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Overcoming the Impossible

Fitastic November 19, 2013

Seventeen major surgeries, 45 year old single mom of 2, career oriented….excuses for many but not for one IL woman who didn’t let anything or anyone stop her from obtaining her figure pro NANBF card.Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 3.22.04 PM

That’s right; Honaire Greco just turned 45 years old this month. She also has sole custody of her two beautiful girls Carlissa (age 12) and Gianna (age 10) since they were infants and has spent the past thirteen years working for McDonald’s Corporation as a business analyst.

As if the toll of these things isn’t enough to discourage many from even thinking of competing, Honaire was hit by a motor boat while visiting Puerto Rico on business in 1996.  At the time, she had won several local NPC bodybuilding shows and was pursuing her dream of becoming a pro bodybuilder. At 27 years old, her dream faded quickly when Honaire was hit by a boat driver who was intoxicated and she ended up losing part of her hamstring in the accident, breaking six ribs in multiple places, puncturing her lung and herniating multiple vertebrae in her neck and back.  The doctors performed a series of 12 reconstructive procedures on her leg including skin grafts and the use of custom designed implants that were surgically inserted in her hamstring and filled with 2 Liters of saline solution over a two month period.  Afterwards, the surgeon removed the implants and was able to reconstruct most of her hamstring. Unfortunately, it was nowhere near new.  Honaire completely lost one full head of her left hamstring and the remaining two heads were severed badly.  During her 6 week stay in the hospital, she remained positive and never gave up.  After being bedridden for the first four weeks of her stay, Honaire was moved to the inpatient rehab center where she stayed for another 2 weeks.  She went through rehab and tried to inspire other patients not to give up. Honaire had lost so much blood that it took her almost a week just to be able to stand up without passing out. She began walking with the assistance of a walker, then with a cane and then unaided in about a week’s time.

Doctors laughed when Honaire asked them about competing again and they told her that she would be lucky that she could work out; but her days as a competitive bodybuilder were definitely over.  People in the gym continuously told her she would never set foot on stage again.  But Honaire chose to ignore these people and looked deep within herself. “I pushed through and used their negative energy to drive me.  I wanted to prove to myself that I wasn’t ready to call it quits or make excuses.  Sure I would have to train differently and it took years to accept the malformation of my leg, but I promised myself that I would compete again one day.”
In the interim, Honaire switched her focus to powerlifting. She got stronger and stronger but it took over three years to complete the series of reconstruction surgeries.   After these surgeries, she had additional surgeries to undergo as a result of the accident including shoulder surgery and a fusion of her lower lumbar spine.  Six months after the spinal fusion, she decided to make a debut and competed in NGA Windy City Classic Bodybuilding Show in Bodybuilding, winning her class and overall.  “Being able to get back on stage after a 16 year hiatus, despite the visible scarring that I face every day, the multiple surgeries and the partial loss of my leg was one of my proudest achievements to date.  Winning the show was just “icing” on the cake. “

Screen Shot 2013-11-19 at 10.19.51 PMThis past January, she underwent her second shoulder surgery.  Honaire approached a friend of hers who agreed to coach her after she recovered from this surgery. Honaire and her coach, George Assmus, targeted the NANBF Great Lakes Super Natural promoted by Dave Yeates in October, this time taking a shot in the figure division. “This was my first figure show and I had less than 10 months to rehab my shoulder and train for the show. People told me that I should wait another year. But I was determined to compete this year. I surrounded myself with good positive people who believed in me.”  On October 19, Honaire stepped on stage in the best condition of her life.  Not only did she win masters, Figure Short and Figure Overall, she won her pro card. “Yes, I overcame adversity and finally awarded my long lived goal of becoming a pro. The reality still hasn’t sunken in.”

Honaire’s Personal Approach to Achieving Her Goal – How Can it Apply to You?

I started my journey by eliminating the words “can’t” and “excuse” from my vocabulary.  Other people perceive you based on what they see through their own eyes. Quite frankly, they aren’t aware nor care about the obstacles that you might have faced. To them, life’s adversities are nothing more than “excuses”.  YOU can do almost anything you want if YOU want it badly enough!

From here, I set a personal goal for myself.  Goals must be measurable with a definite end date specified. Don’t let others influence your goals. Accomplishment of one’s goal is determined by the degree of passion he or she has towards reaching their goal.  Passion is the driver of success and it only comes from within. The greater your passion the more likely you are to attain your goal.  In my case, my passion of disproving others wrong inspired me to get back on stage.

Once you define your goal, you need to create a work plan that outlines the necessary steps to attain your goal.  My work plan consisted of three primary steps: Nutrition, Exercise and Motivation.  I sat down with a coach to develop an optimal nutrition and exercise plan based on my end goal.  I kept a daily journal of my progress against my plan.  A Fitness, Nutrition and Lifestyle Journal, like the one available via Fitastic!, is an invaluable visual tool.  A journal not only makes you accountable for what you eat and do, it can help you isolate which things are working or not working for you and it provides a great reference tool for future goals.  To help you create a work plan, I recommend taking advantage of the advice from experts such as those available on Fitastic! to tailor a nutritional plan and workout program specific to your needs.  Fitastic’s Workout Builder is a tool that generates an arsenal of exercises depending on which body part you elect to target. This tool will allow you to add variety to your workouts and prevent them from getting stale.

Maintain daily journal entries listing your work plan and how well you are tracking against this plan. I can’t emphasize this point enough.  Numbers don’t lie!!! Being accountable for your behavior will assist you resist temptation.  Remember, reaching a long term achievement is much more rewarding than instant gratification. The sense of success you gain by resisting temptation will in turn motivate you to continue this behavior.  Don’t forget you made a commitment to yourself. The harder the journey, the more rewarding it will be in the end. I won’t lie. The journey is NOT easy.  The road ahead has many ups and downs, but don’t give in to defeat.  Dig deep within and let your passion guide you through.  Your success will ultimately inspire others.

The lesson I learned from all of this is that excuses are way too easy to come by but having the strength to overcome adversity comes from within. Isolate yourself from negative influences in your life and never give up on your dreams or yourself.   Good luck!!!


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