Published on July 2nd, 2018 | by Maria Karameros


Slow Down and Feel the Burn

by Maria Karameros

Fitness trends come and go, but few have as much empirical support as the Slow Burn workout. Based on a method of resistance training called the SuperSlow protocol, this workout burns fat, builds muscle and increases strength. Even more impressive is the fact that it can be done in as little as 12 minutes a week.

The SuperSlow protocol came about in 1982 when a designer for Nautilus, Inc., devised a way for osteoporosis sufferers to safely train for a research study. To protect the frail, elderly subjects from injury, they were instructed to use slow, controlled movements with low weights. Their gains in strength were so promising that YMCA fitness Research Director Dr. Westcott ran several studies a decade later, comparing the method to traditional repetition/speed programs, and found a 50 percent difference in strength gains. Despite its original intent, people of all fitness levels can benefit from the protocol.

The logic of the workout is to slowly perform each repetition for 10 seconds in each phase of movement so that the muscles become fatigued with a small number of reps. These controlled, thoughtful movements eliminate the momentum the weight exerts on the exerciser (momentum is counterproductive because it decreases the work a muscle does). The result is an efficient and intense workout.

Despite this intensity, in his book Body by Science, exercise scientist Dr. Doug McGuff states SuperSlow is far safer than regular forms of weight training. One longtime enthusiast of the protocol and book is local Chiropractor and Licensed Acupuncturist, Dr. Steve Lavitan, believes that the Slow Burn and Body by Science program is the safest, fastest, most efficacious way to increase strength; increase lean body mass; slow down and even reverse osteoporosis; strip glycogen from muscles and increase insulin sensitivity; increase muscle mass and organ reserve;  and increase cardiac efficiency.

The benefits are fairly self-explanatory, except for organ reserve—according to the Journal of Integrative Medicine—the capacity of the internal organs to support life. When people are young and reserves are high, organs are resilient to illness, injury and toxins, but the reserves tend to diminish in old age to the point of organ failure. Muscle mass and organ reserve are strongly correlated; generally, the more a person has of one, the more they have of the other, regardless of age.

The implications of these benefits led Lavitan to pioneer the Slow Burn workout in Northern New Jersey by influencing a neighboring fitness studio to adopt the workout, where it has since become beloved by clients.

At OnPoint Fitness Studio, clients can expect a personalized and flexible routine created by a knowledgeable staff that caters to those interested in the Slow Burn workout or other one-on-one fitness regimens. The facility offers in part free weights, cardio equipment and numerous Nautilus resistance machines. The latter are used for their extremely effective Slow Burn workout. George Miranda, a partner and trainer at OnPoint, notes the workout’s slow tempo promotes good form, and while it adds muscle mass and strength, it won’t necessarily make clients look bulky (a concern for some females). OnPoint Fitness is ideal for the self-conscious, that may not want to work out in front of other patrons or be surrounded by mirrors. Clients have the option of having a male or a female trainer. The Slow Burn is perfect for anyone looking for a time-efficient workout to escape a fitness plateau or even to inject more strength and stamina into their lifestyle.

Natural Awakenings readers receive a free introductory session for a limited time. OnPoint Fitness is located at 409 Cedar Lane, in Teaneck. For appointments, call 201-357-5935 or visit OnPointStudio.net.

Maria Karameros is a contributing writer for Natural Awakenings magazine.

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