The Once-A-Week Workout

Downtowner discovers the strong points of slow-cadence training.

When the NFL invaded Tampa for Super Bowl LV this past February, Shelly Woods and her husband were right in the middle of the fun and festivities. That’s just how they like it.

Shelly using 20 Minutes to Fitness as trainer preston oversees her workout.

Shelly, shown here with her coach, Preston, loves the results she gets from her brief once-a-week workouts.

Shelly, 59, and her husband moved from Odessa to downtown Tampa a little more than a year ago, in large part to take advantage of all the activities there. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they have not been disappointed.

“For us, living here on the Riverwalk is like living in our own little Disneyland,” Shelly exudes. “We love to bike and walk and partake in all the activities that take place here, and now that’s all right in our own backyard.

“We especially love the theater. We’re members of the Straz Center, so we’re eager to see that and all the outdoor concerts and festivals start up again once the pandemic is over and we all get back to normal.”

Shelly and her husband are also avid skiers. They water ski, snow ski and jet ski whenever possible. For years, their active lifestyle allowed Shelly to keep her weight in check. Then she turned 50, and keeping weight off suddenly became a chore.

“When you go through the change of life, everything changes,” Shelly laments. “Your metabolism changes, your hormones change. Right along with that, my body shape changed. I began to gain weight and lose energy.”

Those physical changes hit Shelly at the same time as another major shift in her life. In 2012, she and her husband started a business, robbing Shelly of the time needed to commit to a gym routine. In time, that took a toll as well.

Without regular exercise, Shelly’s fitness level began to deteriorate. After a few months, she no longer felt as vigorous as she once did. Concerned about her health and eager to get back into a workout routine, Shelly began looking for a fitness program she could squeeze into her busy schedule.

She found it at 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 ultraslow movements on highly specialized equipment. Repetitions during each workout take approximately 20 seconds, thereby maximizing muscle performance.

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

“This method is actually more effective because in this program you have more time under tension on those muscle fibers,” says Blake, general manager at 20 Minutes to Fitness in downtown Sarasota, one of three Florida locations. “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. It’s a huge difference that achieves far better results.”

Each workout consists of six to seven exercises of two minutes each, 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 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, 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. We work the entire body to keep it strong.”

The program has years of research and plenty of science behind its success. The weight-training 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 pounds. The equipment also is calibrated to work specific muscle groups without putting undue stress on joints or ligaments.

“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 says. “This allows for a quicker recovery after surgery. Some clients have been able to hold off on surgery because they’ve built up the muscle around the joint and may no longer need surgery.”

“Not only do I believe in the science behind it, I’m proof that it works.” – Shelly

Research shows that in addition to improving strength, weekly 20-minute slow-cadence training sessions also improve the immune system, improve balance, increase energy, control arthritis, increase bone density, fight symptoms of diabetes and reduce back pain. The list of benefits goes on and on.

“Most of our clients 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,” Angela adds. “They want a safe, quiet, private studio environment. That and the opportunity to build back the muscle that people lose as they age is what we offer.

Angela points out that no client is too young or old.

“We have teenagers who come in as well as people in their 90s,” she observes. “We have clients who have never worked out as well as athletes.

“We build your strength from where you are today, which is why we encourage people to come in and learn about this unique system and try it out. We offer a complimentary orientation, with no obligation to continue. It’s a great way to make an educated decision about whether or not the 20 Minutes to Fitness program will work for you.”

Tremendously Effective

Shelly did exactly as Angela suggested a couple of years ago. After first hearing about 20 Minutes to Fitness, she gave the workout a try. She admits going in with skepticism.

“It seemed too good to be true, but I got hooked immediately,” she confides. “Now, I like everything about it. I like that I can go anytime I want, and I’m not tied to a contract.”

What she values most, of course, are the results.

“I would say that after only a month of working out at 20 Minutes to Fitness, I started noticing a difference in my body. I felt stronger, and I could actually tell I was getting stronger because I was able to do things I never could before,” she says.

“This may sound silly, but I have a big cast-iron pan that I cook with. It’s my go-to kitchen utensil, and it’s pretty heavy. Heavy enough that I used two hands to pick it up. Not anymore. I can pick that thing up with one hand now like it’s nothing.

“I don’t just feel stronger; my body looks stronger. My husband comments on that all the time now. It’s one of the reasons I look forward to my 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts each week. I really enjoy them.”

Shelly also appreciates that 20 Minutes to Fitness has taken steps to ensure the workout environment is as COVID-safe as possible. She says appointment times are scheduled with safety in mind, coaches always wear a face covering and the machinery is sanitized constantly.

“I feel very safe going to 20 Minutes to Fitness, very safe,” Shelly enthuses. “The drive there for me is a little longer than it used to be because I live in downtown Tampa now, but that doesn’t bother me. It’s worth it because not only do I believe in the science behind it, I’m proof that it works.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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