Kelly and Richard Got Toned and Strong!

Strength training helped Kelly get toned, and Richard estimates that he got 50% stronger, improved his posture, and lost about 75% of the aches and pains that he had in his back and shoulders.

Kelly Alessandro doesn’t know how much time she has left. Not at The Perfect Workout, but in life. Two years ago she was diagnosed with sarcoma, a very rare form of cancer, and doctors initially didn’t give her a very good chance of survival. She’s gone through surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments. Through it all, she has stayed mentally and physically strong. Kelly attributes making it this far in part to the fact that she’s in such good shape, thanks to The Perfect Workout. “I was able to recover so much better from all those surgeries because I had a strong core, because I was so strong,” she says.

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The story begins before Kelly got cancer. About two and a half years ago, she saw an ad for The Perfect Workout and decided to investigate slow-motion strength training. “I had no idea it was going to be as good as it was. Most people don’t get it. They think you have to spend an hour.” Kelly didn’t need to lose weight, she just wanted to “tone it up” and get stronger. Within a couple weeks she started seeing results, and she was hooked. Six months into her workouts, she got the bad news. She had surgery, then took five weeks off to recover. When she started her workouts up again, she was actually receiving chemotherapy at the same time, and feels like the workouts helped.

It was around this time that she finally got Richard to start working out with her. “Kelly kept nagging me,” he jokes. “I didn’t want to listen to her tell me I had to work out. She kind of shamed me. She just had major surgery, she was going through chemo, and she was still doing it.” Richard approached it with gusto the same way Kelly had, and made good progress.

Richard and Kelly agree that having a trainer keeps it safe and makes it fun. “The whole staff at Laguna Niguel has been great!” Richard is serious when he says, “I hate going! But the hate only lasts for 20 minutes. I just jump right in. I try to have fun with it. When I’m done, I’m done, and I go home and have my protein shake. The Perfect Workout is 1/335 of my week. For 1/335, I can do anything!” With everything they’ve been through together, Richard and Kelly have a remarkable sense of gratitude, and with some sarcoma experts they’ve just found, they also have a new sense of hope. Their trainers at the Laguna Niguel studio say, “Kelly’s spirit is always upbeat and positive. We’ve been honored to work with her and her husband, Richard, and their courage and determination has touched all of our lives.”

 

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Meet Emily Gaines Personal Trainer at The Perfect Workout’s Woodlands Studio

Emily says of her own transition from a regular workout to slow-motion strength training, “I thought, okay, this is very effective! I used to spend eight hours a week in the gym, now I’m spending 40 minutes a week working out.”

“I love being a part of something that makes my clients feel good!” That sums up Emily’s feelings on The Perfect Workout. Since coming on board as a trainer at The Woodlands in April, her enthusiasm for slow-motion strength training has been catching on. Clients love her firm yet personal and customized approach, and appreciate the fact that she challenges them. Emily is understanding, patient, and has a way of explaining things so they make sense.

One of her favorite things to talk about with clients is nutrition because it plays such an important role in muscle growth and fat loss. “Muscles can’t grow properly if you’re not feeding them,” Emily says. She tells her clients to avoid drinking lots of calories, to read labels so you realize what you’re really consuming, to eat clean foods like lean meats and vegetables, and to exercise portion control.

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Emily had taught a range of classes at another fitness center, and was always in pretty good shape. But the first time she tried doing slow-motion push ups (as part of the hiring process to become a trainer at The Perfect Workout), she realized it was far more challenging than anything she had ever done. “I thought, okay, this is very effective! I used to spend eight hours a week in the gym, now I’m spending 40 minutes a week working out.” Her arms are much stronger now, her shape has improved, and she’s gone from leg pressing 280 pounds to 400 pounds.

And just like she pushes herself, she loves it when clients push themselves. “They’re the ones who see the biggest results. They give me a hug and we celebrate together!” Emily has had a number of client success stories. One client recently lost 10 pounds to get in shape for her vacation. Other clients are losing weight, getting toned, and most important, doing something positive for themselves.

In addition to training clients, Emily is also the Facility Manager, and has big goals to double her studio by October and help The Perfect Workout grow in the Houston area. “This is the best job I’ve ever had. It’s very motivational, there’s an incentive to work hard.” When she’s not training clients or running the studio, she’s doing what she loves best, spending time with her daughter.

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Your Muscles – The Only “Window” Into Your Body

I first came across the idea that “muscle is the ‘window’ into your body” in Ken Hutchins’ SuperSlow Technical Manual. He attributes the quote to a former employee of Nautilus, Ed Farnham. It’s a brilliant metaphor. The idea is that essentially all physical improvements that can be stimulated by exercise are fundamentally caused by loading your muscles. Making your muscles work is the way you “get at” and stimulate not just your muscles, but the rest of your body’s systems too. Your muscles are a pathway to improving your cardiovascular system, lungs, endocrine system, immune system, general metabolism, and more.

For example, suppose somebody is climbing stairs for the purpose of exercise. This person’s body will temporarily burn more calories during the stair climbing session. It’ll also make her heart beat faster, and by doing so potentially place positive stress on her cardiovascular system to improve. And if the stair climbing is challenging enough, her leg muscles will fatigue somewhat as well. If her body isn’t already used to a more demanding stress than stair climbing (such as high-intensity strength training), her body will be stimulated to improve the cardiovascular system, her muscles might get slightly stronger, and other positive adaptations may occur in such places as the immune system and the endocrine system.

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Note that each of those effects from stair climbing (burning calories, positively stressing the cardiovascular system, potential strength increases, and positive changes in the immune and endocrine systems) are caused by making the muscles work. Extra calories are burned only because the leg muscles are working harder from the activity. The heart starts beating faster to supply nutrients to the working muscles, as well to remove waste products from them. If an increase in strength is stimulated, it would be because the muscles have been loaded, fatigued, and stressed sufficiently. All the physical benefits are fundamentally caused by making the muscles work.

Demanding muscular loading is the fundamental cause for triggering a cascade of positive changes throughout your body. Even for the cardiovascular system, the stimulus is making the muscles work, and the cardiovascular system kicks into higher gear simply as a support system for the working muscles. (In other words, the heart and lungs can’t jump out of your body and hop on the stair climber to exercise themselves. The only way to “get at” your cardiovascular system through exercise is by making the muscles work.)

A big advantage of effective strength training when compared with other exercise methods (like stair climbing) is that strength training gives you the opportunity to make your muscles work much harder than stair climbing or other exercise choices. If you’ve ever trained your leg muscles to “momentary failure” on the leg press machine in slow-motion form, you know firsthand how strength training works your muscles hard! Since strength training can make your muscles work harder than other activities (like stair climbing), you can stimulate as good or better benefits in all of the body’s systems (including the muscles, cardiovascular system, lungs, endocrine system, immune system, and general metabolism) than you can with other activities.

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In a previous article I mentioned that studies show that effective strength training produces positive benefits in the cardiovascular system. This is why. In some studies with very high-intensity strength training, the changes in the cardiovascular system from strength training are superior to even so-called “cardio” activities like stair climbing. The reason is you can only address your cardiovascular system by making your muscles work, and strength training gives you the opportunity to really challenge your muscles, and as a result many other systems in your body improve in addition to the muscles.

Making your muscles work hard during strength training triggers a “total body response,” including:

  • More strength
  • Greater endurance
  • More calorie-burning lean muscle tissue to your body
  • Reversed age related muscle loss (sarcopenia)
  • Increased metabolism and how many calories you burn even while you’re resting
  • Greater fat loss
  • Stronger bones
  • Reversed aging of muscle cells (expresses younger DNA in the nuclei)
  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Improved cholesterol levels
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Improved low back pain
  • Better control of blood sugar
  • Improved immune system
  • A number of other benefits

When done properly strength training loads the muscles (your “window into your body”) much more effectively than other activities because strength training can load the muscles more efficiently, more intensely, and in a safer manner than other activities can.

The slow-motion, high-intensity strength training that we teach at The Perfect Workout is as good of a way as you will find at stimulating this “window” into your body, and as a result your whole body improves, not just your muscles. And all it takes is just 20 minutes, twice a week.

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matt-perfect-workoutBy Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout

 

 

Bill’s Love Handles Are Gone!

Bill travels a lot as a defense contractor, so a time efficient workout is important to him. He explains the value of The Perfect Workout, “There’s no messing around. You’re in and out. This is very intense, and not for the person who’s not dedicated. You have to want it.”

Calling Bill Younis a fan of The Perfect Workout would be an understatement. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was a paid staff member whose sole purpose was to sing the praises of slow-motion strength training. He’s not, of course. He simply can’t think of any better way to get great results in such little time. “This is the best thing that ever happened to me, workout-wise,” he says. You have to understand a few things about Bill. He doesn’t have a lot of time, he’s extremely disciplined, and he already belonged to an exclusive athletic club where he lives when he heard about The Perfect Workout.

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He takes working out very seriously, especially after a heart attack when he was 54. After that, he knew he needed to make some changes. In a five-year period at his other club, Bill went from 256 pounds down to 210. He was religious about his workouts there, spending 90 minutes per session, three or four times a week.

Everything was great, but he hit a plateau, the equipment there was older technology, and there were a lot of needless conversations with other members, which stretched his workouts out too long. That was the biggest issue – time. Bill is a busy guy and doesn’t have time for social chitchat at the club. The workouts had to fit into his schedule since he travels a lot as a defense contractor.

His business partner’s wife told him about The Perfect Workout, and it seemed to fit what he was looking for exactly. “There’s no messing around. You’re in and out. This is very intense, and not for the person who’s not dedicated. You have to want it.” Bill credits the one-on-one personal training for a lot of his success. “My trainers, Soraya and Nicole, wring me out!

It’s amazing what you can do in 20 minutes. I’m completely spent.” He says Soraya is encouraging, knows how to get the best out of him, and is great at communicating results to him after each exercise. “This is serious business. It reminds me of football practice. You live and die by the stopwatch.”

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Bill loves that aspect of The Perfect Workout – the way he and his trainer can meticulously track all the numbers, including his weight, number of seconds on each exercise, amount of weight lifted, inches lost, body fat percentage, and more. He knows that his average weight now is 198.6, exactly where he was at age 28. His arms are looking good, his abs are carved up (going for the “six-pack” look), and that dreaded love handle syndrome? It’s pretty much gone. The results impressed his girlfriend so much that she’s planning to join now, too.

One thing that bothers Bill is how much people focus on the cost. “Everyone is so worried about the cost of a personal trainer. Think about it. If you’re doing 30-minute sessions at $50-60 each, three times a week, that’s far more than The Perfect Workout. And there’s no benefit to doing it more than two days a week.

This is a very good value. When it comes to food and exercise, that’s not where you want to compromise. Money
is a non-issue. How bad do you want it?”

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Missing Workouts – What Happens?

If you train at The Perfect Workout and are like other human beings, you miss a session or two on occasion. You may be on a hot streak of attendance as you read this, but there are times of the year when life takes us away from the gym and into other places. Does summer ring a bell? How about the holidays? Even as president of The Perfect Workout, I too miss a workout here and there (in addition to my more-than-full-time job, I’m fortunate to have two young kids, a wife, and occasionally even enjoy a vacation).

How significant are these occasional lapses? If you miss a few weeks, should you just quit because the gains you made may have eroded? Thankfully, there is some evidence to shed light on this issue. Researchers from the University of Maryland found that even a hiatus for seven months does not completely eliminate the gains that younger (20-30 years) and older (65-75 years old) people received from nine weeks of strength training. In this study, the trainees (previously sedentary) performed intense strength training focused on their quadriceps (front thigh) in one leg. After nine weeks, all men and women ceased training completely. Then their strength was retested 12 and 31 weeks later.

After the initial nine-week training period, the younger and older adults gained 34% and 28% in strength, respectively. The tests at 12 weeks after no training showed that no real strength loss occurred. It was after this point when the losses started happening. Between weeks 12 and 31 of the detraining, the younger men and women lost 8% of their strength, while the older adults lost 14%. There were no differences in the strength lost between men and women of the same age groups.

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There are three points that I want to point out from these results. First, many peoples’ bodies can hold the strength they initially build as beginners for up to three months after stopping training. (More advanced trainees will likely experience some losses in advanced fitness levels in less than 3 months.)

Second, even seven months after stopping training, the men and women in the study hadn’t lost everything that they gained from training! They trained for only nine weeks, and they still kept at least half of the strength they gained.

Finally, and this probably comes as no surprise to many, younger people are more adept at maintaining their gains from exercise. In the 31 weeks following the end of the strength training program, the younger group lost 24% of the strength they gained, whereas the older group lost half.

Let’s talk about what all of this means for you. It’s important for everyone to be consistent with their strength training program. Consistency is the only way to maximize gains in strength, health, and lean tissue improvement (muscle, bone, etc.). You won’t become stronger, fitter, or healthier unless you are actually working out on a consistent basis. However, all of us miss sessions from time to time. If you miss a few weeks, don’t become discouraged. Don’t quit. The study participants missed three months before their strength started eroding. You can miss a few weeks (vacation?) and may come back with little ground to make up.

Consistency is important for all of us, but especially for older adults. Fast twitch muscle fibers, which are the largest fibers and handle the greatest challenges in everyday life, atrophy quicker as we age. Older adults should pay extra attention to minimizing those necessary breaks from strength training.

The positive news is, once we gain some strength, our body appears to want to keep it. The study showed us a seven-month absence did not undue nine weeks of strength training! Imagine how long it would take to completely lose strength from months or years of training? I hope you and I never need to find out.

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By Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout


Reference

Lemmer, Jeff T., et al. “Age and gender responses to strength training and detraining.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 32.8 (2000): 1505-1512.

Meet Brad Binder Personal Trainer at The Perfect Workout’s Tustin Studio

Brad says about training clients at The Perfect Workout, “I feel very fortunate to have been given this opportunity. I love the people and the culture here. The Perfect Workout is an awesome company to work for.”

You’d never know it by looking at him, but Brad Binder absolutely loves to eat. A self-described foodie with a passion for cooking, Brad doesn’t deny himself anything. He eats a lot of smaller meals throughout the day, which keeps him feeling energized all day. He eats a well-balanced diet consisting mostly of protein (lean steak, protein shakes, and grilled or baked chicken), lots of vegetables, and good fats.

Because of these “rules,” his clients often ask him about nutrition, and Brad explains it’s a key factor in getting successful results. “Most people don’t work out every day, but you eat every day,” he says. “Nutrition is number one. They go hand in hand.”

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Brad came to The Perfect Workout in April of 2013. When he heard about the training position, it immediately resonated. He had been doing a form of slow-motion strength training after a neck and shoulder injury (caused by trying to lift too much weight with traditional weight training), so he was already a fan of the method. Immersing himself in it was another story. “As soon as I experimented, I saw that it worked,” he says. “I had hit a plateau. I was amazed at how my body was so pumped after the short workout. It felt like I had been in the gym for an hour. It’s grueling, but I power through it and I continue to get bigger.”

That’s a distinction that Brad makes between clients who get average results and those who see big gains. “The ones who work hard get definition. They feel so much better, they do things they couldn’t do before, and they get compliments. You won’t get that if you’re just going through the motions, and you have to stay on track with your nutrition.” It’s very satisfying when clients tell him they never made this much progress working out on their own.

One of his superstars who comes in no matter what and works hard says, “Look at my Madonna arms!” Brad’s style is to build rapport and always find a way to relate to his clients. They trust him, and they appreciate his “sparkling personality,” an important factor when they’re being put through the paces for 20 minutes. In addition to training, Brad also manages the Tustin studio. His goal is to be one of the top three locations, and to develop his trainers to be the best that they can be.

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Knee Replacement “Prehabilitation”

Let me tell you about Lilly. Lilly is 81 years old and holds a position on the board of a large hospital. She routinely works 10-hour days, five days per week, which includes giving lectures and running board meetings. Due to all of her work, Lilly is on her feet for hours per day.

This is not only impressive when considering Lilly’s age, but also because she had a total knee replacement (TKR) six months ago. Despite the close proximity to her surgery, Lilly has no knee pain, caregiver, or gait issues. How? Lilly attributes her quick recovery to the strength she built during three months of “prehabilitation,” where she strength trained twice per week prior to her surgery.

Lilly is not a fluke. A 2009 study at

the University of Louisville demonstrated that strength training prior to a TKR led to greater improvements in strength of the operated leg, standing from a chair, and with walking up and down stairs [1]. In addition, quadriceps strength prior to surgery is associated with greater dynamic balance a year after surgery [2].

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TKRs 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.

Researchers at the University of Louisville conducted a study comparing people who “prehabbed” against those who did not (control group) for the five months prior to surgery. Like Lilly, the individuals who strength trained fared very well. Before the surgery, strength training prevented knee pain from increasing and improved the participants’ functional abilities (getting up from a chair, walking speed, and stair-climbing speed).

One month after the surgery, the control group experienced losses in quadriceps 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.

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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.

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.

If a TKR 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 Lilly trained for only three. Obviously, the earlier you start, the more strength you will build prior to surgery.

As a whole, the studies and Lilly’s experience make sense: joints are healthier when their surrounding muscles are stronger. Strength training before a TKR 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.

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By Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout


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.
  2. 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.

Don’t Skip This Part! – Exercise’s Most Productive Time

If I could pick just one issue that would have the biggest impact on most peoples' exercise results, it would be to increase their effort level when an exercise gets hardest and most challenging. This means increasing the effort right at the end of a set of repetitions on each exercise. This certainly would be my #1 recommendation to people who exercise on their own either at a regular gym or at home. And even for our company's own personal training clients, I find that although on the whole our clients work much harder during their workouts than most other people who exercise, many of our clients could achieve even better fitness results if they gave even more effort at the most productive time.

What “even more effort at the most productive time” means in practical terms is to carry every set of strength training repetitions to the point of “muscle success.” Muscle success is the point on an exercise at which after several repetitions your muscles become so fatigued that completing another repetition is not just difficult, it's actually impossible. You're pushing or pulling as hard as you can, and the weight refuses to budge even a fraction of an inch because your muscles have become so fatigued. You're attempting to make the weight move, but it's momentarily impossible for you to do so. If you continue maximally pushing or pulling for several more seconds to make sure you're really at this point of muscle success, you'll have achieved deep momentary fatigue in the targeted muscles.

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Deep fatigue in the muscle sends a strong signal to your body that it needs to get stronger, improve muscle tone, and increase your metabolism. Within certain limits, the deeper you momentarily fatigue your muscles, the greater the changes you stimulate in your body.

Although this next point may sound counterintuitive, in a lot of ways long workouts are easier than briefer “high-intensity” workouts. How can a long workout be easier than a (properly performed) brief workout? Because in order to exercise for a long period of time, you can't push yourself really hard on each of the exercises you're performing. You have to pace yourself at a lower intensity to workout for a long period of time.

I've experienced this firsthand. Prior to stumbling upon slow-motion strength training in 1992, I was doing resistance training for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week – 12 total hours of exercise per week. I would rarely (if ever) fatigue to the point of muscle success on any of my exercises (lengthy workouts require pacing yourself with a lower level of effort, which reduces how intensely you're able to train). When I tried slow-motion strength training, I learned to fatigue all the way to muscle success on every set of each workout, and my results improved significantly (I added 10 pounds of lean muscle tissue during the first 9 days). Plus, the amount of time I spent exercising was FAR less (reduced from 12 hours a week to about an hour a week).

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My dramatically improved results weren't because I was working out less, though. It was because I'd learned to make my muscles work harder. The higher intensity (pushing harder at the end of each exercise) stimulated better improvements in my body. And because my effort and intensity were much higher than before, I couldn't sustain that high effort level for very long. So the extra intensity didn't just significantly improve my results, it also necessitated briefer workouts.

It's certainly a lot easier to terminate each set of repetitions before you reach “muscle success” and do a much longer workout than it is to “gut it out” and take each set you perform to a deep level of muscular fatigue. But stopping short of muscle success will make your workouts less productive.

Taking a set of repetitions to this muscle success point is not fun while you're doing it. It's uncomfortable. Your muscles often vibrate and burn. But it's the best thing you can do to generate results from your training. The fun part is the results you get afterward in stronger muscles, enhanced cardiovascular efficiency, faster metabolism, stronger bones, and added body-shaping lean muscle tissue.

A fair amount of people have a lot of difficulty pushing themselves to work hard enough to achieve “muscle success” as described above. If pushing every set to this muscle success point is more challenging than you're able to do on each exercise, at least make sure to fatigue the muscles as deeply as you can on each set. The deeper you fatigue the muscles, the more effective the stimulus is, and it will require more significant adaptations from your body.

So, when your repetitions start to get challenging, try to cultivate a mindset of looking forward to the burning and shaking sensations you're experiencing. That's where it's beginning to get really productive!

 

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By Matt Hedman, President of The Perfect Workout

Meet Aja Bradley Personal Trainer at The Perfect Workout’s Anaheim Hills and Newport Beach Studios

personal-trainer-aja As a mother of three, Aja values the time efficiency of The Perfect Workout for her own workouts. As a trainer, she values how effective slow-motion strength training is at getting her clients their desired results.

For a busy mom with three kids, an hour in the gym is not realistic. That’s why Aja Bradley not only loves training her clients at The Perfect Workout, she’s also completely devoted to the 20-minute slow-motion strength training workouts herself. Growing up with three brothers, she played all the sports they played, and has always been interested in fitness. She’s done her share of weight lifting, even hiring a personal trainer at one point, but never quite like this. Since coming on board as a trainer in October of 2013 and starting this workout, she has more definition in her abs, arms, and everywhere, in a much shorter amount of time.

 

 

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Once she went through The Perfect Workout’s rigorous training and certification program, Aja quickly started helping her clients get great results, too. “The thing I like most about training is the relationships with clients,” she says. “We’re going so slow that I have time to actually coach. I take the time to understand each person’s goals. That’s very important.” Clients regularly make comments like, “My clothes are fitting better,” “I’m getting stronger and can pick up my grandkids now,” and her favorite, “I arm wrestled my husband and he was surprised by how strong I was!” Aja’s style is a good mix of getting to know her clients on a very personal level, pushing them to full capacity during the workout, and maintaining a very upbeat, optimistic attitude.

Besides her work as a personal trainer, Aja writes for Independent films, and just produced her first one as well. She’s been acting and modeling since she was five, and you may have seen her in a Mad TV skit or in a commercial. There’s not a lot of spare time in the Bradley household, but if she had more she’d enjoy spending more time with her husband and working out with him since they work opposite schedules. For now, Aja’s goals are to stay in shape, keep setting an example for her kids, and for her first movie that she produced to do well. She’s excited to be part of The Perfect Workout team, and says, “I really like how everyone in the company looks out for one another. I love my clients and the people I work with.”

 

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Judy Lost 2 Sizes and 26 Pounds!

Strength training helped Judy, 66, 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.

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. For Judy Schons, it wasn’t for lack of trying. She did the obligatory one-hour block at her health club, whether that was a spinning 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,” she says. “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.

Suffice it to say, The Perfect Workout’s two workouts per week of only 20 minutes each were a big draw. 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.”

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The slow-motion workouts fit perfectly into Judy’s schedule, and trainer Sarah Speers at the Mission Valley studio made sure she got the most out of every session. “Sarah pushes me to exhaustion, and constantly encourages me. She’s a very interesting person, and the 20 minutes flies by. I wouldn’t do this on my own,” says Judy. 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 still 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,” she says. During a recent challenge at The Perfect Workout, she lost another 10 pounds, just in time for her 15th anniversary, where she debuted her new svelte look. “I got a lot of compliments on the dress!” 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 those heavy bags of soil from Home Depot, hits the golf ball a good 30 yards further than the women she plays with, and isn’t huffing and puffing after pushing her cart for four or five hours at The Vineyard or Admiral Baker North. Even better, she’s now wearing whatever she wants – skinny jeans, skirts, sundresses, shorts, and sleeveless tops. Her next objective is to wear a bathing suit on a cruise she and her husband are taking in July from Montreal down to Boston. “I’m delighted! I don’t have the ‘wiggle wobble’ in my arms. I enjoy The Perfect Workout, and I really look forward to going to this gym. I’m very happy with what it’s done for my body.”

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