In episode 6 of The BOOM Podcast, speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden welcomes certified personal trainer, health coach and fitness model Lona Sargent. Sargent spoke with Jeff from her home in Delray Beach, Florida, where after some struggles and personal revelations, her career is now thriving. Yalden and Sargent share a connection, a personal trainer and friend named Brian Carl Story, who sadly succumbed to the disease of addiction last year. Sargent met Story after she moved to South Florida and made the decision to seek a personal trainer. Sargent grew up in Maine, and played sports there. When she first came to Delray Beach, she got into a cycle of drinking and the party scene – but realized that she could not continue like that. “I went and got a personal trainer,” she said. “I sat down that day in LA Fitness, the head of all of the personal trainers there was like, ‘I’ve got someone for you who will whip your ass into shape, and he pointed to Brian.” From day one, Sargent said Story inspired her in so many ways, pushing her in her routine – and the pair became very close. Yalden said he watched Story’s journey from when he got out of rehab to when he was getting really focused, losing weight and shredding. “I was just always inspired by his motivation and determination – and his presence. I followed him, and when he did his fitness competitions, I would send him a video. I just really fell in love with this guy,” he said. When Sargent first started going to LA Fitness, she was still going out and drinking, but she would tell Story about what she was up to. He would constantly tell her that she needed to clean up her act. “He was just a really good friend to have – a great trainer, but he was like my therapist too. I came to him with all my problems and he always had the best advice. It wasn’t just beating around the bush. He told me how it was, and I really respected him for that,” she said. Even though she was doing regular workouts, Yalden suggested that she wasn’t yet ready to bring the BOOM and make immediate change. But Story kept pushing and encouraging her. “I had no confidence,” she said. “He was trying to pound it into my head – ‘you come in here and barely try and you look good. Can you imagine what you would look like if you pushed it and gave it your all?’” She never liked hearing it, and because she thought he was just being nice, she didn’t really take it to heart. Story was Sargent’s personal trainer for about a year. Little-by-little, he would confide in her about his own struggles with addiction. “He would just be very honest with me, and I thought the same way I could be honest with him. There is no judgement there ever. That just made me have more respect for him – to see where he was in such a short amount of time. He had come so far – so I really was inspired by him,” she said. The plain fact is that we all have our own struggles and demons to overcome. “Everyone has them,” Sargent said. “No one is perfect. You might look at someone and think that they have it all together, but they don’t. Everyone has their struggles, and it’s just really important that we all recognize that.” Yalden is a big believer in transparency – especially in the journey to improvement. “One of the things I often say is that, if you look in the mirror and you don’t like the reflection – don’t blame it on the mirror,” he said. “The first place it starts is when you look in the mirror and you become truthful and real with that reflection.” After a trip back home to Maine, where she said she went through a couple of traumatic things, Sargent finally had her BOOM moment when she went on a cruise after returning to Florida last summer. “I said to myself – OK – something’s got to change. I can’t just keep waking up every morning and feeling like there is something missing. I just was not happy with my life at all, and kept making the same horrible choices.” On the last day of the cruise, Sargent logged on to Facebook and saw the tragic news that Brian Story had passed away. “I never had that feeling before, but after that I was like, ‘alright – my life is changing from here on out. I felt like the only thing I had left of him was to do what he always said I could do.” Lona brought the BOOM and prevailed. She is now someone to watch – an up-and-comer in health coaching and fitness modeling – empowering other women to bring their BOOM. “I like working with women in their 20s and 30s or 40s – and people who were just once in a good place and kind of lost it,” she said. We’ve all been there – and that’s a lot of my clientele – that’s mainly who they are. Women like that. And I just help them to get their confidence back and uncover things that they never thought that they were capable of.” And her future couldn’t be brighter. “I changed my life and that feels great – but changing someone else’s life is a feeling I never even knew existed. It’s just surreal. Amazing.” Listen to the full BOOM Podcast episode HERE. Check out Lona Sargent’s YouTube channel HERE. Visit Lona’s website HERE. Grab your copy of BOOM HERE. Click HERE to discover more about Jeff Yalden. Join the BOOM Nation Facebook Group HERE.
Nobody will ever really know what prompted rock icon Chris Cornell to make the tragic final decision to end his own life on May 17. What we do know is that Cornell had just performed a sold-out Soundgarden concert in Detroit. The Daily Mail reported that he posed for photographs after the show and told fans that he would see them at the band’s next scheduled performance in Columbus, Ohio a few days later. Cornell was found dead later that night in the bathroom of his suite at the MGM Grand Detroit, and medical examiners ruled that he died of suicide by hanging – but as soon as that news came out, his wife, Vicky Karayiannis, took exception to this – stating that side-effects of the prescription drug Ativan might have led him to suicidal thoughts. Cornell, a recovering addict, was prescribed Ativan to combat his anxiety. His wife said in a statement that when she spoke to him by telephone after the show, she noticed that he was slurring his words. He told her that he may have taken “an extra Ativan or two.” According to family lawyer Kirk Pasich, the family will wait for toxicology results to see whether Ativan may have impaired Cornell’s judgement before his death. Karayiannis said that she knew he loved their children and would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life. We also know that Cornell suffered from bouts of depression and agoraphobia, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “abnormal fear of being helpless in a situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing that is characterized initially often by panic or anticipatory anxiety and finally by the avoidance of open or public places.” To the outside world, Chris Cornell had it all – a loving wife and children, a music career that helped change the face of rock ‘n’ roll – think Soundgarden, Audioslave and Temple of the Dog – and a reported net worth of $60 million. Does his death prove that money and fame are not buffers against mental illness and that suicide can creep into all lives and socioeconomic situations? Suicide prevention expert and mental health speaker Jeff Yalden said that mental illness is not prejudiced toward any specific group and can plague anybody, rich or poor. “For many of these people, work and careers can be a challenge, but mental illness is something that you can learn to live with and function properly – but you have to address it. For Chris Cornell, I don’t know whether he addressed it. I’d be speculating,” he said. Yalden said that, from watching Cornell’s last performance, he appeared to be a shell. “He looked like had already checked out. It’s very sad,” he said. When somebody famous takes his or her life, the issue of suicide is brought into the spotlight – and Yalden has grieved with enough families to know that the issue is worsening. “I think suicides in general have been on the rise,” he said. “When it’s a rock star or a celebrity, I think the media sensationalizes it – and sometimes when you are a celebrity, your ego can get in the way of seeking help.” In the case of Cornell, Yalden feels that there should have been people in his life that could have seen the signs. “Somebody could have worked with him to have balance and boundaries so we wouldn’t be talking about this as we are now. His wife knew that he wasn’t doing well. His bandmates have had to know that he wasn’t himself. The problem is – if you are not looking for this, why would you see it. That’s the problem with all suicides,” he said. When the signs become obvious, that’s the time for family and friends to take action. But sometimes the loss from suicide is indeed unexpected and seemingly inexplicable. Yalden said that the symptoms for suicide are very similar to that of depression, and he has a three-point theory about teen suicide:
- I am alone.
- I am a burden and a liability to other people.
- I have the desire for suicide.