Welcome to Fitness Emu! My name is Ryan McMackin, and I am the person behind this site. I am thirty-eight years old, a husband, and a father to an extraordinary, if not somewhat mischievous, eight-year-old daughter. Click here for a more in-depth look at my 411; otherwise, please read on and I will explain what Fitness Emu is all about.
What is Fitness Emu, and why did I create it?
For those who want the quick version, scroll down to the last paragraph of this section; otherwise, let me flash back for a moment.
On an early Tuesday morning in November 1985, I stumbled out of bed disheveled, groggy, and unenthusiastic about having to get ready for school. After allowing the stupor of the night to wane, and coming to grips with the fact that a noisy bus ride was in my near future, I decided to get dressed. My mom had washed clothes the night before, so I made my way to our laundry room. I brawled with the tor of clothes in the dryer for a bit, and then found my favorite pair of Levi’s. As was always the case, I cracked a slight egotistic grin as I put them on; I knew that they made me look infinitely cool. The fact that my papery thin lower torso allowed their slim cut to wear baggy on me, that slipping my legs into them was like feeding tic tacs to a whale, was inconsequential.
Three hours later I was sitting against a wall in the gymnasium of my school. It was rope climbing day, one of my PE teacher’s favorite activities to watch. It never went unnoticed by me that he would subtly smirk every time an athletically disinclined kid struggled to hoist themself off the ground. Holding the rope taut at its base was my classmate, S***head. You know the type; most kids grew up with their own S***head—the guy who starts shaving in the fourth grade, who sets the trends, who can climb a rope bottom to top three times in a row, who inexplicably has physical dominance in every sport, etc. I hated S***head; so did most of the other boys, but none of the girls.
After watching kids struggle, and my teacher veiling his laughter with awkward coughs for about twenty minutes, it became my turn to climb. I made it about ten feet up the rope before I noticed every kid in my fifth-grade class pointing at me and laughing. I then heard S***head yelling from below in his typical arrogant voice, “Don’t let those underwear fall on me McMackin!”
Underoos were wildly popular, and being particularly avant-garde, I had several pair of them. The pair dangling from my foot—the pair that had somehow traveled unnoticed in my right pant-leg from the time I pulled my pants out of the dryer some three hours earlier, to the time I was conveniently ten feet up a rope in front of thirty of my classmates—were my prized olive-green “Yodas.” I tried to keep them on my foot, but the magnetic pull of S***head’s face was too much. They fell from my shoe, and then floated in slow motion downward.
School the next seven years was not easy for me. Though I had friends and was not completely unpopular, the underwear incident, my noodle-like stature, and my overly cerebral tendencies did not afford me the highest position within the student pecking order. I spent the majority of 1986 through 1993 both loathing and aspiring to the extreme athletic and social adequacy of S***head. In fact, it was my naïve, ego-driven aspiration to his swagger that prompted me to start consistently working out.
After graduating from high school, I continued my ego-fueled raid into fitness. During my early twenties I checked off gaining sixty pounds, defining a six-pack, running a sub nineteen-minute 5k, running down and up the south rim of the Grand Canyon, completing 120 push-ups in under two minutes, and many other feats I deemed important. Alas, I also checked off trips to the emergency room for severe panic attacks, holding jobs that made me miserable, staying in relationships that were unhealthy, failing to listen to my intuition, and more.
In my early thirties I added running a marathon, cycling a century, rafting class-5s, and several other adventure-type coups to my list of accomplishments; and, thankfully I did not have to check off quite as many negatives as I had to do in my early twenties.
Today, at thirty-seven, I realize that my fitness path has been long, and not without bumps. I have undoubtedly had some great accomplishments, however, my ego has also stepped in the way of my forward movement plenty of times. I have been able to intermittently attain “peak physical fitness,” but often at the expense of my mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. I have had good times, but tough lessons. All of it, however, the good and the bad, has given me great hindsight. I can now recognize that the attainment of functional long-term health is an organic, often messy process. Everyone has their take. There are as many professional opinions on the general subjects of “health” and “wellness” as there are on politics and religion. For every purported truth there exists at least one counterpoint.
So, why did I create Fitness Emu? I established this site for many reasons—to share what I have learned travelling the fitness highway, to offer counterpoints, to learn, and most importantly to create a colloquium of sorts where many can congregate, contribute, and have fun. What can you expect from Fitness Emu? Extensive, up to date, and credible—though hopefully humorously presented—content on all things health and fitness. Paleo, Zone, CrossFit, P90X, Yoga, etc., even my own FE-Life … it is all here. To me, “good health” means a well-balanced life. I believe that we need to challenge our brains, laugh, debate, take in music, etc., every bit as much as we need to exercise, eat well, and rest. So, you will also find mental and emotional fodder including entertaining off-topic lists, polls, questions, calls to action, music, and more here too. This site should cater to anyone; though, in my mind’s eye I often picture writing to the late-twenties to mid-forties set who are trying to balance staying healthy with the rigors of maintaining demanding jobs and being young parents—thus this site’s tagline, “pursuing extreme health while on the busy road of life.”
How is Fitness Emu structured?
This site has twelve tabs in its header. Each tab links to a different site page, and many tabs have submenus that further break down those pages. Following is a summary of each section.
Home: When you visit fitnessemu.com you will always arrive at the Home page, which shows the “blog” part of this site. I post to the blog Monday through Friday; Saturdays and Sundays I take off so that I can maintain a “healthy balance” of time. If I vacation, I either have a guest blogger fill in for me, or I announce that I will be posting less often for a specified period. If you are interested in submitting an article, or guest blogging on Fitness Emu, please email me at email@example.com.
About: This page has information about this site, including disclaimers and privacy.
New This Week: New This Week has links to any updated pages, new products, etc., that may be posted within a given week; it does not, however, show links to new blog articles. The blog is continually updated, so there is almost always something new.
FE-Life: This section is one to check out often. FE-Life, or “Fitness Emu Life,” is an appellation for “the pursuit of well-rounded health.” I believe very strongly that challenging our minds, laughing, smartly managing our resources, and so on are all components that share equal importance with working out and eating well in the race to “overall fitness.” To this end, I offer mental and emotional (mentotional) fodder, thought-provoking questions, music, great workouts, and healthy recipes within this section.
Healthy Eats: I post a recipe based on minimally processed whole foods in this section a couple of times per week. Some recipes are my own, some are from readers, and others are culled from my favorite chefs. If you would like to share a recipe on this site, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Activity: Activity is life in motion, and it is paramount to our physical and emotional health. In this section I examine four types of activity–cycling, hiking, running, and swimming. For each of these recreations I share a personal story, and offer either recommendations or articles. If you would like to contribute to the Activity section, please email me at email@example.com.
Popular Workouts: Popular Workouts is a collection of articles I have written on the most “widely popular” workout programs and methods. In each article I offer a non-biased summary, and my subjective overview. I have done, or actively do, a number of the courses in question. So, often I give my personal reviews as well.
Popular Diets: In this section I highlight the most “widely popular” diet programs and methods. For each I give a non-biased summary, a list of oft cited pros and cons, and in many cases, my subjective thoughts.
Buy: The Buy section has five categories of products that I think represent “fun, challenge, and fitness.” I rotate items periodically in three of the categories to keep things fresh.
Ryan’s Journey: This section has blog entries outlining my personal health journey. I share my workouts, successes, struggles, and stories.
Pics: Pics is an ever-changing gallery set of personal pictures, and funny images carefully scouted from the outer reaches of the web. If you have a funny image you would like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Photographic credit and linking will be given.
Links: Links has a blogroll of some of the best fitness and health related blog sites on the web. Additionally, it has links to businesses and retailers that I believe are upstanding. I fully vet all sites I list in this section. If you would like me to consider linking to your site, please email me at email@example.com.
It is difficult to engineer a website to look exactly the same in every web browser, and on every conceivable internet capable device. There are simply too many variables. Accordingly, my goal when creating Fitness Emu was to design a site that looks nicely formatted in the browsers, and on the devices, employed by the “statistical top ninety-percent of users.”
This site is best viewed in current versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. I decided against creating a mobile specific theme, feeling that they detract from the aesthetics I like. This said, Fitness Emu works great on all Android devices. Apple’s iPhones, iPads, etc., that run mobile Safari as a browser may show the main navigation bar on two lines; otherwise, all other formatting should look clean.
If you have trouble viewing this site, or find that it looks askew in a certain browser or on a certain device, I would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact and Site Subscription
Please contact me with any questions, comments, or suggestions at email@example.com. I try to respond to emails within one business day. If I fall behind, you will receive an auto-reply note that will offer an estimated response time.
To subscribe to this site, please click on the RSS link under the right-side of the main header image. While you are at it, please follow me on Facebook and Twitter!
Site Software and Hosting
I built Fitnessemu.com using WordPress software, and a modified TwentyTen site theme. I host at WPEngine.com. For serious self-hosting WordPress bloggers, I highly recommend WPEngine. They are not one of the ubiquitous three-dollar-a-month, “unlimited bandwidth,” hosting companies that throttle your site back–or shut it down–when you start to get heavy traffic. WPEngine only hosts WordPress sites, they are staffed by WordPress programming gurus, and they can handle your site whether it gets ten hits a day, or ten-million.
Disclaimers, Privacy, and Other Such Things
It is customary for disclaimer and privacy policies to be obscure writings, ambiguous to all but attorneys and scholars of bullshit. My aim is to have a policy that is easily discernible by all.
I am not a medical doctor. Workout, diet, supplementation, sleep, and activity recommendations that I make on this site should be viewed as suggestions only.
I am not racist, bigoted, anti-government, anti-church, etc. I do, however, share strong opinions and humor on this site. My intent is to be expressive, entertaining, and thought-provoking, not offensive.
When I write articles that are clearly non-fiction, I take great care to fact check. If information seems dubious to me, I attempt to validate it through at least three distinct sources. If I cannot confidently validate a particular point, I either omit it from my writing, or I draw attention to its questionable credibility. With this in mind, I am still human; I make mistakes on occasion. If you find content on this site that you find questionable, please contact me via the comments section, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Privacy, Viewable Information, and Making Purchases:
Any approved comments that you publish on this site are viewable to the public at large. This may include your name, email address, and website address if they are linkable from your digital signature. If you subscribe to this site via RSS feed, I may receive an email that has your name and email address. Any information I may obtain is held confidential and secure. I will never share or sell your personal information with, or to, any person or entity unless expressly asked to do so by you—i.e., you submit an article that you wish to be published on this site, and you ask that your business address and phone number be shown.
If you wish to buy a product from this site, and you click on a product link, you will be taken directly to a trusted third-party site, such as Amazon, BeachBody, Dragon Door, or Fitness Anywhere, to complete your order. Any exchange of personal information that takes place at that point is strictly between you and those companies; I will never see your name, address, credit card number, etc.
Copyright and Content:
All written content on this site is protected by copyright. If you wish to republish an article, please contact me at email@example.com. Reposting excerpts from articles is fine providing that source credit is given, as well as a link back to the article in question on this site. Please do share content links via social media sites as much as you want. There are buttons for Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, etc., at the bottom of every post on this site. I greatly appreciate social media promotion of all types.
All written content on this site, save for guest articles and posts, is created by me. I abhor plagiarism of any sort. If any of my words, sentences, or styles are similar to other writings, it is strictly coincidental.
I love photography and drawing, and as much as is possible, I try to use my own images on this site. I do not, however, have an endless supply of images in every conceivable category, so I also look to the web for content. I make every attempt possible to use creative common images from sites like Flickr.com. Doing this gives me an opportunity to showcase other artist’s work while staying within the confines of copyright law. On rare occasion I will use a “Google Image,” which is to say I will search out an image on Google, right-click it, save it, and repost it. Google Images are sort of a copyright “grey zone.” It is often difficult to determine and credit the originating source.
I caption nearly every image on this site, and within the captions I link to the image’s source. If you see an image on this site that is not captioned, or that does not have a link to a source, than it was created be me.
If you come across a Google Image on this site that you feel is in violation of copyright law, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments are encouraged and appreciated. As much as is possible, I try to respond to all comments that are directed at me. Commenting on this site is simple. At the end of every post and article you will see either a comment link, or a “Leave a Reply” form. Please note that the first time you comment on this site your message will be held for moderation. This prevents spammers from dumping comments everywhere. Once I approve your first message, you will be able to freely comment in real-time.
Comments that express strong opinions, counterpoints, and disagreement are fine so long as they do not degrade any person, entity, ethnicity, etc. Malicious, degrading, and spam comments will be deleted promptly. If you see any offensive comment on this site please email me at email@example.com.