SuperSlow! Training (Super Fast Time) with LINDA COLE of 4 Ideal Fitness

Don't confuse a quick workout with an easy workout, get ready to burn.

My interest in SuperSlow was first sparked when I saw a story on 20/20, where Barbara Walters told of her and Lesley Stahl's experience with this unique form of training. Since both of these women look terrific and have enough money and influence to have access to any type of exercise routine they want, my interest was peaked when they both raved about SuperSlow training. With my schedule being what it is, I put off researching SuperSlow until last week when I finally took the time to drive to West LA to meet Linda Cole and get introduced to SuperSlow. 

The 4 Ideal Fitness Studio is the largest strength training facility of its kind on the West Coast and is located on Sepulveda north of Santa Monica, in an attractive office building. You will need to find street parking, but that shouldn't be a problem and you won't need to put much money in your parking meter since your workout will only be 20 to 30 minutes. When entering the office building off of Massachusetts, you will notice that 4 Ideal Fitness has five adjoining rooms as their studio.

Each room has been set up as a separate work station divided into A B C & D spaces so that Linda and her three other trainers can schedule their clients for private one-on-one training. Clients train only once to twice per week, so that their muscle fibers may have adequate recovery time to grow back together leaving them stronger by their next workout. The Studio opened in March 2003, in response to the enormous sensation SuperSlow was making in New York and Chicago.

When you first meet Linda get ready for a whirlwind of information and enthusiasm wrapped in a slim, attractive woman without an ounce of extra fat. Her overflowing enthusiasm, passion and knowledge reminded me of Jack La Lane. Linda will offer you evidence of SuperSlow's benefits in the form of various books in her well stocked library to prove her statements, showing her thorough understanding and knowledge of her topic even though I don't much care about what is in the books since anyone can write anything, I care about the results! Linda is very proud of the extensive training that she needed to go through in order to become an official certified trainer for ?Super Slow.?

4 Ideal Fitness is equipped with medical grade weight machines made by MedX, to the specifications of the founder of SuperSlow, Ken Hutchins, which he originated in 1982. It was developed in an osteoporosis study with older women because of the need to utilize a safer speed for subjects to perform the resistance exercises. The result was the beginning of a new resistance training technique, which became known as SuperSlow strength training. For those of you who want the scientific details such as ?Each muscle fiber (or muscle cell) contains up to several hundred to several thousand myofibrils, which are composed of myosin (thick) and actin (thin) protein filaments (Guyton and Hall, 1996). The repeating units of thick and thin filaments within each myofibril comprise the basic contractile unit, the sarcomere.? go to

For the rest of us, Linda explains, ?Once we adjust the equipment to fit your size and strength level, our goal is to work your muscles into a fatigued state so that serious metabolic changes occur.  Unlike other forms of strength training, we use 5 pieces of equipment per session, allowing for just one set of exercises during two to three minutes on each machine.  As you become stronger, more weight is added to promote muscle failure. This practice increases muscle strength, bone density, endurance and flexibility.  It also improves cardiovascular efficiency, metabolism and body shape while promoting fat loss.?

It doesn't matter how strong or weak you are, you will be brought to the point where your muscles fail completely. The machines have one pound plates vs. 5 or 10 lbs. on standard weight machines. The emphasis is not on the weight, the purpose after all is to bring the muscle to failure, so the emphasis is on the smoothness of, and time it takes to, complete the exercise. The movement is like doing the routine in slow motion, 8-12 seconds, with 10 being the ideal, for both the ?concentric' portion of each strengthening movement (in which muscles actually shorten as they are activated) and the ?eccentric' portion (in which muscles are forced to elongate as they are activated) with no pausing or jerking and no help from the momentum of the weights. Under the watchful eye of Linda or one of her trainers you go to muscle failure. This allows the muscle to rebuild giving you the added strength and tone vs. standard weight training as well as much less chance of injury.

Not only does super slow training promise to deliver greater gains in muscle size and strength than conventional programs, it's also said to be better than other forms of exercise for helping you lose weight. In fact, the guidelines dictate that aerobic exercise (such as running or cycling) is unnecessary, and keeps you from improving as much as you would if you just stuck to SuperSlow training.

I have been training with a personal trainer for approx. two years. My trainer is very knowledgeable and is all business, so I am used to a non social, focused workout. Although my training has slipped to once a week or once every other week or less, when I was at my optimal workout schedule, I was going for one hour 3 times a week. Throw in travel time and I was spending four and a half hours a week on my training. Even though 4 Ideal Fitness is thirty minutes away vs. the fifteen minutes of my present trainer, going once a week for a maximum of 30 minutes a session would mean, including travel time, one and a half hours of training a week for a time savings of three hours per week if I were able to go and train there. You do the math, how much is your time worth? This is net time but when you add the mental preparation necessary to get into the mood to leave work to go to your workout, then include the change of focus and the need to get back into your work, it is actually much more time than just the net travel and work out time would indicate.

As far as my experience, although the workout is difficult, you don't seem to be able to cheat so you will apparently always feel that burn. So if you really want to achieve the maximum results in the minimum time period, you should give SuperSlow a try. The rate is $75 per session.

4 Ideal Fitness, Inc.'s diverse client list includes: medical professionals, attorneys, entertainment industry executives, actors, athletes, housewives, corporate trainers and seniors. Cole's client, professional baseball instructor Nick Holmes is so impressed by SuperSlow that he plans to implement the technique into his conditioning programs for his athletes, just as a number of professional sports teams have done. 

4 Ideal Fitness, Inc. currently trains over 100 people of varying fitness levels per week. Ms. Cole says, ?Our clients range from age 17 to 85. The majority report that they dislike the large, crowded gym atmosphere and simply do not have the time to drive to a gym, wait on line for machines, squeeze in some training time, shower and change and then get to where they are going.  We have people zip in, do their 30 minute workout and head back to their busy lives, families and businesses.  We want them to be fit for their diverse array of recreational activities.?

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