A Warm Heart

May 19, 2013

After reading the following email, my heart couldn't have been warmer:

Hi Frederick,
I contacted you awhile back in regards to my father having lower back problems to the point where the lower part of his spine has shifted over and he could barely walk. This discomfort happened suddenly when he was around 78. I asked you if doing the slow burn was OK at his age and you highly recommended it.

My father first tried Bikram yoga and did it religiously for two years with no improvement. He paid $3000 for PT and that also did not work. After reading your book I noticed how skinny his legs had gotten and he had absolutely no muscle tone. He is now 81 and after bugging him for months he finally read your book and is now doing part of the slow burn- more for his legs and glutes.

After only two months of doing it, he walks straighter and with more distance, and he no longer "schleps" when he walks. His back has even gotten straighter. This is after only 2 months!! This is the most improvement anyone has seen in regards to all of the therapy he has done. He even has muscle tone in his legs now. He is also very happy!

I just find it amazing that with all of the schooling that I have had in nutrition and exercise science, slow burn is NEVER taught. When I finally graduate and become a personal trainer I would love to implement your program. Seeing the results from my father has totally convinced me!


I immediately called her and we had a lovely conversation.

After the call, she sent another email:

Hi Fred,
I wanted to add that my dad's physical strength was deteriorating so quickly he was probably going to be in a wheel chair by the end of this year. He got so depressed and literally became a grumpy old man! He was crawling up the stairs on both hands and feet. Now he can walk up the stairs no problem.

It's sad that so many doctors, physical therapists and other health professionals do not focus on making seniors stronger. In this article on the benefits of strengthening muscle, you can see how traditional physical therapy has lost it's way, focusing too much on passive modalities (ultra sound, electirc stim, etc.) and balance tasks instead of improving muscular strength.

Back in 1992 when working as a PT aide at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in NYC, I was putting a 70 yeard old woman throught an intense set of leg presses. A PT  took me aside and said: "Fred, what are you trying to do to her? Turn her into a body builder?"  I thought for a second and said: "I wish I could."