Create Healthy Habits & Improve Your Life

Create healthy habits & improve your life

Timothy Spellman Personal Trainer

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

Now, he’s doing it virtually.

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

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

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

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

The Importance of a Healthy Routine

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

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

Tim Spellman quote

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She was so proud of that.” 

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

More Energy for Daily Life

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

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

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

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

Healthy Habits Can Be Virtual

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

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

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

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

Tim Spellman Quote 2

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

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

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

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

Healthy Relationship with a Personal Trainer

what it takes to have a healthy relationship with a personal trainer

Gabriel Ferrer Featured Image

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

Chances are something was missing in your relationship.

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

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

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

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

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You Have to Have Trust

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

But trust is vital in getting results.

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

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

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

Now, she’s one of his superstar clients. 

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

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

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

Gabriel Ferrer Photo

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

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

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

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

Candor is Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She lost 15 pounds.

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

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

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

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

Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and Weight Loss

m.s., Fibromyalgia, weight loss... He's Helping all of them

As a model and actor, for years it has literally been Jeffrey Blockson’s job to stay in shape.

Jeff lives a simple but strict motto that no matter what age you are, or where you come from, you don’t have any excuses to not take care of what’s most important- your health.

Must be easy for someone who models, right? 

Even though Jeff has put in hard work and dedication to stay strong and healthy it CAN be easy for anyone. Take it from some of his clients who have Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, and lifelong weight loss struggles…

They are living proof that it only takes 20 minutes, twice a week to take control of your health, no matter what.

In college, Jeffrey noticed that a lot of his friends and fellow classmates lacked time and money,  which made it challenging for them to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods. With his own experience staying in shape and a desire to help people balance a healthy life with a hectic schedule, Jeff’s personal training career began to bud.

When he learned about slow-motion strength training, Jeffrey became even more enthralled with the idea of only needing 20 minutes to get in a workout and care for yourself. This method makes better health much more accessible to those who struggle to get it.

After experiencing a workout at one of The Perfect Workout’s Chicago studios, he knew he wanted to be involved in the company.

Those with M.S. Can Do It

During his time as a trainer at The Perfect Workout, Jeff has helped many clients work through specific conditions. His client Pat has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) which causes her to use a walker.

But that doesn’t get in the way of her workouts.

“Oh, no, trust me, don't let that fool you. She'll get on the leg press and kill it.”

Pat and Jeff’s work together has helped her gain strength, improve her balance, and lose weight.

Just recently, she told Jeff that she surpassed her weight loss goals and she didn’t feel like she needed to lose any more weight.

 

Read more about some of our clients success working out with M.S. below 👇🏽

Those With Weight Loss Struggles Can Do It

One of Jeff’s favorite college courses was Psychology because he enjoys diving deep into the psyche of people to understand them better.

As a Personal Trainer, he gets to use these skills to understand the real why behind his clients wanting to improve their body and health. 

As certified Personal Trainers, we can better serve our clients and help them reach their goals when we know what motivates them. 

One of Jeff’s clients was a little closed off when they first began working together. She came in looking to lose weight and tone up, some very common goals with new clients. But Jeff was determined to find out her deeper motivation. 

After building trust, getting to know one another, and Jeff’s persistence to understand his client he finally found out why she wanted to reshape her body.

“She finally broke down to me. She said, ‘When I was a little girl, my father told me that I was overweight. He used to call me fat. He used to call me these names all the time. And here I am. I am 50-something years old and I'm still that same little girl.’”

“When you get to those moments, not only do you gain trust, but you can truly understand the client and I'm all about that.”

Those With Fibromyalgia Can Do It

Jeffrey began working with a woman named Nella in Orland Park, IL before he took over the SW San Jose studio in California.

Nella’s husband had been training with Jeffrey and had been trying to get her into the studio. Nella has fibromyalgia and was concerned it would get in the way of exercise. But she decided to try the workout one day and fell in love with it.

A symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic pain and stiffness, both of which she would experience often- even in workouts.

One day, she was on the leg press machine and stopped. She put her head down and it prompted Jeffrey to ask her if everything was okay.

Then, she started to cry.

“She told me that, with her condition, it always feels like spinning. And she said, for a short moment, it stopped. And she can't think of the last time she felt that way.”

And the progress only got better. 

Nella used to come to her workouts using a cane, but eventually she was able to stop using it and began moving around much faster. 

“These moments are just incredible.”

And one of the most incredible parts is that despite these challenges and conditions for clients like Nella and Pat, they are still able to change their lives with a 20-minute workout with a Trainer.

Anyone Can Do It, No Matter What

Whether you’re inspired by Pat getting stronger despite her MS and need for a walker, or Nella’s ability to ditch her cane, we want you to know this…

If they can do it, so can you.

All it takes is 20 minutes, twice a week!

Mother-Daughter Duo lose 40lbs (Virtual Training)

Trainer Helps Mother-Daughter Duo Lose 40 Pounds With Virtual Training

Personal Trainer Del Mar CA

“You helped me.”

“You helped me finally lose the weight.”

“You helped me change my life.”

These words are magic to a Personal Trainer’s ears and Gary Suka of Del Mar, CA is one of the incredible Trainers at The Perfect Workout helping clients make these changes in their lives – including a mother & daughter who lost 40lbs with Virtual Training.

Here’s his story…

Gary Suka was training to become an amateur boxer when he was first introduced to slow-motion strength training. His friend Anna, a Personal Trainer in our Mission Valley studio, put him through a workout, leaving Gary feeling “humbled.”

“I was kind of skeptical. I think anyone coming from working out twice a day, six to seven days out of the week would be.”

At the time, Gary normally bench-pressed 225lbs. When Anna got him in for his first slow-motion strength training session she gave him a weight of 125 pounds. After just 90 seconds, Gary fatigued out. He couldn’t push anymore.

It was at that moment Gary decided to shift his six-days-a-week training protocol to the 20-minute, twice a week approach we offer at The Perfect Workout.

“I have not done traditional weightlifting in over five years. I haven't done anything like that. And at the age of 34 I am in the best shape of my entire life.”

After a rigorous certification process, Gary joined the team and became a Personal Trainer in our Mission Valley studio. 4 years later, he took over our Del Mar studio as Facility Manager where he still trains today.

a life improved

One of Gary’s clients from Mission Valley used to come to her workouts using a walker. She had a frustrating experience at the grocery store where another car blocked her handicap access and she couldn't get up on the curb alone, forcing her to wait until the car left. She told Gary she wanted to be able to tackle that curb if it happened again.

A few months down the road, she came back into the studio and she was in tears, smiling. She said, “Gary, I need to share something with you. The same thing happened at the grocery store and I didn't even think twice about it. I just went up to the curbside and stepped up and pushed myself onto the sidewalk!”

A lot of us might think that it is a small goal, but those are the meaningful things that many of our clients love. Those are things that they need to improve their quality of life.

Fitness Trainer Del Mar CA

reshaping bodies virtually

Gary currently trains a father, mother, and daughter trio. During two months of sheltering at home, Gary was able to help the mother and daughter collectively lose 40 lbs with Virtual Training.

“It's a resource during a lot of uncertainty. I really hope that people see the importance of doing Virtual Training.”

Most of Gary’s clients have been floored (in a good way!) at their Virtual Training experience and how intense the workouts are.

“It brings a lot of value to what we do as a company and our method. You can workout on our Nautilus machines, with your body, or you can use free weights. We truly believe it is the correct way of working out meaningfully.”

who should work with a personal trainer?

Everyone!

“It doesn't hurt to just try it and you have nothing to lose. And it's going to probably be the most fulfilling thing that you've ever done for yourself. You improve your health and you improve your life.

Together, let's give it a shot!”

Overcoming the Wheelchair & Training Others

Overcoming the wheelchair to walking tall & training others to get stronger

At age 13, Doctors told her she’d lose the ability to walk without assistance by 16.

Hannah McKinley was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie Tooth, a neurological syndrome that was sending her down a path to being wheelchair bound and becoming dependent on others.

With the help of slow-motion strength training and her own personal trainers, Hannah has been able to avoid walkers and wheelchairs, is stronger than ever, and is one of the leading Trainers at The Perfect Workout.

The diagnosis

Charcot-Marie Tooth Syndrome targets the nerves down Hannah’s back, causing them to become enlarged which affects how her muscles grow and causes muscle atrophy.

Doctors predicted that by the time she was 16, Hannah wouldn’t be able to walk, at least without some kind of assistance. Because there is no cure for this syndrome, they chose options to slow down the decline.

Hannah went through a double hamstring and calf surgery to lengthen the muscles. The surgery put her in boots, braces and casts all the way up to her hips. The Doctor told her the surgeries would slow muscle atrophy down for now, but what would keep her out of a wheelchair was continual strength training and flexibility.

“I didn’t want to graduate high school in a wheelchair. I didn’t want to go down the aisle for my wedding in a wheelchair. So I worked really hard.”

Hannah worked with a lot of Physical Therapists and Personal Trainers to gain strength and flexibility. They helped her build up her strength physically as well as emotionally.

“There were a lot of people cheering me on. And that's what really made the biggest difference.”

Maintaining strength on her own

“After all of the surgeries, I was in the recovery and building stage. I remember going into a gym and it was overwhelming. I didn't know really what to do or what would be beneficial for me other than the physical therapy exercises that I had on my little sheet of paper.”

Hannah began to talk with some of the Personal Trainers at the gym and received guidance on what exercises that would target specific areas of the body she wanted to work on.

“It kind of helped me build confidence and also be able to do my own research to see what would be effective.”

That research ultimately led her to discover slow-motion strength training which has become Hannah’s chosen method of exercise.

“This is my savior when it comes to being stronger, because what I was doing before worked, but it wasn't efficient. Now I'm actually stronger. A lot of people with my disorder can't say that they're stronger than when they were before or when they were diagnosed. And so it allows me to get that strength in a safe way and an effective way.”

The client becomes the trainer

Having had such an impactful experience with her own Personal Trainers and what seemed like the perfect workout for people battling similar issues, Hannah decided to become a Personal Trainer herself.

She joined with The Perfect Workout in Wilmette, IL and ultimately moved to the Dallas Ft. Worth area where she continues to train clients today.

One client in particular has been working with Hannah for a little over a year and has achieved big results such as losing 50 pounds and gaining a ton of strength.

Hannah wanted to show her client just how strong she’s gotten over the course of a year. So, she put her through what we call the “3rd Leg Press Test.”

She had her client do the Leg Press exercise using the same weight she started with at The Perfect Workout with, which was 200lbs.

The weight flew out so fast it shocked her client!

Why was she so shocked?

Because this client is now pushing just shy of 400lbs on the same exercise. She got to physically feel how much stronger she had become from her 20-minute sessions with Hannah.

“It was so fun. It was incredible. She was blown away.”

Her weapon against decline

Recently, Hannah and her husband went on a 10-mile walk around her local lake. They never intended to walk that far but it naturally happened as they were walking, talking and having a good time.

From being told she’d need a walker or a wheelchair to be able to walk in her adult life to having the strength and stamina to casually complete a 10-mile walk, a big milestone.

“It's moments like that. That makes me incredibly thankful for where I'm at right now.”

If Hannah did not have the strength she has now, she’s convinced there would be a lot of things she couldn’t do. Slow-motion strength training has made it possible for her to enjoy life.

Her syndrome may be degenerative but Hannah doesn’t plan on going down without a fight, doing whatever she can to hold off decline as long as possible.

“Slow-motion strength training is my main weapon against it.”

A pioneer in our virtual training

In October 2019, Hannah’s parents visited her from out of state.

Her mom, Robin Lancaster, has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and it's always been a little bit of a struggle for her to maintain her fitness.

So when they came to visit, Hannah decided to put her mom through a workout in the studio. Robin loved the workout and wanted to continue with it but The Perfect Workout currently doesn’t have locations in North Carolina.

This gave Hannah the idea to train her virtually.

After some trial and error, they figured out how Robin could do slow-motion strength training with limited equipment and the live coaching from Hannah over the computer.

From October 2019 to March 2020, Robin lost 15 pounds, she’s improved her strength drastically and improved her quality of life in everyday activities.

“She feels like she can enjoy being out in the yard and doing what she wants to do. She's even got [muscle] definition. She said she's never seen that before.”

What Hannah didn’t know was that she and her mom were laying the groundwork for what would become The Perfect Workout’s Virtual Training Program.

When COVID hit the world, Hannah and Robin had proven that there was still a way to stay strong, healthy and lose weight by doing slow-motion strength training, virtually. And Hannah was prepared to share it with the world.

“It’s been really fun to make that transition. It was creative. And then with every other trainer being on board with it, we got to kind of pick each other's brains and [create] the perfect product.”

She's making tomorrow count

“No matter who you are, or where you're at in life, find the time to invest in your health because life is short. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. So take the time to invest in the quality of your life.”

Hannah genuinely believes one of the best ways we can do that is slow-motion strength training, because you get your time back- something you really can't buy.

Being a part of The Perfect Workout has been an incredible experience for Hannah, and now as the Manager of our Virtual Training Program she will be able to be a part of the team no matter where life takes her.

“I want to stay with this company for as long as I can. I don't think I've ever worked for a company that I feel truly cares about me as a person and cares about me as an employee.”

Trainer coaching woman on the Lat Pulldown machine

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Living Longer Stronger: with Matt Hedman (Part 3)

Living longer, stronger & smarter with founder Matt Hedman PT. III

Patient: “I need something that is going to help me live longer, get stronger, become healthier, remain injury-free and help my brain stay sharp as I get older. Do you have something for that?

Doctor: “Yes!”

Patient: “Great! What’s this magic pill called?”

Doctor: “Slow-Motion Strength Training.”

If you have any desire to age with strong bones and muscles, feel healthy and alive, add more enjoyable years to your life… and get smarter along the way… You have to do slow-motion strength training, and here’s why:

Matt Hedman had a relatively severe shoulder problem that caused him a lot of pain prior to starting slow-motion strength training, and his knees were just sensitive.

“I was never able to do strength training and work my leg muscles as hard or as effectively as they could have been.”

Many of our clients come to us with a pre-existing injury, chronic joint pain or have been avoiding exercise in order to avoid further injuries.

One huge benefit of our exercise method is it allows him (and many others) to train all of his muscles, including those muscles that involve his “problem area” joints, the shoulder and knees.

Slow-motion strength training is safer than other methods for the joints and connective tissues because it minimizes the impact forces on the joints.

Newton’s 2nd Law helps to explain this: Force = Mass x Acceleration

How this applies to exercise:

  • Mass: the amount of weight you’re pushing or pulling
  • Acceleration: How quickly you’re moving the weight

Because Slow-Motion Strength training essentially eliminates momentum during lifting speeds, it slows acceleration and ultimately reduces force- or impact on the joints. Making it one of, if not the safest way to exercise for healthy and injured bodies.

Living with stronger bones

Matt’s grandmother passed away from the effects of Osteoporosis. (Read More about this story) So, Matt continuously encourages his own mother, and any other woman that is concerned about Osteoporosis, to do strength training because of the power it has to improve bone strength.

There are studies showing that effective strength training can have significant positive benefits on bone density, osteoporosis and osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis).

All adults, particularly those in their middle age or older, want to maintain their bone density because when you have too little, it's easier for bones to break.

Some studies actually show strength training reverses bone mineral density loss and over the years we’ve helped a number of clients to reverse their osteoporosis and normalize bone density levels.

Many of our clients who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis also get prescribed medications and that's not something that they necessarily want to do. It often becomes a goal to either not have to take Fosamax (or other medic medications related to osteoporosis) or to get off of those medications.

Personal Trainer in Thousand Oaks

Strength training makes you smarter?

We know that strength training produces a lot of physical benefits such as increased strength and building bone density.

But what if it could actually improve your cognitive health? What if lifting weights made you smarter?

One study (1) done in 2017 looked at adults at least 55 years old, and had:

  • One group doing strength training
  • Another group doing some computer version of brain training (puzzles, sudoku, etc.)
  • Another group doing stretching, or something that hadn't been shown to improve brain function. (control group)
Personal Trainer Thousand Oaks

After six months, strength training by itself was the most effective intervention in all the major areas, including improvements in memory and improvements in Alzheimer's disease score- which predicts the risk for developing Alzheimer's.

You would think “brain training” would have been the winner, but strength training beat it. If you look at the evidence, it probably makes you a little smarter and, and less likely to develop Dementia.

And it only takes 20 minutes twice a week to be effective for this.

Living longer

“One reason why a lot of people exercise is because they think they're going to live longer. And, and with strength training, we may have some evidence for that.”

Penn State University did a 15 year study (2)on people 65 years or older who did strength training at least twice a week.

30,000 people were observed over 15 years, all 65 or older, and at the end of the 15 years, the people who didn't strength train twice a week were almost twice as likely to be dead at the end of the 15 years compared to the people that did strength training twice a week.

That’s a big deal.

Strength training was also shown to have significant impacts on some of the major causes of death. It was associated with preventing one in five of every cardiovascular deaths like heart attacks and every two out of every five cancer deaths.

That’s 40% less likely to die of cancer and 20% less likely to die of heart disease!

Fitness Trainer in Thousand Oaks

More healthy years of living longer

If you live longer but the end of your life is spent feeling sick and miserable, what’s the point?

If strength training can make your lifespan longer, we're even more confident it's going to make your healthspan longer. In other words, more healthy years of living longer.

How so?

Strength training improves a lot of disease markers, including for:

  • Alzheimer's
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Risk for Diabetes

Therefore, strength training not only improves your strength, it improves your overall health. So you can live a longer, healthier, more fruitful life.

How could you say no?

Not only do we have 20+ years of anecdotal evidence at The Perfect Workout with our own clients, we have some plausible evidence showing that slow-motion strength training is a resource for people that will:

  • Help you live longer
  • Reduce your likelihood to have a heart attack or die from heart disease
  • Reduce likelihood to die from cancer
  • Reduce likelihood to get Diabetes less likely to die from, you know, other factors as well.
  • Increase the healthspan and lifespan, giving you more enjoyable years of living
  • Probably make you smarter

“How could anybody say no to a longer and healthier life only takes twice to 20 minutes, twice a week?

The benefits are enormous.”

  1. Mavros, Y., Gates, N., Wilson, G. C., Jain, N., Meiklejohn, J., Brodaty, H., … & Baker, M. K. (2017). Mediation of cognitive function improvements by strength gains after resistance training in older adults with mild cognitive impairment: outcomes of the study of mental and resistance training. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(3), 550-559.
  2. Kraschnewski, J.L., Sciamanna, C.N., Poger, J.M., Rovniak, L.S., Lehman, E.B., Cooper, A.B., … Ciccolo, J.T. (2016). Is strength training associated with mortality benefits? A 15 year cohort study of US older adults. Preventative Medicine, 87, 121-127.
Trainer coaching woman on the Lat Pulldown machine

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Helping Others Improve Their Lives

Helping others improve their lives: a trainer's privilege

It’s exciting to anticipate the physical changes that come from exercise- seeing muscle definition, watching inches drop from your waist, becoming strong enough to carry all the groceries from the car and finally fitting into that outfit hanging in the closet… you know the one. ?

But what if we told you that many of our clients experience unexpected, life-changing improvements like ditching their canes, eliminating decades-long chronic pain, or fighting off neurological disorder symptoms.

We can confidently say that quality of life is improved by using our method and working with our Personal Trainers.

Meet one of our talented team members who is helping our clients make that happen every day.

A few years ago, Melissa Martin became an empty nester. Her 4 kids were out of the house and she began to ask herself, “What do I want to do? What do I want to do that's going to feel like fulfillment for myself in a career?”

Working out was always important to her and her family. All four kids were active in sports and it was a lifestyle they were all accustomed to living.

Staying fit was a personal priority for Melissa. She had previously worked with a Personal Trainer to help her stay in shape and maintain accountability.

“I knew the impact that [trainers] had on my life when I had a really good trainer, and how inspiring they could be.”

Years before joining The Perfect Workout, Melissa was introduced to slow-motion strength training by her own Personal Trainer.

“I became familiar with it and it really worked for me. I could really see a huge difference. I gained a lot of muscle.”

After her Trainer moved on to another career, Melissa returned to a more traditional workout, spending hours in the gym.

“It's a lot of time out of your day. And then once I started to get back into the workforce, my kids got a little bit older, I didn't have that time. I didn't have time to spend three hours in the gym. So then, my physical fitness started to lag.”

She always had the super-slow method in mind– how effective it was, how much she was able to achieve in a short amount of time and the results she got.

When Melissa began to answer the question of “what do I want to do now?” She knew she wanted to become a Personal Trainer herself. And when she found The Perfect Workout, she said, “this is the place that I want to work.”

She ultimately joined The Perfect Workout training team at our Falls Church Studio in Virginia.

She's passionate about your health

Melissa is extremely passionate about helping her clients achieve life-changing fitness goals.

Melissa works with one client who’s only been training virtually– she’s never actually trained with us in our studios, only from the comfort of her own home.

This client used to worry about going to public places where there were steps to get in the door. She avoided one church service because this particular church had four or five steps at the entrance.

She didn't feel like she could do that.

When she went to sit in chairs she always worried about whether it was too low, or if she’d be able to get back up.

What was the first thing Melissa did to help her?

Grabbed a chair and practiced getting up, getting down. Now, she can get up and down from a chair with no problem.

“She has that functional strength now. She's let go of the things that were inhibiting her and she now has the freedom to not have to overthink. Can I go to this place? Can I get in and out?”

Our Personal Trainers enter the fitness industry because they’re passionate about health and exercise. They not only help people reach their goals, they improve their clients’ quality of life.

More than just a workout. It's a relationship.

Melissa has been one of the many trainers leading clients through their virtual training sessions while studios are temporarily closed.

Despite physical distancing, she’s found the relationships with her clients have become more personal than ever.

“When you're in the studio, it kind of becomes your home and you're welcoming the clients in. Switch that to virtual, and they're inviting you into their home. And it is a very personal thing.”

When Melissa first began virtual training with Sandie Mullikan, she picked up her iPad and took Melissa on a tour around her house and gave her a glimpse into her homelife.

“That’s not something that ever could have happened otherwise. It was an unexpected gift from this very stressful situation.”

Helping clients hurdle limitations

Sandy has early onset Parkinson's. Sometimes she has days where she experiences more stiffness in her joints than others. Melissa encourages both Sandy and her to come to each workout as a team, assessing how her body feels on each exercise.

“We're able to adapt to each workout based on her energy level or her level of feeling, stiff joints or not. And she knows that no matter what by the end of the workout, she feels much stronger and she feels that that has helped her with some of her symptoms.”

A privilege to be a part of your journey.

Each of our clients comes to us with a goal and sometimes it’s a vulnerable experience sharing that with a Trainer.

“It takes a lot of personal strength to come in and say, ‘Will you help me?’ and when they decide that yes, you're going to be a good fit, and let's work together, that's a privilege for me to be able to try to help them on their journey.”

To see how our program changes people’s lives and gives them the power of strength is extremely fulfilling for Melissa.

“It’s more than a blessing to me. That's the absolute privilege of what I get to do every day.”

Want more information about our workout? Read about Slow-Motion Strength Training.

Trainer coaching woman on the Lat Pulldown machine

High-Intensity Training

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Losing 50lbs: Founder Matt Hedman (Part 2)

Losing 50lbs and maintaining it for decades with founder matt hedman part III

Matt Hedman maintain fat loss

“I want to lose weight!”

We hear this every day in our studios, and chances are you’ve spoken those words too.

But have you ever said, “I want to lose weight, gain it all back and do it over and over again?”

Of course not.

Two of the most sought after goals our clients have are to: build muscle strength, and lose fat.

In fact, when Matt Hedman, the Founder of The Perfect Workout first began slow-motion strength training at the age of 20, his primary focus was to build bigger muscles, all while keeping his joints safe. But fat loss was a big part of his journey as well.

In Part II of this feature with Matt Hedman we discuss how he’s been able to safely and effectively build muscle and maintain a 50lb weight loss for decades.

fat loss & fat loss maintenance

One of the most common health and fitness goals in the U.S. and in our training studios is fat loss.

We’ve shared a lot of information on how our method, a form of High-Intensity Exercise is the most effective way to lose fat. But did you know it can be an extremely effective way to maintain fat loss too?

Losing fat can be a challenging feat, but maintaining the weight you’ve worked so hard to lose can be even more challenging.

In his early adulthood, Matt Hedman gained 50lbs, lost it, and has kept it off for over 27 years with slow-motion strength training.

“I have personal experience with this.

There was a brief period of time in the early 90s where I had 50 lbs more fat on my body than I do right now. One of the mistakes I made was force-feeding myself extra calories, thinking it was going to help me get more muscular. I got to the point where I was literally carrying 50 lbs more fat on me than I do today.

As far as exercise goes, these days strength training is all that I do. It’s been decades since I’ve done running in the name of exercise and I’ve been able to maintain the fat loss that I achieved.”

Matt Hedman the perfect workout founder

Doing aerobics or cardio exercises, like walking, jogging, bicycling, spinning or swimming are not necessary for fat loss, or to keep it off.

Many people enjoy doing these activities for fun. But if you’re a busy person like Matt, you may not be looking for extra activities to fill your time, especially if it doesn’t add much to your life.

“I’m not someone who can eat as much as I want whenever I want and not gain fat, because I have been heavier in the past. But really the hardest part is the maintenance and that’s been relatively easy for me.”

As we mentioned in Part 1 of this series, a book by Ellington Darden made a significant impact on Matt’s fitness journey.

Another one of Darden’s books compared fat loss results over 8 weeks between one of his research groups with two of Wayne Westcott’s research groups. All three of the groups were, or were attempting to eat the same diet plan– the Nautilus Diet (which averaged 1500-1800 calories a day for males and 1200-1500 calories a day for females):

  • GROUP 1: Low Intensity Aerobics only, plus the Nautilus Diet (Westcott)
  • GROUP 2: Aerobics and strength training, plus the Nautilus Diet (Westcott)
  • GROUP 3: Strength training only, plus the Nautilus Diet (Darden)
Fat Loss Comparison chart - Nautilus and Darden

All three groups lost fat and the smallest amount of fat loss was in Westcott’s aerobics-only group, (and they also lost muscle mass!)
Westcott’s second group, the aerobics plus strength training, got better fat loss results and instead of losing muscle they gained a couple pounds of muscle during the 8 weeks.

Darden’s strength training group averaged 18 lbs of fat loss over 8 weeks, which is almost twice as much as either of the other two groups. In addition they added slightly more muscle gain than strength training and aerobics group.

It may seem counterintuitive, but it is possible to lose a significant amount of fat and lose it fast doing just strength training for exercise

justin brunette testimonial the perfect workout
pam oliva transformation the perfect workout

“But if a person’s going to do exercise, they’ll want to do strength training because it’s certainly going to give you the most bang for your buck, in my opinion, compared to low-intensity exercises, like walking and jogging.”

There are other things which strength training can do during the fat loss process as well, including helping with discriminate weight loss. Normally a person wants to lose weight, but they don’t just want to lose just any weight, they want to lose fat.

Like we saw in Darden’s aerobics only study, a reduced calorie diet plus aerobics only, resulted in [muscle] loss, and that’s what’s going to happen without strength training.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would do effective nutrition, number one, and number two– effective slow-motion high-intensity strength training. Those are the two big levers in my opinion.”

fight muscle loss strength train

strength & muscle Gains

Lifting weights helps people get stronger and add lean muscle tissue to their bodies, which is helpful in a number of different ways.

In slow-motion strength training, momentary fatigue in the muscles is really important. If you fatigue your muscles down to that point of “muscle success,” you’ve basically recruited all the different muscle fibers that are available.

If you do it well, you stimulate the muscles to get stronger and to add more lean muscle tissue to the body.

“That’s one reason why you don’t want to stop before you hit that muscle success point, especially if you got 90% of the way there, you might still be leaving some of that stimulus on the table if you quit at that point.”

We all want to add muscle to our bodies, but why is it so important?

The answer can be different for different people including their age, what they’re interested in, and where they are in their lives.

As people start to age, there’s something called age-related sarcopenia: the loss of muscle tissue.

Generally around the age of 25- 30, if a person doesn’t do effective strength training then they gradually start to lose muscle tissue. Some research states as we get into our 50s, 60s, and 70s, the rate of muscle loss can be faster.

That’s problematic for a number of reasons:

  • Getting weaker as you get older makes every-day activities more challenging
  • Frail bones can result in osteopenia or osteoporosis and your muscles lose the strength to push against heavier loads
  • Having to use walkers or canes, or having a hard time getting out of a chair, out of bed, or the car can result in losing independence

That’s something that all of us want to avoid.

Most people in our society are not getting smaller as they age into their 40s, 50s, 60s. People are oftentimes getting bigger. The amount of body fat gradually increases and the amount of muscle shrinks.

If your muscle tissue is shrinking over time, then your metabolism is shrinking too.

Therefore, if we’re not actively strengthening our muscles, we are losing them, and likely gaining fat.

Leveraging exercise to lose fat & build Muscle

Slow-motion strength training (SMST) is the second biggest lever, behind proper nutrition, you need to achieve fat loss and build muscle.

Matt describes the proper way to strength train on the Leg Press. This is one of the most impactful exercises we leverage in our studios.

LEG press the perfect workout

Once a trainer has assessed your body type and fitness level, he or she will decide the proper seat setting and weight to perform the exercise. Start with an Intro Session for this customization– it makes all the difference in the world, trust us.

  1. You want to start as slow as you can without stopping. Start pressing the foot pedal forward. It’s okay on that first repetition if it takes several seconds to gradually build up force against the foot pedal.

  2. Try to take two-three seconds just to do that first inch of the range of motion. In other words, being extra slow in the beginning, because that’s one common form discrepancy– to fire out of the start of a repetition.

  3. Once you've barely started moving, you want to keep going as slowly as you can without stopping, which on most exercises including the Leg Press is about 10 seconds.

  4. The Leg Press is an exercise where you’re going “turn around,” meaning reverse direction, before your legs straighten all the way without stopping. You want to avoid resting at the most extended position and take another 10 seconds to come back, about as slowly as you did on the way out.

  5. As you near the bottom, you want to try to slow down even a little more than you’ve already been going slow and ideally, barely touching the weight stack and trying to take another two or three seconds for that first inch of that repetition and go as slow as you can another 10 seconds on the way out until you get to the extended position where your legs are still bent. Then repeat that process for several repetitions. Each subsequent repetition will become harder as your muscles start to fatigue. You’ll likely get to a repetition where it takes almost all or maybe even all of your effort just to get it to move and complete a repetition.

  6. Then, barely touch and barely start, and attempt to complete another repetition. There’s a good chance on this next repetition you need to push as hard as you can, too, but this one might not actually move. You might get a little ways, it might move a little bit, or you might not be able to move it out of the start.

  7. You’ll get to the point where you’re pushing as hard as you can, trying, at this point, not to go slow anymore, but to go as fast as possible and it’s not moving at all. You’re recruiting all the muscles you possibly can for that exercise. Slow-twitch, fast-twitch, everything is being recruited to try and move and no movement is happening.

  8. Once you get to that point where you’re pushing as hard as you can but no movement is possible, that’s when you want to slowly back off and rest. But you want to make sure you’re there.”

Sometimes it’s easy to misjudge this. It might feel really hard on one repetition and you might think, “Oh, man, there’s no way I’m going to get another one,” but sometimes you can get the next one so you have to try as hard as you can. Even pushing for a couple or several seconds after it stops moving, just to make sure, can be a good idea.

“This point is called “muscle success.” Because fatiguing to that point is success. Once you achieve the fatigue of muscle success, you’ve done as much as you can to stimulate the muscles to get stronger and stimulate the muscles to, when they’re able to recover, to be able to add more lean muscle tissue to your body, and do all the wonderful things that strength training exercise can do!”

leaving fat loss & strength on the table

Think of hitting muscle success during a SMST workout as your ticket to winning the fat loss, strength gain jackpot.

If you don’t, you leave a lot of money on the table.

Misjudging whether or not you’ve hit muscle success is very common.

“In my experience, I’ve trained hundreds if not thousands of clients over the years. It might even be that most clients have trouble identifying that they’re there. They think they might be as fatigued as they can, when they might still be able to even finish a whole one or more repetitions.”

That’s where having a trainer right there to coach and encourage you is so valuable and so crucial.

It’s easy to misdoubt our own abilities. One of the most common things we’ve heard from clients over the years is, “My trainer pushes me [safely] to where I never thought I’d ever be able to go… beyond what I thought I was capable of doing.”

Again, that’s just one of the amazing things of having a coach right there telling you, “You’ve got a little bit more in you.”

matt's favorite & least favorite exercises

We asked Matt Hedman what his favorite and least favorite exercises were, and why. Being someone who strongly values efficiency and effectiveness, there were some compelling reasons for his choices, and to no surprise, they had to do with maximizing strength and fat loss.

The Favorite:

“The Lat Pulldown exercise. It’s my favorite I’ve ever used as far as the way the handles track and it happens to be one exercise where I’m pretty strong on.”

The Lat Pulldown machine primarily targets the Latissimus Dorsi muscles and another primary mover, the Biceps.

“Those would be the prime movers, but believe it or not your chest is involved. It’s a climbing muscle and it’s actually helping you pull your arm down when you’re doing it. It uses your forearms too because you’re gripping. And of course your abs are definitely involved on this exercise.”

To some degree this machine hits the vast majority of muscles in the upper body.

“I’m not saying it hits them all optimally, but all of them are involved to some degree.”

If you’re going to do an upper-body exercise, this would be one to maximize your efforts on. Think of it as the Leg Press (or squat) of the upper body.

The Least Favorite:

“A lot of people would disagree with this, and I’m totally fine with that… I personally hate doing abdominal exercises.”

A lot of people like abdominal exercises for reasons which aren’t actually happening on the exercise. They think it’s going to do something that it’s not actually gonna do at all.

For example, a lot of people will think it will lean out their midsection and make their abs look better. If you are lean enough then the abdominal machine can make your muscles a little bit larger, sticking through the fat a little bit more.

But unless the person already has relatively low body fat, it won’t do that.

The abdominal exercise itself won’t create the look of having “abs.” Overall fat loss in the body will.

“I make the argument that the leg press, a variation of a squat, or some lower body exercise which heavily involves the quads or gluteus maximus muscles is going to have the biggest impact that strength training can have on the person’s metabolism. These are the biggest muscles in the lower body, making the biggest impact on adding lean muscle to your body, and therefore the biggest contribution that an exercise program, or at least a strength training program, can make towards fat loss.”

What the abdominal exercise actually does is it makes your abdominals a little bit bigger, which, again, if you’re lean, it will make your definition a little better, but for folks which aren’t lean enough, it’ll just make those muscles a little bigger.

Most people like to include abdominal exercises because it doesn’t hurt anything and it makes those muscles stronger and firmer underneath whatever fat is there.

“For me personally, it burns so much for not a whole lot of good at least for what I’m going after.”

This doesn’t mean strengthening our abdominals is a waste of time or should be avoided. Having strong abdominals muscles can help to improve posture and help with low back pain, among other benefits.

So, if you love the abdominal exercises or want to incorporate them into your own routine, we’ve got the machine for you!

lose fat gain muscle

what you need to know to lose fat & gain muscle

It’s easy to over complicate the process of achieving your fitness goals. But if losing fat or gaining muscle are one of your goals, the solution is actually quite simple. Next time you feel frustrated or discouraged about your progress, remember these:

  • Slow-Motion Strength Training partnered with a diet geared towards fat loss is the most efficient way to lose fat, and maintain or gain muscle in the process
  • Matt Hedman maintained a 50lb weight loss for decades with SMST and it's possible for you too.
  • Achieving muscle success and focusing on big-muscle group exercises during your SMST sessions will greatly support your ability to lose fat and gain muscle.
  • Having a Certified Trainer to coach you through safe and effective exercises will keep you on track and help to maximize your workout efforts
  • Doing aerobics or cardio exercise are not necessary for fat loss, or to lose fat and keep it off.
  • You can achieve incredible results in just 20 Minutes, Twice a Week!
Trainer coaching woman on the Lat Pulldown machine

High-Intensity Training

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