Catching that thing called 'Fitness' one day at a time

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These are my 2015 goals

In my previous post, I explained what direction I hope to take my physical fitness toward in the long term. I would encourage you to read that post, if you have not yet had the chance. This post is about 3 goals I am setting for myself this year. I tried to think pragmatically about what skills to focus on developing that would be most beneficial to me while progressing. There is no doubt in my mind that I will end 2015 having achieved much, much more than what is listed. So consider what is listed here as a “minimum requirements” checklist and know that, metaphorically speaking, I’ll still be reaching for the stars.

Flexibility is key

I view flexibility as a great enabeler. There are some advanced exercises that simply cannot be performed without improved range of motion. That right there is enough to motivate me to stretch. But even more so, stretching presents an opportunity to tune into the body. I’ll let Kit Laughlin speak for me in explaining a bit more detailed what I meant by that latter statement.

Initially I told myself, “I should get more flexible.” Then I realized that I needed to define more clearly what for me that actually means. So I asked myself what three flexibility related skills things I would most enjoy being able to do as a result of increased flexibility, and they were the following:

– Bend down and touch my toes with bending the knees.

– The side splits

Touching my toes seems like a logical place to start, so I have found a routine from Antranik focused on building the flexibility to do just that. If I achieve that partway through the year, then the splits will become my next focus.


I am sure that by nature of following my workouts, that I will progress into some harder variations of upper body exercises. But my biggest strength related goal is to significantly improve my core strength. The first reason for this is that there are a host of advanced bodyweight exercises that are impossible to perform without strongly developed core strength to make it work. But the second reason comes from a standpoint of injury prevention. It is all too easy to accidentally throw your back out when doing something like helping to move heavy boxes, furniture, sculptures, etc.,(all of which I do for family members on a somewhat regular basis). A strong core can make the difference between remaining mobile or being out of commission for a few weeks after lifting something strenuous.

My next two goals for strength are:

– Hold a hollow body position for a minute

– Be able to hold my legs out straight in front of me for 60 seconds while suspended from the ground, both hanging from a bar, or in an L-sit. This goal makes the previous one for flexibility even more important and necessary.

12% Bodyfat Percentage

Yep, I intend to see my abs this year. But the real purpose of this goal comes down to the following: I am deciding to make deliberate choices that will make me feel good, look good and aid in reaching my training goals. But I also want to make sure that the choices I make provide sustainable results, won’t be unhealthy in the long-term and can still let me have fun and enjoy (in moderation) all the things that make life worthwhile. As such, my eating habits will naturally be changing.

I’ll be continuing to post about things I learn and do throughout the year. You might notice some habit changes next time you see me, but don’t be alarmed. All I ask for as always, is your support.

Thanks for stopping by.


P.S. If you’ve been thinking about making a change in 2015 and have yet to begin, STOP THINKING and start DOING. Your future self will thank you.



Leading into goals for 2015

Last year was great, and I had some good successes while learning some valuable lessons. Check out how 2014 was for me here, if you have not yet had a chance. But for as good as 2014 was, I know I can make 2015 even better. I’ve made good good progress over the past 2.5 years, and I can honestly say that right now I am the healthiest and strongest I’ve ever been. But I also know that I can be much, much better than I already am. This is the year in which I am going to take my training to the next level. Of that I am sure. But before I get into the specifics of the goals I am setting out to achieve this year, I would like to preface that with something that I should have been more open about and clarified long ago when Fitness Llama was brand new.

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This is what I learned in 2014

It has been well over a year since posting any activity to Fitness Llama. 2014 came and went with only a single update, and now 2015 has arrived. I always meant to keep posting at least one post every week this past year, but unfortunately that did not happen. It’s a dangerous thing getting into the habit of telling yourself every day that you’ll do something tomorrow. Because in that situation tomorrow never comes. Despite the inactivity on Fitness Llama, my training and goals have not fallen to the wayside, 2014 was behind the scenes a successful year. Here are my six biggest takeaways from 2014.

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Fitness Llama Is Rebooting

The Mission Continues

For the past 10 months my fitness has been in a state of limbo; it has not gotten significantly better, but not that much worse either beyond a bit of weight loss as a side-effect of walking more while here in Germany. By no means is this a worst case scenario, since I have basically maintained a healthy weight all year, but my workouts this entire time have been irregularly completed and half-assed most of the time. I’ve also been slowly re-developing some bad eating habits, as well as completely neglected the Fitness Llama blog! Borderline Fail. Despite the personal let down, the only option I see for myself is to start over.

So the Fitness Llama is going to experience a relaunch! I will be cleaning up my diet again and resuming my bodyweight workouts full force, but this time with a much more defined longterm vision for where I want to go with this. New posts about my own progress and also fitness related topics will be popping up soon, and I have some other ideas in mind for how I can begin making Fitness Llama more interesting to follow and fun to operate.

So stay posted!

Oh, and it seems only appropriate to upload a new before pic, so here it is:



Keep smiling!

-Fitness Llama


The Speed Bumps

I have only had a few serious injuries in my life, but another one has popped up. I won’t go into the details of it, but this injury will require visiting the doctor and potentially even need a bit surgery to fix. It’s effectively made me unfit to work out; but I can still go on walks.

If something like this is happening to you too, do give yourself at least a couple of seconds to scream into a pillow and let out the pent up frustration. It definitely helps, but don’t dwell on it for too long.

Photo on 2013-10-11 at 14.25

Photo on 2013-10-11 at 14.25 #2


Well, There Go All the Gains…

Every time I think about not being able to workout, the fear of losing gains is what immediately comes to mind. My waist line is going down a bit, which is great, but all of my strength and muscle gains I’ve made throughout the year are starting to dwindle

“You’re on a downward slope back to where you once were. All your hard work up to this point has been for nothing. Give up.”

That’s the mindset my brain keeps trying to make me accept, and it’s always difficult to ignore.

But It’s Really Only a Speed bump

I think everyone hits a health speed bump at some point that puts a halt to their ability to work out, though I’m sure  this is nothing that can be overcome with enough determination. It’s hard to accept that you are going to have to stop working out for a while, especially when you really enjoy it. But the thing that everyone in this situation, including myself, needs to realize, is that this is not the end. There is always the choice to to give and let old habits take hold again, or instead take advantage of whatever options are still available. Maybe some gains will be lost, but that’s nothing that can’t be regained.

And There Are Still Options

Maybe it isn’t a good idea to go to the gym. However, going on a walk every day might be the new workout for a while instead. And being put physically out of commission doesn’t mean that having proper nutrition needs to to to the wayside. It’s a great and simple way to still keep the pounds off.

So Not To Worry!

“Some things in life are bad. They can really make you mad. Other things just make you swear and curse. When you’re chewing on life’s gristle, don’t grumble, give a whistle, and this’ll help things turn out for the best. Annnndd….Always look on the bright side of life!(whistle)”– Monty Python’s Life of Brian

I listen to this song over and over again, because I know it speaks the truth. Things could be worse, and in the grand scheme of things, whatever happens to be wrong right now probably won’t even matter half a year from now.

To anyone out there who has been put out of commission. Be patient. Everything will work out in the end.

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My Least Favorite Phrase

In the past year or so I’ve begun to embrace the concept of locus of control(Vocab from a past business course I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use. BAZINGA!), which is a fancy way of saying that you believe you have control over your life and what events take place in it. But that is not my least favorite phrase. So what is it then?

 “I hope.

Sometimes I hear people say things like, “I hope I can start losing some weight and getting into shape.” Now don’t get me wrong here, there is nothing wrong with having hope, and in fact it is a very good thing to have. This would be an extremely bleak world indeed without hope. The problem I have with this statement in this context though is that the phrase “I hope” indicates wishful thinking for things to change, but little to no commitment and determination by part of the person saying it to actually start making a change.

 Be bold I tell you! Say, “I will!”

Now here is a statement I can get behind. I see the phrase “I will” in the context of fitness and health as meaning someone is taking responsibility to change an aspect of their life that will only get worse over time until it is properly addressed(This is where the locus of control connection comes in).

blog post meme

 But it’s definitely harder to say.

A lot of people choose to just say “I hope” over “I will” when talking to others about personal dreams. And to be honest, I can understand why. The former doesn’t require you to prove anything to other people when you say it. Oftentimes it’s an empty statement. Anyone can say in conversation to a friend or family member, “I hope to lose some weight in the coming months” and the person they are talking to is likely going to nod their head in agreement because it is a good thing to want to be healthier and many people can relate to that. But the moment you say to a close friend, “I am done being obese, and I will make changes today to start losing weight”, the person is going to raise their eyebrow a bit and say, “Oh?”

That “Oh?” is a challenge. It could be a negative one that really means, “I bet you won’t” or truly a friendly supportive challenge, but it is a challenge all the same. Either way, it is a challenge worth not backing down from.

It takes a great deal of courage to switch from always making wishful “I hope” statements to just flat out telling the world “I will”. If you are someone who makes a lot of “I hope” statements, I openly challenge you to have the courage to say, “I will” and simultaneously accept that challenge that others present you with when you tell them your plans.

 Mark my words that you’ll be glad you did. 


Hiking in Rothrock State Park


Working out is an essential part of fitness and health, but sometimes you just need to have fun. Hiking is one of my favorite ways to help stay fit in a way that is much more fun and relaxed. Rothrock State Park is about 25-30 minutes away from Juniata College in Central PA, and is absolutely gorgeous. so I naturally took some pics while hiking with some friends on the Alan Seeger and Mid State Trails at Rothrock. I thought I save the long commentary about how awesome this place is in this post and just let the photos speak for themselves. I think we easily walked at least 3 miles, but it took 2-3 hours because of taking constant breaks to look around and enjoy the scenery.

Can you spot my friend Ray?

Can you spot my friend Ray?





Awesome abandoned cabin

Awesome abandoned cabin

"None shall pass!"

“None shall pass!”

The weather was perfect, the scenery was gorgeous and the company could not have been better. All in all it was a great hike and fantastic day.

It’s Spring. Go on a hike. You’ll be glad you did.

-Fitness Llama