The Value of Virtual Training

The Value of Virtual Training

Mission Monday Episode 12

In the last two years, we’ve become a remote world.

Many people now use platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to attend school and for work meetings.

But there are some things, though, that just don’t work in the remote world that we now live in. For example, have you used Zoom for a potluck or kids birthday party?

Is personal training another activity that just doesn’t work remotely?

Virtual Personal Training

We’ve noticed some skepticism about virtual personal training and this doubt is understandable.

Personal training is largely about high-quality human connection. Connection, such as seeing friends and family, is a much richer experience in person.

Also, if you are remote, you likely don’t have the high-quality equipment that The Perfect Workout or other gyms have.

If you are considering a virtual personal trainer, we have good news…IT WORKS!

While there is only a small amount of published research on virtual training, the existing research shows promising benefits.

In published studies, virtual trainers have helped clients achieve the following:

  • Better results
  • Greater workout satisfaction
  • Higher workout attendance
  • And a higher likelihood of sticking with the program

The results of virtual training with The Perfect Workout have also been stellar.

Our virtual clients have gained muscle and strength, lost fat, and reduced joint pain, among other benefits.

You can see more about these virtual personal training success stories on our website.

The main point is this: Virtual training DOES WORK!

As always, you can find the references for the studies we mentioned below.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Ellis, T., Latham, N.K., DeAngelis, T.R., Thomas, C.A., Saint-Hilaire, M., & Bickmore, T.W. (2013). Feasibility of a virtual exercise coach to promote walking in community-dwelling persons with Parkinson Disease. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 92(6), 472-485.
  • Pilloni, P., Spano, L.D., Mulas, F., Fenu, G., & Carta, S. (2014). Experiences from a long run with a virtual personal trainer. In international Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (pp 601-612). Springer, Cham.

The Value of Virtual Training

Mission Monday Episode 12

In the last two years, we’ve become a remote world.

Many people now use platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to attend school and for work meetings.

But there are some things, though, that just don’t work in the remote world that we now live in. For example, have you used Zoom for a potluck or kids birthday party?

Is personal training another activity that just doesn’t work remotely?

Virtual Personal Training

We’ve noticed some skepticism about virtual personal training and this doubt is understandable.

Personal training is largely about high-quality human connection. Connection, such as seeing friends and family, is a much richer experience in person.

Also, if you are remote, you likely don’t have the high-quality equipment that The Perfect Workout or other gyms have.

If you are considering a virtual personal trainer, we have good news…IT WORKS!

While there is only a small amount of published research on virtual training, the existing research shows promising benefits.

In published studies, virtual trainers have helped clients achieve the following:

  • Better results
  • Greater workout satisfaction
  • Higher workout attendance
  • And a higher likelihood of sticking with the program

The results of virtual training with The Perfect Workout have also been stellar.

Our virtual clients have gained muscle and strength, lost fat, and reduced joint pain, among other benefits.

You can see more about these virtual personal training success stories on our website.

The main point is this: Virtual training DOES WORK!

As always, you can find the references for the studies we mentioned below.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Ellis, T., Latham, N.K., DeAngelis, T.R., Thomas, C.A., Saint-Hilaire, M., & Bickmore, T.W. (2013). Feasibility of a virtual exercise coach to promote walking in community-dwelling persons with Parkinson Disease. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 92(6), 472-485.
  • Pilloni, P., Spano, L.D., Mulas, F., Fenu, G., & Carta, S. (2014). Experiences from a long run with a virtual personal trainer. In international Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction (pp 601-612). Springer, Cham.

Machines vs Free Weights for Hypertrophy

Machines vs Free Weights for Hypertrophy

Mission Monday Episode 11

If you want to build your muscles, you have to use free weights…Right?

This is a common belief in strength training. Many of us have read fitness magazines and looked at bodybuilding websites. Most of the suggested exercises are free weights.

This begs the question: “Should we train with free weights to maximize our ‘gains?’”

Free Weights or Machines?

A study, published in 2020 by a team of Canadian researchers, attempted to answer this question. The study examined whether free weights or machines would lead to more muscle growth:

  • For two months, men and women completed 2-3 workouts per week
  • One half trained with machines
  • The other half used free weights
  • The workouts featured the same basic movements and weight loads
  • At the end, the researchers used ultrasounds to measure muscle changes in the biceps and quadriceps

Which method was superior? Neither.

The free weight and machine groups both gained muscle with NO difference in how much muscle was gained. Both groups also increased their strength to the same degree.

Are you surprised? If you were, you weren’t alone.

The researchers also acknowledged that they expected free weights to be superior for muscle growth. However, they did make the case for why machines are advantageous.

Advantages of Machines

The researchers mentioned that machines have the advantage of providing a variable resistance level. This means the amount of resistance adjusts to the natural strength curve.

Machines make the weight lighter in the part of an exercise when we’re weakest and
machines make the resistance heavier in the part of the movement when we’re strongest.

As a result, muscles are thoroughly challenged during each repetition.

What’s another advantage of machines? They are SAFE!

The vast majority of strength training injuries take place when using free weights.

In summary, machines are just as effective as free weights for increasing muscle size.
They’re also safe and provide an efficient workout.

As always, you can find references to the studies that we’ve mentioned below.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Gray, S.E. & Finch, C.F. (2015). The causes of injuries sustained at fitness facilities presenting to Victorian emergency departments – identifying the main culprits. Injury Epidemiology, 2(1), 6.
  • Schwanbeck, S.R., Cornish, S.M., Barss, T., & Chilibeck, P.D. (2020). Effects of training with free weights versus machines on muscle mass, strength, free testosterone, and free cortisol levels. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(7), 1851-1859.

Machines vs Free Weights for Hypertrophy

Mission Monday Episode 11

If you want to build your muscles, you have to use free weights…Right?

This is a common belief in strength training. Many of us have read fitness magazines and looked at bodybuilding websites. Most of the suggested exercises are free weights.

This begs the question: “Should we train with free weights to maximize our ‘gains?’”

Free Weights or Machines?

A study, published in 2020 by a team of Canadian researchers, attempted to answer this question. The study examined whether free weights or machines would lead to more muscle growth:

  • For two months, men and women completed 2-3 workouts per week
  • One half trained with machines
  • The other half used free weights
  • The workouts featured the same basic movements and weight loads
  • At the end, the researchers used ultrasounds to measure muscle changes in the biceps and quadriceps

Which method was superior? Neither.

The free weight and machine groups both gained muscle with NO difference in how much muscle was gained. Both groups also increased their strength to the same degree.

Are you surprised? If you were, you weren’t alone.

The researchers also acknowledged that they expected free weights to be superior for muscle growth. However, they did make the case for why machines are advantageous.

Advantages of Machines

The researchers mentioned that machines have the advantage of providing a variable resistance level. This means the amount of resistance adjusts to the natural strength curve.

Machines make the weight lighter in the part of an exercise when we’re weakest and
machines make the resistance heavier in the part of the movement when we’re strongest.

As a result, muscles are thoroughly challenged during each repetition.

What’s another advantage of machines? They are SAFE!

The vast majority of strength training injuries take place when using free weights.

In summary, machines are just as effective as free weights for increasing muscle size
They’re also safe and provide an efficient workout.

As always, you can find references to the studies that we’ve mentioned below.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Gray, S.E. & Finch, C.F. (2015). The causes of injuries sustained at fitness facilities presenting to Victorian emergency departments – identifying the main culprits. Injury Epidemiology, 2(1), 6.
  • Schwanbeck, S.R., Cornish, S.M., Barss, T., & Chilibeck, P.D. (2020). Effects of training with free weights versus machines on muscle mass, strength, free testosterone, and free cortisol levels. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(7), 1851-1859.

Using Heavier Weight Loads

Using Heavier Weight Loads

Mission Monday Episode 10

The Perfect Workout helps you achieve great health and fitness through challenging but safe workouts.

Part of the challenge that leads to such great results is working against a relatively high amount of resistance on each exercise.

However, this challenge can be tough to adjust to…

Use Heavy Weights

If you understand the “WHY,” you will embrace the challenge of working against a resistance that will fatigue your muscles in about 60 seconds.

Working against a lighter resistance is more comfortable. A lighter resistance starts easy and can be lifted for a while before muscles start to fatigue. Light resistance, though, is NOT ideal for what your body needs.

This is easy to see when looking at the research.

A study published in 2017 tested the effectiveness of training with light weights and more reps versus heavier weights with fewer reps.

Despite performing about one-third of the reps, the heavier weight group gained more muscle and 3X more strength.

This isn’t surprising when diving into exercise physiology.

Our muscles feature slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. Slow-twitch muscle fibers focus on less challenging and longer-duration activities, such as walking and standing.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers work most in challenging activities, such as lifting heavy objects and walking up steep stairs. Fast-twitch fibers are also the fibers that grow the most and are the muscle fibers that atrophy the most with age.

When we lift lighter weights, we do little to nothing for those fast-twitch fibers. To fight aging and maximize strength and muscle gains, we need to lift heavier weights.

Challenging weights are also critical for another important strength training benefit: bone density.

A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that heavier weights with fewer reps increased bone density while lighter weights did not.

With all of this in mind, here’s our recommendation

  • Work with your personal trainer to use weights that lead to Muscle Success at about 60 seconds
  • If you are reaching Muscle Success at 90 seconds or longer, increase the weights until you are finishing sets at about one minute
  • Performing a set for two minutes means the weight is way too light

Challenging weights are going to help you maximize your muscle strength, size, and bone density.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Jenkins, N.D., Miramonti, A.A., Hill, E.C., Smith, C.M., Cochrane-Snyman, K.C., Housh, T.J., & Cramer, J.T. (2017). Greater neural adaptations following high- vs. low-load resistance training. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 331.
  • Kerr, D., Morton, A., Dick, I., & Prince, R. (1996). Exercise effects on bone mass in postmenopausal women are site‐specific and load‐dependent. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 11(2), 218-225.
  • Kraemer, W. J., Adams, K., Cafarelli, E., Dudley, G. A., Dooly, C., Feigenbaum, M. S., … & Newton, R. U. (2002). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 34(2), 364-380.

Using Heavier Weight Loads

Mission Monday Episode 10

The Perfect Workout helps you achieve great health and fitness through challenging but safe workouts.

Part of the challenge that leads to such great results is working against a relatively high amount of resistance on each exercise.

However, this challenge can be tough to adjust to…

Use Heavy Weights

If you understand the “WHY,” you will embrace the challenge of working against a resistance that will fatigue your muscles in about 60 seconds.

Working against a lighter resistance is more comfortable. A lighter resistance starts easy and can be lifted for a while before muscles start to fatigue. Light resistance, though, is NOT ideal for what your body needs.

This is easy to see when looking at the research.

A study published in 2017 tested the effectiveness of training with light weights and more reps versus heavier weights with fewer reps.

Despite performing about one-third of the reps, the heavier weight group gained more muscle and 3X more strength.

This isn’t surprising when diving into exercise physiology.

Our muscles feature slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. Slow-twitch muscle fibers focus on less challenging and longer-duration activities, such as walking and standing.

Fast-twitch muscle fibers work most in challenging activities, such as lifting heavy objects and walking up steep stairs. Fast-twitch fibers are also the fibers that grow the most and are the muscle fibers that atrophy the most with age.

When we lift lighter weights, we do little to nothing for those fast-twitch fibers. To fight aging and maximize strength and muscle gains, we need to lift heavier weights.

Challenging weights are also critical for another important strength training benefit: bone density.

A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that heavier weights with fewer reps increased bone density while lighter weights did not.

With all of this in mind, here’s our recommendation

  • Work with your personal trainer to use weights that lead to Muscle Success at about 60 seconds
  • If you are reaching Muscle Success at 90 seconds or longer, increase the weights until you are finishing sets at about one minute
  • Performing a set for two minutes means the weight is way too light

Challenging weights are going to help you maximize your muscle strength, size, and bone density.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Jenkins, N.D., Miramonti, A.A., Hill, E.C., Smith, C.M., Cochrane-Snyman, K.C., Housh, T.J., & Cramer, J.T. (2017). Greater neural adaptations following high- vs. low-load resistance training. Frontiers in Physiology, 8, 331.
  • Kerr, D., Morton, A., Dick, I., & Prince, R. (1996). Exercise effects on bone mass in postmenopausal women are site‐specific and load‐dependent. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, 11(2), 218-225.
  • Kraemer, W. J., Adams, K., Cafarelli, E., Dudley, G. A., Dooly, C., Feigenbaum, M. S., … & Newton, R. U. (2002). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Progression models in resistance training for healthy adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 34(2), 364-380.

Hustling Between Exercises

Hustling Between Exercises

Mission Monday Episode 9

“CAN I CATCH MY BREATH?!”

Did you ever ask that question while training at The Perfect Workout? We wouldn’t blame you if you had.

The Perfect Workout keeps you moving quickly during the session. This is a strength of our exercise program.

Moving Quickly Between Exercises

Hustling through the session is a big reason why workouts often take only 15-20 minutes. If you took a few breaks, that same workout could easily take 30 minutes or longer.

Overall session efficiency is a benefit of the fast pace between exercises. However, that’s not the main reason why we hustle.

The quick pace is one of the key ingredients that makes The Perfect Workout so effective for improving your health.

The short rest is especially important for the cardiovascular system. Having LESS THAN 30 SECONDS between exercises unlocks a number of benefits:

  • A bigger reduction in blood pressure
  • An improvement in artery function
  • An increase in overall blood flow

The quick pace also improves aerobic fitness and creates an increase in metabolism that lasts for up to 3 days after the workout.

While it’s tempting to take a breather after the leg press or pulldown, KEEP GOING!

Hustling between exercises makes the session time efficient while also enhancing your fitness and cardiovascular health!

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Kraemer, W.J. & Ratamess, N.A. (2004). Fundamentals of resistance training: Progression and exercise prescription. Physical Fitness and Performance, 36(4), 674-688
  • Waller, M., Miller, J., & Hannon, J. (2011). Resistance circuit training: Its application for the adult population. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 16-22.

Hustling Between Exercises

Mission Monday Episode 9

“CAN I CATCH MY BREATH?!”

Did you ever ask that question while training at The Perfect Workout? We wouldn’t blame you if you had.

The Perfect Workout keeps you moving quickly during the session. This is a strength of our exercise program.

Moving Quickly Between Exercises

Hustling through the session is a big reason why workouts often take only 15-20 minutes. If you took a few breaks, that same workout could easily take 30 minutes or longer.

Overall session efficiency is a benefit of the fast pace between exercises. However, that’s not the main reason why we hustle.

The quick pace is one of the key ingredients that makes The Perfect Workout so effective for improving your health.

The short rest is especially important for the cardiovascular system. Having LESS THAN 30 SECONDS between exercises unlocks a number of benefits:

  • A bigger reduction in blood pressure
  • An improvement in artery function
  • An increase in overall blood flow


The quick pace also improves aerobic fitness and creates an increase in metabolism that lasts for up to 3 days after the workout.

While it’s tempting to take a breather after the leg press or pulldown, KEEP GOING!

Hustling between exercises makes the session time efficient while also enhancing your fitness and cardiovascular health!

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Kraemer, W.J. & Ratamess, N.A. (2004). Fundamentals of resistance training: Progression and exercise prescription. Physical Fitness and Performance, 36(4), 674-688
  • Waller, M., Miller, J., & Hannon, J. (2011). Resistance circuit training: Its application for the adult population. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 16-22.

Potential COVID-19 Protection

Potential COVID-19 Protection

Mission Monday Episode 8

We’ve unfortunately battled a severe pandemic in the past two years.

Worldwide, about 220 million people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Almost 5 million people have passed away from it and we hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

Fortunately, there’s promising new research showing that exercise could help.

Exercise and COVID-19

Exercise may enhance your body’s ability to fight against COVID-19. Here are details of the research.

The study, published recently, took place in South Korea. Over 75,000 people participated!

Researchers looked at the connection between exercise habits and COVID-19 outcomes.

People who were considered “regular exercisers” met the following criteria:

  • They participated in strength training at least twice a week
  • They participated in activities such as walking or jogging for a minimum of 2.5 hours per week

The researchers compared the “regular exercisers” to those who didn’t exercise.

Here are the results

  • Regular exercisers were 15% less likely to contract COVID-19
  • They were also 58% LESS likely to suffer a severe case of COVID-19
  • Regular exercisers were 76% less likely to pass away from COVID-19!

How Could Exercise Enhance Our Body’s Protection Against Covid-19?

The researchers stated that exercise strengthens the immune system. Specifically, exercise enhances the body’s ability to identify foreign pathogens and reduces systemic inflammation.

To be clear, we are not recommending exercise in place of the CDC’s recommendations

Exercise is a complement to — NOT a replacement for — the CDC’s recommendations for avoiding COVID-19

What the research shows us is this – Regular exercise strengthens our immune system and it may decrease our risk of contracting and suffering from COVID-19

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Lee, S.W., Lee, J., Moon, S.Y., Jin, H.Y., Yang, J.M., Ogino, S., … Yon, D.K. (2021). Physical activity and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe COVID-19 illness and COVID-19 related mortality in South Korea: a nationwide cohort study. British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Potential COVID-19 Protection

Mission Monday Episode 8

We’ve unfortunately battled a severe pandemic in the past two years.

Worldwide, about 220 million people have tested positive for COVID-19.

Almost 5 million people have passed away from it and we hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.

Fortunately, there’s promising new research showing that exercise could help.

Exercise and COVID-19

Exercise may enhance your body’s ability to fight against COVID-19. Here are details of the research.

The study, published recently, took place in South Korea. Over 75,000 people participated!

Researchers looked at the connection between exercise habits and COVID-19 outcomes.

People who were considered “regular exercisers” met the following criteria:

  • They participated in strength training at least twice a week
  • They participated in activities such as walking or jogging for a minimum of 2.5 hours per week


The researchers compared the “regular exercisers” to those who didn’t exercise.

Here are the results

  • Regular exercisers were 15% less likely to contract COVID-19
  • They were also 58% LESS likely to suffer a severe case of COVID-19
  • Regular exercisers were 76% less likely to pass away from COVID-19!

How Could Exercise Enhance Our Body’s Protection Against Covid-19?

The researchers stated that exercise strengthens the immune system. Specifically, exercise enhances the body’s ability to identify foreign pathogens and reduces systemic inflammation.

To be clear, we are not recommending exercise in place of the CDC’s recommendations

Exercise is a complement to — NOT a replacement for — the CDC’s recommendations for avoiding COVID-19

What the research shows us is this – Regular exercise strengthens our immune system and it may decrease our risk of contracting and suffering from COVID-19

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Lee, S.W., Lee, J., Moon, S.Y., Jin, H.Y., Yang, J.M., Ogino, S., … Yon, D.K. (2021). Physical activity and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, severe COVID-19 illness and COVID-19 related mortality in South Korea: a nationwide cohort study. British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Training for Strength or Hypertrophy

Training for Strength or Hypertrophy

Mission Monday Episode 7

What are your training goals?

Are you looking to get stronger? Are you looking to build muscle?

Those two goals are mentioned together so often that they seem like the same goal.
But…they are not.

They are different goals that require different training approaches.

Before we talk about training approaches, let's define each one…

Muscle Strength vs Size

Muscle strength is the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with movement.

Strength is a functional quality. Strength is useful to you as having more strength makes the other activities in your life easier.

For example, as you gain strength, it’s easier to walk upstairs, carry bags of groceries, or move furniture.

Gaining muscle size, which is known as muscle hypertrophy, is when muscle cells become larger.

Muscle size is obviously an aesthetic quality. Gaining muscle size helps you fill out your shirt sleeves or jeans…in a good way, of course.

When strength training, you will likely gain size and strength.

How to Maximize Results

Both require different approaches if you want to maximize your results in one of them.

To focus on strength, the execution of your training becomes really important:

  • Complete 2 sessions per week.
  • Using heavier amounts of resistance is key.
  • Increase the resistance often.
  • This is especially important in the major lifts, which are the leg press, row, pulldown, and chest press.
  • Increase the resistance to the point where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 50-70 seconds.

To focus on muscle growth, the amount of work becomes more important.

  • Complete 3 sessions per week.
  • Perform more reps and more exercises.
  • Use a level of resistance where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 70-100 seconds.
  • If you can tolerate it, complete 8-10 exercises per session.
  • Include exercises that directly target your areas of focus.
  • For example, if you want bigger arms, perform the biceps curl.
  • Look below for references to studies that are the sources for these recommendations.

You’re going to become stronger one achieve muscle growth if you start strength training at The Perfect Workout.

If you want to maximize your progress in one area, pay closer attention to the details of your program.

Tell your trainer what you want to achieve and they will adjust your program accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Borde, R., Hortobagyi, T., & Grandacher, U. (2015). Dose-response relationships of resistance training in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 45, 1693-1720.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2018). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J.W. (2017). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training in muscle mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(11), 1073-1082.

Training for Strength or Hypertrophy

Mission Monday Episode 7

What are your training goals?

Are you looking to get stronger? Are you looking to build muscle?

Those two goals are mentioned together so often that they seem like the same goal.
But…they are not.

They are different goals that require different training approaches.

Before we talk about training approaches, let's define each one…

Muscle Strength vs Size

Muscle strength is the greatest amount of weight that can be lifted with movement.

Strength is a functional quality. Strength is useful to you as having more strength makes the other activities in your life easier.

For example, as you gain strength, it’s easier to walk upstairs, carry bags of groceries, or move furniture.

Gaining muscle size, which is known as muscle hypertrophy, is when muscle cells become larger.

Muscle size is obviously an aesthetic quality. Gaining muscle size helps you fill out your shirt sleeves or jeans…in a good way, of course.

When strength training, you will likely gain size and strength.

How to Maximize Results

Both require different approaches if you want to maximize your results in one of them.

To focus on strength, the execution of your training becomes really important:

  • Complete 2 sessions per week.
  • Using heavier amounts of resistance is key.
  • Increase the resistance often.
  • This is especially important in the major lifts, which are the leg press, row, pulldown, and chest press.
  • Increase the resistance to the point where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 50-70 seconds.


To focus on muscle growth, the amount of work becomes more important.

  • Complete 3 sessions per week.
  • Perform more reps and more exercises.
  • Use a level of resistance where you reach “Muscle Success” at around 70-100 seconds.
  • If you can tolerate it, complete 8-10 exercises per session.
  • Include exercises that directly target your areas of focus.
  • For example, if you want bigger arms, perform the biceps curl.
  • Look below for references to studies that are the sources for these recommendations.


You’re going to become stronger one achieve muscle growth if you start strength training at The Perfect Workout.

If you want to maximize your progress in one area, pay closer attention to the details of your program.

Tell your trainer what you want to achieve and they will adjust your program accordingly.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Borde, R., Hortobagyi, T., & Grandacher, U. (2015). Dose-response relationships of resistance training in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 45, 1693-1720.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2018). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J.W. (2017). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training in muscle mass: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(11), 1073-1082.

Myokines

Myokines

Mission Monday Episode 5

We know strength training is healthy for us. In fact, strength training is so beneficial that just a single workout can make you healthier

But how does strength training make us healthier? What happens inside our body during and after a workout that leads to better health?

Before answering those questions, let’s talk about how the human body operates.

The inner workings of the human body are similar to how we operate in the world. Much of what we do is the result of a message sent from a messenger

For example, a friend or coworker may send an email, phone call, or text with a request that leads us to work on a project or drive to a friend’s house. In our body, messages are sent that cause cells to act in specific ways.

One example of this is the pancreas producing hormones that will stimulate an increase or decrease in blood sugar.

What are Myokines?

Another messenger in our body is myokines.

Myokines are small proteins that come from our muscles and stimulate cells to take specific actions. Myokines specifically target other muscle cells, fat cells, and cells in several of the most critical organs in our body.

When they are produced, myokines promote healthy bodily functioning. Creating myokines can lead to:

Our health improves when we create more myokines.

Myokines are created when our muscles contract. As you may guess, strength training is an excellent way — maybe the most effective way — to maximize the production of myokines.

Research shows that strength training enhances the production of key myokines that reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

In summary, myokines come from muscle contractions and they stimulate healthy changes in the body.

Strength training is a very effective strategy for increasing the production of myokines and, therefore, for improving your health.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Benatti, F.B. & Pedersen, B.K. (2015). Exercise as an anti-inflammatory therapy for rheumatic diseases–myokine regulation. Nature Reviews Rheumatology, 11, 86-97.
  • He, Z., Tian, Y., Valenzuela, P.L., Huang, C., Zhao, J., Hong, P., … Lucia, A. (2018). Myokine response to high-intensity interval vs. resistance exercise: an individual approach. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 1735.
  • Lee, J.H. & Jun, H.S. (2019). Role of myokines in regulating skeletal muscle mass and function. Frontiers in Physiology.

Myokines

Mission Monday Episode 5

We know strength training is healthy for us. In fact, strength training is so beneficial that just a single workout can make you healthier

But how does strength training make us healthier? What happens inside our body during and after a workout that leads to better health?

Before answering those questions, let’s talk about how the human body operates.

The inner workings of the human body are similar to how we operate in the world. Much of what we do is the result of a message sent from a messenger

For example, a friend or coworker may send an email, phone call, or text with a request that leads us to work on a project or drive to a friend’s house. In our body, messages are sent that cause cells to act in specific ways.

One example of this is the pancreas producing hormones that will stimulate an increase or decrease in blood sugar.

What are Myokines?

Another messenger in our body is myokines.

Myokines are small proteins that come from our muscles and stimulate cells to take specific actions. Myokines specifically target other muscle cells, fat cells, and cells in several of the most critical organs in our body.

When they are produced, myokines promote healthy bodily functioning. Creating myokines can lead to:

Our health improves when we create more myokines.

Myokines are created when our muscles contract. As you may guess, strength training is an excellent way — maybe the most effective way — to maximize the production of myokines.

Research shows that strength training enhances the production of key myokines that reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.

In summary, myokines come from muscle contractions and they stimulate healthy changes in the body.

Strength training is a very effective strategy for increasing the production of myokines and, therefore, for improving your health.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Benatti, F.B. & Pedersen, B.K. (2015). Exercise as an anti-inflammatory therapy for rheumatic diseases–myokine regulation. Nature Reviews Rheumatology, 11, 86-97.
  • He, Z., Tian, Y., Valenzuela, P.L., Huang, C., Zhao, J., Hong, P., … Lucia, A. (2018). Myokine response to high-intensity interval vs. resistance exercise: an individual approach. Frontiers in Physiology, 9, 1735.
  • Lee, J.H. & Jun, H.S. (2019). Role of myokines in regulating skeletal muscle mass and function. Frontiers in Physiology.

One Set is All You Need

One Set is All You Need

Mission Monday Episode 5

A question that comes up often is, “why do we only perform one set per exercise?”

It’s a valid question. If one set works, wouldn’t we get better results from multiple sets on each exercise?

Performing multiple sets of each exercise is a common practice. Specifically, “3 sets per exercise” is the go-to recommendation of many fitness professionals.

Before we get in to why one set is enough, let’s talk about where the “three-set” recommendation started.

Sets & Repetitions

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Thomas DeLorme and Dr. Arthur Watkins published a series of research papers about the use of strength training to increase muscle size.

Originally, they recommended performing 7-10 sets per exercise with 10 repetitions for each set…for a total of 70-100 repetitions. Imagine doing 70-100 repetitions of every exercise!

Within three years, DeLorme and Watkins changed their mind. The new recommendation: 2-3 sets with 20-30 total repetitions

They realized that fewer repetitions lead to “greater and more rapid” muscle growth. The three-set per exercise has been the consensus since that point.

However, DeLorme and Watkins didn’t recommend three sets of maximum effort work. They actually recommended using the first two sets as a build-up to the third one, which was an all-out effort.

As you might know, at The Perfect Workout we skip the two build-up sets and get straight to the most important set: the one where you do every rep that you possibly can.

One Set vs. Multiple Sets

A number of studies also support one set as being sufficient to get great results. Here are some of the research-proven benefits:

  • Muscle growth
  • Losing fat (when combining a single-set strength training program with calorie restriction)
  • Reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose
  • Improving artery function
  • And developing better aerobic fitness

Are we saying multiple sets are useless? NO. Not at all. Performing multiple sets per exercise has value for some people, including competitive athletes and bodybuilders.

Performing one set, however, provides the majority of the benefits most people seek, including fat loss, muscle growth, and better health.

What’s the best part? The single-set approach helps you get all of these benefits while being in and out of the gym in less than 30 minutes.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Cornelissen, V. A., & Fagard, R. H. (2005). Effect of resistance training on resting blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of hypertension, 23(2), 251-259.
  • Davy, B. M., Winett, R. A., Savla, J., Marinik, E. L., Baugh, M. E., Flack, K. D., … & Boshra, S. (2017). Resist diabetes: A randomized clinical trial for resistance training maintenance in adults with prediabetes. PLoS One, 12(2), e0172610.
  • DeLorme,T. & Watkins, A.L. (1948). Technics of progressive resistance training. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 29, 263-273.
  • Pratley, R., Nicklas, B., & Rubin, M. (1994). Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in health 50- to 65-year-old men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 76(1), 133-137.
  • Waller, M., Miller, J., & Hannon, J. (2011). Resistance circuit training: Its application for the adult population. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 16-22.
  • Watkins, A.L. (1952). Practical applications of progressive resistance exercises. JAMA, 148(6), 443-446.
  • Westcott, W.L., Apovian, C.M., & Puhala, K. Nutrition programs enhance exercise effects on body composition and resting blood pressure. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 41(3), 85-91.

One Set is All You Need

Mission Monday Episode 5

A question that comes up often is, “why do we only perform one set per exercise?”

It’s a valid question. If one set works, wouldn’t we get better results from multiple sets on each exercise?

Performing multiple sets of each exercise is a common practice. Specifically, “3 sets per exercise” is the go-to recommendation of many fitness professionals.

Before we get in to why one set is enough, let’s talk about where the “three-set” recommendation started.

Sets & Repetitions

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Thomas DeLorme and Dr. Arthur Watkins published a series of research papers about the use of strength training to increase muscle size.

Originally, they recommended performing 7-10 sets per exercise with 10 repetitions for each set…for a total of 70-100 repetitions. Imagine doing 70-100 repetitions of every exercise!

Within three years, DeLorme and Watkins changed their mind. The new recommendation: 2-3 sets with 20-30 total repetitions

They realized that fewer repetitions lead to “greater and more rapid” muscle growth. The three-set per exercise has been the consensus since that point.

However, DeLorme and Watkins didn’t recommend three sets of maximum effort work. They actually recommended using the first two sets as a build-up to the third one, which was an all-out effort.

As you might know, at The Perfect Workout we skip the two build-up sets and get straight to the most important set: the one where you do every rep that you possibly can.

One Set vs. Multiple Sets

A number of studies also support one set as being sufficient to get great results. Here are some of the research-proven benefits:

  • Muscle growth
  • Losing fat (when combining a single-set strength training program with calorie restriction)
  • Reducing blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose
  • Improving artery function
  • And developing better aerobic fitness


Are we saying multiple sets are useless? NO. Not at all. Performing multiple sets per exercise has value for some people, including competitive athletes and bodybuilders.

Performing one set, however, provides the majority of the benefits most people seek, including fat loss, muscle growth, and better health.

What’s the best part? The single-set approach helps you get all of these benefits while being in and out of the gym in less than 30 minutes.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Cornelissen, V. A., & Fagard, R. H. (2005). Effect of resistance training on resting blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of hypertension, 23(2), 251-259.
  • Davy, B. M., Winett, R. A., Savla, J., Marinik, E. L., Baugh, M. E., Flack, K. D., … & Boshra, S. (2017). Resist diabetes: A randomized clinical trial for resistance training maintenance in adults with prediabetes. PLoS One, 12(2), e0172610.
  • DeLorme,T. & Watkins, A.L. (1948). Technics of progressive resistance training. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 29, 263-273.
  • Pratley, R., Nicklas, B., & Rubin, M. (1994). Strength training increases resting metabolic rate and norepinephrine levels in health 50- to 65-year-old men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 76(1), 133-137.
  • Waller, M., Miller, J., & Hannon, J. (2011). Resistance circuit training: Its application for the adult population. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 16-22.
  • Watkins, A.L. (1952). Practical applications of progressive resistance exercises. JAMA, 148(6), 443-446.
  • Westcott, W.L., Apovian, C.M., & Puhala, K. Nutrition programs enhance exercise effects on body composition and resting blood pressure. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 41(3), 85-91.

Protein, A Key for Muscle Growth

Protein, A Key for Muscle Growth

Mission Monday Episode 4

Imagine trying to build a brick wall with a lack of bricks.

No matter how hard the bricklayer works, a brick wall can’t be built with a shortage of bricks

No matter how hard you work during your strength training workouts, you can’t build muscle with a shortage of protein.

Unfortunately, protein consumption is one of the biggest shortcomings people have when engaged in a fitness program.

This is a problem not just for gaining muscle but for several other reasons.

High Protein Intake

A high-protein intake is helpful for several reasons. A higher protein intake:

  • Reduces hunger levels and snack cravings
  • Decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Helps sustain weight loss
  • And, for older adults, a higher protein diet is connected with maintaining functional abilities, strength, muscle, and recovering quicker from hospitalizations

In summary, a high-protein diet is helpful for maximizing your physique, health, and physical function

How Much Protein Is Enough?

Research shows that a person should eat a daily amount of protein grams that is around their weight (in lbs) x 0.7.

Again, a daily intake of protein grams should be your weight (in lbs) x 0.7. For example:

  • For a 100 lb person x 0.7 = 70 grams of protein per day
  • For a 150 lb person, this is 105 grams per day
  • For a 200 lb person, this is 140 grams per day
  • For a 250 lb person, this is 175 grams per day

How To Get Enough Protein

How can you reach the amount that’s recommended for a person of your weight? Consume a major source of protein at every meal.

Examples of high-protein foods include fish, poultry, red meat, low-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu.

If looking for a protein supplement, consider whey, casein, egg, or pea protein. These supplements have high levels of most or all amino acids and are largely digestible.

Maximize your results by complementing your strength training program with a sufficient amount of protein intake each day.

Eating enough protein will ensure that you are gaining muscle, strength, managing your weight, and maintaining your physical function.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Anderson, G.H. & Moore, S.E. (2004). Dietary proteins in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 134(4), 974S-979S.
  • Graham, J. (2019). Why older adults should eat more protein (and not overdo protein shakes). KHN. Retrieved from https://khn.org/news/why-older-adults-should-eat-more-protein-and-not-overdo-protein-shakes/
  • Phillips, S.M. (2012). Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes. British Journal of Nutrition, 108, S158-S167.

Protein, A Key for Muscle Growth

Mission Monday Episode 4

Imagine trying to build a brick wall with a lack of bricks.

No matter how hard the bricklayer works, a brick wall can’t be built with a shortage of bricks

No matter how hard you work during your strength training workouts, you can’t build muscle with a shortage of protein.

Unfortunately, protein consumption is one of the biggest shortcomings people have when engaged in a fitness program.

This is a problem not just for gaining muscle but for several other reasons.

High Protein Intake

A high-protein intake is helpful for several reasons. A higher protein intake:

  • Reduces hunger levels and snack cravings
  • Decreases the risk of developing osteoporosis
  • Helps sustain weight loss
  • And, for older adults, a higher protein diet is connected with maintaining functional abilities, strength, muscle, and recovering quicker from hospitalizations

In summary, a high-protein diet is helpful for maximizing your physique, health, and physical function

How Much Protein Is Enough?

Research shows that a person should eat a daily amount of protein grams that is around their weight (in lbs) x 0.7.

Again, a daily intake of protein grams should be your weight (in lbs) x 0.7. For example:

  • For a 100 lb person x 0.7 = 70 grams of protein per day
  • For a 150 lb person, this is 105 grams per day
  • For a 200 lb person, this is 140 grams per day
  • For a 250 lb person, this is 175 grams per day

How To Get Enough Protein

How can you reach the amount that’s recommended for a person of your weight? Consume a major source of protein at every meal.

Examples of high-protein foods include fish, poultry, red meat, low-fat Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and tofu.

If looking for a protein supplement, consider whey, casein, egg, or pea protein. These supplements have high levels of most or all amino acids and are largely digestible.

Maximize your results by complementing your strength training program with a sufficient amount of protein intake each day.

Eating enough protein will ensure that you are gaining muscle, strength, managing your weight, and maintaining your physical function.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Anderson, G.H. & Moore, S.E. (2004). Dietary proteins in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 134(4), 974S-979S.
  • Graham, J. (2019). Why older adults should eat more protein (and not overdo protein shakes). KHN. Retrieved from https://khn.org/news/why-older-adults-should-eat-more-protein-and-not-overdo-protein-shakes/
  • Phillips, S.M. (2012). Dietary protein requirements and adaptive advantages in athletes. British Journal of Nutrition, 108, S158-S167.

Is It Safe to Strength Train While Pregnant?

Is It Safe to Strength Train While Pregnant?

Mission Monday Episode 3

Over 60% of expectant mothers do not exercise during pregnancy.

Some of these cases are high-risk pregnancies, where extreme caution is required.

For other expectant mothers, is it safe to strength train?

Health Concerns For Strength Training While Pregnant

Physiologically, the most commonly identified concerns are potential damage to the fetus, hyperthermia, and disrupting the regular blood flow to the fetus.

Several studies show that these concerns are just that — they are ONLY concerns. Strength training does not actually cause those potential issues.

Most importantly, strength training does NOT increase the risk of a miscarriage or any negative labor side effects.

As a whole, strength training is safe for pregnant women.

It Can Actually Be Dangerous To Not Exercise During Pregnancy

Inactivity during pregnancy could lead to excess weight gain and a large loss of muscle tissue. In addition, inactivity enhances the chances of developing gestational diabetes.

Strength training can prevent all of these concerns, plus provide other benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improving posture
  • Strengthening key muscles that are involved in labor
  • Having less strain during labor
  • Decreasing the chances of suffering lower back pain
  • AND…reducing the risk of preeclampsia by anywhere from 24 to 54%

Strength training is not only a good choice for the mom. Babies from strength-trained moms are generally longer and have more lean mass.

The research identified a few safety considerations for mothers going into strength training. To maximize safety, avoid holding your breath during exercise, stay away from exercises that can cause potential bone and ligament injuries — such as deadlifts and back squats — and avoid overhead lifts after the first trimester.

Follow Your Physician’s Lead

If your doctor supports strength training, go for it. The research shows that strength training during pregnancy is not only safe for the mother and the fetus, but it reduces pregnancy and labor pains, decreases the risk of common pregnancy-related health problems, and helps ensure a safe amount of weight gain

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Pujol, T. J., Barnes, J. T., Elder, C. L., & LaFontaine, T. (2007). Resistance training during pregnancy. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 29(2), 44-46.
  • Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Resistance training during pregnancy: safe and effective program design. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(5), 67-75.

Is It Safe to Strength Train While Pregnant?

Mission Monday Episode 3

Over 60% of expectant mothers do not exercise during pregnancy.

Some of these cases are high-risk pregnancies, where extreme caution is required.

For other expectant mothers, is it safe to strength train?

Health Concerns For Strength Training While Pregnant

Physiologically, the most commonly identified concerns are potential damage to the fetus, hyperthermia, and disrupting the regular blood flow to the fetus.

Several studies show that these concerns are just that — they are ONLY concerns. Strength training does not actually cause those potential issues.

Most importantly, strength training does NOT increase the risk of a miscarriage or any negative labor side effects.

As a whole, strength training is safe for pregnant women.

It Can Actually Be Dangerous To Not Exercise During Pregnancy

Inactivity during pregnancy could lead to excess weight gain and a large loss of muscle tissue. In addition, inactivity enhances the chances of developing gestational diabetes.

Strength training can prevent all of these concerns, plus provide other benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Improving posture
  • Strengthening key muscles that are involved in labor
  • Having less strain during labor
  • Decreasing the chances of suffering lower back pain
  • AND…reducing the risk of preeclampsia by anywhere from 24 to 54%


Strength training is not only a good choice for the mom. Babies from strength-trained moms are generally longer and have more lean mass.

The research identified a few safety considerations for mothers going into strength training. To maximize safety, avoid holding your breath during exercise, stay away from exercises that can cause potential bone and ligament injuries — such as deadlifts and back squats — and avoid overhead lifts after the first trimester.

Follow Your Physician’s Lead

If your doctor supports strength training, go for it. The research shows that strength training during pregnancy is not only safe for the mother and the fetus, but it reduces pregnancy and labor pains, decreases the risk of common pregnancy-related health problems, and helps ensure a safe amount of weight gain.

If you would like to learn more about our method of strength training, read about our methodology. If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and start with a FREE Introductory Session.

  • Pujol, T. J., Barnes, J. T., Elder, C. L., & LaFontaine, T. (2007). Resistance training during pregnancy. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 29(2), 44-46.
  • Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Resistance training during pregnancy: safe and effective program design. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33(5), 67-75.

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