A Fantastic Experience

Once-a-week workouts reduce pain, increase strength and mobility.

Photo by Jordan Pysz

Alena (left) keeps a watchful eye on Denise as she completes her workout.

Denise McQuillen grew up just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana, where basketball is more of a religion than a sport. Oddly, basketball is one of the few sports this self-proclaimed tomboy never played during her youth.

“I’m only five feet two inches tall now as an adult, so basketball was not a good sport for me,” says Denise, now 68. “But I was always active and involved in sports growing up. I jogged a lot and was an avid tennis player for years. Now, I’m an avid golfer.”

The switch from tennis to golf came about nine years ago, long after Denise moved to Florida. It was a switch brought on in great part by the fallout from the surgery she had in 1987 to correct a lower back injury she suffered in a car accident.

“I was thirty-five years old when I had the surgery, which was done to correct spinal damage and soft tissue damage in my lower back,” Denise reports. “But ever since that surgery, I’ve been struggling with pain in my upper back and shoulder area.

“It was at that same time that I went to court reporting school for two years and became a court reporter. I think that being in that awkward position all day where you’re sitting with your arms out in front of you aggravated the problem.”

Another contributor to her upper back and shoulder discomfort, Denise believes, was her penchant for tennis, where players preparing to receive a serve or volley typically stand with both hands holding the racket out in front of the middle of their body.

“I was in pain all the time when I was playing tennis, and I was in pain after I got off the court,” Denise recalls. “The pain was constant. It was there when I went grocery shopping, when I was cooking dinner or shopping for clothes.

“When I asked my physical therapist about it, she said the body positioning in tennis was really just compounding the problem. That’s why I switched to golf because in golf, she said, you’re actually stretching those muscles more.”

The switch to golf did alleviate some of Denise’s pain, but neither that nor the physical therapy sessions and home exercises she was devoted to ever rid her of enough pain to leave her feeling comfortable.

“I was thinking that I’d been doing all these exercises and things for so long and not getting the results that I needed,” Denise relates. “Then I thought, You know, I’ve got a friend who goes to 20 Minutes to Fitness and thought, Maybe I should try that.

“This was about a year ago, and I know that at my age, you automatically start losing muscle mass, so I was thinking that I needed to get stronger all across my body anyway, so I made the decision to give it a try.”

Tailored Training

At 20 Minutes to Fitness, clients work out one-on-one with a nationally certified personal fitness coach who creates and supervises an individualized workout program. The program is designed to do exactly what the business’ name implies: achieve results through one 20-minute session once a week.

The workouts are structured around an exercise method known as slow-cadence training. The coach guides the client’s pace and form as weights are lifted in ultra-slow movements on highly specialized equipment. Repetitions during each workout last approximately 20 seconds, thereby maximizing muscle performance.

The slow-paced movements that comprise each workout create continuous tension on the muscle fibers, which allows clients to get more physical benefits from a 20-minute, once-a-week workout than they would from going through a traditional workout program three or four times a week.

Each 20-minute, full-body workout consists of six to seven exercises that last for approximately two minutes each. The goal is to reach what is known as peak performance, the point where blood flows to the muscle and supercharges the body. This helps burn fat while the muscles are rebuilt and strengthened naturally.

“My physical therapist, who has followed my progress and asked me a lot of questions about 20 Minutes to Fitness, is now recommending it to other patients.” – Denise

“Participants get the maximum benefit through one twenty-minute workout per week,” explains Angela Begin, general manager and part owner of 20 Minutes to Fitness. “By going slowly, we get down deeper into the muscle fibers and force them to work at their peak performance. And we work the entire body to keep it strong.”

The program has years of research and plenty of science behind its success. The highly specialized weight-training equipment is part of that success. The equipment features a patented double-stacking system, where weight can be increased in increments of 2 pounds instead of the traditional 5, 10 or 20.

The equipment is also calibrated to work specific muscle groups without putting undue stress on joints or ligaments. Research has shown that in addition to improving strength, weekly 20-minute slow-cadence training sessions can also help improve balance, increase energy, control arthritis, increase bone density, fight symptoms of diabetes and reduce back pain.

“We have clients who are planning to have hip or knee replacement surgeries, and their doctors refer them to us because they know we can help them build the muscle around those joints prior to surgery,” Angela adds. “This allows for a quicker recovery after surgery.

“We’ve even had some people who have been able to hold off on those surgeries because they’ve built up the muscle around the joint. Most of our clients, though, are people who want to stay fit and don’t have the time or don’t want to spend hours in a gym and possibly risk injury.

“They want a safe, quiet, private studio environment, and that’s what we offer, in addition to building back that muscle that people lose as they age. The other thing is, you’re never too young or too old to do this. We have teenagers who come in, as well as clients who are in their nineties. We have clients who have never worked out as well as athletes. We build your strength from where you are today.”

Back in Action

Building strength was the primary reason Denise began working out at 20 Minutes to Fitness, but she has since realized a few other benefits of the workouts conducted by Alena, her certified personal fitness coach.

“First of all, the physical therapist that I’ve been seeing for the past thirteen years says my spine is functioning better than she’s ever seen it,” Denise reports. “And the massage therapist that’s part of that group says he’s seen a big difference, too.

“He always said my back muscles were like steel rebar and coiled metal ropes, but now he says my back muscles actually feel like normal muscle tissue. And believe me, I can feel the difference, because I don’t have all that pain and discomfort anymore.

“Now that my back feels better, I’m getting more rotation in my golf swing and actually hitting the golf ball farther when I play. Some of my golfing friends have even commented on how much more I can turn my shoulders now.”

Denise says the impact 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts have made on her life have made her a firm believer in the program, so much so that she has already recommended it to several of her friends.

“One of my friends is already going,” Denise says, “and my physical therapist, who has followed my progress and asked me a lot of questions about 20 Minutes to Fitness, is now recommending it to other patients.

“It’s really a great program because the coaches are all properly trained, and they do a great job of watching you to make sure your form is right and you’re using the equipment properly. For me, 20 Minutes to Fitness has been a fantastic experience.”

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    • 20 Minutes to Fitness

      20 Minutes to Fitness is different. Using scientifically based strength-building methods, they make it possible to achieve in one weekly, 20-minute session what might require three or more hours a week in a traditional fitness center. You wil... Read More