day, rather than three larger meals. Eating gives me another break from working. I also have a smoothie prepared to drink in the middle of the night or at that hour before breakfast time. It consists or protein powders, fruit, and veggies. That again, keeps my blood sugar at an even keel.
What this means is, my day consists or alternating periods of working, lifting, eating, and resting. Again, by stopping work or working out to do one of these other things keeps me from getting overly exhausted from working or working out too long at one time. In this way, I am able to squeeze in sufficient work time that resulted in all of the above books and other writings and all of the needed training that resulted in all of the above indicated powerlifting accomplishments.
I am able to follow such a complex schedule due to not being married nor having children, so I only have myself to be concerned about. In fact, it is probably due to not having such that I have been able to accomplish as much as I have in regard to my writing and lifting. I do not have a wife and children taking up my limited energies, so I can focus those limited energies on my writing and lifting. Though I live with my dad, I actually do not see him much, as most of the time I am downstairs where my home gym and office are located, while he is mostly upstairs, outside working in the yard or in his garden, or going out somewhere.
Also due to my health situation, I have an unique weekly schedule. As indicated, I work out six days a week in the later afternoons. I do one load of wash three or four times a week in the mornings. I used to do it all on Tuesdays, but that proved to be too much, so I spread it out. I also spend time in the kitchen in the mornings or early afternoons preparing healthy foods to eat the rest of the day and week.
Saturdays is then my off day for working and working out. I also try to keep any physical activity to a bare minimum. I have found I need one day a week of total physical rest or my body begins to break down. The LORD knew what He was doing when He commanded, “Six days you will work, and you will do all your works; but on the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the LORD your God; you will not do in it any work” (Deuteronomy 5:13,14a).
But it must be noted, I did not choose Saturdays as that off day rather than Sundays due to religious/ Seventh day Adventist type of reasons. I did so for the very practical reason that Fridays is generally the only day that I leave my home on the rare times that I do so. As such, I need Saturdays to recover from going out.
To explain, as indicated, very often, whenever I leave my home, I will feel terrible the next day. That is due to my MCS flaring up, as when I go out, I will inevitably be exposed to something I am sensitive to. That exposure will in turn cause one or more of my other health problems to flare up. Specifically, I probably won’t sleep well that night due to my RLS or one or more of my other health problems flaring up. Then if I do get any sleep, when I wake up, my fibromyalgia might flare up, in that I will be in pain all over and very fatigued.
The worst is my SPS can flare up, so that I will be almost completely paralyzed, especially in my legs. As a result, I will have a hard time just getting out of bed and making it across my bedroom to turn on the light. That fatigue, pain, and stiffness can then last for several minutes to several hours. Sometimes, I will barley be able to function the entire day. But since I already planned on not working nor working out, that flare-up does not affect my productivity.
The reason I make Fridays my going out days day and Saturday my rest day, rather Saturday being my going out day and Sunday being my rest day, is for practical reasons. First, I do my grocery shopping on Fridays once a month at Pittsburgh’s East End Food Co-op. The co-op is about half an hour from my home. I shop at the co-op rather than a closer regular grocery store, as the co-op only sells all-natural and mostly organic food. With my MCS, that is the only kind of food I can eat regularly. The smells at the co-op also do not bother me near as much as at traditional grocery stores.
Along with the hour round trip, I usually spend at least an hour in the co-op, then another hour putting everything away, then maybe more time preparing some of it. Altogether, it ends up being a day-long affair, and I am quite exhausted afterwards. That again is why I plan on taking the next day off, so that I can recover.
I go on Friday mornings as they are not very busy at that time, but they are fully stocked up for the weekend. Not being busy is important, as being in a crowded, closed area can cause my MCS to flare up, which again, can cause my other problems to flare up. That is why I have not gone to church in many years, as a crowded church building would really cause me problems. In fact, the last time I tried going to church, back in the mid-00s, I had to leave halfway through the service, as I was beginning to feel just too awful. The co-op is very busy on Saturdays, so if I went then, I would have the same problem. And if I went earlier in the week, they are often out of stock of many items after the weekend rush, before they are able to re-stock.
In addition, I always schedule my doctor and dentist appointments on Fridays. That I could not do on Saturdays, as most doctor’s offices are closed then. And again, the smells at a doctor’s office often cause me problems, so I need that rest day the next day to recover. Since I know I will feel awful the next day anyway, before or after the doctor’s appointment, I will sometimes meet a friend for lunch at a restaurant or go to visit a relative. That way, I can at least have a bit of a social life.
Note also, whenever I go out, when I get home, all of the clothes I am wearing go straight into the wash, then I jump into the shower, then put on clean clothes. That helps to calm any allergic reaction I might be in. I then run a house fan, a large fan in the ceiling in middle of the main hallway, to get rid of any smells I brought into my home.
My dad knows to change clothes when he goes out and comes back in and then to run the house fan. This is also why I never have visitors to my home. I cannot risk them bring smells into my home that would be hard to get rid of, as they would not be changing clothes and could be wearing make-up and the like that could cause me problems.
I have found I need an “extra” day off from lifting about once a month to keep from getting overtrained. That is also Biblical, in that in the Old Testament there are several “feast days” in which no work was to be done, in addition to the weekly Sabbath (e.g., Leviticus 23:7,25,28,36,39; Deut 16:8; Esther 9:17-22). If you add up all of the prescribed extra days of rest, it comes to about a dozen, or about one a month. I try to make that extra off day a Friday or Sunday. In that way, I have two days off in a row. I always feel refreshed and like it’s been a long time since I worked out when I work out again.
Also, when I know I will be taking a Sunday off, I might try to something social on the Saturday before, knowing I will have the next day to recover. In that way, between an occasional Friday and Saturday social activity, I have some semblance of a social life. But I have been doing that less than previously, as I just feel too awful afterwards to make it worth it. And what I do do is obviously a very limited social life and something I need to plan ahead for. I just cannot do spontaneous activities, as all of these factors need to be considered every time. Again, that is only possible due to me not being married nor having children.
Favorite Bible Passages
Below are my favorite Biblical passages, taken from my translation of the New Testament:
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength (2Timothy 4:17).
35Who will separate us from the love of Christ? [Will] affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? 36Just as it has been written, "For Your sake we are being put to death the whole day; we were accounted as sheep for slaughter." [Psalm 44:22] 37But in all these [things] we are completely victorious through the One having loved us. 38For I have been persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers nor powers nor [things] present nor things about to be 39nor height nor depth nor any other created [thing] will be able to separate us from the love of God, the [one] in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Rom 8:35-39).
14Therefore, having a great High Priest [who] has passed through the heavens—Jesus, the Son of God—let us be holding fast our confession. 15For we do not have a High Priest [who is] unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but [One] having been tried in all [respects] in the same way [we are, yet] without sin. 16Therefore, let us be approaching with boldness [or, a joyful sense of freedom] to the throne of grace, so that we shall receive mercy and find grace for well-timed help. (Hebrews 4:14-16).
My family from Easter 2021. This was another gathering I could not attend, as I was not feeling well that day. That was because Easter was a week after my last powerlifting contest, and I was still recovering from it. But below is me with my sling after my right shoulder surgery. With my white sling, this outfit is even more patriotic.
To email me, see the Contact Information page.
My Life Story. Copyright © 2008-2022 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above autobiography was first posted on March 1, 2008.
It was last updated December 2, 2022.
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