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“2011 Excellence in Customer Satisfaction”
- Talk of the Town and Celebration Media

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Al Painter - Integrate Performance Fitness, Palo Alto CA
Al Painter, NASM CES, PES, BA

Al Painter is a personal training who believes that core strength is the common denominator to all successful movement. Read more.

Al is also the Fitness Editor for; in addition to being a cast member on the site’s podcast, as well as the moderator for the Training Forum on TwoSpoke.comRead more.




INTEGRATE Performance Fitness  – Into your life, into your health, into longevity!

Are you considering a Fitness Trainer or Fitness Program?  INTEGRATE Performance Fitness is located in Palo Alto, CA and is available for semi-private (2-3 people) and large group sessions.

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  • Al is happy to speak to you about a fitness plan to meet (and surpass) your goals.

About Al Painter, NASM CES, PES & Fitness Trainer

Al Painter is a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified Performance Enhancement Specialist as well as an NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. He also holds a degree in Communications from Santa Clara University. His area of specialty is endurance athlete specific strength training.

Check out why people rave about INTEGRATE Performance Fitness!

Al has also been named “Best Bay Area Personal Trainer” by CitySports Magazine as well as being the recipient of a “People’s Choice Award” from Palo Alto Daily News.

Latest Articles

Friday Fitness Facts August 8, 2014


The Best Way to Workout

What’s your flavor
o’fitness tea?
If you want athletic performance, you need a rock solid base of joint stability. Plain and simple, without stability, you can’t have power.

Want to lose fat? Put on a little muscle, get your heart rate up interval style, SLEEP and eat the right way (click here to get some amazing info on that from Daniella Dayoub from DFitLife btw).

Want to get big and put on some size? Pick up progressively heavier things, repeatedly, recover then do it again.

You know what they all have in common? Doing something toward a goal by overloading the system and causing a positive adaptation of some kind, or, getting more fit.

So back to the original point. What’s the best exercise to do? Click here to find out what it is!

With all of that happening, there were some really good training articles that came out. With that being said, here’s this week’s installment of “Friday Fitness Facts,” enjoy!

5 Exercises to Avoid, Al Painter

8 Rules for Fat Loss Training by Andrew Heming

Total Body Workouts You Can Perform With a Swing, Nia Shanks
Threat Performance: Central Governors, Bret Contreras
Juicing: Glorified Sugar Addiction, Daniella Dayoub

Read This Full Article

Friday Fitness Facts 8/1/14

If you didn’t see it, “Sharknado 2: The Second One” was EPIC! This time its the hunt for red Sharktober if you will in the city so nice they named it twice. Does the Big Apple bite back or do the destructors from the deep reign supreme? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.Star studded cameos (which included Judd Hirsch driving a taxi no less, “REAGUH!!”), amazing plot line and Oscar worthy performances. Ok, two of those three rest somewhere between slim and none, I’ll let you piece that puzzle together.

We even had a live chat session during the movie on The Trainers group on Facebook to share in the full summer blockbuster experience!

Lucky for you, the SyFy Channel is running it again tomorrow (8/2). A double feature no less with the first “Sharknado” at 5pm followed by “Sharknado” 2 at 7pm.  Oh, and btw, “Sharknado 3″ has been confirmed and is in the pipeline!!

If I remember correctly, this is a fitness blog, so I should probably include that kind of information. Truth be told, if I don’t switch gears right now, you’re going to get a full run down of the awesome that came out of the San Diego Comic Con!

Ok, I won’t leave you hanging. It rhymes with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Hall H and footage!

So without further ado, here is that exercise thing you people open this blog to read….

Runners: Get More From Your Core Off The Floor

Do a search for “core strength for runners,” and you’ll come across a ton of articles, apps and websites that tout the best way to address your core strength. Once you do, you’ll see a commonality that may not be the most effective way to get better at, well, running.

Static and dynamic exercises done face down, face up and on your side while on the floor. If memory serves, running is an activity that takes place on two legs UPRIGHT.

Click here to see what the best ways are for runners to work their core.

I will help you run BETTER!
If you run and you’ve got low back, hip, knee or foot pain/discomfort, drop me a line, depending on what’s going on, I might be able to help! I can take a look at the way you run, squat, push, pull, hinge and assess your core strength. Contact today me to set up your FREE assessment!

With all of that happening, there were some really good training articles that came out. With that being said, here’s this week’s installment of “Friday Fitness Facts,” enjoy!
Read This Full Article

Its Notta Tabata

For some reason, I get emails telling me “BECOME A CERTIFIED TABATA INSTRUCTOR!!” First of all, really?

Second of all, you’ve got to be kidding me. I’m supposed to pay for a certification that will teach me how to run a stop watch for 20 seconds, then run it for 10 seconds eight times? Yeah, sign me up.

These emails remind me of how the strength training industry makes me insane from time to time, and how marketing driven fitness training can be (Ok, pretty boring opener/hook block of text, but keep reading, it picks up!). It’s right up there with “doing more cardio will help you burn fat, “why I hate the term “core training” and  “crunches work the core.”

The idea behind the methodology, yes, I get it and see its usefulness. Briefly move as fast as is humanly possible, rest very little, then do it again and blow your energy use recovering post workout through the roof. This idea I like quite a bit.

What I don’t is how the methodology has been seemingly reduced from a revolutionary scientific study to a fitness industry buzz word and mere marketing term to sell group exercise classes and fat loss. Especially because what is being sold as “Tabata” training is anything but.

Long story short, to truly do the protocol correctly, you have to go like hell for 20 secs, take 10 secs off and do this eight times. Oh, and I should probably mention that the goal is to hit 170% (yyyyyyyep, 170) of your VO2 max as was done in the original study. Most people will realistically not get tested to see what 100% of their max is let alone be asked to exceed it by an additional 70%.

“Tabata was founded in Japan by Izumi Tabata. He conducted tests on two groups of athletes; comparing moderate high intensity training with high intensity interval training.

The results were that the athletes training in high intensity interval training improved their aerobic systems as well as their anaerobic system. The athletes who did the moderate high intensity training only improved their aerobic system and had little to no increase in their anaerobic system (Step by Step Tabata Training,”

This study was done using a mechanically braked ergometer bike pedaled at 90 RPM’s where subjects were asked to ride at 170% of their VO2 Max for 20 seconds. They were given a 10 sec break and asked to do this eight times. Unless you’re training at this intensity level, you are doing a metabolic conditioning interval workout, and notta Tabata.

Please note the study was done in a clinical environment where both testing and safety protocols can be dialed in at the sub atomic level on highly trained, and most certainly, incredibly fit, elite level athletes. Not those with desk jobs, joint pain or chronically dehydrated (which most people are) individuals, or realistically those who “Tabata” classes are marketed to.

My guess is that if it was widely known that you have to hit 170% of your VO2 max (keeping in mind 100% is about a blink or two of the eye before vomitting from what I understand) to do the workouts the right way, the classes would be a little less populated.

Let’s test this out:

Person A: “What kind of workout did you do today? You look a little spent.”

Person B: “It was a four minute metabolic circuit interval training session where we worked for 20 secs, rested for 10, then did it eight times.  Done correctly, the goal is to actually work at 170% of your VO2 max. Our trainer said its designed to get our EPOC (post exercise oxygen consumption) up so we burn more calories when we are recovering.”

Person A: “170%, and only four minutes, seriously? Yeah, not so much. I’m going to spin class.”

And now, the spin….

Which one would Madison Ave gravitate toward? The actual science and difficulty level given, or something that can be spun as a great way to burn calories in “only minutes a day!” See the point?

“Trainers and trainees have taken this 20-10 HIIT protocol and have sub’d in their own exercises thinking they’re doing the Tabata protocol, where in fact, there is only one exercise that resembles the actual Tabata protocol: a mechanically braked cycle ergometer,” says Jon-Erik Kawamoto (Would the Real Tabata Please Stand Up).

Jon-Erik Kawamoto

In most cases, it is pretty damn hard to move a load correctly for 20 secs at a 100% effort level, let alone VO2 max. Let alone bumping that up another 70% while keeping the EXACT same level of intensity up eight times on minimal rest. This is why the exercise bike was used and not a kettlebell, dumbbell, etc for the study.

I’ve done what I thought was a “Tabata” workout where a partner and I did speed squats for 20 secs with 10 secs of rest eight times. While it was brutal, there’s no way we were anywhere near 100% of whatever our individual VO2 max numbers were, let alone 170%. Plus, we slowed down from fatigue as the workout progressed negating the protocol requirements. We were doing a HIIT workout at best.

So, if we look at what the actual requisite intensity level/speed are for a Tabata 20/10 workout and factor in not killing yourself with bad form, and you actually try to apply moving at 170% of your VO2 max, we can essentially eliminate the following from the menu:

  • All Olympic lifts, although the sport of fitness would probably disagree.
  • Pushups
  • Planks
  • Lunges
  • Pullups (sorry kipping lovers, those are cheaters pulls and don’t count)
  • Anything with an Olympic bar (again high speed exercises and high skill movement requirements generally don’t go together)
  • Bench press
  • Seated rows
  • Crunches, yeah, let’s introduce high intensity lumbar flexion to the spine, FABULOUS idea!!
  • Anything with a cable pulley because of recoil of the weight stack.
  • Med ball slams, I’ve learned the hard way why the low back hates these when you do them with minimal rest as powerfully as you can.
  • Overhead press, shoulder/thoracic spine mobility is where this can get tricky. Especially at a break neck pace.
  • Get Ups, to do these fast is to completely miss the point of the exercise
  • Farmer’s Walks, with the load you’d need, your forearms would be too big of a limiting factor IMHO
  • DB Rows
  • Anything seated, especially a leg press and ham curl machine. To be locked in at these angles moving that fast is a recipe for disaster. Long story short, seated machines, inferior way to train.
  • If we get really picky, squat jumps, lunge jumps, box jumps, etc because it takes roughly 2-3 secs to perform each move to complete 10 or so reps. I honestly feel it would be pretty damn hard to get you anywhere near 170% of your VO2 max with that low of a rep count. It will however get you 100% near not being able to get out of a chair the next day because your legs will be cooked, but not anywhere near being able to hit an exertion level that high. The body’s self limiting/survival mechanisms will kick in before you go too far over the edge.

“Despite what you’ve been told, front squats, resistance bands, or any other body weight routine you might be doing may replicate the time sequence of the Tabata protocol, but it is NOT a Tabata interval.  If your first set is performed at a submaximal weight that becomes maximal by the final set this does not even come close.  It might be hard, but it isn’t a Tabata (Mike Robertson, The Tabata Myth).”

Now, as Robertson mentioned, if you want to do a HIIT workout using the 20/10 x 8 timing method, then yes, I’m good with that, just know its still notta Tabata. If you do time that way, then all of the above mentioned exercises can be added back in.

Although, at only 20 secs, you won’t really get that many QUALITY reps in. Form over function people, ALWAYS. I’d recommend a 30/30 approach in terms of work to rest ratio, you will get more high quality reps in and conceivably crush more calories.

If you live in the Silicon Valley and want some help getting your heart rate up with some metabolic conditioning,  drop me a line and I can help you have some “exercise fun!”

trainers and trainees have taken this 20-10 HIIT protocol and have sub’d in their own exercises thinking they’re doing the Tabata protocol, where in fact, there is only one exercise that resembles the actual Tabata protocol: a mechanically braked cycle ergometer, which was the exercise chosen for these two studies. – See more at:


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