She Cut Her Workouts in Half & Dropped 26 Pounds

fat loss women 60s

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

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

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

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

She Was Bored With Her Workouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Did you know?

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

LEARN MORE about 20 Minute Workouts

 

She Built Strength & Burned Calories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She Debuted Her New Look

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

5 Ways to Optimize Your Immune System

Optimize Your Immune System

The topic of immunity is more popular than ever. We’ve heard and seen some interesting “ways” to boost your immune system:

  • Taking a trillion grams of vitamin C 
  • Sweat it out with a 10 mile run 
  • Eat only fruits and vegetables and avoid all chocolate and wine on Tuesdays

What!?

Okay those may not be real, but the point is there’s some wacky advice and quick fixes out there about how to improve your health and immune system.

And although it may not be easy, it’s quite simple.

Focusing on behaviors that contribute to better health will fortify your immune system over time. 

Here are 5 ways to get started:

1. Get Quality Sleep

We have so many demands on our time—jobs, family, errands—not to mention finding some time to relax and have fun. To fit everything in, we often sacrifice… Sleep. 

But sleep has an impact on our mental and physical health. It’s vital for gaining strength, preventing illness, recovering from injury, and your overall well-being.

Of course, sleep helps you feel rested each day. But while you’re sleeping, your brain and body don’t just shut down. Internal organs and processes are hard at work throughout the night.

Sleep can be POWERFUL… if we get enough of it. 

We know about the many benefits of getting good quality sleep, but what about the effects of NOT getting a good night’s rest?

Check out these side effects of sleep deficiencies:

Sleeping
  • Long Term Mood Disorders
  • Sickness
  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Weight Gain
  • Low Libido
  • Heart Disease

Have you ever thought about if the sleep you are getting at night is quality sleep? It helps to see exactly what’s happening while you sleep.

We’ve found some great apps you can use to track and/or enhance your sleep:

Below are more tips that may help improve your sleep tonight!

One of the best ways to get better sleep is strength training. Learn more about how our Strength Training Programs can help you!

2. Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods

My parents always told me, “Veggies are your anti-disease foods because they are nutrient dense and help fight off infection and support white blood cell strength.”

Start by swapping out a few processed foods from your diet with an “anti-disease” option. See ideas below:

3. Lower Your Stress Levels

Stress is a natural reaction to life. But having too much stress or prolonged periods of stress can wreak havoc on the body and actually increase your chances of getting sick.

Watch this video on stress and how it can hurt your health!

Play Video

There are countless ways to alleviate stress, just as long as we create time for them!

Below are some ways to kick stress to the curb.

  • Exercise…. We’ve got you covered there!
  • Spending time outdoors
  • Spending time with pets (puppy therapy is a real thing!)
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Yoga
  • Prayer
  • A good night's rest
  • Taking Breaks!

One of our favorite ways to alleviate stress is the use of breath

That’s right! Breathing properly can actually reduce stress (and help you achieve a better workout!) 

Try out some of these simple everyday breath patterns you can use to melt stress away, any time of day.

We couldn’t talk about stress relief and NOT mention exercise. We all know exercise is good for us, and it does wonders to help us reduce stress levels (3).

  • Exercising releases endorphins- you can't feel bad when you're feeling good
  • Makes you feel better and empowered
  • Helps improve the quality of your sleep
  • Strength Training produces more endorphins than cardio
  • Can reduce risk of heart disease

4. Up Your Water Intake

We could chat for hours on this subject because water is so vital to your overall health and goes beyond just feeling hydrated.

Drinking plenty of water helps you have a successful workout (4) as well as:

  • Lubricate your joints and body’s systems so that everything moves & runs smoothly
  • Regulate body temperature (which can be helpful in burning more fat!)
  • Boost metabolism
  • Protect organs & tissue
  • Clear your bladder and flushes out toxins in your system
  • And so much more!!

Watch this video for a deeper dive into what water can do for you and your body and how you can get started and work your way to drinking enough water.

Play Video

5. Exercise… The RIGHT Way

You might think that exercising more is a surefire way to fight off viruses.

Actually, too much physical stress (including exercise stress) can cause the body to react in unfavorable ways. You want just the right amount of high-intensity exercise stress for optimal improvements, and no more. Learn More.

If you want to get optimal results you need to place value on resting and recovering from your workouts

Studies show that consistently exercising helps increase immunity and decrease chances of getting sick.

Luckily, engaging in effective exercise does not require a big behavioral shift.

All you need is 20 minutes with the right method and the accountability of a Personal Trainer to get results.

In case you haven’t seen enough benefits already… Slow-motion strength training is proven to provide countless benefits including (5):

  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 you burn even while you're resting
  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
  14. Improved immune system
  15. And many more!!

Let’s recap

If you want to optimize your immune system, there are 5 behavioral changes that will help.

  • Get quality sleep
  • Eat nutrient dense foods
  • Lower stress levels
  • Drink more water
  • Slow-motion strength training

Did you know these are key ingredients for most (if not all) health and wellness goals?

Want more guidance—
Start HERE.

References:

  1. Ferris, L. T., Williams, J. S., Shen, C. L., O’Keefe, K. A., & Hale, K. B. (2005). Resistance training improves sleep quality in older adults—a pilot study. J Sports Sci Med, 4(3), 354-60.
  2. Singh, N. A., Clements, K. M., Fiatarone, M. A. (1997). Sleep, Sleep Deprivation, and Daytime Activities A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effect of Exercise on Sleep. Sleep, 20(2), 95-101.
  3. O’Connor, P.J., Herring, M.P., & Caravalho, A. (2010). Mental health benefits of strength training in adults. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, 4: 377; pp. 377-396. DOI: 10.1177/1559827610368771
  4. J udelson, D. A., Maresh, C. M., Farrell, M. J., Yamamoto, L. M., Armstrong, L. E., Kraemer, W. J., … & Anderson, J.M. (2007). Effect of hydration state on strength, power, and resistance exercise performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(10), 1817.
  5. Campbell, W.,Crim, M., Young,V. and Evans,W. (1994). Increased energy requirements and  changes in body composition with resistance training in older adults. American Journal of  Clinical Nutrition, 60: 167-175. 
  6. Evans, W. and Rosenberg, I. (1992) Biomarkers, New York: Simon and Schuster. Forbes, G.  B. (1976). “The adult decline in lean body mass,” Human Biology, 48: 161-73. 
  7. Harris, K. and Holly R. (1987). Physiological response to circuit weight training in borderline  hypertensive subjects. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 19: 246-252. 
  8. Hurley, B. (1994). Does strength training improve health status? Strength and Conditioning  Journal, 16: 7-13. 
  9. Hurley, B., Hagberg, J., Goldberg, A., et al. (1988). Resistance training can reduce coronary  risk factors without altering VO2 max or percent body fat. Medicine and Science in Sports and  Exercise, 20: 150-154. 
  10. Keyes, A., Taylor, H.L. and Grande, F. (1973). “Basal Metabolism and Age of Adult Man,”  Metabolism, 22: 579-87. 
  11. Koffler, K., Menkes, A. Redmond, W. et al. (1992). Strength training accelerates  gastrointestinal transit in middle-aged and older men. Medicine and Science in Sports and  Exercise, 24: 415-419. 
  12. Menkes, A., Mazel, S., Redmond, R. et al. (1993). Strength training increases regional bone  mineral density and bone remodeling in middle-aged and older men. Journal of Applied  Physiology, 74: 2478-2484. 
  13. Risch, S., Nowell, N. Pollock, M., et al. (1993). Lumbar strengthening in chronic low back pain  patients. Spine, 18: 232-238. 
  14. Singh, N., Clements, K. and Fiatarone, M. A randomized controlled trial of progressive resistance training in depressed elders. Journal of Gerontology, 52 A (1): M 27 – M 35.
  15. Stone, M., Blessing, D., Byrd, R., et al. (1982). Physiological effects of a short term resistive  training program on middle-aged untrained men. National Strength and Conditioning  Association Journal, 4: 16-20. 
  16. Tufts University Diet and Nutrition Letter, (1994). Never too late to build up your muscle. 12:  6-7 (September). 
  17. Westcott, W. and Guy, J. (1996). A physical evolution. Sedentary adults see marked  improvements in as little as two days a week. IDEA Today, 14 (9): 58-65. 

Retired and Remaining Strong, Healthy & Independent with QUICK workouts

Sheila Sutton Feature Image

Have you ever felt your knees ache a little bit more than they used to?

Perhaps you get winded more easily while walking through the neighborhood.

Maybe getting up out of bed feels like a challenge these days.

Ever stopped to think… maybe this is just what getting older feels like?

At age 66, Sheila Sutton found herself facing that very question. With a nudge from a doctor, she found a way to stay independent despite her age.

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Is This Supposed To Happen?

In early 2020, Sheila Sutton was working out at a big box gym 3-4 times a week. 

She was plugging away on the cardio machines and although she felt good, she lacked strength and felt off-centered. 

“My grandson who is 11 would run and jump at me and I would literally fall. I was off-center and if I missed a step it would be a big production.”

Without much strength and balance, Sheila found it challenging to do simple movements like getting up off the floor or going up and down the stairs unassisted.

She even needed to take rest breaks while doing her hair.

“It was annoying. I'm 66 years old… is this supposed to be happening?”

If the Doctor says so!

Once the pandemic hit, one of her sons (a doctor) said the gym was too risky and recommended she give The Perfect Workout a try. 

Sheila lives in New York, nowhere near one of our Medical Fitness Facilities, so she tried a Virtual Intro Workout. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Intimidated to Empowered

At first Sheila was intimidated by the idea of working with a Personal Trainer. She’d never worked with an instructor and didn’t know what to expect. Learn More

She was mostly skeptical about doing any exercises that required her to get up and down off the floor. 

She thought, “Wait a minute, who's gonna help me get up?”

But her Trainer listened to her concerns and her body’s ability, and never rushed Sheila into any exercises she wasn’t ready for.

Together, they worked consistently on her strength and balance… And one day she noticed a big change.

During one of her Personal Training Sessions, Sheila was getting up off the floor and without thinking about it she got up – without holding onto anything.

She said to her trainer, “Did you see what I did?! I never did this before!”

That moment brought Sheila to tears and left her feeling empowered. It made her want to do more for her body and her health. 

“I'm certainly going to do as much as I can to make my body perform the best that it can. I'm not ready for a chair or a scooter.”

Accomplishments like those are indicators that independence is possible at any age. And they happen everyday at The Perfect Workout. 

Worried about getting older

Decades to Come

When Sheila looks into the future at the decades to come, she now feels safe.

“I feel safer. I'm not afraid.”

She’s looking forward to doing so much more now that she knows her body has the potential. 

Sheila isn’t sitting still at 66. She’s moving her body with confidence and every Virtual Training Session helps improve her strength and balance.

“What better way to have someone that's going to be there for you and show you proper technique and how to maximize your body performance. And do it in a safe way in your house.”

Getting older doesn’t mean you have to become dependent on others to help you get up from the floor. 

Want to move your body with more confidence and independence? 

Start with an Intro Workout, no matter where you live!

The Strategy She Used to Feel Strong in Her Body Again

strategy Christine griffin used to feel strong

Christine Griffin was stopped in her tracks when she felt the searing pain of sciatica hit. She had a herniated a disc and with just the slightest bend in the back, the disc bulged, hitting a nerve. 

Everything cascaded from there. Overnight, she went from living an active lifestyle to living in pain. 

Learn how Christine went from living with severe back pain to feeling strong and capable – and the strategy she used to do it.

The Pain

For four years, Christine could barely walk without experiencing excruciating pain. 

“When you have back pain like that, you twist your body to guard from the pain and try to keep it from hurting.”

Unfortunately, this created a new problem for her. She found herself leaning to one size, a result of overcompensation to avoid the pain.

Christine ultimately went through surgery and a lot of physical therapy. Finally, she was pain free, but her body was out of whack and her muscles had atrophied. She couldn’t pick up where she left off with her exercise routine from four years before. 

She needed to begin again.

“Every time I tried to get back into that rhythm, I would hurt myself. I needed something in between physical therapy and full on workout classes. I needed a personal trainer.

The Strategy

Christine knew she needed a Personal Trainer. But as a busy professional, she also needed a time-efficient solution. 

After doing research, she found The Perfect Workout and was attracted to the 20-minute, twice a week program.

“I had special needs. And the trainers I've worked with have been able to accommodate them.”

It was a perfect fit.

Christine had tried traditional Personal Training before but there were two things that made her experience at The Perfect Workout different… and better.

First, she felt like she could “survive it”

“I wasn't pushed too hard, where I felt like I don't ever want to do that again.”

Second, it was effective.  

“Some of my original level of function returned. And that was the proof that I needed that it works.”

 

See MORE proof 👇🏼👇🏼

The Strategist

One key piece to Christine’s strategy to feel strong in her body again was making sure she did her workouts the right way.

That’s where the Trainer comes in. They’re the strategist.

A Trainer will help guide you safely through each exercise as well as help reverse engineer your goals so they're more attainable. 

After all, a Trainer is someone who specializes in helping people exercise the right way and getting results… and they’re passionate about it.

Even more than passion, our trainers are Certified through an extensive education process.

Most personal training certifications do not require any hands-on training to get certified. At The Perfect Workout, our certification goes beyond books and heavily involves hands-on training with real people. 

We test our trainers’ knowledge and expertise with numerous written and practical exams. All Personal Trainers are AED/CPR certified and are required to complete continuing education as part of their employment with The Perfect Workout.

The Ability to Function

Now that Christine is without pain and she’s getting stronger and healthier, she finds she has an ever-increasing ability to function in her daily life. 

“I can move my hips more easily. I can hold my body upright – I didn't have the strength to do that. I would always slouch back over because I fatigued almost right away.”

One of Christine’s biggest day-to-day challenges used to be the long walk to and from the train in Chicago. 

“And that's easier for me now that I can hold myself better upright while carrying a backpack. I can walk. I know that doesn’t sound like an accomplishment, but it's huge.”

increased function strength training

The Setting for Success

Christine got her start in one of The Perfect Workout’s Chicago studios, but now she trains exclusively on the Virtual Training platform.

“I've found that the virtual training platform works for me. It actually takes less time. And I don't have to drive there and back.”

The convenience isn’t the only factor that’s made Christine fall in love with Virtual Training.

She’s proud to develop her own toolkit of challenging exercises she can use to assist in her workouts – like lifting her own body weight in different ways.

“I see the advantages of the machines but I feel like I don't need an entire gym full of stuff to get more healthy.”

I hear about people who are having mental health challenges and things like that during the pandemic. Here's something you can do that will make you feel good right in your home. You don't have to leave it. You can just put on some workout clothes. Who cares what your hair looks like? 20 minutes, you're done, and you feel better.”

No matter WHAT your goals are, feeling better is inevitable at The Perfect Workout.

Get started today!

Are you at Risk? Osteoporosis Doesn’t Just Target Older Women

Fitness Trainer Newport Beach CA

In recognition of World Osteoporosis Day (10/20/20) we at The Perfect Workout want to shed even more awareness on Osteoporosis, and that starts with knowing the risk factors. This sneaky disease often creeps up on the people it affects.

Check this list of common risk factors to see if you are at risk of developing Osteoporosis.

 

Gender

Osteoporosis affects Men and Women, but women (especially White or Asian) are at higher risk.

Age

Older individuals, especially women past menopause are considered high risk. Young adults can take precautions now to prevent Osteoporosis.

Weight

Thin, frail body types and underweight BMI’s can be a risk factor for having low bone density which is a contributor to fractured bones.

Hormones

Having lower estrogen levels for women, and low testosterone for men can contribute to Osteoporosis and fractures.

Family History

Osteoporosis runs in the family. If you have a family history of the disease, your risk factor increases. Read about our Founder's family history below.

Vitamins & Minerals

Getting in adequate amounts of sunlight (Vitamin D) helps absorb Calcium, a necessary building block for healthy bones. Not getting enough calcium can also lead to deficiency.

Other Diseases

Diseases such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, digestive conditions, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis have also been linked to Osteoporosis.

Smoking & Alchohol

Excessive smoking and drinking can lead to a slew of health problems including negatively impacting bone health.

Lifestyle & Exercise

The more sedentary you are the higher the risk of muscle and bone loss which can lead to osteoporosis, falls and fractures. This is where your strength training sessions are vital. Each slow-motion strength training workout helps to battle muscle and bone deterioration and will actually help to increase both.

Millions of people’s bodies will become fragile as they get older due to Osteoporosis.

Luckily, there's an easy solution to prevent and reverse Osteoporosis and it only takes 20 minutes. 

Learn More about Osteoporosis and how The Perfect Workout:

  • uses a method designed to build bone density
  • helps clients reverse their Osteoporosis
  • helps clients get off medication and build bone density through exercise

Whether you are already battling Osteoporosis or you have decades before that feels like a serious concern, the number one thing to help prevent, improve and reverse bone density loss is strength training. 

Keep up with your workouts help spread the awareness and share this with a friend today!

How to Build Strong, Defined Thighs

Personal Trainer Mill Valley CA


Want firmer thighs and a lifted booty? The Leg Curl is an exercise you don’t want to skip.

If you’ve been training with us, you know our 20-minute workouts target the entire body including one of the biggest muscles- the hamstrings.

If having a strong, firm thighs and a lifted backside is something you’re striving for… keep reading.

The Muscles Used

The hamstrings are large muscles that make up the back of your thighs and are the primary movers worked in the Leg Curl. In addition to the hamstrings, this power exercise also targets the calves.

These main muscles targeted by the Leg Curl are largely responsible for the appearance of your thighs and lower legs and train the muscles that are responsible for running speed.

To learn how to target the hamstrings along with your buttocks, read our article on the Leg Press.


How it Works

The hamstrings contract to provide knee flexion, which is the technical name for the movement performed during the Leg Curl. Each hamstring is a group of four muscles that start on your pelvis (around the bottom of your buttocks), cover the backs of your thighs and attach to the lower leg, just below your knee. The hamstrings have two major functions: to flex your knee, and pull your thigh backward (hip extension).

Performing the exercise looks like this: 

The Leg Curl (seated in particular) begins with you seated and legs stretched out in front of you in between two pads. Your feet are flexed with toes pointing straight up to engage the muscles in the back of the leg and upper body is upright and relaxed.

As you begin to move the weight, you’re trying to pull your heels close to your buttocks, keeping your toes pointed up throughout the entire range of motion. Once you have reached your full range of motion- you’ve brought your heels back as far as they can go, you want to squeeze your hamstrings in the contracted position for approximately 3 seconds and slowly resist the weight back to the beginning position.


Like all exercises, you avoid resting in between repetitions and slowly push yourself to reach Muscle Success.


Why Do It?

Building the muscle fibers in the hamstrings can provide a firm appearance to the backs of the thighs, and can also create an ovular shape. This can be seen if you look at the back of someone’s thighs from a side view.

The Leg Curl is a very efficient exercise, in that the calves (gastrocnemius) assist the hamstrings in flexing the knees. Many women wear high-heeled shoes because the elevated heels force the calves to contract, making the leg look more defined and shapely. Using the Leg Curl can create that same muscularity in the lower legs without needing the shoes.

Hamstrings in Day-to-Day Function

The hamstrings are a major muscle group responsible for pulling the leg down after the knee rises. The foot drives into the ground and propels you forward. The acceleration comes from the leg and foot being pulled down as fast as possible. The faster the foot can move downward, the greater the acceleration.

For any athlete who sprints, such as those playing baseball, softball, and football, the Leg Curl trains a muscle that is critical to maximizing acceleration.

You don’t need to be an athlete or play competitive sports to benefit from this exercise. Performing the Leg Curl regularly will help to improve leg strength and overall mobility for anyone.

Maximizing Your Leg Curl in 2 Minutes or Less

In order to get the most out of your 1-2 minutes on the Leg Curl, your coach will help you achieve these three things:

  1. Full Range of Motion: A full range of motion helps to give a thorough workout to the targeted muscles. Think “heels to butt” and give those hammies a big squeeze as you strive for each repetition.
  2. Flex Your Feet: A fuller range of motion can be accomplished when the ankles are dorsi flexed, meaning the tops of your feet are pulled towards your shins. If your toes are pointed down as you flex your knees, your calves will be multitasking with two responsibilities, and they will do poorly in each. Keep your toes up to make sure your calves can do their best in flexing your knees.
  3. Muscle Success: You knew it was coming! Achieving muscle success by fully fatiguing the hamstrings will help you build the strength you’re looking for.

Whether you desire firm, rounded thighs or to run faster during your favorite sport, the Leg Curl is a quick & efficient way to achieving strong and sexy stems.

Strengthen your legs and define your entire body with a 20-minute workout.

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The Best Kept Secret to Controlling Diabetes

Personal Training Southwest San Jose CA

“My diabetes is so under control, my Doctor doesn’t even want to see me anymore.”- Larry H.

This is every patient’s dream outcome. And if you’ve got diabetes you know that frequent trips to the doctor are pretty common.

It’s a shame more people with diabetes aren’t doing what Larry did to get his levels under control.

What’s that? You want to know what he’s been doing?

Slow-motion strength training of course 😉

What is Diabetes?

“Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream.” (CDC)

Who Gets Diabetes?

Just about anyone can develop diabetes, but first let’s decipher the difference between the different types. There are two main types:

  • Type I Diabetes: an autoimmune disease typically diagnosed in children and young adults. There is no prevention for this type.
  • Type II Diabetes: 90% of people with diabetes have this type. It is generally a result of unhealthy lifestyle factors such as diet and lack of exercise/activity.

Personal Trainer Southwest San Jose CA

How serious is it?

Very serious if not controlled.

“In the United States, 88 million adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes” (CDC.)

The very serious thing about prediabetes and diabetes is it raises your risk for other serious issues like heart disease, kidney disease, vision loss, stroke and even loss of limbs.

Diabetes is also strongly correlated with obesity- a major cause of many health issues.

Producing a lot of insulin can lead to both diabetes and weight gain.

One solution is to decrease the need for insulin by improving insulin sensitivity… strength training.

Strength Trainer Southwest San Jose CA

 

locations the perfect workout

How Do You Control It?

Fortunately, strength training improves insulin sensitivity, and therefore also decreases insulin in the blood.

Men and women between 50 and 70 years old strength trained for four months in one study [2]. They performed full body workouts three times per week, with each workout featuring 10 exercises. At the end, the trainees improved their insulin sensitivity by 21%.

A second study was similar in terms of length and age group [3], except the workout included only five exercises per session. The result was similar: a 25% improvement in insulin sensitivity. And, the trainees lost averages of 3 and 8.4 lbs of fat.

Effective strength training can help keep your insulin levels in check, helping you to manage your weight while reducing risk of diabetes.

Strength Training Southwest San Jose CA

 

How Does Strength Training Improve it?

People with type 2 diabetes have an abundance of glucose in their blood, an amount of blood sugar beyond what is considered a healthy level. High intensity exercise, such as strength training, is the only type of exercise that uses predominantly glucose as fuel.

One study conducted at Louisiana State University lasted nine months and the participants were men and women of various ethnicity and averaged 56 years of age. The average starting hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood glucose over three months) was 7.7%. Six and a half percent is considered the minimum amount for type 2 diabetes.

The strength training regimen featured:

  • nine exercises targeting major muscle groups in the upper and lower body
  • each exercise was performed for one set
  • workouts were conducted twice per week

At the end of the study, the diabetic men and women experienced improvements in hemoglobin A1c ranging from 0.3 to 1.0%.

Forty-one percent of the participants improved by 0.5% or more, or were at least able to decrease their medications.

To put this into real-life perspective, a decrease in hemoglobin A1c as small as 0.3% is significant: it can translate to years of life regained.

The strength training program required a total of only 30 to 40 minutes per week, and the participants also walked approximately 100 minutes per week (an average of about 14 minutes of walking a day).

At The Perfect Workout, we know of a number of people with type 2 diabetes who improved their blood glucose with strength training and no other changes in their lifestyle.

They simply showed up for a high-intensity strength training session twice per week for about 20 minutes each visit.

That’s good news for people with diabetes looking to improve their health and extend their lives.

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References

Church, T. S., Blair, S. N., Cocreham, S., Johannsen, N., Johnson, W., Kramer, K., … & Earnest, C. P. (2010). Effects of aerobic and resistance training on hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 304(20), 2253-2262.

Turner, R. C., Holman, R. R., Cull, C. C., Stratton, I. M., Matthews, D. R., Frighi, V., …Hadden, C. (1998). Intensive blood-glucose control with sulphonylureas or insulin compared with conventional treatment and risk of complications in patients with type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 33). The Lancet (British Edition), 352(9131), 837.

Cauza, E., Hanusch-Enserer, U., Strasser, B., Ludvik, B., Metz-Schimmerl, S.,…Pacini, G. (2005). The relative benefits of endurance and strength training on the metabolic factors and muscle function of people with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Archives of Physiology and Medical Rehabilitation, 86(8), 1527-1533.

Brooks, N., Layne, J. E., Gordon, P. L., Roubenoff, R., Nelson, M. E. Castaneda-Sceppa, C. (2007). Strength training improves muscle quality and insulin sensitivity in hispanic older adults with type 2 diabetes. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 4(1),

Finally, A Workout You Can Do For the Rest of Your Life

Strength is the underlying factor in independence.

It’s a well-known fact that strength, along with muscle, decreases with age.

As our strength drops below the level required to perform daily activities, we cross the threshold of independent to dependent.

One way to avoid dependency in old age is to strength train.

When it comes to strength training with the elderly, though, some people may have some concerns. In this article we will dive into how older adults can benefit from slow-motion strength training and why it's a workout you can do for a lifetime.

 

How old is too old for strength training?

Researchers in Denmark set out to answer this question with a study that split 23 men and women, between 85 and 97 years old, into either a strength training or control group for 12 weeks. The participants were mainly living in nursing homes or at their own homes, although just about all of them were dependent.

The strength training routine was performed using heavy weights on the leg extension only, which trains the quadriceps. Training sessions occurred three times per week, and the load used was adjusted every two weeks to stay at 80% of the latest one-rep max.

In addition to the one-rep max test, the training men and women performed pre- and post-study tests for isometric strength at four different knee angles. Muscle biopsies were also used to see the change in muscle fiber size.

The results were as follows: 

    • Isometric knee strength increased at all four positions, with an average increase of 37%.
    • Overall muscle size increased 9.8%.
    • Type 2 muscle fibers increased 22%.
    • Also, no injuries were reported during the training.
    • The control group (who didn’t perform any strength training) experienced no changes in strength or muscle size.

 

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The Importance of Type 2 Muscle Fibers

Type 2 fibers produce the greatest amount of strength and power. For athletes, type 2 fibers are the ones responsible for producing efforts such as sprinting, swinging a golf club, throwing a ball, and jumping.

In people who struggle with daily activities, these fibers provide the power necessary for getting out of a chair, holding a bag of groceries, or even holding an arm up to blow dry or comb hair.

Research has consistently shown that aging causes type 2 fibers to deteriorate quicker and to a greater extent than type 1 fibers (which perform basic high endurance, low strength tasks like standing, walking, etc.).

Increasing type 2 fiber size is of greater need for seniors.

As a result of strength training for 12 weeks, men and women with an average age of 89 years gained significant strength and increased muscle tissue while no injuries were noted.

How old is too old? Here’s a quote from the researchers:

“We believe that it is never too late to improve muscle function and increase muscle mass and therefore recommend that greater focus should be placed on heavy resistance exercise training in the future rehabilitation and preventative treatment of the elderly population.”

 

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Reverse the Effects of Aging

Two studies, performed by separate groups of researchers in Spain, provide hope that even some of the oldest adults can reverse some of the effects of aging to improve their independence and functional abilities.

The participants in these studies performed two to three months of strength training and benefited by gaining strength, muscle mass, balance, and became more capable of performing basic living activities... and just about all of these individuals were in their 90’s and lived in nursing homes.

“Sarcopenia” is the term for muscle atrophy (losing or shrinking muscle size) and strength as we age. The average strength loss is about 15% by our 65th birthday.

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In 2014, 13 men and women, with an average age of 93 years, completed about three months of twice-weekly strength training along with balance and gait training.

At the conclusion, these individuals were quicker to rise from a chair, were able to stand from sitting more frequently within a small period of time, demonstrated better balance, and became stronger and more muscular.

Strength gains were noticed in the upper and lower body, including muscles that move the knee and hip joints.

Another study, published in 2011, featured eight weeks of only strength training for men and women between 90 and 97 years old. In this study, the participants trained three times per week. Lower body strength increased about 17%, or an increase of 23 lbs. in the maximum amount they could leg press.

When looking at these results, it’s clear to see that we have a choice in how we age. Our actions play a role in how much muscle mass and strength we have as well as how functionally-able we are in our older years. Strength training provides us with an opportunity to control those factors for the better, even in our 90’s! I think the researchers in the 2011 study summarized the point well in their final statement:


“These findings support that regular physical training, with a special focus of resistance 
exercise, is feasible and useful over the entire lifespan.”

 

adaptive resistance exercise

References

Cadore, E. L., Casas-Herrero, A., Zambom-Ferraresi, F., Idoate, F., Millor, N., Gómez, M.,…& Izquierdo, M. (2014). Multicomponent exercises including muscle power training enhance muscle mass, power output, and functional outcomes in institutionalized frail nonagenarians. Age, 36(2), 773-785.

Serra-Rexach, J. A., Bustamante-Ara, N., Hierro Villarán, M., González Gil, P., Sanz Ibáñez, M. J., Blanco Sanz, N., … & Lucia, A. (2011). Short-term, light-to moderate-intensity exercise training improves leg muscle strength in the oldest old: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society,59(4), 594-602.

Kryger, A. I., & Andersen, J. L. (2007). Resistance training in the oldest old: consequences for muscle strength,fiber types, fiber size, and MHC isoforms. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 17(4), 422-430.

 

Bye Bye Flab! One-Stop-Shop for Sculpted Back & Arms

Want a better upper body?

One brief exercise could be your ticket to more defined arms, sculpted shoulders, and a leaner looking waist.

If you read our leg press article from a few weeks ago, you’ll recall that the leg press is the one-stop shop for just about all lower body muscles.

When it comes to the upper body, the Lat Pulldown is the one-stop shop. 

 

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The Muscles Used

In one set of the lat pulldown (LPD) – roughly 1 to 2 minutes – you can train pretty much all of the major muscles in the upper body. 

These muscles are the prime movers in the lat pulldown.

  • Latissimus Dorsi (the “lats” or wings of the back)
  • Trapezius (“traps” or upper back)

In addition, there are other major muscles involved:

  • Pectoralis Major (chest) 
  • Posterior Deltoids (shoulders)
  • Biceps brachii (front of upper arm)

 

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How it Works

With the LPD, you start seated in the machine with your arms raised in front of you, holding onto the handles. As you pull the handles down toward the ground, your shoulder blades are also pulled down, and the lower traps perform that action. As your upper arms come down, your elbows flex (or bend), bringing your wrists closer to your shoulders.

This is where your biceps come into play. Your forearms are heavily utilized in the LPD as well. The forearms have the most fundamental role in the pulldown: maintaining grip of the handles. And finally, your abdominal muscles are used significantly to stabilize your torso during the exercise.

 

 

 

How LPD Blasts Flab & Sculpts

You might be wondering how does this exercise eliminate a flabby upper body and leave me looking sculpted?

Training the lats improves the shape of your back. As lean muscle tissue is added to the lats, it gives a ‘V’ shape to your back. If you feel you have “love handles,” gaining muscle in your lats might help them become less noticeable.

The pulldown also helps improve aesthetics with your arms. As mentioned, your biceps and shoulders are key players in this exercise, and this exercise will help make your upper arm muscles more defined.

 

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Do the LPD, but Do it Right.

To get the most out of the LPD, work with one of our Trainers to get proper coaching and guidance at any of The Perfect Workout studios.

In the meantime, here are some helpful tips:

  • When performing the pulldown, don’t think of the main goal as pulling your hands or the handles down. Focus mainly on pulling your elbows to your sides. The lats are the main muscle group used, and focusing on your elbows and upper arms can assist you in becoming more aware of the lats as you train.
  • As you transition from the positive (pulling down) to the negative (slowing letting your arms up), your shoulders will subconsciously rise (or shrug). Pull them down, or “unshrug,” This action will force your back muscles to work harder.

Fatiguing your muscles to “muscle success” is where you'll receive the most value with the LPD.

In just one short set performed one or two times per week, you are training the major muscles of the upper body while improving the shape, tone and strength of your back and arms. 

 

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The Science of Losing Fat, Preserving Muscle & Doing it in 20-Minutes

Imagine stepping on the scale and it reads: Congrats! You’ve Lost 10lbs of fat, muscle & bone.

What!?

Who wants to lose muscle and bone?

Unfortunately losing weight can mean losing more than just body fat. So if you want to lose fat and only fat while adding lean muscle to your body, this article is for you.

 

It’s Simple: Muscle Burns Fat

If you want to lose fat efficiently, you must know this: Muscle burns calories.

By adding more lean muscle to our bodies, we increase our resting metabolic rate, or the calories we burn on a daily basis.

So, how do we add more muscle to our bodies?

Strength Training.

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

Strength training research shows that women’s resting metabolism actually decreased 75 and 103 calories per day with “aerobic” and diet-only changes.

With a slower metabolism, maintaining fat loss becomes more challenging.

With more muscle, maintaining fat loss becomes easy.

 

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But I’ve Lost Weight with Aerobics Before…

Many of our clients and even our Trainers love to do aerobics and believe it or not, we fully support it – especially if it's something you love to do.

But for many, aerobic activities like running feel like a chore, and people do it because they believe it's absolutely necessary to lose weight.

It’s not.

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.

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.

Remember, if your weight is decreasing, are you really getting to your target destination? In other words, are you losing just fat, or are you losing fat along with muscle and other tissues?

Losing weight does not necessarily imply that you will be leaner WITH better muscle tone, and that’s what you really want.

 

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How to Burn Fat in 20 Minutes

Strength training is often said to transform the body into a calorie-burning machine. If so, can you get the same metabolic effect from a 15-20-minute workout using only one set for each exercise as you would from a longer, multiple-set session?

You probably know the answer is yes, but here is the research to prove it:

A recent study used two different protocols: 

  • A full body workout using one set, each performed to muscular fatigue 
  • A full body workout using the same amount of exercises, also working to muscle fatigue, but featuring three sets of each exercise 

The researchers in the study measured the calories expended at rest each day for a week after both workouts.

There was NO difference between the two groups. A workout using one set per exercise increased metabolism to the same degree that a three-set routine did for 24, 48, and 72 hours afterwards.

 

Debbie lost 90 lbs in her first 2 years at The Perfect Workout

 

The study also showed the higher calorie expenditure rate wore off 96 hours after the workout.

By strength training twice a week, your resting energy expenditure is likely elevated all the time. By the time one session's effects wear off, another session occurs and the process starts over.

Finally, the researchers noted another bonus that you can relate to: saved time.

The one-set workout took an average of 16 minutes compared to 37 for the three-set trial. Essentially, you can save 21 minutes and achieve the same boost in metabolism by performing a full body workout with only one set per exercise.

If you’re going to get similar results from working out for 16 minutes as you would for 37 minutes why would you waste any time and work out longer than necessary?

20 minutes of slow-motion strength training is all you need to be efficient at burning fat and if you are training twice per week, you can experience this calorie-burning benefit on a perpetual basis.

 

Robin Lancaster dropped 15 lbs in her first 3 months of Virtual Training!

 

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Don’t Forget Diet

Improving eating habits has the most influence on losing weight. However, diet by itself can also  lead to indiscriminate weight loss: fat, muscle, bone, water…it all goes.

Thankfully, there is a way to minimize or eliminate muscle loss during diet-induced weight loss: strength training.

Changing eating habits is the most influential method for losing weight, and strength training is the most effective method ensuring that the lost weight is only fat. 

 

Dr. Finkelstein (left) lost 44 lbs with 20-minute workouts. Justin Brunette (right) lost 4 inches off his waist and his body fat dropped 6.4% in 3 months at The Perfect Workout!

 

If losing fat is your goal, the solution is simple:

  • Slow-motion strength train to muscle fatigue, twice a week
  • Eat a diet conducive to your needs and to lose fat
  • Limit aerobic activity

 

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References

Hunter, Gary R., et al. “Resistance Training Conserves Fat-free Mass and Resting Energy Expenditure Following Weight Loss.” Obesity 16.5 (2008): 1045-1051.

Stiegler, Petra, and Adam Cunliffe. “The role of diet and exercise for the maintenance of fat-free mass and resting metabolic rate during weight loss.” Sports Medicine 36.3 (2006): 239-262.

Heden TT. One-set resistance training elevates energy expenditure for 72 h similar to three sets. Eur J Appl Physiol 111: 3: 477-484,2011.

Catenacci VVA. Physical Activity Patterns in the National Weight Control Registry. 16: 1: 153-161, 2008

 

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