Sweet Geek

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Slow Burn and the Exercise Coach

If you managed to make it through my previous “woe is me” post, Adventures in not Being a Blorp, congratulations! If not the short version is that after many starts and stops, I have recently been doing Slow Burn workouts.

When I first started, cans of tomatoes, ankle weights and random dumbbells did the job, I was getting a pretty good workout. As I have progressed I am running into limits in how hard I can push myself with home made weights. Don’t get me wrong, doing it at home first was a great way to figure out if it was a good program for me.

Unfortunately, I have also manged to hurt myself twice. First, flaring up my knee doing modified pushups and then straining my neck doing crunches. So I have been on the lookout for a gym where I could continue my Slow Burn workouts and do them safely.

Jimmy Moore to the rescue! I learned about The Exercise Coach, from his interview with Brian Cygan. It is a gym franchise in the Chicago suburbs and they exclusively do Slow Burn or HIT (High Intensity Training). I just had a consultation and instantly signed up. Here are my initial impressions of their program and gym (in Niles).

  • There was absolutely no sales pitch. They seemed geared towards people who wanted to be there, though maybe I would have gotten different treatment if I hadn’t already known about the basic principles of the workout.
  • We discussed any health problems (like my knees) and made sure that I wouldn’t kill myself. It’s always a good sign when the trainer instantly understands my various issues and how to work around them. They even offered to let me use some PT equipment like foam rolls before or after my workout.
  • I was paired up with a personal trainer and given a free 20 minute session. He kept an eye on my form, reminding me to breath normally and monitoring if the weight was right.
  • I liked that I didn’t have to mess with the equipment. My trainer setup each machine for me, getting the angles, range of motion, weights, etc all right for me without any time wasted.
  • I felt great at the end of the workout. I wasn’t sweating or tired. Though the next day I realized I had gotten a great workout judging by my muscle soreness (the good kind!).

Their program is very similar to Slow Burn but there were slight differences, not enough to matter.

  • Each machine had a fan and the room was cool. No sweating allowed!
  • Each set is up to 2 minutes and no mention was made of going to muscle failure. Maybe that will come later since I was getting an “beginner’s workout”.
  • You take 5-8 seconds for each part of the movement, e.g. 5 seconds up, 8 seconds down.
  • They use a metronome which is very helpful.

I feel pretty sold on it. It’s a workout that fits in my schedule, doesn’t seem to aggravate my joints, doesn’t play ping pong with my blood sugar, doesn’t involve sweating or the usual intimidating gym experience.

My goals are modest but I would like to build muscle, strengthen my joints and most importantly learn how to (safely) do this at the local gym. It is expensive enough (between $25-$40 per session) that it’s hard to think of paying this much long term. But well worth it for now when I really need all the help I can get.