Doctor Endorsed – No Excuses!

Brief, once-a-week workouts save time and build muscle.

Dr. Catherine O’Connell’s cat Fuzzy is quite a handful. Barely two years old, the Maine Coon is already living up to its reputation as the “gentle giant’’ of the domestic feline world as it currently weighs in at a robust 18 pounds.
For more than a year now, Catherine has been telling her son that she needs to stick to a good workout regimen just to be able to lift Fuzzy. Her son found out this past Christmas that Catherine wasn’t kidding around when she said that.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Dr. Catherine O’Connell

“I hadn’t seen my son in about a year, and when he came home and saw Fuzzy and reached down to pick him up, he said, You really do have to lift weights to pick this cat up,’’ Catherine relates. “I told him, “That’s why I go to 20 Minutes to Fitness.”
Catherine, 67, has always been a bit of a fitness fanatic. A family practitioner in Sarasota who still sees patients five days a week, she does yoga and spends a lot of her free time either at the gym, biking or hiking.
That fitness regimen was interrupted a couple years ago when Catherine tore her rotator cuff while at the gym. It was shortly after that, while she was still recovering from the tear that forced her to scale back her workouts, she first discovered 20 Minutes to Fitness.
“Several of my patients were doing it, but the one who tipped the balance for me was an eighty-four-year-old woman who had gone there at first just to serve as moral support for a friend who was trying it out,” Catherine explains.
“This lady has a lot of arthritis but still plays a lot of tennis, and she told me that since she’d started going there, she’d lost eight pounds and was feeling stronger. When she bounced off my examining table, I thought, Good Lord, this is amazing.
“That was over two-and-a-half years ago, and I remember thinking to myself at the time, If this woman who is eighty-four can do it, so can I. I went and I tried it out, and I was so impressed that I’ve been going ever since.”

Tailored Training

At 20 Minutes to Fitness, each client works out one-on-one with a nationally certified personal fitness coach who creates and supervises a detailed workout program that is designed to do exactly what its name implies: achieve results through once-a-week sessions that last 20 minutes.
The workouts are structured around an exercise method known as slow-
cadence training in which the coach guides the client’s pace and form as weights are lifted in ultra-slow movements. Each repetition lasts 20 seconds to maximize muscle performance, always achieving a full body workout at each session.
“What we do is very slow-paced, and what that does is create continuous tension on the muscle fibers,” explains Blake Weinstein, Catherine’s personal fitness coach. “So just because you’re only working twenty minutes a week doesn’t mean you aren’t putting your muscles under tension for the same amount of time that you would during a traditional workout program where you work out three or four times a week.
“In fact, this method is actually more effective because in this program you have more time under tension on those muscle fibers. And the longer the muscle is challenged, the deeper it reaches into the tissue. So whereas each repetition in a traditional workout lasts one or two seconds up and one or two seconds down, we stretch that out to a ten to twelve second count. That’s a big, big difference and achieving far better results.”
Each workout consists of five to seven exercises. Each exercise is done on specialized equipment for approximately two minutes, with the goal being to reach what is known as peak performance. When muscles reach this performance level during strength training, blood flows to the site. That flow of blood supercharges the body and helps it to burn fat while it rebuilds and strengthens the muscle naturally.
“Muscle reaches peak performance when you can no longer move the weight stack one more inch,’’ Blake relates. “Although we’re not running and jumping and sweating and moving all around, we really are pushing those muscles to that peak performance point.”
The program has years of research and plenty of science behind its success, which is further achieved through highly specialized weight-training equipment that was originally designed for use in physical therapy.
The equipment features a patented double-stacking system in which weight stacks increase in increments of two pounds instead of the traditional five, ten or 20 pounds. The system is also calibrated to work specific muscle groups without putting stress on joints or ligaments.
Research has shown that in addition to improving strength, weekly, 20-
minute, slow-cadence training sessions also help increase energy, control arthritis, fight symptoms of diabetes and reduce back pain. They can increase bone density and cardiovascular health, improve balance, and the list goes on.

Improved Strength, Balance

Catherine is a good example of how a 20 Minutes to Fitness workout is geared to improve strength throughout the body. When she first arrived at 20 Minutes to Fitness, she was looking for a program designed primarily to aid her in her hiking and biking activities and help her correct body imbalances.
“Although always focusing on a full body workout, Dr. O’Connell wanted to target her hamstrings and glutes to improve her gait and to target the muscles in her upper and lower back to improve her posture,” Blake reveals.
“We worked to make sure her neck is nice and strong, and to strengthen the shoulder area where she’d had the problems with her rotator cuff.’’
The success is evident, Catherine explains, when she does chores.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Blake Weinstein (left) keeps close watch on Catherine as she works through her 20-minute, once-a-week workout.

“I notice it most when I go to get bags of salt for the water purifying system I have,” she relates. “I go in and pick out the big, forty-pound bags and dump them in the cart, and [someone at the store] always asks me if I need a hand with them, and I say, No, I can manage.
“Then I put them in the trunk of my car, and when I get home, I hoist them back out and take one bag in each hand and go around back and dump them in the system. So yes, I am very fit and strong now.”
Catherine says the time she saves as a result of being a client at 20 Minutes to Fitness is one of the best benefits.
“I’m very busy and so it frees me up to do other things that I love to do,” she states. “It’s made a big difference in my life. Even my patients have noticed. They’ll say, You’ve got muscles, Doc, and I’ll say, “Yes, I do.”
“It’s really done wonders for me, which is why I absolutely recommend 20 Minutes to Fitness. The coaches and everyone there are all so very lovely. They’re just delightful and very professional, and I really enjoy it. It’s keeping me fit.”

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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

    • Blake Weinstein

      Blake Weinstein is a nationally certified personal fitness professional and is passionate about helping clients improve their health and fitness in a safe and effective manner.... Read More