How She Eliminated Chronic Knee Pain with Exercise

How She Eliminated Chronic Knee Pain with Exercise

Rebekah Bickham - Personal Trainer at The Perfect Workout

It can be common for people to feel lost or uncertain in the gym, especially if they have joint pain they aren’t sure how to work around.

Trainer Rebekah Bickham found herself a little clueless in the gym with chronic knee pain after she graduated from high school sports and lost the guidance of her coach, the routine of scheduled practices, and the consistency of regular exercise.

In this feature we celebrate Rebekah and her journey to finding a workout that keeps her safe and consistent – fulfilling our mission to revolutionize the way people exercise.

Rebekah Bickham grew up in Austin, TX with three active older brothers. Naturally, she followed in their footsteps by running in track and field, tumbling, and cheerleading.

Her passion for strength training flourished in high school. She took nutrition and anatomy-physiology courses at her local community college to begin her career path toward becoming a Registered Nurse.

As high school graduation got closer, Rebekah realized she would also leave behind her sports programs where she had the accountability of practices and a coach.

Once again she took her brothers’ leads and joined them in the gym. Despite her athletic background and active siblings, Rebekah found herself clueless and intimidated in a gym setting.

“Looking back now we had no idea what we were doing. I was just following them like a blind sheep.”

She hated the feeling of not knowing what to do in the gym.

Client Testimonial of Doug McGrath

The transition from the track and tumbling mats to machines and dumbbells created an opportunity for Rebekah to learn how to exercise on her own.

“I started to read, watch videos, and learn as much as I could about strength training so that I could be sure that I was training myself properly.”

During this time, her mother began working with a personal trainer and Rebekah would frequently tag along and get trained alongside her.

The experience of being coached by a trainer made her realize she also wanted to train people, and most importantly, teach them how to lift weights safely and properly with confidence.

She Exercised Her Knee Pain Away

Years of running track, cheerleading, and tumbling impact on Rebekah’s joints resulted in chronic knee pain. Although the pain got better when she stopped running, it would still creep in whenever she would squat and do traditional weight training.

She knew there had to be a better way.

“I was never truly able to exercise my legs the way I wanted to without having knee pain until I started doing Slow-Motion Strength Training.”

Founder's Testimonial - Matt Hedman

After only 2-3 months of consistently doing slow-motion workouts, Rebekah was able to properly strengthen her legs to help support her knees. Now, she’s able to push over double her body weight on the Leg Press without any knee pain during and after the workouts.

“I don't get any pain anymore when I work out, which is unheard of. That hasn't happened since before high school.”

After experiencing her own personal journey with slow-motion strength training, Rebekah knew this was the method she was meant to share with others.

Quote from trainer Rebekah Bickham

Now a Personal Trainer in Burke, VA

Rebekah was selected to join The Perfect Workout’s team of trainers and went through an extensive certification process. Now, she manages the Burke studio where she also trains clients 1-on-1.

“My favorite part about working with clients is the fact that I am able to share my passions about health and fitness with others every single day.”

Rebekah loves when her clients come in saying they feel more confident in themselves, like they're more energized, stronger, or they can go up and down the stairs without knee pain.

With our 20-minute workouts and nutritional guidance, Rebekah recently helped a client lose 10 pounds and finally break a weight loss plateau.

Getting the opportunity to walk alongside clients and find what works best for them, their goals, and work around any limitations they might have is what drives Rebekah. She’s always pushing to learn more so she can use that knowledge to help support her clients no matter where they are in their fitness journey.

“I truly believe in this workout and I love being able to share with others how they can improve their quality of life just by coming in twice a week for 20 minutes!”

Can Osteoporosis Be Reversed?

Can Osteoporosis Be Reversed?

Can Osteoporosis Be Reversed - Featured Blog Image

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is diagnosed when a person has suffered a significant loss of bone mass because their body can’t produce enough new bone to keep up with old bone loss. “Bone is living tissue that constantly breaks down and is replaced” (Mayoclinic.com). With this disease, bones become hollow and carry a high risk of fracture. About 10 million people in the US have osteoporosis and many others are at risk.

In this article, we talk about how to identify your risk for osteoporosis and share four strategies that can increase bone density.

Osteoporosis & Fall Risk Facts

As we age, we focus more on preventing falls for older adults, and that’s with good reason.

Over 300,000 adults ages 65 and older experience a hip fracture each year, 95% of those fractures resulting from falling.

Those hip fracturing-falls have severe side effects, too. Only half of these adults regain their quality of life after the fracture.

About 20% move into assisted living communities afterwards. And about one in every four older adults die within a year of having a hip fracture.

Hip fractures are a big concern for both men and women. However, falling and breaking a bone isn’t the only cause of this issue. Having weak bones is also a key underlying factor, just like with osteoporosis.

Data from the CDC shows that 48% of older adults have low bone density, usually in the most common locations: hip and lower back. For adults with osteoporosis, bones are fragile and susceptible to breaking when falls or other high-risk incidents like car accidents occur.

Osteoporosis Stages - 4 Stages of Bone Density Loss

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis

While it’s easy to associate osteoporosis with older women, the process of bone loss starts well before 65 years old. People generally start to lose bone density in their early 30s. They’re at an increased risk for fractures after age 50.

Additional risk factors for osteoporosis include:

  • Being female – This can increase risk of osteoporosis because of the lost estrogen during menopause, which can contribute to bone loss.
  • Having a smaller/thinner frame – This means someone already has less bone mass in their body to begin with.
  • Past fractures – These are a sign that your bones are more fragile than normal.
  • A family history of osteoporosis – This may mean you’re already predisposed to develop the disease.

How to Assess Your Bone Strength

Osteoporosis is diagnosed through a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. A DEXA scan is a quick process (less than 20 minutes) where a person lies face up while a low-level x-ray scans down and then up the body. They use an even lower level of radiation than standard X-rays, so they’re very safe.

These bone density test results provide an accurate assessment of bone density, muscle tissue, and fat tissue. “Where a regular X-ray can show changes in bone density after 40 percent bone loss, the DEXA detects changes as small as 1 percent.”

You can find a DEXA scan by using a search engine like Google and typing in the keywords “DEXA scan near me”. DEXA scans are recommended at a frequency of every 1-2 years starting at the age of 50 if someone has risk factors for bone loss, especially for women during or after menopause.

Dexa Scan for Osteoporosis Infographic

Can Osteoporosis Be Reversed?

We know that about half of older adults have low bone density, this increases the risk of experiencing a fracture, and that people start losing bone strength in their 30s.

Unfortunately, once you have osteoporosis, it can’t be fully reversed or “cured.” Thankfully, you can strengthen your bones at any age and there are proven methods for reducing the risk of a fracture. Below are four effective strategies for reversing bone loss.

4 Strategies for Strengthening Bones

1. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D, specifically vitamin D3, increases calcium absorption from the food we eat. It also promotes calcium uptake in bones. Supplementing with vitamin D3 can decrease the risk of fractures in the hip and spine, and can increase bone density.

2. Magnesium

A two-year study of menopausal women taking a magnesium supplement showed an increase in bone density while also reducing fracture risk. Healthy magnesium levels are shown to enhance the function of bone-building cells and sufficient levels of parathyroid hormone and vitamin D (both of which regulate bone homeostasis).

3. Calcium

When thinking of bone strength, it’s common to think of calcium first. Research shows calcium consumption isn’t the silver bullet for strengthening bones that we might think it is. However, meeting a minimum amount of recommended daily consumption (2,000-2,500 mg/day according to mayoclinic.com) is critical to maintaining bone health. Also, supplementing calcium can reduce the risk of hip and spine fractures. However, some studies suggest that taking calcium supplements can decrease absorption of other nutrients like iron and zinc, so be mindful of your supplement intake and, as always, consult with a physician to be sure you’re taking the right supplement combination for your needs.

4. Strength Training

Strength training is a uniquely effective way to improve bone health and treat osteoporosis. It can improve bone strength in all areas of the body at any age. In a year-long study, strength training helped women, ages 65-75 years old, gain bone strength in their hips and lower back.

Following five minutes of training, women between the ages of 18 and 26 years old increased bone density in their legs and wrists. Three studies with men, ranging from 50 to 79 years old, showed strength training either stopped or reversed their age-related bone loss.

Strength training is a uniquely effective way to improve bone health and treat osteoporosis. It can improve bone strength in all areas of the body at any age. In a year-long study, strength training helped women, ages 65-75 years old, gain bone strength in their hips and lower back.

Following five minutes of training, women between the ages of 18 and 26 years old increased bone density in their legs and wrists. Three studies with men, ranging from 50 to 79 years old, showed strength training either stopped or reversed their age-related bone loss.

Is It Safe To Exercise With Osteoporosis?

The risk of fracture is serious, but there’s no reason not to exercise safely.

The National Institute of Health said it best:
“No one who has broken a bone wants to revisit that pain and loss of independence. However, living your life “on the sidelines” is not an effective way to protect your bones.”

Staying active with a doctor-approved program like slow-motion strength training can not only help you stay healthy, it’s also the best way to build bone density and strengthen your body to stay upright and active.

Next Steps

If you are currently strength training and are looking to enhance your bone density, examine your diet. Check to see if you are lacking regular consumption of the vitamins and minerals above, and look for ways to increase daily consumption.

Strength training will ensure you won’t lose bone density going forward. If you are not currently strength training, talk with your doctor and get started as soon as you can. Combining that with adequate levels of vitamin D3, magnesium, and calcium can make substantial improvements in your bone strength.

  1. Bolam, K.A., van Uffelen, J.G., & Taafle, D.R. (2013). The effect of physical exercise on bone density in middle-aged and older men: a systematic review. Osteoporosis International, 24(11), 2749-2762.
  2. MacLean, C., Newberry, S., Maglione, M., McMahon, M., Ranganath, V., Suttorp, M., … Grossman, J. (2008). Systematic review: comparative effectiveness of treatments to prevent fractures in men and women with low bone density or osteoporosis. Annals, of Internal Medicine, 148, 197-213.
  3. Nickols-Richardson S.SM., Miller, L.E., Wootten, D.F., Ramp, W.K., & Herert, W.G. (2007). Concentric and eccentric isokinetic resistance training similarly increases muscular strength, fat-free soft tissue mass, and specific bone mineral measurements in young women. Osteoporosis International 18(6), 789-796.
  4. Rhodes, E.C., Martin, A.D., Taunton, J.E., Donnelly, M., Warren, J., & Elliot, J. (2000). Effects of one year of resistance training on the relation between muscular strength and bone density in elderly women. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 34(1), 18-22.
  5. Schnell, S., Friedman, S.M., Mendelssohn, D.A., Bingham, K.W., & Kates, S.L. (2010). The 1-year mortality of patients treated in a hip fracture program for elders. Geriatrics Orthopaedic Surgery & Rehabilitation, 1(1), 6-14.
  6. Soijka, J.E. (1995). Magnesium supplementation and osteoporosis. Nutrition Reviews, 53(3), 71-74.

5 Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

5 Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia

Medical Diagram for Fibromyalgia

Living with fibromyalgia can feel like a battle to ease pain and chronic fatigue. Finding a solution to treat fibromyalgia while staying healthy and active can also feel like a never ending challenge. In this article, we’ve compiled 5 natural remedies for fibromyalgia and the treatment of symptoms.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Body stiffness
  • Difficulty with thinking or focusing
  • A “foggy” memory
  • Struggles with sleeping

If you went to the doctor with any one of these issues, your doctor would likely think it’s a valid issue and worthy of further examination.

Imagine having most of these issues…or all of these issues!

Fibromyalgia Symptoms Infographic

Adults with fibromyalgia don’t have it easy. Not only do symptoms of fibromyalgia manifest in any of the above list, there isn’t a universal test to diagnose all cases. 

Fibromyalgia can’t be measured with numbers on a scale, unlike most other health conditions (blood pressure, diabetes, etc.). Looking for sensitive “tender points” in certain locations of the body is the most common diagnostic test, but that’s not comprehensive enough to identify all people who have the condition. 

Unfortunately, this lack of a clear diagnostic test leads some people to question whether fibromyalgia is real. However, 4 million US adults and about 3-6% of the world’s population can attest to the existence of the disease. 

Fibromyalgia has no known cause, which also makes it challenging to manage. A few proven methods do exist, though. Strength training is one of these methods.

Risk Factors for Fibromyalgia

Before getting into the methods for disease management, let’s look a little deeper at the disease. Risk factors for fibromyalgia include being female, having lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, suffering from a traumatic event (e.g. car accident), having a family history of fibromyalgia, and being obese. 

It’s most commonly diagnosed during middle age. Fibromyalgia pain spots are the jaw, chest, neck, upper back, and hips.

Natural Remedies For Fibromyalgia

Pain relievers and antidepressants are the most common fibromyalgia treatments. They aren’t the only treatment options, though. There are natural remedies for fibromyalgia. These research-supported methods have shown some relief from fibromyalgia symptoms:

Natural Remedies For Fibromyalgia Infographic

1. Vitamin D supplementation

A vitamin D supplement might ease fibromyalgia-related pain. In response to sun exposure, the human body creates vitamin D. Vitamin D can also be increased through the use of supplements or certain foods such as:

  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Beef liver
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified milk
  • Fortified cereals and juices

2. Massage therapy

Massage can help provide temporary relief from the muscle pain caused by fibromyalgia by relaxing tendons and muscles, increasing blood flow, and improving psychological comfort. While types of massage can range in style and purpose, massage benefits can include:

  • Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
  • Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension
  • Improving circulation, energy and alertness
  • Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
  • Improving immune function

3. Acupuncture

Similar to massage, this could provide temporary pain relief. Acupuncture is a technique that involves inserting very fine needles into your skin at very specific locations on the body that potentially balance energy or impact neurological function. Acupuncture, derived from traditional Chinese medicine, is most typically used to relieve pain. This alternative medicine is increasingly being utilized for overall well-being, including stress reduction.

4. SAM-e

S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) is a naturally occurring compound produced and consumed by the liver that regulates hormones and maintains cell membranes. As a dietary supplement, it’s shown the ability to reduce pain and fatigue with those who have fibromyalgia. (For those with fibromyalgia, discuss this with your doctor to determine if and how much of SAM-e you should take as there are some side effects with excess amounts).

5. Strength Training

People with fibromyalgia might initially wonder whether they can safely exercise with their level of pain and discomfort, but research also points to strength training as an option for those with fibromyalgia. Three studies with over 100 women found that strength training 2-3 times per week offers some promising benefits:

Bonus Tip, 5 Extra Benefits Of Strength Training

  1. Overall well-being. Following strength training, women with fibromyalgia felt substantial improvements in their own wellness. 
  2. Physical functioning. Strength training led women to feel more capable of handling their normal activities. 
  3. Pain. Women felt noticeably less pain following the training program. 
  4. Tender point reduction. Strength training decreased the amount of active tender points.
  5. Strength. As you would expect, training led to big strength gains for women with fibromyalgia. 

The results above were obtained in about 4-5 months of strength training. (It’s possible the benefits could be noticed sooner).

Real People With Fibromyalgia

The study results support our experiences working with many clients who had fibromyalgia. As is typical with fibromyalgia cases, the fibromyalgia symptoms were different from client to client.

  • One woman struggled to sleep well and had various pain spots. Within two months of starting, she was sleeping better and had less pain.
  • Another woman had chest and arm pain along with general fatigue. She experienced pain reduction and felt more energetic throughout the school day after a few months.
  • One man, age 68, experienced fibromyalgia and arthritis in his hips and knees and wanted to get through his long workdays without feeling exhausted. Not only did he accomplish an energy boost, he also lost 11 lbs.
Natural Remedies for Fibromyalgia helped this client

Being that fibromyalgia manifests in such different ways from person to person, it requires consistent communication between the trainer and the client. If you have fibromyalgia, talk to your trainer about what you feel during and after training. 

Your trainer at The Perfect Workout will work with you to find the right combination of exercises to help you have no negative sensations after while making progress.

Fibromyalgia doesn’t have to stop you from living a high quality life. Feel less pain, gain more strength, and feel better about your health with two short strength training sessions per week.

  1. Busch, A.J., Webber, S.C., Richards, R.S., Bidonde, J., Schachter, C.L., Danyliw, A., … Overend, T.J. (2013). Resistance training (such as weight-lifting) for fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12 (CD010884).
  2. Center for Disease Control. (2020). Fibromyalgia. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/fibromyalgia.htm
  3. Iliades, C. (2018). Easing the pain of fibromyalgia naturally. Everyday Health. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/fibromyalgia/8-natural-fibromyalgia-treatments/

Is it Possible to Exercise Too Much? Shifting the Paradigm Around Exercise

Is it Possible to Exercise Too Much?

Shifting the Paradigm Around Exercise

it is possible for an individual to exercise too much, woman ab crunch

“Physician tested, approved.”

“_______ are just what the doctor ordered!”

“The Doctors’ Choice is America’s Choice.”

These slogans came from advertisements during the 1930s, ‘40s, and ‘50s. Do you know what product they are referring to? No, it’s not broccoli. It’s not exercise, reading, or meditation, either. Those ads are referring to…SMOKING CIGARETTES! 

Yes, you read that correctly. From the 1930s to 1950s, cigarettes were advertised as healthful. Yes…”healthy” was used to describe the same cigarettes that can cause lung cancer, heart disease, COPD, asthma, birth defects, a stroke, heart attack, and many other types of cancer. 

This was a widespread belief. Some cigarette companies acknowledged causing a little “throat irritation,” but they were otherwise considered beneficial. 

While the cigarette being healthy is an extreme example, it illustrates a bigger point: beliefs generally held as dogma are often incorrect. 

Other popular examples include Pluto being a major planet in the solar system, humans using only 10% of their brains, and a human’s urine relieving the pain caused by a jellyfish sting (I hope you didn’t learn this firsthand). 

Here’s another example: more exercise is better. Said differently, the belief that people should perform long, intense workouts every day is a common but misguided belief.

And often we get the question – Am I exercising enough? When it’s just as important to ask whether or not it’s possible for an individual to exercise too much.

Joint Health.

We’re all aging, but not necessarily at the same rate. A study out of the University of California at San Francisco assessed the rate at which the knee joint wears down over a four-year period. 

The participants were middle-aged men and women with a large range of exercise habits. The researchers wanted to see if exercise habits were tied to the rate of arthritis development. 

What did they find? People who exercised a moderate amount were the most likely to preserve their joint health. The people who did little to no exercise AND the people who exercised a large amount both had more cartilage breakdown. 

The results indicate that people who don't exercise and people who exercise very often are on a quicker track to arthritis.

Knee Arthritis from too much exercise

Weight and Metabolism.

Our bodies are clever machines that have “negative feedback loops.” These feedback loops work to counteract some kind of stimulus. For example, when our blood sugar is excessively high, we produce more blood-sugar lowering hormones (insulin). 

A negative feedback loop also occurs when we exercise very often

One example was in a study from Laval University in Quebec. Young men exercised intensely on a daily basis for a few months. At the end of the study, the participants’ metabolic rate decreased by eight percent. The men also experienced a reduction in several hormones, including a thyroid hormone (T3). 

decreased Metabolism from exercising too much

The University of Alabama at Birmingham published a study that showed a similar effect. Older women exercised anywhere from 2-6 days per week for four months. Women who did 2-4 days of strength training and other activities (e.g. walking) per week actually became more active outside of their workouts. (Maybe they gained more energy?). 

Women who performed six days of exercise and activity per week were less active outside of their sessions and lost less weight than the other groups. Learn More about how to lose fat and only fat.

The takeaway: the body seems to fight back when pushed to exercise intensely on a daily or near-daily basis. Perhaps the body is trying to tell us something?

Strength.

You’ve likely heard at least one member of The Perfect Workout family say that the results happen between the workouts. The workouts are actually only a stimulus for change. The stimulus translates into change as you rest between your workouts. 

This is not a lie. Multiple research reviews, which make recommendations based on the findings of many studies, suggest 72 hours as the shortest possible rest period between training sessions on the same muscle groups. 

When training after a shorter rest period, muscles are actually weaker in the second workout. Why? They haven’t recovered yet from the first workout.

Don't exercise too much, rest between workouts

You Can Have Too Much of a Good Thing.

Exercise is one of the most healthy habits we can practice. However, similar to a medication or a supplement, there is a healthy amount and an excessive amount. Intense exercise on a near-daily basis can lead to counter responses from our body and limit strength gains.

It’s time to shift the paradigm on how we see exercise. It’s a potent habit that is best applied briefly and infrequently to maximize your health and fitness.

Valuing your health and exercise should be at the top of your priority list,  but it doesn’t need to fill up your calendar.

Imagine what you could gain from saving time in your week getting a more efficient workout.

Whether you’re looking to get stronger, carve out more time to play golf, or simply keep up with the grandkids, all you need is 20 minutes, twice a week.

  1. Hunter, G. R., Bickel, C. S., Fisher, G., Neumeier, W., & McCarthy, J. (2013). Combined aerobic/strength training and energy expenditure in older women. Medicine and Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(7).
  2. Kraemer, W.J. & Ratamess, N.A. (2004). Fundamentals of resistance training: Progression and exercise prescription. Physical Fitness and Performance, 36(4), 674-688.
  3. Lin, W., Alizai, H., Joseph, G. B., Srikhum, W., Nevitt, M. C., Lynch, J. A., … & Link, T. M. (2013). Physical activity in relation to knee cartilage T2 progression measured with 3 T MRI over a period of 4 years: data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 21(10), 1558-1566.
  4. Tan, B. (1999). Manipulating resistance training program variables to optimize maximum strength in men: A review. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 13(3), 298-304.
  5. Tremblay, A., Poehlman, E.T., Després, J.P., Theriault, G., Danforth, E., & Bouchard, C. (1997). Endurance training with constant energy intake in identical twins: changes over time in energy expenditure and related hormones. Metabolism, 46(5), 499-503.

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis?

Can Strength Training Help Multiple Sclerosis

With multiple sclerosis (MS), it can feel like your life is out of your control. People with chronic diseases like MS are two-to-three times more likely to suffer from depression. And although feeling discouraged when dealing with a chronic health issue is understandable, studies show that mindset can play a powerful part in the journey to managing a disease like MS. 

Those who feel like they have control over their health often have better health outcomes. This isn’t just a testament to the power of positive thinking; people who believe they have control are more likely to regularly participate in healthy behaviors. Those behaviors can influence factors such as lifespan, quality of life, and whether the condition progresses.

Multiple sclerosis is no exception. While it can be a daunting condition, health habits have a large impact on how – and if – the condition progresses. One of these health habits is strength training.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Before getting into the benefits of strength training, let’s talk about Multiple Sclerosis. MS is an autoimmune disease that affects about a million Americans and over 2.3 million people worldwide. 

The affected population is growing too, with an increase over 300% since the 1990s. There is no known cause of MS. Genetics and environment both play a role in the risk of developing the disease, with family members and those in locations with less sunlight seeming to be at the greatest risk. Women are also at a greater risk, with diagnosis most commonly occurring between 20 and 50 years old.

MS features lesions on the myelin sheath, which is a tissue that covers nerves. The sheath helps with delivering messages quickly to other parts of the body. When it’s damaged, the ability of the central nervous system to communicate with other parts of the body is affected. 

 

People with MS experience a number of potential challenges as a result: 

  • Difficulty with walking
  • Fatigue
  • Strength loss
  • Heat intolerance
  • Dizziness
  • Balance issues
  • Difficulty with precise movements and other symptoms.
How can Strength Training help Multiple Sclerosis Diagram
mage source: Healthline

Strength Training and MS

The symptoms and MS’s progression are not guaranteed, though. An article authored by researchers in Denmark detailed the results of 16 strength training research programs for those who are living with MS. A number of benefits were observed. 

Strength training leads to a reduction in fatigue, one of the most common MS symptoms. Strength training enhances overall mood, lower body strength, and balance. Perhaps stemming from the increase in strength and balance, training led to more ease with daily activities. These activities include walking long distances, standing from chairs, and stair-climbing. The majority of studies showed these benefits were obtained from training twice per week.

All of the above benefits are meaningful contributions to quality of life. There might be a more important benefit, though. Strength training might stop MS progression. Those who strength trained for six months experienced a lack of lesion growth during that time. The researchers also observed that strength training might even help the brain tissue regrow!

Is Strength Training Safe for Those With MS?

These benefits all sound promising, but there’s an important question to ask: Is strength training safe for those with multiple sclerosis? 

In the 16 studies discussed in the Danish research article, workout session attendance ranged from 90-100%. Drop-out rates ranged from 0-13%. No major injuries or side effects were reported in any study. In short, people with MS made almost all of their workouts, the vast majority of people finished their workout program obligations, and no major issues occurred. 

The Perfect Workout is uniquely advantageous for people with MS. As noted before, those with MS often have an intolerance for heat. The Perfect Workout studios are clinically controlled environments, keeping the temperature between 65-68 degrees and fans that can be used upon request. All studios have water coolers with available cold water. (Even if you’re Virtually Training, the brief nature of the 20-minute workout leaves little time to work up a sweat.) In addition, every client has a dedicated Personal Trainer who tailors the workout to the client’s needs and challenges.

If you have MS, don’t let the disease control your future. Control your own future. Strength train twice per week to reduce fatigue, enhance strength and balance, make daily activities easier, and possibly halt the progression of MS.

  1. Helgeson, V.S. & Zajdel, M. (2017). Adjusting to chronic health conditions. Annual Review of Psychology, 68(1), 545-571. 
  2. Kjolhede, T., Vissing, & Dalgas, U. (2011). Multiple sclerosis and progressive resistance training: a systematic review. Multiple Sclerosis Journal, 0(0), 1-14. 
  3. Kjolhede, T., Siemonsen, S., Wenzel, D., Stellmann, J.P., Ringgaard, S., Pedersen, B.G., …Dalgas, U. (2017). Can resistance training impact MRI outcomes in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis Journal, DOI: 10/1177/1352458517722645.
  4. Cobb-Clark, D.A., de New, S.C., & Schurer, S. (2014). Healthy habits: the connection between diet, exercise, and locus of control. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 98, 1-28.   Link: https://www.iza.org/publications/dp/6789/healthy-habits-the-connection-between-diet-exercise-and-locus-of-control
  5. Berglund, E., Lystsy, P., & Westerling, R. (2014). The influence of locus of control on self-rated health in context of chronic disease: a structural modeling approach in a cross sectional study. BMC Public Health, 14, 492.      Link: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-492

How She Overcame Her Health Issues & Now Lives The Life She Wants

Cynthia Crossland Featured image

When Cynthia Crossland realized she had some major issues stopping her from living the life she wanted to live, she decided to make a change.

Cynthia was recently retired and looked after her 2 year old granddaughter. She struggled to pick up her 25 pound grandbaby and carry her around, making time with her more challenging than she hoped.

Cynthia was also battling knee issues. One had no cartilage and the other a torn meniscus. Walking was painful.

She wanted to be able to travel and keep up with the groups on excursions, but that included a lot of walking. Yet another thing getting in the way of her dream life.

Cynthia also had high blood pressure but she didn’t want to be on the medication for it. In order for her to get off the medication, her Doctor told her she would need to lose 30 pounds.

All of these issues were stopping her from living the life she wanted to live. A life where she could go on adventures, have more energy, spend time with her granddaughter, and do it all with ease.

Cynthia had tried to lose weight in the past and exercise on her own but nothing seemed to work. Even sticking to a routine was a struggle for her.

Luckily she saw an ad on Facebook for The Perfect Workout.

“It sounded logical to me and I liked the 20 minutes. I called the West Plano location and made an appointment to go for my intro session. I liked that I could do the workout and felt good after doing it.”

How 20 Minutes, Twice a Week Changed Her Life

Before joining The Perfect Workout, Cynthia’s abilities were limited.

Today, Cynthia:

  • Has lost 47 pounds – surpassing the goal her Doctor gave her to get off blood pressure medication
  • Can carry her 41 pound granddaughter (she’s 4 now)
  • Is able to walk for hours without her knees hurting
  • Can stand for long periods of time without getting tired
  • Squats down with ease to clean the floor

All things she couldn’t do before.

“I had a very inactive life. I would just sit and do nothing. Now, I can clean my house in a few hours. I have lots and lots of energy. I sleep better. I am more relaxed.”

Cynthia admits she was surprised how much 20 minutes, twice a week has helped her achieve her goals and is confident she will get stronger and healthier with consistent workouts.

“I have lost 47 pounds since I started the Perfect Workout. Something that I wasn’t able to achieve on my own. When I reached my goal, I felt elated and proud.”

The Perfect Workout Client Before and After Picture

Cynthia encourages people to try The Perfect Workout and let the Personal Trainers guide you to better health.

“If you are having any health issues, the trainers will prepare a program for you that will build your strength and help you become healthy. They are well trained. They listen.”

Our Personal Trainers are experienced in working with clients of all skill-levels. Each member of our training team is warm, compassionate, and carefully selected to work with people just like you. We understand that working with a Personal Trainer might be new to you and that may seem intimidating. However, when you are in our studios or working with us virtually, you won’t be judged or pushed beyond your abilities. 

Just like Cynthia, you will be coached with patience and support at all times. And imagine what changes you could make in your body and health to be able to live your best life.

“I am happier, healthy, and living my life as I wanted.”

What Happens When Personal Trainers Go Above & Beyond

Angela Kading Personal Trainer

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

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

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

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

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

Female doing slow motion pull ups

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

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

Above & Beyond Personal Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angela Kading Quote

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

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

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

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

Bryna Featured Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Howard Testimonial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Bryna Testimonial

Bryna’s 20-minute workouts have also:

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


“This is a gift I give myself.”

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

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

Create Healthy Habits & Improve Your Life with Timothy Spellman

Timothy Spellman Personal Trainer

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

Now, he’s doing it virtually.

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

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

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

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

The Importance of a Healthy Routine

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

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

Tim Spellman quote

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She was so proud of that.” 

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

More Energy for Daily Life

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

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

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

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

Healthy Habits Can Be Virtual

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

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

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

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

Tim Spellman Quote 2

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

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

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

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

Strength Training Helped This Dancer Stay in Control of Her Health

Laura Deutch Featured Image

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

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

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

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

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

Easy on Her Joints

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

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

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

Leg Press Slow Motion Strength Training

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

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

Before and After

The Results

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

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

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

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

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

a quote from laura

The Trainers Are Good at What They Do

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

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

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

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

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

Laura's Second Quote

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

I'm gonna stick with it.”

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

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