Couple’s Therapy

Building strength through once-a-week, supervised, slow-cadence workouts.

Outside of stealing away to play a couple of rounds of golf each week, the first few months of Mark Cohen’s long-anticipated retirement didn’t go anywhere near the way the former window and door salesman hoped.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Mark says 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts have been “absolutely tremendous” for both him and his wife, Deborah.

All the plans Mark had to travel with his wife, Deborah, and regularly visit with family and friends had to be scrapped because of the coronavirus, which began to spread across Florida shortly after Mark retired in January.

“I retired thinking I was going to be able to do what I wanted to do and go wherever I wanted to go, but I was stuck at home,” Mark laments. “We pretty much had to put all those things on hold.”

Of course, it wasn’t just travel plans and family visits that Mark, 68, and Deborah, 69, had to put on hold. Like so many others during the global pandemic, they also had to halt their workout routine as exercise businesses were ordered to close and social distancing became the norm.

They began the once-a-week program about a year ago after Mark began to feel the effects of years of walking stairs at work and Deborah expressed the need to strengthen the muscles around her bothersome right knee.

“That knee had been a problem for me ever since I accidentally stepped in a hole in my backyard a few years ago,” says Deborah, a retired registered nurse. “I had four weeks of physical therapy after that, but I wanted to do a little more for it.”

“My problem was also with my knees,” Mark explains. “I was starting to have more and more trouble with them, particularly when I was going up a flight of stairs. It was to the point where I was actually trying to avoid stairs if I could.

“We noticed we were seeing more and more people with walkers and in wheelchairs. We thought, If we end up in wheelchairs, it’s going to be because something physically happened to us, not because we let ourselves go. So, we started looking around for a program that would allow us to focus on certain muscle groups, and it was Deborah who actually found the one that intrigued us the most and that was 20 Minutes to Fitness.”

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 what the business name implies: achieve results through a weekly 20-minute session.

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 take approximately 20 seconds, thereby maximizing muscle performance.

The slow-paced movements that comprise each workout create continuous tension on the muscle fibers. This allows clients to get more physical benefits than they would in a traditional workout program involving three or four sessions per week.

“In fact, this method is actually more effective, because in this program, you have more time under tension on those muscle fibers,” says Blake, a personal trainer at 20 Minutes to Fitness. “The longer the muscle is challenged, the deeper it reaches into the tissue.

“While each repetition in a traditional workout lasts for one or two seconds up and then one or two seconds down, we stretch that out to a 10- to 12-second count. That’s a big, big difference that achieves 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 level during strength training, blood flows to the site. That supercharges the body and helps it to burn fat while it rebuilds and strengthens the muscle naturally.

“Participants get the maximum benefit through one 20-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 the success, as well as specialized weight-training equipment. This 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 also is 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,” Angela says, “because they know we can help them build the muscle around those joints prior to surgery. 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, in addition to clients who are in their 90s. We have clients who have never worked out, as well as athletes. We build your strength from where you are today.”

Tremendously Effective

One of Mark’s objectives was to improve his golf game. He could do that, he says, by building flexibility and strength in his knees, and he’s achieved that goal.

“Because of the type of core exercises they do for the knees, the improvement is unbelievable,” he says. “After just six or seven workouts, I could tell the difference, and now I no longer have any issues with my knees at all.”

Deborah has enjoyed similar results. She says the workouts have given her the strength and stability in her knees that physical therapy couldn’t, and her knee pain is less intense and less frequent than before.

“The 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts really made a difference for me,” she raves. “That’s why I hated that we couldn’t go during the (coronavirus) crisis. We both missed the workouts a great deal because they are so good for us.”

Mark says that thanks to 20 Minutes to Fitness, he can go up and down stairs “all day long” again the way he used to when he was working and that he would recommend the weekly workout program to anyone looking for a truly effective exercise routine.

“The way they do things there is great,” he says. “The technology is very advanced, and you get a lot of personal attention from the trainers, who are really terrific. They’re all very professional and helpful.

“I work with Anna and she makes things very easy for me because she sets up the equipment and adjusts it for me. They keep track of your progress, and every so often give you a summary of how you’re doing.

“The last summary Deborah and I got showed that both of us are progressing very well, and I can tell because I walk a lot and I’m feeling better than I have in years. These 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts have been absolutely tremendous for both of us.”

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      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