What Is Tai Chi

Taijiquan (or tai chi) can be many things to many people. For some it is an exercise, for some it is a meditation and others it is a form of self defense. However when you continue to practice and reach a higher level of training, the above reasons lose their importance. At this time, you need to find the real meaning of your practice or you may become satisfied with your training and lose your enthusiasm for the art. You must start to wonder what is the meaning of this meditative martial art? Daoist practitioners use tai chi in their strive to become immortal where many non-religious practitioners used tai chi to gain a peaceful mind and reinvigorate their lives.

What you need to understand is that Taijiquan emphasizes meditation both in your stillness and your movement. Practitioners like a Buddhist priest trains himself in this meditation to be calm and concentrated. In your training, it is possible for you to achieve a sense of peace and centeredness that will allow you to judge things and events in a neutral way without any emotional disturbance. When you can truly calm and clear your mind, the spiritual side will start to open up. You’ll start to see things more deeply. As a practitioner’s skill increases, they may be able to sense a person’s intentions before they are expressed and you become more capable at looking deeply into people and events in a non-martial way, as well. In the past, many martial art masters were considered wise man and were consulted for their insight into the meaning of human life this world and the universe. Because of their training they learn to live in the world without confusion or doubt and find peace and happiness and all of this comes through meditation and continuous pondering.

In your practice and meditation, you need to concentrate your whole attention in order to develop the higher levels of the art. This concentration and dedication will carry over to the rest of your life and the strive for perfection becomes the real meaning of Taijiquan.

Have questions? Contact us.

Ready to take your own calisthenic quest?

Have you met our Massage Therapist?

Margaret Hansen, MMT

State Licensed Massage Therapist

 Meg joined Quest Fitness in October 2017. As a graduate of Blue Heron Academy of Grand Rapids, MI, Meg studied Medical Massage and Manual Therapy (class of 2008). She performs deep tissue massage with a gentle hand–finding the comfortable pressure for each client to promote deep, relaxed breathing while increasing circulation and promoting proper musculoskeletal alignment. Her specialties include work with the hips and neck, and Maternity Massage.

To make an appointment give her a call: (616) 263-6090

The Truth In My Fitness

I get a lot of comments on photos and articles that I post claiming that, of course I can do the things that I do because I’ve been fit my entire life. But, I can tell you that is not true. In high school, and my much younger years, I was very active and outdoorsy and constantly exercising, but there was a point in which I fell out of it, and through a good portion of my 20’s I was completely off the fitness bandwagon and started putting on a bit of weight and body fat. I came back onto the fitness scene with studying Taijiquan, and not long after I got into weight training. My primary goal, at first, was to start losing that weight that I had put on. And it was a struggle a lot of ups and downs in my diet anger over not seeing results right away and wanting to give up on more than one occasion. But with a lot of hard work, and a few years of busting my butt, I lost about 20 pounds. At this time I was doing a combination of weight training as well as calisthenics. And when I was doing this calisthenic training I will tell you firsthand that I could not do one single pull-up. After continuing to work for a few more years those pull-ups started coming along as well as hitting those crazy numbers on push-ups. It is honestly been within the last four years that I’ve become more calisthenic focused and it’s not because I dislike lifting weights. It was because I found calisthenics just work better for me. Now looking at some of the crazier calisthenic moves that I’ve been doing I want you to keep in mind that for a lot of those I train for well over six months just to do it for the first time and in some cases it took close to a year just to get it for the first time. So what I’m really trying to say is that this was all achieved through hard work not something that I have always been able to do I’m still striving for new goals just like everyone else, I even continue to watch my eating habits. If you have a goal you need to push for it and there will be ups and downs, but there are people out there that are more than willing to support you towards your goal.

Have questions? Contact me.

Get info on my up coming book.

Latest Testimonial 

I have been working with Ray at Quest for a year now. Ray is a great personal trainer, he has encouraged and challenged me to reach each of my goals that I have set. He listens to what you want to accomplish and sets a workout plan to meet those goals! This is my first experience in working with a personal trainer, Ray makes you feel comfortable while pushing you to achieve your goals! I have never felt better in my life – better than my 30’s or 40’s! Thanks Ray!! -Deb

Have questions? Contact us.

5 Tips To Keep Your Fitness Goals.

Every year I meet people that make very unrealistic health and fitness goals for their New Year’s resolution, and, within a month, they give up. That doesn’t have to be you. Get Inspired.Set attainable goals. The most common mistake people make is to set one large goal. It is important to set small goals for short term and long term. Instead of saying “I want to lose 50 lbs. by summer” (which is unhealthy), try the small goal of losing 1-2 lbs. a week. It doesn’t sounds like much but a small step forward is still a step forward. I use the SMART goal system. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Get a trainer. Even if it’s once a week or once a month, a trainer will help you assess your current fitness level, set goals you can attain, and help you choose workouts to get you to your goals. They can make sure you are doing your exercises correctly to avoid injury and can help you stay motivated. Don’t forget, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and Ronda Rousey had help.

Eat for success. You can’t get lean and fit with a poor diet. Start by eliminating empty calories such as soda pop, juices, candy, and other junk foods. You can still have an occasional treat but everything should be in moderation. Then calculate your needed calories and eat by the numbers, keeping a balance between fruits and veggies, and lean proteins and healthy fats.

Create a support system. Health and fitness goals are hard to meet on your own. Friends, family, and co-workers might not understand your goals and inadvertently try to sabotage your effort. You worked out yesterday, you can skip it today or one cookie won’t hurt you. Surround yourself with as many like minded people as you can, from work-out buddies to health conscious eaters.

Don’t focus on the scale. At first you may drop weight fast, then plateau on weight loss. This is common and very frustrating. Instead focus on how you feel, how much energy you have, how well you sleep, and how your clothes fit. Keep in mind that set backs can happen and they are nothing to worry about. It is also possible that you are putting on lean muscle.

Treat your fitness goals as a life style change and stick to your convictions. It takes time to turn a new routine into a habit. Remember, everybody is different and reaching your goals may mean different approaches than someone else. Your fitness journey will be unique but follow these five simple tips for continued success.

Have questions? Contact me.

SEE MY FITNESS JOURNEY

New Experiences

I’m sure I have explained it before and I’m sure I will say it again, but I hate to travel. So, I’m sure you could understand my hesitation when I had to make a trip to Manhattan for my latest certification, Strength Calisthenics Certification (SCC). Now that I did it, I’m so happy I did! Thank you to my wife, Elle, to convincing me to do it. 
I got to see and visit places I only ever saw in movies, met new people, and got to hang out with the calisthenics legend Danny Kavadlo.


At the SCC I picked up so many epic calisthenic techniques to improve my game and the performance of my clients. Even I got a little sore! Worth it! At one point I got called on to demonstrate muscle ups, and even got referred to by one of the SCC coaches as having beastly pull-ups. I want to say that the entire class formed a bit of a brother and sisterhood. I even found another Kung Fu brother.


Over all what I’m trying to say is don’t pass on the possibility for new experiences, whether it be in fitness or any other aspect of your life. If you do, then you will miss an entire world of wonder. If I would have passed on this, I would have missed out one the best training experience I ever had.

See my fitness journey.

Have questions? Contact me.

Flexibility Training

Much like other areas of health and fitness, flexibility has a systematic progression based on your goals, needs and capabilities. The three phases of flexibility training that I like to use are corrective, active and functional.


Corrective flexibility is used for increasing joint range of motion, improving muscle imbalances and correcting alter joint mechanics. Some of the techniques for corrective flexibility include foam rolling (also known as self myofascial release) and static stretching. Foam rolling would be used for tight or overactive muscles to help relax and elongate improving muscle extensibility. During static stretching will improve muscle extensibility further by holding your stretches for 20 to 60 seconds allowing for greater lengthening of the muscle.

 

The next phase of flexibility is active flexibility, which uses active-isolated stretching. This allows for the agonist and the synergist muscles to move through a full range of motion while the antagonists are being stretched. In most cases the stretches are only held for 2 to 5 seconds at the end range of motion and then relaxed and it would be done for a specific number of repetitions.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

The third phase in the flexibility continuum is functional flexibility which utilizes dynamic stretching. For dynamic stretching you need multiplane are extensibility with optimal neuromuscular control throughout the full range of motion. One easy example of this would be doing bodyweight squats or walking lunges with a medicine ball rotation.

See my fitness journey
Have Questions? Contact me.

My Fitness update 

So my original doctor a few years ago told me I would have to take medicine for my cholesterol because of how crazy high it was. Matter of fact it was so bad he said I would be lucky to make it to 35 without a heart attack. Well with focusing on diet and exercise I got it to normal levels with no medicine. Take that pharmaceuticals!The moral of it all… Don’t let someone tell you what you can and can’t do with your own health and fitness.

Have Questions? Contact me.

Fitness Quick Fixes

I know everyone out there is looking for the quick fix or shortcut to health and fitness… Well here it is…

There isn’t one. I know DVDs, Diet Programs and, yes, even Body Wraps claim they have the solution, but sadly they are temporary.

Let’s start with DVDs. Yes, I myself did start with a DVD program, and yes it was a challenge, but after a short time my results started to plateau. That’s when you realize that your fitness has to evolve with your body. Our bodies are amazing, and can adapt to physical stress loads. 

Now onto the diet… Yes! Your diet has to evolve with your fitness. Sure, you may start with the low carb low fat diet plans, but diets are temporary. Eating smart and lifestyle changes are more permanent. As you get more fit your meal plans will have to change. Even weight watchers evolves over time.

Now for the wraps… This is an extremely temporary fix. It essentially squeezes the water out of your fat cells making you look thinner. Normally this will last for up to 72 hours, and sadly over use of things like this is not only expensive but also can start to dehydrate your body. 

My best advice… Put in the work for the results. You will feel better seeing all that you have accomplished. 

Have questions? Contact me.

See my fitness journey.