According to Joe Cirulli, Founder and CEO of Gainesville (Fla.) Health & Fitness, parent company of Palm Harbor’s X-Force Body, the lessons of the past often spawn the advances of the future, sometimes with significant – even evolutionary – consequences.
“Long ago, legendary fitness pioneer Arthur Jones understood the human body, and that heavy resistance and high-intensity training were the keys to optimal muscle growth,” Cirulli said. “Now, X-Force Body is implementing that resistance and training for groundbreaking results.”
For nearly 20 years, Jones searched for a way to add weight to lifting to take advantage of the negative, or eccentric, phase of the lift to increase resistance and efficiency. His first attempt involved developing a machine where heavier weight could be raised with more powerful leg muscles, then lowered using the muscles of the upper body, subjecting them to greater resistance.
Jones introduced his first commercial exercise machine, the “Blue Monster,” in the late-1960s, which totally changed the perception of the fitness industry and resulted in the Nautilus brand of equipment. The evolutionary concept of Nautilus was that the amount of weight being lifted changed during one repetition of an exercise, increasing the efficiency of the workout
By creating a machine that followed natural human movements, Jones revolutionized how people exercised, and vaulted the health club into the mainstream; it was no longer just free weights and bodybuilders.
Although Nautilus represented the biggest fitness revolution since the barbell, the technology plateaued at that point, with equipment manufacturers simply copying each other’s machines, according to Cirulli.
“In the early-2000’s, there were no innovators, except for X-Force in Sweden,” said Cirulli. “They understood what Arthur [Jones] wanted to do. They took Nautilus machines and put the weight stack at a 45-degree angle.”
Cirulli and noted exercise scientist Ellington Darden, Ph.D., former director of research for Nautilus for 20 years and one of the early members of the X-Force Development Team, conducted extensive research on negative-resistance training at Gainesville Health & Fitness, using both Nautilus and X-Force machines.
“When we combined X-Force machine high-intensity workouts with other elements, including a descending-calorie, carbohydrate-rich diet, super-hydration and extra sleep, the results were much more dramatic,” said Cirulli. “We achieved 50-percent greater results in two-thirds of the time required by any other program.”
The research led Darden to author the best-selling book, The Body Fat Breakthrough: Tap the Muscle-Building Power of Negative Training and Lose Up to 30 Pounds in 30 Days, which formed the basis for the X-Force Body program.
Cirulli said those dramatic results convinced him and Darden to employ X-Force machines in the X-Force Body program, with an initial facility in Gainesville, Fla., followed by a freestanding facility in Palm Harbor, Fla., which opened in 2016. Sites for additional facilities are being evaluated.
X-Force Body program participants consistently praise the efficiency of the X-Force machines, and their role in producing rapid results in less time.
“When I discovered X-Force Body, it just really catapulted me to another level,” said X-Force Body participant Michael Lamando. “It only takes two 30-minute workouts a week, so it was perfect for my schedule, because I run my own business and have two small children that require a lot of time. So, for me, it’s just been ideal.”