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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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 our trainers, 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.  He is 52 years old, and he takes no calcium supplements.

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.

Glenn began doing high intensity strength training shortly after being diagnosed with MS – once a week, for 30 minutes for more than a decade.  Proper strength training is an effective treatment for osteopenia, but it is not a cure.  A treatment can slow, stop or reverse a condition. As osteopenia advances to osteoporosis it becomes less reversible. Don't wait until you have osteopenia; take steps avoid the onset now.  That’s what Glenn has been doing.

At Austin Strength Trainers and New Orleans Strength Trainers  we use MedX equipment, with its special medical-rehab features, we can accommodate those with limiting conditions such as MS. 

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 possible...run 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.  

The Right Exercise to Improve Brain Health


A family history of age-related cognitive impairment might be the most important reason of all to exercise. Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF) is a protein produced by the body that is essential for brain health. BDNF levels decline with age.1   Those with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases exhibit reduced BDNF levels.2  

Fasting will elevate BDFN levels;3  The mind becomes focused when the need for food for survival looms large, and BDFN levels rise.

BDFN also rises in response to exercise. According to one study 4 comparing continuous exercise versus hit 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 Personal Training and New Orleans Personal Training facilities.  Declining BDNF levels can be reversed.  It is best to take steps to do it now.  

Study compares interventions for increasing bone density:  jumping versus strength training


A study concluded that impact loading (jumping) was safe intervention to help middle-aged and elderly men maintain their bone  density. However, compliance - getting the subjects to jump regularly - posed a problem.  In the study 42 men aged 50 to 74 were assigned to three different groups. One group lifted weights for the upper body. The second group also lifted weights and did a high dose of impact loading jumping 80 times.  The third group lifted weights and jumped 40 times.

Result1: “This study indicates that while impact-loading exercise can be safely undertaken in middle-aged and older men, the current combined program did not elicit significant improvements in bone mineral density”.

It is interesting to note that the high-dose jumpers had a 53% compliance rate; the moderate-dose jumpers had a 65% compliance rate.  74-year-olds aren’t given to repetitive jumping for good reason.  The more often you jump the risk of injury goes up.  This is especially true as we age, as our bodies are not as resilient.

There are safer options to effectively stimulate improvement of lower-body bone mineral density besides jumping.  Strength training both the upper and lower body is a safer alternative to potentially dangerous lower-body impact loading. At our Austin TX Personal Trainers and New Orleans Personal Trainers locations to increase strength we use MedX rehabilitation exercise equipment and a protocol that is gentler on the joints.  The body adapts to the demands placed on it.  Stronger muscles generating more force will require stronger connective tissue and bones.  One of our clients increased her bone density one standard deviation following our program.

27% decrease in body fat after increasing anaerobic training


As part of their off-season training program, athletes cut back on their aerobic activity and increased their anaerobic activity to see if there would be a significant change in body fat. They eliminated stationary bike rides and increased sprints, medicine ball throws, Olympic lifts, squats, and bench press. The result1: they reduced their body fat 27% over three years. 

It helped that the subjects were possibly uniquely suited for this change to anaerobic exercise. The subjects were professional hockey players – the best of the best in a sport that requires extraordinary anaerobic effort. The average shift in a hockey game is 45 seconds of all-out anaerobic exertion.   

For non-elite athletes anaerobic exercise is still an effective compliment to diet for losing fat. After aerobic exercise your body’s resting metabolic rate returns to baseline in short order.  Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, will result in a raised metabolism for at least 21 hours after the exercise session is over.  

With persistent daily aerobic exercise your body will lower its resting metabolism; it is the body’s biological imperative to preserve its energy stores (fat). In contrast, anaerobic exercise (strength training) will make you stronger, and a stronger more muscular body will burn more calories even at rest.  

At our Austin Personal Training and New Orleans Fitness Training locations we offer high intensity training to increase strength, muscle and metabolism. While exercise can help, it is important to note that only with changes in eating habits  can you lose fat and keep it off.

Reducing the incidence of migraines with the right exercise

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A study1 sought to find what type of exercise had the biggest impact on reducing migraines. Subjects were put in three groups. One group did high-intensity interval training (HIIT), another did moderate continuous exercise, and the third did no exercise. The conclusion:

“The data showed high-intensity training significantly reduced the frequency of migraine attacks.”

Why is HIIT effective? The researchers concluded that:

“The ‘afterburn’ effect of high-intensity training has a positive impact. After you do high-intensity training, your body for a long period has to have certain adaptations. You need more oxygen after the workout [Excessive Post-exercise Consumption] than you do when you have just continuous, moderate-pace exercise.”

Another study examining the afterburn affect found that:

“Both resistance training and intermittent aerobic training [Sprint training on bikes] increased excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) to a greater degree than did steady-state work [Running].”

The type of resistance training is also a factor.  High intensity resistance training (HIT) produces more EPOC than any other form of resistance training.   HIT and sprint training on bikes is what we do at our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training facilities. 

One of our clients, Joan, had suffered from migraines the past 15 years. Narcotics were often necessary to alleviate her pain.  She has worked out with us for two months now. She reports that she has stopped having the migraines.

The benefits of strength training for MS patients


It was once believed that exercise was bad for those with Multiple Sclerosis (MS); a recent study concluded otherwise.  A quote from the study1:

“Physical training can relieve many of the symptoms, including the excessive fatigue and mobility impairments that are often seen. New research now shows that resistance training may protect the nervous system and thus slow the progression of the disease.”

And this:

"Among persons with multiple sclerosis, the brain shrinks markedly faster than normal. Drugs can counter this development, but we saw a tendency that training further minimizes brain shrinkage in patients already receiving medication. In addition, we saw that several smaller brain areas actually started to grow in response to training,"

There is a long list of benefits from proper resistance training; for those with MS the list is even longer and more vital.  At our Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Training locations we have worked those with MS since we first opened our doors.  We use MedX exercise equipment.  With its medical rehab features, we are better able to work with those with compromising conditions.

One of our trainers, Glenn, has MS and has been training with us for 10 years.  He had this to say about the workout:

“Our workout is high intensity, but short in duration, so it's a perfect routine for MSers (especially with heat intolerance - a very common symptom).  And unlike standard workouts, you get through a full body workout before your MS symptoms can flare due to a rise in core body temperature.”

“Perfect routine of MSers”, it is beneficial for a number of other conditions as well – arthritis, diabetes, osteopenia, back problems, stroke …

To Age with Grace

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As we age we become weaker, slower, less agile, less physically attractive…  While some accept this fate with poise and a positive outlook, for others, it is a difficult transition.

In the business of personal training I occasionally run across young people consumed with their bodies and how well they perform. In the “poker game of life”, they are holding aces. How they manage their hand when the cards they are holding are no longer aces depends on their outlook. They cannot stop the dissipation of the body over time, but there is a bright side.

When comparing younger and older exercisers, those who are older can produce far greater improvements in strength, increases in energy, bone density, and the abatement of pain.  After all, a 20 year old is not going to increase her bone density a standard deviation or increase mitochondrial capacity by 49% but a 60 year old can.  This does not require hours in the gym each week. 

With proper exercise you can significantly increase your health span, the length of time that you are healthy—not just alive.  At Austin Personal Trainers and New Orleans Fitness Training locations our trainers can help you increase your health span and age with grace.

Exponentially increasing the amount of an anti-inflammatory agent produced by the body


Inflammation can heal you, debilitate you, or it can ultimately kill you.  The endocrine system releases molecules that are chemical signalers that work to keep your inflammation in check. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to increase those chemical signalers - maybe even increase their numbers exponentially?   There is.

Inflammation has a positive role in healing wounds and fighting infection.  The swelling, redness, and warmth are signs that your immune system is sending white blood cells, immune cell-stimulating growth factors, and nutrients to the affected areas 2. After an ailment is resolved that inflammation should go away.  If the inflammation persists it can lead to a number of inflammatory conditions including heart disease, cancer, arthritis, skin conditions, plus respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.  It makes weight loss more difficult, and it can interfere with sleep.  

Cytokines are chemical signalers that are released by the cells affected by the stress of a wound or infection; they trigger inflammation.  Not all cytokines trigger inflammation. There is a subgroup of cytokines called myokines; they reduce inflammation.  One of those myokines is Interleuken 6. In a Bulletproof podcast Doug McGuff, Body By Science author, had this to say about Interleuken 6:

“Interleukin 6 has an anti-inflammatory effect but it also has neat bio chemical effects. It very aggressively up regulates the uptake of glucose into the muscle cell and glucose utilization and glycogen mobilization. It also ramps up lipolysis. Mobilization of fatty acids from stored body fat and it’s ramping through the cell, through the mitochondria to do beta oxidation of fatty acids all of that is augmented and ramped up by Interleukin 6. Other things that it does, is it stimulates the release of nitric oxide which causes vessel dilation. Increasing blood flow into the skeletal muscle but it has the more long term effect with modulating blood pressure towards more optimal levels and it actually accesses a lepton surrogate to increase insulin sensitivity so it has just this one myokines has so many beneficial effects that we’re looking for."

 How do we get more Interleukin 6?  Dr. McGuff again:

“Interleukin 6 is liberated from contracting skeletal muscle particularly when it’s doing high intensity work but pretty much in any sort of muscular activity. It is released to some degree and it increases as the intensity of exercise rises, it’s released in exponentially greater degree.”

 At our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training locations with our clients we use a high intensity strength training protocol, a protocol that exponentially produces more anti-inflammatory myokines.

With inflammatory conditions such as arthritis the wrong exercise can inflame joints even more. The trick is to work the muscles without inflaming the joints.  We have an extensive line of MedX equipment with medical rehab features that are gentler on the joints.  We also employ a low-impact exercise protocol that minimized forces place on the joints.  This allows us to safely work the muscles intensely.  For arthritis pain sufferers this results in stronger muscles, increased mobility, and decreased inflammation, and protection of the joints to facilitate a life uncompromised by pain.  For arthritis pain sufferers the positive results can be surprising, sometimes well beyond anything you would expect.

Study finds elevated metabolism 21 hours after exercise session with certain types of exercise


You can maintain an elevated metabolism long after your exercise session is over – even into the next day – with certain types of exercise.  After exercising it takes a period of time for your resting metabolism to return to normal. The type of exercise you do is a determining factor in how long your metabolism will remain elevated.  

In an exercise study, ten young men performed three different exercise routines one week apart. Each session burned the same number of calories.  The first week was resistance training, the next week was steady-state aerobic exercise, and the last week was high-intensity intermittent aerobic training.

The subjects’ resting metabolic rate (RMR) was measured at 12 hours and 21 hours after each session.  The results from the study1:

“The steady-state trial did not influence RMR at either 12 hour or 21 hour post-exercise.  Both resistance training and intermittent aerobic training increased excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) to a greater degree than did steady-state work, indicating that either mode may be more effective at increasing total daily caloric expenditure than steady-state aerobic exercise.”

The study reported that resistance training produced more EPOC than the other two modes of exercise at both the 12 hour and 21 hour mark.  The type of resistance training is also a factor.  High intensity resistance training (HIT) produces more EPOC than any other form of resistance trainingHIT is what we do at our Austin Strength Training and New Orleans Strength Training facilities. 

 The study demonstrates that in the short-run resistance training can temporarily raise your metabolism up to 21 hours after your workout.  In the long-run as you become stronger your body will have a permanently higher RMR. While a higher metabolism helps, it is important to note that studies show that exercising is not the key to weight loss.  Eating less is.