Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

April 2021

How Important is Cadence Counting During Your Workout?

The Total Results exercise protocol is predicated upon a slow and controlled speed of movement, with an additional emphasis on a precise change of direction on each repetition. This is done to maximize muscular loading, which will result in a more effective exercise stimulus. We aim to have the client raise and lower the resistance in approximately ten seconds, but will accept anything between eight and twelve seconds in each direction. This gives clients plenty of leeway, and at the same time, allows us to standardize for record keeping purposes. Some clients have a natural knack for maintaining a smooth and continuous movement, while others need a little more guidance. Over the years, I have found that utilizing a cadence count is an effective teaching tool to help clients get the most out of each exercise, and it is something that I have found myself using more frequently with trainees of all levels of experience.

Pacing is just as important as your overall speed in an exercise; not all ten seconds are created equal. Let's say you are performing the Lumbar Extension exercise. Most clients start the exercise in the bottom out position at 50 degrees on the protractor, and finish at 0 degrees in the most contracted (extended) position. If you achieve the 15 degree position in three seconds, you are going too fast, and will have to slow down significantly in order to meet the proper standard for speed of movement ( I do not count any repetitions completed in seven seconds or less). This means that your pacing is off target; what we are looking for is a smooth and continuous movement, with a rate of acceleration of about one inch per second. Going too fast can unload the musculature and increase the risk for injury, while going too slowly can actually give you a respite. Our goal is to systematically and safely inroad (fatigue) the muscular structures in order to create a stimulus, and utilizing proper speed and pace helps us to achieve that end. This is where cadence counting becomes very helpful.

Ken Hutchins, who is the founder of our exercise protocol, used to discourage instructors from using a cadence count beyond a certain point of a client's development. He thought it could be considered a crutch that would actually impede clients from getting a better feel for speed of movement. I disagree. I believe that cadence counting is actually very important to use with clients regardless of whether they are a novice or very experienced, and it is very helpful at both the beginning and at the end of an exercise, particularly as momentary muscular failure looms.

The cadence count is introduced during the initial consultation, and I often demonstrate the bicep curl exercise to illustrate how it works. I start with my arm straight and count from zero to ten until I get to the most flexed position. This can be applied to any exercise. Although the range of motion can vary from one exercise to the next, cadence counting helps to standardize pacing. I often use the cue with clients to "think of yourself as a human metronome", meaning that the desire should be to perfect each and every repetition. That being said, trainees should avoid counting to themselves during every exercise. This can cause segmentation of the movement, which is a form discrepancy. Instead, focus on going as slowly and smoothly as you can, with an emphasis on precise turnarounds, and I encourage them to use my cadence count as a reference for their speed. There are other benefits to using a cadence count as well. It can help the client to stay focused and keep their mind on the task at hand, and it helps to keep movement smooth, while also allowing the client to get into a proper rhythm of free and continuous breathing. When the exercise becomes more demanding and movement slows to a crawl, actually think about going faster; your speed will probably be right on target. Lastly, it's important to realize that I will not cadence count on every repetition; I still need to be able to quickly correct form discrepancies and give other instructional cues. However, I will use the cadence count when necessary to help bring each exercise to its desired conclusion, which is momentary muscular failure and a thorough inroad.

This is another example of the attention to detail and level of forethought that Total Results provides, and it's something you can't find in other exercise philosophies or in a commercial gym. Total Results is your accountability partner in terms of your health and fitness, and we will continue to work to give you the best exercise experience money can buy. We value our clients, consider them as family, and will continue to serve your needs to the best of our ability. Our mission is your amazing!

Posted April 22, 2021 by Matthew Romans

"Evil Medicine" - A Book Review

A trusted colleague recently recommended that I read the book "Evil Medicine" by Richard Dennis. The book was originally published in 2005 and it covers a lot of ground in 109 pages, particularly about the pharmaceutical industry, prescription (and over the counter) medications, and the potentially negative effect they can have on your health. The author is a reporter and has written several other books besides this one, and he shares a few personal stories about the damage that prescription drugs can do. Mr. Dennis also takes a closer look at the bureaucracy of the Food and Drug Administration, and he details how political connections have exponentially increased the profits of the pharmaceutical companies.

The title of this book sounds alarmist, but it's important to understand the intended and unintended effects that medication has on your body. Any medication that you take is ostensibly ingested in order to combat a certain physical symptom that you experience. If you are diabetic and have high blood sugar, you will likely be prescribed metformin (or something similar) in order to reduce the amount of sugar your liver releases into your blood. The problem is that prescription drugs don't cure anything; they actually interfere with the body's normal processes and metabolism, which is why many people that are long term users of prescription medications are severely nutrient deficient. Modern medicine in the United States has largely devolved into a doctor seeing a patient for less than five minutes and writing a prescription. Physicians today generally treat symptoms rather than solve the underlying problem. Think about it: diabetic patients that simply take metformin do not cure their diabetes, they are merely managing the disease. It is far more lucrative to physician's practices and pharmaceutical companies to simply treat the symptoms rather than cure the patient. Have you encountered a physician who has counseled a diabetic patient to practice intermittent fasting, go on a low-carb diet, and regularly perform high-intensity strength training? That would go a lot further toward curing diabetes than by simply taking metformin every day.

Dennis says that when it comes to prescription medications, cause and effect are largely misunderstood. He states, "Every symptom comes from one cause: being out of homeostasis. If you don't address the problem nutritionally, you don't address the problem." Doctors usually think the answer to the problem is to prescribe medication, but they are thinking reactively rather than proactively. Rather than think about what caused the problem, they treat the symptoms. This is particularly the case when it comes to antibiotics. There are certain situations when an antibiotic must be prescribed, particularly in the case of a life-threatening infection. The problem is that doctors are now inclined to prescribe them when a person gets a minor sniffle; this leads to antibiotic resistance. Worse yet, according to the author, "Antibiotics also deplete B vitamins, necessary for hundreds of biological processes, including proper nervous system functioning." We often think of antibiotics as being very targeted, but as Dennis illustrates, "Antibiotics aren't a smart bomb, either. They kill the good guys, the bacteria necessary for proper digestion, the bacteria that eat up toxins in your system."

I think this book is especially pertinent to the world we currently live in, in which you can hardly go a single TV commercial break without seeing at least one advertisement for a prescription medication of some sort. It is especially topical considering the recent rollout of the Covid vaccines on the market. We need to understand the role that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has in dealing with the pharmaceutical companies. At the time of the writing of this book, "Researchers estimated that 106,000 Americans die from appropriately administered, FDA-approved prescription drugs. That's more deaths than the annual total for AIDS, suicide, and homicide combined." If the FDA is supposed to be a watchdog over the pharmaceutical industry, how can this happen? The FDA's safety budget is a small fraction of the marketing budget of the major pharmaceutical companies; there is simply no way they can effectively police the industry. In addition to that, the drug companies fund the vast majority of the clinical trials for medications waiting to be released to the market. Data can very easily be manipulated to make a drug seem far more safe and effective than it truly is (think Vioxx). These are some things to consider if you are debating whether to get the Covid vaccine.

If you don't want to be on a steady cocktail of prescription medications as you get older, what can you do? First of all, it's important to have the mindset that your health is your responsibility. The drug companies, government, and medical industry can't do it for you. Consume a diet that largely consists of single-ingredient, whole foods, and avoid sugar. Practice intermittent fasting for 14-18 hours a day, at least a few times per week. Hydrate well, and moderate consumption of alcohol. Sleep for 7-9 hours per night. I also recommend supplementing with Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and possibly fish oil. If you have to take prescription medication, be sure to increase your nutrient intake while on the drug. Finally, lift heavy things once in a while! Perform one or two Total Results workouts per week to increase muscle and bone mass, improve your resistance to injury, and keep your metabolism and cardiovascular system running in top form. None of these are new ideas, but they have stood the test of time.

One last quote from the author: "The average number of prescriptions per person in the U.S. increased from 7.3 in 1992 to 10.4 in 2000." I suspect that number is even higher in 2021. Every drug that you take to deal with one ailment creates another problem. You don't have to be a slave to the pharmaceutical industry. Educate yourself and take charge of your health, starting today!

Posted April 06, 2021 by Matthew Romans