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Q: Can I really get results training 20 minutes once per week?
A: Yes! We have raised the intensity of the exercise to a very high level so that it becomes a stimulus that your body cannot ignore. The unavoidable consequence is that you cannot withstand much more than 15-20 minutes of this kind of activity. Recovery – the adaptation that your body makes – synthesizing new muscle and its supporting metabolic adaptations – requires roughly a week to complete. Twenty minutes once a week is not just something we can get away with, it is actually a requirement for the production of the best results from this protocol.

Q: What about my cardiovascular system, don’t I need to do some cardiovascular exercise during the week?
A: Realize that the only way to get at your cardiovascular system is by doing mechanical work with muscle. The higher the quality of muscular work, the better the cardiovascular effect. The type of exercise you do at Smarty Pants Work-Out will provide the best cardiovascular conditioning possible, and because the stimulus intensity is high, your cardiovascular adaptations will also be well preserved and thus should not deteriorate over seven days. Aerobic type activities are of lower stimulus intensity, therefore your adaptations to this activity are less well preserved, which is why this type of exercise must be done more frequently.

Q: So are you telling me that I shouldn’t perform other forms of exercise?
A: No. If you do other activities because you enjoy them and they provide you with other benefits such as stress release or social interaction – then you should definitely continue to enjoy those activities. However, if you don’t enjoy the activity and you are doing it because you think you need the extra exercise, then you should feel free to drop that activity without feeling guilty.

Q: Isn’t working out so hard dangerous?
A: No! It is almost impossible to bring harm to yourself through exertion because you are always limited by your current capabilities. As you reach muscular failure you are literally too weak to produce enough force to harm yourself. The end of your set is actually the safest part of your workout. The danger in exercise comes not from exertion but from excess force. Because we use the Slow Motion High Intensity protocol with specifically designed MedX® machines, we have virtually eliminated excess force from your workout. Force = Mass x Acceleration.  By controlling acceleration – we decrease force, which makes the Smarty Pants Work-Out program the safest exercise you can do.

Q: You seem very fixated on building muscle, what if I just want to “tone up?”
A: “Tone” is actually an improper term made up by the fitness industry to deal with peoples’ (especially women’s) irrational fear of building muscles that are too large. The correct term for what you desire when you say tone is “tonus.” Tonus is the residual tension that exists in a muscle that is not actively contracting. Muscle is the only tissue in the body that has tonus. The degree to which you can increase your muscle relative to your body fat and other tissues will increase your tonus and thus improve your “tone.”

Q: Does that mean if I build tone that I have to have big bulky muscles?
A: No. We all possess a gene called myostatin that controls how large our muscles can become. This is because our body wants the most strength for the least amount of size increase, because more strength with less mass is more efficient. About 1 out of 5 million people possess a mutation, which deletes the myostatin gene and allows unregulated muscle growth in response to exercise and these are the people who are able to produce physiques seen in bodybuilding competitions. These people are already very muscular before they lift a weight. The average person, however, has a very high level of myostatin expression and will never become bulky or over-muscular no matter how hard they try.

Q: Why do you keep it so cold in the training room?
A: Muscles produce a lot of friction as they perform work and this friction generates a lot of heat.  All the processes of muscular contraction are temperature dependent. If you accumulate heat too quickly you will fail prematurely.  By allowing you to lose heat through conduction and convection – through your skin and breath; we limit the buildup of heat and you are able to work harder and longer which makes for a better exercise stimulus.  If you can’t lose heat rapidly enough through conduction and convection your body must resort to an evaporative heat loss mechanism – sweating.  Thus, another benefit is that you can get a really productive workout without having to get all sweaty!

Q: How soon can I expect to see results?
A: You can expect to “feel” results by the third or fourth workout.  By feel, we mean that you will feel firmer to the touch and you will feel stronger and more capable in the activities of your daily life.  In general, visible changes will occur around 6-12 weeks.

Q: What factors determine the production of visible results?
A: The shape of the human body is controlled by three things: your skeleton, your body fat and your muscle.  The skeleton is just the framework on which everything hangs and cannot be altered.  Every undesirable shape of the human body is accounted for by underlying body fat.  Every desirable shape on the human body is accounted for by underlying muscle.  The degree to which you can decrease your body fat and increase your muscle will determine how much you can improve your appearance.

Q: If I need to produce a caloric deficit to lose fat, shouldn’t I perform extra exercise to burn calories?
A: Exercise really does not burn much in the way of calories.  When you get on a treadmill and jog for 45 minutes and the computer screen says you burned 300 calories it is not telling you that if you did nothing you would have burned 240 of those calories anyway. You actually burned only 60 calories above your baseline.  If we were so metabolically inefficient that we burned an extra 300 calories for 45 minutes on a treadmill, we never would have survived as a species.  We would have starved while hunting/gathering -at that rate we might starve shopping in a grocery store.  Proper exercise – consistent with the program at Smarty Pants Work-Out focussed on muscle development – creates a circumstance where clients have discriminate weight loss.  With a strong stimulus to make extra muscle coupled with a calorie deficit, all weight loss is shunted toward fat loss.

Q: You always seem to increase my weights, will we ever get to the point where we stop increasing the weights and just maintain my current level?
A: No! We will always attempt some resistance progression, even if it is only 1/4 foot-pounds.  That is one of the reasons we use MedX® equipment – as it allows for these progressions.  Studies have demonstrated that maintaining a stable resistance quickly resulted in retrogression.  It seems the body only understands increasing demands and takes maintenance as an excuse to backslide.

Q: Is Smarty Pants Work-Out program safe for Older Adults?
A: Yes! the Slow Motion High Intensity protocol was originally designed for a research project on osteoporosis.  Remember the danger in exercise, particularly for older adults, is excess force and the Slow Motion High Intensity protocol is the best way to decrease force.  The elderly actually have more to gain from our program than anyone.  The major problems associated with aging are due to a condition called “sarcopenia.”  Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle.  Without proper exercise a person will lose one-half pound of muscle for every year beyond age 25.  This loss of muscle is the underlying cause of the loss of bone mineral density, loss of balance, inability to carry out the activities of daily life and ultimately deterioration of all the systems that support the mechanical functioning of muscles – eg. the nervous system, the cardiovascular system.  As older people are exposed to proper exercise, they quickly regain lost strength.  As they regain strength, all their functional capabilities such as balance, gait, and cardiovascular efficiency will track with the improvements in strength.

Q: You don’t seem to include a warm-up, isn’t a warm-up necessary?
​A: A warm-up is necessary before sporting events where you are going to carry out high force movements that could produce injury. The risk for injury comes from excess force not from exertion. By using Slow Motion High Intensity protocol, we keep force at very low levels.  Also, as you fatigue, you literally become too weak to produce enough force to injure yourself.  At Smarty Pants Work-Out, the warm-up is built into the exercise.

Q: Is Smarty Pants Work-Out program safe in Pregnancy?
A: Yes. Pregnancy and labor are probably one of the most demanding athletic events that most women will ever experience. Labor will involve intense muscular contractions, severe exertional discomfort and avoidance of valsalva – breath holding – during all but the final stage of labor.  The Smarty Pants Work-Out is a great way to not only rehearse these skills but to improve your condition. Protracted, non-progressive labor is dangerous to both mother and child, and poor muscular conditioning is a major cause of non-progressive labor.  Proper muscular conditioning is one of the best ways to ensure a smooth delivery and quick return to pre-pregnancy shape.

Q: I participate in a sport. Will Smarty Pants Work-Out program help my performance? Do I need to do a “sport specific” exercise?
A: Smarty Pants Work-Out program will definitely improve your sport performance regardless of your sport. When it comes to sports training there are two distinct forms of conditioning – skill conditioning and physical conditioning.  Skill conditioning involves practicing the specific skills of your sport just like you would in competition.  Physical conditioning involves selecting exercises that track muscle and joint function – rather than mimicking sports movements – so that improvements in muscular and metabolic function can be stimulated.  Physical training is about improving your physical capabilities.  Skill training is about improving your efficiency and economy of motion so that you can get the most out of your physical capabilities.  Your physical conditioning should be intense and brief so that will free up more time for you to devote to acquiring and perfecting the skills of your sport. The Smarty Pants Work-Out team has experience training athletes of all kinds.  If you are involved in a competitive sport, let us know so we can help set up a proper training schedule.

Q: What if I miss working out for several weeks - or longer; do I have to start from scratch?
A: It depends. If you have only been working out for 6-8 weeks, a significant lay-off will result in going back to the beginning.  However, if you have 20 weeks under your belt, a six-week layoff will require little or no adjustments.  The more consistently you train the more well preserved will be your conditioning.

Q: Does it ever get any easier?
A: No. In other forms of exercise the intensity is relatively constant, so that as your condition improves the exercise seems easier. At Smarty Pants Work-Out we will always increase the intensity of the exercise to challenge your improved level of conditioning. As you become stronger, you are doing more mechanical work, which translates into more metabolic work, which means an even harder workout. What will improve is your mental and physical toughness but the workout itself will never seem easier.

Q: What if I have other questions?
A: Ask us. We love the opportunity to answer questions and dispel exercise myths.
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