I am realizing that I have a lot to be thankful for this Holiday Season. Ultimate Exercise recently has undergone some renovations. After 11 years in the same facility, we have replaced the carpet, repainted and got some new furniture. In addition to the new polish to be thankful for, I realize that I am even more thankful for my manager, Ed Garbe. At 63 years of age, his energy and enthusiasm are well beyond what I have seen in most 20 year-old kids. I am proud to say that his strength is also greater than most 20 year-olds. To replace the carpet, we had to move all of the machines into a 5 foot strip on one side of the facility. The renovation unfortunately took place over a 5 day period where I was working back-to-back ER shifts. Ed met me at 5:30 on consecutive evenings to shove a dozen Med-X and SuperSlow machines from one end of the building to the other. We managed to do this without disassembling the machines courtesy of furniture skidders. I remember when I moved into UE in 1997, we disassembled the machines and used refrigerator hand-trucks to move the weight stacks and then reassembled the machines at their new location. Ken Hutchins (another friend I am thankful for) recommended using a pry bar to lift the footings on the machines so that the skidders could be placed underneath. Ken said the machines were pretty easy to move this way. Was he ever right! Just Ed and I, by ourselves, were able to move every piece of equipment (including the massive Med-X leg press) inside of 80 minutes without maiming ourselves. Thanks to Ed’s help, UE now looks even better than the day it opened.
I am also thankful that HIT (high intensity training) has undergone a resurgence of late. Between 2001 and 2007 HIT had dwindled in notoriety, but facility owners across the country kept doing what they do best…producing great results for their clients. Over time, it became evident that there were people producing amazing results all across the country. These people seem to have several things in common. Their workouts were hard, brief and infrequent. Generally two or fewer 20 minute workouts per week were all that most were doing. Weight training was the backbone of the workouts. If any metabolic work was done, it was of a high intensity sprint-interval variety. The diets were based on natural food products with no emphasis on miracle supplements. Those that produced the best results were following a “hunter-gatherer” type diet. Many found intermittent fasting to be a major anabolic boost and fat-burner. Arthur Devany’s website (www.arthurdevany.com) was their go-to source for information on optimal dietary strategies. Everyday people were producing amazing results within the time constraints of their busy schedules. When you look at those producing results, they all have two things in common…they perform brief , intense workouts, and they eat a hunter-gatherer diet.
One of the most amazing demonstrations was from a friend that we should all be thankful for…Richard Chartrand. Richard may have single-handedly revitalized the HIT movement with his amazing transformation documented on Dr. Ellington Darden’s website (www.drdarden.com) under the headline “My Progress after Cardiac Surgery”. Despite being a devoted HIT/SuperSlow enthusiast, Richard suffered from a heart attack around 2003, which culminated in a 3 vessel coronary bypass at the end of 2007. In 2008, Richard began a journey of transformation and return to health that he recorded on Dr. Darden’s website. What was particularly refreshing about Richard was that he only sought to produce results; he was not out to prove a theory. He made liberal use of multiple HIT techniques without trying to prove that one faction’s theories were more effective than another’s. He invited comments as he posted, but never entered into the ridiculous hair-splitting arguments that commonly filled the message boards. Even more refreshing was Richard’s honesty. He exposed his motivations for improvement in a way that only a man who has stared death in the face can do. While message board posters wrung their hands about his cardiac health and the risk of pushing so hard, Richard was very forthcoming. He had looked over the edge of the abyss and realized that he wanted what he wanted…NOW. He wanted to be lean and ripped. He wanted to achieve a goal before he died…not miss his goal while he tried to avoid death. In less than a year Richard changed from a portly guy recovering from heart surgery to a ripped-to-shreds competitive bodybuilder. Richard even galvanized his goal by entering a bodybuilding contest. The most amazing thing that I noticed in the pictures of Richard standing on stage with guys half his age was that HE LOOKED LIKE HE BELONGED UP THERE.
So I am thankful to Richard for showing us all that we have no excuses. Anyone who wants to can achieve the physical condition they desire. More importantly, we all have the responsibility to go after what we want in life.
I am also thankful for Youtube (www.youtube.com) . Thanks to the postings of HIT enthusiasts there are now numerous examples of high intensity workouts on the internet. David Landua posted inspiring workouts of himself and his clients under the heading of exercise archives. Bo Railey has posted amazing video of Vee Ferguson doing a 60/60 chin under the heading kidgasIN and a full SuperSlow workout that can be seen on Dr. Darden’s site as well as through Youtube under the heading mojo22hc. Also, instructor Luke Carlson has posted several videos from his facility under the heading Discovery Strength. Mat Bentley has posted numerous inspiring workouts under the heading Pure HIT 2008. All of these videos have shown the public that HIT works, and gives results in the amount of time that anyone can afford. All of these videos provide proof that average people can produce amazing results from a very small time investment.
I am very thankful to John Little and McGraw-Hill publishers for taking a chance on writing a book on high-intensity training. John and Editor Ron Martirano came to me with a proposal to write about HIT when its popularity was at an all-time low. Thanks to their willingness to risk, Body by Science will be released on January 9, 2009. The book will take a unique approach. Over the years, HIT proponents have been making arguments, based on empirical evidence that challenge the conventional notion of steady state exercise. The years of shouting from the mountaintops have finally resulted in many scientists testing our theories. As a consequence, there is now a large volume of scientific literature which validates the theories of high intensity training. Body by Science is built entirely around this literature, with every Chapter fully referenced. This book should prove invaluable to HIT facility owners who want to back up their claims in the eyes of a public that has been saturated with exercise conventional wisdom.
Finally, I am grateful to my clients at UE. Every day in the ER I see multitudes of patients that are ill because they have abdicated all responsibility for their personal well-being, and they are unwilling to participate in getting better. In essence, they simply want a health bail-out. Within this multitude are the hand-full of people who have become ill or injured through no fault of their own, and want to participate fully in getting better. It is very important that the former group does not burn me out so badly that I am unable to care for the latter group. The beauty of UE is that it is the polar opposite of the ER. The ER is characterized by frantically doing multiple things simultaneously with no control over the influx of patients. UE is characterized by doing one thing at a time, with complete control in an optimal environment. Most importantly, UE is characterized by an extremely rare breed of people: those who are willing to pay a premium to have someone push them to extreme discomfort in order to improve their health and functional ability. It is a privilege to be in the presence of these clients, and an honor to provide a place where they can achieve their goals. HIT facility owners around the world should be proud of the service they provide and the clients they serve.
Doug McGuff, MD 2009 January 10