The Inspiration that Created The Perfect Workout with Founder Matt Hedman Pt. 1

The Inspiration That Created The Perfect Workout With Founder Matt Hedman Pt. 1

The Inspiration That Created The Perfect Workout With Founder Matt Hedman Pt. 1

The workout Inspiration that created The Perfect Workout

The Perfect Workout began in 1999 with one trainer, in one studio, delivering one remarkable workout.

But the origins of our company didn’t exactly begin with a grand vision to Revolutionize the Way People Exercise. It started when Matt Hedman was diagnosed with a progressive joint disease at age 20 and was faced with the possibility of undergoing major joint surgery and giving up his passion for exercise.

In part one of this multi-part series, we sit down with Matt Hedman, the CEO and Founder of The Perfect Workout for a glimpse into the inception of our company, a greater understanding of our methodology and the man behind it all.

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Ever since Matt got his first weight lifting set at the young age of 10, he’s been all in when it comes to fitness. Which means he has been actively strength training for 38 years.

Between the ages of 10 and 20, Matt describes the way in which he used to lift weights as “haphazardly doing whatever,” following whatever he read in the latest exercise book that he was reading.

By the time he was 20 years old, he was lifting weights for 2 hours a day, 6 days a week… that’s 12 hours of lifting weights and exercising per week. That's almost a part time job!

matt hedman lifting weights at a young age

The Injury

Matt was in college and had developed a chronic pain in his left shoulder. It was so painful that even writing would hurt.

He eventually went to a specialist who x-rayed his shoulder and told him he had Osteolysis, which means “vanishing bone.”

The x-ray found that the end of the bone should have been nice and round and smooth. Instead, it was all jagged and there was so much inflammation in the shoulder, the bone was actually being eaten away.

The specialist told him this only happens in about 1% of people that lift weights. She instructed Matt to take two months off of any weight training exercise which involved the shoulder, then they’d x-ray again and see if the issue had improved.

When Matt returned for his follow-up x-ray, the bone in question had become round and smooth again. Fortunately, it had healed, which ultimately allowed him to avoid surgery.

He was given the green light to lift weights again with some minor adjustments to exercises. Eager to exercise his upper body again, Matt went back into the gym and resumed lifting weights in the “haphazard” way he always did.

“My shoulder just started to hurt again, which was disturbing and frustrating. I was 20 years old, presumably someone who'd be young and healthy and have the best opportunity to not have joints that would hurt.”

weightlifters shoulder injury human anatomy
image source: shoulder and elbow specialist

The Experiment

During this time, Matt attended the University of Washington in Seattle and stumbled upon a book in a bookstore at the University District.

It was a book by Ellington Darden, who used to be the director of research at Nautilus, the company that makes strength training machines we use in our studios. He's written about 50 books on strength training, nutrition, fitness and exercise. This particular book was geared towards young males who wanted to build bigger muscles, Bigger Muscles in 42 Days.

One of the chapters spent a significant amount of time talking about how slower movement speeds minimize impact forces on your joints and make it safer for your joints. That peaked Matt’s interest since he was experiencing his own issue with his shoulder.

The routines in Darden’s book sounded bizarre to him because at the time he was loosely following the exercise guidelines from Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. Matt was doing five sets of 10 repetitions or so of each exercise and was still working out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week.

“I was in college and I didn't know how much exercise that was. Now with being 48 with two young children and trying to grow our company, it's like, “Who would ever have time for that?”

At the time, it's all he knew. The routine from Darden’s book included working out every other day for about a half an hour per workout, just one set of repetitions per exercise, going very slowly 10 seconds up, five seconds down.

Matt was thinking, ‘Oh gosh, will this ever work?’”

Fortunately, there was a case study in that book that featured Keith Whitley, a big bodybuilder. During the six week program he gained 32 pounds of muscle in 42 days. That proof, combined with the shoulder problem Matt was facing, was motivation enough to give it a try.

Strength training body builder results

So he did and Matt gained significant results, very quickly.

Matt put on 10 pounds of muscle in the first 9 days of his new workout regimen.

“I thought I was working hard before when I was working out 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. It turns out I just didn't know what hard work was.

Once I learned how to make my muscles work harder, I put on 10 pounds of muscle in 9 days.

Matt Hedman

Matt’s shoulder problem also went away within about the first week and never bothered him again.

“I've been a raving fan of this method ever since. I've been personally doing this and variations of this in my own workouts for the last 28 years.”

Despite being passionate about fitness and spending more than enough time in the gym, Matt was not in the fitness industry. He had earned his degree in Aerospace Engineering.

“I went to work for GE nuclear energy in San Jose and saw my life flashing before my eyes in the second floor building in the GE complex and it wasn't what I wanted to do with my life.”

So he quit after 11 months and started working at 24-Hour Fitness. He worked for them and another fitness company for a total of 3 years before starting The Perfect Workout back in May of 1999.

During the 3 years prior to starting The Perfect Workout, Matt acquired several different certifications from mainstream fitness organizations like American Council on Exercise and National Academy of Sports Medicine. But the most important certifications he acquired were through the Super Slow Exercise Guild.

Matt became a Master SuperSlow Instructor under the apprenticeship of Ken Hutchins, the architect behind SuperSlow exercise philosophy and methodology.

There were 3 different levels to becoming a Master SuperSlow Instructor:

Level 1: was more extensive than any of the other mainstream certifications Matt had received. ACE or NASM certifications (which are still common today) generally involve a multiple choice test, and if you scored 70% you were certified. The SuperSlow Level 1 certification involves at least one written test if not more, one or two verbal tests and an extensive practical examination showing that you were capable of teaching exercise.

Many aspects of that certification became the inspiration for The Perfect Workout’s certification program.

Level 2: involved more written and oral testing with Ken Hutchins, building on the work of Arthur Jones (the inventor of Nautilus),but really putting some further refinements to it. Matt spent 9 days shadowing Ken for 14 hours a day and doing various tests.

Level 3: it was up to Ken Hutchins to appoint the achievement of Master Instructor. Once Level 3 was passed, Matt represented the guild and was then able to certify other instructors to be level 1 instructors.

Matt Hedman slow motion leg press at The Perfect Workout

The Workout

After becoming SuperSlow certified, a unique exercise experience sparked an idea in Matt that would eventually transform into the beginnings of The Perfect Workout.

He was visiting friends in Seattle and knew there was a facility nearby that used the slow-motion method. Greg and Ann-Marie Anderson owned Ideal Exercise and Greg would be the one to put Matt through a very memorable workout.

Matt was coached through just 4 exercises: the Smith Machine squat, the old Nautilus hip and back machine (a glute and hamstring exercise), weight assisted chin up and then a push up.

The Machine that brought Matt to his knees!

While on the Smith Machine he began doing some repetitions, and sure enough it got extremely difficult five or six reps in. In the next rep or two, he got about halfway up and couldn't complete the repetition, he was pushing as hard as he could.

“There was no music going on. There was a blank white wall right in front of me. There's no distractions and Greg was somewhere behind me. All I could hear was his voice saying, ‘Keep pushing!’ Then I got to the point where I couldn't even hold it up anymore. I was trying to make it go higher, but I couldn’t even hold it still and sort of forcing me down and Greg just said, “Keep pushing.”’

By the way, Matt doesn’t recommend doing exercises to this extent anymore. Pushing to muscle success is crucial, but pushing beyond that for 5, 15, 30 seconds is unnecessary. It’s much more than a person needs to train for optimal results. He states, “We just didn't know any better back then.”

Once Greg gave Matt the okay to back off from pushing, Matt’s legs were so fatigued he could not stand up. So what did he do? He crawled to the next machine!

After the 4 exercises were done, Matt found himself lying on the ground with arms burning and Greg brought him this tiny little 2oz cup of water and all he could think was… “this is incredible!”

He compared his experience with what he was trying to do in his own workouts and with his clients back at 24-Hour Fitness. It was night and day as far as the distraction-free environment, the incredible low-friction equipment, and expert instruction.

He thought to himself, “Hey, I could make a place like this down in Southern California.” But first, he went to work for Greg and Anne Marie at Ideal Exercise for about a year, had a short stint at 24-hour fitness again and then opened up the first location of The Perfect Workout.

In May of 1999, Matt founded our first location in La Jolla, California and was the owner, operator and only trainer at the time.

Matt continued to train clients one-on-one for a number of years as he gradually began to certify others and grow the business into the 60+ location, nationwide company it is today.

Matt Hedman Coaching a client at The Perfect Workout

The Impact

It’s been years since Matt has personally trained clients, but some memorable stories still stick with him.

“Barbara Nas– she was a cancer survivor. I know she was at least a grandmother or might have been a great grandmother and I think also had MS. She had multiple different conditions which were going on. She was able to walk but she needed to use a cane to walk. John (her trainer) used to say he could always hear when Barbara was coming in because he could hear the clacking of the cane coming down the hallway before she opened the door and came in

There was one day where she was supposed to come in and there wasn't any clacking of the cane, and the reason was because she didn't need to use her cane anymore.

In other words, she was able to get strong enough to where the cane was no longer necessary. I've seen John tell the story before and just the look of satisfaction on his face and saying, ‘I thought my biggest success was going to be someone gaining 20 pounds of muscle or losing 50 pounds of fat or whatever, but that was probably the most satisfaction that I've had is hearing her walk down the hallway without the clicking of the cane.’”

We've been fortunate as a company to have helped many more like Barbara improve the quality of their lives in this way.

When Matt first became a personal trainer, he did it because he was just really interested in exercise. He didn’t really have any idea that he would be doing more to help people beyond losing weight and building muscle…

Matt Hedman coaching a female client at The Perfect Workout

When he was working at Ideal Exercise up in Seattle, there were a number of people with MS they worked with. “One woman in particular who needed to use a walker to walk and even then she could barely walk even with a walker but she told us if it wasn't for the strength training she was doing with us she wouldn't be able to walk at all.”

It was then he noticed that slow-motion strength training benefits went beyond getting bigger muscles and leaner bodies.

Over the last 20 years, the impact of The Perfect Workout has directly reached over 30,000 people including Matt’s own family.

Matt is husband to wife, Julie, and father to two adorable children, Jack and Ava.

Julie and many other family members have also incorporated slow-motion strength training into their fitness routines. But being able to provide this method to his own mother is particularly special.

At 78 years young, Matt’s mom has been actively training at our Mission Valley studio for years and is currently working out in her senior living facility with our Virtual Training Program.

If having a son as the CEO of a personal training company wasn’t enough, she actually had an even greater motivation to exercise in this way.

Matt’s grandmother, his mom’s mom, had Osteoporosis and as she got older she started getting Kyphosis in her spine– which is when you start to get hunched over. The Kyphosis got progressively worse and worse with age. By the time that she was in her early to mid-80s, the Kyphosis was so severe that the bones had become too soft and could not prevent the collapse of her chest cavity, greatly reducing the amount of oxygen she was able to get.

Eventually, she couldn't breathe effectively and she passed away around the age of 86.

“I'm not sure if this is the immediate cause of death when she actually died, but it was certainly influenced by it.”

Matt’s grandmother had one son and five daughters including his mom.

“All five of them are very concerned, if not petrified to end up the same way that their mother did. But my mom, she's been doing strength training for a number of years actually, she's a good example of that.”

Slow-Motion Strength Training was originally created at the University of Florida as a solution to treat women with Osteoporosis because it was proven to help build bone density in addition to muscle and other incredible benefits. The Perfect Workout for women who want to fight Osteoporosis? We think so!

decades of research on slow motion strength training

What You Should Know About Slow-Motion Strength Training, According to Matt Hedman:

“Slow motion strength training allows a person to get incredible fitness results without having to spend your life in the gym.

I named our company The Perfect Workout over 20 years ago with the idea that people can get better results than just about anything else a person's going to do in the name of exercise.

It's safer on the joints than just about anything else for exercise and it's super time-efficient, 20 minutes, twice a week to get essentially optimal results.

Over the years, what I've found is that the thing which people usually get most interested in is the trial. People oftentimes are skeptical that you can get any results from 20 minutes. But even for people who think you should be spending your life in the gym, the vast majority of the results that can be gotten from exercise, can be done in just minutes a week, 20 minutes, twice a week.

Plus it has all these other great benefits for Osteoporosis, metabolic benefits, myokines, increase in basal metabolic rate which helps with fat loss, and there's probably a lot of stuff which we don't or we aren't even aware of yet….

You really can get great health with just less than an hour a week. I'm not saying the 20 minutes are easy. They're not. But if you do it right and challenge yourself, then you'll get incredible results and you won't have to spend the rest of your life in the gym.

What the methodology does is basically allows you to push yourself as hard as you're willing to push yourself, but it won't force you to push any further than you're willing to push yourself. So there's no danger of thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm not going to be able to do this. It sounds way too hard.’ It's challenging, especially if you want to get good results, but you won't be challenged any more beyond that because it's just the right amount for you.”

 

Stay tuned for more from our Founder, Matt Hedman…

 

Haven’t experienced Slow-Motion Strength Training for yourself?

The Secret to A Successful Workout

The Secret To a Successful workout

Woman experiencing muscle failure

The secret to a successful workout is…

NOT the equipment.
NOT the cold water in between exercises.
NOT even the incredible Trainers. 😲

Though all of those things can vastly improve the quality of your workout, the true secret to getting everything you want out of a training session is this-

Muscle Success.

In this article we discuss the necessity of achieving temporary muscle failure in your workouts and why it's the ultimate goal of every exercise you ever do.

“Muscle Success” should be your goal every time you workout.

By muscle success you might think I mean better tone, firmer muscles, greater strength, or more lean muscle tissue that burns extra calories. Each of those certainly represents a type of success, but I'm referring to something else by the term “muscle success.”

So what do I mean by “muscle success”?

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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Why is Muscle Success Important?

It’s when the greatest benefits for your body are stimulated. This deep momentary 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.

But this isn’t exactly easy to achieve on your own. It's certainly a lot easier to quit each set of repetitions before you reach muscle success. Which is why working with a Personal Trainer is so beneficial.

Fatiguing down to this success point during a set of repetitions is not fun while you're actually 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 that each full body workout is only 20 minutes and results that are stimulated from achieving muscle success on each exercise are enormous: 

  1. Greater strength 
  2. More endurance 
  3. Additional calorie-burning lean muscle tissue 
  4. Reversing age related muscle loss (sarcopenia) 
  5. Increased metabolism for how many calories 
  6. Improved fat loss 
  7. Stronger bones 
  8. Reversing aging of muscle cells (express younger DNA in the nuclei) 
  9. Improved cardiovascular fitness 
  10. Improved cholesterol levels 
  11. Lower blood pressure 
  12. Improved low back pain
  13. Better blood sugar control you burn even while you're resting 
  14. Improved immune system 
  15. A number of other benefits 
reasons why muscle success, Man experiencing muscle failure

Even more benefits

I’d like to discuss two benefits of muscle success which aren’t talked about as often: cardiovascular health and an objective way to track your progress. 

The Journal of Exercise Physiology examined the same topic which looked at 157 studies, focused on the cardiovascular benefits provided by strength training to muscle success. 

While strength training in general provides several improvements to the cardiovascular system, the authors noted that many benefits are received or amplified only when training to muscle success. 

For example, after three months of training, men and women of various ages had enduring improvements in overall blood flow due to muscle success. Training to complete exhaustion increased artery size in another study. This is positive as larger arteries are less likely to experience a heart attack-causing blockage in the same way that adding lanes to a highway reduces the chances of having a traffic jam. 

Pushing to muscle success also increases the ability of arteries to expand when blood flow increases, which reduces the stress experienced by artery walls. 

Training to muscle success benefits your health in ways that may not occur if you train with lower intensity and don’t reach that point. 

Muscle Failure infographic

performance tracking

Also, you gain the benefit of an objective assessment of your performance. 

If you reach muscle success when lifting 200 pounds in 60 seconds on the leg press, we have measures of your current ability in regards to your leg and hip strength. 

If you arbitrarily stopped at 60 seconds (sick of feeling “the burn,” bored, etc.), the time you lifted for doesn’t provide us with any objective information. 

Who knows how much longer you could have performed the set for? 

If you train for 70 seconds the following session, we cannot say it’s an improvement – you may have been capable of that performance during your previous visit.

As you see, in addition to improvements in strength and appearance, muscle success stimulates greater changes in your cardiovascular system and gives you a way to objectively measure your progress. Therefore, the next time you encounter the discomfort of the last few reps, keep pushing. I promise: the extra effort is worth it. 

Muscle failure workout data
muscle failure graph for chest press

the magic happens at fatigue

I've experienced firsthand the difference that achieving muscle success can make. Prior to stumbling upon slow-motion strength training in 1992, I used to exercise with traditional methods of weight 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 dramatically as a result. 

Muscle Failure-Matt Hedman Founder

My superior results were because I'd learned to make my muscles work harder. The higher intensity-pushing harder at the end of each exercise stimulated much better improvements in my body. And because my effort and intensity were significantly higher than before, by necessity my workouts had to be shorter. 

I advocate moving very slowly during every weight training repetition (approximately 10 seconds to lift the weight on each rep). But for results, fatiguing to the point of muscle success is actually more important than how slowly you move. 

Moving slowly during strength training is beneficial for great results too. It's just that reaching muscle success plays an even bigger role for results. Ideally you want to both achieve muscle success and move very slowly on every exercise. 

On each of your exercises as you near muscle success and your repetitions start to get challenging, try to cultivate a mindset of looking forward to the burning and shaking sensations you're experiencing. It’s where the magic happens!

Reference 

Steele, J., Fisher, J., McGuff, D., Bruce-Low, S., & Smith, D. (2012). Resistance training to momentary muscular failure improves cardiovascular fitness in humans: a review of acute physiological responses and chronic physiological adaptations. J Exerc Physiol15, 53-80.

7 EXERCISE MYTHS: How Slow-Motion Strength Training is the Solution to them All

7 Exercise Myths: How Slow-Motion Strength Training Is The Solution To Them All

Exercise Myths Man Leg press

You could be sabotaging your workouts with 7 exercise myths.

Today we will identify those myths and prove that Slow-Motion Strength Training is the best possible form of exercise you can do to get the results you want.

One of the most common things we hear after someone tries our method for the first time is,
“I’ve been exercising the wrong way my entire life.”

And chances are, you might be too!

In this article, we are going to dive deep into the exercise methodology that has helped us provide the perfect workout to over 40,000 people in the last 20 years and all the reasons why you won’t want to exercise any other way.

Exercise Myths Chart

We know there are a million workout options out there to choose from and although we’d love to show you how our method beats them all, for the sake of this article we will be comparing Slow Motion-Strength Training to two of the most common ways in which people exercise: The Traditional Method and Aerobic-only method.

LET’S DEFINE EACH METHOD:

Slow Motion Strength Training (SMST):

Each exercise is performed by lifting weights or added resistance for approximately 10 seconds and lowering the weight for another 10 seconds with correct form and proper resistance. The ultimate goal is to achieve momentary muscular failure (aka. muscle success) within 1 to 2 minutes. Then on to the next exercise!

Slowing the lifting speed reduces momentum on each repetition and activates the muscles instantly and more effectively. As a result, more muscle fibers are used and ultimately strengthened. One session consists of anywhere between 5-9 exercises and is generally performed 1-2 times a week.

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Aerobic Only Method

According to Health.com, Aerobic exercise is defined as moving “your large muscle groups (think legs, glutes, and core) at the same time, usually in a rhythmic way, and for an extended period of time.”

This includes activities like running, walking, biking, and swimming, and they range from low to high intensity and can be performed anywhere from 30-90 minutes, 2-7 days a week typically.

Exercise Myth Woman Riding Bike

The Traditional Method:

We call this “traditional” because we believe it's the most widely practiced approach to exercise. This method is a combination of both strength training and aerobic exercises.

A common traditional exercise program consists of lower body strength training, upper body strength training, abdominal exercises and aerobic activity such as running or cycling. Most of the time, the training days are broken up into what is commonly referred to as ‘splits” where one day is focused on one area of the body, and the other day is focused on another, and so on.

Depending on the person, they may spend anywhere from 3-6 days a week in the gym for 1-2 hours. So for this example we will use a 4 day a week, 1 hour a day program.

Exercise myth woman traditional training battle ropes

Why do we exercise in the first place?

It’s important to outline why we exercise, identify the benefits of exercise and to make the distinction between exercise and recreation.

Exercise gives us physical benefits whereas recreation fulfills our psychological and emotional needs. According to High Intensity Exercise philosophy: exercise is performing a demanding and meaningful activity, anatomically and safely, of a sufficient intensity to stimulate the body to make anatomic and metabolic adaptive growth changes within a minimum period of time.

Anything else is considered recreation.

Exercise Vs Recreation compared

It is possible to experience all three types of benefits from exercise, but the reason why we make this clear distinction that exercise is high-intensity strength training, and anything else is recreation. So, we want to prioritize exercise first.

Why?

The benefits of exercise largely outweigh the benefits of recreation, and enhance your recreation. The benefits of slow-motion strength training will have an overall effect on your life: such as helping you become a better runner, giving you more energy to play with the grandkids, and improving your golf game by increasing your strength to hit the ball further. 

So by prioritizing exercise over recreation, you get a trickle-down effect that makes your recreational activities easier and more enjoyable.

So many of us end up confusing actual benefits with assumed benefits when it comes to exercise. I could probably wager that 90% of you reading this article have done activities like running, burpees, stair climbers and other things you absolutely hated doing, because you thought it was the thing you needed to do to reach your goal or to achieve a specific benefit.

So in order to prove to you that SMST is the best exercise method out there, we’d like to debunk some myths about exercise while simultaneously illustrating how SMST is the solution for you.

MYTH 1: I need to do “cardio” to get any cardiovascular benefits.

Many people will exercise to improve their Cardiovascular system. When you exercise the muscles in your body, particularly the larger muscles, it increases blood flow. This increase in heart rate and blood flow stimulates the capillaries in the bloodstream to expand. This expansion allows for more oxygen to enter the blood making your heart more effective in removing waste and toxins from the system.

Why is this a benefit?

By supplying the heart with exercise, you reap the Cardiovascular benefits such as:

Exercise Myths Cardiovascular benefits of strength training

(Read more about Cardio Benefits from Strength Training Here)


Who wouldn’t want that?

The common approach to getting these benefits is doing aerobic activity– also known as “cardio.”

Think about your own experiences. Think about how running a mile, hiking a steep hill, or even just tackling the flight of stairs at the end of the day makes your heart feel like it’s going to beat out of your chest.

Can you achieve them by doing the Traditional Method or Aerobics only? Yes.

However, with SMST you do it faster, more efficiently and it’s definitely safer on your body.

Aerobics, particularly high impact aerobics like running or plyometrics can be hard on the joints

Your genetics play a significant part in determining whether or not you will run into joint issues such as arthritis or osteoarthritis, and activities like aerobics can worsen the issue. The downside to that is most people have to find out the hard way by either getting injured or suffering from chronic knee or other joint pain from years of aerobics, and they had no idea it was hurting them.

One of the things that makes SMST so exceptional is that there is virtually no stress or strain put on the joints when performed correctly. In fact, the muscles are primarily under the load of the weight the entire exercise, making it both safe and effective. So, it is safe for everyone– joint issues or not– and you don’t have to find out the hard way!

Exercise Myths Full Range of Motion

Let’s Talk a Little Bit More About Strength Training and the Cardiovascular System.

Remember how in the beginning of this article we specified that the goal of SMST is to achieve muscle failure?

Lifting weights to momentary muscle failure has been proven to be a successful factor in improving the Cardiovascular system.

Studies have found that “Resistance training performed to failure can induce acute and chronic physiological effects which appear to be similar to aerobic endurance training, which in turn produces similar enhancements in CV fitness. “ (from: Resistance Training to MMF)

While strength training in general provides several improvements to the cardiovascular system, many benefits are received or amplified only when training to muscle success.

For example, after three months of training, men and women of various ages had enduring improvements in overall blood flow due to muscle success training. Training to complete exhaustion increased artery size in another study.

This is a good thing because larger arteries are less likely to experience a heart attack-causing blockage in the same way that adding lanes to a highway reduces the chances of having a traffic jam. Finally, pushing to muscle success also increases the ability of arteries to expand when blood flow increases, which reduces the stress experienced by artery walls.

SMST has a positive effect on your cardiovascular system, without the danger of affecting your joints, as it does with aerobic exercise.

MYTH 2: I need to do “cardio” to lose weight.

Just doing cardio? Oh, you’ll lose weight alright. By just doing aerobic activities like walking, running, elliptical, etc. you lose overall body weight– not just fat.

Along with fat, you lose muscle, bone, and tissue that support your ability to walk, run, balance and perform daily functions with ease and strength.

A 2007 study put overweight and obese women through 25 weeks of a restricted diet that was complimented with either “aerobic” activity, or strength training, or no exercise at all. Both the strength training and “aerobic” groups lost 26 lbs. of fat, slightly more than the women who only dieted.

Exercise myths The Formula for Weight Loss

However, here’s the difference: the strength training group not only maintained their lean mass (muscle, bone, water, and other organs), but actually gained a little. The “aerobic” and diet-only groups lost two and three pounds of lean mass. (Read more about this study- Losing Fat and Fat ONLY)

There is really no evidence that aerobic exercise or cardio is required for fat loss. In addition, simply increasing your activity level to burn extra calories is not efficient for fat loss. The single most effective method for fat loss is proper nutrition.

Ever heard the saying, “You can't out-exercise a bad diet.” There’s some truth to that!

Fat loss programs work best when you combine proper nutrition, slow motion strength training, and drinking water. Aerobics isn’t not needed to lose fat.

See image below for a study comparing fat loss results between methods:

Exercise myths Darden diet comparison

MYTH 3: More Repetitions, More Exercises, the Better.

The saying, more is NOT better absolutely applies here.

Weights are generally lifted for sets of multiple repetitions. Each time you lift and lower a weight, it is one repetition. Multiple repetitions makes up a set, and once you have stopped or taken a break from lifting the set is over.

The most common way to lift is used in the Traditional Method where you lift for 3 sets of 10 repetitions, whether you hit muscle failure or not. Lifting speeds vary but on average let’s assume the traditional speed is 2 seconds lifting, 1 second pausing, and  4 seconds lowering.

The Slow-Motion Method we use at The Perfect Workout uses lifting for 1 set until muscle failure. If the exercise is performed for 1-2 minutes, which is the recommended length of time to achieve maximum efficiency and effectiveness, then that generally ends up being 3-6 repetitions. The lifting speed used is 10 seconds lifting, 0-3 seconds pausing, and 10 seconds lowering.

Exercise Myths Slow motion vs traditional

Multiple studies have shown that doing extra work– multiple sets vs. one set– does not produce greater results. In fact, studies have shown that SMST can produce about a 50% greater increase in strength for both men and women than regular speed training.

Another important and sometimes overlooked factor is the amount of time spent recovering. SMST is only performed 1-2 times a week in comparison to the Traditional Method of 4 times a week.

There’s a reason for that!

The body needs enough time to rest, recover, and grow stronger. When doing high intensity exercise like SMST, we found that most people get best results from working out every 72-96 hours.

Exercise myths recovery resources

We want just the right amount of exercise stress in a given period of time, and no more. Working out again before the body has made changes may hamper results.

So, more is not better. 

MYTH 4: Lifting Heavy Weights is Not Safe.

Picture a bodybuilder, lifting a barbell with massive weighted plates above his head while he grunts, holds his breath and veins start popping out of his reddening forehead.

Of course that looks unsafe… and unless you’re a trained Olympic Lifter, it is.

First let’s see if we can reframe the mindset here and replace the idea of “lifting heavy weights” with lifting with “enough resistance.”

What’s heavy to me may be light for you, or vice versa.

Finding enough resistance is a crucial part of achieving muscle failure in a timeframe that is going to be effective…. And that is unique to the individual.

In one study, participants performed a routine with light weights and high reps or a routine with heavier weights that limited them to fewer reps. Both routines were similar in that all sets were performed to the fatigue point of “Muscle Success.” The training lasted six weeks.

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(Read More about Recovery & High Intensity Exercise)


The light-weight group performed about three-times as many reps…and gained less strength and muscle! In fact, the heavier-weight group gained about three-times the amount of strength.

Electromyography tests showed the heavier-weight, low-rep routine stimulated progressively more muscle fiber usage throughout the study. This was not the case for the low-weight group.

This result is important for a few reasons. It means heavier weight is needed to perpetually challenge muscles. It also explains why the heavier weight group gained more strength and muscle (more fibers trained means more fibers were improved). (Read More about this study- Enough Resistance is Critical)

As long as you maintain good, proper form, the exercise becomes safer as the muscles become more deeply fatigued. In fact, the last reps are the most productive reps performed, and they are also the safest since they are physically unable to produce enough force to strain (assuming form is not broken).

The rep in which muscle success is achieved is potentially the most productive rep. Don’t cheat yourself out of the last “impossible” rep; embrace it. 

MYTH 5: If I lift weights, I’ll get big & bulky

We hear this mostly from the ladies, and you’ll be happy to know that it's actually really hard to get big and bulky, especially if you are a female.

Strength Training in general creates lean muscle mass, and the keyword there is lean (not mass). Muscle takes up less space in the body than fat does.

Muscle

  • More Dense
  • Takes up Less Space
  • Burns More Calories
  • Improves Bone Mass
  • Reduces Injury Risk
  • Increase Definition

Fat

  • Takes Up More Space
  • Can Lead To Obesity
  • Increased Risk Of: Disease,
    Diabetes, High Blood Pressure,
    Kidney Disease, Stroke,
    And Other Diseases

MYTH 6: I need to do fast repetitions

It makes the most sense to compare SMST with the Traditional Method here, considering Aerobic-Only does not include lifting weights whatsoever.

SMST uses the 10-10 approach to lifting speeds, meaning you lift the weight for 10 seconds and lower it for another 10 seconds.

In addition, there is no rest between each repetition. The muscles stay fully loaded (working at all times) until the point of muscle failure is achieved.

Why do we go so slow?

By slowing down the lifting speed we reduce the chance of injury during the exercise. Most injuries come from excessive force and momentum.

Imagine running as fast as you can at a wall– there’s a lot of acceleration behind you. That collision will surely hurt and result in injury.

Now imagine placing your hands on the wall and pushing against it with 25% strength, then 50% strength, then 100% strength. There’s practically no acceleration and the force against the wall can be controlled and abandoned at any time.

There is no collision, and certainly no injury.

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MYTH 7: High Intensity isn’t Safe. Low Intensity is safer.

Workouts must be brief if they are going to be effective. You can either work out hard or you can work out for a long period of time, but you cannot do both. We want just the right amount of exercise stress in a workout and no more.

Evidence has shown that one slow motion set per exercise yields the best results when you work hard for a short period of time and achieve muscle failure.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?

Exercise Myths Cardio Benefits

Cardiovascular benefits can be achieved through all 3 methods we outlined today. SMST is the best solution because these benefits can be achieved faster, more efficiently and is safer on joints. The Traditional Method uses force and momentum, which are injury-causing movements. Aerobics can be hard on the joints, particularly for those prone to cartilage degeneration and arthritis.

Exercise Myths you do not need aerobics to lose weight

You do not need to do aerobics to lose weight. You can achieve fat loss with any of the three methods compared in this article, but a proper diet will yield the best results and SMST will aid in efficiently helping you gain fat-burning muscle.

Exercise Myths more is better

More is not better when it comes to exercise. This applies to the amount of repetitions you do as well as the number of workouts per week. The body best responds to short, brief and intense strength training exercises and needs ample time to rest, recover and grow in between sessions. Anything beyond that can hamper results, which is why doing SMST 2 times a week is all you need.

Exercise Myths weight lifting isn't safe

Lifting heavy weights or strength training with enough resistance is safe when done correctly. In fact, it gets safer with every repetition when using our slow lifting speeds. Exercising with enough resistance will use more (and deeper) muscle fibers that stimulate growth in the body. 

Exercise Myths faster is better

Exercising with slow speeds (when lifting weights) also prevents common injuries that result from using excessive force or momentum. Making the exercise safer and more challenging which contributes to it being an extremely effective method.

Exercise Myths lifting weights makes you bulk

Lifting weights does not make you big and bulky. It adds lean muscle mass to your body which helps to burn fat. Aerobic only exercises don't build muscle, yet often accelerate the loss of muscle, bone and tissue. So don’t waste away with aerobic only, and make time for strength training!

We exercise for a number of reasons, goals and benefits.

With that being said–
If you love to run, please by all means RUN!
If you love to swim, swim your hearts out!
If you love the high you get from a spin class or a bike ride in the mountains, do what makes your soul happy!

We’re not interested in getting on a soapbox and saying slow-motion strength training is the only thing you should ever do to move your body.

Not one bit.

What we want you to take away from this article is that slow-motion strength training is truly the best possible thing you could be doing for your health and fitness and will help to enhance all other areas of your life including the activities you love to do and how you feel about yourself.

Family at beach

Remember, Exercise by our definition can get you these benefits:

  • Decreased Body Fat*
  • Increased Basal Metabolic Rate*
  • Increased Strength*
  • Increased Bone Density*
  • Increased Cardiovascular Efficiency*
  • Increased Glucose Tolerance*
  • Increased HDL Cholesterol*
  • Decreased Blood Pressure*
  • Increased Resistance to Injury
  • Improved Flexibility
  • Improved Immune System

**Biomarkers of Aging
(From Dr. Alexander's High Intensity Exercise)

Exercise Myths Chart

Can you achieve all of these benefits with Aerobics only?

No. The Aerobic-Only won’t increase your strength, bone density, resistance to injury or necessarily help you lose fat.

Can you achieve all of these benefits with the Traditional Method?

Possibly. The Strength training aspect alone will provide you with more life changing benefits than anything, but again you run the risk of sacrificing three very important pillars to exercise: safety, efficiency and effectiveness. The areas to be concerned about with this method is not gaining strength (if strength training is not efficient) and getting injured (if workouts are not performed safely).

Can you achieve all these benefits with Slow-Motion Strength Training?

Yes. But you knew that by now right?

And the best part is you can do it in 20 minutes, twice a week.

Our trainers are waiting to help you get started.

Information used in this article derived from the following sources:

Muscle Success-Why to do it

Losing Fat and Fat ONLY

Enough Resistance is Critical

When Strength Training Becomes Cardio

Is One Set Enough?

Resistance Training to MMF

Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D. (and others) Effects of Regular and Slow Speed Resistance Training on Muscle Strength, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 2001, Vol 41, Iss 2. Pp 154-158

The Nautilus Book, Ellington Darden, Ph.D., Copyright 1990 Contemporary Books, Chicago, IL, P. 85

Total Conditioning: A Case Study. Athletic Journal. Vol. 56: 40-55, 1975

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11447355

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/epub/10.1161/01.CIR.0000048890.59383.8D

This Trainer is Helping All Ages Build Strength & Better Health

Sarah Demott Personal Trainer

Sarah DeMott grew up thinking she knew the necessities of exercise and nutrition. But when she learned being healthy and strong would take more than eating whole grains and doing aerobics, she took a new approach to fitness.

“I thought that weightlifting was for the dudes to get stronger and bigger. It was just definitely out of my realm of what I thought that I needed to do.”

Sarah learned quickly that strength training was most definitely for women and it was something she needed to incorporate into her lifestyle.

Once she changed her routine by incorporating slow-motion strength training and a strict diet, Sarah was able to get into the best shape of her life.

“I was 180 pounds in high school, very unhealthy. I believe all the muscle I built doing slow-motion strength training helped me get down to about 132 pounds. I became a believer pretty quickly.”

Now, Sarah is leading the team in Clear Lake, TX and helping clients reshape their bodies and health too.

Sarah Demott Tree background

Strength Training No Matter Your Age

As a personal trainer, Sarah gets to work with people of all ages, physical abilities, and fitness goals. 

One young woman, Nicole, lives with a major chronic fatigue syndrome. Nicole had to use a wheelchair most of the time because she wasn’t able to stand for extended periods. 

She hadn't driven in years, she had to stop going to school because she couldn't walk across campus anymore, and she was on multiple medications and injections every day.

But none of them were helping.

What ultimately helped were two major things: slow-motion strength training and changing her diet.

When Nicole first started training with Sarah, she needed assistance getting from machine to machine. As Nicole got stronger and was able to increase resistance on each exercise, her life started coming back together.

She was able to get out of the wheelchair, she started running again, and even was able to go up and down the stairs without help – something she couldn’t do before.

At one point Nicole was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to walk down the aisle at her wedding, so that became a big goal for Nicole and Sarah to work toward.

With a lot of consistency and hard work, Nicole was able to stand up on her wedding day and walk down the aisle towards her new life, and Sarah was there to witness it.

“It was amazing, so beautiful. She is a completely different person today than she was when I first met her.”

Sarah is working with another woman whose goals are a little different.

“She's a lifer. And it's not because she loves me. It's not because she loves the workout. She visually sees the decline in her mother and how she can't take care of herself. And she doesn't want that.”

At The Perfect Workout we work with a lot of people in this middle stage of life where focusing on the future feels more important than ever. We meet them where they’re at and work with them to take control of their health and future. 

Sarah recently helped a male client take control of his life. He had severe diabetes, was overweight, and the doctor told him he needed to do something about it.

“His doctor told him, if you don't change something, you're gonna die in probably about two years.”

He began by making changes to his diet, becoming more active in his daily life, and found a personal trainer at The Perfect Workout.

After making those changes to his diet, lifestyle, and consistently doing slow-motion strength training, he’s gotten his life under control. His diabetes is no longer an issue and his doctor is very happy with his progress.

The Perfect Workout Mindset

You can get effective exercise in a small amount of time. We’ve been programmed to think that quantity is better than quality, and that's not the case. 

You don't have to spend an entire day working out and putting that much strain on your body to get the same (or better) results as you can get in 20 minutes, twice a week.

“People see a difference in their bodies in such a short amount of time, especially people that have never done weightlifting before. It doesn't take very long for your muscles to snap out of that stagnant state that they've been in for so long.”

Another thing people struggle with is time. The Perfect Workout method is only 20 minutes. Everybody has 20 minutes that they can focus on themselves. It's not only good physically, but mentally too, because you're doing something for you

“I can say working on physical health and mental health is extremely important. Take that time and focus on your own health, because you can't pour from an empty cup.”

Too many people sacrifice their health and quality of life because they allow themselves to get weak and out of shape. With The Perfect Workout, you can safely reshape your health and body in just 20 minutes, twice a week. Guaranteed.

What Happens When Personal Trainers Go Above & Beyond

Angela Kading Personal Trainer

Angela Kading grew up overweight, except she didn’t realize her weight was affecting her health until her parents took her entire family to Weight Watchers.

After losing 55 pounds at age 18, Angela felt like her life changed for the better. She decided to learn as much as she could about fitness and nutrition and how she could use it to her advantage – now she uses her knowledge to help transform her clients’ lives. 

Angela dove head first into her own nutrition research, creating healthier eating habits and even began adopting new cooking techniques. Making these shifts in her life ultimately helped her lose 55 pounds! After the first 30 pounds, Angela reintroduced strength training into her routine and the pounds continued to fall off. Her successful physical transformation led her to understand that with the right kind of diet and strength training, she had a formula for fat loss.

Angela had dual passions for fitness and food so she followed both! She got a degree in Culinary Arts as well as a Personal Trainer Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

After working for 3 years as a lead cook at the Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, and simultaneously training clients on her own, Angela decided she wanted to put her two passions and skills together in a more ideal environment for her goals. When she found The Perfect Workout, she knew it was a perfect match. 

personal trainer tustin

She became certified at The Perfect Workout and joined our Mission Viejo studio in 2015. 

Angela’s success with clients and her growth-driven mindset landed her the role of Certification Supervisor where she certifies new Personal Trainers in Orange County, Ca. After a couple of years, an opportunity presented itself for Angela to expand into yet another role, and she was chosen to lead the Tustin studio as Facility Manager.

Above & Beyond Personal Training

“I've worked with clients with brain disease, cancer, obesity, those who are severely underweight, 90-year-olds, and 14-year-olds. Everyone that steps through our doors is a success story because they made a choice to do something to live a longer, healthier life.”

Currently Angela is working with a client who has polio. His doctor is pleasantly surprised he just keeps getting stronger and stronger and stronger. 

One of Angela’s clients lost 90 pounds (some prior to The Perfect Workout). Naturally she began to gain strength and muscle as a result of her 20-minute workouts. 

One day she came to her workout feeling down on herself. Angela reminded her of her weight loss journey (because we all kind of forget from time to time).

Angela encouraged her client to walk around the studio with 90 pounds of dumbbells – back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. 

“I told her ‘This is the weight you were carrying around for years. And that's how hard you worked just to walk across the room.’ And her mind was blown.”

Working with a trainer helps people not only make progress, but also objectively SEE and celebrate the progress they’ve already made. 

Another client’s goal was to be “sexy for her 60th birthday.” 

“I went to Sprouts with her. I went to her house. We had cooking parties. I made her a shopping list. I literally went to Weight Watchers with her!” 

And in six months Angela helped her lose 40 pounds. Angela says, “she's a whole new woman now.”

“We get to see all walks of life. So I love my job. And that's why I’m here.”

Angela Kading Quote

Angela plans to continue her education in Nutrition and Corrective Exercise. As a Personal Trainer she hopes to inspire people with her caring approach and her knowledge of food and fitness, to make a positive change and have a lasting impact on their lives.

Aside from training clients, certifying trainers, and running a studio, Angela is still super active in the kitchen. “If I'm not working, I'm COOKING. I still absolutely love to feed my family and friends healthy, vegan food.”

Angela’s goal is to improve every day. She intends to make her studio a place where clients look forward to coming and want to share it with all of their family and friends. ”My goal is to make my studio thrive to its fullest and to help our trainers and clients meet their full potential.”

Exercise with Neuropathy, Diabetes, & Arthritis: How She’s Stayed Active Through it All

Bryna Featured Image

When lifelong athlete Bryna Rifkind found herself struggling to exercise with neuropathy, type II diabetes, and arthritis after cancer treatment, she tried something new.

She found slow-motion strength training, and for over 6 years has been religious about staying consistent with her workouts.

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In 2001, Bryna Rifkind was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout her treatment she developed neuropathy in her feet. Neuropathy is a “disease or dysfunction of one or more peripheral nerves, typically causing numbness or weakness” (Oxford).

She could not wear shoes, certain items of clothing, and her activity was limited. 

I couldn't even do swimming because the mere action of moving your feet back and forth felt as though somebody was whipping my feet.”

As a self-proclaimed “jock,” she had always exercised and knew she needed to remain active. But her limitations and level of pain made that challenging.

After doing research, Bryna found that strength training was the smartest exercise solution for her. She began to lift weights at her local YMCA, but she experienced pain in her knee and the workout just didn’t “feel right.”

In 2013 Bryna was diagnosed with type II diabetes and she realized she couldn’t do this alone. She needed help.

“I needed to have something formal, something that somebody could help me with.” 

Bryna came across an article about a doctor who used to bicycle and run but traded those methods in for a different way of exercising: slow-motion strength training. The doctor’s personal story and affirmations saying this method was good for cardiovascular health was just enough to get her to try it herself.

Dr. Howard Testimonial

In August 2014, Bryna joined The Perfect Workout’s San Mateo studio.

“I believed in weightlifting, so I joined. After I read everything [about the science] and went through the practice workout, I said, ‘Yep, this works.’ And I've been very religious about it.”

And she wasn’t kidding! Ever since joining, Bryna has trained with her Personal Trainers twice a week, every week, even when she traveled to the East Coast. 

At the time we didn’t have Virtual Training, which allows you to train from anywhere. Luckily we had studios in Bethesda, MD and Alexandria, VA to keep her workouts consistent week-to-week.

“This has been really, really an important part of my life.”

In addition to battling cancer treatments and diabetes, Bryna has faced a number of ailments. In 1992 she injured her hip in a car accident which developed into arthritis. She’s also had injuries in both shoulders. 

But no matter the injury or issue, her Personal Trainers adapted her workouts. 

 

Bryna Testimonial

Bryna’s 20-minute workouts have also:

  • Helped her get stronger
  • Increased her stamina for daily life
  • Become a tool to combat depression


“This is a gift I give myself.”

Bryna believes the quality of the Trainers at all of the studios she’s visited has been exceptional. She’s always felt close to them and appreciates that they make accommodations for how she’s feeling. 

“I really do feel cared for. And, that is exceptional. I expect to be doing this for a long time.

Create Healthy Habits & Improve Your Life with Timothy Spellman

Timothy Spellman Personal Trainer

After losing 100 pounds and keeping it off for over 15 years, Timothy Spellman became a Certified Personal Trainer and has helped hundreds of clients create healthy habits and improve their lives.

Now, he’s doing it virtually.

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As a young adult, Timothy moved from Boston to Phoenix and his personal training career flourished while acquiring certifications as a NASM Weight Loss, Corrective Exercise, and Behavioral Change Specialist. 

Timothy ultimately moved to San Diego and was introduced to slow-motion strength training. Week after week, he noticed increased levels of energy and strength, and he even became leaner. He decided to expand his knowledge of exercise and got certified with The Perfect Workout. 

Today he is one of our highly successful Virtual Personal Trainers. Timothy believes he gives clients the tools to achieve and sustain their goals by helping them implement slow-motion training and altering their habits. 

 “I love working with clients, motivating them, and helping them achieve their goals.”

The Importance of a Healthy Routine

When the first shutdown happened and many of us became a little bit more sedentary than usual, Timothy reinforced to his clients how important it is to stick to a healthy routine.

He knows firsthand how easy it can be to backslide into old patterns and unhealthy habits like not exercising, or spending too much time on the couch watching Netflix. And when this happens, the body craves exercise, physically and psychologically.

Tim Spellman quote

“There's a tremendous mental and psychological benefit to exercising, just in terms of the hormones that are released to make you feel better, feel more accomplished. [Routines] can be as simple as making your bed first thing in the morning. It sets the tone for the rest of the day in terms of sticking through with habits. And I approach exercise in that same way. I feel like it's something to feel accomplished and kind of proud that you're doing good for your body.”

Having a consistent, yet simple routine like exercising 20 minutes, twice a week makes sticking to it all the more easier.

Want some simple and easy ways to feel healthier now? Check out these 10 Healthy Habits to Start.. And they only take 20 minutes.

If It Hadn’t Been For Strength Training...

A couple years ago, one of Timothy’s Del Mar clients experienced an unfortunate fall in a grocery store parking lot and broke her shoulder. 

When the surgeon was performing surgery, he said she had two and a half times more muscle around her rotator cuff and her deltoids than he had ever seen in anybody her age before. 

“She was so proud of that.” 

Because of her age and the severity of the fall, had she not been strength training, it's likely that her rotator cuff would have been completely shattered and beyond the point of repair.

More Energy for Daily Life

Another one of Timothy’s Del Mar clients started with the intention of wanting to improve his golf game.

Every time he would come into the studio, he would talk to Timothy about how he now had more endurance when walking the golf course. 

Timothy’s client and a bunch of buddies would go on trips throughout the country to play different golf courses. During one of his last trips, all the guys needed to take naps after they were done playing to get some recovery time. But he was completely spry, ready to go throughout the rest of the day, with an abundance of energy. 

“It’s little things like that, that you start to notice over time. These benefits that are not necessarily quantifiable in terms of data, nothing that you can track on a chart, but in the way that you are functioning day-to-day.”

Healthy Habits Can Be Virtual

Having spent many hours training clients inside of a studio as well as virtually, Timothy knows slow-motion strength training like the back of his hand. 

And it doesn’t matter where you exercise. Consistency is what is going to help you maintain this healthy habit. 

For anyone who might be skeptical about Virtual Training, Timothy has a message for you!

“Virtual workouts are just as challenging if not more than the in studio workouts. I challenge anybody to give it a try just to see for yourself how good of a workout you can still get with minimal equipment. I've got some clients that have nothing other than access to the floor, a flat wall and a bath towel. And we can still get them a killer workout.”

Tim Spellman Quote 2

At The Perfect Workout we have a wonderful team of Trainers ready and capable of serving clients of all fitness levels.

With Virtual Training, our Trainers like Timothy are also great at being able to adapt to what you have available to you at home and making sure that your virtual workout is going to be just as safe. 

“We may not be right there, but we are keeping that the same watchful eye on you as we would be as we're in the studio. And we’re that much more focused on your form to make sure that we're keeping you as safe as possible since you are in a little bit more of an unstable environment.”

Share with a friend or book an Introductory Workout for yourself today!

Strength Training Helped This Dancer Stay in Control of Her Health

Laura Deutch Featured Image

Laura Deutsch has been a professional dancer since she was 15 years old. For decades it felt like it was all she needed to do to stay in shape. But after three children, working full time, and teaching dance, it didn’t do much for her body anymore. 

Then she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. And she decided she needed to find a better way to lose weight, get stronger, and feel healthier.

Now, she’s 34 pounds down and has found her lifelong solution to stay in shape, live a healthier lifestyle, and be able to keep up with her passion for dance.

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In July, 2019 Laura joined the Wilmette studio at The Perfect Workout. Now, slow-motion strength training is the only thing besides dance she’s been able to stick with. 

She enjoys the brief, intense workouts and loves that she can fit them into her work schedule. The intensity of the workout and the muscle success she achieves strengthens her entire body so that she can continue to pursue her passion of teaching dance and not injure herself.

Easy on Her Joints

As a dancer, one thing that Laura loves about her workouts is she gets the mind-to-muscle connection.

“When you're doing it, you have to focus on what you're actually doing. So I feel like it's meditative, because it's not just throwing your body around and burning calories. It's a very specific, targeted exercise, and that's good for my mind and body.”

The biggest thing she values about the slow-motion training is there is virtually no impact on her joints.

Leg Press Slow Motion Strength Training

Being a dancer and dance teacher, injury prevention is very important to Laura. After all, if she gets hurt – neither of those things are possible for her. So for someone her age who cares about efficiency and safety, this workout is perfect for her. 

“I like that there’s no jumping, there's no landing, there's no fall that could go wrong. You can't really make a mistake at The Perfect Workout. And for me at this age, I can't afford mistakes.”

Before and After

The Results

After getting diagnosed with diabetes, Laura wanted to improve her overall health at The Perfect Workout and because of that, she’s since lost 34 pounds.

“I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. And I think this is a really good workout for that particular problem, because there is a cardio aspect but it's not hyper fatiguing to the point where my blood sugar gets off.”

Although she lost the weight as a necessity for controlling her diabetes, that wasn’t the only motivation that helped her continually progress toward her goals.

Having the accountability of an appointment with another person and being weighed and measured help her stay on track. 

Besides dropping over 30 pounds, Laura has also gotten stronger, more slim, and has more energy and stamina throughout her day.

a quote from laura

The Trainers Are Good at What They Do

“I would recommend this to people 100% because you do have a trainer and you're told exactly what to do. It does not take a learning curve. It just takes a good trainer. And they're very good at what they do.”

Laura trains with two different trainers on average and loves the variety she gets from each of them. In fact, she doesn’t think she would work with just one person because she likes that she gets something different in her sessions: different exercises, different approaches to intensity, and of course different coaching personalities. 

You might think- well doesn’t that compromise continuity in her training? Nope.

Each trainer at The Perfect Workout goes through the same certification and uses the same science-backed methodology. Each keeps it safe, effective, and efficient, but brings a unique style and coaching to their clients.

Another way we are able to stay consistent workout to workout and trainer to trainer is each client’s information including workout progress, adaptations, and goals are updated each workout and stored privately in their secure profile.

Laura's Second Quote

“I think it's the kind of workout that makes sense in a busy working woman's life. With three kids, I have a lot going on. I can leave work when I have an hour lunch, and I can get there, put the shoes on, do the 20 minutes, get back to work, eat a snack, and teach my class and it's doable. 

I'm gonna stick with it.”

Need a workout that fits in your schedule? Try a workout today.

Personal Training for Men vs Women

Men vs Women personal training

Everyone seeks personal training for a different reason. We surveyed some of our clients and found some trends for why men and women wanted to work with a Personal Trainer.

The MEN wanted:

  • Injury prevention
  • All the focus on them
  • Time efficiency
  • Personalized coaching
  • Evidence-based exercises

The WOMEN wanted:

  • Accountability to stay consistent
  • To be coached and led throughout the process
  • A customized workout tailored to their injuries or limitations
  • Someone/something to help improve muscle and bone strength


Though some of the initial reasons for them seeking a trainer overlapped, others varied. But this brought up more questions:

When men and women receive personal training, do their bodies respond to the exercises the same way? 
Should personal training for men vs. women be the same? 
Do men and women gain muscle the same way?
What should men and women look for in a Personal Trainer?

We uncovered answers below…

Are Men Stronger Than Women?

The average adult man is stronger than the average adult woman.

But it’s not an apples to apples comparison. 

Size and weight correlate with strength. Larger people generally carry more muscle tissue than smaller people. This is true in the case of men versus women.

The average man is 10% taller and weighs about 24 lbs more than the average woman [1]. 

The average man also has about 40 to 48 lbs additional fat-free mass (muscle, bones, water, etc.) than the average woman [2].

One factor that helps men produce more muscle is testosterone. 

Testosterone increases a little as a result of strength training (which helps in the process of adding lean muscle tissue), and men and women have similar gains in testosterone when factoring in their sizes.

But the average woman has half to two-thirds the amount of testosterone that men have. 

As far as overall strength, women are generally about two-thirds as strong as men. 

staying strong at The Perfect Workout Danville- Virtual Personal Training

When adjusting for the differences in fat-free mass between men and women, overall strength is approximately equal between the two genders

In other words, saying men are stronger than women is similar to saying three-story houses have more rooms than two-story houses.

So, short answer: Men and women typically have amounts of lean muscle tissue that are relative to their overall size. 

Should Men & Women Train Upper or Lower Body?

Women’s lower bodies are proportionally stronger than their upper bodies. Lower body strength in women is about 75% of that found in most men, and the upper body strength ranges in women are 43% to 63% less than men on average. 

On average, women are proportionally on par or are stronger than men when it comes to lower body strength. However, average upper body strength is lower. 

So, it’s a good idea for many women to make upper body strength exercises an important focus of their exercise program.

And men should most definitely not skip leg day… or at least the leg press.

Muscle function wanes with age, so strength will only get worse for both men and women if strength training isn’t regularly performed.

This means you shouldn’t see your own sex as an advantage or hindrance to training. Train consistently with every set fatiguing to the point of “muscle success,” and you’ll see benefit relative to your own body.

Does Strength Training Cause Women to Bulk Up?

The vast majority of women should not worry about “bulking up” as a result of strength training. 

Is it possible for somebody to get more muscular than they want to be? Yes, but it's highly unlikely that it can happen to you. 

In fact, studies indicate that adults who don't strength train lose on average at least a half  pound of lean muscle tissue each year starting at about age 25 (this part of age degeneration is called “sarcopenia”). 

So women (and men) are battling muscle loss most of their adult life, if not actively strength training. This makes getting “big & bulky” with muscle even more challenging.

There are rare individuals who inherit the genetic potential for their muscles to grow  excessively large from strength training (like professional bodybuilders do). However,  inheriting those genetics is RARE. 

Out of the tens of thousands of real life clients we’ve worked with over the years, we can count on one hand the number of individuals that we’ve seen even one muscle group get too muscular for their goals. (And in the rare case that a muscle  group becomes too large, it's a super easy problem to fix – just reduce the intensity of exercise on that muscle group.) 

What Should Men & Women Look for in a Personal Trainer?

There are a lot of myths floating around when it comes to male trainers vs. female trainers. Women are more caring, men push you harder, you should work with a same-sex trainer, etc. 

There are a number of credentials you should expect from working with a trainer, which we will outline below; but none of those myths are true and are generalizations that could prevent men and women from working with an ideal trainer.

So, what should men and women look for in a trainer?

One of the most important factors in your decision to work with one should be your comfort level.

You should always feel comfortable with someone you work with. Being able to trust your Trainer is important and below is a checklist of things you should look for when shopping for Personal Training:

What Have We Learned?

The principles of Personal training for men vs. women remain the same:

  • Exercise (for men and women) should be safe, efficient, and effective
  • Work with a Certified Personal Trainer to achieve the principles listed above
  • Men are generally stronger than women, but only because they are generally larger 
  • Women’s lower bodies are generally stronger than upper body
  • Men average more upper body strength than lower body strength
  • It is rare for women to get bulky as a result of strength training because of low testosterone production
  • Both male and female trainers can help you achieve your goals, and you should always work with someone you trust.
  • Know your goals and the science we’ve outlined above


Thinking about working with a Personal Trainer?

Let us help.

  1. Holloway, J. B., & Baechle, T. R. (1990). Strength training for female athletes. Sports Medicine, 9(4), 216-228.
  2. National Strength and Conditioning Association (1989). Position paper on strength training for female athletes. National Strength and Conditioning Association Journal, 11(4), 43–55; 11(5): 29–36  



What it Takes to Have a Healthy Relationship with a Personal Trainer

Gabriel Ferrer Featured Image

Have you ever worked with a teacher or a coach and felt like something was off?

Chances are something was missing in your relationship.

We sat down with one of our Personal Trainers from Chicago, IL to talk about how he’s helped people lose weight, gain strength and build confidence.

We uncovered two essential things he creates to be the best Personal Trainer for each client: Trust & Candor.

Naperville Trainer, Gabriel Ferrer began lifting weights in high school and bodybuilding around 24 years old when he became a full time police officer.

His passion for health and fitness hasn’t wavered for decades and motivated him to transition from police-life to being a Certified Personal Trainer.

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You Have to Have Trust

It’d be a little crazy to expect everyone to walk blindly into a workout with a Personal Trainer, knowing nothing about them or what they do, and trust them completely.

But trust is vital in getting results.

You want to be able to trust that what you are doing inside your workouts is going to yield results. If you’re new to slow-motion strength training, learn more about the science behind it.

And you want to be able to trust that your Trainer can safely and efficiently coach you to get the results you’re looking for.

One client Gabriel is particularly proud of is a woman named Leann and the trust they’ve built together. According to him, their personalities clashed in the beginning, making it a little tough to connect with one another.

Now, she’s one of his superstar clients. 

“I’m there to challenge her every day, constantly being kind and cooperative. I like trying to make it a teamwork thing every time she comes in. I always say, ‘What are we going to be able to do today?’”

By taking this approach to their 20-minute sessions together, Gabriel was able to earn her trust and show up for her, every workout. He has continually challenged her to make progress and meet her goals. 

“I would never say just trust me blindly. I want people to challenge what I'm doing, because hopefully, I'm good enough at what I do to where I can explain it or show you and get your buy-in through actually experiencing it.”

Gabriel Ferrer Photo

One of the advantages of working with a Personal Trainer is we are aware of how it feels to be in your workout shoes. And we're aware of the exact moment in a workout when it becomes challenging, when the body wants to cheat its way out of an exercise and when it's crucial to keep pushing.

Gabriel’s clients feel good knowing that somebody they trust is watching them go through that challenge, and keeping them on track safely.

“I think anybody who wants to be good at something is always going to be learning from somebody else. Having that objectivity of somebody that's not you, assessing the situation and guiding you, is invaluable.”

Just like Gabriel, we don’t expect you to trust us blindly either… Don’t just take our word for it. Hear what a few of our clients have to say about trusting their trainers…

Candor is Key

Another key piece of Gabriel's ability to build trust with clients is using one of The Perfect Workout’s core values: Candor.

Our trainers value speaking openly and honestly for the best interest of the client. 

And we aren’t going to promise what we can’t guarantee.

This is a vital component of the trainer-client relationship and achieving results in a realistic and sustainable way.

There is thought behind how we train you and how you progress. Being able to have an open dialogue about how that works and what it takes to meet each goal is important.

“One thing I always ask my first-time clients is, ‘Are there any questions, comments, concerns, or anything you want me to know?’”

One of Gabriel's clients had recently been trying to lose weight.

Each week the scale showed incremental progress, about ½ to 1 pound down at a time. 

All she could really see was the slight changes each week and didn’t seem too thrilled with the results. What she didn’t realize was from November 2020 to January 2021 she went from 160 lbs to about 145 lbs.

She lost 15 pounds.

Having a candid moment with this client, Gabriel was able to help her shift her paradigm and educate her on healthy, sustainable weight loss.

By the end of the conversation, she was actually very happy with her results and was excited to share the good news with her boyfriend.

“Having somebody there that you trust to coach you through this is invaluable. Which is why I'm a coach.”

We encourage you to ask questions, do your research, and challenge your trainers to be the best they can be! We are here to guide you, educate you, and help you get results.

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