Goals, Excuses & Stickers

Confession time: trainers don’t always want to train. While I most of the time I legitimately love a good workout, sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Maybe I haven’t slept well or eaten enough or maybe I’m just feeling lazy, or the opposite – like I have a million other things I should do.


I had a few workouts like that last week … (sidebar: I’ve set a couple of goal events for this spring and summer and so while the days are still short the lakes frozen, the triathlon training plan has officially launched). The last thing I wanted to do was get in the pool. I hate swimming. (Weird, I know, given that I am the mother of 2 competitive swimmers and spend literally hundreds of hours a year on the pool deck.)  I’m not especially good at it (read: totally inefficient) and it is by far my least favourite of the triathlon disciplines. And when it’s as cold as it has been this winter it’s pretty much a guarantee that my hair is going to freeze when I’m done and I’ll probably be shivering for an entire 24 hours.


Let me share a little cold hard truth:


Feeling has nothing to do with it.

I don’t feel like it is not a good excuse.


So I swam. Why? Because I committed to do it. Committed to who? To me.


In order to get and stay committed I need a goal. Something on the calendar that I’m working towards. Seriously. Like physically written on an old-fashioned paper calendar. For me this works better than e-planning, because unlike an app that I can swipe up and ignore, a thing on the wall in the mudroom that I stare at every day is powerful.


But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m not suggesting that you should all rush to sign up for a try-a-tri (but if you want to, I think that’s awesome!? Let’s talk training plans J) Remember what we talked about last time in the blog? You do you. All the time. With the days getting longer (and marginally warmer), maybe your goal is to complete an organized event of some sort (cue shameless plug for Infinite’s Obstacle Training starting in April … you know you want to!). But maybe it’s to complete 3 workouts this week. Maybe it’s to make it to curb the afternoon sugar craving with a healthier, more nutrient-dense alternative. Whatever your goal for this week is, write it down, and stick it somewhere you can see it. I’m a bit of a data-dork, so I keep a training journal, but maybe all you need is a sticker on the wall for every step you take on the way to the goal. Do not underestimate the power of a sticker: what’s good for a five-year old is good for you too. Stickers (or whatever your tracking method of choice) show you that you can do it, you are doing it, and that you have done it. So the next time Doubt come knocking, you can shut the front door. Hard and fast.



A page out of the nerdy training journal.


Let’s talk about the rules of completion.


1. Don’t let the planned task overwhelm you. I’m wagering a guess that you’re familiar with SMART goals. R is for realistic. If you’ve never run a step in your life, setting a goal to run the Boston Marathon is not the place to start. But completing a 5km might be. If you work 12-hour days and struggle to get to the gym twice a week, don’t commit to 6 workouts/week right now. Try for three, but get them done. Because you promised yourself you would.


2. The hardest part is getting to the start. I cannot tell you the number of times I have almost talked myself out of a workout. The temptation is real and I have given in. But I haven’t ever felt great about it. I can absolutely guarantee that I have never ever EVER regretted making the effort to at least start. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes to convince myself and others I’m grumpy for the entire sweatfest, but I have always, 100% of the time been glad I did up those shoes (or, sigh, yes … even jumped in the pool). Don’t let excuses you tell yourself get in the way of accomplishing what you promised yourself you’d do.


3. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Consistency beats out perfection. Every. Single. Time. Again experience speaks here: I used to think that if I didn’t have a whole hour to work out, it wasn’t worth my time. But guess what? A 20-minute workout is better than nothing. Heck, it was an actual THING in the 80s.



(For real … I might have done one or two or a dozen of these in my living room as a teenager …)


Pop-culture trends with questionable fashion choices aside, real research says that exercise in blocks as short as 10 minutes is beneficial. And who can’t find 10 minutes? (Hint: What if you replaced Social Media time with Workout time for a week?)


Executive summary? Set a goal. Shut down the excuses. Get stickers.


Keep on being fierce, friends.


Shawna Hiley B.Sc., Ph.D., CSEP-CPT

Shawna is a Personal Trainer and fitilates Instructor at Infinite Fitness.

 Ready to book a complimentary consultation with a Infinite Fitness certified Personal Trainer? Call us at 780-435-7111 or drop us a line at info@infinitefit.ca to get started.

Resolutions 2.0

February. The shortest-looking, longest-feeling month of the year. The month after the New Year’s Resolutions. Chances are that you made a resolution way back in January. Chances are equally good that said resolution got discarded with the needle-dropping Christmas tree. The problem is that with all the “New Year New You” hype, we shoot for the stars, lost in a dreamy galaxy that in no way resembles Real Life, and we commit to change everything all at once. Then Life happens, and we get kicked in the backside by Reality.


Let’s say that in resolution 1.0 (January) we decided to work out 6 days a week, eliminate sugar, gluten and dairy from our diet. It was an all or nothing mentality. Day 1 may have been a little foggy as the body begged for sugar and we righteously refused, but we were determined. New Year, New Us. A few days later we were feeling like a million bucks. Week one complete, we’d hit all our workouts and emptied the fridge of the sugar-free rainbow of organic produce and lean proteins that we had stocked up on. Bring. It. On.


Fast forward a day/week/month … our boss asks for a few extra hours at work that interferes with the plan to get a lunchtime workout in, so we skip it. We’re also late to pick-up the kids so we hit the drive-thru in the rush to get Thing 1 to hockey and Thing 2 to dance. Finally the extracurriculars end, lunches are made and the Things are in bed. But we still have a deadline to meet, so we stay up late and give in to the call from late night Munchie Monster. We go to bed feeling crappy. The dog is sick and wakes us up to go out 4 times during the already very short night, so we wake up late, miss our morning workout and trade breakfast for an extra shot of espresso. We’ve already missed 2 workouts so we decide to take the rest of the week off, to recover from the Chaos. And since we’re not working out we might as well not bother with the healthy eating thing. And what afternoon isn’t made better by a pumpkin spice latte? And might as well add the whipped cream. And a cookie.


Okay, maybe my example here is a little extreme, but I’m willing to bet you have had your share of Real Life kicking you in the pants. You can pick any drama you like for this story … the bottom line is that the wheels can fall off with very little warning when we aim for perfection all of the time.


So what’s the alternative? We could forget it altogether, assuming that we’re doomed to fail. But that’s not going to help us feel fabulous or fierce, so it’s not really an option.


Enter Resolution 2.0. The February version. The one that has to pass the Reality test.


In order to be sustainable, changes have to be manageable. Remember that your manageable won’t necessarily look like anyone else’s.  Maybe you can commit to a full nutritional overhaul and you’re ready to track every morsel you put in your mouth. If so, great! (We love food logs!) But maybe you need to start with something a little less ambitious … veggies at every meal, no sweets during the week, less coffee and more water … you get the idea. To succeed, you need to do you, every step of the way.


As for activity, you need to move your body. That’s not negotiable. But just like with nutrition, your training plan is your training plan and not anyone else’s. It needs to challenge you but not break you.  You need an escape hatch built in; a chance for a re-do if you miss a workout, because let me assure you, Real Life will happen. Maybe you can commit to being in the gym 5 days a week. Maybe you’ll be lucky to get there once or twice, but you can take the stairs at work, have your FitBit remind you to get up from your desk more often and squeeze in 20 minutes of activity outside of the gym on another day or two each week. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s got to be doable, most of the time.




If you need a hand with Resolution 2.0, we’d love to see you in the studio. New clients can book a free consultation with a Personal Trainer during which you’ll work on goal setting that is both challenging and realistic – for you.


My advice in a nutshell?

Be ambitious but realistic. Fierce but smart. Tough but forgiving.

We’re here to help.


Shawna Hiley B.Sc., Ph.D., CSEP-CPT

Shawna is a Personal Trainer and fitilates Instructor at Infinite Fitness

When You Come Back To Your Why

Whenever you decide to make a change; whether it’s getting rid of a bad habit or introducing a new healthier one, to be successful you need to have a strong sense of why you have made the decision.

When your why is strong, decision making is easier. Your path becomes clearer. Now don’t get me wrong - I’m not saying it will be easy - but you feel confident in your choices and you begin to trust the process.

This sounds a lot like I am talking about your health and fitness goals. And I am. Sort of. You can use this philosophy to achieve a variety of goals and I have witnessed numerous people reach new levels because their why game was strong. But this story isn’t entirely about you.

2017 marked a milestone for Infinite Fitness: we hit our 10 year business anniversary. In that time we have grown a community filled of inspiring clients and a team of dedicated instructors, trainers and front-end staff.

But it’s also been a tense few months, and amidst the chaos and confusion Tristan and I suddenly developed clarity and confidence. We had stepped too far away from the why we started with. We let the business dictate our why instead of the other way around. We had become disenchanted with the craziness that is this industry and we felt lost. We began to talk more and more about why we created Infinite Fitness, what our vision was and how in an industry of crazy, we needed to rise above the noise and bring back movement, wellness, performance and fitness.

Part of coming back to that why is sharing it with all of you; those of you who have been on this journey with us, whether from afar or walking right beside us. We are determined to accept nothing less than the best, starting with ourselves.

Our Why

Both Tristan and I trained in big-box facilities for almost 5 years. We were successful trainers and managers of training teams that accomplished great things. But we saw a disconnect. So many of our clients only stepped foot in the gym when they were training with us. They paid monthly fees to access the gym they never used and then paid our personal training rate (which was actually higher than it is now) on top of that!

We set out to create an environment that put you, the client, first. Our vision was to create a facility without monthly dues, where clients would only pay for the services they used. Perhaps from the outside it seems a little more complicated than a ‘one-size-fits-all solution, but if you think of it as à la carte, it actually makes sense! If you want to take group classes, you pay for those. Work with a personal trainer and pay only the training fee. Take small group specialized classes, again pay for that service. This gives you the freedom and flexibility to try different things and being involved in different programs without being tied to a lengthy contract. Think about it… big boxes actually bank on you not using your membership. It’s in our best interest (and yours, if you want to reach your goal) for you to use what you pay for here!

We also set out to create a community where a team of professionals worked collaboratively. Our industry is full of burnout and as you all know, at any time a trainer may choose to leave a given facility, or the industry completely. We recognize that we have our share of turnover but it’s nothing like what I experienced in a big gym. Back then, when I was just training, I often wouldn’t even talk to the new trainers until they lasted at least 2 months, knowing that they often didn’t make it (I know, that’s horrible!).

Over the last 10 years we have changed the way the industry works, at least within our four walls. Everyone has set shifts. We all have a chance to develop work-life balance and to share and collaborate with one another in a way that is usually unheard of. As a client, you benefit from this collaboration with the best possible programming, by feeling comfortable in the studio regardless of who is training you and by becoming part of the Infinite Fitness family; not just Jessica’s client.

Perhaps the most important part of our why was our love and concern for the health and fitness of all our clients. We see ourselves as the way to truly live your best life. To move with decreased limitations. To experience an increase in energy. To feel better about yourself inside and out.

The fitness industry has changed a lot in the past 10 years, and to be honest, it’s not for the better (but that is another blog entry entirely). We got wrapped up in the noise and the pressure to keep up and to compete. But when we examine our why, it’s evident that we are not meant to compete with the noise. We are here to rise up above the noise.

It’s our mission to give you results by building your body up, not breaking you down.

As we come back to our why, we come back to our core values:

Passion. Passionate about fitness, health, quality of life.
Energy. Because you have to give to receive.
Commitment. To the industry, each other and most importantly, to you.

So here we are, trusting the process. It’s not easy but it’s clear. It’s exciting and a bit scary. Hold on tight, we’re grateful you’re along for the ride!

Yours in Fitness and Fierceness,
Jessica Zapata
co-Founder and co-Owner of Infinite Fitness

Yay Me!

Written by Karl Gellert, Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness

Ask yourself something: why do you do what you do? It’s a question that I’m guessing there’s no real true answer for, or at least one that would vary wildly from person to person.

Since this is a fitness blog, we’ll keep the deep philosophical conversation out of it and centre our discussion around exactly that - you and your fitness.

How many of you hate the going to the gym? How many people reading this go 2, 3 or 4 times a week and hate every second of it? You’re there because you know it’s good for you and your health, or you want to look good for an upcoming vacation or wedding, or you want to live to the plucky ol’ age of 120. Whatever your reason is, it doesn’t matter really matter to me, that’s your business.

Goals are essential - not just in the gym, but in your life too. If you don’t have a goal, what are you doing? You’re just showing up, doing whatever and hoping something will happen. There’s no end point, no middle point, hell, there’s no point at all! It’s kind of like a 9-5; you just show up to everyday to get to the weekend.

I’m rambling a little here, let me get to the point.

The honest truth is that most people don’t reach their goals. Usually they don’t try very hard or they fall off a couple weeks in because they weren’t very serious in the first place. It happens. I’m not chastising, I’ve been this person too, a whole lot of times.

The other subsection actually tries, but doesn’t have the right blueprint (I’m looking at you celery and elliptical crowd) so like the rocketship without enough fuel, they’re kind of doomed from the start. That’s ok too.

But it’s you, the rocketship pilot, who I’m talking to here. I’m talking to those of you who have the right blueprint, have the resources and put in the consistent, hard effort and still come up short.

You watch your eating, hit the gym hard and suffer through this “weight loss” phase and see nothing. The 20lb goal you set seems so far out of reach and it’s demoralizing, if not downright depressing.

I’m going to hit you with a quote from one of the greatest minds of our time, Captain Picard


“It is possible to commit no mistakes, and still lose. That is not a weakness: that is life”

Did I write a whole post based on a Star Trek quote? Yes. Yes I did. But it’s my blog post and I can do what I want. And what I want to do is reframe this whole process for you. Because what you need to focus on is exactly that - the process.

The beautiful thing about goals, work, achievement and failure is not whether or not you succeed, it’s what you gain from the experience (yes, this whole post is essentially the plot of The Alchemist).

Allow me, for a moment, to take you on a brief trip down memory lane . When I started lifting at the tender age of 17, I really, really wanted to deadlift 225lb (which is two 45lb plates on each side of the bar for the unenlightened). When I tried, it was a mess. Teenage Karl had no idea how to deadlift, which was the first and I’d argue, largest issue in my way, but even if I had great technique, I was nowhere near ready for it physically.

My abs and low back weren’t strong enough to stay rigid through my torso, I wasn’t flexible at all so couldn’t get into a good starting position, and quite frankly, my grip was so bad I couldn’t even hold on to the bar. It never really improved during this time period.

Around age 19, I gave up lifting in general and returned roughly 2 years later. This was the beginning of when squats and deadlifts became the “in” thing and I was hungry to get back to it.

Within a couple months I did manage to get 225lb for a few reps. Nothing had really changed, I had no idea what I was doing, my form and overall strength was still bad, I was just older and stronger from working full time in a warehouse. At that point I started focusing on 275lb.

Man, if I could only deadlift 275lb I’d be happy..

I tried different programs, some awesome, some mediocre, some just weird and time consuming, but over the years the numbers on my lifts went up, which as a side note, speaks to power of attrition over knowledge.

I know you’re expecting me to give you a story of how I finally managed to lift it but strangely enough, I honestly don’t remember the first time I deadlifted 275lb or even 315lb. More on that in a minute. I need to fast forward a few years to get to my point.

What I do distinctly remember, is the first time I lifted 405lb (which again, for the unenlightened, is four 45lb plates on each side of the bar).

It was about 4 - 5 years later, when I was  25 or 26, and worked and lifted at the Canada Games Complex in Thunder Bay (big shoutout to anyone reading this from the Complex days!). I had been waiting for this moment for a while (this was also before Instagram and so I had no idea that everyone and their dog could deadlift 600lb), and to say I was excited was an understatement.

I’d been thinking about it all day. I psyched myself up into a rage, blasted Disturbed in my headphones (I was edgy, ok?) and put my full force into ripping that thing off the ground. And it, er, well, it slowly came off the ground. But rise from the floor it did, all the way to that sweet, sweet lockout!

I held it at the top for a second, let it down, rather loudly I’m sure, and sat on the leg extension machine. The guys I was training with and the other gym goers around me were talking but I couldn’t hear them, not only because I was deep in thought, but because my headphones were still blaring at probably dangerous levels.

For the next few minutes, I just sat there thinking. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Was this it? This was the culmination of my years of effort, strain and sweat and I felt… melancholy. Not sad, not happy, just kind of... disappointed.There were no balloons, no parade, no cheque, no scantily clad bikini models showering me with praise - nothing! Just me, sitting a poorly designed piece of equipment thinking “yay for me?”.

You see, during those years, I thought if I could just reach some numbers on lifts in the gym I’d be happy. Just like when I started doing “fitness” and I thought being in shape would make me happy. Or when I bought god knows how many things. And the truth is, it doesn’t. It won’t make you happy. No one goal, possession, accomplishment is going to make you happy. It will bring a brief respite but then it’s gone and you’re on to the next thing, whatever that is.

And that’s totally cool.

You know what does make me happy about those lifts? The time I spent in the gym with people I still call friends. The knowledge I learned. The people I met while I was at the various gyms I went to and worked at. The countless awesome and not so awesome ideas we tried (Justin, if you’re reading this, do you remember the plate pushes on the track when the girls hockey team went running through? I thought for sure I was going to get sued).

So many awesome things in my life, and I’d hopefully like to think other people’s lives, came from those times and those years.Looking back, that’s what makes me happy. Since then I’ve accomplished those goals and many more but it doesn’t really matter, because I’m always looking at the next one. Currently, it’s getting below 10% bodyfat because I’ve never really done it.

Once I get there I’m sure it’ll be cool and I’ll appreciate it, but then I’ll move on onto the next thing.Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate the process. Maybe I don’t always appreciate it at the time because I’m human, but looking back, hell yeah, it was awesome. 

So absolutely set your goal. I want you to smash the hell out of it. Will that happen? Maybe, maybe not - but you will get an experience.

So stop hating the gym or find something else to do with your time because at the end of the day, life is too short to waste on things you hate. As recent events have shown us, you don’t know what’s going to happen.

The goal is important, but not. The process is. Because at the end of the day, once you accomplish your goal, the thing you’re really left with is you saying  “yay me”.

Just Starting Your Journey... Start Here

Written by Karl Gellert, Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness

Thinking about getting in shape?


Read this now and save yourself headaches later

Fall is in the air and so are new beginnings! To those of you who are starting your “fitness journey”, congrats! I am proud of you. You’ve finally stopped making excuses and jumped into the deep end. You may have noticed what a strange, confusing place it is.

Let’s have an honest talk - pretend we’re at a bar and we’ve been friends for 30 years (I don’t drink and I was born in 1987 so we’re off to a good start).

If you’re noticing some muffin top, feeling tired just walking up the stairs, and realizing that a good chunk of your wardrobe doesn’t quite fit anymore, I empathize. I’ve been in your shoes and I will emphatically tell you, you’re making the right choice - life is so, so much better when you’re comfortable in your own skin.

“Getting in shape” will do just that - you look better, you feel better, and once you know you can accomplish a goal, it opens up a whole new realm of mental possibilities. You set your mind to something and accomplished it and that, my friend, that is so much more than most people can say.

I want you to do this, and I want you to do well, so here are some things you need to know, both for your mental state and to accomplish what you set out to.

Success Picture

Define Your “Success”

You may have noticed the condescending quotations around “getting in shape” up above. I have a good reason for that - what does “getting in shape” mean to you? Is it running a marathon? Competing in a bodybuilding show? Or, perhaps more commonly, just being able to keep up with your kids?

Whatever your “success” is, figure out what it actually looks like and why it’s important to you. Once you know, you can plan. Which brings me to my next point.

Have a Plan

You wouldn’t drive to Montreal without a map (bad example, Canada only has one road but you get my point) and yet it baffles me that people decide to go to the gym and just kind of see what happens.

Your plan doesn’t need to be perfect, but even the stupidest plan followed to a tee will likely work better than just going to the gym and doing whatever you want and or what you see other people doing.

My first suggestion to remedy this problem would be to hire a trainer who can make this plan for you. I may be a tad biased here but I recommend me, because not only do I happen to hold myself in (extremely) high esteem but because I’ve been the person on the other end of this conversation: i.e. you. I’ve had all of these problems and I know how to solve them. Any good trainer will. This is the fastest and most pain free (mentally, not physically) route there is. 

If a trainer isn’t in the cards for whatever reason, go on the internet (I know you can, you’re already here). Do a little research and pick a workout plan that resonates with you. It might be great, it might be a dud, but at least it’s something.

Information is so abundant nowadays that honestly you have no excuse not to do this. Lack of information in today’s age is not a valid excuse. Lack of time or money sure, but you have access to almost all human knowledge in your pocket. Use it.

Just remember, you do get what you pay for. If you want a plan specifically for you, you need to talk to someone who knows what they’re doing i.e. actually works with other human beings, not someone who writes random ideas that sound good online.

Instagram Isn’t Real

While we’re on the subject of that Internet, we need to get something out of the way. I love social media (well, I love Instagram). I think it’s great and does a lot of fantastic things for us,but there’s something I want to really impart to you - it’s not “real”. For the most part, It’s a screenshot of a singular point in time, with no context and no background. It’s people’s “Life PR department” as Gary Vaynerchuck likes to say.

What I mean by that is you’ll see all kinds of awesome looking people doing awesome things that seem so far out reach for you it’s almost depressing. Take it all with a grain of salt. I know, you’re probably an adult who knows not to trust everything you see on the Internet but it bears repeating.

Two things I want you to know:

1)    Angles, lighting and slight “modifications” to pictures are hugely important. I personally know people who post looking like they could be on the cover of a magazine and when I saw them earlier on the very day it was posted (in real life no less) they looked nothing like that picture. As in, unrecognizable. I know you’re thinking “Jeez Karl, obviously I know this” but it’s subtle thing. When you everyone looks better than you, it creeps into your brain and you start thinking everyone is doing so much better than you . They’re not. Some might be and some aren’t, but in the end, who the hell cares how people compare to you? Do your thing and do it the best you can.

2)    Everyone posts their most impressive and visually striking stuff - obviously, this gets likes and this is what Instagram is all about. No one wants to see boring things, I have real life for that. But when all you see is people’s “Greatest Hits” - you don’t see the non radio songs, the b-sides, the outtakes, the songs that didn’t get recorded. All you see is the best of the best. It’s hardly representative of all of the work that went into that moment. You can go watch me Deadlift over 400lb right now. What you don’t see is the daily mobility work, the years (and years, and years…) of workouts and the fact that I started by only doing the bar. Just like everyone else.

So partake, enjoy and take it for what it is - entertainment. Also don’t forget to follow me @theoriginalkarlg and @infinitefit on Instagram. That’s very important, if not the most important part, of this entire post.

Take Control (Because It’s On You and Only You)

Don’t be the person who waits until Monday, or until school starts or when your shift changes at work or when the planets align ushering the golden age of Syfurion… blah blah blah. There’s never a perfect time and there never will be. You can’t control a lot of things in life but this you can. Find a way.

There are plenty of people who work 60 hours a week who find a way to squeeze two 45 minute workouts in. Is it ideal? No, but life rarely is. You’ll figure it out. Whatever you do, remember it’s on you. You can have the best program in the world, the best nutrition, the best coach who yells you until they’re blue in the face but if you don’t work hard, you miss workouts and complain about how someone at work brought donuts again, then my friend, I can’t help you.

I can resurrect Jimi Hendrix from the dead to teach me to play guitar but if I don’t practice, there’s nothing he can do. There are always things that are out of your control - hurricanes, staying at work late, kids, the resurrection of Jimi Hendrix, but at the end of the day it’s on you.

Think Long Term (Because the Honeymoon Won’t Last)

A harsh truth and unwelcome truth. To make a significant, lasting change in your life and how you look and how you feel, you’re probably looking at a year, minimum.

This does depend on your goals, but the 1 - 3 month turnaround people expect doesn’t usually happen. It can, but usually only if the person has already done it before and knows what they’re doing/what to expect.

Say you’re 20 - 40 lbs overweight. It took probably five years or more to reach that point. While losing it all CAN be done in 3 months, it’s probably not healthy and almost certainly isn’t sustainable.

If you want to get and stay in shape, and I’m assuming you do, you need to transition into a different set of behaviours.

For the vast majority of people, you can’t go from watching sports/HGTV all night and eating whatever you want, to eating chicken/fish/things that don’t taste as good as pizza as well as working out semi daily all in the span of a week - for the vast majority of people, it’s just not going to happen.

It will work for a bit but if you’re not accustomed to and you hate it, it won’t last. Look at things long term. 6 months, A year, 5 years. 10 years. 30 day challenges are great and all but there’s a reason why people yo-yo all over the place. Anyone can buckle down for a month, but 99% of the time the behaviours are too drastically different and ultimately not sustainable.

If you just started, or started again, you’re motivated and the fire is burning strong. For now. I liken it to a relationship - you’re in the honeymoon phase and unfortunately for you, it won’t last.

Yes, yes, I know the “you’re not special” talk hurts but it’s true. When I worked at a commercial gym the majority of people I met who planned these elaborate ideas of working out 5 times a week and swimming and on their off days and eating salads lasted all of 9 - 12 days. It’s too much, too fast. That’s not how this works.

You’re motivated right now. That’s awesome. But it’s the fire starter, not the thing that will keep it going. I don’t want to give you the “discipline” speech because quite frankly, it’s lame and it’s me, Karl, your cool non-drinking drinking buddy!

But you need to embrace the fact that saying something and actually doing it are two different things. Embrace the fact that sometimes working out will suck and you’d rather watch Game of Thrones (I also don’t watch that. We’re not doing well). It will hurt, you’ll have setbacks, plateaus, and sometimes you seemingly won’t make progress for months. And like any relationship, sometimes it will suck, and it will suck hard (not like that).

But I want you to embrace that challenge. It sounds corny but if you want something, you have to prove how much you want it. You don’t get something for nothing. You earn it. Set by set, exercise by exercise, workout by workout. All the bricks in the wall add up. Eventually. 

And it’s worth it. I can 100%, with absolute certainty tell you, getting in shape is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your family and your life.

And it’s really not as melodramatic as I made it seem because when you break it down, all you’re doing is going to the gym 3 times a week for an hour and trying to walk some more than you do right now.

That’s not so bad, is it?

So my friend, good luck and know that I’m in your corner. I know you’ll do great.

Just remember, the most important thing in all of this is to follow me on IG @theoriginalkarlg.

Good luck (and I’m not paying your imaginary bar tab)

Want to learn more about Karl or book a complimentary consultation with him? Drop us a line at info@infinitefit.ca and we would be happy to help you out!


Summer. The time of everlasting daylight, mosquitos and for most, routine turned upside down. Maybe you have (grand)kids who are out of school and need care; maybe you have (grand)kids who now don’t need to be driven to extra-curriculars; maybe you don’t have kids in your life at all. I’d still wager a guess that your day-to-day in July and August isn’t exactly the same as it is during the hum-drum months of November and April.

I don’t know about you, but workout routine is always one of the first things affected by changes in my schedule. And for me, the summer schedule changes so much it puts me in a different time zone.

I’m actually not kidding. I spend a healthy chunk of time every summer at our family cabin on a lake northeast of Toronto. The cabin is on a heavily treed island just over 3 acres in size. I am a lifelong runner and admitted cardio addict. Perhaps you can see my problem: I cannot walk (or run) on water and there is no treadmill (in this rustic little spot that would be the ultimate blasphemy). One summer I was in such withdrawal that my devoted husband ‘cleared’ a ‘trail’ through the forest creating a 200-ish metre trail so I could ‘run’ laps of the island (all terms in quotes used very loosely). It’s pretty much bush-whacking. It’s awful. I’m shocked that I haven’t broken an ankle.
My point? It’s easy to obsess over routine, and when we can’t maintain it we beat ourselves up about the fact that we can’t do things exactly the way we do at other times of the year. Why not embrace it instead? See it as opportunity; an invitation to do something different?

In my old age I have become wise (okay, at least little wiser than I used to be). I mostly take the summer off running; I save my ankles from stray roots on the path and let my body recover from the abuse it suffers through the other 10.5 months of the year. Running, as great as it is for producing endorphins and burning calories, also offers a repetitive slamming of feet into concrete that is very hard on the joints. In fact, the majority of my personal fitness program is designed from a Corrective Exercise perspective in order to let fuel my addiction. But I digress …

For me summer has become a time to do other things. I swim. I cycle (on a wind trainer, not on the suspect trail described above). It’s the only time of the year that I do burpees with any regularity. And the change can be good for both body and soul: I used to feel frustrated that I wasn’t working hard enough in my summer workouts. Even after a cross-channel swim (I am on an island, after all) or a 45-minute spin I’d feel like a slacker. As I’m sure you can appreciate, without a training partner, a group fitness instructor or even any real training plan it’s hard to bang out a HIIT style workout solo. And then in another bolt of genius I realized that this is periodization in its essence: summer is when I focus on flexibility and fundamentals. I can feel my chronically shortened muscles lengthen because I have time to do mat Pilates most days. Continuing with some easy cardio maintains a solid aerobic base from which to build when I ramp back up for the next goal.
On top of that, this year I have specifically used some lake time to focus on nutrition. While I do okay getting balanced meals of mostly whole foods on the table the majority of the time, this is different. I’m eating healthy with intention because I have time when I’m not rushing from work to my secondary taxi-driver job delivering kids to and from extracurricular activities. More fruit and veg. Local. Organic. No sugar. Healthier carbs.

But enough about me. What does this mean for you? Maybe you are a fanatical devotee of Saturday morning spin class, but can’t make it because you’re at the lake or a baseball tournament or a soccer game or …. you get it … fill in your own blanks here. Rather than get frustrated, try something else. Often summer creates gaps in the studio schedule that means you might be able to snag a spot in a usually full class some other time. Unleash on Tuesday nights? Bring it on! Never tried Fitilates? This might be your chance.

If you’re out of the city, there are dozens (okay, probably hundreds) of options away from the studio as well … paddleboarding or kayaking if you’re on the water … walking/hiking/cycling if you’re not. Maybe you haven’t run in years and you think you hate it but then again maybe you’ll like it when it’s not -25 and you’re not on a treadmill staring at the wall. Do. Something. Different.

There’s value in all of it. This summer, be kind to yourself. Keep moving. Put good stuff in to your body. Enjoy the season. It will be over before you know it.


Shawna Hiley, B.Sc., Ph.D.
CSEP Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist

Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness


Back to Basics

Gather round everyone, I'm going to tell you a bunch of stuff you already know! Or at least you should know.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that like most people, if you're reading this you're trying to get in shape. Now I want you to try something for me: take a step back and make sure you have your basics covered. You know, those things that are incredibly simple, but that most people jump right past to try more exciting things they have no business messing around with.

So before you try any cleanses, fasts, fat burners, tapeworms or mystery pills made in some guy from your gym's basement, make sure you have these five things (in no particular order) under control.

1) Be Consistent
This is my number one, unavoidable, unbreakable, non-negotiable (just like Robocop) rule. If you can't be consistently consistent, you are doomed to fail. Seriously, the outlook is Lord of the Rings-esque grim. Tough love time: if you can't consistently put the effort in, it's not happening for you.

Does that mean you have to put in the same 4 days a week for the rest of (your) time? No. But you absolutely cannot expect significant progress if you workout 4 times one week and once for the next two. If you are seriously trying to make a change in your body, you have to workout at least 3 - 4 times a week - minimum.

This doesn't mean 4 times in the gym or gruelling workouts, but it has to be 3 - 4 sessions of something. Minimum.

I know things get busy and things happen and life gets in the way sometimes, but if you were to look at the trend of your activity of the entire year, more often than not, you have to hit those four times a week.

40 minutes of (hard for you) weights, at least 45 minutes of a decent paced walk or run and some sort of heart-rate-increasing recreational activity on another day combined with sensible eating habits are enough for most people to stay in reasonable shape. Not ripped six pack abs shape, but reasonable.

This is not an unreasonable number - it's roughly 3 hours out of a possible 168 in a week. If you can't make that sacrifice then there's a very good chance you won't reach your goals. Simple as that.

2) Have a clear idea of what you're eating every day

If I had a dime for every time someone told me they eat "healthy" or "clean" I would have... many dimes. Here's the thing (with no offence intended): for 98.2% of those people their idea of "clean eating" is.... not good.

I'm just giving it to you straight here: when losing weight, caloric expenditure is king. There are other factors for sure, but eating fewer calories than you need to maintain your current weight is the main big piece. Quick side note, this doesn't mean significantly less than you need - a 200 to 500 calorie deficit every day is more than enough for you to see change. (Add an example? Beer/fancy coffee/late afternoon granola bar? Couple of cookies at the staff meeting)

There are exactly 1 billion and 1 different diets and quite frankly, once we omit the stupid ones (grapefruit diet, eating 30 bananas etc.), they're all pretty much the same. I do flexible dieting (counting macros) personally and I love it but I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone.

Regardless of what you choose, if you are sticking to lean meats for protein, carb sources like potatoes, yams, squash and rice and consuming copious amounts of green vegetables at most meals, it's pretty darn hard to over-eat.

Do the above and eat something you really want to (ie cookies, ice cream, pizza or French fries) once or twice a week just to keep the ol' sanity and you'll be golden for a while. When you do have that "cheat" meal (I'm not overly fond of the term) remember that food is not "good" or "bad", it doesn't have any moral implications, just energy. A slice of my favourite pizza has 40g of fat alone. It's not a "bad" food, just calorically (and deliciously) dense. Fantastic for gaining weight but not such a great choice when actively trying to lose some.

Cheat meal


Delicious, but not overly helpful

Don't over complicate this. Track your food. Get one of those free apps, use it for a week and be honest. Think of it like you would your budget - you'll at least see what you're really doing and it can be quite enlightening.

3) Drink your Water

Super simple, super important, and for the most part, totally free (ish) but I've seen countless people completely biff this one. I won't go into the why's, I'm sure all of you took 6th grade science: water = good.

As far as amounts go, a good place to start is by taking your bodyweight in pounds and drinking half of that in ounces. If you're dehydrated, your performance can be cut by as much as 20%, not to mention an increased injury risk. Less performance, more injuries = less progress. Makes sense to me. Maybe I should've been a professor?



4) Get Your Sleep

How many of you spend time on your phones or watch tv until 1 in the morning, then wake up at 6 am? Judging from the people I frequently talk to, it's more than you might think. Sleep is when all your good body fixing stuff happens.

If sleep is lacking your hormones will be off, you'll obviously lack energy, and it brings progress to a screeching halt. Try to go to sleep before 11 and aim for 7-9 hours. You can mess around on your phone tomorrow.

5) Keep Your Goals in Mind

First of all, have a real goal. "Getting in shape" is very vague and could mean a lot of different things. Whether it's being the same weight you were ten years ago, fitting into a certain piece of clothing or a strength goal, the the goals most likely to be achieved are specific, measurable and have a timeline attached to them.

When you find yourself drifting or losing your motivation, remember why you're doing it in the first place. Working out is hard, it takes time, it's uncomfortable and when you're not seeing results at rapid rate you need to have some sort of emotional anchor to keep you going.

Take the time and set out a clear goal, make a time frame and a plan. Or hire some trainer to do it for you. I know a guy.

So before you tinker with anything else, pick a program, follow it and do these 5 things for 12 weeks. In a row. If you don't see at least SOME results, then I don't want to call you liar but I'm going to channel my inner Scully at least a little.

Til next time my friends.

Karl Gellert, Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness

Interested in meeting with Karl to discuss your health and fitness goals? Call us at 780-435-7111 to set up a consultation or Introductory PT Package.

Strength Training To Extend Your Running Career

Running is a basic and fundamental activity that every human being should be able to do. Yet, unfortunately, running is the most injurious non-contact sport around - somewhere between 60-70% per year.

Let me get this out of the way before I start this - I'd rather be bashed over the head with a cricket bat then run 20 km. I don't even want to drive 20 km. That’s just my opinion, so before you get up in arms, remember that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Running is still hugely popular and if it's your passion, then you go ahead and run until your feet fall off. Sound good?

A lot of people in the fitness industry trash doctors; some deservedly, some not. I've trained a few in my years and I do have a lot of respect for them, especially in today's era of Google and WebMD. They put in a lot of work and are extremely knowledgeable. If you are sick or have a serious injury - please be smart and go to a doctor.

With that out of the way, there's one thing that drives me absolutely bonkers and I'm going to use runners as an example.

Said runner goes out every morning and runs at least 5 km. Our hypothetical person has big cushy shoes, maybe with some orthotics. Their hip hurts pretty much all the time, they have a mild case of shin splints and let's say, tendonitis, in their knees. Usually they'll just pop some Advil and hope it hurts only a little so they can keep going.

Shiny knee guy

One day they were rushed and dehydrated, the pain gets a bit too much, and something gives. Sharp pains abound with every step in one joint or another. So they go to the doctor, and the doctor asks when does it hurt, they say when they run, and the doctor tells them to stop running. Makes logical sense.

But I find this a completely unacceptable answer. Look, I totally get it. Doctors are busy and they don't have time to go through a complete assessment and mobility program with every person. It's not their fault because that's just the way the system is - go until you're broken and then stitch you back together.

As I said, if someone told me no more running, I would be ecstatic! No problem doc! But for this hypothetical person, running is their passion and taking that away from them can be absolutely crushing. This is what I truly empathize with; if someone told me I couldn't lift weights anymore, honestly, unless I was going to die from it, I would probably just ignore them and find some way to do it anyway.

Let's rewind on our runner. The warning signs were all there. The hip pain, shin splints, and tendinitis are basically your body's "check engine" light, which when they took the Advil, they put metaphorical band aid over. Running injuries (generally) tend to be chronic or overuse in nature, so there's always a warning. These warning signs need to be heeded and treated so we can keep doing what we love.

When you run you have roughly 4 - 8 times your bodyweight coming down on your joints with each step. If your achilles are tight, if your arches have fallen, if you have zero hip external rotation and your hip flexors are encased in cement, your body is basically out of alignment. It is going to have a hard time dealing with the sheer amount of force going through those joints.

This is especially true if you have, ahem, let’s say, “self taught” mechanics and your heel is striking each time the pavement each and every step. It's a ticking time bomb, especially if you've got some miles on your body. (Before you say this sounds like a specific case, I can assure you that no, it's an extremely common scenario).

Runners, and quite frankly, most of the general population, have a checklist of problems I tend to see over and over:

  • Weak posterior chain/hip extension (glutes, hamstrings, low back)
  • Weak/poor core engagement
  • Stiff hip flexors leading to poor stride length and back pain
  • Stiff achilles/lack of dorsiflexion in the ankles
  • General lack of adequate recovery
  • Poor movement mechanics in general

Buuuuuut - if we work on mechanics such as core engagement and proper foot position a little bit, get proper hydration and nutrition, a couple strength training sessions a week, topped off by working for roughly ten minutes each and every day on aggressively addressing those tissue and joint restrictions, that runner will be right back in the game.  


This all might sound like a lot but it's really quite easy to fit into a schedule.

In regards to the type of training, I'd like to throw the old stereotypes out the window. We aren't doing bicep curls on a machine for strength, we're doing box squats and deadlift variations to strengthen our posterior chain for a more efficient “engine”. We're not pulling our foot up toward our butt a couple times or doing static hamstrings stretches for 5.6 seconds before we leave as a warmup with no regard to our hip position, we're doing a targeted warmup to get our body ready for the demands placed on it. We're doing a couch stretch every night to improve our hip flexors and the quads in a meaningful way, not the standard old quad stretch while waiting for the light to change.

And for the love of all that is good we're using a lacrosse ball or something similar to address the tissue quality of the feet and shins (and obviously other things).

And I just to want to take a moment to make one thing clear:

Even if you aren't injured, you are leaving an incredible amount of performance on the table by not doing these things! 

Now showing you all these things is a bit out of the scope of this post, but if this is something you are interested in, and you can't come see me (because obviously that's the best idea in this whole post), I'd very highly recommend the book Ready to Run by Dr Kelly Starrett.

I don't get paid at all for this though I'd definitely like to (Side note: if you're interested in paying me to sell out - please direct your inquiries and email money transfers to karl@infinitefit.ca. Next week's refreshing post will be brought to you by PepsiCo!).

My main point is a little bit of perspective shift and maintenance can go a long, long way in making sure you're a healthy, happy (I think? I still don't get it) runner for the long haul.

If you are interested in any of what I'm throwing down here you can find me at karl@infinitefit.ca, @theoriginalkarlg on Instagram or Karl Gellert on Facebook.

No Pain, No Gain - Rambo? I don't know

written by: Karl Gellert, CESP
Personal Trainer and Coach at Infinite Fitness

When I originally wrote this post I was pretty much ranting and raving all over the place. Not really sure why I was so upset, but I've since calmed down so today you get a calmer, more logical Karl. However, there is something I'd like to get off my chest.

I'm sure you've heard the expression "work smarter, not harder"? Well that's exactly what I want to talk about.

We can break exercise into two basic components - stress and recovery. As we all know, building muscle, losing fat, increasing endurance etc. is an adaptation to a stressor placed on the body.

To sum it up in simple terms, when we break down a part of our body, within reason, it adapts and rebuilds stronger - the law of adaptation.

Now, I'm a fan of hard work. It's really the only way to make progress in your workout life, regardless of how you personally define that - be it cycling, strongman, running, or fighting grizzly bears with your bare hands. So before I start I'm going to make sure you understand this:

Consistent, hard work is the only way to make a lasting and sustainable change in your body

There's just no way around it.

Now that we have that out of the way, the whole "no pain, no gain" mentality should be left in the smouldering dumpster fire that was the 80's (Not Rambo though - he was badass).


How sore you are the next day has almost no correlation to how good of a workout you had the day before. You did something your body wasn't used to, but that's about it - if you consistently feel like a husk of yourself the next day, something is definitely wrong.

It may not always look like it, but there should be be a point to every exercise you're doing - you should be moving towards a goal or checkpoint. I see so many fitness "workouts" that literally have no rhyme or reason, no attention to movement quality and quite frankly, are just poorly put together. They're just a bunch of stuff. It's certainly better than doing nothing at all, but that's not really a great benchmark, now is it?

And before you say it, no, I'm not talking about Crossfit, I'm actually wearing Crossfit shoes right now as I write this. This can apply to any kind of training - bodybuilding, powerlifting, Crossfit and yes, just general fitness and group exercise classes.

If someone has tight ankles, poor thoracic mobility, hip flexors of steel, and doesn't have a great idea of how to brace properly in their core (which is actually the case for a large number of people) it isn't a fantastic idea to get them to do burpees, pushups, jumping lunges, or even, gasp, planks, with little rest for time. At that point in their fitness "career" they just don't have the work capacity. Give it a few months of consistent practice, get their general conditioning (cardio) and strength up and then we can really get the ball rolling with some more exciting workouts.

I've been training people for seven years now, so I can tell you that when most people start it's not pretty. It doesn't take long to get competent but almost everyone starts out with poor movement skills and kinaesthetic awareness. But it doesn't matter whether you're starting out, or if you're experienced, you need to know proper movement patterns and what kind of range of motion you currently have. Not the people in your exercise class, not your friend, not what you saw on YouTube - you.

For example, I have terrible mobility in my right ankle. I've seen several people to try and get it fixed but I've never been able to get it to completely normal. This does affect my workouts. Running hills, pushing a sled, walking lunges and high bar squats are all awesome exercises, but I have to be careful not to overdo it because there will be consequences.

Don't think you have to devote all your time to this - it is very possible to work on increasing mobility and mechanics in a safe and progressive manner, and do it so in a way where you actually get a good workout. I completely understand because when I go to the gym I want to do cool stuff (relatively speaking), not a million mobility drills.

Quick point - don't get me started on people who yammer on and on about having to go "ass to grass" when squatting. Ideally, yes, everyone should be able to squat deep below parallel but unfortunately, we live in the real world where people are exactly how I described above.

Your average joe doesn't have the ankle or hip mobility, so when they try to get as low as possible, their feet turn out, the low back rounds, the pelvis tucks under and the whole thing just turns into hot garbage. Never mind adding a load and the "git r done" mentality to this - you're begging the universe to put you out of commission. And don't worry, it will oblige sooner or later.


While time has mellowed me...still not a fan

I'll be honest with you - 8 good reps of an exercise will be far more effective than 8 good reps, 6 shaky ones, and 6 horrendous ones.

I feel this is may seem obvious but I keep seeing it again and again. People need to do a workout that is appropriate for their level, not something you've seen on social media.  I like posting when I do cool things too (I think) - but I've been doing this for almost ten years. And I still screw up and hurt myself from time to time (or frequently - Editor). There's a fine line between bravery and stupidity, one that I've crossed more times than I'd like to admit, and more often than not, I've paid for it.

So to sum it up - do what you can do at that point in time. Do ten perfect squats to a high box rather than 20 horrible ones "ass 2 grass".

If you are interested in these ideas and are lucky enough to live in Edmonton area I've got some things planned so stay tuned for details and dates. If you're looking for a resource that you can use on your own, I highly recommend any of Kelly Starrett's books (especially Deskbound) or website (mobilitywod.com). His concepts and mobility work took my understanding of movement and training to the next level, so I will gladly give credit where credit is due.

Until then, have an awesome day and may the force be with you.


Why Exercise is Making You Gain Weight

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You've committed to an exercise program. You started eating better. You're going to the gym 3 - 4 times a week doing a mix of strength training and cardio, especially after reading my last post, nudge nudge, wink wink.

It's been a month and after all the sweating, early mornings, and walking like a duck post- squats, you are ready to step on the scale, eager and excited to see all of the awesome progress you've surely achieved.

Drum roll



You've - gained 2 pounds?

How could this be? Have they been lying to you this entire time? Are you a genetic anomaly like the evil mutant Blob from X-men?

No. You're actually pretty normal (well, you might have the x-gene, I'm not a doctor).

Before I answer your question of why exercise has seemingly made you fatter, let me try and clarify things a little bit

First things first, losing weight might not be exactly what you are really after. When most people say they want to to "lose weight", what they mean, whether they realize it or not, is that they want to look (and feel) better. Losing weight is just the cultural norm of what we are told will accomplish that.

In honesty, purely losing weight probably would make a lot of people look and feel better, and more often than not definitely wouldn't hurt, there are other factors we need to consider.

Your body is an amazing piece of software - it will quite literally adapt to whatever situation it needs to. The thing is, that software is a tad outdated and is best suited for feast/famine scenarios - for example, when food plentiful in the summer, it will store energy as fat so it can be used when food is scarce in the winter. Theoretically.

What our bodies have not adapted to is the fact that for most of us, there is no more "famine". If you're not burning off your excess energy, it stores everything, as fat, diligently waiting for that famine.

Back to the weight gain. When you lift, pretty much any object that weighs anything, repeatedly, your muscles adapt and get bigger and stronger. This is why construction workers who use a jackhammer all day have giant forearms or why cyclists usually have really defined legs. Their body, upon realizing this activity will be a frequent occurrence, reacts accordingly to make it as efficient as possible.

This also works with other things other than hypertrophy, which is why people who sit a lot get ridiculously tight hip flexors, a hunch in the upper back/neck and a weak core - the body adapts to being in these positions for nearly 16 hours a day.

But enough about other people, back to you my friend. You've worked really hard. You couldn't smoothly sit on the toilet for 3 days after squatting, coughed up a lung on the Airdyne bike and choked down your broccoli whilst resisting the temptation of Ben and Jerry, so where's your just reward?

The reason you've gained weight (provided you did things well, especially nutrition, right - if you're working out like crazy but eating an entire cake every night, I can't help you) is that your body has adapted to it's stimulus.

Normal people, who have never lifted weights before, get what the fitness world often calls "newbie gains" (which have become more and more exaggerated as the years go on but I digress. This means that you have a very small window, usually about 1-3 months in my experience, where you put on muscle quickly, and (incoming guilt trip) if you read my last post, you know that muscle is much denser than fat.

Do not freak out! This is usually only an initial 2-3 pounds and the fat loss comes shortly after that.

When it comes to your progress into a healthier lifestyle, do not make the mistake of only looking at the scale - it is only one unit of measurement. It's extremely important to have others, such as measuring inches, taking before and after pictures and for the love of god, just learning to relax.

When you see yourself every single day, it's quite hard to notice change especially when it's so minuscule on a day to day basis.

If you find after the first few weeks you're not losing weight even after putting in an honest effort (side note: I've had this conversation with people and been baffled, until I saw them work out. Browsing instagram on a recline bike is not working), check your measurements. If they haven't changed, in which case I'd honestly be surprised, take a good look at your eating habits. There's always a reason.

But for the vast majority of you, keep up the good work, limit your scale use, and for your own sanity please try to relax and enjoy the process. What you want will come, it just takes a little time and consistency. In the meantime, enjoy yourself. As much as one can while they're eating broccoli. Vile weed!


written by: Karl Gellert, CESP
Personal Trainer and Coach at Infinite Fitness