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florida fitness

Build Muscle, Burn Fat

If time is money, what is wasted time?

Save thousands of dollars per year, making every millisecond count when working out. Keep in mind that the true cost of a workoout program includes the value of our time, plus the fee charged.

Most “personal training” programs are filled with fluff, figuring their fee is based upon time spent servicing you. But if you can do 11 exercises, you didn’t do the first 10 hard enough. Not that there programs aren't physically demanding, but there's another problem; it's the combination of making a workout:

Demanding for muscles,
easy on joints.

Call me a dinosaur, but this is a difficult combination to find.

Before-After photos show muscle gained in 6 weeks

In just 6 weeks, this woman slimmed and muscularized her figures.

Let me explain.

In 1985-86, I had the privilege of regularly participating in presentations by Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus, demonstrating his exercise-rehab technology to audiences consisting of orthopods, neurosurgeons, DCs, PTs, and various exercise/rehab professionals. I was a Nautilus employee (flunky) and my role in the presentations was to demonstrate a testing/rehab session on either the lumbar or leg extension machine. Seldom, if ever, did Arthur get an argument from an attendee.

I also witnessed various iterations of experiments in which Jones wrestled with physiological factors that are darn-near impossible to control and thus factor out of force readings in assessing spine function. Body mass in relation to gravity, and the response to compression of body fat stores when leaning forward onto the thighs were two items ruining replication. Dynamic movement also is erratic, as it depends on the effort of the testee.

Jones conquered those by utilizing static testing at a sequence of angular positions. And at each angle the testee was first assessed without exertion, about the same as if a scale were weighing torso mass, or stored energy (bodyfat compression). This assessment was then deducted from the output of the testee's exerted force. Repeatable results came rolling in.

From that experience, and from what I’ve also learned through mentors such as Ellington Darden and Wayne Westcott, I can tell you there’s a lot of JOINT-HAZARDOUS EXERTION pretending it’s “exercise.” Exercise is what’s comprised in a strategy to bring about physiological improvement. Exertion is a part of it, but it’s meaningful only if it’s measured and analyzed (it’s outcome put into a plan). And another very important principle completely absent in most supposed-exercise classes -- “I don’t care how much exercise you can stand,” Arthur used to say, “I want to know how little you need.”

Legitimate strength training has been hijacked by the personal training industry's grossly flawed idea called "functional training."

This type of training utilizes low-grade simiultaneous multiple muscle contractions. What's being developed is your ability to synchronize these multiple sub-maximal contractions. But its only benefit is acquiring the specific skill of the movement these synchronized contractions prodce. It’s like learning to shoot a basketball free throw, except that you can use the free throw during a basketball game. Most functional training is merely uselese skill development, although once highly skilled you may be able to exert meaningfully. But why put in months of practice?

Although its verbiage about balance and posture sound good, there’s no meaningful physiological adaptation, and its proponents can’t point to any quantifiable objective data supporting their theories.

Train on machines. Perform your reps at a slow, steady, controlled speed, tweaking the protocol by sometimes lifting in a 10-second count, sometimes lowering in a 10-second count, or holding the fully contracted position for a specified duration. Continue the exercise until if offered a million dollars to do another rep you’d have to turn down the money (Or, as Arthur liked to say, “if I put a gun to your head and said ‘do another’ I’d have to pull the trigger.”)

The all-out effort, the painful pinnacle, is a difference maker. Here's a workout sample from my Cincinnati facility a couple of years ago:

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(The "orientation" page includes another video that should also be helpful)

You have to warm up and overwhelm (temporarily) a muscle and involve its fully contracted position. Isolation and stabilization of the other body parts is more than just advantageous, it’s required. I’ve written and posted extensively on this basic topic. The overwhelming proof of my contentions comes from an experiment Dr. Westcott conducted at an assisted-living facility in Florida about 20 years ago.

Twenty-one "ambulatory-challenged" 85-year-olds went through 14 weeks of twice-per-week 7-machine Nautilus workouts (20-minute sessions). At the end of 14 weeks, 18 discarded their walkers or wheelchairs, one even went to live at home again. And the success rate was actually 90 percent (18 out of 20), since one participant was a double-amputee.

There was no balance practice, walking practice or other “functional” baloney. These people just got stronger, and then employed that strength in the skill of walking. Apart from brain injury, nobody loses the skill of walking, they lose the strength to walk.

The malady has a multi-syllable designation -- sarcopenia, the wasting away of muscle mass as we age due largely to inactivity. If you aren't actively strength training, sarcopenia awaits.

A half-hour or two per week -- time that more than buys itself back by producing both physical and mental energy -- is a better retirement program than precious metals.

Ode to Arthur

Arthur JonesArthur Jones, 1927 - 2007
Not just a pretty face, the inventor of both Nautilus and MedX equipment.


More Detailed Info:

Download PDF file of published study reviewing Jones' exercise principles

8-part Exercise Orientation articles (Part 2, in particular)


Arthur Jones excelled at developing solid, proven principles of exercise. Experimentation and research set him apart from -- and far above -- everybody else in this industry. Of course, being the innovator instead of an imitator is another Arthur distinction.

Others have intriguing concepts and interesting claims, but Arthur is the only one I’ve seen put his ideas to the test, and then refine them according to his findings. I first heard of him in about 1970 after a Sports Illustrated article about this crazy man claiming you needed only seven reps of an exercise, half-hour workouts, just three days a week. And you built muscle, even to the point of winning a Mr. America contest (Casey Viator, 1971).

With Nautilus, Arthur conducted large-scale research at Colorado State and West Point in the 1970s. After selling Nautilus and starting MedX in 1988 to concentrate on spine rehab, Arthur endowed the University of Florida with research grants.

Everybody else talks a good game, but Arthur compiled quantifiable data to back his verbiage. He founded both Nautilus and MedX and you could say he even spawned Hammer Strength, another manufacturer, since its equipment was designed by his son, Gary, albeit to Arthur’s chagrin and condemnation.

I frequently quote a saying I’ve heard attributed to Arthur, although he may have borrowed it from someone else.

“Success comes from good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment.”

I like that one a lot, and Arthur fashioned several large-scale failures amidst the notoriety of Wild Cargo and the Nautilus phenomenon. Though my assesment carries meager authority, Arthur was far superior an inventor than a businessman. But another buisness lesson he taught was very relevant, althought I actually heard it through Dr. Darden.

"It's like Arthur says," Ell mentioned, using a customary preamble to many of his statements. "You do something with factors A, B and C in it and you're successful. So, you try something else and put in factors A, B and C but this time you're not successful. You were never even aware that your successful outcome had factors D, E and F in it, too."

I owe my fitness life-style to Jones because his equipment and the “Nautilus Clubs” it generated decades ago made effective exercise time efficient, and thus palatable. He revolutionized an industry but despite his customary braggado he once condeded "I just caught the wave at the right time."

When he invented MedX spine equipment, he believed he'd discovered previously unknown characteristics of human physiology. He could hardly contain himself. He would tell any of us around him at the time that our situation was "like being with the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk."

"I just won the Nobel prize," he would say. "They don't know it yet, but..."

He died, unfortunately, without the prize but deserving the gratitude of many.

(If you're curious about Jones' MedX equipment, I've posted a link to a video of a clinic that features MedX rehab.

-- TD

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