Three summers ago at Joe DeFranco's strongman contest I was introduced to a guy I had heard lots about. I had heard the rumors....Some crazy ass business man addicted to strength. Word was he was some BadAss Business Man, strong as hell and had to overcome a LOT to get where he was in health AND business.
His name, Jeff Sica.
I kinda knew his story as we met briefly at Joe DeFranco's documentary release, STRONG, but I did not truly know the severe extent of what really happened to him and how or why he became so obsessed with strength and why he sought out Joe.
There was a short spot focused on Jeff during the documentary and when I watched it I didn't realize that the jacked up guy I met only 45 minutes ago almost didn't survive through a rare disease! That night was an emotional night for me.
I got a deeper look inside the family life of Joey D, I saw Joe's Dad cry and express the meaning of family and I had just met a guy who almost lost his life and was now chasing a 405 lb bench press. It was at a time where I was regularly working from 7 AM - midnight or 1 AM and thought I had it pretty tough.
This night taught me otherwise and it toughened me up mentally in more ways than one.
Check the video below and you'll see Jeff talking about life and lifting and how the two coincide.....
Jeff was a very reserved and quiet guy when we met. I didn't know much except what I had heard from Joe.
The REAL word was, Jeff almost lost his life at one point due to this rare disease, and because he was so committed to life in general, it was only natural for him to become committed to his health after he made it out of the hospital.
Jeff got extremely sick in 2001 with a bacterial infection that attacked his skin and then was headed to his heart and brain. He suffered with fevers around 105 and facial distortion. He was packed in ice and treated with an arsenal of antibiotics that wiped out the infection and also his stamina.
Here and there I get sick and it wipes me out for a few days perhaps a week. The mental fortitude one needs to bounce back after 6 months of exhaustion is mind boggling and impressive to say the least.
So, like many over achieving business men, Jeff wasn't interested in being your typical business man who hits the elliptical for 45 minutes 3 days a week after a long, hard day at work.
Nope. That's the WRONG guy. This guy is DIFFERENT. WAY different.
He told a friend he had to get BACK on track and he asked his friend to research the best trainer in NJ. His friend told him about some dude named Joe DeFranco, who became the key to changing Jeff. Jeff began training with Joe twice a week and then employing Joe's method of training two other days on his own at home changed Jeff forever. He never looked back, and has not been sick again since making his comeback. He made Joe's washed up meat head hall of fame instantly!
I knew of Jeff's goal to bench 405 and so when we met in person again, there seemed to be a mutual respect that we were both a bit crazy. Perhaps we had BOTH just heard strange stories of one another. Who knows what Joe and his athletes have said about me, haha!!
When I arrived at Joe's first open strongman contest with 10 + high school and college athletes ready to rumble, the question was, "Who the hell is Underground?"
We were an unknown gym at the time and Joe was explaining to others that we were basically a bunch of crazy bastards coming from some tiny warehouse gym loaded with strange objects like stones, kettlebells, sandbags and more.
When Jeff saw our guys compete, I think we earned his respect a little more as well. He saw our guys fighting for every inch of speed and strength on that hot day. Jeff's wife liked what she saw in our athletes as well. Perhaps she saw the same "fight" in them as she saw in her husband.
Every time I ran into Jeff it reminded me of a guy who I had first seen on ESPN, competing as a bodybuider in The Mr. NJ competition. We became friends when I was a bodybuilder at the hardcore, Diamond Gym. The bodybuilder was a business man and as I grew up in that gym, from a teenager and then into a working man, working as a teacher, we always discussed the need to be strong as I got older.
His name was Carlo, and he was in his mid 40s, strong as hell and ALWAYS ripped. He seemed to never slip, always tight on his training, nutrition and his tan! haha
He would tell me that his business was so successful because of his physical and mental strength. He mentioned how he would dominate business meetings because of his energy and his ability to handle large quantities of work and complete tasks in less time than others.
Carlo would always train with his wife. She respected him for his drive and loved him for his dedication to his health and his family. He kept things simple, it seemed to me. Be strong and ripped, be healthy. Love your wife and love your family. Kick ass in business.
Jeff Sica does the same. I am lucky to have crossed paths with men like this. I spent many years training side by side with Carlo. My respect to him was great and my memories of his intensity and his passion have never faded.
With Jeff, although we have never trained together, I have the common bond. The feeling and the understanding of what he does while in training, his commitment to strength, business and most importantly, family.
I have known Joe since 2004, we met 2 weeks before I got married and I had studied his methods. Jeff has been training with Joe since 2001. I know his last 9 years have been an intense battle with the iron.
Men like Jeff Sica are a RARE breed.
If you ever feel you are down and without hope, look at Jeff's battle to regain his health inspire you....
For a little over 6 months Jeff had NO energy. He was always a regular at the gym and worked 12-15 hour days, but he barely made it through these days. Finding Joe, was the key to change, training with him twice a week and then employing Joe's method of training two other days on his own changed him forever.
Jeff never looked back, and has not been sick again since then. He made Joe's washed up meat head hall of fame instantly! Its easy to see when you look at him the work he has put forth, stretching his shirt sleeves with his jacked up guns, big ass traps and chest....
Jeff Sica IS built like a BadAss.
Jeff's wife, Lori, spoke to me about his dedication and she said she doesn't think there is anything he looks forward to more than training after a long, hard day at work as it clears his mind a bit. Joe has to force him to take a week off once in a while.
Behind MANY great men stands a great woman and a great family. Marriage is sometimes the toughest thing one can face, but it has made me a MUCH better man and for sure, my life is better with my family. Before meeting my wife, to be honest, I had NO goals of what I have today. I was self centered and focused on ME and how everything could benefit ME. It was NOT a good way to live.
Every time I run into Jeff I see him with his wife, Lori. It's NOT odd to see a good man spending most of his time with his best friend and biggest fan. Last time we all met was at Joe DeFranco's charity dinner for The MS Society. I believe she convinced Jeff to take it easy on me as we battled for a bid on a David Diehl autographed NFL Jersey. BIG thanks to Jeff and Lori for taking it easy on me, haha!
Lori connected with me as I told her I was inspired by what Jeff does and how he lives with greatness. She was honored to share some info about the man who nearly lost his life and now gives his ALL to his family and those around him.
Jeff has been married for 15 years and has 3 kids, a son who is 12, and twin girls who are 11. Jeff is the defensive coordinator for his son's football team and has recently launched his own company, Sica Wealth Management.
A typical day for Jeff.... Up by 5 AM and in the office by 7. From August through October he coaches Football three nights a week. Outside of that, while he always worked long hours, this year, getting the business started required more hours..some weeks 7 days and as late as 11 or 12 pm.
This has been his dream for many years, and after assembling a great team, getting the right business plan and just about perfect office space, he made his dream a reality on May 28, 2010. He is also the vice chairman of the Board of Directors of Daytop NJ, a program for adolescents fighting the demons of addiction.
Even with all that, he finds time to be an amazingly thoughtful and loving husband and father.
When it comes to nutrition, Jeff is adamant. Lots of protein, lean organic meats, vegetables, no gluten and no dairy...well, an occasional piece of cheesecake.
Vitamins, pre and post work out shakes and a few through out the day as he sometimes doesn't have a minute to eat. Jeff is passionate about serving his client base, always looking forward, helping to bring out the best in others: doing everything, working, training, helping, mentoring, with an intense drive and focus.
It's an honor to shake Jeff's hand every time we meet. It's awe inspiring to know such a man. Jeff's story and commitment to family, health, strength and being an overall BadAss inspire me to take EVERYTHING I do to the next level and then some.
If you've been inspired at all by Jeff's story please drop a comment below and share.
I'd like to thank Jeff's wife, Lori, for taking the time to share more of Jeff's story with me as well as always being supportive for the success of The Underground. I'm honored and grateful beyond words.
Thank you to ALL who read this Blog and have inspired me to go beyond the workouts that once began in my parents garage.
Most of ALL, thank you to my wife and my beautiful children, without them, I am not even 1% the man I am today!
Lead from the FRONT!
PS: Please drop your comments below!