Your Personal Trainer in Santa Rosa

Q&A with Tim Rogers

How would you describe the culture of Breakthrough Fitness?

We’re a friendly non-gym scene, where people can focus on the work. You don’t have to focus on if you have the right gym outfit on or whether your hair’s done right, or whether you’re going to be fit in or be accepted, because our trainers are all veteran trainers who really care about people.

We tend to attract a clientele of membership that are all friendly and understanding. You know they’re on their own journey towards fitness, and whatever fitness level you’re at, everybody has a starting point. That is just a really natural and supportive environment.

Since we work by appointment, we rarely have more than a few people in the gym at once.

What is your philosophy on fitness at Breakthrough Fitness?

Our philosophy is “less is more.” We offer a full-body workout that only takes you only thirty minutes. Ironically, it is called a Super Slow method, but you do it very quickly.

Super Slow is the most efficient exercise regime and offers the biggest benefit. It is the easiest to maintain and takes the least amount of time to perform.

In Super Slow, you move from machine to machine rapidly, but every exercise is done very slowly. Instead of doing multiple sets, you only do one set to the point of complete muscle fatigue. That is when you can’t do any more.

You’re taking a weight that’s much lighter than traditional weight lifting…maybe sixty or seventy percent of what you might normally do on a given exercise… and then you raise it up in ten seconds and lower in ten seconds.

That’s an ideal protocol. We’ll start people often at ten-ten and then some people will just settle into their own rhythm. Maybe it’s seven-seven or six-six, but you don’t get much faster than that because then you’re risking injury and your results will suffer.

Is that approach safer for joints?

Our version of training is much easier on the joints because you’re in control of the weight at all times. You’re essentially gently going to the fatigue-failure point and then you’re done with that exercise and onto the next one.

We are eliminating momentum and the many forces that can be really hard on your connective tissue.

As we age our connective tissue becomes less and less elastic. So it’s easier to get injured and the recovery time is longer because you’re not twenty years old anymore. You don’t recover like you used to, you actually need more time to recover from your workouts.

Most injuries result when people are lifting a heavy weight and they’re heaving or stabbing or jerking. They may let it free fall and what happens is they kind of bottom out a bit or they’ll bounce off the stack, but then they thrust again, and so that is typically where injuries occur…where you’ve got all that acceleration on the joints and the whole body. Then you’re quickly changing direction and, for most people, that’s where they get hurt.

This is approach helpful for those with osteoporosis?

Yes. Originally Super Slow it was developed from an osteoporosis study out of the University of Florida in Miami.

Empirically studying a number of different lifting protocols, they found that ten-ten was one of the best protocols available for people of all ages.  Like muscles, bones require stress be put on them to get stronger. That’s why bones of astronauts in orbit for long periods experience bone density loss. So Super Slow helps you strengthen your bones as well as muscle.

How did you get into this business?

I’ve always played sports; I’ve always worked out; I’ve done everything from boxing to football to baseball, and wrestling. I’ve always enjoyed working out. In fact, I loved it!

After graduating from college with a degree in engineering. The human body is itself just a great machine and a marvel of engineering; so I felt right at home. A good friend had a studio and encouraged me to work with him part time. I did training part time until I could decide what to do with my degree. And here I am these many years later, with a gym of my own and going strong in my fifteenth year. Working with people to help them achieve their fitness goals have been very satisfying.

What do people like most about your approach?

They’re thrilled with the results because it is one that works! They can see their bodies getting firmer; they can see themselves growing muscle; they can see themselves having more energy, and their metabolism increases.

What is the biggest challenge people face?

The big challenge for some people when they engage in any fitness program is addressing their food. Most people get a carte blanche kind of idea that when they start working out they think they get a free pass to eat wherever they want. But the reality is that to drop body fat you have to create a core deficit…to consume fewer calories than you are spending. That math is the same no matter what you’re doing.

In life, whatever training program you’re doing you know muscle is your friend as you age. Because when you add muscle to your body you increase your metabolism, and if you increase your metabolism, then not only do you have more energy, you’re burning more calories when your body is at rest. And that means while you are sitting, sleeping, walking, and talking, your body is burning calories around the clock. The big gain in all of this is that you have more energy and you are boosting your metabolism.

Often that improvement in metabolism tilts the scale in your favor and you begin to see the pounds gradually slip away.

What do your clients tell you their greatest benefits are from working with a trainer at Breakthrough Fitness?

They notice an ability to be more active, so they might play more games of golf; they’re more mobile; they’re more flexible; and they have greater stamina so they can get through their work days with less difficulty. There’s more “gas in the tank” at the end of the day. And I’m told they are more apt to engage in recreational activities with their families. They’re more likely to pursue sports that they gave up like skiing or tennis.

Are they able to avoid injuries by being in better shape?

The stronger you are, the less likely you are to suffer from injury. One reason is that your stronger muscles can improve your balance and prevent a bone-breaking fall.

When people injured themselves they were sometimes tempted to do something they haven’t done in a long time and use their muscles in an improper way. If they had worked out regularly, they would be less likely to injure themselves.

As an interesting side note, researchers also found that the more muscle you have in your body, the more resistant your body is to disease. So just by adding muscle to your body you’re going to ward off illness with more success.

So the benefits of doing Super Slow training is not only to get your muscles stronger, but to re-educated your body in how to lift things and how to move your body in a safer way. By increasing your body awareness as to just how you are using your body to lift something, and understanding where your body is in relation to the object you are lifting or in relation to other body parts, training will make your daily functioning and sporting events safer and more comfortable.

Does your training program keep the various muscles in shape that normally might atrophy?

Without challenging exercise, the muscles slowly revert to the minimum necessary to continue to function adequately. But that may not be enough to prevent a fall if you lose your balance.

The majority of people just get deconditioned overall. The saying “use it or lose it” is true. Most women suffer with upper body strength and men, for some reason or another, tend to have more upper body strength. That relates to a lot of factors including increased testosterone. But the reality is, whether a man or woman, whether you’re sedentary or whether you’re a lifelong athlete or you’re somebody who’s never exercised, Super Slow is ideal. I say that because you’re using a safe method, proven to be efficient and effective in growing muscle.

You get results in a shorter amount of time with less risk of injury.

Do I need to work with a trainer?

It is important to be working with a trainer initially. The majority of clients in our gym work with a trainer on a regular basis, one to two times per week. We have seen the best results when people workout a minimum of once a week with a trainer…and preferably twice a week.

Many of our clients who supervise themselves also workout with the trainer on a regular basis to make sure that they’re trained with good intensity, good form, and stay motivated and on track.

How easy is it for people to get back in shape?

It is easy. Really! When you exercise consistently with the trainer twice a week, for say six to eight weeks, you will notice a big difference in your body tone, the way you feel, the way your muscles work, your flexibility, and your energy. Being in shape benefits you in all your activities.

How easy is it for people to get started and develop a work program that they’re comfortable with?

People find it is easier because we make the gym an attractive, comfortable environment. There is no loud music or walls of mirrors. It’s not a scene. We’re designed to be comfortable and available for people to come in and feel at ease. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never lifted a weight in your life or if you’ve lifted weights or done strength training for years.

How do I get started?

Taking a look at the gym, getting a feel for it, and having a conversation is a great start. We want you to evaluate Breakthrough Fitness and the manner in which we like to train. You also get a feel for how the trainer likes to work and you can establish rapport and assure this a good fit and the trainer is somebody that you feel can help you achieve your goals. It is that easy.

We start people off with two introductory sessions. For people who are interested in working with a trainer, we offer a risk-free opportunity to evaluate the program with no obligation to join.

After that, we like to encourage people to work with a trainer two times a week as your constraints allow. Doing it twice a week on a regular basis is a great start. We’ll teach you how to do your workout so you can become self-supervised in a short time. We encourage people to do about ten to twelve workouts with the trainer before they attempt to work out on their own. We want to make sure that they’re safe and able to set machines properly so they’re not going to injure them self in any way and so the workouts can be effective with the intensity high enough to get the results they seek.

How do people get matched with a trainer?

They can contact me here at the gym by stopping by or calling or e-mail. After I’ve spoken with you and I get a feel for your workout history and maybe a brief medical history, I can assess which of our trainers would be good match.

All our trainers are very considerate. In most cases, I’ve known the trainers for years and years. They’re my friends and my family and so I would probably have a more natural feel for who would work best with someone. We can always change if necessary.

It isn’t the most important thing for you to decide which trainer right away. Just getting started is the best thing.
Do you match people so they’ll have rapport with a particular trainer?

Some of our trainers will have somewhat different personalities. Some may be more nurturing; some might be more drill-sergeant-like (some people insist on that!).

What else do you offer?

Downstairs on the lower level we offer yoga and Pilates and we have two massage therapists you can book with in advance, according to your schedule.

How many people are usually in the gym at one time?

We’re more of a studio gym. We’re not a giant gym. At any given time, you will probably find there’s going to be three to six people on the workout floor. It’s very comfortable, not crowded even during our busier times. The trainers stay focused on the workout and minimize distraction.

So what is a workout like?

So what’s great about that is when you come to the door all you’ve got to do is show up and your trainer is going to take care of everything. They’re going to take care of setting all machines, the weights, and take you through from the very beginning to the very end, from the very lift off of the first weight to the very last set down, safe, in a controlled manner.