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

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.

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.

More Exercise Isn’t Better. Better Exercise is Better.

More Exercise Isn't Better. Better Exercise is Better.

Are you eating less and exercising more but gaining weight?

Spending longer hours at the gym, but can’t get rid of that tummy?

Signing up for more workout classes, but don’t have time to do the things you really want?

In this article we address a common belief that “more is better” when it comes to exercise. You’ll learn how taking a smarter, “less is more” approach to exercise can produce better results and save you time.

Eating more and exercising more isnt better, slow motion strength training is better

How to Get Stronger in Under 20 Minutes

Most people spend an hour in the gym for a strength training workout. Did you know strength can be maximized with workout sessions lasting less than 20 minutes?

One study (1) experimented with individuals who strength trained for two months. All participants in three different groups performed the same full-body workout but with different workloads.

  • GROUP 1: performed one set per exercise. (7 total sets per workout)
  • GROUP 2: performed three sets per exercise (21 total sets) 
  • GROUP 3: performed five sets per exercise (35 total sets)

** All sets were performed to muscle success (aka. Temporary muscle fatigue)

The secret to a successful workout

All groups gained strength, but the strength tests which included a bench press and a barbell squat showed no statistical difference in strength gain for each group. 

This is significant when considering the amount of time spent exercising:

 

GROUP 3 averaged 68 minutes per workout
GROUP 2 averaged 40 minutes per workout
GROUP 1 trained for just 13 minutes per workout

 

Therefore, training intensely for 13 minutes can produce similar strength gains compared to training for 68 minutes. You get a five-fold return on your time investment. 

The 13-minute routine used in Group 1 is similar to a typical session at The Perfect Workout: 

 

  • one set per exercise
  • seven exercises total
  • each set performed to “muscle success”
  • each workout targeting all major muscle groups

 

This similarity is not a coincidence. Our method is designed to help you become strong, healthy and able-bodied without wasting your time. In fact, you get your time back.

Exercise Everyday? Not Necessary

A common misconception about exercise is that we need to exercise almost every day, if not every day of the week.

This approach to exercise can actually hinder results.

In another study (2), 72 women between the ages of 60-74 were tested before and after a 16-week exercise program. There were 3 groups:

*Aerobic workouts were cycling/treadmill for 20-40 min at 80% of max heart rate

**Strength training workouts- each set of repetitions was taken to the deep fatigue point of “muscle success”

1+1 Group:

Performed 1 low intensity aerobic workout per week

1 high intensity strength training workout per week

2 total workouts per week

2+2 Group: 

Performed 2 low intensity aerobic workouts per week

2 high intensity strength training workouts per week

4 total workouts per week

3+3 Group: 

Performed 3 low intensity aerobic workouts per week

3 high intensity strength training workouts per week

6 total workouts per week

Results measured included: total number of calories expended per day (TDEE), non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and fat loss.

 

1+1 Group:

  • increased their NEAT by 57 calories per day
  • increased their TDEE per day by an additional 30 calories
  • averaged 2.2 lbs of fat loss. 

2+2 Group: 

  • increased their NEAT by 200 calories per day
  • increased their TDEE per day by an additional 195 calories
  • 2+2 group lost the most fat, dropping 4.4 fat lbs

3+3 Group: 

  • decreased their average daily NEAT by 150 calories. 
  • decreased their TDEE per day by an average of 63 calories, despite the extra activity level of working out six days per week.
  • averaged 1.1 lbs of fat loss. 

 

The group that spent the most time exercising wound up burning fewer calories and losing less fat than both of the other two groups. 

This study is evidence that more exercise doesn't necessarily produce better results.

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

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

More is not better quote from Alex Stefan

Learn to Work HARDER, Not Longer.

A typical slow-motion strength training workout generally consists of 7-8 exercises per session. This may vary slightly depending on a number of factors: once or twice a week, injuries, limitations and individual goals.

 

In theory, you can hit all major muscle groups with just 4 exercises:

  • Leg Press: Glutes, Quadriceps, Calves(or Squat for Virtual)
  • Chest Press: Pectorals, Shoulders, Triceps (or Push-up for Virtual)
  • Lat Pulldown: Lats, Biceps, Abdominals (or Superman for Virtual)
  • Leg Curl: Hamstrings (same for Virtual)

 

Depending on the individual, we can also incorporate other machines to target specific muscle areas, including:

  • Leg Extension: Quadriceps (same for Virtual)
  • Preacher Curl: Biceps, Forearms (or Bicep Curl for Virtual)
  • Tricep Extension: Triceps (or Tricep Dips for Virtual)
  • Hip Abduction: Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minor, TFL (or Fire Hydrant for Virtual)
  • Hip Adduction: Inner Thighs (or Pillow Squeeze for Virtual)
  • Compound Row: Trapezoids, Rhomboids, Biceps (often interchangeable for Lat Pulldown) (or Row for Virtual)
  • Abdominal Machine: Abdominals (or Crunches for Virtual)
muscles worked on exercises

If you look at the first list, you’ll notice the entire body can be targeted with just four exercises, making it simple and efficient to get a full-body workout.

More exercises can be added to further fatigue smaller muscles that may have not achieved muscle success on bigger-muscle machines. 

For example, the biceps are the secondary muscles used on the Lat Pulldown. The Preacher Curl can be added to further fatigue them.

 

This does not mean it is necessary to do all machines and exercises in every workout.

In fact, having the ability to easily complete 11 slow-motion strength training exercises is a good indication that the intensity level is not high enough. 

Think of your workouts as a short sprint, not a mile-long race. The reason there isn’t a mile dash in track & field is because nobody can sprint that far, or work that hard for that long. 

 

Since intense effort is what stimulates best results from the muscles (and the body), demanding slow-motion strength training workouts have to be brief.

If you feel like you can perform slow-motion strength training exercises for more than 20 minutes at a time, you can probably improve your results by increasing the intensity and learning how to work harder.

 

This applies to every single exercise too.

An appropriate weight will allow you to maintain a slow speed while eliminating any momentum. Therefore, slow lifting makes greater demands on the muscles, and provides a more effective stimulus for the muscles. 

An ideal exercise should take about 1-2 minutes to hit muscle success. Anything over 2 minutes indicates the weights may be too light for you, thus making the exercise less efficient.

Rest AFTER the Workout

Have you ever thought, ”Why doesn’t my trainer give me any breaks between exercises?!” 

 

One reason is minimal rest between exercises improves the cardiovascular impact of the workout. 

The only way to “get at” your cardiovascular system during exercise is to make the muscles work hard. We achieve that by hitting muscle success. Slow-motion repetitions make your muscles work much harder than most exercises which puts a greater demand and stimulus on your cardiovascular system.

your heart and eating less and exercising more
Image Source: Cybex

Little to no time to rest between exercises quickens the process of getting to muscle success, making the overall workout more efficient. 

While strength training in general provides several improvements to the cardiovascular system, many benefits are received or amplified only when training to muscle success. 

Another Area to Avoid Resting is Between Repetitions.

One study (3) observed what happened when two different groups strength trained. Resting was compared against not resting between repetitions:

 

  • GROUP 1: lifted continuously from start to finish in each set (we use this in our protocol)
  • GROUP 2: took a short break in the middle of the set. 

 

When muscle biopsies were taken from the quadriceps, the fibers from GROUP 1 had grown 13%, whereas GROUP 2 only grew 4%. 

Keeping your muscles continuously loaded without any rest (as we employ with our slow-motion repetitions) yields the best results.

Save the rest & recovery for after your workouts. You’re going to need it!

Need Proof 20 Minutes is Enough?

We’ve helped over 40,000 clients improve their bodies and health over the last couple of decades with our 20-minute, twice a week protocol.

Here are just some of their success stories:

Over a 20-day period in May 2020, we measured just how long it takes for an average client of The Perfect Workout to complete a workout and the amount of time spent on each exercise. This is what we found out:

These are the people seeing significant results… And they are doing it with two workouts a week, for 20-minutes.

Now That You Know...

At the end of the day, we want to spend time doing the things we love, and there’s no reason for exercise to get in the way.

Now that you know:

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

If you could save hours each week doing more of what you love, would you?

What you get working out with this method is not only guaranteed results, but also your time back!

We know you value 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. Schoenfeld, B.J., Contreras, B., Krieger, J., Grgic, J., Delcastillo, K., Belliard, R., & Alto, A. (2018). Resistance training volume enhances muscle hypertrophy but not strength in trained men. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
  2. Hunter, G. R., Bickel, C. S., Fisher, G., Neumeier, W., & McCarthy, J. (2013). Combined Aerobic/Strength Training and Energy Expenditure in Older Women. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. (Published ahead of print).
  3. Fisher, J., Steele, S., & Smith, D. (2013). Evidence-­‐based resistance training recommendations for muscular hypertrophy. Medicina Sportiva, 17(4): 217-­‐235.

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.

Strength Training: Exercise for ALL Ages

Strength Training for All Ages

My friend recently decided to “retire” from playing full-court basketball. Since his 43rd birthday, he’s suffered a few aches, pains, and minor injuries after each day of full-court games with younger friends. He is now going to opt for half-court games with friends, which involves much less running. “Full-court basketball is a young man’s game,” he told me. “I had to stop playing at some point.”

Full-court basketball, all-nighters, dying one’s hair pink…there are some things that we enjoy in our teens and early 20s but aren’t a good fit for adulthood. Strength training…is NOT one of those things.

Strength training is a lifelong exercise choice. It’s safe and effective, regardless of age. The goals people have for strength training generally change with age. However, the probability of reaching those goals doesn’t change. Whether 35 or 95 years old, strength training will improve your health and fitness.

A Workout For All Ages

Whether you're a busy mom looking for something quick and efficient, or a senior in need of a safe way to exercise you age, we have a program for you. While each body is unique, our principles of exercise remain the same – this allows us to serve people of all ages and abilities. Select your age range below to learn more about The Perfect Workout for you.

Before we get to talking results, let’s talk safety. Strength training, especially using The Perfect Workout’s slow-speed method, is extremely cautious. Injuries in exercise and sports are caused by an excess of force on tendons, ligaments, bones, or other tissues in the body. The lack of bouncing, jumping, and rapid movements make strength training an activity with very little force, even when a very challenging weight is used. While the exercises are challenging, they do not put an extreme level of stress on the body. 

If strength training was dangerous, the highest risk population for experiencing injuries would likely be older adults. Therefore, let’s look at the injury rate for older adults who strength train. A research article published in the journal Sports Medicine discussed the results of 22 studies with adults, 75 years old and older. Out of the 880 older adults who strength trained in these studies, only one person had a negative health experience. Just one person! The conclusion: strength training is very safe and highly unlikely to cause injury. 

Safety is important, but we also want results. Strength training leads to many health and fitness benefits. The needs and goals for strength training often differ with age. Let’s discuss what strength training offers people at the various stages in their lives.

Strength Training in Your Twenties and Thirties

Strength training provides a range of benefits for younger adults. Men and women can gain strength and muscle within two months. That muscle also enhances male and female attractiveness, according to studies on physical characteristics that men and women find appealing.

Adult athletes also benefit from strength training. Long distance times, sprint speed, and vertical jump all improve after a few months of training. In addition to performance, athletes also become more resistant to injury.

strength training in your 30s

Strength Training in Your Forties and Fifties

The same athletic benefits apply to adults in their 40s and 50s. In addition to the aforementioned running benefits, men and women can improve their golf game through strength training. Three months of strength training increases driving distance by seven percent while also reducing the risk of common golf injuries (i.e. lower back pain). 

Reducing or preventing lower back pain, plus enhanced strength and muscle, are benefits for all adults in this age range. Other important benefits are preventing age-related weight gain, improving sleep quality, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases that often occur in this age range. Examples of those diseases include heart disease, many types of cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

strength training in your 40s

Strength Training in Your Sixties and Afterwards

Muscles aren’t a “young man’s game.” Men and women of all ages can gain both strength and muscle. The previously mentioned research article from the journal Sports Medicine showed that just 1-3 days of strength training per week led to big improvements in strength and muscle size for adults who are 75 years old or older. Other benefits frequently experienced by those 60 years or older are stronger bones, improved balance, a lower fall risk, enhanced memory and focus, reduced blood pressure and blood glucose, and increased protection against the development of many chronic diseases.

strength training in your 60s

Strength training offers a wide array of benefits, for fitness and health. While you might eventually retire from all-night parties and playing full-court basketball, there’s no need to retire from strength training. Strength training is safe and healthful exercise for life.

Alvarez, M., Sedano, S., Cuadrado, G., & Redondo, J.C. (2012). Effects of an 18-week strength training program on low-handicap golfers performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(4), 1110-1121. 

Grgic, J., Garofolini, A., Orazem, J., Sabol, F., Schoenfeld, B.J., & Pedisic, Z. (2020). Effects of resistance training on muscle size and strength in very elderly adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sports Medicine, 1-17.

Nickols-Richardson, S. M., Miller, L. E., Wootten, D. F., Ramp, W. K., & Herbert, 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.

Paw, M.J., Chin, A., Van Uffelen, J.G., Riphagen, I., & Van Mechelen, W. (2008). The functional effects of physical exercise training in frail older people: a systematic review. Sports Medicine, 38(9), 781-793.

Sell, A., Lukazsweski, A.W., & Townsley, M. (2017). Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 284(1869).

Singh, D. (1993). Adaptive significance of female physical attractiveness: role of waist-to-hip ratio. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(2), 293-307.

Winett, R.A. & Carpinelli, R.N. (2002). Potential health-related benefits of resistance training. Preventive Medicine, 33(5), 503-513.

This Trainer is Helping All Ages Build Strength & Better Health

Sarah Demott Personal Trainer

Sarah DeMott grew up thinking she knew the necessities of exercise and nutrition. But when she learned being healthy and strong would take more than eating whole grains and doing aerobics, she took a new approach to fitness.

“I thought that weightlifting was for the dudes to get stronger and bigger. It was just definitely out of my realm of what I thought that I needed to do.”

Sarah learned quickly that strength training was most definitely for women and it was something she needed to incorporate into her lifestyle.

Once she changed her routine by incorporating slow-motion strength training and a strict diet, Sarah was able to get into the best shape of her life.

“I was 180 pounds in high school, very unhealthy. I believe all the muscle I built doing slow-motion strength training helped me get down to about 132 pounds. I became a believer pretty quickly.”

Now, Sarah is leading the team in Clear Lake, TX and helping clients reshape their bodies and health too.

Sarah Demott Tree background

Strength Training No Matter Your Age

As a personal trainer, Sarah gets to work with people of all ages, physical abilities, and fitness goals. 

One young woman, Nicole, lives with a major chronic fatigue syndrome. Nicole had to use a wheelchair most of the time because she wasn’t able to stand for extended periods. 

She hadn't driven in years, she had to stop going to school because she couldn't walk across campus anymore, and she was on multiple medications and injections every day.

But none of them were helping.

What ultimately helped were two major things: slow-motion strength training and changing her diet.

When Nicole first started training with Sarah, she needed assistance getting from machine to machine. As Nicole got stronger and was able to increase resistance on each exercise, her life started coming back together.

She was able to get out of the wheelchair, she started running again, and even was able to go up and down the stairs without help – something she couldn’t do before.

At one point Nicole was afraid she wasn’t going to be able to walk down the aisle at her wedding, so that became a big goal for Nicole and Sarah to work toward.

With a lot of consistency and hard work, Nicole was able to stand up on her wedding day and walk down the aisle towards her new life, and Sarah was there to witness it.

“It was amazing, so beautiful. She is a completely different person today than she was when I first met her.”

Sarah is working with another woman whose goals are a little different.

“She's a lifer. And it's not because she loves me. It's not because she loves the workout. She visually sees the decline in her mother and how she can't take care of herself. And she doesn't want that.”

At The Perfect Workout we work with a lot of people in this middle stage of life where focusing on the future feels more important than ever. We meet them where they’re at and work with them to take control of their health and future. 

Sarah recently helped a male client take control of his life. He had severe diabetes, was overweight, and the doctor told him he needed to do something about it.

“His doctor told him, if you don't change something, you're gonna die in probably about two years.”

He began by making changes to his diet, becoming more active in his daily life, and found a personal trainer at The Perfect Workout.

After making those changes to his diet, lifestyle, and consistently doing slow-motion strength training, he’s gotten his life under control. His diabetes is no longer an issue and his doctor is very happy with his progress.

The Perfect Workout Mindset

You can get effective exercise in a small amount of time. We’ve been programmed to think that quantity is better than quality, and that's not the case. 

You don't have to spend an entire day working out and putting that much strain on your body to get the same (or better) results as you can get in 20 minutes, twice a week.

“People see a difference in their bodies in such a short amount of time, especially people that have never done weightlifting before. It doesn't take very long for your muscles to snap out of that stagnant state that they've been in for so long.”

Another thing people struggle with is time. The Perfect Workout method is only 20 minutes. Everybody has 20 minutes that they can focus on themselves. It's not only good physically, but mentally too, because you're doing something for you

“I can say working on physical health and mental health is extremely important. Take that time and focus on your own health, because you can't pour from an empty cup.”

Too many people sacrifice their health and quality of life because they allow themselves to get weak and out of shape. With The Perfect Workout, you can safely reshape your health and body in just 20 minutes, twice a week. Guaranteed.

Exercise Equipment for Virtual Training: What You Need to Know

Virtual Training exercise equipment

Virtual Personal Training with our slow-motion strength training method has proven equipment is not necessary…

Results can be achieved without using an exercise machine or equipment!

Read more here about how you can get a great workout with or without equipment.

But that doesn’t mean people don’t want equipment.

We compiled a list of recommended equipment for Virtual Training Sessions and where to buy it. Shop our recommended equipment sources here.

You might be wondering…

  • What equipment do we recommend for Virtual Training?
  • Why is this equipment recommended?
  • What exercises use equipment?

We’ll cover each of those questions in this article.

What Exercise Equipment is Recommended and Why

With over 40,000 case studies and over 20 years of service, we have plenty of experience customizing workouts for unique situations. Providing the safest and most effective exercise variation is a big part of our 1-on-1 private training.

While fitness equipment isn’t necessary, there are four tried-and-true pieces of equipment that can be useful for unique situations:

  • Resistance Bands
  • Dumbbells
  • Mini-Exercise Balls
  • Exercise Benches

 

What Are Resistance Bands Used For

A better question is: What AREN’T resistance bands used for?!

Resistance bands are incredibly versatile, especially if you don’t have actual weights. They can also be used to make an exercise more or less intense.

Upright Row Resistance Bands

For instance, if you struggle with push-ups, your trainer might have you secure one end of the resistance band over the top of a door as an anchor, then loop the other end of the band over your body as you get into push-up position.

With the resistance band looped around your body, the tension from being attached to the door will cause the band to support you and make the bottom half of the push-up easier.

Or maybe push-ups are too easy for you!

If that's the case, resistance bands can also be used to make exercises more challenging. You would just grip the resistance band in both hands as you do the exercise, making sure the band is across the back of your shoulders.

The upper range of the push-up gets more challenging when you do a push-up with resistance bands like this.

Shop resistance bands here.

What Are Dumbbells Used For

Also known as hand weights, dumbbells provide more resistance when you want to make an exercise more challenging.

They range in weight and can be made out of cast iron or concrete, sometimes coated in neoprene, rubber, or a plastic casing.

Men and Women using dumbbells

Compared to an entire barbell, dumbbells are especially useful for isolating specific muscles. With a barbell or machine, you might run into a situation where you’re gripping with both hands but one side is definitely carrying most of the weight. With dumbbells, one side can’t overcompensate for the other.

Shop dumbbells here.

What Are Mini-Exercise Balls Used For

Mini-exercise balls can be easy to underestimate. “I mean, they’re just a ball, right?”

Wrong! They’re GREAT for balance and stability.

But what does that mean for your workout and your results?

It’s another way to provide structure for your form. When you focus on stabilizing an area of the body, you’re able to contract specific muscles more effectively.

More contraction = more intense.

More intense = more efficient and effective workout.

Exercise Ball

Maybe you're someone who struggles to keep your knees aligned with your toes on a wall squat. In that example, your knees might cave in or push out – causing the exercise to lose effectiveness as the muscle contraction moves to other unintended parts of the body.

Your trainer might have you put an exercise ball between your knees to help train your body to stay aligned.

This would force your knees to keep a certain position which allows you to stop worrying about what your knees are doing and just focus on squeezing your glutes and pushing through your heels.

Shop exercise balls here.

What Are Exercise Benches Used For

Similar to our favored Nautilus machines, exercise benches stabilize the body and help structure it in a way that reduces risk of injury.

“Okay, but doesn’t a chair accomplish the same thing?”

Adjustable Dumbbells and bench

With a chair, couch, bed, or table, you’d probably have to grab several pillows to get a similar angle with less stability.

You can easily adjust incline for the seat back with an exercise bench or weight bench and be confident you won’t fall over with a tower of pillows. 😉

Another perk of an exercise bench is it provides a sturdy, flat surface a little higher from the ground for those who struggle getting up and down from the floor!

Shop exercise benches here.

Just reading about the different types of equipment might make you feel inspired to try a new version of an old exercise.

Our Certified Personal Trainers know there are limitless ways to customize your workout. They’ll choose an exercise variation based on your goals and medical needs to find the safest and most effective version every time.

No matter where you are or what fitness equipment you do or don’t have, you can always get in a great workout.

Read more about what exercise variations you can do with different levels of equipment here.

Makeshift virtual training equipment

If you felt inspired to try a new exercise, or if you’ve been dying to get some trusted equipment for yourself…

Be sure to check out our recommendations today!

Exercise equipment is in high demand and availability is extremely limited, so we recommend taking a look ASAP.

Consider setting alerts on your phone or subscribing to restock notifications from the seller and check back often if you run into items being out of stock.

Shop exercise equipment here.

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. 

personal trainer tustin

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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