Category Archives: Extreme Fitness


January in August?

It’s no secret that New Years is a busy time in the fitness industry, or that late summer, when people are outdoors more and off on vacation is typically fairly quiet.  So we were blown away by the number of new members who joined HealthQuest during the month of August.  Enrollment fees were up 262% over last year, and it was the busiest month for new memberships that we’ve ever recorded!

So how did this happen?  We haven’t done any advertising, no grand re-opening announcements, nothing at all.  All the credit has to go to our great marketing team, our members!  You’re out there spreading the word, bringing in your friends and family, and sharing with others all the things that we’ve done to remake HealthQuest into a better place.  It’s both rewarding and humbling to have so many fans out there excited about what we’re doing!

While we’re very pleased with the direction the Club is headed and the response it’s drawn from the community, we still have a long list of additions and upgrades planned for the future.  Just like a fitness regimen, there can be no standing still… if you’re not moving forward it means you’re falling behind.  With that in mind I’d like to announce a short list of improvements that you’ll be seeing in the near future.

The biggest one will be the resurfacing of the swimming pool deck.  While this is primarily just a cosmetic and safety upgrade, it is one that is overdue.  The pool area needs to be closed for a week to perform this work, so we had hoped to do it back in the winter of 2010 when we had the pools shut down during our remodeling.  But the product doesn’t perform well in cool weather so we had to delay it.  In 2011 we were still doing work in the locker rooms so we missed another year.  So now the time has come, and the area around both pools will be closed from Sept. 10-16th.

Another improvement for the outside of the building that is scheduled to arrive soon is some playground equipment for our child care area.  We have a structure being custom fabricated by Recreation Creations for the bark area, and while we don’t have a ton of room out there, it will have a mix of play components for the kids to climb on and to work on balance and strength.

42 inches…about the same height as our front counter!

For the big kids in our functional training area we will be bringing in a pair of Armor-Plyo-Boxes.  At 36″ and 42″ these will only be used by our most athletic jumpers, but it’s something that they sorely need.  If you’ve ever seen them stacking boxes or bumper plate on top of other boxes you know it looks like they’re risking their lives.  These new boxes are solid, sturdy, and infinitely safer than anything else on the market.  A missed jump will still tear your shins up, but at least catastrophic failure is no longer in the cards!

Something just about everyone should enjoy is some new mats for out stretch/ab area upstairs.  We’ve had less than great success with the previous mats we’ve used up there, so we’re trying out a couple of new ones.  Our aim is to find something that is comfortable, long-lasting, and easy to keep clean.  You’d think that would be easy but for some reason it always seems to be a struggle.  There will both a regular mat and a thick mat; try them out and let us know what you think.

A few other odds and ends…we’ll be installing roller blinds in the Cycle Studio and on the cardio deck over the front entrance to cut down on glare.  We have added a few more satellite channels and will be reprogramming all of the TVs on the cardio equipment so that they receive them.   And we’re working on getting wiring into the women’s locker room so that we can install a phone/intercom in there for emergencies.

This is also the time of year when we look at what equipment we’d like to replace or upgrade for the New Year.  So if there’s anything you would like to see please write down your idea and drop it in our suggestion box.  We give all requests serious consideration and try our best to accommodate as many of them as we can.  You’re our marketing department and we want you to be happy!



Filed under Construction, Extreme Fitness, Fitness & Health


Good-bye cardio theater and hello personal viewing screens!!!

Our remodel is now over 90% complete, and we are rapidly approaching a huge milestone…the re-opening of the front entry and the upstairs cardio deck!!!  Obviously having the front entry back will make getting into the Club much more convenient.   But what really makes this such a pivotal time is that with the elevator and the main cardio area available for use we can finally start using our rooms as intended and begin moving  equipment into its permanent home.

For the past 16 months we’ve been shuffling equipment around, moving it upstairs, downstairs, and in and out of storage.  With that nightmare behind us, we are really looking forward to putting things where they belong and leaving them there for a while.  We’re also counting the days until we can finally put our antiquated Cardio Theater system out to pasture.  If you’ve ever been frustrated with your holiday lights, multiply that by about 20 and you’ll know how we feel about that thing.  That system has taken years off the lives of everyone who has ever had to work on it.

The building has been wired so that we now can install personal viewing screens on each piece of cardio equipment.  This gives users complete control over they’re watching.  These screens will be installed on most of the equipment that will be located in the original part of the building (there are a few pieces that aren’t compatible).  For the present time we are not going to put these screens on the cardio pieces in the addition.  Again some of them are not compatible, and we’ve also had several requests to keep those areas “media free”.  So we’ll start that way and see how it goes.

We’ve created quite a bit of additional space for cardio equipment, so we’ve ordered a nice selection of new pieces.  We’ll be adding a line of treadmills do all the things our present ones do, plus they allow you to walk at a lung-burning incline of 30%!  We’re also adding bikes….a few uprights and a bunch of new recumbents.  The latter feature a new “step-thru” design that makes them much easier to access if you have mobility issues.  Some will have padded arm rests, and all will have personal viewing screens.  We’re also adding a pair of Crossovers; they resemble an elliptical but they allow lateral movement.  This results in a workout that engages more muscle groups and provides great core training.

Speaking of core training, we’ve also ordered a wide selection of new equipment for the weight room.  But that’s another story for another day.  We’ll fill you in on those details in another day or two!

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Filed under Cardio Training, Construction, Extreme Fitness


IT’S HERE!  HealthQuest’s High Intensity Training Boot Camp

Our dynamic team of fitness instructors is taking the training outside this summer.  Classes will meet just a few short blocks away from the Club, at St. John’s Lutheran School.  There participants will be led through a fun and challenging exercise class that’s been designed to get you the quickest results possible.

This new program is an exclusive offering available only to HQ members.  All fitness levels are welcome, but  space is limited.  Class sizes will be kept small so that each participant gets plenty of counseling and direction.  If you’re looking to add something fresh and exciting to your workout routine, this may be just what you need.

We will be offering 2 four-week sessions: June 13th-July 10th and then July 11-August 7th.  Available class times are M,W,F 5:45-6:45am, T,TH 6:15-7:15pm, and Saturday 7:00-8:00am.  You can register to take either two or three classes per week.  Class fees and registration information is available at the front desk at the Club.

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Filed under Cardio Training, Extreme Fitness, Fitness & Health, Motivation

Stone Age Approach Prevents Aging?

Ever See a Fat Caveman?

Earlier this week I blogged about the Paleo Diet, and mentioned how it is more of a lifestyle than a diet.  Today I am going to discuss another aspect of the stone-age movement, caveman workouts.

One of the pioneers in this field is Aurthur De Vany.  He is  Professor Emeritus of the University of California, and the creator of Evolutionary Fitness.  A life-long student of exercise and metabolism, he certainly seems to be doing something right.  At 6′ 1″, 205 pounds, and  less than 8% body fat, he certainly looks better than most 72 year-olds you’ll see.

The Paleo Diet espouses that we evolved over millions of years and our bodies are designed to only eat foods that were avaiable during that period.   Evolutionary Fitness makes the arguement that our exercise programs should more closely match the rigors that our hunter-gatherer ancestors experienced over those many years.  De Vany believes that training at various levels that include high intensity bursts mimics how our ancestors lived.  He claims that this helps us retain our metabolic fitness and retards aging.

Some folks today are taking these principles quite literally.  Rather than participating in traditional exercise programs, they have chosen to return to the daily activities that kept our cave-dwelling cousins fit eons ago.  They walk almost everywhere they go, often barefoot, and sometimes return to the forests to scramble over, under, and around the natural landscape.  They stay agile and limber by crawling through the brush, and build their strength by throwing rocks.

Those who live in more urban environments might work out at a fitness center, but you won’t see them lounging on the inner thigh machine.  They will be doing bodyweight exercises and multi-chain lifts that more closely approximate movements in the everyday world.  They will be climbing ropes and performing routines that increase agility, strength and endurance.  Unlike the modern man who builds muscle solely for the way it looks in the mirror, the caveman seeks functional fitness that will aid in his survival and keep him at the top of the food chain.

The fitness industry has shifted in this direction as well.  Gone are the days of putting everyone through a circuit of Nautilus equipment.  Many fitness trainers now avoid the machines entirely if they can.  Suspension systems, kettlebells, and a return to free weights are body-weight exercises have taken their place.   Boot-camp style classes have also become much more popular.  Check out one of HealthQuest’s Blast Classes if you want to see the latest in functional fitness training.

Both intuitively and scientifically it seems to me that this is a more natural and efficient way to train the body.  It’s up to each of us to decide how far in this direction we want to go.  We could all benefit from adding some functionality to our exercise programs.  I started to write “you’re not going to see me out throwing rocks anytime soon”, but then realized I’ve been out throwing the shot put lately.  I guess maybe I’m more of a caveman than I realized!


Filed under Extreme Fitness, Fitness Strength

HQ Lifters Claim World Records

S1675You don’t have to go to the circus to see a strongman (or woman), you can catch their show at HealthQuest almost every day. Read about the power-lifting team here in this Napa Valley Register article:

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Filed under Extreme Fitness, Fitness Strength

How Dedicated Are You?

popupI got a couple of good laughs from this NY Times article.  It discusses how some ultramarathon runners choose to have acid poured onto their nail beds to permanently remove their toenails.

There were a couple of great quotes by Christopher McDougall, the author of a recent book about ultrarunning called Born to Run.  He said “You know any sport has gone off the rails when you have to remove body parts to do it.”    Then he added that ultramarathoners don’t talk much about the practice because they are “tired of being freaks, and they don’t want to add anything more freakish to their résumé.”

Freakish or not, you have to be impressed by the level of committment these runners possess.  It’s something to think about the next time you’re tempted to blow off your workout because of some minor inconvenience.

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Filed under Extreme Fitness, Humor

Barrier Breaker

In  1945 the world record for running the mile was set at 4:01.4.  Despite repeated attempts, that mark held for 9 years.  Many people believed that this was the limit of human performance, and that breaking the 4-minute barrier would be impossible.

Then in on a windy spring day in1954 Roger Banister stunned the world by clocking a 3:59.4.  It is regarded as one of the most impressive athletic performances in the history of sports.

Once Bannister had proven what was possible, the floodgates opened.  Less than 2 months later John Landy ran a 3:57.9 (nobody remembers the second person to do something), and within 3 years the sub-4 club had an amazing 16 members.

I would like to introduce you to another barrier breaker.  His name is Guido Muller; he is from Germany and his age is 70.  I started to write that he was “70 years old”, but given what he has accomplished, using the word “old” just didn’t seem right.

Guido also competes in track and field, and is something of a legend in masters sprints and hurdles.  But what he did this year has earned him a place among the all-time greats.  He too broke a record many thought was impossible.  And unlike Bannister’s sub-4 mile, I don’t think there will be many others joining Guido anytime soon.

At a meet in Germany, he won both the 100 meter and the 200 meter sprints.  But it is what he did en route to winning the 400 meters that earned him his spot in history.  He became the first man over the age of 70 to break the one-minute barrier, clocking an amazing 59.67.

announceIf you have any background in running track, you know just how difficult this is, regardless of your age.  It’s one full lap around the track….at pretty close to a full sprint.  If you’re more familiar with running on a treadmill, this equates to 15 mph… faster than our treadmills can even go! 

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Filed under Cardio Training, Extreme Fitness