Member Feature John Aspebakken

His secret to feeling 20 years younger at 66

His secret to feeling 20 years younger at 66

Trainer coaching Member John on the compound row machine

John Aspebakken worked in an office environment all his life and rarely set foot in a gym throughout his career.

After retirement, he started traveling and doing projects around the house. His increase in activity quickly made him aware that he didn’t have as much strength and balance as he needed.

John’s partner, Lin, had started at The Perfect Workout and easily had strength for activities while John struggled to keep up. So, John set out to see what these 20-minute workouts could do for him.

Strength Training Basics

In addition to improving strength and balance, John had other important goals to tackle. He had a family history of people starting to “hunch” over as they got older.

“I noticed my posture was starting to get bad. And when I'd go up a set of stairs, I'd be all tired out, and my knees would hurt.”

Within the first 6 months at The Perfect Workout, John began to feel big benefits of strength training

“Stairs don’t bother me anymore whatsoever. My strength, my knees, and my whole body improved greatly. I noticed my posture started getting a lot better.

When I'm doing projects around the house or lifting groceries, my balance feels a lot more stable. It’s amazing how much it's improved over time.

The thing I feel best about was when we went river rafting recently and I almost felt like I was a teenager again.

Three years ago, I was on a downhill path in terms of being able to do that type of thing and now I'm able to do those things and enjoy them.”

Training coaching a member with a quote bubble

Being a stranger to strength training, John noticed an unsuspected benefit to his workouts – and that’s the attentive, personalized support he gets from his trainers.

“I really like the personal attention. Not having done any training before, I didn't know one muscle from another, or how to do [the exercises].

Having the trainers there to watch my every move so I'm in the right position when I'm lifting the weights is something that’s really important to me.

Over time I’ve had different trainers, and they all use the same information – how much weight I'm lifting on a particular machine and the same methodology.

It's very consistent training, even while I’m traveling.

I've gone to different studios in Texas, California, and Pennsylvania, and they all approach everything the same way.”

“The Perfect Workout is a way to age better.

It’s a way to keep your strength, balance, posture and to be able to do things you used to do when you were younger.

In fact, there are things I can do now better than when I was 20 years younger! The Perfect Workout is the solution for that.”

John Aspebakken, 66
The Perfect Workout Member
SW Ft. Worth, TX

If you’re a current member and you’d like to share how The Perfect Workout has helped you achieve results- inside and out, please apply by filling out this form.

If you are new to The Perfect Workout, try a workout with us and Book a FREE Introductory Session.

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!”

Full Range of Motion While Strength Training

Full Range of Motion While Strength Training

Female Lifting weights with full range of motion

Strength training isn’t simply “lifting things.” In fact, there’s a science to strength training. When that scientific approach is used, great results are achieved.

One of the pillars of exercise is effectiveness – and one science-backed way to ensure exercise is effective is to lift challenging weights using full range of motion movements. (Pushing or pulling a weight as far as you can possibly go on an exercise.)

Unfortunately when many people do lift challenging weights, they sacrifice range of motion.

  • Examples of shortcutting range of motion include:
  • Leg Press: Beginning with the thighs far away from the body instead of closely, leaving very little room for movement.
  • Leg Curl: Not pulling the heels all the way back on the leg curl, past 90 degrees.
    Biceps: Curling the weight 90 degrees or less before lowering the weight.

This is concerning as full movement is key to achieving the benefits of strength training!

Full and Partial Range of Motion
Source: Health Fitness Club Connect

Why Do People Lift With Limited Range Of Motion?

Before we get into the benefits of full movement, why do people lift with partial ranges of motion? There are a few reasons:

  • Lack of awareness of good form. We’re not all exercise professionals. Many people we’ve seen in public gyms simply might not know what full range of motion is, or they don’t know it’s value.
  • Strengthening a part of a movement. Our muscle strength varies in an exercise. On the leg press, we are weakest at the start and strongest when our knees are almost straight. Some use partial reps in the weakest part of the movement to gain more strength. Your personal trainer might recommend this if they feel it’s the best course of action to modify an exercise and help reach your goals.
  • Limited joint movement. For older adults, people with arthritis, or people who had periods of severe inactivity (i.e. bed rest), joints may be very stiff. Thankfully, for those of you who fall into this group, strength training will help you increase range of motion by lengthening muscle fibers and reduce stiffness by producing synovial fluid, an oily substance made by the body to lubricate joints (Interdisciplinary Toxicology). In fact, a research article featuring 11 studies and over 450 people concluded that strength training is just as effective as stretching for improving joint movement.
  • Injury/pain. If you have a joint which was previously injured, has pain, or is arthritic, it’s possible that you are performing a partial range of motion in some exercises. This is a wise approach as it’s better to move in a limited but pain-free range of motion than to avoid the exercise entirely. Your personal trainer might recommend this if they feel it’s the best course of action to personalize the exercise to your body’s needs.
Partial Range of Motion Infographic

Benefits of Training With Full Range of Motion

Unless pain, injury, or joint stiffness limits movement, The Perfect Workout’s trainers coach lifting through a full range of motion on each exercise. This is intentional and one of the important ingredients in The Perfect Workout formula.

There are a few benefits to training with a full range of motion:

  1. More strength gained. People who train with a full range of motion gain more overall strength than those who train in a partial movement.

  2. More strength at all angles. If you only perform only half of the leg press movement, your thighs and butt will only become stronger in that half of the movement. Therefore, training through a full movement leads to greater muscle strength at all angles of a joint’s movement.

  3. Additional muscle size growth. In almost every study comparing full versus partial movements, using a full range of motion led to superior muscle gains.

  4. Increased flexibility and reduced stiffness. Using as much range of motion as possible in a strength training exercise will help lengthen muscle fibers and reduce stiffness by producing natural joint-lubricating synovial fluid in the body (Interdisciplinary Toxicology).
Benefits of Strength Training with Full Range of Motion

How to Find Your Ideal Range

Not everyone’s range of motion is going to be the same. Finding your ideal range of motion on an exercise may require a little bit of trial and error in the beginning. Your trainer will adjust every exercise to your body’s needs, including range of motion, using a combination of “adjustment points,” “axis points,” “hole gaps,” and other seat settings.

Adjustment Points

Adjustment points help to… that’s right, adjust parts of the machine to properly fit your body. Whether you are long in the torso or short in the legs, your trainer will use adjustment points to align your joints to the right place and help find your perfect seat setting and range of motion.

Most adjustment points are easy to find on machines because they are often brightly colored handles or pins. Look for yellow dots or handles on our Nautilus machines.

Axis Points

Some machines also have what we call axis points, or axis of rotation. These are typically seen on isolation exercises where one muscle group is targeted and one joint is used, like on our Preacher Curl machine.

Think of these axis points as guides to be lined up with the joint used during the exercise. On our Preacher Curl there is a red dot that serves as an axis point for the elbows. Ideally, you want the elbow joint lined up with this point the entire exercise to allow for proper extension and flexion during the range of motion.

Most adjustment points are also brightly colored and just as easy to find on machines. Look for red axis points on our Nautilus machines.

Axis points for finding your range

Hole Gaps

Hole gaps help increase or decrease the distance of an exercise’s starting point (and therefore the total distance traveled in an exercise) by inserting a pin to hold a gap between a weight plate or set of plates in a weight stack. For instance, someone with shorter arms using a Compound Row machine would want to increase the hole gap to bring the handles closer to them so that they can reach the handles at the beginning of the exercise.

Your trainer may also increase a hole gap to create an easier range of motion at the beginning of an exercise, or decrease a hole gap to make the exercise more challenging.

It may feel a little bit like musical chairs when trying to figure out your ideal range of motion and seat settings. Get in the machine. Get out. Make an adjustment. Repeat until you find your sweet spot. Luckily, all trainers at The Perfect Workout are experts and finding this for you and can do so quickly.

Hole Gaps for finding your range

If you are reading this but use partial movements due to past injuries or pain, don’t stress. You can still gain strength and muscle in a partial range of motion.

Ideally, your joints will become stronger and healthier over time. As this happens, you and your trainer will increase the range of motion until eventually reaching a full movement.

Client Testimonial from The Perfect Workout

Training through a full movement leads to better results. The Perfect Workout’s trainers will ensure that you are safely lifting as far as you can during each exercise. As a result, you’ll become the strongest and fittest “you” possible.

  • Afonso, J., Ramirez-Campillo, R., Moscao, J., Rocha, T., Zacca, R., Martins, A. … Clemente, F.M. (2021). Strength training is as effective as stretching for improving range of motion: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
  • Pinto, R.S., Gomes, N., Radaelli, R., Botton, C.E., Brown, L.E. & Bottaro, M.J. (2012). Effect of range of motion on muscle strength and thickness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(8), 2140-2145.
  • McMahon, G.E., Morse, C.I., Burden, A., Winwood, K., & Onambele, G.L. (2014). Impact of range of motion during ecologically valid resistance training protocols on muscle size, subcutaneous fat, and strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(1), 245-255.
  • Schoenfeld, B.J. & Grgic, J. (2020). Effects of range of motion on muscle development during resistance training interventions: a systematic review. SAGE Open.

Live Longer And Pain-Free: Strength Training

Can Strength Training Help You Live Longer And Pain-Free?

Woman holding neck wanting to Live Pain Free

Accepting illness and physical deterioration used to be the norm because we just didn't know any better. It was all just a part of getting old. 

But now that we know better, we can do better. Our health is in our control even as we age.

The same is true for health. Pain, independence, and premature death are common age-related concerns for many adults. These concerns, though, are just that: concerns. They aren’t guaranteed. 

In fact, there are specific approaches you can take to avoid these side effects of aging. In this article, we’ll address how strength training is one of those approaches.

The Most Common Age-related Concerns that can be avoided with Strength Training

Living With Pain.

According to the CDC, 49.6% of seniors have diagnosed arthritis. This produces a number of side effects, which can vary depending on what joints have arthritis. Common side effects are issues with walking form, limited range of motion, limited function, disability, and pain.

Losing Independence.

About one in every 14 seniors require personal care assistance, according to the CDC. About one in every six adults age 85 years and older live in a nursing home. 

The loss of independence is due to a few factors. Arthritis and other sources of pain limit physical abilities and could lead to relying on others. Strength is one of the biggest factors in determining how well we can physically function.

Infographic on living pain free

We lose about 3-8% of our strength per decade, which adds up when reaching our older years. Independence is also lost when major injuries occur and the individual never fully recovers. 

About a third of older adults suffer at least one fall every year. The CDC states that 20-30% of falls lead to injury. Some injuries, such as hip fractures, lead to the permanent loss of independence

Premature Death.

The average adult lives 79 years in the US. However, many don’t reach this point for a variety of reasons: 

the onset of chronic disease, a lack of exercise and overall movement, and many other reasons. 

(If you’re reading this and are thinking, “This is bringing me down.” …keep reading. There’s a happy ending.)

As noted at the beginning, you have a lot of control in what happens with your life. You can take actions to improve your health and longevity. Starting and maintaining a strength training program can prevent or decrease pain, maintain independence, and lengthen your life.

Don’t take our word for it, though. Let’s look at the research:

    • Arthritis/Pain. A few months of twice-weekly strength training substantially reduced arthritis pain, disability, and improved joint range of motion. Training also led to big improvements in strength for the muscles that support the arthritic joints.
    • Fall Risk. A research review which included over 100 studies showed that strength training decreases the risk of falls for older adults.
    • Physical Functioning. As little as 12 weeks of strength training can increase strength and balance in adults between 85 and 97 years old! The increase in strength translates to greater ease with general daily activities: walking long distances, walking upstairs, carrying groceries, etc.
    • Longevity. People who strength train are more likely to live longer lives. A 15-year study of adults 65 years and older showed that strength training at least twice per week was connected with a 46% reduced risk of death. In other words, strength training was linked to one in every two adults living a longer life.

If you take anything from this article, remember this: many side effects of aging are optional. You have control over how you age. You also have an influence on how long you live. 

As the research showed, strength training twice a week can reduce pain, enhance overall function, add strength, build balance, reduce the chances of falling, and might increase your life expectancy.

With slow-motion strength training, we can revolutionize the way people exercise… and live! Share with a friend today,

New to The Perfect Workout? Get a FREE Introductory Session.

  1. Baker, K. R., Nelson, M. E., Felson, D. T., Layne, J. E., Sarno, R., & Roubenoff, R. (2001). The efficacy of home based progressive strength training in older adults with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.  Journal of Rheumatology, 28, 1655–166.
  2. Cadore, E. L., Casas-Herrero, A., Zambom-Ferraresi, F., Idoate, F., Millor, N., Gómez, M.,…& Izquierdo, M. (2014). Multicomponent exercises including muscle power training enhance muscle mass, power output, and functional outcomes in institutionalized frail nonagenarians. Age36(2), 773-785.
  3. El-Khoury, F., Cassou, B., Charles, M. A., & Dargent-Molina, P. (2013). The effect of fall prevention exercise programmes on fall induced injuries in community dwelling older adults: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Bmj347, f6234.
  4. Foroughi N., Smith  R. M., Lange, A. K., Baker, M. K., Fiatarone Singh, M.A.,  & Vanwanselle, B. (2011). Lower limb muscle strengthening does not change frontal plane moments in women with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled trial. Clinical Biomechanics, 26, 167-174.
  5. Kraschenewski, 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.
  6. Serra‐Rexach, J. A., Bustamante‐Ara, N., Hierro Villarán, M., González Gil, P., Sanz Ibáñez, M. J., Blanco Sanz, N., … & Lucia, A. (2011). Short‐term, light‐to moderate‐intensity exercise training improves leg muscle strength in the oldest old: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society,59(4), 594-602.

The Strategy She Used to Feel Strong in Her Body Again

the strategy she used to feel strong in her body again

strategy Christine griffin used to feel strong

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

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

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

The Pain

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

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

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

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

She needed to begin again.

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

The Strategy

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

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

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

It was a perfect fit.

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

First, she felt like she could “survive it”

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

Second, it was effective.  

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


See MORE proof 👇🏼👇🏼

The Strategist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ability to Function

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

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

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

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

increased function strength training

The Setting for Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get started today!

Depressed, Overweight & In Pain. (Now Pain Free)

He was depressed, overweight & in Pain. Now, He's conquering 500 mile bike rides- pain free

Doug with his bike living life pain free

In between choir sessions, scuba excursions and 500+ mile bike rides Doug McGrath is living the life of a strong and healthy 55 year old.

But Doug wouldn’t describe it that way 3 years ago.

In the years leading up to joining The Perfect Workout, his weight had been climbing, he didn’t feel good about himself and depression had set in. He knew a change was needed and he wanted something better for himself. So, Doug decided it was time to prioritize his well-being and turned it all around.

He stepped out of his comfort zone.

Doug was aware of The Perfect Workout for years before joining, but his conception of “the gym” made him hesitant to try it.

“I had technically joined a gym a couple of times, and I only went once or twice. I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing and I don’t like not knowing what I’m doing when there’s other people watching. I felt uncomfortable and I felt awkward.”

Doug also felt like so much of the “gymlife” was a waste of time. Driving to the gym, getting situated in the locker room, spending an hour working out and waiting for equipment, then having to drive back home takes up a lot of time.

Being able to save time by only needing to commit to two, 20-minute workouts a week would be a big factor in Doug’s decision to join The Perfect Workout. And with the studio being 5 minutes away from his home… it just made sense.

But that feeling of being uncomfortable in the gym, not knowing what to do on the machines, that awkward vibe was still an obstacle for Doug.

Male client smiling

Finally, he stepped out of his comfort zone and came in for his Introductory Session where all of his worries were put to rest. The intimate environment and 1-on-1 coaching made it apparent that he never had to worry about other people watching him exercise, how to set up a machine or do any exercise correctly, and would always get guidance and coaching from his Trainer.

“When I snapped out of it, I decided I wanted to build something better, so I joined and LOVE it. It’s been fantastic. It’s been a perfect program for me.”

He saw and felt changes almost immediately.

Unlike many new clients, Doug had heard of slow-motion strength training before. And although the concept made sense to him, his results were what solidified his belief in the method.

“I could see differences after four workouts. I could see body changes in just 2 weeks. And other people noticed within 6.”

He was seeing and feeling BIG differences within 4-5 months, including improvements to injuries he had dealt with for decades.

“I have knee problems and their ability to work around that and still give me a good workout is phenomenal.”

30 years ago, Doug slipped on the ice while living in Kansas and had torn his rotator cuff. It has been a limiting factor even with light weights. His trainers have reworked his program to be able to perform the exercises to get his shoulder stronger.

“We spent a lot of time focusing on that and that’s made a big, big difference. It’s healthier for me too, because I’m not at risk of hurting myself.”

With his Trainer’s ability to tailor the workout to Doug’s needs, customize it, and personalize it as much as possible, he’s been able to put on a significant amount of muscle.

MAle client results from slow motion weight training

he conquered the hill that he struggled to climb 15 years earlier.

It’s been about 15 years since Doug completed his first AIDS Life Cycle, which is a 545 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The training he did to prepare for that first ride was the only time in his life where he had a regular training regimen.

When he joined The Perfect Workout, one of his goals was to complete that same ride again.

Doug had a little over a year of slow-motion strength training under his belt when he tackled the 500+ mile bike ride again.

How did his performance differ from his first ride, 15 years younger?

“Having the extra strength in my legs really made a big difference. The hills were so much easier!

On day three of the ride, there’s a big hill called “Quad Buster” and everybody talks about it because it basically goes straight up for a mile and a half. Most hills flatten out a little bit and you have a break. This one does not, it just goes up. I was 40 [years old] the first time. I probably stopped every 15 feet to catch my breath, it’s that hard. This time around, I stopped twice in the entire hill.”

What made the difference?

Two, 20-minute strength training sessions a week.

Male client being active

he was noticing strength improvements everywhere.

Another one of Doug’s passions is scuba diving which can be very physically taxing.

The diving itself isn’t the challenge, but the steps leading up to the dive and after the dive are.

Scuba divers are loaded up with heavy wetsuits, awkward flippers, weighted belts and tanks as heavy as 35 lbs. When you’re on a boat, the boat is rocking, even when it’s anchored which makes balancing a task in itself, especially getting across the boat and into the water.

According to Doug, just to get across the boat and into the water is hard. Then after you’ve been diving for 45 minutes or an hour, you have to climb back on the boat, climb up the ladder and onto the boat with all the extra weight attached to your body.

On a recent trip to the Maldives, Doug noticed that the entire process was much easier for him.

“It’s a lot easier to pick up the tanks and get on and off and stand up, sit down. My balance was much better. I had more strength for it. I even think my oxygen or air consumption is better than it used to be because I always burn through air.”

The future suddenly looked promising.

Getting stronger and seeing physical improvements so quickly was exciting but a change that Doug unexpectedly felt one day, left him speechless.

“I had lived with low back pain for decades. It’s just kind of always there. One day about 3-4 months after starting the program, I was just standing outside with friends talking, and I realized that my back didn’t hurt. I started thinking and I realized it hadn’t hurt all week. I almost fell apart.

That’s a big deal not living with that pain. It’s always been there on a low level and not having it is phenomenal.”

Most of us enter a workout program or start a regimen with the hopes and expectations it will give us bigger muscles, leaner waists or more energy, but this– this was life-changing. After living with pain for so long, it's so easy to accept it as being normal and something you have to live with forever.

And for most people, that doesn’t need to be the prognosis. Slow-motion strength training has the power to improve so much of our physical health and alleviating chronic pain is one of those benefits.

Doug had visions of his 70-80 year old self hobbling around with a bad back. He felt like his back pain was only going to get worse as he aged. It had been on his mind since he was in his twenties.

30+ years of worrying about his senior years was resolved in a matter of months by strength training.


“Before I started the program, I would look in the mirror and I could see myself old. Honestly, I felt like I looked old at the time, or much older than I actually was and I just didn’t like what I saw. This is BIG.”

he's sticking to this new lifestyle no matter what.

Doug hasn’t been doing any scuba diving lately as we’ve all been quarantined at home, but he’s committed to staying strong by doing virtual training.

“I was skeptical. I was really like, ‘I don’t know how this is going to work.’ And I don’t have equipment here at home.”

If you’ve read about any of the other incredible clients we’ve featured lately, you know that having no equipment is no problem! Luckily Doug did have some of his scuba weights lying around, so Jeffrey (his trainer) and he put them to good use!

He’s found that adding 10lbs to a wine tote easily doubles as a dumbbell… and it works. Between that and using his body weight for exercises, he feels like the workouts are just as hard as in the studio and he’s improving his balance in the process.

“I’ve gotten used to [the difficulty] now. The fact that I’m getting used to it shows that I’m building my body in ways that I wasn’t before. I’m really impressed at how well it works and how much you can do with chairs and scuba weights in wine bags.”

he found his sanctuary.

“The rest of the world disappears when I go in to do the workout. Nothing else matters.”

We receive so much more than the physical benefits of a workout. It is an emotional and psychological experience… a truly positive experience walking out of a strength training session.

“Even though I’m exhausted, I feel good. I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”

Before The Perfect Workout Doug would describe himself as feeling “bleh.” His weight had been climbing for 4 or 5 years and none of it was muscle. His back was hurting chronically and the clothes he had been wearing for years didn’t fit anymore. He just didn’t feel good.

“I feel better about myself, about how I look, about how I feel.

Being a single, gay man at this age, there’s a feeling that nobody’s going to notice you. Definitely, people are noticing. So that’s been a big boost in my self-esteem. It’s definitely been worth every minute.”