17 Failure is the Only Option

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What do you mean “failure is the ONLY option”? It’s a hard concept to grasp, but we are talking
about muscle failure. Reaching muscle failure safely is scientifically proven to build muscle, burn
fat, and to assist in rebooting your metabolism.

In this episode, Adam Zickerman, Mike Rodgers, Sheila Melody, and Tim Edwards define muscle
failure and how the expert trainers at all Inform Fitness locations can get you there safely.

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Tim: This episode of the InForm Fitness Podcast is brought to you by Thrive Market. Thrive Market is on a mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for everyone. To receive a special discount for 15% off of your first order, email tim@Inboundpodcasting.com

Tim: Hi friends, thanks again for joining us once again here at the InForm Fitness Podcast. Twenty minutes with Adam Zickerman and friends. I’m Tim Edwards with the InBound

Podcasting Network, and a client of InForm Fitness. I’ve been working out at the Toluca Lake location here in the Los Angeles area for about ten months now, and I love it. I love the results, I love the environment, I love the trainers who are not only experts in their field, but they’re really great people and they’ve become great friends of mine. Including the nice lady whose idea it was to produce this podcast in the first place: Sheila Melody. Welcome to the show, Sheila!

Sheila: Hey Tim, how you doing?

Tim: I’m good. You had a nice trip you just returned from?

Sheila: Yes, I was in Illinois visiting family and it was awesome. We had a big old farm house and we all just partied and it was the best.

Tim: Very different from Los Angeles I’m sure.

Sheila: Very different, but fun.

Tim: Saw the pictures on Facebook, looks like you guys had a really great time. Adam, we’ve taken a couple weeks off — Adam, I liked what you did, there was this one time, at band camp, didn’t you go there, is that right? Did you bring your flute with you, or what did you learn to play at band camp?

Adam: Well, I am always trying to learn how to play the guitar, but I actually got to meet and listen to small little talks given by Steve Vai, Eric Johnson. So you know Eric Johnson? Alex Skolnick played Testament, heavy metal band from the 80s, Testament, and a guy named Mike Keneally who is also a monster guitar player who played for Frank Zappa as well. I don’t know if you know Steve Vai’s first job out of Berkeley College of Music was to play with Frank Zappa, I mean talk about — and you’re working for Frank Zappa. He’s like the [Inaudible: 00:02:25] of rock, the stuff that he wrote… you’d have to be a master musician to even attempt to play his stuff. So Mike Keneally is another Zappa band member, and he is also amazing. So we had these jam sessions at the end of the day, at night, and here I was jamming with a group of guys, and we didn’t have a drummer at that point. It was a bass player and we had like three guitar players, and all of a sudden Mike Keneally walks into our jam room and we were like do you play drums? So there I was playing Cocaine by Eric Clapton, actually J.J. Cale wrote that, but with Mike
Keneally on drums. That was like — I felt like a kid in a candy store. Definitely a highlight of the band camp. Actually having Mike Keneally listen to me playing guitar while he was backing me on drums.

Tim: Wow, that’s fantastic. So Mike, top that, what did you do during your time off?

Mike: Everything was great, it’s all family stuff. I’ve got babies so I’m not going anywhere, camp, Alaska or anything. One of my clients told me that he went to Alaska recently and I was like… he showed me photographs, grocers and dog sledding and I was like oh my god this is
incredible, I’ve got to do this. I went home and I was like hey honey, next June I’m thinking maybe guys trip to Alaska, do you think I could do that? And she’s like Alaska, you ain’t going to Alaska. You’re going to Disney World with your fucking family.

Tim: For the next ten years.

Mike: I was like okay, that was shot down fast. My three year old is awesome, he’s like a divine angel one day and then he’s like Al Qaeda the next so it’s kind of interesting.

Tim: Wait until he turns into a teenager.

Mike: Classic toddler I’m told, but yeah, everything’s good. I just had my eighth wedding
anniversary yesterday so all is great, and yeah.

Tim: Congratulations, I just celebrated on my eighteenth the day before yesterday.

Mike: Lucky number among the Jews.

Tim: So Sheila’s been on vacation, Adam’s been to band camp, Mike has been hanging out with his family, and here we are diving back into the content. So guys, as we move forward, right now with where we stand, we’re about sixteen different episodes with the InForm Fitness Podcast. Certainly want to thank all of InForm Nation for subscribing and becoming members of this community that we dearly love. Before we move any further, what do you guys think of my swag here? This new hat that I’m rocking here?

Adam: I love that hat. I actually wore the hat out to my kid’s baseball games, hanging out with the parents and everything. Like hey nice hat man, where is that from? It’s terrific.

Sheila: The black one or the orange one?

Mike: Adam wouldn’t tell him where it was from probably.

Tim: Of course I’ve got the black InForm Fitness swag hat that Sheila has on display there in Toluca Lake. How about there in Manhattan guys, do you have them out there?

Mike: We haven’t displayed them yet, they’re still in boxes.

Sheila: There’s the mesh hat that Tim is wearing, and that’s the one Adam wanted to get. And then there’s the regular cotton hat, and then I got the orange and the black matched as well.

Tim: It’s rust really, right? Black and rust. Rust color. I noticed on [Inaudible: 00:05:50] there Sheila, I’ve got a shirt coming to me. I’ve earned enough points by coming to enough sessions, I’ve got an InForm Fitness shirt. So I’ll wear that next time instead of my Dodgers shirt that I’m wearing now, to celebrate the fact that we clinched the West. So a few baseball fans are the on the west coast, you guys on the east coast could care less.

Adam: Congratulations.

Tim: Thanks, like I had anything to do with it.

Adam: I am taking my son to a yankee game on Friday. I don’t think they’re mathematically eliminated yet…

Tim: They’re trying to get the wild card there. Well Yankee Stadium, that’s a great place. I had a chance to visit there when I was out in New York a couple of years ago.

Adam: The new one?

Tim: I did, well it wasn’t baseball season but I actually attended a game at the old Yankee
Stadium, which was glorious, truly. It was an amazing experience several years ago, and I like the old one better, but I had the chance to tour the new one about three and a half years ago with my son, that was a memorable day for sure. Still legendary even though it’s new, still a really great place to go. Alright guys, let’s dive into the content. Let’s get into working out again. It’s been a few weeks, good to be back behind the mic with you. In the last several episodes, for those that have been listening for any length of time, they know what the power of ten is. We know that it’s an exercise method, we know that it’s weight training. We know that it’s slow
motion, high intensity weight training, and we know that the goal is to reach muscle failure in our once a week, twenty to thirty minute workout session. Today let’s talk about what it’s like when a new client arrives at an InForm Fitness studio. Let’s walk through their experience, their process, what they experience when they walk into InForm Fitness, and then what you do on the back end. They fill out a really comprehensive intake form, what goes into the initial assessment of a new client? How do you determine what their needs are?

Sheila: I would just say that the first thing we do, and we all learned this from Adam, is connect with that person. Find out what it is that they’re looking for, what brought them in. So we
connect and then we try to explain to them how this will help them, how this can be designed specifically for them, and we also get to know their experience, if they have any issues, injuries, special needs… things like that that they can’t do — you get to know them first, because it’s
different for everybody.

Tim: So Adam, the power of ten workout, it’s not the same for every client I’m assuming.

Adam: No it’s not, and when we talk about power of ten or high intensity training in general, very often people think — one of the criticism and misunderstandings of high intensity training, especially the way we do it, is they think it’s a one size fits all type of approach. They think that we feel it’s a mutually exclusive decision first of all, like if you do this you can’t or shouldn’t do anything else, which is not true, and the technique of lifting weights slowly and working to
muscle failure. Going ten seconds up, ten seconds down, breathing properly. These are certain principles that we go by, but that’s where the workouts are similar from person to person kind of ends. There’s so many others — it’s so multifactorial, what goes into a program for somebody’s workout. What they’re doing, how they’re doing it. When I say multifactorial, there are so many — like Sheila was saying, we find out not only what their goals are, which of course are
important, and to find out what their belief system is about exercising. Where they’re coming from and what their experience is with exercising. All of that is important to know also, but
besides that, there’s genetic factors, age, stress levels that they have in their life, how much sleep they’re getting in their daily routine. How much activity is in their life at that moment, what are they doing now for exercise, what are they doing recreationally. The list goes on and on. Their tolerance for muscle burn.

Tim: How do you determine their tolerance for muscle burn until you get them into the gym?

Adam: Well I take a match and — no obviously you don’t know that by looking at somebody. Some of the things that I’m telling you about present themselves over time. Some things you know right away, but when you have experience as a trainer, you can kind of size somebody up, to an extent. There’s all of these experiences that give you — you look at somebody now after training for nineteen, twenty years, like I’ve been, I don’t even know how I make these
decisions. It’s kind of like Malcolm Gladwell’s Bling, in the split second you figure it all out and you don’t even know how you did it, but it’s all of your experience that kind of tells you. But you’re wrong, you’re not always right when it comes to that, so what you do is you do a generic workout, basic generic workout and you test the waters and see how it goes. You have something to go by, you’ve done an intake, you know their life story to an extent. You know if they’ve
exercised before, I mean one question I always ask somebody when they first start is, have you ever done a high intensity workout before? If I was to tell you, and if they’ve explained a
workout to me and it’s like okay, that workout that you just said you do, from one to ten, ten
being the most intense experience you’ve ever had in your life, one being not intense at all, how would you describe the workouts you’ve been doing? That gives me a clue if they’ve ever even really had a really intense workout before, and if they’ve ever even pushed themselves to what we call muscle failure. Then you see — oh this person does not do well when they approach muscle failure, they have great form, but as soon as the burn really starts setting in, they start to freak out a little bit. There’s ways to work around that so they get something out of this workout. For example, we always say that ninety seconds is the window that somebody should reach
muscle failure within. If you pick a weight and somebody reaches muscle failure in less than
sixty seconds, then it’s probably too heavy. If it’s lasting over two minutes, it’s probably a little bit too light. Having said that — and this is one of the reasons that we get boxed into a theory and we’re misperceived, because we always say about a minute and a half to muscle failure. But you have people that, if you picked a weight where they would actually reach failure in ninety seconds, it would be too heavy for them. A lot of people say oh this is too heavy, I can’t move it, and they’re psyched out right from the beginning. To reach muscle failure with the weight in ninety seconds, the weight starts out pretty heavy right from the beginning. It’s not impossible from the beginning, but it feels heavy, and some people, if it feels heavy right from the start,
psychologically they just give up. Something doesn’t click with them that the heavier the weight is, the sooner they’ll reach muscle failure, and that’s actually a good thing. We look at it as a good thing, but for some people, if they don’t get three or four reps in before that burn really starts to come, they give up before they even start. That’s it, that’s just one example of how you change the workout. So just to finish that thought for example, does that mean that that person can’t workout high intensity and reach muscle failure? No actually it doesn’t. Not to say that there are some people here that I’ve trained over the years, very few, that really just cannot
handle going to muscle failure. In the case like I just described, for most people that are like that, you lower the weight and you reach muscle failure in about two minutes. It’s amazing how all of a sudden they’re willing to go to muscle failure as long as it comes at around the two minute mark, not the minute and a half mark. So there’s an adjustment right there: we’re not married to a minute and a half, we’re not married to one minute, we’re not married to any time zone really. Just a range of course, and we really do have to get to muscle failure. That’s like one of a million different types of scenarios.

Mike: When someone comes in on day one, your baseline people when they come in, and you never know exactly if they’re going to be able to lift a lot of weight or a little bit of weight. We’ve seen big guys not be able to lift very much, modest weights and we’ve seen small people lift a lot of weight. You never know so that’s why we have to baseline low to always be safe.

Tim: So Mike, with what you just said, Adam, I’ve got a question for you. Are there general
customizations as maybe just men versus women, regardless of size?

Adam: Of all the factors that we consider, gender is probably not one of them, now that you’ve asked that question. I joke sometimes because we train a lot of couples, and some couples are competitive. Some jokingly competitive, some truly competitive, and I have to admit that I find… and this is totally anecdotal, and I’ve been doing this for eighteen years practically. I kind of find that women very often work out harder than men, they have better discipline, they have better control, they listen better. This is an interesting point: people equate the weight they’re
lifting with whether they’re good or not at this.

Tim: It’s the way people have been conditioned for all these years though, with the way they’ve lifted weights in the past.

Adam: It’s funny, when I correct a women’s form, she’ll say yeah I know, I’m not as strong as so and so. It’s like your form and working to muscle failure has nothing to do with your strength. Your strength is adjusted for by just what weights we use, but if I pick a weight that’s appropriate for you, your form and you going to muscle failure should look exactly the same as somebody that is lifting a much heavier weight than you. It has nothing to do with that, so that’s interesting. So some women feel because they’re weaker, that they’re not as good at this, and that has
nothing to do with it. Their form, going to muscle failure, the stoicism involved with working out like this…

Sheila: I think women can deal with this because we give birth. We can actually withstand this intensity for periods of time. I’m serious, I’m not kidding.

Adam: When you’re interviewing a woman who wants to work out, and we talk about things like this, very often when I talk about how intense the workout is, and if they don’t have any
experience with a very intense workout, but they have had children, I say to them listen. If you were able to give birth, you can do this.

Sheila: Exactly.

Mike: It is an interesting question, I have to explore that, but as far as gender is concerned, I think I would almost agree most recently. I don’t know if all my history as a trainer, but most
recently, I can actually think of a couple…

Adam: Mike are you in the bathroom or something?

Tim: You sound like you’re talking underwater. Just your connection, we’re happy to have a good Skype connection today so we’ll just move forward. So what were you saying Mike?

Mike: The gender thing — I don’t know if I have a conclusive answer on that with all of my
experience but it’s interesting. In New York, we’ve got a lot of Wall Street agents and stuff like that. Even if they’re not on Wall Street, we’ve got a lot of Type A personalities, and when you introduce them to this concept of going to failure, it is actually something that is difficult to
accept. I find more men have that psychological shift to accept that this is the goal, in an innate sense, I think they find it more challenging.

Tim: Well we talked about, Adam a minute ago, and Sheila you mentioned a minute ago, that if you can give birth, then you can do this workout. Sheila, do you adjust the workout for pregnant clients?

Sheila: Oh absolutely. One of our biggest things is the safety, because you’re going so slow, you’re guiding them through, you’re watching their every move basically, making sure that they’re doing it in the right form. Because we go so slow, there’s very little chance of injury, but if you’re — clients are usually tensed up, and you’ve got to try to tell them constantly, relax, breathe, breathe through it, until they learn how to do that. How do to be in that intensity and breathing. I often say relax and they’re like I can’t relax! I don’t really mean relax, what I mean is it’s going to be tough, breathe, and just attempt to keep going. That’s all you’ve got to to do is attempt to keep going, but on the note about men and women, I definitely see that it’s harder for men to go to the failure. That’s especially maybe with a female trainer too, they definitely do not like going to failure with a female trainer. They just can’t — they keep trying and trying.

Tim: I definitely agree with that Sheila. Matter of fact, you were my first trainer and I didn’t want to fail in front of you. I don’t want to fail in front of Joe, my new trainer but I can tell you after doing —

Mike: I would have guessed oppositely actually because a lot of men, they don’t want to feel
inadequate in front of a woman, so therefore they’re going to actually go beyond what they
probably should go. That’s a stupid typical guy.

Adam: We’re talking about two different things here, let me explain what I’m saying. There’s two types of failure that we’re talking about. What Tim is saying that he didn’t want to go to failure in front of Sheila is not that he didn’t want to go to muscle failure in front of Sheila. It’s because he’s still at this point, being new at this, he didn’t realize that going to failure is what’s going to impress you. In his mind at that moment, failing meant that — he didn’t want to not be able to finish that last rep, which in his mind was failure. Like personal failure, I’m a wimp, I didn’t get ten reps like I usually do. Whereas the failure that we’re talking about is success, I mean not finishing that last rep is muscle failure and that is success. I always like to make sure that people remember: don’t let reaching muscle failure become a frustrating experience. It is the goal.

Tim: Well Adam, it is the goal, but I’ve got tell you, I believe it takes time. People have been conditioned for years in working out. I can tell you I’ve been doing this now for ten months, and without a doubt, I believe that reaching muscle failure is a learned behavior. I know that it’s physical because you actually hit failure, but now I know what it’s like when I’m approaching failure, and I can experience failure and I can understand when I hit it now, but that was not the case when Sheila was training me eight months ago.

Mike: In the beginning, I can tell that person — that Wall Street guy the same for the first ten weeks, and it still sometimes doesn’t seep in. Even though he knows he has to go to the point of physical muscular failure, it’s like there’s a disconnect in his brain about accepting it still, you know what I’m saying? And it’s like it’s something that does take time, for some people to really make that connection.

Adam: I’m not saying it’s the fault of a trainer explaining it wrong. I do know, you can explain this to somebody until you’re blue in the face, and sometimes people just never get it. I have a male client that if he doesn’t reach failure, if he doesn’t last for more than two minutes, he doesn’t think he did well. He just doesn’t think he did well. If I pick a weight where he reaches muscle failure in ninety seconds, he gets off the machine, and he says ugh I sucked at that, I was horrible, what’s my problem. I’m like you reached muscle failure, you did it. Then I do the same machine the next week, I lower the weight a little bit. He reaches muscle failure, he reaches
absolute muscle failure, but this time it took him two minutes to reach muscle failure. ‘Oh that was good, that felt good.’ By me lowering the weight for this person, so he can reach failure in two minutes instead of one and a half minutes, there’s no difference physiologically. Whether you reach failure in a minute and a half or two minutes, he’s going to have the same good
response as long as he rests enough in between. That’s another factor by the way, but no, there’s no difference. The difference is that now we have somebody who is happy and motivated, and not feeling frustrated. Obviously if you have a client that is frustrated after every single exercise, chances are, they’re not going to last at this very long. If this becomes a frustrating experience every single time to work out, but if they come to this workout and every time they come to the workout, they’re finished and they feel like they had a great workout, that’s a good thing.

Tim: But this isn’t trickery.

Adam: And I don’t care if they reach muscle failure in two minutes, as long as they feel like they had a good workout, and they actually reach muscle failure.

Mike: He just happened to be motivated by the number two, two minutes. Like motivated
meaning like a sense of achievement came there for some reason.

Adam: Now like I was talking about, you were talking about earlier, Mike said there’s a mental switch that happens when you finally accept muscle failure. No matter how many times you
explain it to somebody, it might take time for them to process. In this guy’s case by the way, he’s been working out with me for years, and he never made that mental connection. No matter how many times I told him that failing at a minute and a half is fine, you’re okay, he was just like
upset, no matter what I said. So you know what, I said it doesn’t matter, let’s just fail at two
minutes. We can progress that way, I can raise the weight a little bit each time and still reach that two minute mark. Anyway —

Mike: The thing is clients have all sorts of different little quirks and stuff like that, and a good trainer, whether it’s at our job or any other gym, you’ve got to make connections. You’ve got to see whether the client is with you a little bit, because they can — that might not be the reason also why some reason — they might have not gotten enough sleep — there’s a lot of different things, but you have to sort of connect with what they’re giving you. I think all the trainers here, we work really, really hard to make those connections. Adam reached out and said hey… Adam, did you actually just lower the weight without telling him and then all of a sudden he felt good afterwards, or what was the —

Adam: I think I made the discovery when I made a mistake picking a weight, I picked a weight that was lighter than it should have been. So he listed like two and change he was like oh that was great, and I never actually heard him say that was great. I looked at the chart and I said what was great about it, why was this great versus every other time that he’s ever reached muscle
failure, and then I realized that he lasted longer. I finally made the observation and I said to him, I said you liked that? He said yeah I felt good on that. I said you know you lasted two minutes and I think maybe as long as you last longer than a minute and a half, that you’ll be happier. He said maybe I don’t know.

Tim: So that’s just part of learning your clients, just learning how to motivate them.

Adam: This show is also not — by the way, for those listening who don’t have access to InForm Fitness, this is not about the client and trainer relationship necessarily. This is also about just
listening us to talk about this and you don’t have a trainer, you’re just training yourself, keep this in mind for yourself. What do you feel good about, what feels right to you? You’ve got to listen to your own body. We’re talking about right now muscle failure, but then there’s how much time in between workouts? The routine itself? Some people can handle five — I’ll give you another example. If you’re a really big dude and you workout really, really hard, you know five
compound movements in a workout is like plenty for you. As opposed to the slight build, more slow twitch muscle fiber versus high twitch muscle fiber. People like that can do seven exercises of failure and not be completely metabolically devastated. So just because a big guy, for
example, who has different genetic composition. After five exercises they are completely spent, they are not a failure because somebody else can do seven and make it. And they’re not a failure either if they need ten days recovery between workouts as opposed to somebody else who only needs five days recovery. You’ve got to pay attention to this. So if you’re working out and you’re a big dude, and you’re working out majorly into muscle failure, you go deep, and you’re finding that in general the once a week workout, you’re finding yourself not getting stronger week after week, and you can’t raise the weights and you’re feeling fatigued, don’t be afraid to extend it for ten days rest. You might need ten days rest. Others need less, you have to pay attention to all of these things. The bottom line is are you progressing. Are you keeping good records, are you
seeing the numbers go up, are you feeling good? Are you feeling spent for too long after the workout? Is it taking you two weeks to recover until you feel right? You’ve got to pay attention.

Mike: I think the feeling is the key. Sometimes the numbers over time, there may be some plateaus in numbers. If that wasn’t true, you’d be lifting like five thousand pounds on the leg press when you’re eighty years old. It’s not going to happen, but what’s most important is that people still feel as strong as I did, or stronger than I did, the day before. Picking up suitcases is still easy to me, all these types of things, and then of course they’re leaving their workouts and they have a sense of energy and you know, that type of feeling.

Tim: Is it still possible to achieve a worthwhile, high intensity stimulus without hitting muscle failure, for those that are really struggling with understanding that concept, getting to muscle failure on their own or with a trainer, regardless of where they’re listening with this podcast. If there’s an InForm Fitness nearby or not, can you still obtain a high intensity stimulus required for the power of ten to be effective? Without reaching muscle failure.

Adam: For some people no, for some people yes. Muscle failure is not the only factor for growth and strength gains, there’s a lot of other factors. Genetics primarily, so if you have somebody who genetically responds very well to exercise, they can go to the low end of muscle failure, just crossing that threshold if you will. There are other people that unless they really step over that line and go really deep, they’re not going to see results. It depends on the individual, so the
answer is yes for many people, but not necessarily for all people.

Tim: Sheila, when I go into Toluca Lake for my workout once a week, the first thing that Joe asks me and you used to ask me when you were my trainer eight months ago or so, is what’s your energy level today: low, medium, or high? And so I always say medium or medium-low, I don’t ever recall having high energy, at least not for the last ten years or so, but how do you gauge one’s workout based upon what their answer is? Low, medium, or high, why do you ask that?

Sheila: Just so that it’s all information so that when we chart your progress, like maybe you don’t make a lot of progress, or maybe you even do less time on the same weight on a particular
machine, but we know that there was a reason for that. Maybe you were tired, or you came in at a different time. What I find with some clients is that some clients do really well in the morning, some clients do better in the evening or in the mid afternoon. Some clients will come in the mid afternoon and they’ll do terrible, so everyone has a different energy level at a different time of day.

Adam: If somebody tells you that they have low energy when you walk in — I think it’s very cool that you note that you down, and you also note the time of day. Maybe you might find a trend over time, maybe you might say, you know what, this is not the time of day for you to work out. After you work all day long, maybe this is not the best time for you to workout, but aside from that, noticing trends, if somebody says to you that they are feeling really tired today, do you alter the workout, or do you see how the workout goes?

Sheila: We see how it goes normally, because sometimes you surprise yourself. You might be tired and it’s just — most of the time, if people come in and they’re tired, we just say alright, we’re just going to give it a go, just do the best they can, and usually they do better than they think they might, and then they end up after the workout, feeling a boost of energy. Like they feel great, they feel a lot better than when they walked in.

Mike: I’ve seen that swing many, many times.

Adam: I’ve also known that people have said that they have low energy, and then reach personal bests on a lot of exercises, so sometimes it doesn’t always correlate. It doesn’t always correlate that just because they’re feeling tired, that they’re going to have a bad workout, so that’s why I don’t normally alter it. If somebody tells me that their shoulder is bothering them or this is
bothering them, I might alter the workout for that, but if somebody just says that they’re really feeling tired today, I think it’s great that you note it down that they said that, what the time of day was, and maybe if you keep recording these things, week after week — like I have a client that sometimes she plays tennis the day before she works out, and sometimes she doesn’t. So I
always ask that specific question, tennis today or no tennis, and we always find that if she didn’t play tennis the day before, she has a much better workout and things like that.

Mike: You know what’s interesting — I was going to say, I think it correlates a little bit to what we were talking about before, in regards to acceptance of muscle failure because in a way, if you’re tired and you say it out loud, it’s kind of like you’re already setting up a very low
expectation of yourself, and therefore there’s nothing that — you don’t have to prove anything so you just do it.

Adam: It’s like saying hey you still have a no hitter in the eighth inning, like shut the fuck up!

Mike: Like performance — a lot of times the people who struggle with performance is because they have such high expectations for themselves, going back to the Type A personality, not able to accept failure, and I think there’s a psychology switch that there might be a correlation
between coming in with low energy, saying it out loud. Maybe, potentially, having a low
expectation, and like Adam said, I’ve seen that a hundred times. Where someone said I feel
horrible today, and they’ve had a personal best.

Adam: I’ve seen that probably a hundred and three times.

Sheila: The only time that we might take that weight down a little is if someone has been gone for like two or three months, for whatever reason, and then they’re getting back into it. Then I’ll take a look, but even then, you just take it down a little bit and you just go okay, you just have to get used to lifting these heavy weights again, because a lot of times it’s like oh crap, I forgot what this is like, and it takes one workout to get back into it, to remind them. So we might take it down a bit, and then you go right back up!

Adam: That’s for that particular individual. I know other individuals that if I ever lowered their weight because they had a couple of days off or a week off, or they normally don’t have, and I say oh I lowered your weight: “why did you do that?! Did I tell you —“

Tim: That’s what I was just going to ask Adam, because I think the longest stretch of time that I missed my workout were two weeks, and I was really afraid that I would lose —

Sheila: You don’t lose it.

Tim: Matter of fact, just the opposite. I come back much stronger, there’s that rest component that’s so valuable in power of ten. I’ve noticed that from time to time, I’ll miss a week or I’ll miss two weeks at the most and I come back and I’m much — I’m able to do the weight in a much more —

Adam: One my mentors, Rob [Inaudible] in Washington DC, I would love him to come on our podcast but he’d probably say no. He hates shit like this, but anyway, he varies intensity from workout to workout. He’s noticed that if somebody goes — let’s say goes to ten, being the most intense experience, week number one, he might go to eight and seven for a couple weeks, and then on the fourth week come back up to ten, and he’s noticing people progressing better when they’re — when he does something like that. Not only from a physical point of view, but actually he’s noticed over the years that coming in every single week and going all out to muscle failure can be demoralizing and a little discouraging for some people. They’re like ugh, they start to dread it, but if they know that this is not going to be one of these really crazy, hard workouts, this is going to be like an eight workout or a seven, it keeps them coming back. Then you know

alright, once a month now, you’re going to have that one really killer workout where you feel like throwing up at the end. I’m exaggerating, but not completely actually.

Sheila: It’s only happened once in our studio that I know of.

Mike: You’re creating a variation. I think those are sometimes necessary, especially for clients who have been with us for a long time. I think every once in a while — just setting the intensity a little bit lower, and sometimes you see, even when you see regular clients and — usually

everything generally goes up, but every once in a while I’ll see something plateau, and I’ve seen it even go down. I’m like what is going on, I look back at the charts, and I’ve got this with

several people who came twice a week, believe it or not, and I was like you know something? I think you need more rest in-between your workouts, let’s make it once a week for a while, and then we’d see a much better trend. Some people work better that way, and I’ve seen the other way as well. They have more results by coming twice a week, and once again it’s a

customization, you’ve got to look at who you’ve got. You don’t know everything on day one, matter of fact you don’t know everything after twelve weeks, but it’s all sort of a process where we’re all like moving — moving targets and we’re trying to figure out exactly how to make it better every single time. That’s how you do it — sometimes you need to see them not progress for a few weeks to actually see that type of trend.

Sheila: One other thing that I just remembered too is they may not progress if they’re losing weight. If they’re going through a certain diet or something and they’re losing weight, even if it’s five pounds, ten pounds over a period of time. I’ve had a couple clients that have lost like twenty, thirty pounds over a period of like three months, they’re not going to progress.

Adam: I don’t even train them. If somebody comes into my studio and says oh by the way, I started this water cleanse or lemon juice with curry, pepper… if they start saying they’re on these cleanses and they’re not like eating food for three or four days, and they’re just drinking water with cayenne pepper in it or something like that, I’m like well, when this little circus trick that you’re doing is over, let me know and then I’ll start training you again. I don’t think you’re

talking about that but —

Sylvia: I’m just talking about a clean diet, they’re just eating right and they’re losing some weight, and it’s like then they won’t progress because your body mass is getting less, so

sometimes you can’t lift the same amount of weight, or even if you just hold and maintain during that time, it’s great I think.

Tim: So we’re talking about the customization of workouts, and one of the things that I’ve

noticed in my ten months of working out is that there are a lot of machines in the studio, but I don’t use all of those machines. So do those machines come into play when you’re customizing a client based upon their goals for the workout, because there are a lot of machines that I’ve never touched.

Adam: I started my business with five machines, and I had the same five machines for a year straight and my clients progressed with just using those five machines. Having said that, they’ve progressed for a full year on the same exact machines, and they would continue to progress and stay as strong as they can for the rest of their life, just doing those five machines, so they’d be adequate. Now when you own a gym however and you’re training so many people and there’s all these variables that we’ve been talking about, you’re limited by just five machines. If you happen to get a client that can’t do leg press for whatever reason or can’t do one of those machines, so now you just eliminated a major part of their whole workout. So we have a lot of machines that some people never use because they’re doing fine on the routine that we have and they’re getting the whole body. Other people, they have tendonitis of the elbow, they have ankle surgery, they have something, and now it means you can’t do leg press. Does that mean we can’t work the quads? No, we can do leg extension, we can do leg curl, we can do all kinds of things to

overcome the fact that you can’t use your ankle right now. Or you have a torn rotator cuff, so are there ways to work the upper body without exacerbating the rotator cuff injury? Yes there are, and you need to not only — not just have a lot of different variety as far as machines are

concerned, because it’s not just about machines, and this workout is not dedicated to just

machines. You can do this workout with anything. Intense workouts are not the exclusive domain of customized machines like we have at InForm Fitness. You have to know these workarounds, using either free weights, or to avoid exacerbating problems and still — a lot of people use an injury or a problem to not work out at all. Oh my back hurts, I’m not going to work out this week. No, come, work out, you might actually feel better if we’re careful. Same thing with like, if somebody has tendonitis of the elbow, you can do a whole upper body workout without even using your elbow, if you know what you’re doing, if you have the right options. So yes, you’re going to see machines that you may never use only because the machines that you are using are doing the job, and God forbid if you got an injury, maybe you will use some of those machines as a workaround. But if it ain’t broken, why fix it, many times. On the other hand, changing around, using different machines, just from a mental state of variety to make things a little bit more interesting and to have a different feel for something, even though you’re doing fine on the chest with the chest press. Maybe you do want to do a set of pushups from time to time, maybe you do want to a chest [Inaudible: 00:41:51] from time to time. You’re still working the chest regardless, and I’m not quite sure that there’s much of a material difference in changing it up all the time as far as strength gains. I mean going from chest press to chest fly to pushups, and going back and alternating, I don’t have — there’s not much evidence to show that varying it like that is better for the chest than not varying it. But if it’s just a matter of keeping someone’s attention and keeping you from being bored, then change it. There’s no harm done, and once again, it’s always about monitoring things, recording and writing things down. Unless you can record all of this stuff, you don’t know that these changes are making a material difference or not, and you’ll find out over time if they are.

Sheila: Like one big thing that we will often do is once is they’re into the workout and they’re doing it well and all that on those basic pieces of equipment, the first six or seven that we start with, then we’ll change like let’s say the leg press, on one week we’ll do leg press, the next week we’ll do leg extension, leg curl. So we change that up, that’s one of the main things that we’ll do after a while, but it depends on the client. Some clients can’t do leg extension but they can do the leg press, because of a knee issue or something like that. We change those things up and then sometimes clients — we have an app machine and there’s certain clients that just hate it. Not

because they don’t want to do the exercise, but their body just does not fit into that machine, it just doesn’t work right with that machine. We will then do maybe some floor sit-ups or the rotary torso which is also a real good core workout. Or planks and things like that, and they’re still

getting — most of the time, if it’s an ab issue, during the entire workout, we’re trying to remind people to use your abs, hold your abs, do this and by the time you get to the abs, you’re half way fatigued anyway. So it’s just constantly reminding people that you’re using, by staying in that perfect form, you’re using other muscles than the main ones that are being isolated in that

particular exercise. Anybody who wants to do this can do this, and we can design the workout to be what you can do, it’s best for your body. It’s not just one set thing that everybody just does the same thing, we’re going to come in and custom design this for you. So no matter how old you are, how young you are, what issues you might have, come in, give it a try and see if you can — if you like it, because I think most people who come in love it, and they’re addicted right away.

Tim: Mike?

Mike: I don’t have much to say, we covered a lot during the actual podcast, but I just want to

encourage people who are curious about trying it out, that we’re definitely going to take very, very good care of you. That’s all.

Adam: I’d like to say that for the most of you that don’t have access to a place that has this type of workout, don’t let that discourage you either. You can get my book Power of Ten, but the big take away for this is really to start, learn how to do it, be basic with it, and then take it from there. Pay attention to your body, pay attention to how you feel, pay attention to your results. Write down your results, and adjust accordingly, and think about it. Think about the variables that we talked about: are you getting sleep, what are you doing outside of the workout itself, maybe you need some more rest as you see yourself plateauing. Obviously it helps to have an experienced trainer that is kind of hypersensitive to these factors and can notice them right away, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself, at all.

Tim: Hey, why don’t you give the workout a try for yourself, just like I did about a year ago? Visit informfitness.com for a list of locations across the US. If you don’t happen to live near one of the locations, jump on over to Amazon and pick up Adam’s book, Power of Ten, the once a week, slow motion, fitness revolution. Inside, you’ll find some easy to follow instructions to

perform this workout at just about any gym, or even at home. And back here on the podcast, Adam, Mike, and Sheila can answer a question or respond to a comment that you might have

regarding the Power of Ten. Just shoot us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to podcast@informfitness.com. You can also give us a call at 888-983-5020, extension three to leave your comment or question. You might even have a suggestion on some topics we should cover here on the show, or might have a guest in mind that you’d like us to interview. All feedback is welcomed. Thanks again for joining us here at the InForm Fitness Podcast. For Adam, Mike, and Sheila, I’m Tim Edwards, with the InBound Podcasting Network.