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Senior National Speaker
for the
National Collegiate Scouting Association of Chicago

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Archive for January, 2012

On Fire Fitness in 2012

Monday, January 9th, 2012
Going for ‘the Vein’ in your life in 2012
By Motivational Speaker Charlie Adams

Photo Charlie Adams at Conference in Antigua

(photo – delivering Stoke the Fire Within in 2011)

It is important to always challenge ourselves and to stretch our limits. One of my goals as I approach my 50th birthday (oh, my, the big 5 0 !!) in July of 2012 is to be in the best shape of my life! One reason I am doing it is I understand how importance Wellness is for companies and organizations of all kinds. It will be a major point of emphasis for organizations from here on out. As a motivational speaker and former Television Anchor and Positive News Reporter, I can help to motivate and inspire people to take their fitness to another level.

Here is an excerpt from a recent Chicago Tribune story on the importance of workplace wellness in 2012:

“Workplace wellness is not a passing trend or a human resources platitude. When implemented correctly, wellness programs are an incredibly effective tool for managing costs. For every $1 spent on wellness measures, evidence shows medical expenses fall by more than $3. The benefits don’t stop there. Studies show workplace wellness programs also reduce absenteeism, boost productivity and build  morale and company loyalty.” – Jerry Roper, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce

Part of my motivation to be in top shape in 2012 comes from remarkable trainer Cindy Wagner (photo below) and her quest for ‘the vein.’.

photo of trainer Cindy Wagner

Cindy has shown me many weight lifting and exercise routines that have made a major impact on my fitness. She is a former Pro beach volleyball player, equestrian polo player/trainer, and is a latin ballroom dancing competitor. She has 18 years experience as a NASM, ISSA Certified Personal Trainer.

One day I was lifting weights in the I Can Excel (I.C.E.) Athletic Center, which is where I work out and take various exercise classes. Close to me as I was lifting some weights one day were these two big, muscular guys with their chests all puffed. They seemed to be in their late twenties. We all looked up on the TV that was above us as the local NBC affiliate was airing a taped segment where a TV Host was interviewing Cindy about fitness. The two strappin’ guys watched it for a minute, and then I overheard their conversation:

STRONG GUY ONE: “Hey, that’s the chick that is a trainer here!”

STRONG GUY TWO: “Yeah, she is in shape, and she has got to be like 40 or something!”

STRONG GUY ONE: “I know, dude. You know …. that chick…she has got a vein!!”

STRONG GUY TWO: “That is the ultimate, man! A chick with a vein!”

I chuckled to myself as, for one, I had not heard someone called a ‘chick’ in forever and, two, there is a motivational lesson in ‘the vein.’ Those two serious lifters were so sincere in their admiration that Cindy had worked out so hard over the years that a vein clearly showed on her muscular and toned arms. Whether you are into serious fitness or not, we all should have a goal out there like ‘the vein.’ One thing I have learned about Cindy is she has ‘the fire within’ and is passionate about helping others in fitness. Cindy truly believes she has been put on this earth to help people which led her to personal training.

“I love changing peoples’ lives, not just physically but mentally as well,” she told me.

That is her fire! The ‘Stoke’ messages are about the importance of individuals and organizations finding their fire, and keeping it stoked with a constant pursuit of excellence!

One day after a training session, I sat down with Cindy in the lobby of I.C.E. and ask her to share a little of her story:

“Charlie, it all started in High School when I saw Rachel McLish (female bodybuilding champion). I wanted that toned physique with muscle. She had a vein in her arm that I could see, and I thought that was so cool. It motivated me! I started working out and reading on how to achieve muscle and got to where I was in the gym six days a week for three hours a day. Others were going out. I would be in the gym. People knew that I had a goal to have that vein. Then, in college, there was a contest one time where whoever came back from summer break in the fittest shape would win $500. I said ‘I’m winning it!’ I trained all summer long and won the prize.’”

Cindy kept training, developed strong nutrition habits, and eventually got ‘the vein.’

“At my 20 year High School reunion my friends were saying, ‘You got your vein!’”

Getting ‘a vein’ in life is not easy. So many people want to take shortcuts, or not realize that anything worthwhile will take work, dedication, and sacrifice.

“Charlie, people have to understand you have to sacrifice for a length of time. Everyone wants it in an instant, like a pill.”

Cindy has a vast knowledge of not only training, but the mental side of it, and the hurdles people have to overcome to reach their fitness  goals. One of the elements of this Newsletter from time to time will insights from Cindy to help you stoke the fire within your fitness goals.

photo Charlie Adams fitness

I got Cindy to take the picture above after a recent workout session. I am on fire to reach ‘my vein,’ which is to be in the best physical shape of my life at 50!

January/February is an opportune time to stoke the fire within employees about the importance of wellness, a renewed positive attitude for 2012, team spirit and service to the customer. Contact me about bringing the ‘Stoke the Fire Within’ messages to your team or your event. If you know of someone within your company or organization that deals more directly with setting up such events, I would appreciate it if you would forward them this information.

Contact Information for Charlie Adams Motivation

Fire up for 2012!

Charlie Adams

Peak Performance Speaker


Cindy and the I.C.E. Athletic Center in Mishawaka work with companies and organizations on workouts at I.C.E. or on location. You can reach her at or

Brett Eastburn: No Arms, No Legs, NO Handicaps!

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

This is Motivational Speaker Charlie Adams. When delivering Stoke the Fire Within or How to Build a Positive Attitude and KEEP the Darn Thing, I often play a 3 minute video feature that I once did on the treasure known as Brett Eastburn. For years I was a Positive News Reporter for WSBT Television and one of the features I did was on Brett when he spoke to Middle School kids back in the late 1990’s. I was blown away by his message to them.

Brett Eastburn book cover photo
I became friends with Brett, went to his Wedding where he married Chrisa, and have often talked about him in Motivational Talks literally around the world.

In August, I delivered the opening motivational keynote at an Anti Money Laundering Conference in Antigua. The audience was international to say the least, with people there from London, Jamaica, Ireland, Cayman and all over. A bit concerned they would connect with the message, I loaded up heavily on ‘Brett stories.’ They laughed, connected, and appreciated that part of the keynote.

Every audience does, because Brett is …. a treasure. I have never met anyone more positive or with more resolve.

His highly anticipated book came out recently. I was just about first in line. I took the photo of Brett signing books with his mouth and stubs. Over 200 books were sold on the first day alone as people came from all over his home area of northern Indiana. The initial printing has sold out, and more are being printed.
photo of Brett signing the new book
I read a chapter in the car in the parking lot, and by Tuesday night had devoured it. I am now underlining parts.

This book will inspire you, help you, and entertain you. If you know of folks that could use some ‘ooomph’ in their life, you might want to get a copy in their hands.

Corby Books, publisher of Stoke the Fire Within, has done a fine job laying out Brett’s book. Ken Bradford, who edited at the South Bend Tribune for many years, helped Brett with the editing. Fellow Edgerton’s Group Travel host Bill Moor wrote the Foreward.

As a special treat to you, I have part of Chapter One, which includes what Brett stands for, and the amazing story of his birth. Can you imagine a baby being born with no arms and no legs?

This Newsletter is the kind to enjoy when you have some time. Get a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy the chapter and the rest of the Newsletter. I hope you support the book. This is a story people need to know…

Charlie Adams
Speaker/Writer and Edgerton’s Group Travel Host

- by Brett Eastburn, Tyner, Indiana

“By  the  dictionary’s  definition,  a handicap  is not a person. It’s a thing. More accurately, a handicap is something that will slow you down, get in your way or stop you completely. So,  in my opinion, based on  that definition, I’m not handicapped. Over the years, I’ve found only a few things that I  can’t  do well.  I’ve  played  basketball,  football  and baseball. I’m an accomplished swimmer. I was ranked fourth in the nation in my weight class in wrestling, I have studied martial arts and I can hold my own in pool.

I  eat  with  a  knife,  fork,  spoon  or  weapon  of my  choice.  I  have  been  driving  legally  since  I  was eighteen. Sometimes I do things in slightly unconventional ways. But overall, things don’t slow me down, get in my way or stop me completely.

My stubs? No, I didn’t really chew off my nails, my hands or my feet. And no, I didn’t lose my arms and legs in an accident. They weren’t blown off in a war. I was born this way. And it may surprise you that
I thank God every day for making me the way I am. I am different  enough  that  people  notice me wherever I go. Sometimes I might scare them or make them  squeamish. They might stare  at me,  or  they may try to ignore me. But always, I make an impression on them. And I know, somewhere in their minds, they’re wondering, what on earth happened to that guy?

My theme is “No Arms, No Legs, No Handicaps.”

I was born  in 1971 in a hospital  in South Bend, Indiana. As you might expect, my entrance into this world was a bit unusual. Like a lot of young married couples, my mom Barb and dad Vaughn wanted children.  So  they were thrilled when Mom got pregnant the first time. They were sad when the baby was miscarried, but Mom was pregnant again soon.

This second child, Shawn, she carried to the eighth month, but he died shortly after birth. Dad was in the military in Hawaii at the time, so
Shawn is buried in a military cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. I’ve been  to  see Shawn’s grave once.  It’s  in a big field with row after row of white headstones. There are four empty plots available there where my mom, my dad, my sister and  I can be buried,  if we so choose.  I
doubt we will use them because it is too far for friends and family to visit.

Also,  it  gives me  the  heebie-jeebies  to  look  at  a section of ground that is waiting for me.

Obviously,  when  it  was  my  turn  to  be  born, something wasn’t quite  right. We haven’t gone  and put forth the effort of having DNA tests or anything like  that.  So we  really  aren’t  sure medically  how  I
ended up the way I did.

My mother didn’t  take Thalidomide or anything like  that. The drug, prescribed by doctors  in  the  late 1950s for nausea, a painkiller and sedative, was blamed for widespread birth defects, mainly in Germany. Some of the people older than me with deformed arms and legs have been called Thalidomide babies. These likely wouldn’t be Americans, because  the drug was never approved for use here.

Nowadays, doctors routinely perform ultrasounds on pregnant women. They can check the baby’s gender, monitor the heartbeat and even count the fingers and toes.

Well, I was born in an earlier time. And if doctors had  seen me  as  I  am  on  their ultrasound monitors, what could they have done anyway?
Mom was  suffering  from  hay  fever  during  her pregnancy. Maybe that had something to do with it.

There’s another theory we’ve done some checking into.  There was  a  child  born  in  Kentucky  30  years after me who has the exact same dimensions as me-a right arm that ends at the elbow, a left arm less than half that size and her legs are the same way as mine. When we visited her, we spoke with her parents in detail, trying to figure out if there was anything that would link the two of us together.

The best connection we could come up with was that her parents and my parents both raised horses and chickens. Both families used a certain chemical to rub on  their horses’ skin. And chickens carry something called Newcastle B Virus, which  causes  chicks  to  be
born without limbs.

These are just theories and have not been prove But maybe that’s it.
It probably makes no difference at this point. The most important thing that came out of that meeting in Kentucky was that the girl’s parents saw how we I have  tackled  the  challenges  in  front of me.  If  the
had any misgivings about having this child, our visit changed their minds.

But  getting  back  to  the  day  of  my  birth,  my parents were  a  bit more  nervous  than most would be.  They  already  had  lost  two  babies-one  through miscarriage  and  another  as  a  still-birth-and  here  I was being born two months prematurely. After Mom’s first contraction, she kept asking to be put under sedation for this delivery. The nurses said it would not be possible due to the dangers to her and
the baby. After her second contraction, they placed a mask over her mouth and she sighed with relief and shouted, “Yes.” She didn’t know  it, but she wasn’t  feeling better because of a sedative.  It turns out they were feeding her straight oxygen. The third contraction soon came
and out popped little me.

Seconds after I was born, I was whisked out of the room. Mom had her  eyes  shut  tight  because  of her fear of blood and guts. Still, Mom was scared. With her eyes tightly shut, she had asked a nurse, “What did  I have?” And was told, “I didn’t look at that.” It was the same response
she had received when Shawn was born. Another nurse came back in, and Mom asked, “Is the baby alright?” The nurse broke down and started sobbing. This made Mom think that I was dead. Person after person kept coming into the room to look at her and observe any emotional changes, and still no one would give her relief to the question, “Is the baby OK?”

The word  soon  spread  through  the hospital  that Mom had a baby with no arms and legs. All sorts of people were staring at her through the windows. She felt like she was in a science-fiction movie, but she still didn’t know why. At the same time these doctors and nurses were  rushing  in  to  see me.  I was  a  celebrity already.

Years after I was born, Mom found out the details from a nurse who was there that day.The doctor finally came  in and said, “You have a
baby boy. His heart’s good. His  lungs are good. But his extremities are not fully formed.” That final bit of information didn’t seem so important to her. She only wanted to hear that I was alive. The phrase “not fully formed” flew in one ear and out the other. Mom knew only that she finally had a baby  she could  take home. She knew  she could  love

Out in the waiting room my dad knew something had gone wrong with the delivery. He’s always been a physical person-a hard worker, a handyman. He says it was a shock for him when he first saw me, without hands and feet.

Mom  recalls  how, when  the  doctors  and  nurses had cleared away, Dad came in with a face all droopy.He said, “This one’s going to be a lot of work,” and she said, “I don’t care.” And that, according to her, was the last time that they discussed it. They might have nurses crying, doctors probing around  trying  to  figure  out where my  fingers  and toes were  hiding,  and  friends  showering  them with pity, but in just minutes, they decided to accept me the way I am. Their lives truly were going to be “a lot of work,” thanks to me. Because the sequence of events were  so  similar  to when Shawn was born, they felt
that this was the hand of God to help them accept me the way I was.
But you have to think- whatever I’ve accomplished in my life, whatever inspiration I’ve been able to give to others-none of  that would have been possible  if my parents had reacted differently than they did.
Soon after, St. Joseph Hospital closed its obstetrics
department. Mom jokes that they probably had a hard
time getting over me.

Over  the  years,  people  have  said  some  really thoughtless things to her about me. Mom remembers one  trip  to  a  pediatrician’s  office when  a  little  girl saw me  and  started  to make  a  fuss.  The mom  just shushed her and said, “Just be glad you weren’t born
like that.”

The mother  said  it  loud  enough  that Mom and  I both heard it. Thinking back, she says, she wished she had turned to me and said, “Just be glad that woman isn’t your mother.” There are so many things she could have said so many times, but she decided to just let the
mean words go.

One of my favorite pictures is of my father holding me in one hand, all two pounds and eleven ounces of me, showing off his new baby boy.
And, as the story goes, he’s saying to his friends, “Look what I made.”
In his eyes, I was his perfect baby. I wasn’t missing anything.”

Brett Eastburn, from Chapter One of “I’m Not Missing Anything (Corby Publishing)

To get a copy or copies of ‘I’m Not Missing Anything’ click here

If you have any questions for Corby Publisher Jim Langford about getting the book, you can call him at his office at (574) 784 3482. For companies and organizations that would like to order multiple copies for their people, Jim can quote bulk rates.

Charlie Adams, Motivational Speaker


574-254-0188 || Email Charlie