Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

November 2019

Customizing Your Workout by Matthew Romans

The Total Results exercise philosophy is based on the classical sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as concepts of motor learning and biomechanics) and involves brief, infrequent, and high intensity weight training workouts that use a slow and deliberate speed of movement. While we have a sound and consistent foundation in place (and have followed it for nearly twenty years), it's important to understand that ours is not a cookie cutter approach. Two clients' workouts may be similar in how they are structured, but we see each client as a unique individual, and we tailor our instructional approach, selection and sequence of exercises to help each client achieve optimal success. I like to think of this as customizing your workout.

If you have paid attention to the mainstream fitness industry over the years, trends and fads come and go. Most other exercise protocols and philosophies are pragmatic; they will incorporate whatever seems good at the time, whether it's "functional" training, balance training, or any other notion with or without a scientific basis. We don't operate that way. Everything that we do has to be consistent with our exercise protocol that was refined over many years, and we are very serious about staying true to our roots.

There are plenty of ways that we can customize your workout. After a client completes an initial consultation, we select the exercises that make up a beginner or generic workout. This usually consists of the exercises that are the most important and easiest to learn, and usually include (among others) the Leg Press, Chest Press, and Lumbar Extension. These are the exercises that a large portion of our client population can handle without too much joint irritation.

-We usually stick with a sequence of exercises for the lower body before the upper body; however, in situations involving exercise-induced headache or nausea we may need to reverse that order to work around the potential problem.

-Dynamic movements are preferred most of the time, but we can also use Timed Static Contractions, and in some cases, Negative-Only protocol in order to best meet the needs of the individual and work around a joint issue or injury.

-Substituting one machine for another might be required. A shoulder problem might make the MedX Overhead Press machine a better option than the one made by Super Slow Systems, and the MedX Row might be better for someone with elbow issues than having them use the Super Slow Systems Compound Row. In some cases, neither option is the best fit, and they may need to do a modified Pullover to avoid the elbow joint entirely.

-To alter the range of motion on exercises like the Chest Press and Leg Curl, we can "gap" the weight stack, or move the movement arm a notch or two forward before putting in the selector pin. Our equipment is easy to adjust, and we can accommodate people with varying heights and limb lengths. We can also provide elevation pads, hand cushion and grip-assisting hooks to make you more comfortable.

One of the characteristics of a good exercise instructor is the ability to adapt, sometimes on the fly, to whatever a client needs. This holds true for how we instruct each client. One of the things that makes exercise instruction such an interesting and rewarding profession is that each client is unique and has his or her own personality and temperament. Some clients may need more teaching and prompting than others, and some will require very little instruction at all during each exercise. As a general rule, an instructor should say as little as possible so as not to pose a distraction during the workout, but we will give whatever coaching is needed to help you get the safest and most effective exercise stimulus that you can.

Exercise volume and frequency (dosage) also needs to be customized so that the client can achieve safe and long-lasting progress without the risk of illness or injury due to overuse. While we could make more money if our workouts were longer and more frequent, it's our duty to do what is in the best interest of the client. Sometimes this means reducing one's training frequency and volume of exercise; many of our longer-tenured clients exercise once per week.

As you can see, ours is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We can customize your workout experience to work around nearly any injury, condition, or joint issue, and we can do so while staying true to the exercise philosophy that is most congruent with the classic sciences. Regardless of your age, personality, experience level, or health history, we can find the proper blueprint to deliver the best results in the least amount of time. Come see what makes us different from the rest of the industry.

Start today!

Posted November 15, 2019 by Tim Rankin

The Power to Change, By Matthew Romans

Dr. Martin Seligman is a psychologist and author, and is one of the most respected people in his field. I recently read his book "What You Can Change, and What You Can't," and he discusses various aspects of one's life that can be changed and those that are fixed, particularly as it pertains to psychological topics like addiction, phobias, depression, anger, and many others. While there is a section in the book that discusses the pros and cons of dieting (he's not particularly optimistic about its success rate), he doesn't really discuss exercise, per se. While I got a lot out of the book, this is not a book review. Instead, the book's title and content led me to think about how this can relate to exercise, and it made me consider how much power we have to create positive physical and mental change through regular Total Results weight training.

We know that there are certain physical traits that are fixed. What can't you change?

VO2 Max. This is defined as the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense exercise. It is usually measured by a machine called a Breckman cart that attaches a hose to your mouth to measure your oxygen uptake during a treadmill run. It is largely predetermined by birth and cannot really be changed. The good news is that VO2 Max testing isn't a valid test of anything, and is not really important anyway (despite what most exercise physiologists will tell you).

Limb length. This is also genetically predetermined. While longer limbs create certain leverage advantages for certain activities or sports, it's not something you have control over. It's no accident that taller people gravitate toward sports like basketball and volleyball, largely due to selection bias (meaning they are drawn to be good at sports in which they are physically suited).

Tendon insertion point and muscle belly length. Tendons connect muscles to bones, and they also stabilize joints. While tendons do not have the same elastic properties as muscles, tendons can stretch a little to help facilitate muscular contraction. The muscle belly is the part of the muscle between its tendon attachments that contracts and produces force, thus enabling movement. The longer the muscle belly, the shorter the tendon attachment, and the greater force producing capacity the muscle has. This is something that Mother Nature decided for you, and that you have no control over.

Family medical history. Again, this is genetically predetermined. As the saying goes, you can't pick your parents (or grandparents, for that matter). But while you can't pick your genes, it's important to realize that not everyone with a family history of a certain disease ends up getting the disease simply because they are predisposed to it. Your lifestyle (which includes, diet, sleep, stress management, etc.) is something that you absolutely have control over.

Now that we have seen what we (largely) cannot change, what are some things that we have the power to change? This is where we can really take control and start living our best life, and it will take a lot less time than you think.

Attitude. This shapes your life philosophy and helps you to determine your course of action. Having a positive mindset means that you believe that you can accomplish anything if you are willing to invest the effort in doing so. Without it, nothing exceptional can be accomplished. As the saying goes, attitude is everything.

Knowledge. This ties in with one's attitude. Education should be lifelong, no matter what your interest or occupation. Always strive to learn. While I have said this before, at Total Results, we see ourselves as both learners and educators. We strive to keep learning and searching for a way to be better instructors, and we pass along what we have learned to you. As a Total Results client, having the mindset of being a learner will help pave the road to success.

Strength, metabolic, and cardiovascular conditioning. Skeletal muscle is one of the most plastic tissues in the entire body, meaning that it has a great capacity for positive change. The skeletal muscles are the only type of muscle tissue in the body that is voluntary; smooth and cardiac muscle, while very important, are involuntary. The skeletal muscles are the engines of the body; they enable movement and have the most impact on our body shape. High intensity Total Results weight training is the most effective way to increase your strength, which will also result in improved metabolic and cardiovascular conditioning.

Mood. Regular strength training has been shown to elevate mood and improve depression. Increased strength, ease of everyday tasks, and improved body image can and usually does lead to greater self-confidence.

Health care and insurance costs. While I don't see the the insurance and medical industries getting less expensive anytime soon, there are things you can do to lower your monthly and yearly health expenses. Regular Total Results exercise helps to protect against injury, lowers blood pressure, increases cardiac output, improves insulin sensitivity, and aids in combating the "diseases of modern civilization." The stronger and healthier you are, the less your insurance and health care costs, and this will help you to stay out of the system.

You have the power to change. While certain physical attributes that you have are fixed, others can be significantly improved. Total Results can be a major catalyst in creating a stronger and better you, and it takes less than one hour per week. While you may not have been given the genetic advantages to be an elite athlete, you can maximize your own genetic blueprint with Total Results. Take your first step today.

Posted November 05, 2019 by Tim Rankin