Is this style of strength-training right for me?
Yes. Anyone can benefit from this safe, low-impact form of exercise, and everyone should be doing it. If you are currently not exercising, or don't like to exercise, then this will be your safest, most effective choice as all your muscles will be pushed to momentary fatigue with a commitment of less than an hour each week. If you are already very active, strategically incorporating high effort strength training into your routine will help you excel whether you are involved with CrossFit, Pilates, long-distance running, triathlons, rock climbing, or even a dedicated Yoga practice. Strength training will reduce your risk of injury in any and every physical activity. Keep in mind, you will get the best health and fitness results when you balance what we call the catabolic and anabolic states. In other words, when your activity levels are high, it is of the utmost importance to get enough quality sleep, recovery and proper nutrition. Results from any exercise program happen between workouts, not during workouts. There are countless other health benefits to strength training such as; increased bone density, cardiopulmonary efficiency, fat adaptation, increased metabolism, and increased energy.
Tell me more about intensity. It sounds scary.
“Intensity” of effort is the most controllable factor in achieving the results you will see from your workouts. But let’s be clear - our focus as your personal trainers is to make sure we are tailoring the intensity to fit you. We have experience working with everyone from ages 11 to 92. This means we don’t use a “one size fits all” approach. Instead, we are committed to meeting you where you are; each session we will tailor the intensity of your workout specifically for you. And remember, intense doesn’t mean “unsafe.” You can work at an incredibly high intensity of effort with little to no risk for injury. First, do no harm. The foundation of effective exercise is SAFE exercise.
I'm still skeptical. How can I possibly get results with such short, infrequent workouts?
Your body adapts to the types of stress you put it through - intentional or not. When you exercise properly and get your muscles to reach a state of momentary fatigue, your body's defense mechanisms will kick in. With our approach, we use the natural response to physical stress by exercising at a high level of effort and then giving your body the proper amount of rest so the muscles can build up naturally between your workouts. Because of the intense nature of these workouts, they need to be brief and infrequent in order for you to reap the maximum amount of benefits. Working out at this level of effort more often has not only been proven to offer zero additional benefits but has also been shown to hinder many subject's progress (Read Body by Science). Each of the 5-10 exercises will last only 90-120 seconds. This is a safe & effective dosage to trigger a metabolic adaptation. The best way to see how it works is to experience how challenging yet satisfying this way of working out can be. If you commit regularly, we guarantee you will become stronger and will never look at exercise in the same way again.
What about my cardio? Don't I need to get my heart rate up to strengthen my heart?
During our short sessions together, you will place the muscles under a significant and meaningful resistance that will call on the heart to supply oxygen and nutrients. By limiting rest time between exercises, an elevated heart rate will be maintained for the duration of your workout, providing all the cardiovascular benefits you need, in a safe, effective and efficient manner. It is also important to understand, just because an activity elevates your heart rate, it does NOT mean you have meaningfully stimulated your body to improve its level of fitness. Unless you thoroughly enjoy running as a way to calm your mind and ease stress, you will gain little additional cardiovascular benefit, in fact, more could hinder your progress and increase your risk of injury. Cardiovascular adaptations happen in the muscles, not in the heart. Do mechanical work with muscles with enough intensity of effort, and you will positively improve every subsystem of the body. More is not better—better is better. If you're interested in learning what the latest science has to say about improving cardiovascular health, listening to this short podcast with Dr. Doug McGuff is a great place to start. The Cardio Myth.
I'm still skeptical, tell me more about cardio exercises.
We all want healthy hearts, and we want to do everything we can to maintain terrific cardiovascular health. When you go for a jog, you’re using your legs and swinging your arms – you’re not working your heart directly. Instead, you’re placing a direct demand on your muscles, which in turn are placing the demand on your heart. Your heart cannot differentiate between the effort from riding a bike or doing a slow motion high effort leg press. It merely responds to the need for oxygen and nutrients from working muscles. Recent studies have shown that the heart can be improved more efficiently by placing an intense demand on the muscles via strength training and interval training, rather than through steady-state activities. This is incredibly valuable information because while steady-state activity might end up strengthening the heart, it carries with it orthopedic side effects that can be destructive.
Will I lose weight doing this type of exercise?
That depends. Exercise alone is not going to be enough to accomplish that goal. No amount of exercise alone can make up for an unbalanced diet, high in the empty calories found in carbohydrates and sugar that we’ve come to exist on these days.
We focus on getting people stronger, which correlates with increased lean tissue, which is more metabolically active. This means you will burn more calories as you navigate through your day to day activities. This combined with a controlled diet will allow you to keep lean tissue while nearly exclusively losing body fat, which is actually what we want.
There are many great approaches to lose fat that are quite popular today. It is important to understand that any popular diet works because of energy in and energy out - stated otherwise, we lose fat due to a caloric deficit no matter if we are doing keto, vegan, paleo, or intermittent fasting. Choose whatever style of eating makes you feel healthy and not deprived. The key to sustainable health and a lean body composition is quite simple, eat less, train hard and recovery fully.
What if I have physical limitations from past injuries?
Strength training isn’t solely for people who are a picture of health. Taking an evidence-based approach to exercise will be one of the smartest decisions you will ever make. What we do at Live Oak Strength is incredibly safe, making it a great option for anyone with an injury. In fact, the principles of this workout were founded on a multimillion dollar study on osteoporosis patients. The researchers running the study wanted to see if strength training could improve bone density, but the typically fast movements associated with traditional protocols were deemed unsafe, so the researchers slowed down the movement speed of each exercise considerably. They discovered that not only did bone density improve, but the subjects safely gained lean muscle as well.
By participating in strength training at Live Oak Strength, you will be using the best, most sought-after medical grade equipment, under the guidance of a highly qualified instructor, in a private, distraction-free, and temperature controlled environment. You can expect to have the safest, most effective, focused and methodical workout experience possible when you train with us.
I have Osteoporosis (or another medical condition), can I still strength train?
Yes! And you absolutely should be strength training consistently starting as soon as possible. No other form of exercise is as strongly correlated with improving the density of your bones more than strength training. However, we will need to make sure you have been cleared to exercise by your primary treating physician. Once you are cleared, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't be training on a regular basis.
Is this workout safe for out of shape, older adults?
Yes, and in many cases, it should be the only way older adults engage in high-intensity exercise. That is because our slow lifting speeds, watchful eyes, and specialized equipment won’t exacerbate any pre-existing injuries. Also, the older we get, the faster we lose muscle, which leads to falls, injuries, digestive disruptions, joint problems, and loss of bone density. The key to preventing all these issues is engaging in a safe, yet intense strength-training program.
This is starting to sound like it's just for post rehab situation and old people. I'm young, fit, and athletic; I doubt this type of workout will offer me any benefits. Right?
Wrong. We welcome any and all extreme athletes and weekend warriors to test out a true high-intensity strength training workout with us on our medical grade equipment. We have helped many strong and athletic individuals get even stronger and increase their resistance toward injury during their sport(s) and activities of choice. If you want to be challenged, and are willing to put in the effort to follow our instructions, we promise this will be the most intense, safe, and productive workout of your entire life. You will not regret adding strength training at Live Oak to your health and wellness regimen.
How quickly will I see results?
You can expect to be stronger after just 6 sessions. However, results like more muscle visibility, fat loss, and agility will take time and will depend on your commitment and genetics. Some people reach exciting milestones in just 3 months, while others will start to notice bigger changes after 2 years. Like most things in life, the more you put into it the more you will get out of it. If you consistently show up each week, well rested, well nourished, recovered, and challenge yourself at each session, you will set yourself up for the best results possible for your unique genetic potential. Understand that life happens, and there will be obstacles that you will have to overcome. Some weeks you may not make progress and other weeks you will surprise yourself with massive improvements. If you look at the big picture and are interested in sustainable, gradual, safe progress, you are in the right place.
I've been training at Live Oak for a while now, how come the workouts never get easier, even though I am stronger?
With traditional approaches to exercise, intensity levels are often left untouched, and instead, a variety of movements are introduced. This gives an illusion of progress when what is really happening is an adaptation to a wider variety of movements. While there is nothing wrong with this, it should not be confused with an actual improvement in physical fitness. At Live Oak Strength, we will always help guide you to put in more effort and ensure you're maximizing the effectiveness of each exercise. In order to consistently adapt to a more profound stimulus, we keep the movements relatively simple, which will allow you to focus on what matters. A constant increase in effort is what will send a message to your body that says, "you are not currently capable of surviving the imposed demands of your environment, so you better adapt (grow stronger), so you can survive". If you want to continually progress, then each session must impose a new level of intensity, therefore you can always expect to feel challenged, no matter how advanced you become.
What if I want to keep exercising 5-6 days a week to lose fat or because I enjoy it?
Physical activity every day is great, whether it be walking, yoga, sports or anything else that gets the body moving and puts a smile on your face. In fact, as you get stronger, you will be more likely to want to be more active. Please know, there is a big difference between sports/physical activities and true exercise. It is smart to avoid a "more is better" mentality. Unfortunately, it is common to associate exercise with burning a lot of calories and losing fat. It is no wonder when people want to lose fat they ramp up their activity levels and go on a strict diet at the same time. This approach, albeit popular, will actually produce a lot of stressors for the adaptive capabilities and put the body in a constant state of chronic stress (not to mention an increased appetite). As a result, metabolism will eventually adapt and slow down, cortisol levels will rise, and the body will become a perfect environment to hang on to stored body fat to protect itself from this excess amount of stress. If you eat for health and train for strength, all your specific health goals will start to fall into place naturally.
What can I do to improve my results?
Nutrition and rest. Eat real food and nourish the body with essential nutrients. Also, be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Your body repairs and restores at a cellular level during sleep. Exhaustion affects your immune system and goes into overdrive thus leading to chronic inflammation.
What should I do the days following my workouts at Live Oak Strength?
Relax. It’s a physiological fact that your body needs sufficient time for rest and recovery. You need to eat well and strength train, but you also need to sit back, relax, and let your body do what it needs to do if you want to meet your goals. Once you have worked your muscles to the point of actual muscular failure, they require sufficient time to repair and restore torn fibers and build new muscle mass. This process can be enhanced only with proper nutrition, hydration, stress management, good quality sleep, and the luck of great genetics. This doesn’t mean do nothing, but rather do things you enjoy with the people you love. Walk Lake Merritt with a friend. Take a hike up in Tilden Park. Netflix? Absolutely. Just avoid all those hyped up nutrition documentaries.