The InForm Fitness Podcast

Welcome to the InForm Fitness Podcast, 20 minutes with New York Times, best-selling author, Adam Zickerman and Friends. Inform Fitness offers life-changing, personal training with several locations across the U.S. Reboot your metabolism and experience the revolutionary Power of 10, the high intensity, slow motion, strength training system that’s so effective, you’ll get a week’s worth of exercise in just one 20-minute session, (which by no coincidence is about the length of this podcast). Your hosts for the show are Adam Zickerman, the founder of Inform Fitness, Mike Rogers, trainer and GM of Inform Fitness in Manhattan, Sheila Melody, co-owner and trainer of Inform Fitness in Los Angeles, and Tim Edwards, founder of the InBound Podcasting Network and client of Inform Fitness in Los Angeles.
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The InForm Fitness Podcast


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Now displaying: May, 2017
May 29, 2017

Best-selling author and longtime InForm Fitness client Gretchen Rubin joins us for Part 2 of our discussion regarding the process of developing healthy habits.

If you are interested in losing some weight, gaining muscle, eating healthier, or even strengthening your relationships, Gretchen’s got ya covered with brilliant suggestions as to how and when is the best time to change a habit's trajectory.

To purchase Gretchen's books, listen to The Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin, and to take the quiz to learn more your tendency visit

To find Gretchen's audio books in Audible click here:


It's the LAST WEEK to earn one FREE SESSION when you leave a review for InForm Fitness in iTunes, Yelp, Google+, Facebook,  & Amazon! Simply write a review and send a screenshot to - that's it!  For each review you leave, you will receive and entry for the GRAND PRIZE!

One lucky listener will receive a personally autographed copy of Adam Zickerman's book,  Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution. That listener will also get decked out in InForm Fitness apparel including an InForm Fitness T-shirt, hat, and a hoody jacket. And we’ll top off the prize pack with an Amazon Echo! Click here to see the Amazon Echo in action:

Contest ends May 31st, 2017.  Listen for more details!

To find an Inform Fitness location nearest you visit

If you'd like to ask Adam, Mike or Sheila a question or have a comment regarding the Power of 10. Send us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to 

Join Inform Nation and call the show with a comment or question.  The number is 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. 

To purchase Adam's book, Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution click this link to visit Amazon:

If you would like to produce a podcast of your own just like The Inform Fitness Podcast, please email Tim Edwards at


May 22, 2017

Best-selling author and longtime InForm Fitness client Gretchen Rubin talks about her forthcoming book titled The Four Tendencies, Learn how to understand yourself better—and also how to influence others more effectively. 

In this episode, we will discuss what those four tendencies are, how you can find out what your tenancies happen to be and how those tendencies might affect how clients of InForm Fitness approach their workout. 

To purchase Gretchen's books, listen to The Happier Podcast with Gretchen Rubin, and to take the quiz to learn more your tendency visit


Earn one FREE SESSION when you leave a review for InForm Fitness in iTunes, Yelp, Google+, Facebook,  & Amazon! Simply write a review and send a screenshot to - that's it!  For each review you leave, you will receive and entry for the GRAND PRIZE!

One lucky listener will receive a personally autographed copy of Adam Zickerman's book,  Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution. That listener will also get decked out in InForm Fitness apparel including an InForm Fitness T-shirt, hat, and a hoody jacket. And we’ll top off the prize pack with an Amazon Echo! Click here to see the Amazon Echo in action:

Contest ends May 31st, 2017.  Listen for more details!

To find an Inform Fitness location nearest you visit

If you'd like to ask Adam, Mike or Sheila a question or have a comment regarding the Power of 10. Send us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to 

Join Inform Nation and call the show with a comment or question.  The number is 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. 

To purchase Adam's book, Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution click this link to visit Amazon:

If you would like to produce a podcast of your own just like The Inform Fitness Podcast, please email Tim Edwards at


May 15, 2017

Inform Fitness Founder, Adam Zickerman, welcomes Clinical Psychologist and InForm Fitness Strength Training Instructor, Joshua Cagney to discuss the varied psychological and emotional aspects encountered by both clients and trainers and how high-intensity strength training can be a cathartic experience.

We want to reward you for listening to the InForm Fitness Podcast by offering a free training session at an InForm Fitness location nearest you plus an opportunity to qualify for an InForm Fitness Prize Pack.

Earn one FREE SESSION when you leave a review for InForm Fitness in iTunes, Yelp, Google+, Facebook,  & Amazon! Simply write a review and send a screenshot to - that's it!  For each review you leave, you will receive and entry for the GRAND PRIZE!

One lucky listener will receive a personally autographed copy of Adam Zickerman's book,  Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution. That listener will also get decked out in InForm Fitness apparel including an InForm Fitness T-shirt, hat, and a hoody jacket. And we’ll top off the prize pack with an Amazon Echo! Click here to see the Amazon Echo in action:

Contest ends May 31st, 2017.  Listen for more details!

To find an Inform Fitness location nearest you visit

If you'd like to ask Adam, Mike or Sheila a question or have a comment regarding the Power of 10. Send us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to 

Join Inform Nation and call the show with a comment or question.  The number is 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. 

To purchase Adam's book, Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution click this link to visit Amazon:

If you would like to produce a podcast of your own just like The Inform Fitness Podcast, please email Tim Edwards at

28 The Psychology of the Trainer/Client Relationship

Josh: The truth is that if we’re doing our jobs effectively as instructors, that’s entirely placing the clients’ needs ahead of our own. We each have an innate need to want to sympathize, to want to offer our sympathies whenever someone suffers a loss or a stressful period of time emotionally, but the longterm consequence of that is we blur those lines. The goal is making sure that you know the client well enough to understand what is going to be most conducive to getting her through a really productive workout. That’s when an instructor is really showing his or her metal, when they’re able to put the clients’ needs ahead of their own.

Tim: Hey InForm Nation, can you believe it? We are already at episode 28 of the InForm Fitness Podcast: Twenty Minutes with New York Times bestselling author, Adam Zickerman and friends. I’m Tim Edwards with the InBound Podcasting Network and I’m a client of InForm Fitness, and in just a moment, we’ll hear from the founder of InForm Fitness, Adam Zickerman. Sheila Melody, the co-owner of the Toluca Lake location is back with us, and still on vacation is Mike Rogers. Looking forward to having Mike back with us next week, as we interview one of his clients from the Manhattan location, Gretchen Rubin. Next week’s episode is bound to be one of our most popular episodes, and I’ll explain that at the end of this one. Also at the end of the show, I will remind you of our May 2017, exclusively for InForm Nation. We have a really cool prize pack, valued at over two hundred bucks, but let’s not get ahead of yourselves. Remember that voice you heard at the top of the show? That was InForm Fitness trainer/instructor, Joshua Cagney from the Restin, Virginia location. Joshua also happens to be a clinical psychologist, which is why Adam invited him to join us here on The Psychology of the Trainer/Client 

Relationship. Sometimes after a period of time, those who are being trained become so comfortable with their trainers, they might start to share some intimate details of their life, and the trainer, in essence, becomes their therapist. So where do we draw the line? Can this type of relationship actually help, or hurt the progress of your strength training? Let’s join the conversation with Joshua Cagney, Adam Zickerman, Sheila Melody, and myself, with The Psychology of the Trainer/Client Relationship.

Adam: So first of all, I’ve had this conversation with Josh in person, a resident clinical psychologist/exercise instructor. I was talking about — I was there giving a certification course, and many times when I’m talking with trainers, we talk about how to motivate, how to inspire, how to keep people on track. How to make them feel that, I know this is hard but you can do it anyway and stick with it. During that conversation, we were talking about the relationships that develop over time and that there is a definitely a psychology involved in maintaining these relationships and motivating your client. Then lines start getting blurred, and I hear very often, it’s kind of a pet peeve of mind, and maybe it’s a pet peeve of mine because I’ve been doing this for twenty years now and I’ve seen the damage, I guess. The pet peeve is when I hear that you’re more like my therapist, the client would say. I come here and it’s like a therapy session, or the trainer would say, I feel like I’m a therapist sometimes or I act like a therapist. People come to me, they talk about their problems, they lay it all on me, they can tell me things that they can’t tell anybody else, and I get all that, but when I hear that, the hair on the back of my neck goes up a little bit. Maybe because it’s my twenty years experience, and the reason that the hair goes up on my neck is just because there’s a psychology involved in motivating and working with your clients, doesn’t mean that we’re psychologists, and that’s when Josh said, unless you are a psychologist. I realized that Josh is not only an exercise instructor, which was what I was talking to him as, but I then realized that he’s actually a clinical psychologist. So I guess that doesn’t apply to him, he is a psychologist when he’s dealing with psychology of training clients, and we have to be careful, both as clients and trainer, to make sure we’re not blurring those lines, and the instructor doesn’t get all full of himself or herself, thinking that they can actually solve these people’s problems. I think that the client themselves needs to know what their boundaries are as well, and as much as you connect with your trainer, as much as you appreciate your trainer, as much as this trainer builds you up, not just physically but mentally, as much as all of that happens, they’re not their therapist. The reason this is important to me and the reason the hair goes up on the back of my neck is because we end up, both client and instructor, we end up not doing our jobs. What we find happens during the exercise session is a lot of chit-chat going on, there’s a lot of wasted time, and the workout suffered. It’s a twenty-minute workout, and there’s no way you can be a therapist and a trainer in twenty minutes. So then you lose a client, and this is where my twenty years experience comes in. What ends up happening is one day, the client wakes up and says, what the hell am I going there for. I’m getting bored, I’m not feeling the results, I’m feeling a plateau. It’s becoming a chore to go there. Maybe the time before that, the quote unquote therapist trainer said something they didn’t like, the way therapists sometimes do, and then you’ve got your patient not wanting to come back anymore, when they weren’t your patient in the first place. They were your client, the person you were supposed to train, and now that they don’t like you as their therapist anymore, they don’t want to come back. So it’s a slippery slope, and if you’ve been a trainer long enough, you’ve been there. If you’re listening to this and you’re not a trainer but you’re a client of a trainer, and if you’ve been doing this for any amount of time, you might also relate to this trap that we tend to fall into. If you’re listening to this and you’ve never hired a trainer, when you do, or if you do, this is an important thing to keep in mind. So Joshua, being both an instructor and a clinical psychologist, am I making sense? Am I right?

Josh: I think you are absolutely right. From a clinical perspective, one of the things that’s important for a therapist to understand is that we each specialize in something that’s unique. So if I specialize in trauma based therapy, it does not mean that I’m a good marriage counselor, doesn’t make me a good family counselor, and the inverse is true. So when we look at what the specific goal is for any kind of relationship that we have with a client, we need to keep that goal premiere in mind when we develop that relationship. There’s blurred lines that come to play when, based on vulnerability and the relationship that you’ve built, and this is something that you commonly see in a clinical environment when you’re dealing with long-term therapy, where clients will be opening themselves up in ways that make them vulnerable, exposed, and it’s very easy to misassociate or misassign feelings that a client will have towards a therapist based on that vulnerability. Being in the studio isn’t a whole lot different in that regard. You’re in physically compromising positions, you’re in incredibly intense situations under a lot of physical and emotional stress, so you feel incredibly vulnerable for those twenty, thirty minutes at a time. So the net result is, people tend to feel, when they’re working out, open and extremely emotional and extremely anxious and stressed at different points, and the one person that they have contact with is their strength trainer, their instructor. So it’s easy for those lines to get very blurry and it’s absolutely critical for the strength training instructor to be in a position where they have clear boundaries and clear guidelines about what’s appropriate, what’s not, and leading that relationship. I think that you’re actually really on target, I think that’s pretty insightful. Whether it’s twenty years of experience or whether it’s something you’re able to impart to people, it’s important.

Tim: Speaking from the client’s perspective, as a client of InForm Fitness, as you mentioned Josh, it’s a very intimate relationship and connection with that trainer. As you said, we’re vulnerable, we’re hitting muscle failure, but also the environment at InForm Fitness is conducive to building that relationship with your trainer because it’s not a crowded gym. It’s a very private, one-on-one situation so I guess it’s incumbent on the trainer to manage where those lines are, where that blurred line stops.

Josh: It is important, and those boundaries again, they’re not always very clear, and there are certainly things that are critical for the client and the trainer to both bare in mind. Ultimately that is what is contributory and what is conducive to achieving the goal that my client is here for in the first place. If you have a client who walks in after having been thrown out by their spouse the night before, they’re not going to be in a position, chances are, to exercise. So that may be an appropriate time to say, you’re just not ready for today, and that’s alright. Take a day, take as much time as you need to be able to put yourself in a position where you’re ready to focus, but that’s part of the boundary. Not saying, please talk to me about what it is that is going on and how can I help, but instead, staying focused on the goal and supporting the client back to what the real mission is.

Sheila: Yes, people come in and they may have gone through something or they may have just received a very disturbing email or phone call or something like that, but they want to continue on their schedule because it helps them to stay feeling normal. I have had people come in and they’re not revealing to me what happened, but then in the middle of the workout, you’re in that really intense position, and after a couple times of exerting that, they can’t hold it in anymore and they start crying because they cannot hold that emotion in anymore, because you’re letting all of that energy go.

Adam: This workout definitely brings out, for me and I’ve seen it with others, it definitely brings out your emotions. It’s an emotional experience with such intensity, and if you have something going on in your life like you just mentioned Sheila, that’s going to pull right on out.

Sheila: We do need to be prepared to deal with situations like that, and understanding the difference between being a therapist and just being encouraging or being able to tell the difference of this person shouldn’t be working out right now. Sometimes just quietly allowing them to move to the next exercise and get through it, we’ve had people say, thank you so much. For instance, after the last election, it was very emotional for a lot of people, and some people came in the day after. Especially in L.A, and it was like, we just took people through. They were all saying thank you, thank you for helping me to do something good for myself even though I’m really upset right now, but maybe because in L.A, everybody already has a therapist. 

Josh: That’s different than Washington D.C. where everybody needs a therapist.

Tim: For somebody who has been working out at InForm Fitness for quite some time, say with one trainer in particular. You can’t help but have that relationship build. You’re seeing that person every single week, you’re vulnerable with them. There is a little bit of time between some of the machines and the exercises, and a good trainer, I believe, will find their client’s interests and use those interests to motivate them through those exercises, so there’s a connection that’s made there. As in any relationship, it grows, there’s ebb and flow, but do you think after a certain period of time, where it gets too comfortable, maybe it’s okay or you should shift to a different trainer to kind of mix it up a little bit or start over again? What do you think about that?

Josh: I think that’s a healthy question to ask, but I think there is no one size fits all answer. This is really entirely dependent upon what the client is like, what their disposition is, what their needs and goals are, and then what the trainer is able to give them. So when we’re talking about someone who is developing a relationship and a degree of trust, that’s not really something that is easily transferable to another trainer, because we personalize that. So outside of that, when you’re looking for something that’s ultimately going to be most enhancing component of a relationship for a specific client, maybe it is breaking away from that personal relationship and creating something that’s much more concrete and core.

Adam: When you’re a sole practitioner and you don’t work for a company like InForm Fitness and you’re the trainer, it’s hard to give them to somebody else, one of your colleagues, and kind of swap out. So that’s not even always an option.

Josh: Particularly if your income is based on client retention.

Adam: That’s what you mentioned earlier before, Josh, the mindfulness of knowing when to speak, when not to speak. Knowing what to say, what not to say. They’re coming in in a very emotional state. It reminded me of a client that I have whose sister passed away, and she’s a client for a year. When I first met her, her dog had passed away, and I remembered how as soon as it brought it up with her, how are you doing with the dog, she’d get all teary eyed and the workout kind of suffered. Now her sister passed away about a year later, and I knew better this time. So it was interesting how I didn’t say anything to her. Now here’s somebody whose sister died, she comes to her workout, and I don’t even give her a hug like hey, sorry, because I just know how that sets her off. It might have seemed insensitive but I think she really appreciates it because she comes in, we go in there, we work out. I don’t say much, and she leaves and every once in a while, we’ll talk after the workout, and I’ll say next week, we’ll talk about the future of her plans and stuff like that because we are friendly, and she says I’m not quite ready for this or that, she’ll say. I’ve had a tough year. She knows I know what she’s talking about, yet I’ve never even sent her a condolence. I know when I see it in her eyes, she looks at me when we talk about these things, that she appreciates the fact that I’m not talking about it. 

Sheila: I know I can be like that.

Adam: This is one of those cases where you just don’t bring it up. She knows you know, she knows you care, and because you care, she knows this is why you’re acting this way.

Tim: Well that’s because of the relationship that you’ve build with her through the last year or so, but there might be some others that think how insensitive for them to act as though nothing has happened.

Adam: Including me. I’m listening to this conversation with us right now, and I’m finally — this is like therapy for me, because I’m realizing I’m even judging myself. Like I can’t believe I didn’t say anything, but I just didn’t feel right to say something, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just my own discomfort that I didn’t say anything and my own avoidance. So if you’re listening to this and you just listen to this podcast because you want to learn about techniques of training and health, and how exercise is related to that, so why this conversation? How is this going to help me, you might ask yourself, if I’m not a trainer or I don’t have a trainer. At first, I think Josh hit on something, and that is knowing whether you should work out or not. We have somebody come in here after some kind of bad news or tragedy, and it might be too soon. I know they want to keep their schedule, I know they want to keep their routine, maybe but maybe not, you have to make that judgment as a trainer, to say to somebody, maybe today is not the day. Let’s sit down, let’s have a cup of coffee, no charge, let’s just sit down and talk for a second and I’ll see you next week. Other times, you might say to yourself as an instructor who is confronted with this particular person, say you know what, let’s go in there, let’s workout, let’s not talk, let’s just get this thing over with and do it. Let’s just focus on the workout, that’d be the best thing for you. Let’s face it, this is meditation. A high-intensity workout done properly — I had one client who I loved to death, he’s definitely somebody I admire and has influenced me in a lot of ways. Very successful business man, has a great mental fortitude, discipline, and he knows himself, a guy I admire, and I remember him saying to me, I love this workout because it’s the only time in my week that I’m concentrating on just one thing for twenty minutes, it’s amazing. It’s freeing for him, and I was like wow! Here’s a guy who is very disciplined in his life always. He always has his stuff together, and he’s saying that this is the thing that he has that keeps him totally focused on one thing and one thing only. So coming from him, that was like a big statement. So I get sometimes you might want to just do that with somebody who has all this stuff going on. I remember during a financial crisis, especially in Manhattan, I had guys that worked for 

[Inaudible: 00:18:53], guys that worked for Bear Sterns, coming in and I’m thinking these guys are going to cancel left and right, and gals for that matter, and they weren’t. Matter of fact, they looked crappy, they looked beat up, but they came in and said, thank god I have this.

Sheila: I also think it’s very important to maintain — to remember that it’s good to make people laugh and to feel like they’re having a good time. That’s how we kind of — we’re like a family environment in Toluca Lake, and make people have a good time because I’ve recently heard, even in that Secret Life of Fat book and in some things that Gretchen Rubin’s podcast and things they’ve done, studies that they’ve done about people who watch a funny movie or laugh about something, and they actually become stronger. They can maintain a little longer, so I think it’s important to keep that mood fun and happy, and that’s kind of what we try to do, and then the clients are competing with each other and things like that. So we try to keep that environment like a fun place so that they want to come in and they know they’ll be uplifted.

Adam: Good point. Levity in the face of a very intense workout can be very helpful, just not while they’re in the middle of a set.

Tim: Agreed. When I’m in failure, I do not need to laugh.

Adam: I’m guilty of that. I think we might all be guilty of that. I am so guilty of like saying something to a client when in the middle of a set, it cracks them up and they laugh and I’m like, why did I just say that, that was the dumbest thing I just did.

Tim: Agreed though. As a client coming in, I love the levity, I love the family atmosphere, that can only be achieved through connection. That’s one of the reasons that I like to keep coming back, is because of that connection, those friends, that community that you instill over there at Toluca Lake and I’m sure at all of the other locations as well.

Adam: Well it’s important, but it’s a bit of irony because it is a very intense, serious workout. Twenty minutes in and out, we’re not wasting your time. It’s not necessarily a coddling thing, but at the same time, we should all be excited that — first of all, as instructors we’re doing incredible work and for me, it’s very fulfilling to do this kind of work, very rewarding, but also it’s fun. In a way, even though it’s a serious workout, we’re rejoicing in this fact, this idea, that we’re getting incredibly strong and healthy from a twenty-minute thing. Whether it’s InForm Fitness or any of the other great practitioners out there who are understanding brief intense workouts are where it’s at. There is joy in that, that there is rejoicing, there is fun. We have lightening in a bottle and I almost feel like to a lot of people, it’s still a secret in a way and I don’t want to it to be this way, I want the whole mainstream to be understanding. In the mean time, I feel like I’m in an exclusive club, that we know something that nobody else does, but there’s too much at stake to keep this a secret. So many people are not working out at all because they think they have to do everything. There’s people working out too much, and listening to your advice that intensity at all costs and more is better and you got all those problems. So not only are we helping one person at a time, but wouldn’t it be unbelievable if all of a sudden, as a society, the paradigm shift is what we’re doing and everyone understands less is more? That would be fantastic. For the person who is listening to this that doesn’t have a trainer, who is not a trainer, your emotions are important. Your emotions when you go into a workout are really important and it’s okay to miss a workout if you’re just not mentally up for it, that’s okay. It’s a once or a twice a week thing anyways, so it’s not like you’re not going to lose all your gain so to speak if you miss your Monday workout. As a matter of a fact, if you’re an emotional wreck and you try to do it, you might lose focus, you might get hurt because you don’t have the focus. It’ll be a sub-par workout, it’s just not something that you necessarily have to do just because it’s your day and you want to keep your routine, and you don’t want to think about it.

Tim: So how much of this do you bring into your training when people are being certified, this component of managing the relationship.

Adam: I end up talking about this stuff a lot, sometimes to the detriment of what it needs to be taught also. Sometimes two days of the workout will go by and I’ll find that we talked a lot about these types of things, and then I realize oh darn, I didn’t go over glycolysis with you guys did I?

Sheila: One of the number one things you tell us —

Adam: And that’s on the test, so you need to know glycolysis here.

Sheila: One of the number one things you tell us and teach us is to connect with that client. We have to connect with the client in order to understand what their needs are and to be able to design the workout for them, to make it work for them.

Tim: The client, I can just speak for myself, we don’t want a robotic experience so again, that’s where the lines come in, the blurred lines. How close are the InForm Fitness trainers supposed to get to the clients? Would you encourage outside activities between the trainer and the client, is that something that shouldn’t be approached, or is there a definite yes or no answer to something like that?

Josh: I think honestly that one of the most critical things that we have to embrace at InForm Fitness, and I think this is more true than it is for conventional exercise personal trainers, is that I work with every client to teach them about mindfulness and self-awareness. This isn’t just about a philosophical abstract idea of mindfulness, it is about being conscious of what is going on so that your mind controls the pattern of thought, throughout a stressful situation. So that there is judgment removed from what’s going on associated with pain or discomfort, and instead, the mind is able to be focused purely on breathing. Focused on what muscles are being used, focused on the position of the shoulders relative to the hips. The goal ultimately is to create maximized performance. There’s just a tremendous amount of research that’s been done in the last 30 years or so about mindfulness training for top performance and top athletes. The relationship between the head and the body is overwhelming. That’s something that I think we commonly understand to be true, but the mental gain, the metal component, the mental skill set of what we’re trying to help InForm Fitness clients achieve is the level of awareness of what their body is doing, and a level of calm, devoid of anxiety, when they start to feel the anxiety build. When they start to feel the tension to build in their body, to be calm in the moment, to focus on letting go of the results and instead, let the results be what they are, and instead just be calm and focused on breathing, presence, and that’s about it. So outside of that, I would suggest that the relationship that we build and the sort of contact that we build with our clients as Adam talks about is something that is being very conscious of the fact that we are instructors. I sort of pull back a bit when somebody refers back to me as a trainer. I’m not training anyone, I’m instructing someone on how to be calm in a time of high stress and tension. Outside of that piece, the physical benefits follow, but the mental piece has to be there at least at a basic level in order for them to build to a point, because without that, intensity can’t come. In every consultation, I encourage clients to follow what I have found, and that is, this is a purely meditative and monastic time. You’re in a very intimate environment where it’s very calm and very peaceful, so to connect yourself with the environment such that you are focused entirely on just a handful of things, the phone, the iPad, the computer, the children, the family, the job, the dead car, all the things that are bothering us emotionally when we walk into the door, they stay at the door of the studio. They do not come in, they’re not allowed. Everything in the studio is purely the relationship between the instructor and the client, and what the client is focused on doing at any given exercise.

Adam: The idea of staying focused, the idea of working out when the conditions are good. Don’t use the excuse not to work out every time you have a little bit of strife, then you can very easily say, I’m not in the mood today and Adam said it’s okay if you’re not in the mood, if you’re emotionally — and then use it as an excuse not to work out. Obviously,  sometimes you have to kick yourself in the pants and pull yourself from the bootstraps and say Adam, go work out. Right now. Do it, and focus, and try to be meditative. Try to block out all of that stuff, which is exactly what meditation is supposed to be also. You’re focusing on one thing, and understanding that while you’re working out or while you’re meditating, things break through that you don’t want to have break through. Acknowledge it, move on, and keep going. Bring it back, bring it back to what you’re there for. Sometimes, as a trainer, we have to understand that the best thing we can do is get out of our client’s way and I think sometimes we are too empathetic. We try to be more empathetic, and we end up not giving them what they need which is a really good, kick butt workout that doesn’t allow all these distractions to come in, and helping them to really focus.

Josh: Adam, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think what we’re really looking at when we look at the example you spoke about earlier with the client who had suffered a death in the family, where you were judging yourself by not being more empathetic, not offering your sympathies for the loss. The truth is that if we’re doing our jobs effectively as instructors, that’s entirely placing the client’s needs ahead of our own. We each have an innate need to want to sympathize, to want to offer our sympathies whenever someone suffers a loss or a stressful period of time emotionally, but the long term consequence of that is we blur those lines. When those lines and those boundaries stay clear is when I’m placing the client’s needs ahead of my own, as you did by recognizing that your client is going to most benefit from not talking about something, that she talks about probably the other twenty-three and a half hours out of the day.

Adam: My wife has to know this. I have to put somebody else’s needs ahead of mine.

Josh: The goal is making sure that you know the client well enough to understand what is going to be most conducive to getting her through a really productive workout. That’s when an instructor is really showing his or her metal, when they’re able to put the clients’ needs ahead of their own.

Sheila: And luckily, our workout is only the twenty minutes or the thirty minutes, so you can completely focus, you don’t have to think about — I have to go in there for an hour and not think about this or not think about that email, phone call, or terrible thing that just happened. So that’s what’s so great about our workout for anybody who is listening and want to give it a try. It’s just as effective and yes, it’s a very cathartic thing to just say okay, for the next twenty minutes, I’m just going to focus on me.

Josh: The truth is that when we talk about — rest is a good segway — when you talk to clients that you only have to work out once or twice a week, I actually suggest to clients that you may only work out once or twice a week. It’s not that you don’t have to do it once a week, you may not do it more than once or twice a week. So then when they walk in with any kind of emotional stress or whatever it is that’s bothering them when they walk in the door, I tell them you may not bring it in here with you. This is your opportunity to not think about it, I am absolutely demanding of you that you leave this at the door. You can pick it up on the way back out, but for the thirty minutes that you’re here, you’re focused solely on what it is that we’re doing together.

Adam: Question that comes up very often with me and clients of ours. When we talk about how you shouldn’t be working out so often, like once or twice a week, and each workout is twenty or thirty minutes. How do you respond to the client that says, but I need exercise for stress relief and I’m afraid once a week for that purpose is not enough. How do you respond to that saying, I want to come three, four times a week but you’re telling me not to. Part of it for me anyway, they’ll say, I need more exercise for stress relief. You’re telling me that I shouldn’t do anything else, and I can’t come here more than once and it’s only twenty minutes. I don’t know if this is for me.

Josh: I think a that’s healthy question to ask, but I think that the simple answer is something that we preach very heavily at InForm Fitness and that is creating a very clear line between constitutes exercise versus what constitutes recreation. With every client, I encourage them to walk, run, bike, swim, whatever it is that they enjoy doing that provides them some physical benefits, but that’s not the primary purpose behind why they do it in the first place. People who run regularly, at some point, they cease to do it purely for the physical benefits, they do it for the endorphin rush, they do it for the stress management, they do it because they disconnect from the world around them. That’s good stress management, so stress management from the physical manifestations, how it builds up our blood pressure, how it builds up muscle tension. Those are all things that we can address concretely here at InForm Fitness, but recreationally, those are the things I encourage clients to deal with. If they really want to do some good stress management techniques, get outside. Go for a walk, take your dog out, take your kids out to a park. Do something that is going to provide stress management and be recreational in the process, that’s good mental health.

Adam: Josh, do you have trouble separating the different hats you wear? Do you find yourself acting like a psychologist with your clients from time to time, do you catch yourself?

Josh: Well yes, but having said that, I think it’s more of an asset for me in the long run, simply because I’m relying on my clinical expertise and education to be able to keep clients focused on what it is that I want them to do. I let my expertise and my experience influence the way that I navigate a relationship with a client, but I never sit down and say, step into my office and tell me about your mother. That’s not what we’re trying to do here, but I think that the point simply is in any environment, when you’re working as a therapist or as an instructor, the goal is going to be to keep the client focused on the specific set of goals. In the studio with InForm Fitness, that specific set of goals is entirely about getting the absolute best performance that I can get out of the client for a thirty minute stretch at a time, so that they’re deeply fatiguing the muscles and achieving a level of intensity that is appropriate for what it is that I’m asking them to do. That environment is totally different in a correctional setting or in a therapist’s office or something like that, but ultimately the drive to achieving those goals, whatever those goals may be, is the same.

Adam: Like I’ve always said, there’s definitely a technology involved in training people. Like Sheila pointed out, it’s so important as an instructor to make that connection. I know plenty of instructors that are technically very good, they can put somebody through an incredible workout, but the experience overall for the client is left flat. They don’t feel a connection to the person that may just seem like they’re just dialing it in. As good as they are. So you can be the greatest technical instructor in the world, if you’re not making that connection, if you’re not figuring out how to motivate, to inspire this person to do what is arguably a very, very hard thing to do, even for just twenty minutes, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to be able to really help these people because they’re not going to stick with it, they’re not going to want to see you. So there’s definitely that psychology that’s really important, so I don’t want people to misunderstand that psychology isn’t involved in being a good instructor. Knowing people listening, being a good listener and hearing what they’re saying, but also knowing what not to say sometimes is also very important, and just to be a listener. Not to be so full of yourself, and think that you’re going to be able to solve all of their problems. The best thing you can do for them, the best thing that I think I can do for them in times is like that is to really, even more so, double down on the quality of the workout at that moment, and even pull back more from a friend position. Almost like a tough love type of thing saying hey, let’s go there. This is for you right now, let’s just go in there and do it. Even if you’re training yourself to maybe have that same attitude sometimes and let it go. When you sit down at that machine or you pick up that barbell, take a deep breath, visualize, let it go, and do the job, be in the moment and do the job.

Tim: Many thanks to InForm Fitness trainer and clinical psychologist Joshua Cagney for joining us here on the InForm Fitness podcast. Hey, if you’re in or around the Washington D.C. area and would like to have Joshua as your high-intensity strength trainer, head on over to, click on the Restin, Virginia location, and request Josh. You’ll also find six other InForm Fitness locations across the country, and you’ll see Adam’s blog, InForm Fitness Videos, and every single episode of the InForm podcast there at Okay, next week: author, award-winning podcaster, and happiness expert, Gretchen Rubin joins us here on the show. Gretchen has a new book coming out titled The Four Tendencies: Learn How to Understand Yourself Better, and Also How Influence Others More Effectively. Utilizing the Four Tendencies framework as mentioned in Gretchen’s book, we’ll discuss how those tendencies might affect how you approach your workout, and why exercise is an important component to happiness. And one last thing before I let you go. Remember, here in May 2017, we are giving away a personally autographed copy of Adam’s book, Power of Ten: The Once a Week Fitness Revolution, InForm Fitness apparel in the form of a hat, T-Shirt, and a hoodie jacket, and a device to listen to all the InForm Fitness podcasts, Amazon books, Audiobooks and more, using the Alexa voice service. I’m talking about the Amazon Echo, and if you haven’t seen the Amazon Echo yet, check out the link in the show notes for a full description and even videos explaining what it does and how it works. This is a really cool prize pack, worth over two hundred bucks. Okay, so what do you have to do? Step one, leave InForm Fitness a review here in iTunes or on Facebook, Google Plus, Yelp, and even Amazon. If you do, you’ll receive a free training session at an InForm Fitness location nearest you. Step two, take a screenshot and email your review to That will be your entry into the grand prize drawing for the all the items I just mentioned, so here are the rules. You can only receive one free training session for your review, however, you can get an entry into the grand prize drawing for each review that you submit, thereby dramatically increasing your chances to win. For instance, if you leave us a review here in iTunes and then one in Yelp and Facebook, you only get one free training session, but three free entires into the grand prize, but you better get on it. You must emails to us by 11:59PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 31st to qualify for the free session and the grand prize. The winner will be announced on our Monday, June 5th episode here on the InForm Fitness podcast. So good luck, and thanks again for joining us. For Sheila Melody, Mike Rogers, and Adam Zickerman of InForm Fitness, I’m Tim Edwards with the InBound Podcasting Network.

May 8, 2017

We want to reward you for listening to the InForm Fitness Podcast by offering a free training session at an InForm Fitness location nearest you plus an opportunity to qualify for an InForm Fitness Prize Pack.

Earn one FREE SESSION when you leave a review for InForm Fitness in iTunes, Yelp, Google+, Facebook,  & Amazon! Simply write a review and send a screenshot to - that's it!  For each review you leave, you will receive and entry for the GRAND PRIZE!

One lucky listener will receive a personally autographed copy of Adam Zickerman's book,  Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution. That listener will also get decked out in InForm Fitness apparel including an InForm Fitness T-shirt, hat, and a hoody jacket. And we’ll top off the prize pack with an Amazon Echo! Click here to see the Amazon Echo in action:

Contest ends May 31st, 2017.  Listen for more details!

To find an Inform Fitness location nearest you visit

If you'd like to ask Adam, Mike or Sheila a question or have a comment regarding the Power of 10. Send us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to 

Join Inform Nation and call the show with a comment or question.  The number is 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. 

To purchase Adam's book, Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution click this link to visit Amazon:

If you would like to produce a podcast of your own just like The Inform Fitness Podcast, please email Tim Edwards at



Tim Edwards: InformNation Hello and welcome to a very quick bonus episode of the Informed Fitness Podcast. 20 minutes with New York Times Bestselling author, Adam Zickerman and friends. Well Like I just said, this is just a quick bonus episode, so just a couple of minutes today. I'm Tim Edwards with the Inbound Podcasting Network and a client of Informed Fitness. Adam Zickerman, Mike Rogers, and Sheila Melody are taking some much deserved time off. Just for one week. Then we'll be back at it again next week. I'll get to some of the topics that we have in store for you coming up in just a minute. But first, we want to reward all of you for listening to Inform Fitness Podcast by offering a free training session at an Inform Fitness location nearest you. Plus, an opportunity to qualify for an Inform Fitness prize pack. 

Now, this is cool, listen up. One lucky listener will receive a personally autographed copy of Adam's book Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Evolution. That listener will also be decked out in Inform Fitness apparel, including an Inform Fitness T-shirt, hat, and a hoodie jacket. And we'll top off the prize pack with a device to listen to all of the Inform Fitness podcast, Amazon music, audio books from Audible, and more using the Alexa voice service. I'm talkin' about the Amazon Echo. Now, if you haven't seen the Amazon Echo yet check out the link in the show notes for a full description and videos explaining what it does and how it works. 

Okay, so what do you have to do? First and foremost, if you would be so kind, we would love to hear from you in the form of a review of either the podcast here in iTunes or a review of Adam's book on Amazon. We would also appreciate a review on the Inform Fitness Facebook page and, of course, a review in Google+ or in Yelp of your experience at one of our seven Inform Fitness locations across the US. We have them in Manhattan, Long Island, Port Washington, Denville, Burbank, Boulder, Leesburg, and in Reston. So, leave a review, take a screenshot of that review, and email it and you will receive one free training session at one of our seven locations. Plus, you'll qualify for the grand prize of the personally autographed copy of Adam's book, inform fitness apparel, and the Amazon Echo. And this prize is valued at over $200. 

So here are the rules. You can only receive one free training session for your reviews. However, you get an entry into the grand prize drawing for each review that you submit. For instance, if you leave us a review in iTunes, Yelp, and Facebook you get one free training session, but three entries into the grand prize. Got it? Okay, so get on it. Submit those reviews, screenshot it, and email 'em to You must get those emails to us by 11:59 PM on Wednesday May 31st to qualify for the free session and grand prize entry. Now, the winner will be announced on our Monday,  June 5th episode here on the Inform Fitness podcast. 

Now, like I said, we have some terrific topics lined up for you over the next few weeks. We'll be joined by clinical psychologist Joshua Cagney with an episode titled Blurred Lines. Adam, Joshua, and Sheila will have a discussion about the trainer to client relationship and maintaining proper boundaries. We'll also be discussing genetics and exercise response with exercise physiologist Ryan Hall. And an episode with long-time Inform Fitness client and author Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen will be discussing how by regularly participating in an exercise program, such as the one we do at Inform Fitness, can actually contribute to your overall happiness. You see, Gretchen is a happiness expert and has authored several books and has sold more than 2 million copies in 30 different languages. 

So, we have a lot in store for you coming up here in the next few weeks. Get those reviews submitted in iTunes, Facebook, Amazon, Google+, and Yelp. Send them to, grab that free training session, and qualify for the grand prize of an autographed book, Inform Fitness apparel, and an Amazon Echo to be announced on Monday June 5th. Until next time, thanks for listening. For Sheila Melody, Mike Rogers, and Adam Zickerman at Inform Fitness, I'm Tim Edwards with the Inbound Podcasting Network.


May 1, 2017

Our guest here in Episode 26 is Dr. Martin Gibala, the author of the book, The One-Minute Workout, Science Shows a Way to Get Fit, Smarter, Faster, Shorter. 

Martin Gibala, Ph.D., is also a professor and chair of the kinesiology department at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. His research on the physiological and health benefits of high-intensity interval training has attracted immense scientific attention and worldwide media coverage. 

 Dr. Gibala and Adam Zickerman compare and contrast the high-intensity interval training as Dr. Giballa explains in his book with high-intensity strength training performed at all 7 InForm Fitness locations across the US.

For The One-Minute Workout audio book in Audible click here:

To purchase The One-Minute Workout in Amazon click here:

Don’t forget Adam's Zickerman’s book, Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution.  You can buy it from Amazon by clicking here:

To find an Inform Fitness location nearest you to give this workout a try, please visit  At the time of this recording, we have locations in Manhattan, Port Washington, Denville, Burbank, Boulder, Leesburg and Resten

If you'd like to ask Adam, Mike or Sheila a question or have a comment regarding the Power of 10. Send us an email or record a voice memo on your phone and send it to 

Join Inform Nation and call the show with a comment or question.  The number is 888-983-5020, Ext. 3. 

For information regarding the production of your own podcast just like The Inform Fitness Podcast, please email Tim Edwards at

The transcription for the entire episode is below:

26 Life is an Interval Training Workout


InForm Fitness - The One Minute Workout

Adam: Dr. Gibala, you have this book with an eye-raising title called the One Minute Workout, and the argument, if I may,  is this. That what you’re saying is the benefits we gain from traditional two and a half hours of recommended a week exercise with moderately intense exercise, also known as steady state exercise, can also be obtained with just one minute of extremely intense exercise. Now for many this sounds too good to be true, and I’ll allow you to explain how these exercise benefits can be obtained in just one minute. Now before you do that, maybe we should start with what are the benefits of exercise that we’re looking for?

Dr. Gibala: We’re mainly interested in three primary outcomes, one being cardiorespiratory 

fitness so, of course, that’s the cardio health that everybody normally thinks about. The ability of the heart, lungs,  blood vessels to deliver oxygen to muscle. We know that’s a really important measure for athletes, but it’s equally important for health. We also look at skeletal muscle health, so we’ll take biopsies and look at the capacities of muscles to use the oxygen to produce energy, so we like to think of that as a measure of muscle health, and we’ll also measure health-related parameters like insulin sensitivity, as well as things like blood pressure. So we’re looking at a range of physiological markers that translate into improved health outcomes, and we know that any type of exercise is beneficial for all of those parameters. We’re of course interested in time efficient versions to produce those benefits.

Adam: Exactly. So speaking of those time efficient ways, you have termed it high-intensity interval training and would you agree with that? That’s the official term for the protocol?

Dr. Gibala: Absolutely. Why I just raised my eyebrows a little bit, it’s been around of course since the turn of the century so high-intensity interval training is rediscovered every decade or so and that was my only reason for doing that.

Adam: Got you, you’re right. So how can these benefits be obtained in one minute, using the sensory old protocol?

Dr. Gibala: So where the title of the book comes from is work in our lab where we’ve had people do as little as three twenty second hard bursts of exercise, so that’s the quote unquote, one-minute workout. Now typically that’s set within a timeframe of about ten minutes, so you have a little bit of warmups, cool downs, and recovery in between, but as you alluded to in your intro, we’ve shown that that type of training program so one minute of workout done three times a week can confer at least over several months, many of the benefits that we associate with the more traditional approach to fitness. So in our recent study where we directly compared that type of protocol to the hundred and fifty minutes a week of moderate-intensity training, the improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness was the same over three months of training. The improvement in markers of muscle health was the same, and the improvement of insulin sensitivity was the same as well. So in our lab when we made these head to head comparisons, we have some pretty compelling evidence I think at last over a couple of months, you can reap the benefits that we associate with a more traditional approach with these short, intense workouts.

Adam: Let’s talk a little bit more about these intense workouts. I’d like you if you will to take us back to turn of the century, 2004, when you were brainstorming with your grad students. Can you please tell us about that first experiment, and what did those muscle biopsies show? Since your first study, as a follow-up, have the results been repeated in similar studies and with other independent labs as well?

Dr. Gibala: Yeah, so I guess our work at the turn of this century was influenced by work from a hundred years prior and part of my interest in this topic was I teach a course in the integrated physiology of human performance, and my students are always interested in the training regimes of elite athletes. They would wonder why do these elite endurance athletes, world champions, Olympic distance medal winners, train using these short, hard sprints. So in short, how can short, hard sprints confer endurance capacity. So that really influenced our thinking, and we wanted to ask the question well how quickly can you get these benefits, and how low can you go? We’ve subsequently gone lower, but at the time, there was a very common test and physiology known as the Wingate test, I’m sure you’re familiar with it. It’s a test that involves thirty seconds of all-out exercise on a cycle odometer, and we knew that Wingate training was effective from some other studies, but we said okay, let’s have people do just six training sessions over a period of two weeks. So we argued back and forth about the number of Wingates, and how long we would have the training program last, but we settled on this very simple design; a two-week study with six sessions of interval training over the two weeks, and our primary outcomes were endurance capacity, so basically how long subjects could ride a bike until they fatigued, and muscle biopsies to look at those measures of muscle health. Lo and behold after just two weeks of training, we found a doubling of endurance capacity in the recreationally trained students, and so it was a very dramatic illustration of the potency of these short, hard workouts, to confer endurances like benefits. Since then, we’ve continued to push the envelope I guess in terms of how low can you go, and our work has extended out to less healthy individuals, so we’ve done work on people with type two diabetes, and of course have been very pleased to see other laboratories around the world replicating and extending these findings as well.

Adam: We’re going to get to that, what you’re referring to now, with Catarina Myers work for example, that you mentioned in later chapters. What I wanted to ask you was when you said, what I want to point out right now, what you said is that you’re seeing these incredible improvements and you said that study lasted two weeks. That is mind blowing. Two weeks to have those changes occur? So first of all,  I want to point out number one that that is mind blowing, secondly have you done other studies where you would do it for longer than two weeks and have those changes gotten better even after two weeks, or do they just basically stabilize at just being fantastically endurance but you’re not seeing it continually — like a straight line, maybe it’s more of — obviously it plateaus a little bit eventually, but anyway what do you think?

Dr. Gibala: Our longest studies have gone out to a couple of months, so I think you continue to see improvements but the rate of improvement starts to decline. So in some ways it’s a microcosm of what happens with any training program, the longer you do it, there’s points of diminishing returns and of course, that can be very frustrating to people and it leads to periodization and all these techniques that we use. In short, you get a lot of benefit early on, so there’s a tremendous boost of fitness early on, and like I said, a point of diminishing returns after that so it’s not a continuous straight line. I think that’s one of the benefits of interval training is you can get a boost in fitness very very quickly, and in some ways that helps with lots of other sports and events that you might want to take on after that, but you get this rapid boost in a very short period of time.

Adam: Great, so now let’s get to who I just mentioned a little bit earlier, Catarina Myers. The German cardiovascular physiologist who did some important research trying to answer this question: what sort of exercise can substantially slow and possibly even reverse the age-related loss of our cardiovascular function?

Dr. Gibala: Catarina Myer, and actually the history there is fascinating because some of her training dates back to other classic German researchers. The Germans have had an interest in this since at least the late 1950s. Catarina Myers worked in the late 80s and early 90s — what was particularly unique about her work is she was applying interval training to patients with cardiovascular disease. So in a cardiac rehabilitation setting, these individuals who had had a heart attack and what was the best way to train these individuals to improve their function,

improve their heart capacity. So it was quite revolutionary at the time because it’ll go back 30 or 40 years, if an individual had a heart attack, they were basically told to take it easy, right? Lie on the couch, don’t challenge past your system because you were worried about subsequent adverse events, and so Myers’ work, she had cardiac patients exercise at about 90% of their maximum heart rate for typically about one minute at a time, with a minute of recovery, and she showed very profound improvements in their health outcomes and cardiovascular parameters. So she was a real pioneer I think in applying interval training to disease populations, and in particularindividuals who have cardiovascular disease, and since then, her work has expanded. In Norway for example, there’s another large research center that’s doing a lot of this work. It’s quite common to incorporate interval training in cardiac rehabilitation settings now. 

Adam: It’s breaking major paradigms there, to think that you could apply high-intensity exercise to somebody that just had a heart attack. It’s fantastic. I’m familiar with Dr. Myers work actually. One of her papers in particular was this paper that she published in 1997. This paper was showing that of three groups, only the group that performed very intense exercise at 80% of their max were able to improve their cardiovascular function. So she had another group at 60% of their max and the control group didn’t do anything, and neither one of them showed the kind of the improvements. These kinds of improvements I’m talking about is increased venus return, decreased systemic vascular resistance, an increase in cardiac index, and an increase in stroke vine. Now these are consistent with her other research that you were talking about because she did a lot of these, and what struck me about this particular one is that these cardiovascular improvements in function were done on a leg press. They weren’t done on a bicycle, they were done on a leg press, so my question is do you think high-intensity resistance training can also be used to change our physiology? That it can improve our endurance, our VO2 max, and citrate synthase for example, if you were to do a muscle biopsy. The same way as say a bicycle or a treadmill.

Dr. Gibala: I don’t think you get the same effects, but it’s going to depend on the protocol there. I think without question, high-intensity resistance exercise can be applied in an interval training manner, especially if you keep recovery durations short, and you can see some aerobic improvement. There’s research to show that interval style resistance training can improve cardiorespiratory fitness, can boost some mitochondrial enzymes, can improve other health-related indices as you alluded to. My personal opinion is that a varied approach to fitness is always going to be best, and I don’t think you’re going to see the same cardiovascular fitness improvement with interval based cycling as you might see with high-intensity resistance exercise, but of course, the gains in strength or hypertrophy that you might see with the bike protocol are going to be markedly lower as well. So I think high-intensity resistance training applied in an interval based manner can sort of provide multiple benefits. You can get a cardiovascular boost and obviously get muscular strengthening, and some hypertrophy benefits as well.

Adam: So you think the high-intensity strength training protocol is really a separate and distinct program?

Dr. Gibala: I do. I think the resistance exercise element is different there, and so the stimulus for adaptation is not going to be exactly the same. 

Adam: Has that been tested? Have you compared let’s say a Wingate type of protocol with say somebody doing a high-intensity strength training program where you’re doing one set to failure with major compound movements. You’re going from machine to machine with the heart rate staying elevated, and each rate is going to at least 20 seconds of what you would probably consider an interval. Like a twenty-second sprint, those last twenty seconds on the leg press ,for example, are pretty darn intense as well. Do you think it would be worthy of comparing those two types of protocols to see if you get the same benefits and improvements in citrate synthase that way, VO2 max, etc?

Dr. Gibala: Yeah, I think without question it would be. Of course,we can come up with all of these comparisons that we would like and there are only so many ways that you can do it in the laboratory. When you do a Wingate test for example, we know that there’s no stimulation of growth pathways, so if we look at [Inaudible: 00:13:35] signaling and some of these pathways that we know lead to skeletal muscle hypertrophy, even though Wingate test is perceived as very demanding, the relative resistance on the leg, or the relative stress on the leg is quite low as compared to heavy resistance exercise. So with most forms of cardio based, high-intensity interval training, you’re not seeing growth of muscle fibers because the stimulus is just not sufficient to provide the hypertrophy stimulus. Now when you do high-intensity resistance training, as you alluded to, especially with short recovery periods, you maintain the heart rate so it’s elevated, you can see improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness in addition to the strengthening and hypertrophy elements as well.

Adam: I’m with you on that. I think you’re right. What would you think for example, we don’t know everything yet about how low we can go and the style, what tools we use for these things. I’m wondering, knowing what we know at this point, what would you think would be the perfect — for somebody who is pressed for time and doesn’t have the time to put the recommended 150 minutes a week into it. What do you think would be perfect, do you think maybe two interval training workout sessions a week with some high-intensity strength training? Like what are you doing, what do you recommend to a relative of yours that just wants to get it all, and what do I need to do?

Dr. Gibala: Obviously an open ended question and it depends a lot on the specific goals of the individual, but I’ll sort of take the question at —

Adam: Not an elite athlete. I know you work with a lot of elite athletes, we also have the population that Myers works with. Your typical person, your middle aged —

Mike: Busy professional who just wants to be in shape and have the markers that you were talking about before.

Dr. Gibala: If they want the time efficiency aspect — you alluded earlier, what do I do. I’m someone who trains typically every day, rarely are my workouts more than thirty minutes, and I typically go back and forth between cardio style interval training, my go to exercise is a bike. I can’t run anymore because of osteoarthritis in my knee, so typically three days a week I’m doing cardio cycling. As the weather starts to get nicer it’s outside, but typically in long Canadian winters, it’s down in my basement. 20-25 minutes of interval based work for primary cardiovascular conditioning. The other days are largely body weight style interval training, I sort of have the classic garage set up in the basement. I’ve got a weight rack, I do large compound movements to failure, pushups, pull-ups, and so that’s typically the other three days of the week. Usually a rest day a week, or I’ll play some ice hockey as well. That’s something that works really well for me, so I think for individuals, I would recommend that style of approach. If you’re someone that can mentally tolerate the demanding nature of intervals, because let’s be realistic here, there’s no free lunch at the end of the day, but if you want that time efficiency, high quality workout, then I would recommend that alternating pattern of some sort of cardio style interval training with some sort of full body resistance style training. If you’re really pressed for time and you have maybe three sessions a week, then using all interval based — maybe two resistance sessions and one cardio or vice versa. Obviously a lot of the work that you advocate is showing tremendous benefits with even one session a week, and maybe even two sessions a week in terms of that quality of style training.

Adam: The search continues. Like you said, it depends on a lot of things, goals, and body types, genetics, response to exercise, and even somebody’s neurological efficiency. So I get that, and the question always is when we work with thousands of individuals on a monthly basis, do you mix intervals with their strength training, how much of it, balancing all of this with their schedules, with their schedule, with their lifestyle. Are they stressed out, max type A people, do they get enough sleep. So that’s why it’s so valuable to talk to you, you’re on the cutting edge of doing a lot of this stuff and trying to incorporate research into somebody’s every day life is the art and trick to all of this I think. Until we keep learning more and more.

Dr. Gibala: Absolutely, and sometimes the most fundamental questions science still doesn’t have the answers to which is quite ironic, but you’re right. The book was written really as an effort to translate the science around time-efficient exercise. As you all know, the number on cited reason for why people don’t exercise is lack of time. Nothing wrong with the public health guidelines, based on really good science, but 80% of us aren’t listening and the number one barrier is time. So if we can find time-efficient options so that people can implement this style of training into their every day life, we think that’s a good thing. The more menu choices, the better. The more exercise options the better, because then ideally, people can find something that works for them, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Adam: That brings me exactly to the next thing that I wanted to talk about. It’s this idea that we’re being told we need 150 minutes. That’s two and a half hours a week to work out, and you make a very interesting point in chapter five of the One Minute Workout. You say despite knowing that exercise has all these near magical qualities, approximately 80% of the people from America, Canada, and the United Kingdom don’t get the recommended 150 minutes that they need, and you say that’s a problem. You point out something very interesting, I didn’t know this, it’s very cool. You point out that lifespan has jumped ahead of our health span, and I’d love for you to tell us what the difference is between lifespan and health span and what that means.

Dr. Gibala: Yeah sure. So lifespan is just that, how long you’re going to live, but health span encompasses — I call it how close to the ceiling you can work. So basically you want to live a long life, but ideally, you want a long, healthy life as well so you can think of it as functional capacity in addition to longevity. I think most of us, you want to live as long as you can and as my grandmother would say, you sort of fall off the perch right at the very end. In a high standard of living, a high quality of living, so that you can do all the things that you like as long as possible and so exercise I think is a tremendous way to do that. You bring up a good point, that as we age, perhaps there’s a little shift there. Obviously, strength is important and cardiorespiratory fitness is important, but especially as we start to get older, functional strength is really important. If you look at what’s going to keep people out of assisted living, it’s basically can you squat down and go the toilet and get up from that.

Mike: It’s getting off the floor, exactly.

Dr. Gibala: So functional training to maintain lower body strength, that’s what we’re talking about in terms of health span. You may be living a long time but if you need all this assistance in order to get by, that’s not necessarily a high standard or quality of living. So that’s what we’re really talking about here and improving both of them.

Adam: So think about this. Despite knowing how important it is to put those 150 minutes in because you’re going to have this life of misery and your health span is going to be horrible, people don’t do it. You quote this guy Allen Batterham from Teesside University in the United Kingdom, who says that we have, I’m quoting him — actually quoting you quoting him, that we have this perverse relationship with exercise. So here we are, we know what we have to do but we don’t, and this is where high-intensity training is so cool because — well first of all, why do we have this perverse relationship with exercise?

Dr. Gibala: There’s a multifaceted answer. I think Allen made the observation that we have hunger pains to get us to eat, so there’s that innate biological drive. For reproduction, there’s a sex drive, but there’s not necessarily this innate biological drive to be physically active and that was the perversity that Allen was making the point, that even though it’s so good for us. 

Obviously, you can take the evolutionary perspective and for the vast majority of human civilization, we had to be physically active to survive. We had to either sprint and hunt down an animal and kill it and eat it, or you had to spend a long time gathering food. Especially over the last hundred years or so, we’ve done a great job of engineering physical activity out of our lives through the ways we designed cities and — so now we basically have to make time to be doing this activity that’s so good for us, and ironically we seemingly don’t have time to do it. Clearly an excuse for a lot of people, you just look at time spent on social media, but a lot of lead very busy, time pressed lives so we’re looking for more efficient options to be able to fit all of that other stuff into our day, and I think this is where intervals can play a really big role.

Adam: Exactly, it’s fascinating. So keeping this exercise avoidance issue mind, what has your friend and exercise psychologist, Mary — how does she pronounce her last name — Jung, I’m assuming there’s no relationship to the psychiatrist Carl Jung. What did she discover and what was her advice, because you talk about that she has these five tips for starting an exercise program.

Dr. Gibala: Sure, and I’m not a psychologist — what I tried to do in the book was consult with some other experts, and there’s a real rift right now, as we make the point in the book, around the potential application of high-intensity interval training for public health, there’s sort of two schools of thought. The traditional school of thought would be that people aren’t going to do this because if exercise is intense, they find it uncomfortable, they’re unlikely to do it and stick with it, but there’s a whole new school of thought and Mary epitomizes this. We’re saying wait a minute, continuous vigorous exercise is very different from vigorous exercise where we give people breaks, and especially if they don’t have to do very much of it. So Mary is very interested in issues of motivation, mood, adherence; what keeps people to stick with healthy behaviors, and her research is showing that a large number of people actually rate the enjoyment of interval exercise higher, and they would prefer this type of training and they’re more than willing to make this type of tradeoff between volume and intensity. So if they have to do less total work, they’re more willing to work hard for short periods of time. We get this habit, Mary makes the point that if people can’t do 30-45 minutes of continuous exercise, they consider themselves a failure, they might beat themselves up a little bit. She’s like wait a minute, even if you can do a few minutes of exercise, take a break, do it again, let’s celebrate that. So rather than beat yourself up, view it as I’m an interval training, I’m doing this type of training that elite athletes have used for a long time. It’s sort of turning a negative into a great message.

Mike: For us, failure is the only option.

Adam: When you were talking about this in your book and talking about her work, I was screaming amen, because for twenty years that I’ve been in the high-intensity business myself, I’m seeing the same thing. So many people would much rather do this, in a much briefer time and get it over with than drag it out all week long. I remember when I told my mom twenty years ago that I was going to do this for a living, and she knew that I was a little nutty when it came to high-intensity work and she said Adam, people are not going to workout that hard, you’re nuts. I would never workout the way you workout. Granted I was doing crazy like Crossfit stuff, high force, dangerous stuff. I’ve created a more gentler, kinder way of doing that but nonetheless, it was really intense but much shorter. I said mom, I don’t know, I think if someone thinks they’re going to be — number one safe, and getting it over with even though it’s more intense, I think they’re going to do it. I said wish me look, because I’m going for it, and by the way I’m moving back into the house because I have no money. Anyway I moved out a year later. I didn’t know about Mary Jung’s work, and I was reading in your chapter I was like see mom, I told you there’s proof now.

Dr. Gibala: In some ways science plays catch up a little bit. You alluded to the fact that you’ve been doing it for twenty years, so people are seeing this in real life and again the book was really just an effort to say there’s some gaps in the science, but here’s science to hopefully validate what a number of individuals are already doing, but they can point to this and say see it is backed up by science. So it was really an effort to translate that science into a message, that hopefully people can find in an accessible read, and hopefully in a compelling manner as well.

Adam: So without getting into every single work that you describe because you get into a whole different number of variations, maybe you can just give us two typical ones that you would recommend for someone who really has never done intervals before, and how would you get them started?

Dr. Gibala: As crazy as it sounds, we have a workout that’s called the beginner which is just. So if we have people who are completely new to interval training, we’ll just say just get out of your comfort zone. Don’t try to go from zero to a hundred overnight, but just push the pace a little bit and back off. It’s based on research that shows that even interval walking is better for people at improving their blood sugar, improving their fitness, improving their body composition, as compared to steady state walking. So that’s about as simple as it gets, interval based walking, but it can really effective. One of my favorites is the 10x1 which is workouts based on Katarina Myers’ work, so it’s twenty minutes start to finish. Not super time efficient but it’s not a 45 minute jog either, and I like that workout — so this workout involves ten one minute efforts at about 85 or 90% of your maximum heart rate, so you’re pushing it pretty good but you’re not going all out, and that workout has been applied to cardiovascular patients, diabetics, highly trained athletes as well, so it’s a type of workout that can be scaled seemingly to almost any starting level of fitness. It’s also then I think the type of workout that can be scaled to other approaches as well, so if you want to bring in resistance type exercise, it’s a little more suited to that type of protocol as well, and then, of course I love the one minute workout as well because it’s so effective and so efficient. We’ve had people do the one-minute workout on stairs now, just three twenty second bursts of stair climbing. Again, you can do it anywhere, in your apartment, in your office complex, showing that you get a big boost in fitness with that type of workout as well. So those lower volume workouts I think, they’re in your wheelhouse I’m sure and really resonate with some of the stuff that you’ve been applying for a long time now.

Adam: Yes, and I’m so glad that your research has been making me realize that my life decision twenty years ago, my instincts weren’t so off, so thank you so much.

Dr. Gibal: To go back to this idea that the public health guidelines, only 20% are listening. For those folks who say people won’t do this, I would point at the ACSM, worldwide fitness trends for the last couple of years. Interval training and body weight style training, on the top, two or three many years running now, so I think there is a lot of interest in this type of training, if only to provide people with more options number one, and on those days when they are time pressed and might otherwise blow off their workout, no. Even if you’ve got fifteen minutes, you can get in a quality training session.

Mike: Everybody sees the trends, the New York Times with the seven-minute workouts, the bootcamps, you can see all the chatter. Fitting Room is one of the things that they have in New York City, I don’t know if it’s beyond New York City but what we’re trying to present is a safe option for creating that exact same stimulus in the same time.

Adam: Especially when the safety is around weight training. So all the weight training injuries, so it becomes even more important when you have weights attached to your body to make that intensity safer. 

Dr. Gibala: Absolutely and you’re spot on there. I think maybe it’s a little bit easier for some people to apply these cardio style workouts on their own, but getting qualified instruction from people who know what they’re doing is really important, especially when it comes to the resistance based stuff.

Adam: So now, you end your book with a nutrition chapter and I don’t know, weight loss. I’ve never really put too much credence in exercise for weight loss, it’s generally a diet thing, but there’s definitely a synergy if you will, an approach. If weight loss is part of your goal, and I always joke around, only half joking around because there is truth to this, that a lot of people that do these high intensity workouts and workout in general, they always that I’m concerned about my cardiorespiratory health, but if I told them that it doesn’t help your cardiorespiratory health — or actually if I told them that it doesn’t help them lose weight, they just wouldn’t do it. They say they care about their heart, but really if they found out that they’re not going to lose any weight doing this, they walk out the door. So let’s face it, we all care about losing weight and what is the contribution of high-intensity interval training to weight loss and is there a one-two punch with high-intensity interval training and diet. And sorry if the sirens in New York City are overpowering me.

Dr. Gibala: It’s fine, and I agree with you, whether it’s 90/10, whether it’s 80/20, clearly the energy inside of the equation is much more important. Controlling body size, body composition through diet is the primary driver there. Exercise can play a role with weight loss maintenance I think over time. High-intensity interval training just like it’s a time efficient way to boost fitness, it’s a time efficient way to burn calories, but the primary driver is still going to be nutrition, and so we’ve shown in our lab that a twenty minute session of intervals can result in the same calorie burn as a 55 minute of continuous exercise, so again, if you’re looking for time-efficient ways to burn calories, intervals can be a good strategy there. Personal trainers talk about the after burn effect, this idea of a heightened rate of metabolism in recovery. It’s often overstated but it’s real, we’ve measured it and demonstrated it in the lab, but again, they’re small. As you all know, the key controlling variable there is the nutrition side and you use the exercise side to help maintain that over time, and it’s mainly important about cardiorespiratory fitness but you’re right, the people are still interested with how they look in the mirror, absolutely, all of us are.

Adam: I’m sorry, it’s not going to be in your exercise camp. Exercise does a lot for us, but we put too many attributes on exercise’s shoulders if you will. Let’s leave that one off please. It does enough, you don’t have to also ask it to lose thirty pounds.

Dr. Gibala: People think you exercise to lose weight and that’s what confers all the fitness benefits. We like to just remind them, there’s that straight line between exercise and fitness, regardless of the number on the scale, and if you want to attack that number on the scale, you’ve got to make changes on the diet side. 

Adam: I appreciate all your time, and I’ve been monopolizing the whole conversation. I’m just curious if Tim or Sheila or Mike had any other questions or comments they’d like to make before we wrap this up?

Tim: Sure. If you don’t mind Dr. Gibala, one of the questions that I had was for somebody middle aged to pick up this high-intensity interval training, HIIT, what are some of the risks involved for somebody that says look, I haven’t worked out in years, I want to get started. You mentioned earlier a beginner program but what are some of the risks you’d be looking out for?

Dr. Gibala: The first one is our standard advice is always that if you’re thinking about starting or changing your exercise routine, you want to check with your physician. We’re doing a study right now with interval training in people with type two diabetes, and most of these individuals are fifty, sixty years old, many of them are overweight. So the first thing is they go through a full, exercise stress test cardiac screening. Now that’s obviously in a research setting, but I think checking with your doctor is always good advice on the individual level, because that’s going to potentially catch something, or maybe there’s an underling reason that you might not be cleared to engage in vigorous exercise so let’s get that out of the way. That being said, interval training has been applied broadly, in many different ways, to all of these people that we were talking about. Cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, elderly individuals, and so I think there’s a type of program interval training that’s suitable for just about anyone. I go back to my earlier comments, you want to start out easier, so don’t go from being on the couch to the one-minute workout of sprinting up stairs as hard as you can. Progress to that beginner workout or maybe the 10x1 or some of these other workouts that we star in the book. Again, it sounds like common sense and it is. Start out slow, build, progress from there. So the risks, exercise carries a transient risk. Let’s be realistic about that and so when you’re engaged in exercise, your risk of having a cardiac event is slightly higher, but the other 23 and a half hours of the day when you’re not exercising, your risk is markedly lower. So if the choice is even a single weekly bout of high-intensity exercise or nothing, you’re much better off doing the exercise. Here in Canada, you read the high-profile reports of the ice hockey player skates on a Friday night in a beer league with his buddies, and occasionally there’s these one off tragic events were someone has a heart attack and dies on the ice. Very tragic for this individual and people get scared of exercise and it’s like no on the big picture level, if you look at the epidemiological studies they will tell you that single weekly bout of exercise is protective in terms of reducing your risk of dying, but again, at the individual level, you want to make sure that you’re probably screened and cleared to begin with.

Adam: That was a point you made in your book and I thought it was great.

Dr. Gibala: We talk to some of these people who write the exercise guidelines, who deal every day — we talked to Paul Thompson, who is an expert exercise cardiologist and that’s the point that he made. He said that if your choices are remaining sedentary or doing HIIT, do HIIT. If you’re an older individual with some risk factors who is not time pressed, then maybe consider the moderate approach, but that message doesn’t resonate with a lot of individuals so I think as an individual, get checked by your physician, but people don’t need to be afraid of interval training. It comes in lots of different flavors, and there’s a flavor in my mind that’s suitable for just about anyone.

Mike: Right. Are there any known cardiac conditions where you have to be concerned about it that we know about? Valve or something?

Dr. Gibala: I’m not a cardiologist but certainly some schemas, some unstable anginas, things like this where those are really high-risk individuals that need to be carefully monitored, but I point to the fact that there’s a lot of cardiac rehabilitation programs now that are incorporating interval exercise and resistance exercise on a regular basis.

Mike: You spoke before about how you get a new boost. Like if you’re doing intervals for the first time you get a boost, and after a while, it goes up and then there’s some diminishing returns after a while. With your studies, with your experiments there, if you vary the stimulus, like say you do the beginner for a while, and then you find that you plateau. Have you shown that you just do a different interval workout and a new boost will happen?

Dr. Gibala: I think a varied approach is always going to be best. I think there were take some clues from the athletes again. Periodized training over the course of a season really is just about changing up workouts, hitting the body in different ways, and it’s just a common sense strategy that even average, recreational based people can incorporate. So yes, stick with a program for a bit of time, and then vary it up, or if you want, change the interval workouts every week, but the body thrives on variety. After a while, anyone is going to get a stale doing the same thing, so that’s why I think that varied approach to fitness is always going to be best.

Sheila: Adam actually asked the question that I was going to ask. It’s the question that most girls usually want to know about is burning fat. What I have a question about is are there any apps that you know of or do you have an app? Like I love apps, like you go outside and you have your phone and your headphones, like is there an app to do these different types of interval training?

Dr. Gibala: There are, a ton of them. Personally, I don’t use a specific one, but even recently I’ve gotten this question on Twitter so I’ve answered it a number of times and just pointed to a few sites that have the top ten best interval training apps. I think you can find a lot of them out there and it makes it easy. You sort of short your brain off and you just go when it says to go, and you back off when it says to stop. There’s lots of options out there.

Sheila: Exactly, great. So I’ll check that out and maybe we’ll list them in the show notes here.

Tim: How about rest and recovery, Dr. Gibala? Here at InForm Fitness, we go and workout once a week, we workout hard for 20-30 minutes, and then we take that week off to recover and prepare for that next workout. With this interval training, do you have any recommended rest and recovery periods

Dr. Gibala: I think it comes back to the intensity interval, so the more intense the nature of the training, the longer the recovery needs to be. It depends a little bit on if you’re talking about training for performance, training for health, so there’s all those variables but I think as a general rule of thumb, the more intense the interval, the longer the period of recovery that you’re going to need, and the more intense the interval training session, the longer the recovery days in between you might need. Again, it’s really individual then in terms of what you’re specifically looking for, especially if it’s just general health or if it’s performance.

Tim: So if somebody is near an InForm Fitness or decides to do this somewhere else perhaps, they can just listen to their body if they don’t have a trainer.

Dr. Gibala: Again, lots of common sense stuff but it’s common sense for a reason. It makes a lot of sense.

Adam: That’s a great way we can wrap it up I think, that says it all right there. This whole workout just makes sense, this whole idea that it’s the intensity over duration. 

Dr. Gibala: The other moniker we’ve come up with is life is an interval training workout. We don’t just sort of plod through life like this, you run to catch the subway or whatever, so I think this alternating pattern, alternating energy demands, interval training rewards that. 

Adam: Well thank you so much, I really enjoyed this talk. I appreciate your work so much. Don’t retire anytime soon please, keep going, there’s still a lot to find out, and I hope we can stay in touch.

Dr. Gibala: Pleasure to speak with all of you, I really appreciate the opportunity to be on the show and the great, insightful questions. Thanks for this opportunity.