She Cut Her Workouts in Half & Dropped 26 Pounds

fat loss women 60s

When your husband is a foodie and a chef who makes amazing meals, it can be a challenge to stay in good shape, especially at age 66. 

But Judy was able to lose 26 pounds and drop from a size 12 down to an 8.

She says her clothes fit better, she has more energy, she sleeps better, her shoulder and neck pain is gone, and she has a more muscular, toned body.

How'd she do it? Slow-Motion Strength Training…

She Was Bored With Her Workouts

Judy didn't always take such a smart approach to exercise.

Before The Perfect Workout, she did the obligatory one-hour block at her health club, whether that was a spin class, on the treadmill, or some other aerobic exercise. 

She got good results, but Judy describes that kind of exercise as being “a rat in a cage,” and thinks exercising inside for an hour is ridiculous and abhorrent for anyone who lives in beautiful San Diego. 

“I did not look forward to it. At 20 minutes I was tired, 30 minutes I was bored silly, and 45 minutes I accepted it and just tried to finish.” 

Making it to 60 minutes was gratifying but simply took too long.

She also wanted to increase her bone strength and density and change the way she looked.

“All my life I’ve had chubby thighs and hips. It ran in my family. I always felt like I wasn’t wearing clothes well. I didn’t look good in pants.”

Naturally, The Perfect Workout’s twice a week, 20-minute workouts were a big draw.

Did you know?

  • You can get the same strength gains, if not more, in 13 minutes than you can in 68 minutes
  • More workouts per week can actually hinder your results
  • Doing more exercises than needed in a session is an indication the workout may not be intense enough and you can be working harder
  • You can get a full body-workout in with just 4 exercises
  • More rest in a workout can reduce muscle growth and cardiovascular impact

LEARN MORE about 20 Minute Workouts

 

She Built Strength & Burned Calories

The slow-motion workouts fit perfectly into Judy’s schedule, and the Trainers at the Mission Valley studio made sure she got the most out of every session.

The key with slow-motion strength training is the emphasis on working toward “muscle success” on every exercise.

That’s the point at which you can’t possibly move the weights even a fraction of an inch further, after doing several repetitions for 10 seconds out and 10 seconds back.

If you continue maximally pushing or pulling for a few more seconds, you achieve this deep muscle fatigue, and that’s what brings results.

Judy started seeing the effects within weeks. Her pants started fitting better, she had more energy, she slept better, and she lost inches.

She also noticed her shoulder and neck pain from sitting at her desk was gone.

While gaining muscle everywhere (she leg presses 400 pounds now!), Judy lost 16 pounds while going from a size 12 to an 8.

Judy was able to lose fat more efficiently than ever before by adding lean muscle everywhere. 

If you want weight loss, you must know this: Muscle burns calories.

Strength training adds more lean muscle to our bodies, which increases our resting metabolic rate, or the calories we burn on a daily basis.

In fact, strength training is more effective in burning fat than most “aerobic” activities because the added muscle helps you burn calories, even while you rest. Aerobics can burn a lot of calories but only in the moment of the activity.

Learn More about The Science of Losing Fat and Preserving Muscle.

She Debuted Her New Look

Judy had another goal, though – to get into a dress that her husband had gotten her.

“I tried it on and it had a lot of lumps and was stretched to the max.”

During a challenge at The Perfect Workout, she lost another 10 pounds, just in time for her 15th anniversary, where she debuted her new look.

“I got a lot of compliments on how the dress looked on me!”

While Judy would like to lose another five pounds or so, the increased strength and new look is paying huge dividends.

  • She’s able to hoist heavy bags of soil from Home Depot
  • She hits the golf ball a good 30 yards farther than the women she plays with
  • She isn’t huffing and puffing after pushing her golf bag for four or five hours

Even better, she’s now comfortable wearing whatever she wants – skinny jeans, skirts, sundresses, shorts, and sleeveless tops. And she doesn't have to think twice about trying her husband's five-star cuisine.

“I’m delighted! I don’t have the ‘wiggle wobble’ in my arms. I enjoy The Perfect Workout, and I’m very happy with what it’s done for my body.”

 

Gyms are Dying. How The Perfect Workout is Thriving

medical fitness facility

**Published December 21, 2020


Gyms are dying.

Many people are unsure how to safely keep up with their fitness when it matters most.

And they’re sacrificing their health and longevity by choosing to do nothing.

But, we’re not going anywhere. 

And we’re deeply committed to helping more people get stronger and healthier through 2021 and beyond.

We're NOT a Gym

There’s one thing we need to get out there ASAP. 

The Perfect Workout isn’t a gym. Seriously.

Our studios are Medical Fitness Facilities and classified as an essential health business.

The big reason we're classified as a Medical Fitness Facility and essential health business is because our methodology is so safe and effective for people of all ages and diseases or conditions.

With the Medical Fitness Association (MFA) guidelines designed in conjunction with the Director of the CDC, our safety practices exceed standard pandemic recommendations.

the perfect workout safety standards pandemic cleaning

Strict Cleaning Standards

We disinfect all equipment and surfaces after each client interaction. We use hand sanitizer before and after each workout. We have HEPA air filters in each room to recirculate air.

the perfect workout safety standards pandemic social distancing

Social Distancing

We adhere to social distancing during all our interactions. While exercises are being conducted trainers will remain 15 feet or more away from the client.

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Client Screening

All clients will remain outside until a trainer screens them at the door prior to entering the facility with an exposure questionnaire. Clients' temperatures are taken with a contactless monitor upon arrival.

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Protective Masks

All training staff will wear a mask at all times. We require all clients to wear masks & gloves while in the studio.

The MFA identifies our organization as a leader in proactive health care.

We’re developing a Medical Fitness Advisory Board to develop ideal protocols for different diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes.

Our clients’ health and safety remain our number one priority and we’ve gone lengths to provide much more than a space to workout.

 

We're NOT a Franchise

It’s pretty common for people to think The Perfect Workout is a franchise because we have so many locations. 

But we're not. In fact, we are the LARGEST privately owned 1-on-1 personal training company in the world.

The quality of our workout and our Trainers is very important to us. We feel strongly about having the ability to ensure we can provide exceptional training and customer service in all of our studios.

All Facilities OPEN for Training

You might be wondering why our Trainers aren’t training clients outside like a lot of gyms.

That’s simple. We are a medical facility for private members only, not a gym!

We work 1-on-1 with our clients to treat and prevent underlying health issues such as auto-immune, osteoporosis, sarcopenia, pre- and post-rehab, etc.

We are safe, efficient, and effective which means the training our clients receive is perfect and replaces any need to go to a gym or “exercise” in any other way.

We are 100% focused on helping clients better their health and improving underlying health conditions and we've been doing that for over 20 years combating all sorts of health issues. 

You can help us fight this pandemic.

Stay in control of your health by keeping up with your workouts 20 minutes, twice a week. Share our method with your family and friends to impact the health of the population.

New to The Perfect Workout?

You now have two ways of working out with us:

 

Your Best Chance at Quickly Recovering from Surgery… Or Avoiding it Altogether

Personal Trainer Mill Valley CA “When my doctor gave me two choices about the pain in my right shoulder- Either live with it or have surgery, I felt hopeless.”- Sherry Chriss, client Facing surgery is scary and quite common for a lot of adults. Although every surgery can’t be avoided, one solution to prepare for a swift recovery and potentially avoiding surgery altogether is slow-motion strength training. We call this “prehabilitation” and it’s happening in our studios and virtual training sessions every day.

Total Knee Replacement

One of the most common surgeries our clients face is a Total Knee Replacement (TKRs), and they are as popular as ever. More than 381,000 TKRs take place every year, and researchers expect that number to grow six-fold in the next 20 years [1]. The surgery can be very helpful as it enables people with severe knee osteoarthritis to decrease or eliminate their pain while improving their functional ability. However, a TKR also leads to a period of inactivity during recovery, and that inactivity has drawbacks. People lose about 60% of their quadriceps strength within the first month following surgery. Considering that information, it’s no surprise that people with TKRs have demonstrated slower walking and stair-climbing speeds when compared to their peers. Personal Training Mill Valley CA  

Start Strengthening TODAY!

Studies Show…

Researchers at the University of Louisville conducted a study comparing people who “prehabbed” against those who did not (control group) for five months prior to surgery. Like our clients, the individuals who strength trained fared very well. The exercise group trained three times per week prior to the surgery, including exercises such as the leg curl and leg extension. Following the surgery, both groups received the same physical therapy. Watch one of our clients on the Leg Extension! 👇🏻 Before the surgery, strength training prevented knee pain from increasing and improved the participants’ functional abilities like getting up from a chair, walking speed, and stair- climbing speed. One month after the surgery, the control group experienced losses in quadricep strength and walking speed, whereas the exercise group did not (when compared to baseline tests). Three months later, functional ability and strength in the operated leg were greater in the exercise group. Fitness Trainer Mill Valley CA Overall, the study found quadriceps strength was associated with greater functional ability and less knee pain. Researchers in a study out of the University of Delaware found the same connections when monitoring quadriceps strength days before and one year after a TKR [2]. They also noticed that quadriceps strength before surgery also predicts dynamic balance a year after surgery. Dynamic balance is tested by seeing how quickly a person can stand from a chair, walk around a sharp turn, and then return to the chair. Balance and strength are some of the most important benefits of slow-motion strength training, especially in older adults who fear falling. strength trainer mill valley CA

How Long Do You Prehab For?

If a TKR, or any other major joint surgery is in your future, you might wonder how long you should train for prior to the procedure. As mentioned, the study included five months of prehabilitation, although we have clients who have only trained for 3 months leading up to their surgery and still experienced a quick and less-painful recovery period. Obviously, the earlier you start, the more strength you will build prior to surgery. The process of strengthening before a surgery just makes sense. The joints are healthier when their surrounding muscles are stronger. Strength training before a joint surgery allows you the opportunity to build healthier joints and muscles that you will simply work to maintain after surgery, instead of having to build them for the first time. If a surgery like TKR is in your future, or you want to do whatever you can to avoid one, slow-motion strength training is the solution.

Start Strengthening TODAY!

Clients who have avoided surgery:

In addition to those who have prehabbed before surgery, we’ve helped many people avoid surgery altogether.

Michael Slosek

Michael, 66, had been told by his doctor that he needed a hip replacement. He also wanted to lose weight, gain overall strength and stamina, and a 20 minute workout was very appealing to him. Michael’s strength training results speak for themselves:
    • No longer has back or hip problems
    • Has more energy and stronger muscles
    • Able to hit the golf ball 20-30 yards further at the driving range
    • Has been able to avoid hip replacement surgery
“The Perfect Workout has a great thing going. You feel like you have a workout when you come here. I’ll continue to do it.” Strength Training Mill Valley CA

Mary Jane Bartee

When you have medical conditions like fibromyalgia, osteopenia, and pelvic prolapse, you’re going to be very careful about exercise. “Anything that’s fast-moving and aggressive aggravates it,” says Mary Jane (MJ) Bartee. Slow, safe movement is what first appealed to her about slow-motion strength training. MJ’s strength training results are nothing short of fantastic:
  • Her most recent bone density test showed that her osteopenia is gone
  • The pain from her other conditions is more manageable, resulting in less medication
  • Her pelvic prolapse has greatly improved, to the point where the doctors aren’t talking about surgery anymore
“It’s quick and accommodating,” says MJ. “20 minutes and I’m done. It’s something I do for myself, and as long as I’m functioning as well as I am, I’ll stick with it.” Fitness Training Mill Valley CA

Sherry Chriss

After unsuccessful physical therapy and cortisone shots for an injured shoulder, Sherry was desperate for an alternative to surgery. She was also distraught about the effects of menopause, including loss of bone density, decreased upper body strength, and weak legs. A year after she began strength training at The Perfect Workout:
  • Sherry’s bone density scan improved, surprising even her doctor.
  • She no longer has shoulder pain, and no longer needs surgery.
“I enjoyed it right off the bat, and little did I know how fantastic it would turn out to be. My husband and I have both seen great results, so we’re committed to doing The Perfect Workout for the rest of our lives!” Personal Training Studio Mill Valley CA Don’t wait for post-surgery to start building up strength. In fact, surgery may not be necessary if you take action now. It only takes 20 minutes, twice a week and you’ll get a lifetime workout guaranteed to get you stronger.

Schedule your FREE Call to get started Today!

References
  1. Topp, R., Swank, A. M., Quesada, P. M., Nyland, J., & Malkani, A. (2009). The effect of prehabilitation exercise on strength and functioning after total knee arthroplasty. PM&R, 1(8), 729-735.
  1. Mizner, R. L., Petterson, S. C., Stevens, J. E., Axe, M. J., & Snyder-Mackler, L. (2005). Preoperative quadriceps strength predicts functional ability one year after total knee arthroplasty. The Journal of rheumatology, 32(8), 1533-1539.

Reducing Sports Injury Risk

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, football participation in California and Texas has increased steadily for years…until the last two years. Football participation is decreasing in many states over the last two years. This is hardly a surprise. The last few years have also featured numerous stories about NFL players suffering torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL), concussions, and there was a lawsuit where former NFL players sued the league over inadequate warning for concussion risk.

In the 2011-2012 school year, there were nearly 1.4 million estimated sports-related injuries in high schools across the United States (according to the National High School-Related Sports Injury Surveillance Study). While football led the way, sports such as soccer, basketball, and wrestling also produce tens of thousands of injuries per year. How do we protect our kids from athletic injuries? How can we make sports safer?

In addition to looking at changes within the sports themselves, we can also properly prepare the participants. Strength training has demonstrated a clear ability to reduce injury risk for young athletes in research. A review of research from the Journal of Sports Medicine mentioned seven studies with high school athletes that found that a strength training program reduced injury rates in various sports. This is likely due to several reasons. As a bonus, strength training is relatively safe for kids and poses little injury risk itself.

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Athletic injuries occur when the force placed on the body exceeds the force our bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments can withstand. In sports, these forces are often uncontrollable…especially with young athletes. An athlete can safely and effectively move around the field or court, but that still doesn’t stop another player from accidentally crashing into the athlete or misplacing a foot under an athlete as he or she is landing from a jump. Of course, collision isn’t always necessary. For example, even just running can lead to a strained hamstring or front thigh muscle.

Strength training prepares the athletic body to sustain many of these forces. Strength training increases bone strength as well as connective tissue strength, which reduces the risk of bone fractures or tears in tendons or ligaments. Strength training increases muscle size and strength. As an athlete becomes stronger, his or her muscles support more force, which helps during common movements such as jumping and running. In fact, long distance runners are known to adopt strength training to reduce lower body injuries.

The Journal of Sports Medicine review also mentioned strength training as a safe option for young athletes. According to one study, strength training with 13-16-year old boys led to just 3.5 injuries for every 10,000 hours of participation. Another study said strength training was responsible for less than one percent of high school sports injuries each year. From the results of seven studies, the researchers stated, “injury occurrence (with resistance training) in children and adolescents was either very low or nil.”

Strength training physically develops muscles, bones, and connective tissues. As a result of strength training, these various tissues are more able to withstand the various forces on the body that are experienced with athletics. As a bonus, strength training is comparatively very safe. Injury risk is extremely low in general and when compared to other sports. At this point, I imagine the only question parents have about strength training with their youngsters is, “What are we waiting for?!”

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By Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout


Reference

Faigenbaum, A. D., & Myer, G. D. (2010). Resistance training among young athletes: safety, efficacy and injury prevention effects. British journal of sports medicine, 44(1), 56-63.

Marti lost 6 inches off her waist, 5 inches off her hips, and 3 dress sizes!

lost-3-dress-sizes-martiMarti’s advice to others with a similar distaste for exercise in general who are considering slow-motion strength training? “Take the time to do it. What’s 40 minutes a week out of your whole life? It’s worth every penny.”

“I always hated working out. I still hate it, but I go.” Marti Beck isn’t joking. She really doesn’t like exercising, and thought The Perfect Workout was another gimmick when she discovered it. Results from two 20-minute workouts a week?

It sounded unbelievable. She also wasn’t sure about the idea of having a personal trainer. “I didn’t want people telling me what to do.” Putting her skepticism aside, she decided to check it out since she wasn’t getting results working out on her own. Unlike the aerobics and circuit training in her younger days, this time Marti had help. Her personal trainer, Cindy, understood her needs and tailored a plan that worked for her.

The inches came off before the weight, as Marti admits it took a while to get rid of her bad eating habits. After she left her job as a legal secretary, she realized she had been eating out of stress. Once she started eating better, the pounds started coming off, too.

 

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Two years after starting at The Perfect Workout, Marti has lost over 20 pounds and gone down three dress sizes. She’s gotten stronger all over, and more than anything, she’s excited about the fact that she now has biceps! Science and research prove the physical benefits of slow-motion strength training.

Working out this way loads the muscles more effectively, producing improved muscle tone, a leaner shape, increased metabolism, stronger bones, and greater strength. Marti’s physical transformation is still underway, but there’s a much deeper, emotional component. “I haven’t had my picture taken in over 30 years. That’s the reason I’m doing this. Pretty soon I’m going to have a family portrait done.”

Marti credits the trainers at Laguna Niguel with helping her on her journey. “The studio is great. It’s small and personal. I love Cindy’s patient and compassionate style. The whole staff is terrific! They’re all fabulous.” Marti, for her part, has been a dedicated client. Determined from the start, she’s never missed a workout. Of course, that’s a lot easier since she doesn’t have to spend an hour or two at every session like she did at her old gym. It’s all added up to a whole new outlook on life. Her husband of 42 years thinks it’s great, and at 64, Marti says, “I feel like I’m in my 40s!”

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Meet Taylor Fleming Personal Trainer at The Perfect Workout’s Studio in Sunnyvale, CA

sunnyvale-trainer-taylorTaylor Fleming couldn’t be happier training clients and working with great colleagues. “The best thing about The Perfect Workout is that it’s like a family. I feel that this is my calling.”

On the surface, Taylor Fleming looks like you’d expect a personal trainer to look. She’s been in shape her whole life, and you can see the toned results of her recent slow-motion strength training workouts. Yet when you hear the passion in her voice as she starts talking about things like the solitude of fitness and mindful eating, you get the feeling that she’s in exactly the right place.

Taylor was intrigued by the scientific research that backed up slow-motion strength training. As a runner, she had some knee problems and was actually over-working her body. Since changing to slow-motion, Taylor has increased her muscle mass and decreased her body fat by three percent. Even more impressive, she can now leg press the entire stack of 487 pounds for two minutes and her right knee pain is gone. “The methodology works,” she says.

 

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Always striving to learn more, Taylor is taking classes through Integrative Nutrition, one of her passions. A few years back she overcame an eating disorder and now looks at food as fuel. When her clients ask her about nutrition, she advises them to avoid mindless eating and suggests some general rules that she follows: Drink a gallon of water a day. Eat five small meals a day, two of which are snacks. Stick to a high-protein, complex (not low) carbohydrate plan. “It’s that simple. It’s a lifestyle, not a diet,” Taylor says. Her advice on working out is similar. “Make small changes over time. Consistency is the key.”

Taylor lights up when she talks about her clients, including a 62-year old who came in quite fit from another popular workout, but with a lot of pain in her joints. Working together, they started small and worked up. She’s now leg pressing 400 pounds, almost four times her 102-pound body weight. Another client in her early 70s had a desk job and never worked out, causing her muscles to atrophy. She’s very committed to increasing her muscle mass, and never misses a workout, and now bicep curls 40 pounds and lat pulls 90 pounds. Seeing her clients’ commitment to the program gives Taylor the most satisfaction. “That progress over time, seeing how devoted they are inspires me. That’s why I’m in this industry.”

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At 91, Esther is proof that it’s never too late to start exercising. “I’ve been transformed.”

esther-perfect-workoutSince joining The Perfect Workout 10 months ago, Esther is now stronger all over, down a dress size, and feeling younger and more attractive than she has in years.

“Compared to other women my age (and there aren’t a lot of them), I’m prancing around,” says Esther Gendel. In January she went on a strenuous safari. She zips around to the theater and other cultural activities. She still works, buying houses and getting them fixed up for her grandkids. “It keeps me active. I hang around with people in their late 60s, and I’m equal to them.” No rocking chairs, canes, or lazing around for this soon-to-be 92-year old. Not at all. Esther’s prescription for youthful exuberance carries no ill side effects: slow-motion strength training. Since joining The Perfect Workout 10 months ago, Esther is now stronger all over, down a dress size, and feeling younger and more attractive than she has in years. “At first, my arms were sticks,” she says. I couldn’t even push for one rep. Now I can do seven or eight. I’m amazed at myself.”

Working out at her age is remarkable, especially considering the fact that she went through a difficult time a few years ago. Her husband got Alzheimer’s and later passed away. Then she found out her knees had deteriorated, and her doctor told her she needed artificial ones. She said, “What am I going to do with the rest of my life? If I’m going to keep living, I don’t want to be a sickly person.”

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When her husband was alive, he and Esther had a trainer, but she hated every minute of it. “I despised working out because it was too much time.” The Perfect Workout is not only quicker and more effective, it’s a lot more enjoyable. She attributes that to her trainer at the West Los Angeles studio. “I like to have fun, and Raymond doesn’t stick to a serious regimen. We sing through all the exercises, and I jog from machine to machine. He’s in tune with me. While he’s counting, I’m singing. I joke with him that my tombstone is going to say, ‘One, two, three…!’ It’s social for me as well as physical.”

After a few months of working out with Raymond, Esther’s friends asked her what she was doing. She was noticeably stronger, more toned, and could climb out of the car without assistance. Recently she got into a bathing suit and realized that she had a nice figure again. Good Russian genes may be part of it (her parents lived to be 90), and not missing any of her sessions all year helped, too.

A retired teacher with a Masters Degree in Earth Science, Esther has traveled the world over, and has no plans to slow down in the near future. When she’s not gallivanting around, she enjoys spending time with her nine grandkids and two great-grandkids, all in California. They say she does more than they do, and tell her she’s the funniest person they know. It’s a great combination – a regular physical routine along with a vibrant approach to squeezing the most out of life. Here’s to continued transformation, Esther, and many more years ahead.

 

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The Ab Crunch: Looks, Form, and Function

The rectus abdominis, or “abs,” …

are the muscles many of us would like people to see when in a bathing suit. And besides the aesthetics aspect, they are also an important muscle group for function. The ab crunch machine trains the abs as well as another pair of important muscles. However, performing this exercise requires attention to detail. There is a small difference between proper execution and lower back strain with the ab crunch. In this article, we’ll discuss all of those details.

The rectus abdominis starts at the bottom of the sternum (chest bone) and the front of the ribs in that area. It runs down to the top of your pubic bone (part of the pelvic girdle), which is just above your genitals. The main function of this muscle is to pull your spine into a ‘C’ shape, bringing your chest and midsection closer together.

Of course, the abs are most known because of the “six pack.” A “six pack” has that appearance because of connective tissue. As the abs flow from the ribs to the pelvic girdle, there are three segments of connective tissue in the middle. This where the “six pack” gets its upper, middle, and lower portions. Also, a sheet of connective tissue (linea alba) runs vertically, splitting the abs in half, causing the appearance of six muscles as opposed to three. Secondary muscles in the ab crunch are the external and internal obliques. The obliques are located in the area that many refer to as their “love handles.” (We’re covering all of the fun stuff today.)

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Performing the ab crunch regularly to the muscle exhaustion point of “muscle success” will help your abs and obliques become stronger and more aesthetically noticeable. However, I have to warn you: Seeing your midsection muscles is largely a result of low body fat levels. The less fat between your skin and your abdominal muscles, the easier it is to see definition in your abs. And losing body fat is mainly a result of positive dietary changes. Your desire to see your abs may beckon a change to your diet even more than the use of the ab crunch machine.

Believe it or not, the rectus abdominis does not exist only to make you look good in a bathing suit. It is also functionally significant. The abs are critical muscles for respiration and child birth. In addition, they are major stabilization muscles. In regards to stabilization, every exercise or sports movement focuses on a small group of joints. For example, throwing a baseball mainly involves the elbow and shoulder joints. For this to occur with optimal efficiency and effectiveness, muscles in various parts of the body contract to hold other parts of your body relatively still. Your abs are one of the most common and important stabilization muscles.

locations the perfect workout

I mentioned previously that the abs work to pull your chest and midsection closer together, causing your spine to curl into a ‘C’ shape. The proper range of motion for the ab crunch is small compared to most exercises. The exercise may include only four or five inches of movement in each direction. It’s common to exceed this amount, and that’s where some problems occur.

In the ab crunch, as you “curl” downward, your lower back should press into the lower pad. (Your upper back should stay firmly pressed into the upper pad also.) If your lower back is about to peel off the pad, this is a cue that you’re at the end of the range of motion, and need to reverse direction and begin returning to the starting position.

When the lower back is removed from the pad, the midsection and thighs are now moving closer together. This motion is a hip-based movement called “hip flexion.” Hip flexion uses other muscle groups, and these muscle groups exert some force on the lower back. Examples of exercises that use hip flexion are sit-ups and leg lifts. While the abs assist in these exercises, the hip flexors are the dominant muscles.

In summary, “curl” down on the ab crunch machine no further than the point where you feel your lower back will start leaving the back pad. Using the ab crunch will strengthen your abs and obliques, muscles that not only make you look good on the beach but also help with critical life functions.

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By Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout

Laura’s gone from a size 16 to an 8 and dropped 40 pounds!

laura-dropped-weightIn 3 months Laura Retana Shelp lost 23.4 pounds and 10½ inches off her waist with improved nutrition and two 20-minute training sessions a week at The Perfect Workout.

Laura Retana Shelp is a Registered Nurse, so when she first read the ad for The Perfect Workout, she was intrigued. She did some research online, read everything she could about it, and found that there was a lot of science backing up the concept of slow-motion strength training. Still, it took her a year and a half to make an appointment to check it out. When she finally went in to the Southwest San Jose studio, she was immediately hooked. “I loved it! It was incredible. I signed up that day, and for the next three months, I felt like a drunken sailor. My muscles were quivering every time I left.” She means that in a good way, of course, as The Perfect Workout reactivated her long-dormant muscles. But while it grew her muscles like nothing else ever had, Laura admits, “I wasn’t doing my part of it. You won’t lose weight unless you also change your diet.”

 

Ten years ago, Laura was a committed runner, putting in six miles a day. She also belonged to other clubs and purchased a StairMaster and treadmill for at home. Since then, life had gotten in the way of staying in good shape. She gained weight and started yo-yo dieting, never able to keep the pounds off. At her heaviest, she was horrified when the scale showed 171 pounds. For her 5’ 5” frame, that wasn’t good. “I had to go on a diet, but not call it a diet. I thought of it as a ‘lifestyle change.’ I needed to do something different,” she says. Laura and her husband both changed their eating habits. They got rid of processed foods like cookies and cake, and her husband’s favorite, bread and tortillas. They also started eating more fruits and vegetables and kept it simple, something they could live with. The first couple weeks they helped each other through it, and her husband actually lost weight faster.

 

lose fat gain muscle

 

The Transformation Challenge came along at the right time last February. Laura was committed to her lifestyle changes, and the slow-motion strength training had started kicking in, but she had a long way to go. She still had shortness of breath, couldn’t fit into her swimsuit, and had a hard time even reaching over to tie her shoes.

During the Challenge, Laura continued eating well, and she and her trainer, Maria, went to work. “I had a trainer before who pushed me, but not like Maria does. She listens to me and knows me so well, and I give her everything I have. She makes each workout different, and always makes me go a little further. It’s a great connection, and I’m eager to come in and work out!”

After three months, the results were in. Laura’s consistency, hard work at every session, and lifestyle and diet change helped her lose another 25 pounds, gain all-over strength, and win the Grand Prize. “It was so uplifting. I was so excited, I went out and bought 10 swimsuits at Macy’s when they went on sale. It was so much fun, parading in front of my husband!”

She’s down to a size 8, and still wants to lose another 10 pounds, to get down to 121. Her husband is a svelte 161 pounds now, and they’ve started dancing again. “We’ve reclaimed our lives,” says Laura. “It’s given us an opportunity to do the things we loved that we set aside for so long, and didn’t have the strength for. I’m going to be 59 in December, and I can see I need to do this always. It’s definitely a lifelong commitment.”

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The Advantages of Machines

The strength training machines you see in The Perfect Workout studios are descendants of machines that were created by Nautilus, Inc. in the 1970’s. Arthur Jones not only originated the fundamental principles behind brief and intense strength training, he also invented the original set of Nautilus machines. Within a few years, machines from Nautilus and sprouting rival companies were in many public gyms as well as college and professional sports training facilities.

This led to one of the most famous on-going debates in the fitness industry: free weights or machines. In other words, is it more effective to use strength training machines or free weights, such as dumbbells and barbells? If you are reading this, you are probably aware that our studios are primarily filled with strength training machines. There are reasons for that.

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While both options provide results when the user trains with a high level of intensity, we generally prefer well-designed machines for a number of reasons. Machines can be safer to train on than free weights, they allow for better concentration which can facilitate a higher intensity level, many machines provide resistance throughout each repetition’s entire range of motion, and there are several additional advantages of machines which I don’t have enough space to cover in this brief article.

If you recall the days when you first learned to drive, then you’ll probably remember someone telling you, “safety first”. The same recommendation applies to training. As you know, the goal of strength training at The Perfect Workout is to reach “muscle success”, the point when the targeted muscle is so fatigued that it cannot move the resistance any further. In many free weight exercises, training to complete exhaustion leaves the possibility that the weights may fall on the trainee afterwards. As we know, training to “muscle success” leaves our muscles with less control and fatigued for a few minutes afterward. If a person lost control of the weight when training on a machine, most machines are designed so that the weight would just fall on the weight stack (instead of on top of you!), so that’s one reason why machines can be safer than free weights.

As far as getting results, a necessary factor in successful strength training is mentally pushing your muscles to that very deep level of “muscle success” fatigue. This takes focused mental concentration, and each person has a limited ability to concentrate in any given moment. A well-designed machine can eliminate sources of distraction, enabling deeper concentration and a deeper level of fatigue in the the targeted muscles, and as a result help stimulate better improvements in your body. As an example, consider the leg press vs. a free weight squat (with a barbell on top of your shoulders). Both exercises are potentially very effective for improving the muscles in your buttocks and front thighs (and to a lesser degree the muscles in your rear thighs and calves). With the leg press, as you near “muscle success” all of your concentration ability can be used to push as hard as you can, helping you stimulate the big changes in your muscles and your body. You don’t have to worry about anything else other than pushing hard. In the barbell squat, if you approach “muscle success” fatigue levels, a significant portion of your concentration needs to be used to focus on balancing and avoiding falling down, and this reduces your mental energy available to make your muscles push hard. In this respect, the leg press has the potential to allow you to stimulate greater increases in the targeted muscles.

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slide2-img2Another benefit of well-designed machines is resistance throughout the entire range of motion. A machine has the potential to better harness the power of gravity when compared with free weights. For example, in a standing biceps curl with a barbell, gravity provides significant resistance to the biceps during the middle portion of each repetition. However, at the lower and upper ends, the exercise moves perpendicular to the force of gravity, basically providing rest for the muscles. Biceps exercises with machines usually feature a rotating wheel called a “cam” that varies resistance and enables constant work for the muscle throughout the repetition, and this can result in a more thorough workout for the muscles.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying dumbbells, barbells, and other free weights are not effective training tools. In fact, in 1992 when I first began using slow-motion strength training in my own workouts, I was training in a relatively primitive gym in which my initial routines involved many free weight exercises, and I still was able to make excellent improvements. If a person trains intensely, he or she will achieve great results, regardless of the equipment. However, we find that strength training machines help our clients train safely and effectively, and that’s what we’re all about.

 

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By Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout


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