The Garden Island Newspaper

“What’s on Second?”
 Is My Workout Really Working Out?


Aloha Doug:

Mahalo for your previous column. I am now newly reinspired! As far as exercise goes, I currently swim, bike, and walk. In addition to doing each of these activities at least once per week, I also do a lot of gardening. My question: Is this enough exercise for a woman who is 60+ years young? Or do I need to add something else to the mix? I’m really looking forward to your answer. Ke Akua Pū!

- JoJo, Kapaa



Dear dear JoJo,

Mahalo for reading! You are definitely off to a great start and yours is one of the most important questions that people can ask themselves, “Is my workout really working out?” 


As an exercise physiologist, I am particularly persnickety regarding what I consider to be truly effective “on purpose” exercise. 


Unfortunately, many (if not most) popular “workouts” prove to be a complete exercise in futility, at best. If you have ever felt that all of your hard work is hardly working, you are definitely not alone. For many (if not most), it is not. As you might recall from my previous column, this is one of my greatest frustrations in the fitness industry. 


I am thrilled by the fact that you enjoy swimming, biking, walking, and gardening on a weekly basis. These are all phenomenal activities and great ways to burn calories and stay active. Being active is always commendable and, if you have the time, energy, and inclination, there is a smörgåsbord of safe and effective exercises from which to choose. You can be certain that I will touch on each one of your personal favorites in more depth in future columns.

With that being said, for now, let me address the elephant in the room… and I hope that it doesn’t step on too many toes. For those of you who are sincerely interested in a transformative workout experience, and getting extraordinary results, both inside and out, it is vital to evaluate the fitness of your program from the ground up. Here goes!


We should all already realize that exercise isn’t about sauna suits, toning tables, and seven-second abs, right? But what about tennis? Does that qualify? How about team sports? Or working with a trainer who is focusing on elastic bands and “core” work? Are “functional” fitness classes considered to be the best way to exercise? Is stretching the super solitary secret to shaping a svelte and slender structure?

And, to your specific question at hand, what about cardiovascular activities, such as swimming, snorkeling, biking, spinning, walking, running, or even gardening at intensities known only to those of us living near the wettest spot on earth? Is your current routine of super duper stamina the missing link?


With absolutely no intention of offending or discouraging any one person from doing any one thing, I do feel that it is vitally important for me to proclaim that, in my humble opinion, activity is not always exercise. Popular activities are not always productive workouts. And this very fact is often the source of major frustration for many people. They are hoping that arbitrary activity alone will provide all of the tangible fitness and fat loss benefits of effectual exercise. 


To get incredible results, it doesn’t take much, but it surely takes more. 


So… in my professional opinion, based on decades of education and experience, what qualifies a particular activity as a quantified exercise? Again, that’s a great question, JoJo. I’m so glad that you asked. lol

From a scientific viewpoint, exercise should be defined by what your body needs to progressively possess both diminished disease and improved health. True “on purpose” exercise, as I like to call it, reduces risk factors for disease. True “on purpose” exercise enhances the health-related components of physical fitness.


If your workout is not doing both of these things, perhaps it is not truly exercise.


Accordingly, which activity BEST regulates the major controllable risk factors of disease... such as blood pressure, cholesterol, sugars, and obesity? Which activity most improves circulo-respiratory power, muscular strength and endurance, joint flexibility, and body fat percentage? Is any single activity as good as you think? Probably not… or at least not yet.


Swimming, though great for cardiovascular conditioning, does little for strength or burning body fat. Yoga may be great for flexibility but does little for circulo-respiratory power.  Running can increase your stamina yet simultaneously decreases muscle mass and strength. “Core” work does not burn fat directly from the midsection. And the list goes on and on.


This is precisely the problem with routine routines. Most individuals tend to gravitate towards one activity… the one that they love the most (or hate the least), regardless of whether or not it truly qualifies as a healthy and well-rounded and purposeful exercise. The fact that you have a strong quartet in your repertoire of movements is a great start. Swimming, biking, walking, and gardening all deserve ovation, at least one even standing.


But when push comes to shove, training for STRENGTH always affords the strongest guarantee. Strength training counts the most for immediate and abundant change, while also banking on your long-term security for a wealth of health. Moreover, in my humble (and this time very accurate) opinion, there is one particular modality of strength training that absolutely trumps the rest… coming soon. We will definitely get to it, but just not today. Stay tuned!

Are you aware that proper strength training reduces blood pressure, positively changes cholesterol and other blood lipids, and stabilizes blood sugar levels. It also dramatically improves muscular strength (obviously), muscular endurance (yes, strength increases endurance), and favorably alters body composition by increasing lean AND decreasing fat. Training for strength, when performed correctly, can also beneficially influence cardiovascular fitness and joint flexibility.

Although stamina and stretching are both tremendously valuable, strength is incalculably invaluable.


Nonetheless, even with this true panacea of fitness, training for strength is typically ineffective, and potentially dangerous, due to improper technique. Although many individuals spend hours per week (or even per day) involved in strength training activities, when performed haphazardly, this potentially “best way” to exercise can definitely be an accident waiting to happen. However, when performed as intended and “on purpose,” training effectively for strength can effectively produce optimal benefits in literally minutes per week per muscle.

We will discuss the nuances of strength, and strength training, in future articles. And I promise to even make some of it fun! For now, let me leave you with a least a few key principles that can help you get your mind around muscle: 


  • Work every major muscle safely through its full range of motion.


  • Lowering weights slowly is the secret to successful strength training.


  • Train the muscles that work together, together… Push, Legs, and Pull.


  • Change exercises very often, perhaps even for each and every workout.


  • Slower speeds are safer and actually produce more force within the muscles.


  • Warm up with Stamina. Get strong with Strength. Cool down with Stretching.


  • Use a variety of equipment: free weights, machines, and body weight exercises.


  • Train each muscle group at least once, but not more than twice or thrice per week.


  • One set of each exercise, if properly performed, is often just as effective as multiple sets.


Each of these points will no doubt be an isolated topic in columns to come. So, if you have any specific questions about any of these general principles, I’m here to help. There is a link on my website to ask me as many questions as you see fit. See you soon!


In Health & With Hope,


Doug :-) 

Doug Jones earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland on a full academic scholarship and has served professionals and personalities as a concierge fitness trainer for decades. As a resident of Kauai and Connecticut, he has helped millions of people learn the secrets of fitness and fat loss through his Super 7-Week Shape-Up System. Doug has trained thousands of clients personally and is looking forward to helping you reach all of your health and fitness goals. 

please go to: http://Super7System.com  

please go to: http://DougJonesFitness.com

(Up Next: 9/28/22)

"When to Exercise?”

* Detailed Answers to Your Specific Questions *


The Garden Island Newspaper

“Who’s on First?”
 Who Should Exercise?

As an introDougtion to my inaugural Q&A column about exercise and eating and fitness and fat loss, I’d like to begin by taking the lead and first asking you a few:

Are you often more interested in pigging out than in working out? Does going to a gym seem to be an endless exercise in futility? Has the proverbial (wo)man in the mirror recently made you reflect upon your own image of health and happiness? Do you want to know the secrets of how to get fit fast (and forever), and perhaps even laugh a little as you learn a lot?

Most importantly… are you sincerely seeking the Smartest, Simplest, Speediest, and Safest Secrets and Scientific Solutions to Strength, Stamina, Stretching, and Sustenance?

If so, then we’re definitely on the same page, in reading and in writing, because… WHO’s on first… and YOU are my perfect audience.

If I’m preaching to the choir, GREAT! Stay tuned. Kudos goes to those of you already working out on a regular basis… becoming lean, toned, flexible, and fit. There is nothing more amazing than a finely tuned body. Hmmm? Or is there? Actually, to me, its unhealthy counterpart is even more of a magnificent marvel.

If you haven’t exercised for years, or forever, then YOU are the miracle in the making. If you are fit-less and frustrated, my new Garden Islander friend, then YOU are my inspiration.

So… why is being overweight, weak, out of breath, and inflexible such a wonderful thing? Why are you a phenomenon because you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoke two packs a day?

Well, for one thing, I am always amazed at the capacity for misuse and abuse that our bodies are designed to handle, albeit even if temporarily. This alone is an absolute wonder… at least to me. You and your body are remarkably resilient, regardless of whether or not your current state of “health” is compromised by years of deconditioning or disease. It often takes decades of hard work (and hardly working) to destroy your body.

For many people, a very forgiving body is something for which to be extremely thankful.

And what is truly miraculous is that when you finally decide to switch gears, it doesn’t take decades, years, or even months to change directions and reverse the aging process. Within reason, anything that you want to change physically can change immediately. IMMEDIATELY!!! Decades and decades of neglect and abuse can stop instantaneously.

And do you want some really good news? Do you want to know what you can do to transform your body and your life as phenomenally fast as humanly possible? Be in bad shape. Period! Circular, oval, or even square shapes qualify. The more “out-of-shape” that you are today can elicit the greatest relative transformation toward your own personal ideal shape of tomorrow, externally and, most importantly, internally.

Furthermore, you hardly have to do anything to get significant results initially.  Consequently, it’s not only super simple to shape up, but also super-duper easy. Why?Because the difference between doing nothing and next-to-nothing is tremendous, and your body will respond rapidly and adapt accordingly.

Long-term goal setting is great, but what if you could actually see and feel changes this week? How about this very day?

When exercise is performed correctly and, at the very least, consistently inconsistently, the effects affect everything. The following paybacks from proper exercise aren’t only possible, but always probable. Health is wealth, so invest in yourself and expect change:

Increase your flexibility
in only 7 secs

Lower your blood pressure
in only 7 mins

Stabilize your blood sugar level
in only 7 hours

Enhance cardiovascular stamina
in less than 7 days

Boost muscular strength and tone
in less than a week

Decrease a multiple of clothing sizes
in less than a month

I’ve seen these results (and more than these results) in my own clients… and in my own mirror. Do you want proof? Do you need proof? Unfortunately, I have definitely “been there and done that” a couple of times myself. Fortunately, I have also been able to help a couple of thousand people do the same thing.

If you’d like a little more reassurance about the possibilities of a true metamorphosis, please visit my website at the link below to witness my personal physique transformation story and video. And, yes, it’s totally free to watch and to begin learning about the best way to exercise and the best way to eat.

If you’re excited about the notion of a transformative experience, the good news is that your body is ready when you are. And the best news is that it’s ready AS you are! If you’re currently doing nothing, it’s time to learn the right way to do next-to-nothing. And I’m here to help! 

So, if WHO sounds like YOU, then who are you NOT to exercise? 

This also brings us to my next “WHO” topic. Me! Who am I to tell you anything? And why should you listen to me? While I do look forward to sharing, that’s going to be another story for another time… perhaps next time.


In the meantime, please submit any questions that you may have about health and fitness, and I’ll do my best to answer them in upcoming columns. 

In Health & With Hope,

Doug :-)

Doug Jones earned his Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland on a full academic scholarship and has served professionals and personalities as a concierge fitness trainer for decades. As a resident of Kauai and Connecticut, he has helped millions of people learn the secrets of fitness and fat loss through his Super 7-Week Shape-Up System. Doug has trained thousands of clients personally and is looking forward to helping you reach all of your health and fitness goals. 

please go to: http://Super7System.com  

please go to: http://DougJonesFitness.com