PFTL News July 2020


Our studio has been open since June 8.  Several clients have come back, and slowly others are returning as they feel comfortable with our environment and precautions.  We will continue to require masks for all people entering the studio.  We will continue to take temperatures and ask in writing about current symptoms. Hand sanitizers, disposable gloves, alcohol wipes are scattered throughout the facility.

All trainers are wiping surfaces and equipment both before and after being touched. Professional disinfecting and cleaning is done twice per week.  No equipment that cannot be wiped easily will be available for use.

We hope we will see more clients return, but we understand that it is a very personal decision and we respect whatever our clients decide.


You exercise and eat well during the day. Then at night, there’s not much else to do — everything except sleep. But just like you need to invest in your fitness and food intake, you also need to catch the right amount of zzzs, especially if you’re trying to build muscle.

“Diet, exercise and sleep are the pillars of health and the key to building muscle,” Kasey Nichols, NMD, a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine who specializes in sleep disorders. “Without one of these pillars, your muscle-building routine will be suboptimal at best and permanently damaging at worst.”

Why Sleep Is Key to Muscle Growth – After a strenuous strength-training session, your muscles are in need of repair. When we sleep, our bodies are flooded with muscle-building, or anabolic, hormones including insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and testosterone, which help build and repair the damage, Nichols says.

“Missing sleep or not getting enough disrupts the amount and timing of anabolic hormone secretion, which means that you will not get the growth and strength increases you work so hard for at the gym,” Nichols says.

A December 2017 study of over 10,000 people in the Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions found that good sleep quality is associated with greater muscle strength, while sleeping fewer than six hours a night may be a risk factor for decreased muscle strength. The authors point out that the number of hours you sleep is important, but the quality of sleep you’re getting each night matters just as much.

“Each phase of our sleep cycle contributes to muscular repair and growth in different ways. This is why it is important to not just sleep enough but to sleep well,” says Sarah Ray, a National Strength and Conditioning Association-certified trainer and head of business at Volt Athletics. “If you are breezing through or missing stages of sleep due to poor sleep environments, you’re not optimizing the recovery window.”

Too-Little Sleep Can Sabotage Your Workouts – How much sleep is enough? The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults get seven or more hours of sleep per night. If you happen to have a spare hour in the day and the choice between a full night of sleep and an extra hour of exercise, choose the sleep, says Sujay Kansagra, MD, doctor of neurology and sleep medicine, director of the Duke Pediatric Neurology Sleep Medicine Program.  “If you don’t sleep, your workouts are likely to not be as effective anyway, since you won’t perform as well,” Dr. Kansagra says. “Sleep deprivation lowers motivation to exercise. It can also negatively impact exercises that require persistent effort for long periods of time.”

A systematic review published March 2018 in Sports Medicine looked at 10 sleep intervention studies and concluded that getting more sleep was the intervention most beneficial to athletic performance.

And according to a February 2015 study in Sports Medicine, sleep deprivation causes a nervous system imbalance and ultimately slower and less-accurate cognitive performance, such as slower reaction times and suboptimal endurance, which are detrimental to any fitness performance.

ALL EARS (from March 2020)

From infections to hearing disabilities, you may think you’ve heard it all when it comes to the ear. This complex system of tiny parts not only helps us to process sound but also keeps us balanced and performing well during physical exercise.

The structure has three parts: outer ear, middle ear and inner ear.

The outer ear is composed of the pinna, or auricle—the rounded cartilage visible outside—and the auditory canal, which connects to the middle ear through the tympanic membrane, or the eardrum.

The middle ear includes the ossicles, three small bones that vibrate and transmit sound waves to the inner ear; and the eustachian tube, a mucus-lined canal that connects to the back of the nose and helps to equalize pressure on both sides of the eardrum.

Finally, the inner ear comprises the cochlea, a spiral-shaped nerve receptor that translates sound vibrations into electrical impulses for the brain; and the vestibule and semicircular canals, which contain receptors that regulate our sense of equilibrium.

Here are more sound facts that you may not have heard about ears:

Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve ear health, since cardiovascular fitness ensures an ample supply of oxygen-rich blood to the ears and surrounding organs (Patino 2010).

In the cochlea, researchers have identified a biological circadian clock that controls how well hearing damage heals at different times of the day—a discovery that may influence future treatment of hearing disabilities (Karolinska Institutet 2014).

Eating a healthy diet that includes antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of vegetables can reduce the risk of hearing loss (BWH 2019; Le Prell et al. 2011).

The ear’s reputation for endless growth rings true: As people age, the ear’s circumference increases, on average, about half a millimeter per year, due to age-related changes in collagen (Bradford 2016).

Stress and anxiety can increase the production of earwax, also called cerumen, since this protective substance is produced by the same class of glands that secrete sweat as an emotional response (HuffPost 2014; Bradford 2016).

PFTL News June 2020


Pursuant to the Governor’s orders, we will be able to re-open on June 8.  But we will be operating very differently to ensure the health and safety of clients and trainers.  A detailed description of the new operating procedures was sent out last week.  If you want an additional copy, please contact Debora or your trainer.  A brief summary is below:

  1. No more than 2 clients per hour will be scheduled, with at least 30 minutes between sessions. Appointments only, no Open Gym.
  1. Admittance to the studio – Masks will be required for entry. Temperatures will be taken at the door. Health questionnaires and waivers will be completed and signed. Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be practiced at all times
  1. All surfaces that are touched will be wiped with a disinfectant before and after touch or use by both trainers and/or clients.
  1. Equipment that cannot be easily cleaned will not be available (e.g. cloth mats, rollers, massage tools, ankle weights, etc)
  1. Professional disinfecting cleaning of all surfaces will be done 2X/week.
  1. Water will not be dispensed from the water cooler.  We will provide small water bottles at the entrance.
  1. No items should be brought into the studio.  If phones must be kept nearby, we advise wearing a waist pack and carrying it. We will provide bags for your belongings at the entrance if necessary, but we ask that you keep most things at home or in your car.


Some of you may have received this thought-provoking article, but it is worth reading again, and again. Two things stood out to me, one, an understanding of the resilience of our grandparents and parents, and two, that we cannot always control what happens in life, but we CAN overcome.


On your 14th birthday World War I starts and ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.

When you turn 39, World War II starts. You are not even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.

Smallpox was epidemic until you were in your 40′s, as it killed 300 million people during your lifetime.

At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. From your birth, until you are 55 you dealt with the fear of Polio epidemics each summer. You experience friends and family contracting polio and being paralyzed and/or die. 

At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. During the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation. On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended. When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that? Perspective is an amazing art. Refined and enlightening as time goes on. We will endure this as well.”


Although diet can be a factor in many chronic health conditions, surprisingly, U.S.-trained doctors receive little or no formal training in nutrition. (Estimates are that, on average, students in medical schools spend less than 1% of lecture time learning about diet.) Staff and students at the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic would like to see that knowledge gap rectified.

In the report Doctoring Our Diet: Policy Tools to Include Nutrition Training in U.S. Medical Training, the group issued recommendations for improving nutrition education in undergraduate, graduate and continuing medical education. The report says that nutrition education should be required in medical school and that physicians should be required to take continuing education courses in nutrition to maintain medical licenses. The end goal? Supporting better health outcomes for patients.

SARTORIUS MUSCLE  (from IDEA Fitness Journal May 2020)

You may not be familiar with the sartorius muscle, but you’ve no doubt flexed it during countless lower-body exercises, stretches and yoga poses.

The long, bandlike muscle runs down the length of the thigh, starting at the upper, outer edge of the hip bone and wrapping inward to the inside surface of the lower leg bone behind the knee.

As a two-joint muscle, the sartorius seamlessly serves both the hip and the knee. When acting on the hip joint, it works to flex, abduct, and laterally rotate the thigh. At the knee joint, the sartorius helps to flex the leg.

This versatility of movement is what allows you to sit cross-legged and to rotate your leg upward to inspect your heel or rest your foot on your knee (Barclay 2017; Kenhub 2020).

Here are more facts to stitch up your knowledge of the sartorius:

  • Its name is derived from the Latin word for “tailor,” since the hip and knee movements it facilitates mimic a tailor sitting cross-legged to work (Barclay 2017).
  • The sartorius is the longest muscle in the human body (Barclay 2017).
  • Strengthening exercises for the sartorius include standard squats and lunges, lateral step-ups, lateral band walks, plié squats, and clamshell exercises (Williams 2020).

PFTL ReOpening June 8 !!


We are planning to re-open on June 8.  We are looking forward to welcoming you back; however, we will be operating quite a bit differently than before.  We will be taking many precautions to ensure that the studio is a safe place to resume your training.  If you do not feel comfortable returning at this time, we totally understand and will try to work out some arrangement which may include virtual training, outdoor sessions, or just staying touch for the time being.

The following describes some of the precautions and new procedures we have established for studio training. 


1. A complete disinfecting clean-up of the entire facility was done this week. Professional disinfecting cleaning of all surfaces will be done 2X/week.

2. Hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes and gloves will be available throughout the workout areas

3. Mats, straps, ankle weights, yoga blocks, massage tools and rollers will not be available, as they cannot easily be washed between usage.


5. Upholstered chairs have been replaced with metal folding chairs for easy cleaning.

6.  Only those with appointments will be allowed in.  No Open Gym for now.


1. Masks will be worn at all times

2. Social distancing of 6-10 ft will be in practice

3. Temperatures will be taken at the entrance., and questionnaires about current health will be completed each time. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms will not be admitted.

4. Hand sanitizers will be used before entering the workout area

5. Anything that is touched will be wiped down before and after use by the trainer and/or client; this includes all equipment, restroom surfaces, door handles, fans, etc.

6. Water will not be dispensed from the water cooler.  We will provide small water bottles at the entrance.

7. No items should be brought into the studio.  If phones must be kept nearby, we advise wearing a waist pack and carrying it. We will provide bags for your belongings at the entrance if necessary, but we ask that you keep most things at home or in your car.

8.  No more than 2 people will be allowed in the entranceway at one time. Others should wait outside until only one person is there.


Whether you come to the studio or not is a personal decision. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure what’s best for you. If you’re at high risk, such as over the age of 65 or have a high-risk medical condition like lung or heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system, you may need to postpone coming to the studio at this time.

If you decide it is time to come back, here’s what you need to know to stay as safe as possible.

1.Social distancing is still a must. Ensure that you do not use cardio machines that are right next to each other. There should be at least 6 feet between you and your any treadmill or bike buddy. The staff at the studio can’t totally protect you; they may remind you, but personal responsibility is big here. It’s up to you to stay away from others. Don’t use a machine next to someone else – remember, 6 feet at a minimum.

2. Wear a mask all the time as it adds another layer of protection for you and others. While it might be tough when huffing and puffing in an intense workout, wear one anyway.

3. And remember, don’t touch your face! The main way the virus spreads is directly from person to person from someone close by. But the other way is when someone breathes, sneezes or coughs the virus onto a surface, you come along and touch that surface, then touch your face, and the virus gains entry through your nose, mouth or eyes. Sometimes wearing gloves will remind you not to touch your face.

4. And lastly, when you’re done with your workout, wash your hands! Use the hand sanitizer or wash up in the gym bathroom; use a paper towel or disinfectant wipe to turn off all faucets and open all doors until you’re out of the gym. Toss it in the trash.

This is a new world for everyone, we will be monitoring and changing procedures as necessary to insure the health and safety of everyone.

Home Exercise #3

Here’s some additional exercises for a little cardio followed by a form of squatting. If you have not exercised for awhile and feel really “out of condition”, check with your doctor first to see if it is OK to do these exercises.

Doing 2 sets of 10 reps for each exercise (combined with the other ones sent earlier). 3X/week may help to keep you in good condition, until you can resume training with your trainer.

Just remember for each exercise:

  • Warm up about 5 minutes or more before doing the exercises
  • Maintain good postural alignment, especially be mindful of your low back.
  • Keep breathing;  never hold your breath

Jumping Jacks

1. Begin standing with your feet side-by-side, arms at your sides.

2. Simultaneously jump your legs a few feet apart while sweeping your arms overhead.

3. As you land, rebound quickly and jump your feet back side-by-side, sweeping your arms back down.

4. Continue jumping your feet together and apart, sweeping your arms at the same time.

Sometimes jumping gets a bad rap, but when it comes to increasing bone density it can be a good thing. A jumping jack is one of the best plyometric (plyo) exercises out there, and it’s a fantastic cardiovascular drill. If you’re looking for a way to improve your quickness, this is the exercise.

If this is too much for you, you can modify by not jumping and moving one leg each time you sweep your arms overhead.

Butt Kicks

1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart, arms by your side.

2. Drive your right heel towards your glute, bringing your left arm in front of you, as if you were running.

3. Alternate quickly, bringing your left heel towards your left glute, bringing the right arm forward.

4. Alternate legs and arms as quickly as possible.

This drill stretches your quadriceps as well as giving you a quick cardio boost.

Plie Squat

1. Stand with your feet much wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out.

2. Pushing your knees out and hips back, lower into a squat until your legs form a 90-degree angle.

3. Pushing through your heels, use your hamstrings and inner thighs to rise back up to standing.

If you have questions about any of the exercises we have sent for home workouts, contact Debora at [email protected]

PFTL News May 2020


Pursuant to the Governor’s orders, we are still closed for training sessions. But weekly cleanings and disinfecting is continuing until opening again. We have always used disinfecting wipes and sprays, and these will be abundant when we re-open as well as gloves and hand sanitizers. 

Several trainers are providing virtual training sessions using Facetime and Zoom. If you are interested in trying out virtual training, please let us know.  Your regular trainer may not be available for this, but another trainer may be able to provide it. 

We may be providing a virtual group exercise class to be viewed from your home.  There will be a minimal charge to register for this class.  More information will be sent soon.  Also, watch for emails from us about exercises you can do at home.

Something New:  If you would like to rent some of our studio equipment, dumbbells, tubing, balls, body bars, steps, balance boards, etc., for exercising at home, please contact us for rental prices.  We will disinfect the equipment before you rent it, and after you return it.  Arrangements will be made for pickup outside the studio. Contact Debora at [email protected]


We all know that “social-distancing” must be maintained to protect ourselves from contact with possible infected people and items.  But it is almost impossible to do this 100%, especially if we buy groceries and drugstore items, open mail and packages, etc.

So, we must also make sure that our immune systems are healthy. 

So, What Is the Immune System? Put simply: “The immune system is all the parts of the body that help to defend us against infection, whether by bacteria, virus, fungi, mold or parasites,” says Adam Lacy-Hulbert, PhD, who conducts research on immunity at the Benaroya Research Institute.

T Cells and B Cells – The immune system includes white blood cells called lymphocytes, and two types of these lymphocytes — T cells and B cells— play a role when something foreign threatens the body. “The job of T cells is to recognize and kill cells that are infected,” Lacy-Hulbert says. “The job of B cells is to make antibodies that are designed to bind specifically to viruses and bacteria, and to neutralize them to stop them from working.”

Some of these B and T cells become memory cells; they remain dormant until they get the word that something they know how to fight (whether from experience with a vaccine or previous infection) has intruded.  “That immune memory you have can last for a lifetime,” Lacy-Hulbert says, which is important for fighting off infection faster and allowing the body to recover more quickly.

Innate Cells – T cells and B cells are very important, but their laser-like focus can actually be problematic at times. “They don’t know what to attack all the time,” Lacy-Hulbert explains. To balance this out, another part of the immune system — the innate system, which is composed of a different group of cells — acts as a kind of patrol, directing the B and T cells.

“Innate cells try to work out what’s going on, go to lymph nodes, interact with T and B and tell them what the deal is and whether they need to neutralize or kill [what’s triggering the immune system],” Lacy-Hulbert says.  Innate immune cells are messengers; if you get a cut on your skin and that cut gets infected, innate immune cells “send out an alarm” to signal a need for help, Lacy-Hulbert says.

Neutrophils and Monocytes – These innate cells recruit a host of other immune cells, called neutrophils and monocytes, which speed their way to the site of injury and fight whatever they find. Essentially, these are the workhorses of the immune system, Lacy-Hulbert says.

Neutrophils and monocytes are early-wave defenders. They work hard, but without much specific knowledge about the infection, so they can cause damage to host cells, stimulate inflammation and are often responsible for the pus that can form inside a cut.

These cells hold down the fort, so to speak, until those specialized T and B cells arrive to fight the infection in a specific way, if necessary.


1. Exercise Boosts Immune Cell Function

Here’s what happens when you head out for a 30-minute walk: Muscle movement and an increased heart rate prompt immune cells to come out of their holding spots (e.g. lungs, spleen, lymph nodes), says David Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, a biology professor at Appalachian State University in Kannapolis, NC, and an exercise immunology researcher.

Because of that walk, there are more immune cells — natural killer (NK) cells and macrophages, specifically — circulating, primed and ready to seek and destroy pathogens. This effect is short-lived, but it adds up over time to strengthen your body’s defenses, something that Nieman wrote about in May 2019 paper published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science.

Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day is enough to trigger this immune response, Nieman says. Compared to staying sedentary, “our data show that this amount of exercise decreases sick days up to 50 percent,” he says, citing his research published in April 2011 in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. A May 2017 study from PLOS One came to a similar conclusion that less active people reported more sick days.

2. Heavy Breathing Ultimately Helps You Breathe Better –Cold and flu season is rough, but staying active can make it easier to stay healthy. “Regular exercise has been shown to flush bacteria out of lungs and reduce respiratory infections,” says Purvi Parikh, MD, an expert in infectious disease, allergy and immunology with NYU Langone Health in New York City and the Allergy & Asthma Network.

3. Exercise Helps Reduce the Risk of Chronic Conditions, Too –Moving your body also helps keep stress hormones at bay. (What’s a better way to simmer down after a tough day than a walk outside?) This, in turn, can help protect you from diabetes, which is key, as the disease can leave you more vulnerable to getting sick in the first place, Dr. Parikh says.


Yoga Pose to Help Calm Your Nerves

(from WebMD Food and Fitness 4/11/20) Written by Beth Passehl

In searching for ways to help relieve stress, I found this article.  Try it…it works.

Yoga can play a useful role in self-care, along with the other tools in your belt – nutritious foods, restful sleep, physical activity, connection with others. Adding a touch of restorative yoga and some deliberate breathing does not come with any medical guarantee, but as we say in the South – “Can’t hurt, might help.” 

In times of extreme stress, our central nervous system gets locked up in fight or flight. Meaning that we push forward on what amounts to a set of flat tires. Generally, most of us would not drive our cars on 4 flats, but a depleted adrenal system is pretty much just like that.

With that in mind, here is one of my favorite yoga poses: Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani). Give it a try by itself or add the following short meditation and breathing exercise. Trust me – it may not look powerful, but this pose is actually doing a lot more than you might think. Inversions bring great rest to the central nervous system, rejuvenate the brain, open the lungs, and generally ease our emotions. Many of us wake at night and have difficulty getting back to sleep. It may help to get out of the bed and give this a go.

If your hamstrings or low back object, you can use a chair as a support for your legs. Both variations are wonderful.

Give yourself a few moments to settle into the pose and literally sink into the floor beneath you. Be aware of where the legs are positioned and try to be still. Can you relax your face completely with eyes closed or open, softening the throat, the back of the neck? Are you clenching the teeth and jaw? No judgement – just soften. Be mindful that your tongue is not jamming into the teeth or roof of the mouth. See if you can literally float your tongue in the mouth.

Plan to stay in this position for about 5 minutes or longer if it feels right. During this time, your mind will wander and look for something to do. To keep your mind focused and body relaxed, try this 5 Senses and 5 Breaths Meditation exercise while keeping your legs up the wall..

5 Senses and 5 Breaths:

In this exercise, you’ll explore each of your 5 senses, one by one, pausing at each one for a 5-breath cycle:

Touch. Focus on how your body is in contact with the floor, the chair, wall. Are there other physical sensations you can note here? The idea is to be as grounded as possible. Inhale and exhale slowly using the 5-breath cycle:

Inhale to the count of 1 – Exhale to the count of 2

Inhale 3 – Exhale 4

Inhale 5 – Exhale 6

Inhale 7 – Exhale 8

Inhale 9 – Exhale 10

Vision. Visualize a soothing or favorite spot. See as many details as possible – colors, shapes, other individuals and yourself. If comfortable (and hands are clean) cup your hands over your eyes. Inhale and exhale slowly using the 5-breath cycle.

Hearing. Listen carefully to your surroundings bringing your attention to only the sounds in the room. Inhale and exhale slowly using the 5-breath cycle.

Smell. This could be a smell in the room or a memory. Inhale and exhale slowly using the 5-breath cycle.

Taste. Bring back that relaxed palate and be aware of the taste in the mouth. Inhale and exhale slowly using the 5-breath cycle.

When complete, slowly hug your knees into the chest and gently rock back and forth. Roll to the side. Rest here for a moment before lifting to a seated position. Repeat as often as you need and take this gift of care to heart.