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

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Internal Martial Arts & Calisthenics

Like a lot of people, I started martial arts training in an external martial art such as Muay Thai, and weight training worked great for excelling in that art. I got stronger and hit harder. Now, there is nothing wrong with external martial arts, I respect each art, but they were not for me and I didn’t realize this until my 20’s.

After a small hiatus, and watching late night Kung Fu movies, I gave Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) a try. The art fascinated me with its flowing movement and hidden power. I had to reverse all of my study, and focus on my internal self. I picked up on the weight training and noticed the weight training actually hindered my movement. In the last few years I dropped the weights and went to calisthenics. My movement, quickly improved. But I didn’t really pay attention to the change.

Recently, I had the opportunity to study with Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, a Grand Master in Yang Style Taijiquan, and after his lectures and expectations of movements, it clicked! Calisthenics is extremely beneficial to internal martial arts. Let’s look at the meaning of calisthenics, exercise to achieve fitness and grace of movement. In TaijiquanTaijiquan you need to have every part of your body to flow as one, calisthenics teaches full body control. This is a beautiful match to improve your internal martial art performance. I would never say you should give up your weight training if that is what you love to do, just make sure your training matches what your current goal is.

 

See my story here.

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How much time do I need to work out?

For the past few weeks, I’ve been getting the same question over and over. “How much time do I need to devote to working out?” There really isn’t a perfect answer to this, but here is my view. You honestly do not need to spend hours in the gym working out. The real trick is to workout smart. In a lot of cases, you can get away with 30 to 45 minute long workouts as long as long as you avoid the common distractions in the gym such as TVs and constantly texting or making calls between sets, and in some “fitness facilities”, the snack table. No, I’m not saying that you won’t get a lot out of working out for an hour; heck, I like working out for at least an hour. But in most cases, the time is not necessarily available. Another thing you can do to help speed up your workout is focus on multiple muscle groups in one exercise. You don’t have to stick with the standard three sets of 10 for bench press three sets of 10 for lat pulldowns you can work more than one muscle at a time. The most important of all focus on your goals. Every time you enter your gym, playground or wherever else you workout, go in with a plan and if that plan is torn apart by someone using the equipment, then you need have a back up plan. There of been plenty of times when I went in planning to work one set of muscles and was thrown off by equipment I regularly use for that so I switch gears and move to another muscle group. And never forget, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure how to best maximize your time in the gym. It takes some getting used to and there are plenty of people that can help you get on the right path.

Have questions? Contact me.

See my fitness journey.

Drop the Machines for Functionality 

 

push up

I know a lot of people love their workout machines, but here me out.

Let’s look at the machine like the leg extension. You will never really use this motion in everyday life, you are sitting in a fixed position just swinging your leg out. Sure, you do get a burn in your quads but where is the core activation?

Doing a squat is a much better alternative to leg extensions or even the leg press, and yes I know some people have issues with squats. There are ways around it such as a ball squat.

Before you use a machine ask yourself:  how will this help my over all functionality? Even physical therapists stray away from machines for more functional movements. If weights are not your thing also look at the option of calisthenics. Something as ordinary as a pushup has huge benign to your entire upper body.

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Want to see how I’ve progress? My Fitness Journey.