By TD Duschinski, July 2013
The only excuse for any kind of strength exercise other than training on Nautilus or Nautilus-like machines is psychological. It's in your mind, but not necessary for your phsyiology. Perhaps something that captures your imagination ignites your central nervous system, and thus you launch into a strenuous endeavor you wouldn't do any other way, despite the unnecessary risk of injury.
Here's what I mean.
A chin-up levitates the body, using upper back, biceps and forearm muscles. The same muscular effort applied to a Nautilus machine with an overhead bar and pulley levitates a weight stack -- while the body is essentially stationary. Virtually the same stimulus is applied to the muscles in each exercise.
However, the chin-up provides a change in your visual horizon, a sensation of your body moving through air, and perhaps sentimental memories of youthful days climbing and playing. The comparison is similar to the difference between running in an open meadow versus a a 10 mph gait on a treadmill stuck in the corner of the room.
This is a matter of psyche. Your physiology doesn't know the difference.
Perhaps there are people who need the psychological stimulus, otherwise they won't exercise? I don't know; I'm not one of those people and I've never seen a valid research study that addresses the issue.
But this I do know.
A dirty little secret of personal trainers is to provide something that requires client depedence. Learning the skills necessary to execute kettlebell swings, TRX maneuvers, etc., is job security. Although to be fair, those exercises also lend themselves to multi-client sessions, generally more economical and providing another possible pysche senseation -- group dynamics. But I can tell you from experience, in a club setting the personal trainers want to convince you that machines are boring, stale, and ineffective -- since you won't perceive that their help is necessary in using them. And if they are unable to push you to an effort on machines that far surpasses what you can do on your own -- they're right, you don't need them.
Machines are a great, great, great tool. The learning curve is much lower than what's required in most of the trendy stuff, which means you'll achieve physiological benefit much sooner and forever enjoy a much lower chance of injury.
This is why I've set up Buckhead Personal Training inside the studio of Body Construction at 3525 Piedmont Road NE (near Lennox and Piemont). Steve Bryant has assembled some advance-engineered machines that take the safety-effectiveness quotient to a whole new level using a slow-speed repetition protocol -- demanding on the muscles and cardio-respiratory system, while gentle on the joints and probably even therapeutic.
The hormone leptin was identified decades ago as a key to shedding fat. But many struggle continually with dropping excess weight. Daniel Pompa, DC, who you'll see on these two videos, has a wealth of information we'll be unfurling in coming weeks, information that can improve your health (perhaps) well beyond fat loss.
"Hormone conditions are an epidemic," Dr. Pompa told Tasso Kiriakes on his Central Florida radio show a couple of weeks back. "But it's not the lack of hormones that's the problem, it's the receptors to those hormones. The receptors are on the cell membrane; that's what ultimately we have to fix."
For more on this subject, see last month's blog.