Calisthenics Quest Foreward

A good friend and mentor of mine, Danny Kavadlo, help me out with my book “The Calisthenics Quest“. Here is what he wrote…

In my years as a health professional, I’ve been a personal trainer, a PT manager, an author, a blogger, a fitness model and even an international presenter. Suffice it to say, I’ve worn a lot of hats in this industry and I’ve met a lot of trainers!

Some of these trainers are more memorable than others. Some have impressed me while others have not. But every now and again a trainer comes along who just “gets it.”

I’m not just talking about understanding the science of training like sets, reps, and human anatomy—I’m a strong believer that anyone can learn that. No, I’m referring to something larger. Love, passion, spirit and more.

What I’m speaking of is the ability to connect to people, to resonate and to change lives. Hell, maybe even change the world.

Ray Shonk is such a trainer.

Ray and I first connected over social media several years ago. Since then, Ray has been my student at Dragon Door’s acclaimed Progressive Calisthenics Certification, my comrade as a lifelong advocate of bodyweight strength training, and ultimately, I’m proud to say, my friend.

Ray has the rare gift of being able to motivate and inspire, while never coming across as overbearing. He leaves the work to his students, while providing exactly what they need from him in terms of instruction. Nothing more, nothing less. He is a true expert of his craft.

So as you might imagine, when a copy of The Calisthenics Quest appeared across my desk, I couldn’t wait to tear into it. I found Ray Shonk’s writing to be informative yet friendly. It’s comprehensive, yet casual. He explores serious concepts with simplicity and humor. For example, when discussing the notion of challenging yourself, Shonk simply states: “It is called a workout, not an easy out. None of this will happen overnight.”

So honest, simple and true—but definitely not easy!

Whether Ray is exploring the roots of bodyweight training, sharing his own anecdotes, or explaining the details of step-by-step exercise progression, he delivers the goods on bodyweight training—and then some!

One of my favorite passages appears toward the end of the work, when Mr. Shonk discusses the character building virtues of working out. In his signature style, he explains the importance of focusing on form and quality of movement, rather than only shooting for high reps and letting the ego take over. This type of process-mindedness is at the very core of Ray’s philosophy as a trainer, a martial artist and a man. No rush here.

As Ray himself says, “This is your journey, so enjoy it.”

-Danny Kavadlo

2017

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Reaching For Your Health And Wellness

Change the Behavior: When you start to consider behaviors that aid in your wellness, such as being physically active and choosing a healthy diet, you may start comparing that with your current behaviors. Like many people, the odds are you are likely have some habits that are healthy and some habits that may place your health at risk. An example would be living a fit and active lifestyle but skipping meals throughout the day. It could even be focusing on your diet but not wearing your seat belt when you’re in the car. To improve your overall wellness, you will need to cultivate your healthy habits and work on overcoming your unhealthy habits. I’m sure many of you already know that changing and unhealthy habit can be much harder than it seems. When you make the decision to take on a lifestyle change, it may seem too hard, at first. When you make progress, your confidence will grow in your ability to make these healthy life changes. As these healthy changes occur, you will notice that you will have more energy, greater vitality and a much greater quality of life than before. You may even seen a curiosity of how far you can go (I know that happened to me). Before you get serious about making your healthy change, you have to know what behaviors are problematic first. To make these positive health changes you also need information about the relevant topics and issues, including what resources are available for you to help you make your change. Take a moment for yourself and ask questions such as “how are my current lifestyle choices affecting my health today” and “how will it be affected in the future?” Think about your current habits and which ones enhance your life and which ones do not. When you’re ready to begin your quest towards your wellness, start with the self-assessment, talk with your friends and family members about what they noticed in your lifestyle. Challenge any unrealistic optimistic ideas you may hold such as, “I don’t need to worry about quitting smoking until I’m over 40” or even “Being overweight won’t put me at risk for diabetes.” Health risks are out there and are significant at all ages, and building is healthy habits are important throughout your entire life. I tell many people I work with that when you start your fitness journey it’s best to start small, by choosing one behavior to change at a time and working on it until you succeed. Your chances of being successful will be far greater with a simple gold to start and this can be as simple as resisting the urge to snack all day or even adding in a little extra exercise. As you move along in your healthy changes you can start making your next goal a little bit more significant and build off of your prior success.

Gathering Your Material: it’s important when you’re looking for health and fitness sources that you do a little bit of research. First off, make sure your source is credible, find out where they gather their information and have a few other professionals are agreeing with the findings. If you’re reading up on studies look to see if there was a large number of people study and who was doing the study. Don’t just look at a single person’s findings because what works for one person may not work for another. When you’re looking through different websites for information check in see how frequently they post as well as the current date of the information. Information in the health and fitness world change rapidly so it is important that that information is up-to-date. Many things you find out there on the Internet or TV or short-term solutions to long-term problems. So when you’re gathering your own information make sure it is up-to-date and fits your needs and goals. It’s OK to be skeptical, because odds are if something seems too good to be true there’s a chance that it is.

Visualize and Self Talk: when you want to boost your confidence and self efficiency one of the best things you can do is visualizing yourself successfully engaging in a new and healthier behavior. Take a moment and imagine yourself hitting that morning work out or that lunchtime run or even giving up smoking. Now, take a moment and picture yourself enjoying all the lifestyle benefits you will gain from this change now take a moment and picture yourself enjoying all the lifestyle benefits you will gain from this change. As crazy as it may sound you can also use self talk that little internal dialogue to increase your confidence in your ability to change. This could counter any self-defeating patterns of thoughts with more positive and realistic thoughts.

Support and Role Models: getting good social support can make a major difference in keeping you motivated and also in your chances of success. It’s possible that you may know a few people that have reached similar goals that you’re striving for. Asking them for help and advice is never a bad way to go. They could potential he have information you may be missing an offer of support that you need to push through. Another great idea to help you reach is healthier goals is to find a fitness partner who wants to make changes similar to yours.  You can then take an active role in each others‘ goals and create a support system. It’s always great to have someone around that can help keep you accountable and motivated to further pursue your goals. You may even want to consider looking at exercise classes, I find these classes to be motivational with all the people around pushing each other to better themselves.

Skills of Change: The moment you decide you are committed to making a positive change it’s time to create a personal plan. Your success could be put together with a well-thought-out plan that sets goals for success and plans for potential problems and even includes possible rewards.

1) Start a journal and monitor your behavior and gather data and keep records of your target behavior. Record this information for a few weeks. Take time to write down each occurrence of your behavior noting the following: what your activities were, as well as when and where it happened and what you were doing.

2) Take time and look over the information and I didn’t fight any possible patterns after you have all the data on the behavior, while looking through it see if you can find any patterns. This could be things like when are you most likely to over eat or even skip a meal? What events trigger this appetite? Perhaps you even over eat when you go to a particular restaurant. Just make sure you note any connections between your feelings and any external cues including time of day situation or even the location.

3) Be “SMART” about setting your goals. If your goals are too challenging you will most likely have trouble making steady progress and will possibly even give up altogether. Remember all of this can take time. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time.

Tips for your healthy future: The person most in charge of your health is you. Every day we make decisions that will have an impact on the quality of our life both now and in the future. By making these positive changes, large and small, you can ensure a lifetime of wellness. Take 15 minutes and go for a walk or have a fresh piece fruit instead of that candy bar. Take a few moments and think about it healthy behavior you would like to add into your life. And then once you have it go after it. Your healthy life will be the best investment you can make.

Are you ready to make your healthy change? Start here.

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What is the right way to get fit and healthy?

I have gotten into the debate multiple times with multiple personal trainers over what is the best way to get fit. Some say that you have to do a lot of cardio, some say you have to push a lot of weight, but I say there is no one perfect way to get fit. I have even gotten into argument with professional trainers who state that you can’t put on muscle mass unless you lift weight. Let’s take a moment and look at the science behind gaining muscle. In order to gain muscle, you must put the muscle under stress and break it down so when the healing of the muscle occurs, you gain extra muscle fibers. In other words, you have to challenge the muscles and this can be done in various ways including push-ups and pull-ups with  bodyweight exercises (also known as “calisthenics“). So anytime someone tells you that you have to lift wait to put on muscle they’re not telling you the entire truth, that you need to challenge your muscles. Now, as far as losing weight and getting fit there is no one way to do it, because if there was only one way to do it there would not be the 50 million exercise DVDs and diet guides out on the market today. Let’s face it, everybody’s body type is different; therefore, how your body reacts to nutrition and fitness is going to be different. A good trainer will be able to help you down this path and, yes, there will be trial and error. But don’t get discouraged with this, because once we find the right combination that works for you, the health and fitness goals will start to flow together. Another thing to consider is not everyone likes lifting weight, or doing cardio all the time, or doing push-ups and pull-ups. So find a workout that you enjoy makes your fitness journey fun. It doesn’t need to be a chore. Health and fitness is your way of investing in your own well-being. After all, your body is your best investment.

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Fitness and the Holidays 

We all know with the holidays, time runs short really easily. So, let’s look at how to keep health and fitness in your crazy holiday schedule.

First, and best advice, is to focus on quality over quantity. You don’t have to spend an hour on your workout when you could bust out a hard core workout in just 30 minutes. Try knocking out 2 or more muscle groups back to back while reducing rest time. For your cardio, try doing intervals or tabata training. This will keep the challenge high and reduce the time required for the workout.

Another idea is workout at home and focus on the basics! Push-ups, pull ups and squats. You do not need a gym for a great workout if you focus on these basics.

The healthy eating is the biggest holiday challenge. Junk food is everywhere!! But don’t get down on yourself if you have a few slip ups. We are all human. Just focus on portion control, then the little indulgences won’t add up as much.

See my fitness journey.

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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

Reasons to Consider a Trainer

It’s hard to admit, but sometimes we all need a little help on our fitness journey. A lot of people are honestly nervous or scared of seeking out a trainer. But despite what people think, trainers are there to help, not kill, you in the gym. Here are some reasons to work with a trainer:

1) You are working but not seeing results.


There are many reasons this could happen, anywhere from diet to programming. Working with a trainer can help you through the possible plateau by building a plan to fit your goals.

2) You are not sure where to start.


This is very normal, but working with a trainer can take out all the guess work. We help with scheduling the correct cardio, strength training and flexibility training to fit your needs. In time you may want to go out on your own.

3) You are bored with the same old workout.
A good trainer will be able to constantly keep you challenged, while not killing you with the workout. We even work to keep the workouts fresh and consistently evolving with your fitness level.

4) You need motivation and accountability.
The best part in my opinion is the motivation you get to work hard when you are with a trainer. A good trainer will give you the push you need to get the workout done. Trainers also help keep you accountable for your actions when it comes to good health and fitness decisions.

5) You have an injury, Illness or medical condition.


Fitness isn’t just for those who are already healthy. This is where specialized trainers can really help! A trainer can build programs to work around your current limitations. Your medical condition can be worked around.

Have Questions? Contact me.

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