Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Forget short cuts to fitness, Free Press columnist says

Meet the new Free Press fitness trainer

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As a personal trainer and athletic therapist, Tim Shantz works with people of every ability, from those just starting their fitness journey to elite athletes. In this monthly column, he will provide Free Press readers with expert information on getting fit, improving stamina and avoiding injuries. From training tips for sports types in the offseason to ways to ramp up your tired old workout, he will you show you don't need a gym or a lot of equipment to improve your physical well-being. In his introductory column, he lays out his fitness philosophy.

Growing up, I was a follower. I watched and mimicked, observed and imitated everyone around me that I thought neat or cool or sometimes even wise. This may have not been the fastest route to independence but it was an interesting way to learn; take people's best attributes and attempt to filter them into one persona.

I like to think I learned a lot from my parents. From my mom I learned about learning (she was a schoolteacher). For part of my childhood she taught in the same school I attended and while I am sure I hated it then and am very glad she was never my teacher, I think being able to see her conduct herself at work and at home was invaluable.

In contrast to the relationship I had at home with my mother; I worked for my father. He owned a restaurant and over 10 years I fought through every task, from dishwashing to cooking and overseeing staff. This was a great environment for him to teach me many values I still try to live by today.

But whether at home with my mother or at work with my father, the message was the same: work hard, treat others with respect and you'll be successful.

How the heck does this relate to fitness?

Work Hard: We all know it, we all try to deny it, and we all try to find the quickest way around it. The billion-dollar fitness-product industry has shifted focus from efficient and effective to time-saving short cuts. It's a fine line, but it doesn't matter if you're using the newest piece of training equipment in the most state-of-the-art fitness facility or are flipping a tractor tire and doing pull-ups from the beams in your grandfather's old barn; if you have the desire to work hard at it you will get results. Bottom line. Work hard. Get results. No quick fixes.

We often forget that in the fast-forward hustle of our lives, we need to put in some good old-fashioned effort to effect change. "But I don't have the time." If you can look at Pinterest and Facebook for 30 minutes in a day but can't find the time to exercise, it's time to refocus and get your priorities straight.

Now respect; that's a whole new paragraph.

My parents taught me that respecting others would garner their respect in return. The same goes for your own body. We could refer to mind, body, or soul, but if you spend less time abusing your body with terrible food, a sedentary lifestyle and corrupt or negative thoughts, your body will repay that respect with results in return.

I find this is the biggest issue for young people trying to change their lifestyle. They find the time to put in two-hour gym sessions four or five times a week, but then they go out to eat, party and get four hours of sleep, and expect their bodies to be ready to go the next day and repay them with results. It is not going to happen.

Education is the key to get things going. You need knowledge to make the best decisions for your health and fitness. It is my job to give you that knowledge. But it is your job to take those tools and put them into practice.

So the next time you're wondering why your routine isn't working or are looking for that new fad that's going to get you into shape, remember these words: "No one is going to do this for me. I will be the change; for better or for worse."

What are you going to do today?

Tim Shantz is a Certified Athletic Therapist (CAT(C)) at Eastman Therapy Centre in Steinbach, and a Certified Personal Trainer at the Wellness Institute at Seven Oaks General Hospital. He also owner/head trainer at Threshold Conditioning, which focuses on sport specific athlete training.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 15, 2013 D3

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