Monday, March 26, 2018

Resistance training: The real fountain of youth

Jack LaLanne died at 96, and according to his family, performed his exercise routine until the day he died.
A lot of people pay a lot of money for a lot of products that promise the elusive "fountain of youth." Creams, pills, supplements, treatments... the list goes on. While these products might cover up some wrinkles or give you a placebo-effect energy boost, they probably aren't helping you to reverse aging at a cellular level.

Only one thing can do that — resistance training.

A study in 2007 found that in a group of healthy older adults who performed resistance exercise for six months,  596 genes associated with aging reverted back to their youthful expression.

Think about that for a second... the resistance training doesn't just slow down aging or stop aging, it reverses it. If you give your body a good reason to stop getting older, it's going to listen.

In our society, we see aging as just part of the process. Every year gets a little bit harder. Every year you're not quite as fast, or not quite as strong. Every year carrying the groceries from the car takes a couple more trips, or even tying your shoes becomes more of a gymnastics event than a thoughtless act.

These very slow progressions are viewed as normal, because we see it every day. You get old, you get tired, you get weak and you die. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Exercise pioneer Dr. Doug McGuff often talks about "physiological headroom," which he defines as the difference between the most you can do and the least you can do. The goal is to keep the difference between these two points as large as possible, because when they meet... you're dead.

The good news is, it's relatively easy to keep this gap wide. A couple brief, but high-effort resistance training sessions each week will give your muscles the proper stimulus to stay strong and stave off muscle and bone loss as you age. There really is no reason we can't live strong, independent lives until we just drop dead of old age as a strong, independent 90 year olds. It just takes the magic pill: lifting weights.

Efficient Exercise is opening its doors in Ellensburg in April 2018. To be one of the first to experience evidence-based exercise in the Kittitas Valley, send an email to or call 425-214-2251 to reserve your free introductory session.

Monday, March 19, 2018

4 reasons why your exercise plan might not be working

If you're exercise plan isn't working, it likely isn't your fault!
We all know we should be exercising, but when it comes to what exactly we should be doing, that's not always so clear. In the vast sea of internet workout plans, it's easy to drown in misinformation, and that misinformation usually hinders your fitness goals instead of helping.

Here are a few reasons your current workout might not be helping you achieve the goals you've set out for yourself. 

1. You're focusing on "cardio"

This might sound a little bit strange, but there really is no such thing as "cardiovascular" exercise. Also known as "aerobic" exercise, this modality got popular in the 1960s, and is often seen as being separate from strength training. The problem is your heart doesn't know the difference.

Your heart's job is to deliver blood and nutrients to your muscles when they do mechanical work. The harder you work, the faster your heart pumps. Whether that mechanical work is jogging down the street, throwing a rock or lifting heavy weights, your heart doesn't know the difference, nor does it care. Properly performed resistance exercise can give you all the benefits of steady-state cardio in a fraction of the time — and without the sore knees, busted ankles or other repetitive-use injuries associated with pounding the pavement. It also improves vital components of your fitness, like increased lean tissue, something steady-state cardio can actually eat away.

2. You're trying to burn calories

If your goal is to lose weight, the first rule to remember is no one can out-run a bad diet. That little calorie counter on the treadmill is wildly inaccurate, and shouldn't be relied on to give you any useful information.

Instead, make sure you dial in your nutrition first. While properly performed resistance training can be a great complimentary tool in your weight loss journey, exercise and fat loss need to be separated in your mind. Properly performed resistance exercise is a stimulus to make your muscles grow, and no amount of appropriate exercise is going to burn any meaningful amount of calories. It's much more efficient and a better use of your time to eat real, nutrient-dense foods that are satiating, and stay away from the nutrient-void, high energy processed foods that won't fill you up.

3. You're exercising too much

One of the biggest reasons why people fail at their exercise programs year in and year out is they simply workout too much. When they embark on the journey, they are excited about the new protocol. They hit the gym four, five or six days a week, thinking that more is better, when actually less can be more. This can lead to overtraining, getting burnt out and even injury, not to mention frustration.

One thing people don't realize is the exercise doesn't make you strong, that happens in the recovery period after the exercise. The exercise is just a stimulus you are sending to your body to let it know that it needs to improve. The real work starts later, when your body is properly fed and rested over 48-96 hours.

If you're hitting the weights on a daily basis, or supplementing the strength training too much with strenuous activity like sprinting, hiking, etc... you simply aren't allowing your body to recover before your next workout. Everyone has different recovery periods, but if you aren't seeing a gradual improvement in your workout-to-workout performance, try cutting your exercise program in half and see if that helps in your recovery.

Note: Now just because you shouldn't be "exercising" every day, doesn't mean you shouldn't be active. Moving around during your day to day life is extremely important, and daily walks and other light movement is very good for you. Just maybe don't climb the Manastash Ridge the day before leg day, or do a strenuous lifting session the same day as your big softball game.

4. You're not working out hard enough

When it comes to properly performed exercise, effort is king. Building muscle and making physical adaptations is a very expensive metabolic process, and your body does NOT want to do it. Only training with a high degree of effort can send a loud enough signal to your body, telling it to get ready for the next time it comes across that stimulus. 

At Efficient Fitness, all exercises are done to Momentary Muscular Failure (MMF). This means that the weight is moved up and down slowly until all the muscle fibers have reached complete exhaustion, and the trainee can't complete another positive repetition. This creates an extremely powerful stimulus that the body cannot ignore, forcing it to grow stronger over the recovery period.

While this might sound a little scary and dangerous, it's quite the opposite. The controlled movements and the use of weight machines eliminate dangerous forces like momentum, putting all of the weight on your skeletal muscle, allowing you to perform the exercises without endangering your joints. The further along in the exercise you get, the safer it becomes. With your muscles maximally fatigued, you become literally too weak to hurt yourself!

Efficient Exercise is opening its doors in Ellensburg in April 2018. To be one of the first to experience evidence-based exercise in the Kittitas Valley, send an email to or call 425-214-2251 to reserve your free introductory session.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Efficient Fitness Ellensburg opening in April 2018

HITMatt is now Efficient Fitness, and we'll be opening Ellensburg's first evidence-based resistance training facility in April 2018.

Located at 506 N. Ruby St. across the street from the Safeway parking lot, Efficient Fitness will offer truly private, one-on-one personal training sessions using the evidence-based exercise protocol, also known as high intensity resistance training.

Time is no longer an issue for those looking to get fit in the Kittitas Valley. In just two, 20 minute-minute exercise sessions a week, Efficient Fitness can help you become the strongest version of yourself, allowing you to spend the rest of your time doing whatever activity you truly love, and doing it well.

The studio will feature medical-grade equipment from Nautilus, the company founded by Arthur Jones, a pioneer in evidence-based exercise. Unlike most exercise equipment, Nautilus is one of the few companies in the world that designs their equipment with the human body in mind, allowing Efficient Fitness to get optimal results in minimal amounts of time.

Besides being the most effective way to train, our evidence-based protocol is also the safest workout on the planet. Slow, controlled movements eliminate dangerous forces like momentum, while at the same time applying a rapid accumulation of fatigue directly to the muscle, forcing it to make an adaptation during the 72-96 hour recovery period between workouts. As Dr. Doug McGuff says, "It's harder than CrossFit, just without the torn rotator cuff."

If you feel like you've tried everything to get in shape but had to drop it either due to lack of time, injury or just plain lack of results, drop us a line at or 425-214-2251 to secure a spot on our waiting list.