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The Aerobics Craze - A Monumental Mistake by Al Sears, MD

The Aerobics Craze - a Monumental Mistake By Al Sears, MD

Back in the 1970s - while studying at the University of South Florida - I made a curious discovery when running a series of tests on the gymnastics team.

I had picked out the gymnasts with low pulmonary function (lung capacity). The goal was to improve their performance by increasing their lung volume - and everyone believed that sustained running at an "aerobic level" would do that for them. But their next round of scores was even lower.

This triggered a wave of revelations that laid the foundation for my PACE(r) exercise system. Thirty years and dozens of clinical studies later, I can tell you this: The aerobics craze has been a monumental mistake.

Doing aerobics isn't a smart way to exercise, and it doesn't build your lungs or breathing capacity as the name implies. In fact, aerobics actually shrinks your heart and lungs - making you more vulnerable to fatal heart attacks.

If you exercise only within your current aerobic limits, you do so without improving youraerobic capacity. In other words, you never push hard enough to stop to catch your breath.

This kind of aerobic exercise trains your body for endurance and efficiency. And that sounds great, right? Well, it may sound great, but it's not. Because this kind of exercise causes "shrinkage" - smaller muscles, smaller heart, and smaller lungs. What's worse, it wipes out your lungs'reserve capacity.

Reserve capacity is what your lungs use to deal with a sudden increase in stress or high exertion (like lifting, carrying, running, or climbing stairs). Injuries or physical trauma, a shocking emotional blow, a particularly intense session in the bedroom with your partner - these all demand reserve energy. Without reserve capacity, you're much more likely to drop dead from a heart attack when faced with one of these situations.

It's normal to lose lung capacity as you age. By the time you're 70, you'll lose about 50 percent of it. But if you practice aerobics, you're going to make that loss even worse.

You don't hear much about this in the media, but the damage caused by lost lung capacity is far worse than you might imagine.

In the 1980s, a pioneering doctor named Ward Dean did extensive research on lung capacity. He discovered some remarkable statistics from the Framingham Heart Study. (If you're not familiar with it, the Framingham study has been running for over 50 years. It has no interference from drug companies, and is the most reliable source of data relating to heart health.)

Ironically, one of the study's most startling discoveries had nothing to do with the heart. It found that lung capacity is the best predictor of longevity - hands down. Simply stated, the bigger your lungs, the longer you live.

This is why reserve capacity is so critical - and why I'm so concerned about the popularity of aerobics. Aerobic exercise actually takes years off your life.

But a different kind of exercisebuilds reserve capacity ... and it gives you many other health benefits.?I call this kind of exercisesupra-aerobics. It is the key to higher lung capacity, good muscle tone, high energy, and a strong heart. Plus, it takes a fraction of the time to achieve much better results.

Think of your lungs as a car engine. Traditional aerobics trades power for a smaller engine. Sure, a smaller engine is fuel-efficient. But fuel efficiency is not the best goal for your body in our modern world. And God help you if you need to quickly get out of the way of an oncoming truck. You just don't have the power.

Supra-aerobics, on the other hand, gives your heart and lungs a turbo boost that can get you out of a jam.?Other researchers are corroborating my findings: A Harvard study revealed that participants who used supra-aerobic principles in their workouts reduced their risk of heart disease by100 percent more than those who practiced ordinary aerobic exercise. And a study published in theArchives of Internal Medicine showed that men and women who exercised with supra-aerobic methods had:

.                                Lower blood pressure

.                                Lower triglycerides (blood fat)

.                                Higher HDL (good cholesterol)

.                                Less body fat

But to get these results, you have to exercise beyond your current aerobic capacity and cross youraerobic threshold.?Aerobic means "with oxygen." Your aerobic metabolism combines oxygen with carbs, fats, and proteins to make energy. Because walking is not a strenuous activity, when you walk you have plenty of oxygen available to make the energy required. This is why you can walk for hours.

You can also sustain jogging with aerobic metabolism.?But let's say you start sprinting. You can't sustain that high output of energy with oxygen alone, so your anaerobic system kicks in. (This is known as crossing your aerobic threshold.)

Anaerobic means "without oxygen." The anaerobic system converts carbs - and some fats - into energy without using oxygen. When you're using your anaerobic system, you are training your high-energy output system. You're successfully building up reserve capacity in your heart, expanding your lung volume, triggering the production of growth hormone, and melting away fat.

When you exceed a rate you can sustain with oxygen and start using both your aerobic and anaerobic energy systems ... this is when you've crossed over into your supra-aerobic zone.

Remember ... aerobic exercise is low to medium output held for an extended period. Supra-aerobic exercise is high output, but short in duration.

To move your workout into the anaerobic range, you have to create an "oxygen debt" by asking your lungs for more oxygen than they can supply at that moment. You do that by exercising at a pace you can't sustain for more than a short period.

For instance, pedal a bike as fast as you can for 15 seconds. When you stop, you'll be panting - the sign that you've created an oxygen debt in your body. You can't sustain this kind of high-output challenge for very long. You have reached thesupra-aerobic zone. This is very different from doing an aerobic workout for 45 minutes.

In a matter of weeks, you can:

.                                Lose pounds of belly fat

.                                Build functional new muscle

.                                Reverse heart disease

.                                Build energy reserves that will be available on demand

.                                Strengthen your immune system

.                                Reverse many of the changes of aging

By making small changes in your workouts, you can achieve remarkable results with supra-aerobics. And it takes only minutes a day.

(Note by us here at ROMfab: The sort of exercise that is mentioned here in this article by Dr. Al Sears M.D., is the kind of high intensity short duration exercise the ROM machine gives you, however it can be done by totally out of shape 85 year old weak ladies as well as by top athletes in fantastic shape. The ROM exactly matches each person's ability to perform work every second during the EXACTLY 4 minute ROM workout).