Voted 2014 #1 Personal Trainer in North Platte
by the North Platte Telegraph!
Voted 2013 #1 Personal Trainer in North Platte
by the North Platte Telegraph!
Heartland Classic Masters Win in Omaha Nebraska
win in the Masters class earned me my I.F.P.A.
'REBUILT' ATHLETE IS BACK ON STAGE
Story and photo courtesy of the North Platte Telegraph
By Mark Young | June 23, 2010
Just being back on the stage of competitive bodybuilding was a victory for North Platte's Allen Parr.
A 2-year battle with heart disease that began with a close call with death and culminated with two major surgeries would have spelled the end of a career for most athletes, but Parr worked to overcome his ailment and return to competition. His emotional story of overcoming heart disease on the road to competing again was told in the Telegraph several months ago, but now Parr has returned from the competition in Denver with medals and a renewed passion to continue competing.
His goal was to stand up on stage again and compete in front of the family and friends who had supported him both emotionally and physically through his long battle with heart disease and the ensuing recovery process. He not only competed, but placed second in the Master's Class age group and fourth in Open Middle Weight.
While achieving what might seem like virtually impossible goal for many who undergo a battle like his, the true competitor in Parr would have liked to do better.
"I did OK," he said. "I had to maintain and monitor my blood pressure more than I would have, so I didn't take my diet all the way to where it needed to be because I had to train with my main objective being my blood pressure."
Although not satisfied with his finish, Parr does recognize that there were several goals reached by returning to competition.
"It feels pretty good, but what I really wanted to accomplish was to see if I wanted to continue to doing this because it's a huge commitment," he said. "And I do."
Despite a good finish for Parr in his first competition in more than 2 years and the knowledge that he hasn't lost his competitive desire, his primary goal of bringing smiles back to his family and friends after years of worry were more than achieved.
"That was certainly an important goal of mine and it turned out pretty interesting," he said. "My mom was supposed to pick up all the tickets at will call on the day of the competition and her tickets weren't there. But they put them in the VIP box right behind the judges so it worked out well."
Parr said that it was a bit unusual having to compete with his mom's face right behind the judges, but it all worked out.
"I could hear and see them all cheering, so that was good for me," he said. "I lived in Denver for the last 10 years before coming to North Platte, so I had a lot of family, friends and fans there. There were a lot of jaws that dropped when they found out that I was even competing again, much less there to mix it up."
Parr said he is currently in training for the next competition and hopes to put on more weight before he takes the stage again in about 12 weeks. He competed at the 165-176-pound division and hopes to move up to 185 by competition and encourages more local weightlifters to begin thinking competitively.
"Bodybuilding and weightlifting continues to grow in popularity," he said. "I foresee that happening here too and I'd like to see seven to 10 people take the trip with me next time."
VICTORY OVER HEART DISEASE
Courtesy of the North
By Mark Young, February 26, 2010
When Allen Parr steps back on the competitive stage of bodybuilding, it's not his fellow competitors he's thinking about defeating. It's a step that will proudly proclaim his victory over a battle with heart disease.
Parr had been a competitive body builder for the previous 6 years, but his illness quickly and unexpectedly swept him out of competition for more than 2 years. However, an emotional diagnosis, two surgeries and a long recovery hasn't stopped his competitive determination to overcome a challenge.
In February of 2008, Parr caught a stubborn cold that refused to go away. Little did he know that a simple cold was the first sign of the difficult journey to come.
"I caught a cold that I just couldn't shake," said Parr. "It lasted about 3 weeks and progressed to headaches that would move from one side of my head to the other. I went to work on a Monday and my boss said, 'You don't look so good.' I went to my family doctor and from there left to the hospital in an ambulance."
Parr's headaches were likely brought on by a skyrocketing blood pressure, which was elevated to 243 over 123.
"When I got to the hospital I still had no idea what was going on," he recalled. "It wasn't until my mom and her sister came forward and started telling the doctors how many stints she had, how many her sister had, how many my uncle had and so on."
Parr's heart was severely erratic when he was brought into the hospital and was not responding to medications designed to stabilize the heartbeat and he was taken into surgery.
"It all happened so fast that I wasn't able to grasp what was happening to me," he said. "Here I was, a 40-year-old man battling a bad heart, but it was probably a good thing that it happened so fast because it probably kept my anxiety levels down."
Doctors said that the aorta was not functioning correctly and the lower half of his body was not receiving an adequate amount of blood supply. Looking back, Parr said he can recall the issues with his body, but dismissed the pain as part of his training routine.
Doctors removed an artery from his ankle area and rebuilt the problem area around his heart to improve blood flow. It was a long recovery process.
"I couldn't even drive for 6 weeks and it was about 4 months of recovery," he said. "It was the first day after surgery that I realized I had to make some changes."
Parr was living in Denver at the time and made the decision to move back to North Platte. In April of last year, he underwent surgery on his intestines to remove a potential blockage that sometimes occurs after major surgery. He said his doctors have cleared him for competitive bodybuilding, but there are always risks.
The next competition for Parr is 15 weeks away. He will compete as a middleweight in an all-natural category where he has always competed. Parr said it's a division that is strictly tested for substance abuse and performance enhancers. His training at Firehouse Gym is going according to plan and he knows he will be ready for competition, but his goals are personal.
"This time it's not about the hardware," he said. "This is a comeback for me and represents a challenge for myself. But it's not only for me. This is for my family and friends who were with me through this whole process. I don't think it's fair to them for me to just sit on a couch after they helped me get to this point."
Parr said it's important for everyone to take health issues and family history seriously. He knew of his family history and suspected that he may have a health issue, but "blew it off," he said.
"There were other symptoms than just the cold I had," he said. "I also knew about our family history, but always thought it wasn't going to happen to me because I have always trained my body to be healthy. Maybe it was just a dude thing and I didn't want to go to the doctor for something I thought was no big deal, but that changed when the doctors said I would have likely died, if I had not come in."
Parr's story is one of many for those at risk for heart disease. His family history proved to be stronger than his lifelong commitment to physical fitness, but it wasn't stronger than his desire to overcome. He hopes his story will send a message to others.
"Don't ignore health issues," he said. "If you are someone like me, don't let testosterone get in the way of your health. Pay attention to your family history and get checked out."