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

Strong is the New Sexy

In the mainstream fitness media, strength is not a "sexy" buzzword. I think people are more aware of the general importance of strength a bit more than ten years ago (when we didn’t have the youtubes and the instachats and whatnot) but it's always less sexy or attention grabbing then toning, losing weight, turning your metabolism into a raging inferno etc. My point is, it doesn't sell magazines.

However, regardless of your fitness goal, whether it's lowering your body fat percentage, gaining muscle, being a better athlete or just improving your quality of life (baby boomers I'm looking at you), strength is the key ingredient to making that engine go.

What do I mean by "strength"? Scientifically speaking (Yes, science! I'm very smart) the term is progressive overload.

Progressive overload, put simply, means we want to be able to do more than you could before. We want to get you from lifting, say, your bodyweight for 10 reps on a squat to doing your bodyweight plus an extra 95lb for those same 10 reps.

That extra 95lb, provided you still use excellent form, gives us a bonafide way to track and quantify your improvement. I don't care who you are or what your goal is, this WILL make you better and those goals that much easier to achieve.

Looking to lose body fat?  Awesome! Getting stronger will help you tremendously and has a slew of benefits.

1) It will help you put on muscle. Not like a bodybuilder (Well, actually it's exactly like that but bodybuilding is this concept taken to an extreme) but in a functional, healthy way. Muscle weighs about 1/6 (ish) of what fat does and helps your body burn a lot more calories, even at rest.

fat vs muscle

And before I freak out some of you about putting on muscle, think of a hamburger when you throw it on the grill - when the fat melts off and all that's left is the lean meat, is it bigger or smaller? Hopefully you said smaller or I have no idea what you're cooking.

2) Now that we're stronger, when we are doing our conditioning or HIIT (high intensity interval training - think group fitness classes) we can use higher weights, do more reps of bodyweight exercises and generally work at a higher intensity. Which leads to - you guessed it, more calories burned. Nifty, right?

Conversely, say we have an endurance athlete, a runner or triathlon... er? I don't know what the correct term is. (Edit: Triathlete. It's triathlete)


Getting Stronger Will:

1) Make them more resistant to injury. Strength training increases not only strength of the muscles but the tendons and ligaments as well. Running (I'm picking on this sport for a minute) has a much higher injury rate than people think, I believe somewhere around 70% off the top of my head. There is a ton of force going through your joints with each stride (up to 8x your bodyweight) and the tissues must be strong enough to absorb this pounding (mobile enough too, but that's for another post). A stronger muscle is a more a more durable muscle. Period.

2) Strength = speed. In layman's terms, when we get stronger we're adding more horsepower to the engine. While the bulk of endurance training should be dedicated to building said endurance, being faster will obviously only help you whether you're running a race or desperately trying to out swim a shark, which I assume happens regularly in triathlons.

And my final example:

The elderly. With all due respect of course.

Strong Grandma
While I'm not going to sit here and tell you that getting stronger will make you live longer, I can absolutely, 100% guarantee that getting stronger will vastly improve the quality of your life in those years.

The number one physical indicator of quality of life in elderly populations? Grip strength. One of the best indicators of overall body strength? The grip. Follow where I'm going with this?

A proper strength program can be the difference between getting up off the ground yourself or not at all. Living on your own or in long term care.

If you listen to nothing else I say (In which case you and my wife would get along great. Ba-zing!), it's this - while I truly believe there's no one who wouldn't benefit from this, it's the elderly population that stands to really gain the most by doing some form of resistance training.

This doesn’t mean heavy deadlifts or bench pressing, it can be as simple as bodyweight squats from a chair. But the carryover to real life is enormous.

Now that I’ve hammered this point into your head, I realize this might seem to be a daunting task for some. Honestly though, I’m sure you’ve done a lot harder things in your life. Getting stronger requires no talent, the bar for entry is quite low.

Everyone is capable of getting stronger.

Whether you're brand new to fitness or you've been doing lots of cardio, group fitness classes or something along those lines for years, I'd highly encourage you to either start hitting those weights either on your own or with a trainer.

If you do decide that working with a trainer might be right for you, please contact us at Infinite Fitness. We have a great intro offer of $149 for 3 sessions that lets you get a taste of what we do here, and a great team (including this brilliant, handsome, once in a generation writer) who would love to help you.

As much as that might seem like a shameless plug, I honestly wish I could have had someone to guide me earlier as it would have accelerated my progress by literally years.

So what are you waiting for? Go get stronger! Never again be defeated by a pickle jar!

Article Written by Karl Gellert, CSEP
Personal Trainer at Infinite Fitness