Timing is Everything

Weekly slow-cadence workouts improve balance, add strength.

For the majority of her 30-plus years working as a clinical psychologist, Lillian Miller resided overseas aiding English-speaking individuals in some of Europe’s most picturesque locales.

headshot of Lillian Miller

Lillian Miller

“Heidelberg, Germany, and Naples, Italy, were the two places I worked in the most, and they were both wonderful,” Lillian says. “I worked primarily with children and families, and I would see them for any reason they saw fit to see a psychologist.

“Sometimes with the children it was school-related, and sometimes it was to help them make the adjustment to living in a foreign country. It was a very flexible job, and I was happy to be helpful in any way that I could.”

A native of Milwaukee, Lillian, 74, spent the last leg of her career in Tacoma, Washington. When she retired six years ago, she took the advice of a psychologist she worked with overseas who told her she should retire in Sarasota.

“She told me, Sarasota is just like Europe; you’ll love it,” Lillian remembers. “So I came to Sarasota. But it’s not like Europe. I do like it here, though, because I love to bicycle and garden. In fact, gardening is probably my major form of exercise.”

Not exactly. Lillian also gets out for at least two daily walks with her dogs, and since she made the move to Florida, she has also incorporated a modern form of exercise into her weekly routine.

She was attracted by a need to improve strength and balance.

“I have a genetic disease called neurofibromatosis type 2 that causes benign tumors to grow on the brain,” Lillian reveals. “These tumors are mostly around my ears, on the acoustic nerves, and they’ve pretty much destroyed my hearing and balance. I wear hearing aids to improve my hearing, but I needed something to help me with my balance because I became very prone to falls.

“I first tried a gym program, but that lasted just one session because I hated the atmosphere and had no idea what I was doing. Then one day I noticed that 20 Minutes to Fitness was right across the street from my bank. After reading a brochure about it, I became very intrigued.”

Because 20 Minutes to Fitness offered a free trial session, she decided she had nothing to lose by checking it out.

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 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 each 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 generates more physical benefits than a traditional workout program with three or four sessions per week.

“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 big, big difference that achieves far better results,” says Blake Weinstein, general manager of the 20 Minutes to Fitness in downtown Sarasota.

Each workout consists of five to seven exercises lasting 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. The equipment is calibrated to work specific muscle groups without putting undue stress on joints or ligaments.

“I felt a difference after just six weeks or so. I felt stronger and healthier, and my attitude was better. ” – Lillian

Research has shown that in addition to improving strength and balance, weekly 20-minute slow-cadence training sessions help 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 points out. “This allows for a quicker recovery after surgery.”

The program even has people who have delayed surgeries because they’ve built up the muscle around the joint, Angela informs.

“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 the muscle people lose as they age,” she states.

“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.”

Confidence Builder

In addition to improving her balance, Lillian wanted to stay ahead in her fight against k, a disorder that can increase the risk of bone breaks.

Lillian Miller doing her workout at 20 Minutes to Fitness.

Lillian’s weekly 20-minute workouts have given her added strength, balance and confidence.

“I don’t have osteoporosis, but I’m on the borderline,” Lillian explains. “So, I joined and started doing 20 Minutes to Fitness workouts as a preventive measure for that and to build the strength and balance I needed. But I soon found it did that and more.

“I loved the session from the very start and soon found that they also improve my mood. And because I feel healthier, stronger and surer of myself, they’ve given me increased confidence when I do things like walk my dogs or go for a bike ride.

“Thanks to 20 Minutes to Fitness, I’m not so afraid of falling anymore. And I love how convenient the sessions are and that the trainers track you so carefully, so you know you’re actually making progress. In fact, it’s almost impossible not to make progress with these workouts if you stick with it.”

Lillian says she looks forward to every workout and greatly appreciates the assistance she gets from her trainer, SarahJane. “She’s great. She’s always helpful,” Lillian says.

“Everyone there does a great job making people who have never done this kind of thing feel very comfortable,” Lillian adds. “Some older people might be a bit intimidated going to a place like 20 Minutes to Fitness because they think it’s a gym, but everyone is incredibly professional, and the workouts don’t feel like work at all. They feel like an accomplishment.

“I felt a difference after just six weeks or so. I felt stronger and healthier, and my attitude was better. I enjoyed it so much that I invited a friend to come along with me, and she enjoyed it as much as I did. I recommend it to anyone.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photos by Jordan Pysz. js
Print This Article
    • 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