The Quintanas, Week 18: More Than Experts

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

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Coach and more: David with Danillo Villefort at American Top Team. Credit: Michelle Quintana

When we began the Healthy Families Challenge, we figured the experts we'd work with would be, well, experts.

We had no idea that we'd end up with some of the coolest friends on the planet.

I was taught by my dad to know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance. An acquaintance is anybody that you know. A friend is that special someone who is willing to tell you, "Hey, get it together," even if they know it will upset you.

The folks on our team of experts are most definitely friends.

We actually feel like they've "got our backs."

Bill and Xiomara Goodman, the husband-and-wife team at the Little Gym of Doral, where Chloe, my youngest, attends Saturday gymnastics sessions, have made my daughter feel special, as if she could conquer anything. They also gave my oldest son, Aaron, a job, and have helped instill a great work ethic in him -- them and the fact that, let's face it, teenagers want expensive toys. They ask about each of my kids, by name, and regularly showing that they truly care.

Su-Nui Escobar, our nutritionist, has taken a personal interest in each of our personalities. We are all so very different that adapting to each of us individually can be a tough task. Not for her. She passed on a book to Aaron, explaining what a runner's diet should consist of, as they share the love of running. She has gone out of her way to find a vegetarian restaurant to take me to on our next session, because I complained that there were none close by. She learned how to interact with Chloe and Christian, my youngest son, in order to get the most effort out of them. She even reached out to my parents and invited them to join us for future sessions due to my dad's recent health concerns.

Aditya Gir, my yoga instructor at Pranoga Yoga, has given me an ear to vent to. He always asks how I am feeling and how my health is before or after class, which tends to send me on a tirade about how crazy my week was. I'm not sure he is even aware of it, but he's made me more conscious of smiling. I am not an unhappy person, but there is always something going on in the back of my mind -- and he told me that I frown a lot. His statement made me aware of my expressions and the impression they might leave on people regarding my personal life. He has also taught me breathing exercises that I can do at my desk at work to deal with stress, and poses that will deal with indigestion.

Last, but certainly not least, American Top Team Doral and our team there has become our family and home away from home. When we have spare time, we head to ATT. When there is a good fight to watch, we head to ATT. When we want to feel good about ourselves, we head to ATT. We're always greeted with the same caring smiles. No matter who is teaching or working the front desk, they make us feel like the superstars they actually are. Coach Danillo Villefort has taken a personal interest not only in developing my hubby David's health, but also in advancing his graphic/web design skills. Leo Lerner and Sean Sorriano have taken Christian under their wing with the intention of developing him into the fighter they see in him.

Not only will we walk away from this experience with a whole new outlook on how we should treat our bodies, but with new friends who've let us know in different ways that our real challenge will not end this summer. It will just be beginning.

Of course, they are all experts, the best at what they do. Driving us to run that extra lap, do that extra crunch and stretch a little further. In Danillo's words, "Don't quit! Don't ever quit!"

A friend will tell you that. But when an expert shouts it in your ear, believe me, you listen.

Who's the rest of the competition? Check out all the challengers' latest updates here.



How is the Quintana family doing? Check in on their progress!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.