Fitness is a Journey

Fitness Goals

We’re entering the months when so many people quit their fitness goals they developed after the holidays. But, imagine how you will feel if you never quit. Let’s evaluate how you can keep striving for fitness success!

Fitness goals take time and it is important to choose the right goal to achieve during a short period. Think of it this way; choosing many small goals leads to many successes. These small victories are so much more encouraging than choosing an enormous unattainable goal and failing.

Weight loss

In weight loss, you should remember that it took a long time to put the weight on so it will take time to be free of that weight. The same is true while gaining muscle mass—these things take time. But it’s wonderful to be surprised that your pants fit better when you’re in a hurry to dress for work. It’s a pleasant surprise to notice that your arms and back are more defined, or when you feel like you are bursting with energy. There isn’t a health quick fix, but it is a worthwhile life-long journey.

Friends gathering

Then, think about social gatherings. So many people give up because of a questionable choice at a social event. Life happens! It’s o.k. to have fun with friends at social gatherings! Just be responsible. One bad day of eating isn’t going to completely unravel your fitness progress. Be real; enjoy life, but make it a point to make time for your health and fitness.

Another common reason why people stop their fitness journey is, “I don’t have enough time.” There is a solution, though. Take 30 minutes of your day to get a workout. You do not have to spend hours in the gym, or in a gym at all. You can train at work, at a local park, by meeting with a trainer, or even at home. The point is you only have one body and you deserve to take care of it.

What if you have a different problem, though? What if you began to see results and they suddenly stopped? You have hit a plateau. But that proves that your body is capable of amazing things—here’s why: the human body adapts quickly and your body has adapted to the challenges you’ve thrown at it. It has evolved to handle the difficulties you’ve created. So in order to break loose from your plateau you need to change your program, normally every 4-6 weeks, depending on how often you exercise. This could be a great moment to consult with a certified trainer who can help. Certified trainers can constantly modify your program to prevent plateaus and maximize your results.

Ultimately, your health and fitness isn’t a short-term resolution. It is a rewarding and worthwhile life journey. If you count the cost then you’ll find that good health is cheaper than poor health and the resulting doctors’ bills. If you have kids you will find it’s worth it to be able to play with them to create memories and to participate in their lives while during your long, healthy life. So control how you age, don’t let your age control you. You deserve to be healthy and fit. Make it a priority!

Written by, Ray Shonk

Have questions? Contact us.

Carbs Are Friends.

Often people tell me that “carbs are the devil” and they should be avoided at all costs. That’s a myth I’d like to dispel, though.

Food pyramid

When people discuss carbohydrates they tend to think of pasta, potatoes, bread, and grains— all those things that are at the bottom of the food pyramid. People tend to forget that fruit and vegetables are part of that category.

Weight gain

Another myth is that eating carbs will make you gain weight. But not all carbohydrates are the same. Consider this— some carbs are very rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and those carbs are classified as complex carbohydrates. This is important because our bodies need complex carbs because they provide good nutrition to help us maintain a healthy body.

Simple carbs

The opposite of complex carbs are simple carbohydrates which provide a more direct source of energy. They are easy to digest and the human body burns the energy very quickly. Because your body digests them so quickly it takes longer for you to feel satisfied, making it more likely you will eat too many of them. That over-eating is the cause of undesirable weight gain.

Fruit and vegetables

Moving towards a diet of complex carbohydrates, by focusing on foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar, is the healthy choice. These complex carbs are available in healthy fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. The fiber slows the rate of your digestion so that energy from these carbs is released over a long period of time. Foods with simple carbs are a poor choice because your body processes all of their energy quickly, leading to a possible energy crash.

Now, let’s discuss sugar. One myth is that there is a difference between putting “good sugar” and “bad sugar” into your body—for instance, the idea that eating a sugary piece of fruit is better than eating a cookie because “fruit sugar” is “good sugar.”

The problem is that even though a piece of fruit could be healthier than a cookie, the difference is not because one contains natural sugar and the other contains processed sugar added from a bag.

Take for example one of my favorite pieces of fruit: a banana. When you eat a banana you’re consuming minerals like potassium and magnesium and vitamin C, CB6, and fiber. 

But think about the cookie— there are very few nutrients in a cookie. When you eat cookies your body grabs the sugar and rushes it into your system. The large amount of added sugar adds lots of calories that do not appear in fruit. So when you eat fruit, unless you’re eating apple pie or peach cobbler, you are avoiding a lot of bonus calories and supplementing your body with vitamins and minerals.

But, you really need carbs. Why? Because carbs are a source of fuel for your body. The presence of adequate amounts of carbs can spare the body from needing to break down muscle tissue.

So carbs are not your enemy. The enemy is an excessive amount of calories. If you’re eating more calories than your body will burn during your daily routine then you’re going to begin to put on weight. And, simple carbohydrates tend to make you over eat instead of providing long-term satisfaction like complex carbs. So keep the right carbohydrates in your diet, pay attention to what you eat, and eat in moderation. In other words, eat smart.

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Getting the Most Out of Pull-ups

Dead Hang from pull-up

As stated in the book “The Calisthenic Quest,” “pull-ups may be one of the hardest exercises out there.” There are many varieties and modifications for this mighty vertical movement, but the question remains… “Am I getting the most out of my pull-ups?”


Now to be fair, many people struggle to do pull-ups. Even getting one good one is a mighty feat, never mind completing ten. With this movement so many muscles can be involved at one time, and not just in the back! Let’s start at the bar. No… not the pub, the pull-up bar. Just by gripping the bar the muscles in your forearm (flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor digitorum profondus and the flexor policus longus) go to work.

Back muscle

Before you start your pull, while in the dead hang roll your shoulders down and try to squeeze your shoulder blades (or scapulae) down. Also try to squeeze your abs. Keep the legs straight and try to avoid bending the knees. This will aid in abdominal activation.


As you pull yourself vertically you will start to engage your biceps and deltoids. As you continue to pull on the bar you should try to drive your elbows down towards your hips; this will engage your trapezius, your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, and other muscles located in your back. As your chin travels over the bar slowly begin lowering yourself back down to full arm extension.
It’s very important to control your movement traveling both up and down to engage the muscles properly. Do your best to not keep your weight up or flail up and down on the bar as this can put unneeded stress on the joints and spine, potentially causing damage. Proper control in the movement will give you the best results for adding muscle growth and strength.

Written by Ray Shonk

Have questions? Contact us.