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Group Training – What to Expect

By PJ Glassey, CSCS

Welcome to X Gym! As you probably already know (or at least have heard by now), you will be experiencing many new concepts here, so this first article is designed to help you understand the ones you need to know about first. These include:

  • What it means to be part of the X Gym “Tribe.”
  • Understanding your wrist band colors.
  • The X Gym multi-protocol methodology.
  • The unique and proprietary X Gym exercise equipment.
  • Your expected results.

The X Gym “Tribe” is made up of members like you. The reason we call it a Tribe is because we are in this health and fitness journey together! Instructors lead the classes of course, but each member also contributes as they see fit, within their comfort zone, to the classes as well. This contribution comes in the form of encouragement, support, learning from each other, and even teaching each other (as in the case of the advanced members). The X Gym Tribe is committed to the culture of contribution and encouragement so we help each other get to the goals each person sets for themself.

The X Gym colored wrist band system helps us help you and it helps you help each other. Everyone gets a white band to start. This means you are new and are still learning the methodology. White bands need extra help (especially with the basic stuff) and having it on your wrist makes it easy for your instructor to quickly identify that need.

Your band color advances as you learn the methodology and improve your fitness levels. The yellow band for instance (level two), signifies that you understand the basic concept of Time Under Tension (more on that later). The green band means you have mastered yet another important concept. As you can see, these colors signal the instructors so they can more effectively guide you in a more customized way. You will continue to move up in the band color system as you continue to progress, making it motivating for you and easier for the instructors to help you get there according to your own individual needs. There are seven band colors: White, yellow, green, blue, purple, red and black. You will be receiving more information on the band system and how to move forward at certain points in your membership.

You will experience a different “protocol” or “method” each month as well as a new set of exercises.  A protocol or method is simply a different way of performing the rep itself. Each method targets a specific energy system and muscle fiber type, which creates development of strength as well as endurance and coordination. Changing methods every month also keeps your muscles in their “innervation” phase, meaning the nerves telling your muscles to contract are becoming healthier, more efficient, connecting with more nerves nearby and even growing new nerves. This makes you stronger without a significant increase in muscle fiber size[i].

If you have become dependent on traditional exercise equipment and machines, you may be in for a slight culture shock because at X Gym, our exercise equipment is as unique as our methodology. Sure, we have some “traditional” exercise equipment, but we also have plenty of gizmos and unique, proprietary inventions like the “Uplifter”™ suspension system, “Quadraslide”™ units, carpet sliders, elastic tubing, wall and ceiling rail systems, and more. Recent research in exercise science shows that if you want functional fitness that you can use in the real world to do the active things you enjoy, your body should be the machine. Our exercises and equipment are based on real movements and have real cross-over benefits to real life activities.

Your expected results vary based on a variety of factors. During your first month or two, you will notice your muscles feeling more toned and getting tighter, with improvements in muscle definition, shape and form. Muscle innervation must happen first before hypertrophy (fiber size increase) can happen. The hypertrophy stage won’t begin until the innervation phase has run its course, usually in about 8 weeks for men and 10 weeks for women[ii]. Because we change the exercise selection and the method every month, we aren’t ever in the hypertrophy phase, so muscle bulking doesn’t happen at the X Gym. We produce strength, toning and definition without the muscle bulk so common at other gyms and exercise facilities.

You can expect to find yourself somewhere within a bell-shaped curve for improvement rates. A few of you will be all the way to the right side of the curve and may see visible results after you first four sessions! The other minority on the opposite side of the curve will have to be more patient to see visible changes. Everyone however, FEELS better, stronger and with more energy within their first month, so you can look forward to this!

If you’re in the “slow changers” group to the left of the bell curve, you may become impatient around the 4th or 5th week and pretty frustrated that no visible results are happening. This is quite understandable because you’ve been working hard and would like a return for your efforts, but just hang in there and wait your body out. It will give in eventually and when it does, it all pays off. You can also move yourself out of that side of the curve over time by improving your metabolism as your muscle tissue changes.

The majority fall within the middle portion of the curve and begin to see minor changes within their first two months and then continued accelerated results after that – especially if the nutrition advice given is followed. Progress is constant and within about 8 months, goals are often achieved. Regardless of which side of the bell curve you are on, the results you will experience will be at least twice as fast and twice as good as those, had you chosen to do conventional training instead.

Results differ from person to person so don’t compare yourself to someone else. You may have a friend who is on the right of the curve. You however, may be on the left of the curve. It is all based on your hormone levels, protein uptake ability, genetics, body composition, resistance to change, personal history and family history.

It’s the little things you will notice first like your groceries feel lighter when you pick them up, or walking up the stairs is easier than before. Enjoy this progress and focus on these small changes. Next, you will notice that your legs, arms and rear end feels tighter and things “jiggle” less. You may even begin to see some muscle size changes if you are a man, but remember, if you are a woman, don’t worry about “bulking up”. Just as men don’t have the hormones to becoming pregnant, women don’t have the hormones to bulk up[iii]. Some women can, but it takes traditional training and a regular steroid cocktail to do it.

Every woman who has ever come to us feeling as though they were “bulking up” was also dealing with a weight issue. They mistakenly assumed their clothes were getting tighter because of muscle cell size increase, when in fact, it has always been because their food intake increased (whether it was conscious or not) along with the activity increase from the added exercise.

Another benefit X Gym members get from the program is both fine and gross motor skill development. You will notice sports become easier and your coordination improves. Your pain tolerance will also increase allowing you to endure longer with tasks and sports you previously found too unpleasant.

Exercise consistency is the key that unlocks the results and proper nutrition paves the way. You must stick to the twice a week regimen for proper consistency. If you miss an appointment, make it up at a different time that week. The twice a week frequency was created on purpose, based on the latest research and is vital to your rate of progress[iv].

Optimum nutrition allows your muscles to recover and gives them the tools to rebuild. They will change only as fast as you allow them to by supplying them with the proper nutrients. Muscles are 75% water and 25% protein. This is why we emphasize both so often. You will also get nutrition guidance based on your own 1 week food log, so be sure to get started on that! Any food log will do, but our favorite is myfitnesspal.com

In the beginning you will experience a few new sensations. Our protocols cause an endorphin high unlike other exercise programs. The high intensity nature of the program also reduces stress levels drastically. This can make you quite excited about the program and thus begins the “honeymoon” phase. If you follow the nutritional guidance we provide, you will also see muscular changes about the time the ‘honeymoon” period starts to wear off. This will give you renewed enthusiasm that often becomes addicting.

Your membership at the X Gym provides you with a fitness system, not just a bunch of exercise sessions. There is a big difference. Conventional trainers and facilities merely give you sessions, based on the outdated “sets and reps” concept Eugene Sandow developed in 1891. Other trainers and facilities might also give you advice on eating and cardio exercise, but even that will most likely be outdated by at least 15 years. Our sessions by themselves are vastly superior to conventional sessions, but are also are a part of an overall system including our unique protocols and nutrition advice pulling from recent research.

This research tells us how to create our protocols so muscles are worked more intensely and safer than ever. It tells us how to pick the order of protocols so all the energy systems and fiber types are affected for a well-rounded fitness results never before seen in the industry. It shows us how to prescribe exercises for certain body types and metabolisms. It gives us the latest nutritional insights for optimum fitness improvement and weight loss. It creates a system that when followed closely, produces results that make all other protocols obsolete.

These claims might sound inflated or even cocky, but are backed up with black and white numbers and actual data from X Gym clients since 1998 and PJ’s own clients for the 10 years preceding that. Keep in mind that the X Gym is constantly experimenting with new methods to improve our system even further and you get to be a part of that! X Gym clients and member since 1998 have enjoyed the variety of new exercises and methods in addition to our current 7 methods and 28 splinter techniques.We are trying new stuff all the time, so be ready to participate in that and to give us your feedback on what you like, so we can make the X Gym better for you and everyone else as time goes on. Together, we can remain on the front of the wave and always be the place that produces the fastest and safest results in the least amount of time!

Lastly (for now), you can rest assured that you will never be alone in your health and fitness quest as long as you are with the X Gym. You will always have access to the best protocols and the most recent health and fitness information available. When you do reach your goals, you will have learned enough to go out on your own and maintain it with the tools you have acquired. It is our goal to create a lifestyle habit with every member that can be applied permanently to live longer, healthier, and stronger lives with an unsurpassed quality. You get only one chance with the body you have so give it what it needs!

[i] Komi, P.V. Training of muscle strength and power: Interactions of neuromotoric, hypertrophic, and mechanical factors. Int. J. Sports Med. 7:10-15. 1986.

[ii] Baechle, Thomas. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning: Human Kinetics. P. 15, 1994.

[iii] For a more detailed explanation on this subject and research to back it up, see the article “Women and The Myth of Bulking Up”. You can get this handout from your trainer.

[iv]Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. (13):353-359-1999.

[v] Plisk, S.S. Anaerobic metabolic conditioning: A brief review of theory, strategy and practical application. J. Appl. Sport Sci. Research. 5(1):22-34. 1991.