Ask Andrei: Rethinking “Exercise” → Strength for Healing + Longevity
I’ll be the first to admit, I have a tendency for approaching exercise from an egotistical perspective. Being "fit" has simply been a consequence of my pursuit of looking fit from a more outwardly (okay, downright vain) physical sense.
My journey with Mindful Strength Training (MST) with Andrei at New Element Training (NET) has already begun to transform my approach to how I think about “exercise” - the benefits of which are becoming clearer, and the quest for a certain body has truthfully taken a backseat.
Our paths crossed when I decided that I needed the Big Five workout in my life, because maybe just ‘staying slim’ wasn’t enough: I needed strength. The idea of more efficient training with more impactful results (in less time) had me hooked, but I’m beginning to realize there’s so much more going on in the quiet corners of the NET space.
Mindfulness and tapping into the Present moment through activating your fight-or-flight response was my first big ‘a-ha’ moment in my training journey, and now I’ve clocked in on another delightful surprise: it’s pain-reducing medically-advised therapy.
For those of you who are suffering with some form of reduced mobility, and/or live with physical pain in any part of your body - listen up.
What you may have ‘normalized’ or have just accepted as either growing old or as a result of previous injury, might be entirely wrong.
The Right Equipment is Vital
"NET uses exclusively MedX (Medical Exercise) and its German manufactured version, Delphex. These machines are based on over 30 years of University level R&D with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on research. There is nothing like this on the market. They are simply the BEST strength training tools in my - and any other who understands the intricacies of good equipment - opinion.
Well-designed equipment, a rarity in today's fitness market, is always better than a free weight. Free weights have limitations; a well designed machine solves those limitations by making our strength training practice more effective.
It is hard to explain why they are better until someone tries them out. Just the other day I went to a local gym near my house and used TechnoGym equipment (which is supposed to be really good) and the difference is huge! It is like driving Ferrari vs Ford. MedX of course being Ferrari (no offence to Ford)."
Strength Training is a Must-Have not a Nice-to-Have
"Muscles WILL atrophy if not used, no IF’s or BUT’s. You can build muscle at any age. Effective and safe strength training is a MUST for everyone, especially after our 25th birthday, because that's when we start slowly, but surely lose muscle tissue.
Cardio or activities like Yoga or Pilates are not enough by themselves. Muscles need to be progressively stimulated to develop and maintain an optimal strength and muscle health."
When it Comes to Pain-Reduction: Can You Fix it and Be Done?
"It really depends. We spend most of our lives developing certain musculoskeletal imbalances. For example, sitting on a chair in a hunched forward position all day long, or spending too much time looking down at our cell phones. It took us so many years to develop certain weakness and patterns in our body. It simply takes time to reverse them.
Unfortunately, our body learns how to preferably engage the muscles it ‘knows’ how to use, hence it is hard to target certain weakened muscles. The benefits of NET’s equipment is that it it is designed to precisely isolate specific weakened areas in our body.
With some issues you could probably do well on your own after a period of close training with machines, with other problem areas, you would do much better to keep using NET’s equipment (lumbar extension exercise is a good example of such case)."
Are All Types of Pain Reversable?
"Basically there are two types of mechanical musculoskeletal pain: functional and structural.
We have functional pain when muscles get out of balance and pulls a joint out of its perfect alignment. We have structural pain when there is a structural damage to the tissue.
We can help ALL functional cases. With structural, it is a bit more complicated, but we do have a highly qualified physiotherapist who would look after those situations.
There are also people with chronic pain and in those cases we need to take into consideration their psychology. Generally, we find people with the right kind of positive attitude do very well at NET."
The Role of Inflammation
"Systemic Chronic Inflammation is associated with unfavourable cholesterol profile, cardiovascular risk factors, and cancer just to name a few.
NET's method helps to reducing this by:
1) Lowering blood glucose; and
2) Producing large quantities of a certain type of anti-inflammatory Myokine (hormone-like chemical messengers produced by contracting muscle).
Note, you still need to change your diet for the best results!"
If you're still not convinced, if NET is right for you, know that there are not many health conditions where effective and safe strength training could NOT help! Andrei refers to it as the ultimate 'Elixir of Youth'.
No other modality provides as many health benefits at once as strength training - particularly when practices with the NET method. Here are a few to get excited about:
Increases bone mineral density
Lowers system inflammation
Reduces chances developing type II Diabetes
Reduces cardiovascular risk factors
Increases cardiovascular fitness
Burns body fat
Improves cognitive function
Increase gastrointestinal transit time
Improves insulin sensitivity
Improves cholesterol profile
Reduces blood triglycerides (fat)
Alleviates Parkinson disease
Reduces risk of developing physical disability
Increases capacity to joy life and self-confidence
Decrease all-cause mortality
Have a question for Andrei? Post it in the comments below and we might just answer it in the next 'Ask Andrei' segment!