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.

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.

Learning the Importance of Corrective Exercise

You may know that Quest Fitness staff have a wide range of certifications and experience in different training specialties. One of the most important methods of training that staff provide is Corrective Exercise training.

Corrective Exercises

What is Corrective Exercise, though? Corrective Exercise responds to the fitness problems of a modern society. Modern society provides a wide array of technology that makes life easier, but also creates a sedentary lifestyle. Contemporary jobs require people to sit in a car for a long period when traveling, then sit at desk jobs for numerous hours staring at a computer, then sit for a long time while commuting home. Afterward, people tend to relax on the couch while watching television or using our smartphones. In our society children spend hours sitting during the school day, and they enjoy less-and-less physical activities as after school activities are eliminated.

Knee Injury

All of these sedentary hours lead to severe muscle imbalances throughout the human body. This lack of muscle development leads people to be prone to injuries as well as being unhealthy. Research shows that musculoskeletal pain is more common now that it was 40 years ago. This research supports the idea that the decrease in physical activity could lead to muscular dysfunction as well as injury. The most common injuries that occur because of these muscular dysfunctions are foot and ankle injuries, low back pain, knee injuries, and shoulder injuries. 

Trainer and Owner Ray Shonk

At Quest Fitness our trainers assess potential problems through our complementary fitness assessment. Our staff can identify these overactive and underactive muscles to develop an intermediate program to correct the issues before proceeding to more intense exercises. What this means for you is a reduced risk of injury during exercise, as well as reducing your chances of injury in everyday activities. Quest trainers develop the proper prescription of exercise to strengthen the underactive muscles, as well as offering appropriate stretching and massage therapy for the overactive muscles.

Come in for a complementary fitness assessment, and see what Quest Fitness can do for you!

Have questions? Contact us.

Danny Kavadlo Calisthenics Workshop 2019

Quest Fitness is welcoming Danny Kavadlo back to Grand Rapids October, 5th 2019 for a one day seminar. The doors will open at 8 a.m. and the class will start at 8:30 and run until 4:30. Admission to this event is only $150! Register here.

Danny Kavadlo is one of the world’s leading authorities on calisthenics and personal training. Mr. Kavadlo has authored several best selling books, including #1 Amazon best-sellers GET STRONG and STRENGTH RULES, and has been translated into a dozen different languages. Kavadlo has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, Men’s Health and the Huffington Post, and is a regular contributor to bodybuilding.com and TRAIN magazine. When not training one-on-one in his hometown New York City, Danny travels the world as a Master Trainer for Dragon Door’s acclaimed Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC). He keeps the dream alive.

Here is a Workshop Description:
Confuscious has been credited as saying: “Tell me and I’ll forget, Show me and I may remember, Involve me and I’ll understand.”
The Danny Kavadlo Calisthenics Experience embodies this principle of “involvement” in a one day interactive exercise workshop. We will be covering all the bodyweight basics like squats, push-ups and pull-ups, as well as the “money” moves like the muscle-up, pistol squat and even human flag! Plus programming, strength training principles and much more! All fitness levels, from the beginner to the most advanced are welcome!
More info:
As for the workshop itself, I intend to keep it a similar flow to last year, but also explore some aspects we did not touch on (plyometrics for example)
Have questions? Contact us.

June Special!!

For the month of June, Quest fitness will be offering a special fitness package! The Adventure Season Package includes 3 one hour training sessions or 3 half hour massages, 1 fitnesses assignment and 1 group fitness class for only $90.

Exercise Can Be the Best Prescription

During the years 460 to 377 BC the prominent physician Hippocrates strongly recommended physical activity and proper nutrition for good health. Fast forward more than 2000 years to the 1990s when the medical profession formally recognized that physical activity is vital to the body’s health.

In 1992 the American Heart Association explained that a lack of physical activity is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease, which placed it alongside smoking, abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and hypertension. In 1995, both the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine announced the importance of physical activity as a public health initiative. They published a consensus statement by a panel of the National Institute of Health advocating physical activity as important for cardiovascular health. Then, in 1996 the surgeon general of the United States released a written report on the health benefits of physical activity.

People too often think lifting weights until their muscles fail or jogging five miles a day is proper exercise. This myth was the focus of the CDCP/ACSM Report published in 1995 which showed that significant health benefits are attainable with moderate amounts of physical activity, such as a 30 minute brisk walk, 15 minutes of running, or 45 minutes of playing a sport such as volleyball. This does not have to occur every day of the week, just two to three days.

Box Jump

Not everyone should jump into a new fitness regimen. It may be necessary to get clearance from your doctor. This is recommended for people with outstanding medical conditions such as heart issues or a family history of heart conditions, pregnant women, or people with other serious medical conditions. 

Once you are cleared for physical activity you should meet with a fitness professional such as a certified trainer. Trainers can help you discover the proper modes of training to begin. They can help prevent plateaus in your training as well as aid in injury prevention. A good trainer will explain how long your workouts should be, the right intensity for your workouts, as well as how often you should be exercising to start. It is also important to communicate openly and honestly with your trainer so you can reach your health and fitness goals in a healthy and safe manner.

Have questions? Contact us.

Overtraining

Many people out there, including myself, like to push hard through their workouts to achieve the best results possible. But, did you know that it is possible to over train? With overly intense workouts many amateur and professional athletes could experience a decline in both performance and physiological function. This could extend over the course of weeks, months, and even years. This is overtraining, and the precise cause of the decrease in performance is not yet fully understood. The most current research has pointed to both physiological and psychological causes.

800px-Finales_du_Championnat_d’Ile-de-France_de_boxe_anglaise_amateur_2009_008Overtraining can occur with the three major forms of training, including resistance, anaerobic, and aerobic workouts. Yes, everyone that works out experiences some form of fatigue during repeated days and weeks of working out, so not all exercise fatigue situations can be classified as over training. The fatigue that follows one or more training sessions is typically relieved after day or so of proper rest as well as proper calorie and carbohydrate rich diets. Yet, over training is characterized by sudden decline in both your performance and physiological function, and it is not remedied after a day or a few days of reduced training or rest.

Depressed_(4649749639)There are multiple symptoms that are linked to the overtraining syndrome, and are usually identifiable only after the individual’s performance and physiological function have begun to suffer. Many of the symptoms can vary from individual to individual, and that can make it difficult for the coaches, trainers, and the athlete to identify the issue as overtraining. It could be a sense of loss of muscular strength, coordination, and exercise capacity, and in some cases generally feels like fatigue. Other big signs of the overtraining syndrome are: a change in appetite, body weight loss, sleep issues, changes in mood such as irritability, restlessness, or anxiousness, a loss of motivation or concentration, possible feelings of depression, and a lack of appreciation for things that you would normally enjoy.

The causes of overtraining syndrome can often be a complex combination of emotional and physiological issues. It could be unrealistic goals, emotional demands of a competition, the fear of failure, and other high expectations can be a source of emotional stress. Because of this over training can typically be accompanied by a loss of competitive desire and a loss of enthusiasm for your workouts.

DSC00421It is important when you’re working with a coach or a trainer to have open communication with them. If you feel you are starting to over train it’s important to sit down and have a discussion. Ways to recover from the overtraining syndrome could include a reduction in training intensity, getting a massage or taking a complete rest for a period of time. Don’t forget, even the best athletes require rest from their training. Recovery can be just as important as your workouts.

Have questions? Contact us.

What is Progressive Calisthenics?

If you have checked out my book, “The Calisthenics Quest”, then you have a small idea of what calisthenics is all about. But, what is progressive calisthenics? Calisthenics or as it is translated “beautiful movement”, is using your own body’s weight for fitness. But just like in any other fitness routine, you have to progress and, in some cases, regress. Let’s face it, after a wile those push-ups, pull-ups and squats are going to get a bit easier and you will have to add in a ton of reps to get that burn… or do you? There are many ways to progress your calisthenics workout without boosts reps or adding weight. So let’s look at some options…

First, look at slowing that tempo down. Sure you can now knock out 30-50 push-ups, but now try it slow with a tempo of 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up. That time under tension can be killer and your muscles will be burning with far less reps.

Another option is to increase the range of motion. A few good examples are, instead of bringing your legs to 90 degrees in a squat, go all the way down bringing your butt to your heels. In push-ups bring your chest all the way to the floor, or in pull-ups try pulling your chest to the bar. Full range of motion makes a big difference!

Finally, try to progress to a more challenging version of the basics. This can be done is many different ways. First look at the push-up. You can knock out lots of classic push-ups, so now try bringing your hands closer together or try them with your feet on a bench to change the angle. Of course, if that isn’t challenging enough, you have the one arm push-up. Pull-ups also have many varieties to choose from. Try progressing to the archer pull-up or even commando or L-sit pull-ups. As far as the squat goes, yes they can be made more challenging. Try the archer squat or the Bulgarian Split Squat. If you feel really adventurous, you can also try the pistol squat or the shrimp squat. They will not only challenge your strength but also your balance.

When it comes to progressive calisthenics, never be afraid to try new things but never forget the classics. They will always have their place in your routines. Keep advancing your Quest!

By, Ray Shonk NASM-Master Trainer, PCC Instructor

Have questions? Contact us.

The Danny Kavadlo Experience At Quest Fitness

To call the event with Danny Kavadlo an “experience” is a great understatement! First lat me say, running this event with my Calisthenics mentor and friend was an amazing honor! The day started with sign ins and meeting some new friends from out of town, all the way from Wisconsin. For putting this together with short notice, we had a great turnout. As the class started we went around the room each one of us introducing one another, and everyone seemed like minded with Calisthenics and fitness.

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We started the class with squat progressions, beginning with the most basic, using a bench or partner to assist. We progressed through full squats, archer squats, split squats and even the pistol squat. I’m thinking everyone’s legs got a little cooked there.

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Once we finished legs, we hit the push-ups. Yeah, I know what some of you are thinking. Not everyone can do push-ups, but in this class we prove that wrong. We started with the knee push-ups and moved into elevated push-ups, and like every thing else we focused on perfecting the movements and queues to aid others. Then we hit the floor working on classic push-ups, staggered and archer push-ups, feet elevated and many other including the handstand push-ups.

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We finished the morning by taking a trip to the bar… the Pull-up bar. Yes, I fully understand that pull-ups are difficult, but we had something for every level of fitness. Getting started on the pulls we hit Aussie Pull-ups, a.k.a bodyweight rows. I have to say, everyone here killed these! Then, we moved on to flex hangs and pull-up negatives. We had a strong group, because again everyone nailed these. We discussed the chin-up, pull-up and other variations like the commando pull-ups. Of course we finished this section with the mighty muscle-up. Then, we took a much needed lunch break, took some photos, signed books and chatted it up.

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Upon our return from lunch, we hit hand balancing, starting it off with frog and crow poses. For some the hand balancing was a bit new, for others it was a chance to show their skills. We knocked out the tripod, and the headstand, and for a few attending the Elbow Lever! I was impressed with everyone’s performance.

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When we moved on we hit some ab training both on the ground and on the bar. We all hit the basics with knee tucks, knee raises and leg raises. As we progressed, a few people tried Skin The Cat, Back Levers and even the Front Lever! These are not easy if you are curious.

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To finish off the workout, we hit flags! So many people got their first flag! We covered a large variety of them, too! I cant tell you how overly impressed I was with everyone!  “The beauty of the experience is that no matter what level a practitioner was at, everyone can do a push, pull, and squat exercise.  You need not be able to do a full human flag in order to train with Danny Kavadlo or learn from the experience,” one of the attendees, Gerald Browning, stated.

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When we hit the closing of the seminar, Danny gave an amazing lecture on calisthenics progressions, building programs and even being a better trainer. A lot of great questions came out from the group as we wrapped up and chatted it up. Because of the great turnout and the level of fun we had, Danny and I decided we may try to make this an annual event with new material each time. I want to absolutely thank everyone who made it out, and a special thanks to Danny for flying all the way out here to teach the class!

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Have questions? Contact us.

Danny Kavadlo Calisthenics Experience

Join Danny Kavadlo and Ray Shonk on June 9th 2018, from 8 am to 6 pm, for this one day Calisthenics experience at Quest Fitness. We will be covering the basics including push-ups, pull-ups and squats and then going into the how to of muscle-ups flags and much more! This event is Danny’s first trip to Michigan so don’t miss out! Danny will have some of his books available as will Ray! Call or stop in to register for this one time event for only $160.

Danny Kavadlo is one of the world’s leading authorities on calisthenics and personal training. He is known globally for his minimalist philosophy, feats of bodyweight strength and motivational gifts.

 

Mr. Kavadlo is the author of numerous Dragon Door titles including #1 Amazon Best-Sellers GET STRONG and STRENGTH RULES. He has been featured in the New York Times, Men’s Fitness, and the Huffington Post, and is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com and TRAIN magazine.

 

When not working one-on-one with clients in his native New York City, Danny travels the world instructing groups of calisthenics enthusiasts of all walks of life.

Have questions? Contact us.