John Kelly's blog


Do this and you'll ruin two workouts

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Exercise will stimulate a positive change if the body is allowed to recover and repair itself. Exercise too soon, the repair process won’t be complete, and you won’t be at the 100 percent level necessary to stimulate more positive change. It will be wasted effort; you’ll ruin two workouts. How much recovery time is needed will depend on the type of exercise.

Aerobic exercise requires a persistent stimulus to improve; anaerobic exercise does not. The changes resulting from aerobic exercise are primarily biochemical, and take a relatively short time to occur.

Anaerobic exercise such as strength training produces biochemical and structural changes. After strength training, the body attempts to repair the micro-trauma resulting from stressing the muscles, bone, and connective tissue. This trauma, like a cut or a bruise, takes time. Given adequate time to recover you will come back stronger and be able to build on those improvements.


Want to lower blood pressure without taking additional meds? There is a way.

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What is the price for relentlessly high blood pressure? It could be a stroke; it could be worse. You can take steps to lower that risk without additional medication. From this study, Twenty-four hour, ambulatory blood pressure responses following acute exercise: impact of
exercise intensity

“An exercise bout conducted between 50-75% VO2max [maximal oxygen uptake] significantly decreases systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) in hypertensive subjects and that a greater and longer-lasting absolute reduction is evident following a 75% of maximum bout of exercise.”

Other studies have also shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) lowers blood pressure (BP).


Tired of taking all those insulin shots? There is another way.

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What if there was a way for diabetics to control their sugar levels besides insulin injections? There is. A quote from this study, High-Intensity Resistance Training Improves Glycemic Control in Older Patients With Type 2 Diabetes | Diabetes Care:

High-intensity progressive resistance training, in combination with moderate weight loss, was effective in improving glycemic control in older patients with type 2 diabetes. Additional benefits of improved muscular strength and LBM [lean body mass] identify high-intensity resistance training as a feasible and effective component in the management program for older patients with type 2 diabetes.”


Kenyans versus cheetahs, who wins?

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From the BBC, Kenyans chase down and catch goat-killing cheetahs:

“The men waited until the hottest part of the day before launching the chase over a distance of four miles (6.4km).

The cheetahs got so tired they could not run any more. The villagers captured them alive and handed them over to the Kenya Wildlife Service.”

Cheetahs are fast but cannot run long distances. A cheetah’s muscles produce speed, a goose’s muscles are more for endurance, and human muscles are made for both. We have slow-twitch muscle fiber for endurance and fast-twitch muscle fiber for power and speed. Most of us will have an average mix, but there will be outliers.

One marathon runner’s biopsies of his legs indicated that his legs were 90 percent slow-twitch muscle fiber. That runner will never excel in sprints no matter how hard he tries, and cheetahs will never be long distance runners.


Two guys walk into a gym once a week, guess what happens eleven years later?

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Jim is 78 years old. His friends no longer exercise. One friend who couldn’t get out of squat position, asked him if he could still squat. He responded, “Hell, I can do it with weights”.

John is a psychologist. He is 75. One of his patients is the same age and lives in a senior care facility. John lives at home.

Both Jim and John have been coming to our Austin Personal Training location for once-a-week 30 minutes exercise sessions for the past eleven years. Had John or Jim not exercised the past 11 years it is likely they’d be in the same physical state as some of their contemporaries. 

One session a week has been shown to be optimal for strength gains
for seniors.  It is not how much exercise you can withstand it is how little you need to produce positive change.  Do a little more each week, and over time, it will be transformative.


You want more life? ‘Cause this is how you get more life…

Higher effort exercise increases longevity

If exercise is not demanding there is no reason for the body to change. According to a study you will live longer if the exercise you do is more demanding. From the study, A higher effort-based paradigm in physical activity and exercise for public health: making the case for a greater emphasis on resistance training:

“It appears that risk reductions [in morbidities and all-cause mortality] are greater when physical activity and/or exercise is performed at a higher intensity of effort.… A mode customarily performed to a relatively high intensity of effort that we believe has been overlooked is resistance training [strength training]. “

High intensity interval training (HIIT) for strength, the training we do at New Orleans Fitness Training and Austin Fitness Training, will positively affect:

Body density


How to reverse age-related energy decline

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Mitochondria, found in most cells, is where respiration and energy production takes place. As we age mitochondria become impaired and energy production declines. A study sought to determine if high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could reverse that trend.

Two groups did HIIT workouts for 12 weeks - men and women ages 18 to 30 and men and women ages 65 to 80. From this article about the study, High-Intensity Interval Training Helps Slow Down the Aging Process the results:


The dire metabolic consequences of physical inactivity

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If you become a little less active and gain five pounds a year, that is not aging graceful. After a couple decades of that you’ll have 100 extra pounds of fat that may lead to metabolic syndrome - hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and abdominal obesity. Your joints hurt, your feet hurt, and your breathing and walking become labored. Muscles weaken, and energy producing mitochondria go into an advanced state of disrepair. All this leads to more inactivity and eventually a heart attack or stroke.

From this study, Metabolic consequences of physical inactivity:


Study finds maintaining aerobic capacity requires persistent training while maintaining muscle anaerobic potential does not

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How long does it take to get back up to peak performance after a long break from exercise? According to one study, that depends on whether the exercise is primarily aerobic or anaerobic.

From the study Enzyme adaptations of human skeletal muscle during bicycle short-sprint training and detraining:

“A long interruption in training has negligible effects on short-sprint ability and muscle anaerobic potential. On the other hand, a persistent training stimulus is required to maintain high aerobic capacity and muscle oxidative potential. This may contribute to a rapid return to competitive fitness for sprinters and power athletes.”

In the study bike sprinters trained for nine weeks followed by seven weeks of detraining (no training). Researchers found that the sprinters’ aerobic enzyme levels fell, while their anaerobic enzyme levels remained high for the seven weeks of detraining.  There were negligible effects on muscle anaerobic potential means the subjects remained strong.


The best exercise for aging muscles

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As we age muscles weaken, cell damage accumulates, and mitochondria, which produce energy, decline in number and energy output. A study sought to determine what type of exercise might best repair that mitochondria damage.

The study was composed of two groups, men and women under thirty and men and women over 64. Subjects were further divided into four sub-groups. Each group did one of the following exercise regimens for 12 weeks:

  • Vigorous weight lifting
  • Moderate bike riding plus light weight lifting
  • Interval training on a bike
  • Those who did nothing

As would be expected weight lifters experienced gains in muscle and strength, and the bike interval trainers increased endurance. Unexpectedly were the changes measured in the cells. From the NYT article reporting on the study, The Best Exercise for Aging Muscles -, this quote:

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