Cardio, anaerobic, and aerobic exercise explained

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In 1969 Dr. Kenneth Cooper wrote the book Aerobics and coined that word to describe a form of exercise. Before that, the word aerobic was more often used to describe a type of metabolism. Aerobic metabolism utilizes our energy stores in conjunction with oxygen, while anaerobic metabolism uses energy stores without oxygen.

Both metabolic pathways are working all the time. The aerobic pathway is predominant at rest or at lower intensity activities such as the beginning of a run or picking flowers. The anaerobic pathway predominates while doing demanding activities such as sprints or strength training and is crucial for survival in fight-or-flight situations.

Cardio exercise is exercise that maintains an elevated heart rate at a range of 60% to 85% of one’s maximum heart rate. Can strength training have a significant cardiovascular component? It can; it depends on how your workout is structured. Warm-up sets do not present great demands on the cardiovascular system or the muscles for that matter. Intermediate intensity sets, time resting between sets, and set up time for the next exercise will not be taxing to the cardiovascular system. In the course of an hour long workout there will be a significant amount of time where cardiovascular demands on the body are minimal.

The High Intensity Training (HIT) for strength we do at our Austin Strength Training facility involves a large cardiovascular component. At the end of the first exercise your body will be doing all that it can to accommodate the demands placed on the cardiovascular system – the heart rate increases, arteries dilate, venous return increases, and blood volume per beat of the heart increases.

That first exercise is followed with a series of strength training exercises addressing all the major muscle groups. People of any age can do this workout. You build up to this workout slowly. Each week you lift a little more or a little longer and take a little less time between exercises. With the facilitation of a personal trainer the workout takes less than 30 minutes; it really can’t be longer unless you pace yourself, i.e. exercise at a lower intensity.

 The chart of 64 year old man. The average heart rate of 74% is well within the cardio range.

The chart of 64 year old man. The average heart rate of 74% is well within the cardio range.

While the cardiovascular demands are high, [See chart] the long list of cardiorespiratory benefits makes it worth the effort. Best of all anaerobic exercise produces endorphins1. Just like a runner’s high, when the workout is over you’ll experience the deeply relaxed state that results when your body produces endorphinsIt is a great state to be in and one you will look forward to attaining each week.


Comparing the side-effects of two different osteoporosis treatments

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Two popular options to inhibit bone loss that results from osteopenia: You can take a drug or begin strength training. Both have side-effects.

From this NYT article Splits Form Over How to Address Bone Loss:

“Millions of people worldwide, most of them women, have been told they have osteopenia and should take drugs to inhibit bone loss. But the drugs carry risks, so many public-health experts say the diagnosis often does more harm than good.” 

The possible side-effects of osteoporosis drugs:

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal pain

  • Constipation

  • Indigestion

  • Muscle pain

  • Bone and joint pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Abdominal distention

  • Acid backup

  • Difficulty swallowing

  • Esophageal ulcers

  • Excessive gas

  • Headache

  • Stomach ulcers

  • Vomiting 

An improperly designed strength training program results in injury, drudgery, and wasted time. The side-effects of a properly designed strength training program:

The exercise program we use at our Austin strength training facility was derived from a study working with osteoporosis patients. Researchers found that bone density increased, joints hurt less, and muscles were stronger and more toned with minimal time exercising.  It has been shown effective for women and men of all ages.

One of our clients was 65 years old when she started. She worked out once a week for 30 minutes of strength training. It takes time for the muscles and bones to recover from the stress of strength training.  A year later her bone density had increased 12.4 percent.  Obviously results will vary, but others have had similar results.

Past blog posts on the subject of osteopenia: 

Increasing bone density at age 60

What clients are saying - "My doctor said it would not be necessary to start taking drugs to preserve my bone density”

Diagnosed with osteopenia at age 43 - 22 years later osteopenia free

Where to place the carrot - the difference between finishing and quitting

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Several years ago I participated in the MS Tour For Cure, a two-day 150 mile bike ride.  On the last half of the final 75 mile ride, I settled in with a small group of riders who were keeping up, what was for me, a blistering pace. We sailed past each of the rest stops. Toward the end it was all I could do to take my turn in the lead. I stayed with it because my odometer indicated that we only had a little over mile to go – the carrot (the end of the punishing ride) was very close.

I was really suffering. I wondered if others were suffering too. Then, someone in the group asked how much farther?  Another person replied: “Five miles to go” – that reply suddenly placed the carrot very far away. I knew that was wrong.  One of my co-riders, Shane, didn't know, and he immediately fell off the pace.

I left the group and went back to Shane. He told me he could not hang for five more miles. I assured him that it was not five miles; it was less than a mile – the carrot was close. He got on my rear wheel, and I took him back to the pack.

When we made it back to the pack the finish line was in sight – the carrot was extremely close. Shane bolted to the front and left the group to finish well ahead of us. Shane had more left physically, but he was almost defeated mentally.

This is relevant to exercise. A person is capable of performing at an absolute level. Somewhere below that level is what someone is willing to do by themselves. A good personal trainer will get the subject to go to a level closer to what they are truly capable of and do it in such a way that is safe and without panic. To do that a good personal trainer will be “in the moment” - they will know exactly what the client is experiencing. When Shane fell off the pace I knew where he was physically and mentally.

An experienced trainer who is in the moment will be totally consumed with what is going on with a client during the most difficult repetitions. At our Austin Personal Training facility our trainers know what you are going through; they have been through the process themselves. They keep accurate records of what the clients have done in the past and know exactly what clients are capable of.

Toward the end of an exercise clients unconsciously break form, hold their breath, and begin to panic. A good trainer anticipates those breaks in form and helps the client maintain constant breathing and thereby avoid panic. She will know where to place the carrot. It is anything but boring for the trainer, and the client really appreciates it.  When the workout is over you’ll experience the deeply relaxed state that comes with being flush with endorphins.  It is a great place to be, and with a capable trainer, you will look forward to each training session.

The right exercise to generate new brains cells in Alzheimer's patients

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In a recent study1, researchers found that exercise generates new brain cells in mice who have Alzheimer’s.  A quote:

“Beneficial effects on cognition can be blocked by the hostile inflammatory environment present in the brain of patients with Alzheimer's disease and that physical exercise can "clean up" the environment, allowing new nerve cells to survive and thrive and improving cognition in the Alzheimer's mice. In our study we showed that exercise is one of the best ways to turn on neurogenesis.”

The researchers sought to achieve the same results produced by exercise using drug and gene therapy.  This was met with limited success.  Comparing the two approaches they found: 

“We found the key difference was that exercise also turned on the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor or BDNF -- known to be important for the growth and survival of neurons -- which created a more hospitable brain environment for the new neurons to survive."

Another quote: 

"It is not enough just to turn on the birth of new nerve cells, you must simultaneously 'clean up' the neighborhood in which they are being born to make sure the new cells survive and thrive. Exercise can achieve that."

The takeaway: Exercise results in neurogenesis (new neuron cells), and more BDNF creates a hospitable environment for those new cells to survive.  So what type of exercise produces the most of both? According to one study2 comparing continuous exercise versus high intensity training (HIT):

“The HIT protocol might represent an effective and preferred intervention for elevating BDNF levels and potentially promoting brain health.”

HIT is what we do at our Austin Strength Training facility. Our trainers are experienced in working people of all ages or fitness levels. You can wait for effective drug and gene therapies to be developed to combat cognitive decline, or you can combat cognitive decline before it is too late.  Start a HIT exercise program now.



Both had knee replacement surgery the same week but had very different outcomes

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Jack and Marcus often played golf together, and just happened to have their knee replacement surgeries the same week.  Both surgeries were successful, but post-op Jack fared much better than Marcus.

For years prior to the surgery Jack rarely missed his weekly 30 minute strength training session at Kelly Personal Training.  Jack returned to this regimen as soon as he could post-surgery. Aside from a stint in rehab Marcus did no strength training before or after the surgery.

Two month’s post-surgery Jack, age 75, could get in and out of a bass boat on his own, while Marcus, age 70, was still using a walker to get around.  Jack quickly returned to playing 18 holes of golf. A year after surgery Marcus could play just nine holes and that was about it; the next day he was too rundown to play again.

Jack said he was running out of friends to golf with. He eventually talked Marcus into strength training.  Proper strength training will do more than increase your strength; you will protect your joints, truly increase your energy, and decrease pain and inflammation

A year later Marcus was playing 18 holes of golf, and the next day, he would play 18 holes again. Those 27 additional holes in that 48 hour period produced the added benefit of further increasing his fitness level.  He also was hitting the ball farther and enjoying golf again. Marcus had added quality years to his life, and it took just 30 minutes a week. 

A Thirty Year Self-inflicted Wound 

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Ted loved to run, and he excelled at it. Even in his 40s he would finish in the top 500 out of 35,000 runners in the 10,000 meter Crescent City Classic. His wife did her strength training with me.  She said to me, “Ted will never do any strength training.  He is a runner”… until he wasn’t.

In his late forties running began to bother his knees. His knees got progressively worse. He iced them.  He tried everything he could to get back to running pain-free. He took extended breaks from running.  However, each time he began running again the pain returned.  At age 54 his doctor advised him to stop running, or he would be looking at a knee replacement with into two years. 

He started strength training with me with the intent to getting back to running. We used MedX strength training equipment which when used properly is gentler on the joints. He worked hard, his strength improved each week, and best of all, he didn’t have a hint of knee pain.

He worked up to 450 pounds on the leg press machine. It convinced him that he would be able to run again. He said, “This is amazing.  I will be able to run again”.  One day he did – just a mile - and his knee pain returned.    Lifting 450 pound on the leg press did not result in knee pain, but running a mile did; there is a reason for that.

According to one study a force of up to three times one’s body weight can be exerted on the human foot while running, and it can be much higher at times. Multiply that by each foot fall, and you have tons of weight absorbed through the joints and connective tissues with each mile of running.  Multiply that by decades of running, and you have knees like Ted’s.

According to a Runner’s World article 75% of runners will suffer some sort of injury within a year of running; The New York Times pegged that number at 80%.  That was my experience during my years of running.  Those injuries can come back to haunt you decades later – that was also my experience. 

Running is a wonderful exercise, but like any exercise there is a trade-off between improvement and injury.  Running five days a week instead of four days produces a decreasing marginal positive health benefit for that extra day of running, and it produces an increasing marginal risk of injury.  If you run a lot you have to accept that risk or take steps to avoid it.

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The type of strength training we do at our Austin Fitness Training facility will produce a significant (See graph of pulse rate) cardiovascular effect, and an increase in strength that will protect the joints.  Each week if you take a day off from running to strength train your joints will thank you for it. Following such a plan the progressive deterioration of Ted’s knees might have been deferred, and he might still be running.

Taking That Trip Versus Watching The Travel Channel

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It can come done to a choice: To take that trip you might have to actually train for it, or you could sit back, relax, and just watch the Travel Channel.  

Chris chose to take the trip. To prepare for a 10 day motorcycle road trip with three of his childhood friends Chris began strength training. He lost weight and got stronger.  Towards the end of the trip riding was painful for two of his friends but Chris enjoyed the ride. He’s ready to go again. 

Sarah wanted to go on a cruise, but she was too frail for the demands of travel. She began strength training. To date she’s been on four cruises in the last three years. 

Cindy was in tears walking on the Great Wall of China. She said, “It was emotional partly because I was walking on a part of history that has been there for over a thousand years. I also remembered back to a year ago and it was emotional to think of how much I had changed. A year ago I was in such pain that it was difficult for me to even go out and buy groceries”.  

A year earlier Cindy had her hip replaced, and shortly after, she began strength training.  All three do their strength training, once a week for thirty minutes, at our Austin Personal Training facility.

All three chose not to sit back and watch the Travel Channel. I like to the Travel Channel, but it doesn’t move me to tears. To spend more time enjoying life beyond the gym and the TV room you might have to take steps to make that happen.  Is it worth just a couple of hours a month to enjoy riding in the Blue Ridge Mountains, cruising the Mediterranean, or walking on the Great Wall? For Chris, Sarah, and Cindy it is.

Our Radio Ads

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I got a call the other day.  The man told me he had heard our radio ads and liked them.  He wanted to know if there was a link to the ads on our website. He wanted to have his wife listen to them so she could get a better understanding of what we are all about and our approach to fitness at our Austin personal training facility.  The ads tell our clients' success stories.  Below are two of those ads: 



Lower Body Strength Vital to Neurological Health


A study found that having strong legs slows the damage caused by neurological diseases.  The study addressed the question:  “Is the outcome of neurological diseases [spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), motor neuron disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS), and others] due exclusively to the lesions that form on the spinal cord in the case of spinal cord injury and genetic mutation in the case of SMA, or is the lower capacity for movement the critical factor that exacerbates the disease?"

They took two groups of mice: a control group that was free to roam and an experimental group that was restricted from using their hind legs for 28 days.  Restricted the physical activity of the mice resulted a 70 percent decrease in the number of neural stem cells compared to the control group.

The study stated,  “People who are unable to do load-bearing exercises -- such as patients who are bed-ridden, or even astronauts on extended travel -- not only lose muscle mass, but their body chemistry is altered at the cellular level and even their nervous system is adversely impacted,"

The conclusion: “The research shows that using the legs, particularly in weight-bearing exercise, sends signals to the brain that are vital for the production of healthy neural cells, essential for the brain and nervous system. Cutting back on exercise makes it difficult for the body to produce new nerve cells -- some of the very building blocks that allow us to handle stress and adapt to challenge in our lives.”

At our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training facilities we use MedX equipment.  With the equipment’s many medical-rehab features we can accommodate those with limiting conditions.  Our clients with neurological conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke have shown significant improvement. 

Overall, it’s important for everyone to stay strong, not just those with neurological conditions. Being strong helps forestall potential issues brought on by the frailty that comes with aging.

Avoiding the onset of osteopenia 

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You can wait until your bone density decreases and then do something about it or you can be preemptive. What follows is the story of one person’s preemptive strategy.

One of the many applications of corticosteroid drugs is to manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).  One of the side-effects of long-term use of corticosteroids is thinning of the bones (osteopenia). For those taking corticosteroids the Mayo Clinic recommends:

“To protect your bones, do weight-bearing exercise [strength training], avoid alcohol and don't smoke. Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements is another step you can take to help reduce the amount of bone loss caused by corticosteroids.”

Corticosteroids are often prescribed for asthma as well. I take a corticosteroid when my asthma flares.  I start at 60 milligrams and taper down to 10 milligrams.  Imagine taking intravenous doses of 1000 milligrams of corticosteroids for five straight days and doing that four to six times a year.

Glenn, one of the trainers at our Austin Strength Training  facility, has been taking those high doses to manage his MS symptoms. In his words, he has been taking “an ungodly amount of corticosteroids” for 13 years. 

Glenn is 52 years old, and he takes no calcium supplements. He began doing high intensity strength training shortly after being diagnosed with MS – once a week, for 30 minutes for more than a decade.  

The T-score on a bone density test shows how much your bone mass differs from the bone mass of an average healthy 30 year old. For Glenn’s latest bone density test they were expecting a T-score in the range of -1.5 to +1.  A T-score in the range of -1 to +4 is considered normal.  He was surprised to learn his test result was 3.  His bones were remarkably stronger than what they expected.

Another client, Wendy began weekly 30 minute strength training sessions. Twelve months later her bone density had increased 12.4%.

As osteopenia advances to osteoporosis it becomes less reversible. Don't wait until you have osteoporosis; take steps avoid the onset now.  That’s what Glenn and Wendy have been doing.

The most important factor in any exercise program


Will you stick to the exercise program?  Nothing else matters if you don’t stick to it.   To increase your likelihood of success the exercise program should:

·       Be safe. If you are injured you are done.

·       Produce measurable weekly improvement.  If you don’t see real Improvement you won’t stick to it.

·       Address all aspects of fitness - particularly strength as this affects all the other aspects of fitness.

·       Incorporate breaks. Breaks prevent burnout and will actually increase results for certain exercise programs.

·       Not involve a lot of your time.

Using exercise studies as a starting point, the trainers at our New Orleans Strength Training  and Austin Strength Training locations have developed a 30 minute workout that anybody can do that produces weekly improvement. Commit to 30 minutes each week; you’ll improve each week, and over time your life will change, sometimes dramatically.  Changes our clients have experienced:

·       Client goes from five to one insulin shot a day

·       Client increases her bone density one standard deviation over two years

·       Client increases bone density 12.4 percent in twelve months.

·       Asthma patient increases air expulsion rate to highest reading in 12 years

·       After years of living with constant pain client now lives pain free

Thirty minutes of exercise a week (26 hours a year) is doable.  Without that investment of time and effort it is likely that your health will decline over the year, possibly drastically.  Major adverse health related events such as a heart attack or a herniated disc present setbacks that are often avoidable.  Is it worth 30 minutes of your week to enhance your well-being and lessen the likelihood of injury and sickness?  We think it is. 

When health clubs are really collection agencies disguised as health clubs 

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There are far more former members of health clubs than there are current members. The renewal rate at most health clubs hovers around 30 percent. In addition to the membership dues, health clubs offer personal training packages. You get a free training session if you sign up for a package. You buy the larger package to get the most cost effective rate. If you are lucky, you will get the personal trainer most suitable for you. Often that is not the case. At the end of year the only thing lighter is your wallet.

Health clubs often run specials. They waive the initiation fee. You sign for a year to get special rate, and the automatic bank draft begins. You are faithful at first, but eventually your attendance becomes sporadic. You miss a couple of weeks, and then you miss a couple of months. You might return with the intention of really buckling down, but for most this never happens.

You decide to cut your losses and cancel your membership; that often entails an expensive processing fee. You realize that there are just a few months left, so you ride it out cringing when you look at your monthly credit card bill for service you did not use.

In the fine print there is often a clause that states that the contract will be renewed automatically unless a letter requesting termination is received. You send a certified letter requesting that the contract be terminated with the thought that the bank drafts will finally stop - not necessarily so.

You call the health club to inquire and you are informed the following, "When you gave us written notice that you did not want to renew your contract we automatically switched you to a month-to-month membership". Now you decide to pay the processing fee.

Yearly health club memberships are a great value - if you use them. The fault lies not with the health club but with those who set themselves up with high expectations of consistent attendance that, for most, is not going to happen. It might be better to try exercising where there are no membership contracts first to see if you can stick to an exercise regime.

At our Austin’s Kelly Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training locations there are no contracts, and the first two sessions are free without signing up for a package.  Why two free sessions with no obligations? So you can make an informed decision to see if this is something you want to pursue. Without contracts we have to deliver results to keep people coming back. It might not be the conventional health club business model, but we think it is the right way to do business.

Teddy Roosevelt on the Strenuous Life

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On April 10, 1899, Teddy Roosevelt delivered his speech, The Strenuous Life:

"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph. A life of slothful ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. It is hard to fail, but is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.”

The backdrop of the speech was a time when most Americans did work that was physically demanding. Good health and fitness came from a vigorous life.  Today, for most of us work is not physically demanding.

At the turn of the last century the average work week was 53 hours; today it is 42 hours. The average life span was less than 50 years; for most there was no retirement. Today, many of us have the luxury of free time.

For many that free time is spent every day with hours in front of electronic devices. The body adapts to this physical inactivity; our bodies become weaker, and our energy levels drop, and we are more prone to sickness and depression. This can create a negative cycle leading to more inactivity.  Over the years, the negative effects of this downward cycle result in a severely compromised quality of life.  

You can reverse that cycle. Our aim at our Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Personal Training locations is to improve your strength, endurance, and energy levels in minimal time, so you can safely enjoy a more active, even strenuous, life.  The additional activity will amplify the upward cycle and positively affect your health and outlook.

Study shows that lifting weights is good for your heart


In a study researchers use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure the structural and functional cardiac adaptions resulting from 22 weeks of high intensity resistance training (HIRT). The study consisted of two groups of middle-age men.  The experimental group did a HIRT workout two to three times a week.  The workouts were full body workouts, one set for each of the major muscle groups. The control group did nothing.  

The researchers found that heart stroke volume increased with HIRT, while myocardial strain did not.  They concluded: “This longitudinal cardiovascular MRI study suggests that a relatively short period of HIRT in previously untrained men is associated with physiological, significant changes in cardiac atrial and ventricular morphologic characteristics and function.”

In other words, your heart becomes stronger and better able to handle the increased demands without strain. Demanding work does more than increase one’s heart rate. Pump volume and venous return increase as the body adjusts to handle the increased demands.      

There is a long list of cardio-respiratory fitness benefits from high intensity training. One benefit in isolation might not have large impact, but the accumulation of all these benefits will have a direct impact on your quality of life and quite possibly the length of your life. 

At our Austin Personal Training and at New Orleans Fitness Training locations our trainers take special care to monitor and accurately measure clients' progress to insure that clients gradually build up to a high intensity resistance training workout or an aerobic high intensity training workout that is safe, effective, and efficient for one's age and condition.

No time to exercise? Then make more time for illness and injury.

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If you do not make time for exercise now, eventually your time will be spent on illness and injury. Much of this could be avoided with a small amount of strength training each week.

Most people get a gym membership, tell themselves they will workout two or three times a week and “Get In Shape!”  In the end, they accrue monthly credit card charges and long periods of discouraging inactivity.

A better approach, find an exercise program that does not consume lots of your time – one you can stick to.  At our Austin Strength Trainers and New Orleans Strength Trainers locations our workouts address all aspects of fitness and are specifically designed for the highest marginal return for minimal time in the gym. It takes 30 minutes once a week.

Each weekly session your trainer will have you do a little bit more than you are used to handling.  Then rest, recover, improve, and repeat the next week. It comes out to about 25 hours of exercise a year.  Add to that an activity you enjoy, and you will have a plan you can stick to.  

Years from now you will be stronger, healthier, and still exercising. Then again, you could do nothing and your body will deteriorate to the point where exercise is no longer an option. 

A method to reduce lymphedema


Exercise for recovering breast cancer patients can often produce painful lymphedema symptoms. As a consequence many patients avoid exercise; this leads to weakness, frailty, more pain, swelling, lower energy levels, weaker bones, increased likelihood of injury, and a shorter lifespan. Fortunately with a protocol of slow, progressive weight lifting one can increase strength and reduce painful lymphedema symptoms.  

 From a previous blog post, Exercise for Women Living with Lymphedema:

 “In the last decade, Linda Miller, the director of the Breast Cancer Physical Therapy Center in Philadelphia, has found that patients who strengthen their arms controlled their lymphedema symptoms better than those who didn't lift weights.  "For years, I was spitting in the wind," said Ms. Miller, a physical therapist. "This study is going to rock the lymphedema world."

 Evidence from a more recent study, Study: Weight Lifting Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Stay Healthy:

“The physical function study involved 295 survivors of breast cancer that had not spread (metastasized). Half the women took part in slowly progressive weight lifting twice a week. After 1 year, half as many women in the weight lifting group lost physical function as did women in the control group… More specifically, 12 out of 148 women in the weight lifting group, or 8.1%, lost physical function, compared with 24 out of 147 women in the control group, or 16.3%.

According to the study’s authors, the findings are significant because each 10-point decrease in physical function among breast cancer survivors increases their risk of premature death by an estimated 6%.”  

At our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training  locations we have had success working with recovering cancer patients. The recovery systems of these patients have already been strained. They cannot stand long bouts of exercise. Our personal training sessions are short and designed to efficiently stimulate a change; we then give them plenty of time to recover.

 The equipment we use is MedX medical rehab equipment which is more easily tolerated by the joints. We can restrict the range of motion to a pain-free range of motion, and we use controlled movements, i.e. slower, to minimize forces that could aggravate pre-existing conditions.

Lance Armstrong once said. “Before I just lived now I live strong”. The catch 22 is doing this without aggravating pre-existing conditions. As the studies listed above have demostrated, it can be done.

How to significantly increase bone density in 12 months


You have three options to increase bone mineral density and decrease the probability of broken bones as you age: strength train, take medications, or do nothing and hope you don’t fall.  Wendy chose the first option.   A year ago, at the age of 65 Wendy was informed, “There is osteoporosis in the total lumbar spine, total hip, and femoral neck.  There is a 10 year probability of major osteoporotic fracture of 20%”.

Only one year later, here were Wendy’s changes:

·         12.4% bone density increase in the total lumbar spine

·         3.5% bone density increase in the hip

·         .02% bone density increase in the neck

Wendy has been strength training with us for the last year.  The sessions are thirty minutes, once per week.  The only other change to her regime was taking calcium supplements.  

While strength training is not a cure for decreasing bone density, it is an effective treatment. A treatment can slow, reverse, or stop the progression of a condition. 

Another 60 year old client of ours increased her bone density one standard deviation over the course of two years – one 30 minute workout a week and no meds. Significant results do not require hours in the gym. Those who are older required more recovery, and for most, strength training one time a week is optimal.

At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers we work with people of all ages. UsingMedX equipment with special medical rehab features, we can accommodate those with limiting conditions.  All totaled, Wendy strength trained for about 25 hours in the past year.  Had she not exercised her condition would be likely worse, possibly much worse were she to fall.  Was it worth the 25 hour investment?  Wendy will tell you that it is.

New Years fitness resolutions - for many the only certainty is the automatic bank draft

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This is going to be the year you get in the best shape of your life. You sign up at the health club for 12 months to get the special rate, and then the automatic bank draft begins. You faithfully go at first, and then you miss a couple of weeks and then a couple of months. You had good intentions to really buckle down this year. However, for most people this never happens.  The only certainty is the automatic bank draft.

Canceling the membership involves a large processing fee. You ride it out cringing whenever you see the monthly bank draft for a service you did not use.

Twelve months pass; you send a registered letter stating you do not want to renew.  The next month the bank draft is still being charged. The club informs you that they switched you from a yearly contract to a month-to-month membership.  This becomes a huge hassle; you end up canceling the credit card to make it stop. 

People have high expectations of regular attendance that, for most people, never happens. The renewal rate at health clubs is 30 percent. There are more former members of health clubs than there are current members. That is a lot of dis-satisfied customers. 

What good is a program that requires hours in the gym each week even if you don’t go?  If you lower the bar a little you might find that that you will stick with a program for the long term. Each week do a little bit more than are used to handling, and over time, you will achieve your optimal health.

Three steps to sticking to a program:

1. Engage in activities you enjoy. You'll more likely stick to things you enjoy doing. 

2. Make modest permanent changes in eating habits that you are willing to stick to.

3. Start a strength training program that will produce the largest return for minimal time spent exercising, 30 minutes a week.   You’ll have more time to spend outside the gym doing activities you enjoy (See number 1).  

At our Austin Fitness Training and New Orleans’s Personal Training facilities we are not out to see how much exercise you can withstand, but how little exercise you can do to produce the most change. There is a long list of health benefits and fitness benefits that will motivate you to stick to it.  Over time, the improvements will be life changing.  Also, there are no bank drafts or contracts. 

"Instinctive Training" Theory - eat as much as possible, sleep whenever away from danger


If we followed our instincts we certainly wouldn’t exercise.  Arthur Jones, founder of Nautilus and  MedX exercise equipment, had this to say about following our instincts:

“For anything even approaching the best possible results from training, it is absolutely essential to work in direct opposition to your instincts. If you followed your instincts, you would do quite a number of things -- eat as much as possible, sleep whenever possible, defecate, fornicate, lie, brag, steal, run away from danger or fight if simply forced to or if faced with an obviously inferior foe in possession of something that you desired, and avoid any form of physical labor -- but you wouldn’t lift weights.” [Nautilus Bulletin # 1 Chapter 20]

Lifting weights stresses the body, and it is metabolically expensive.  Calories are expended exercising, recovering from that exercise, and restructuring as a result of the stress on the body. It runs counter to our instinct for self preservation.  Our body sends us strong signals to stop – our muscles burn, our breathing is rapid - just when the exercise is getting productive. 

Getting to the point to where strength training is productive is hard to do on your own. The exercise is often terminated early or form deteriorates. At our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training we take care of every detail and help you maintain form to get you safely to the point where the exercise is productive. Our goal is to give you a workout you cannot get on your own.

This is a program people of any age or condition can do, and it does not take a lot of your time.  In fact, those who are most out of shape have the most upside potential because they start at a lower baseline. 

Each week you’ll come and you do at little more than your body is used to handling and over time the changes will be transformational. The long list of health benefits and fitness benefits  will motivate you stick to it even though, ironically, your instincts are telling you to do otherwise. 

Exercise to Prevent Depression


A landmark study finds that one hour of exercise a week can prevent depression. From the study1:

“Results showed that people who reported doing no exercise at all at baseline had a 44% increased chance of developing depression compared to those who were exercising one to two hours a week.”

And this: 

"These findings are exciting because they show that even relatively small amounts of exercise -- from one hour per week -- can deliver significant protection against depression."

"Most of the mental health benefits of exercise are realized within the first hour undertaken each week." 

Overwhelmed and want to begin exercising but don’t know where to start?   To achieve success it helps to set the bar at a height you are willing to jump over each week.  At Austin Strength Training and at New Orleans Strength Training we follow a high intensity training (HIT) protocol with the goal of getting you stronger with minimal time in the gym.  Each week you’ll do a little more than you are used to handling.  You will improve each week and experience the motivating factor of success. Combine our training with an activity you enjoy - walking, biking, or gardening. This once-a-week strength training is something you can stick to, and it will change you.  

Your energy levels will riseaches and pains will subside, and you’ll feel the euphoric feeling produced by increased endorphin levels. Being stronger, living pain-free, and having more energy is a step in the right direction – an upward, happier direction.