Thursday, January 5, 2017

2017 Events Calendar

Below is a list of the upcoming monthly events that I will be sponsoring in 2017. Mark your calendar for the activities that interest you. More details will be coming out closer to each event date on the Your Fitness Quest Facebook page. Make 2017 a fun and healthy year. 

Your Fitness Quest 2017 Calendar


January 14th A Healthier You in 2017 Workshop
This workshop will help you set realistic goals and achieve lasting changes to improve your health. We will show you how to create an exercise program that you enjoy and can stick with, simple ways to improve your nutrition without diets or extremes, how to manage stress, have more energy, and much more.

February 18th  90 Day Transformation Contest
See what kind of amazing improvements you can make to your body with this 90 Day challenge. There will be many prizes for participants who make positive changes to their body composition by losing fat and gaining muscle.

March 1st-31st 5th Annual Triathlon in a Month Challenge
Finish an Iron Man length triathlon! The good news is you get the entire month to pull it off.
During the month of March swim 2.4 miles/ bike 12 miles/ and run 26.2 miles. We are getting rid of the 17 hour cut off time so everyone can complete it at their own pace. It’s doable if you are consistent and is a great way to improve your cardiovascular endurance.

April 8th Resistance Training Class
Learn the basics of resistance training and how to safely and effectively lift weights. We will show you how to incorporate variety into your resistance training by using machines, lifting weights, kettle bells, calisthenics, body weight exercises, resistance straps, etc. 

May 13th Nutrition Seminar
We will address the basics of nutrition and healthy eating habits. We will show you how to have greater variety and balance in your diet and how to adjust your macronutrient intake to best fit your goals. We will also discuss developing a healthy relationship with food. 

June 17th Exercise Variety Challenge
During the month of June see how many different types of exercise you can complete on your own. Choose from a list of 31 different activities we will provide and see how many of them you can do over the course of the month with prizes for the winner.

July 4th, 8th, or 15th 5K Run, Group Hikes up Y Mountain or Squaw Peak
We will have 3 fitness activities in July. If you don't consider yourself a runner we will help you change that as you prepare for and run a 5K race on July 4th. We will also have a fairly easy group hike up Y Mountain on July 8th for those of you who have not done this for a while.  We will also go on a more challenging hike up Squaw Peak Mountain on July 15th.

August 12th The Intangibles
Many people focus all of their attention on exercise and diet, but at this event we will talk about the intangibles like thoughts, mental and emotional health, friends, pets, plants, laughter, learning, service and how these simple things can surprisingly impact our health and give us a higher quality of life without making you sweat.

September- 16th Hike Timpanogos Mountain
This is a more challenging all day hike if you go to the top of the mountain so we will help you prepare with conditioning and training several months prior to the actual hike. The good news is this hike is much easier than Everest. The bad news is there will not be any sherpas to carry your lunch.

October 14th Happy Healthy Holidays
We will teach you how to navigate the holidays without the customary weight gain, unhealthy eating, and stress. Learn how you can still socialize and enjoy the holidays without giving up on your health and fitness goals. You won’t have to dig yourself out of a hole when Jan. 1st rolls around next year.

November 11th Sleep/Recovery/and Stress Management
Nutrition and Exercise are important but only part of the equation. You have to allow your body to rest and recuperate. This class will teach you how to get a better night's sleep, how to listen to your body for feedback that will allow you to heal and recover faster. We will also share some proven techniques to help you manage stress.

December 2nd  Your Fitness Quest Client Appreciation Party

Watch the Facebook page for details or for any modifications as these events approach. If you have any questions about the 2017 events or want more details, contact tom@yourfitnessquest.com.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Detox Diets


If you are like me then you probably indulged in a fair share of "junk food" over the holidays. After days of over-eating candy, chocolate, cookies, and eggnog, I was feeling sick.  A few days after Christmas my wife and I went to a local Brazilian restaurant that serves fresh organic salads. We split a large salmon salad and I could not believe how amazing it tasted and how good it felt to my body. It was almost like I was taking an antidote to some kind of poison. This got me thinking about detoxing my body.

I have always been intrigued with the concept of cleansing or detoxing one's digestive system. Over the years I have heard horror stories about undigested food in people's systems that was bogging them down and causing bloating. Some of these stories have even developed into urban legends involving autopsies on John Wayne and Elvis.

As appealing as a detox diet, may sound, I think it is important to remember that common sense, variety, and moderation should still apply. Our bodies have been designed with safeguards to protect us from toxins. Our integumentary (skin), immune, respiratory, and digestive systems all work hard to repel potential threats. The liver and colon are constantly removing toxins that we may have ingested. Even so, it may be beneficial to occasionally "cleanse" our systems by fasting or eating lighter for a period of time but I don't think people need to go crazy with it.

Detox diets can be a controversial topic and I know there are strong opinions for and against them. Some detox diets promote extended fasting or drinking just lemon juice, honey, and cayenne pepper or other specific ingredients for days on end. I think it is unwise when someone fasts too long or relies on just one type of food for an extended period of time. Some diets or cleanses might appeal to people when they are endorsed by celebrities and show amazing before and after photos over a short amount of time, but it is frequently water weight that is lost as opposed to fat. Using a cleanse or detox diet as a way to lose weight is not a good long term solution.

I'm not a dietitian, but I think taking a more gradual and long term approach is wise. This would include eating less processed foods and more whole foods which are rich in fiber. Drinking more water and eating smaller meals can also help. One of the best ways to detox your system is to never ingest harmful substances that can damage your body to begin with. Alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products can take their toll, so clean living will help you avoid many toxins to begin with.

You don't have to go on an extreme or crazy diet to detoxify and cleanse your body. You can do so by avoiding harmful substances, developing healthy eating habits, and using common sense.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

The Unhealthy Extreme Fitness Mentality

Over the years I've noticed a fitness trend that can be intimidating, unhealthy, and even dangerous. It is the message that you need to go 100% beast mode when it comes to exercise and fitness. I believe there is a time and a place to work on max lifts, beating personal records, and giving it all you've got, but that should not be every time you work out.

One of the places I see many of these unhealthy messages is on Pinterest with brash memes about how you need to push yourself to exhaustion. I created a page of examples of these types of pins you can see if you click on the link. These extreme memes and sayings are geared towards fitness, but they can also spill over into other areas of your life.

There is a time and a place to test your limits, but adopting the extreme mentality is not a healthy choice. I love seeing videos of people bench pressing 600 pounds, deadlifting over 1,000 pounds, setting world records in track and field, and recently seeing the Iron Cowboy complete 50 triathlons in 50 days. I can appreciate pushing the body and mind to their limits, but doing so on a regular basis can be unhealthy and dangerous.

I'd like to briefly address some of the more popular memes I've seen that probably have good intentions to motivate us, but can be dangerous if we don't use common sense:

"Unless you puke, faint, or die, keep going"- I agree we should not give up too early or quit when things get uncomfortable but saying we need to push ourselves until we vomit, pass out, or die is not a good idea because eventually you will do one of those 3 things.

"I regret that workout... said no one ever"-  I appreciate the message since many people skip exercise and end up on the couch watching TV instead, but if you have a shoulder injury yet persist in going to the gym and work on your max bench press you will regret that workout. Exercising when injured without modifying your workout is a recipe for compounding your injury. I have regretted many workouts when I didn't use common sense or listen to the feedback my body was giving me. Over training is a real problem for some people.


"Pain is weakness leaving the body"- Or it could be a heart attack, broken bone, nerve damage, a torn muscle, etc. I believe in the principle of the harvest  and that consistent efforts and sacrifice will pay off with results but we need to remember there are different kinds of pain. The good pain is the soreness you feel the day after working out, or the burning in your legs as you finish a set of air squats. Bad pain can be a sharp painful feeling or a nagging injury and if you keep exercising under those conditions it is not weakness leaving the body, but stupidity entering.

"You can sleep when you are dead"- Or you can die 15 years earlier from never allowing your body time to rest and recuperate. I can appreciate that we need to "seize the day" and get things done but not getting quality sleep will increase stress, cause weight gain, hinder recovery, and eventually lead to exhaustion.

"Second place is the first loser"- I am all for competition but I believe that competition should usually be with yourself. If you constantly compare yourself to others with more experience, better genetics, or those using performance enhancing drugs, then you will always be disappointed with your results and find yourself in the loser camp.

As I have aged I have learned the hard way that my body takes longer to recover after intense bouts of exercise and longer to heal when I get injured or sick. If I were to ignore the feedback from my body because I wanted to adopt the beast mode mentality of a meme I would have a very bad experience when it comes to exercise and my health.

I hope this post has not come across as a sour grapes kind of message. I have great respect for those who have difficult and disciplined workouts. I acknowledge the importance of incorporating intensity into your exercise regimen, but that is done by building up over time as your conditioning improves. There is a time and a place to go all out and work towards a personal best record but that is not every time you exercise. Exercise is a very personal activity and you shouldn't feel like you are being labeled a failure or loser just because you actually have a rest day and are not as extreme as others.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Focus on Flexibility

Flexibility is one of the most overlooked components of fitness. Flexibility is defined as the ability of your joints to move freely. When we think of fitness we often focus on strength, endurance, and cardiovascular conditioning, but if a person has impaired mobility and a limited range of motion, their performance will be impacted in a negative way.

There are many things that can cause mobility issues like disease or injury, but  many people today suffer from muscle imbalances due to living sedentary lives and more specifically hunching over a computer day after day. After years of doing this, certain muscles are stretched out and weakened while others or shortened and tighten up. 

The phrase "use it or lose it" certainly comes to mind when we speak about flexibility. Think about someone who has had a limb immobilized in a cast or sling after an injury for an extended period of time and how they lose the mobility in that joint when it ceases to move through a regular range of motion. That same concept comes into play in every day life in a more subtle way as we become less active and more sedentary as we age.

Activities like gymnastics, diving, yoga, dance, and martial arts obviously showcase the importance of flexibility, but any physical activity or sport and all of the everyday activities we do are easier if we are flexible. 

I have always been tall and have not had the best posture. I worked at a desk for 25 years and as a result I have developed a forward slouch like Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Last year I started doing Olympic style weight lifting and it was an eye opener to see how tight some of my joints were. When I attempted an overhead squat I had such limited mobility that I could only squat down a few inches. As a result I have made a commitment to improve my flexibility. I don't feel the need to do the splits or be a contortionist, but I know if I can improve my flexibility then my physical performance will also improve.


Good flexibility can increase your range of motion. It can also reduce risk of injury however in rare cases if  one's joints are too flexible they can also be susceptible to injury. Flexibility can help reduce muscle soreness after workout by stretching your muscles. Stretching is best done after a workout when your muscles are already warmed up. Remember it is safer to do hold a static stretch as opposed to ballistic bouncing movements. 

Over the years there have been conflicting studies done on the benefits of stretching as it relates to athletic performance but I am still an advocate of improving one's flexibility and I really believe the average person will benefit greatly by improving their flexibility. Just ask anyone who has a hard time bending over to pick something up if having greater flexibility would enrich their lives. Remember to make a place for flexibility training in your wellness program. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

St. George Marathon

Back in 2007 I ran my first marathon. I was new to running and had no idea what I was doing and had only trained for two months prior to the event. I did great for the first three miles but then my injured knee got worse and I hobbled the remaining 23 miles. It was one of the most painful and difficult things I have ever done. Since then I have run the St. George Marathon twice and will go at it for a third time next week. I still never feel like I'm totally prepared when I run a long race but at least I know what to expect now and I learn from my prior mistakes.

St. George is a great course and has awesome volunteers. Here is a short video clip about it.



If you have ever considered running a marathon I encourage you to look into it. Take some baby steps and give yourself plenty of time to prepare and you will be amazed at what you can do.