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As far as feedback on the Posture Perfect!TM class goes, it has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class... 

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The Sequoia Advisor

IN THIS ISSUE                                                               April 15th 2015

  • Machines vs. Dumbbells... Which is Better for You?
  • Eat to Increase Strength, Energy and Stamina
  • Read This Fantastic LivMD Testimonial
  • New Better Health and Fitness 101 Workshop Series...
    Register Now!
  • See You at the 55+ Reston Health and Safety Fair Friday 1pm to 4pm
  • Posture Perfect!TM  Try Your First Class for FREE!

Feel Better... Live Better

Machines vs. Dumbbells... Which is Better for You?
By Woody McMahon

Over Age 50 Training
As your body ages, certain abilities change. The two abilities that change the most are leg strength and balance. If you are over age 50, the best way to improve these two abilities is to switch from machine style training to working with dumbbells. Dumbbells increase both strength and balance improving your ability to stand, lift, sit and negotiate stairs. Balance and strength are both crucial for preventing falls and fractures.

Get Out of Those Machines
Machine based training is actually unsafe for your spine and also robs you of important balance and coordination benefits. Why are machines so popular at fitness centers if they really offer few benefits? Machines are good for the owners because they are easy to teach and require little or no supervision. What you gain in simplicity you lose in safety and effectiveness. Not a good trade-off.

Less Safe and Lack Effectiveness
At any age, the sitting position places excessive pressure on your spine that can lead to back pain, compression fractures and ruptured discs. Adding the increased pressure to your spine that exercise creates only increases the likelihood of back related injury. Seated exercise also robs you of the opportunity to practice your balance, coordination and lower body conditioning. Standing is the preferred position for over age 50 fitness training.

Dumbbells to the Rescue
Dumbbells are an easy and effective way to increase the safety and effectiveness of your exercise time. Especially when performed in the standing position, dumbbells have the ability to strengthen leg, pelvic and spinal muscles, improve balance mechanisms and act as a weight bearing activity while creating healthy bones all at the same time.

The Perfect Post-Rehabilitation Training Tool
The over age 50 body usually has a few joints that are not working up to full ability. As a post-rehabilitation tool, dumbbells are excellent in providing strength in many directions of movement. If one side of the body is weaker than the other, then the weight of the dumbbell can be matched perfectly to the strength imbalance. As your joints strengthen, dumbbells can easily be incorporated into the exercises you perform regularly.

Get Started With Dumbbells Today
There are a wide assortment of shapes and sizes of dumbbells to use in your fitness program. Most fitness experts consider the dumbbell to be a superior training tool because of its ability to impart total body strength, balance, stamina and full joint range of motion. These qualities are something that most other forms of fitness equipment cannot offer. Let's look at why, especially if you are over age 50, you want to use dumbbells as your primary training tool of choice.

Benefit #1 Full Range of Joint Motion
Dumbbells are non-restrictive when it comes to joint range of motion. As an example, if you have a shoulder problem, a dumbbell can be lifted in the "restricted motion" still benefiting rehabilitation and recovery from the injury. Very light or ultra light weights can be used to regain strength until the shoulder becomes stronger and capable of a full range of motion.

Benefit #2 Better Balance Stimulation
Dumbbells, by their very nature, force you to control and balance your body as you lift. Incorporating dumbbells with other body motions such as single leg balances, lunges, standing one leg presses and even BOSU activities challenge your balance system like no other piece of fitness equipment.

Benefit #3 Asymmetrical (One Sided) Training
A single dumbbell is an effective core strengthener especially when used in the overhead or extended position. Asymmetrical training better stimulates the muscles that are involved in "real world" lifting and carrying and is important for any complete fitness program. It also adds an important stabilization component to all fitness activities by strengthening joints and reducing injury.

Benefit #4 Remove the Dominant Side
Everyone is stronger on one side of their body than the other. Dumbbells allow for independent strengthening of the weaker side keeping the stronger side out of the lifting motion. A more balanced muscular system allows you to perform better at all activities and sports and reduces the potential for injury to the weaker side.

Would you like to improve your strength but don't know where to start?
I provide an easy to follow program called Fit After 50!TM that helps improve your strength, balance, bone health and posture
while reducing back, hip, neck and knee pain. Contact me for a No Cost consultation at 703-628-2880 or email to

Eat to Increase Strength, Energy and Stamina
by Woody McMahon

You Are What You Eat
The foods that you eat can make all the difference in how you feel and perform. To stay strong and balanced, your brain requires regular and consistent amounts of glucose to work effectively. Without this essential fuel, your thinking processes slow down and bodily functions like heart beat, breathing, blood pressure and nerve function all begin to stop working properly. Healthy foods help provide your brain with the glucose it needs to run effectively.

Healthier Eating Makes You Stronger
Poor eating habits can weaken your body and place unnecessary chemical stress on your body. Making healthier food choices feeds your brain, muscles and bones with the proper nutrients they need to keep you moving and enjoying life. When you exercise, your muscles and bones use these nutrients to build and repair. Taking the time to eat a good breakfast, lunch and dinner provides the necessary protein that helps build strong bodies.

Better Food Means More Energy
Making better food choices helps your body run more efficiently leaving you with more energy for work and play. Foods that have been processed are usually less nutritious and contain higher amounts of calories, trans fats and chemicals while being lower in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Picking foods that work with rather than against your body helps your feel better.

Many Aches and Pains Related to Chemicals in Your Food
Many times aches and pains are the result of unhealthy eating habits. Chemicals in the food increase the stress on your body as it works to remove these unhealthy substances from your system. The increased chemical stress shows up as aches and pains. Fruits and vegetables have an almost magical way of improving muscle and joint pain. How do they do this? Fruits and vegetables contain much higher levels of water, vitamins, antioxidants and other beneficial ingredients. That is why your mom told you to eat your fruits and vegetables.

Regular Eating Intervals Improves Your Stamina
Your brain needs regular amounts of energy from glucose to perform at peak levels. Sporadic eating or skipping meals altogether places large amounts of stress on your digestive system, pancreas, liver and brain. Meals at uneven intervals make your body think it is starving, forcing a slowing in metabolism. Skipped meals also means your muscles will be low on vital nutrients making it difficult for them to perform over long periods of time.

A few simple eating changes can go a long way to helping make your body feel stronger while giving you more energy and stamina.

Try these healthy lifestyle changes for 30 days.
Are you having trouble eating sensibly? Does all the confusing information on eating and lifestyle just make things worse? If you need personalized suggestions and advice on living a healthier lifestyle, email or call me for a No Cost consultation, at 703-628-2880 or email to

Give the Gift of Health!
Posture Perfect!TM Classes...

Looking for the perfect healthy birthday gift for someone? Consider purchasing a gift certificate for one or several Posture Perfect!TM classes. Gift certificate amounts start at $20. This is the perfect gift, the gift of health, to give to someone you love.

New for 2015
Health and Fitness 101 Workshops

With the best of intentions and thinking that you are doing the right thing, you set out to improve your heath and fitness. But, after a month or two, you find yourself either confused, stuck or giving-up on your goals of becoming a fitter or healthier person.

Does this pattern sound familiar? All too often you, like many other people, find yourself working with
information that is inaccurate or has little value, out-dated techniques and a support team that is inadequate to assist in the changes necessary to help you look and feel your best.

To the rescue; the Health and Fitness 101 series of workshops. Why do I call them 101? You might recall, in college, all the first year courses were numbered 101. And this is exactly what we will do; skip the fashionable trends, Dr. Oz "isms," fads, myths and gimmicks and return to the basics. Just like the coach says to the team when they are failing miserably, "boys, it's time to get back to fundamentals."

The workshops will help you
simplify the entire process, get you back on track, dramatically increase your success rate and strengthen your support system by surrounding yourself with like minded people.

These workshops cover a variety of topics and are hands-on, personalized and limited to six participants (4 minimum). The workshops will continue as an ongoing class for those who are interested. All the workshops will begin in January. Dates and times to be announced.  Please contact me at 703.628.2880 or email me for more information or to register.

Here is a Sampling of Topics:

Weight Training 101
Weight training has been shown to be one of the best ways to enhance both physical and mental health. Weights are also an excellent companion to your Posture Perfect!TM exercises. In this workshop you will learn weight lifting safety, functional weight training techniques and body weight training for maximum health and fitness benefits. Weight training has been shown
clinically to improve osteoporosis, back pain, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, mental impairment and diabetes.
Length: 90 minutes Cost: $30

De-Stress 101
Managing stress is the most overlooked way to improve your physical and mental health. Stress unnecessarily contributes to many different health conditions.
In this workshop you will learn how to implement a variety of stress reduction techniques such as focused breathing, mindful stretching, meditation and visualization. If you are less stressed you will sleep better, have fewer headaches, experience less aches and pains and have better memory and thinking skills.
Length: 90 minutes Cost: $30

Healthy Weight 101
Losing weight is not as complicated as most people make it. But when you make it complicated, it is very difficult to succeed. Excess weight gain is closely tied to stress eating and cannot be fixed by counting calories and exercise alone. In this workshop you will learn how to effectively stop stress eating, learn correct portion control and a body fat burn exercise program.
Length: 90 minutes Cost: $30

Healthy Bones 101
Strengthening your bones is important to reducing your fracture risk and maintaining a high quality of life. Most people make the mistake of trying to improve their bone health by diet and exercise alone. They overlook the four important steps that are necessary for healthy bones. In this workshop, you will learn about and how to implement the four important steps to healthy bones. Stronger bones help reduce your fracture risk and allow you to enjoy life more.
Length: 90 minutes Cost: $30

Flexibility 101
Practicing regular flexibility activities is the best way to improve circulation while reducing stiffness, muscle and joint pain and fatigue. Improving circulation also helps speed healing and reduce premature aging. In this workshop, you will learn a simple 30 minute stretching program using the green stretching strap. These straps were invented and are used by physical therapists all
over the world. Increasing your flexibility helps you feel healthier.
Length: 90 minutes Cost: $30 

In-Home Health-Based Exercise Instruction

For those of you who cannot get to my office or would prefer to work in the privacy of your own home, I am offering all of my classes and instruction at your home or office. Please contact me at 703.628.2880 or email me for more information or to schedule a No-Cost telephone consultation.

Beginner Posture Perfect!TM Classes in Herndon,
Reston and Arlington

We have beginner Posture Perfect!TM classes in Herndon, Reston and Arlington. Take your first class for FREE and see how much taller, more balanced and relaxed you feel afterwards. To register please contact Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or email to Please wear comfortable clothes and bring a towel, a bottle of water and an exercise mat if you have one.

Posture Perfect!TM for Spinomed Program
I have created a new companion back strengthening exercise program to help anyone wearing the Spinomed orthosis. The classes include helpful tips on getting the most from your Spinomed as well as exercises that help strengthen your back, improve your posture and increase your balance. Click here to learn more about the
Posture Perfect!TM for Spinomed.

LivMD Updates

I just received an amazing testimonial about the LivMD from a psychotherapist in Rhode Island. She read about the LivMD in my newsletter and then decided to buy one and give it a try. Here is her testimonial in its entirety:

"Hi Woody,

I love it!  No back pain any longer and my last osteo scan stunned my doctor showing the first improvement in #s ever.  She said it was a statistically significant change.  I was using it twice a day 7 days a week.  My balance has been much, much improved, energy higher, focus better, sleeping longer.  I sent Marodyne a quick note letting them know the results even though I hadn't been using it very long.  There were no other changes I had made other than the platform.

My life became very sedentary a few months due to other health events. Tests couldn't find anything and I became curious about lymph problems that could be causing the extreme lower leg edema.  I looked at recent research on the LivMD and saw that it can also help with that - hooray! So, I'm back on the machine as of Tuesday - not as vigorous because my feet hurt - hopefully that will improve.

No one I know personally owns one, but a few clients have reported their gyms employ vibrating devices.  Their descriptions make me think they are higher in vibration. They haven't reported any exercises that were added to their routines by the gyms.   I put mine outside on nice days (covered porch) and let people know they can come by on days when I'm working and use it.  (I'm a psychotherapist with a home office.)

Thanks for the check-in - as ever I wish you were in Rhode Island and value your newsletter.  If you ever make videos for purchase of your programs, please let me know.  Are you thinking of exercises people can do while ON the LivMD or in conjunction with its use?

Kyle Hopkins"

We are still looking for volunteers for our LivMD investigational study. Please give Woody McMahon a call at 703.628.2880 or email to

Posture Perfect!TM First Class FREE

If you have never tried Posture Perfect!TM you owe it to yourself to come to one of our convenient classes and see how good it makes you feel. We want you to give us a try so come take your first Posture Perfect!TM class for FREE. It's on us... so what do you have to lose?

Please call Woody McMahon at 703.628.2880 or email to for more information or to make your reservation.

The FREE Posture Perfect!TM class helps introduce you to the many benefits of our safe and effective posture, balance and strength program co-developed by Sara Meeks, PT and Woody McMahon, personal trainer.

Come and experience how each class can help strengthen your bones, improve your balance, alleviate back aches and neck pains, improve osteoporosis and teach you how to sit and stand-up straighter. 

The History of Posture Perfect!TM
When I developed the Posture Perfect!TM classes over 2 years ago, there were no safe and effective exercise programs available for "over age 50" adults. Everywhere I looked there were older adults in classes that used seated exercises (bad for your back); machine style exercises (bad for your balance) treadmills (a poor hip and leg strengthener); and performed movements
that involved crunching, bending and twisting. (increases the risk of spinal compression fractures).

Posture Perfect!TM solved all of these problems by offering a safe and effective approach helping older adults become more active. Each class improves your posture, strengthens your bones, enhances your balance, alleviates back aches and neck pains, reduces fracture risk and teaches you how to sit and stand-up straighter. 

We have several people in our current classes who are coming to strengthen their bones and over half of the others are interested in exercises and posture changes to help make their backs and necks feel better.

Please call Woody McMahon at 703-628-2880 or email to for more information, class times and reservations.

Posture Perfect!TM Testimonials...
Posture Perfect's! momentum continues to grow. Here is a glowing testimonial from one of our class members.

"Posture Perfect!TM class has not only met my expectations, but exceeded them! There are several reasons I enjoy the class. The small class size gives each of us extraordinary personalized training; your knowledge, expertise, patience, and sense of humor makes me look forward to coming to a class I thought would be only for 6 weeks; and I have learned so much more than I expected."

"For example, I now think about my posture every time I sit, and just when I thought I'd begin to have a hard time rising from sitting on the floor, you taught me how to make it easier. I try to practice some of the balance exercises a couple of times a week (I know, I should do it more often!). I thank you for all I have learned from you so far, and hope to continue this class for the foreseeable future!"
Paula S.

Read more about S.A.F.E. and effective Posture Perfect!TM classes.

Continued Good Health,


Woody McMahon
The Sequoia Advisor

Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.
483A Carlisle Drive
Herndon, VA

Required Disclaimer: The material provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis, treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The material is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and does not enter into a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with its readers. The publisher does not advise or recommend to its readers treatment or action with regard to matters relating to their health or well-being other than suggesting that readers consult appropriate health-care professionals in such matters. No action should be taken based solely on the content of this publication. The material and opinions provided herein are believed to be accurate and sound at the time of publication, based on the best judgment available to the authors. However, readers who rely on material in this publication to replace the advice of health-care professionals, or who fail to consult with health-care professionals, assume all risks of such conduct. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

Copyright (c) 2006-2015 by Sequoia Health and Fitness, Inc.


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    A mindful and holistic approach to Fall Prevention, Balance, Full Body Functional Strengthening and Posture Exercises for All Ages! Our Science-Based Exercises are Safe and Appropriate for Your Ability. Our Exercises Help Improve Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Fear of Falling, Balance and Strength Problems. Reston, Great Falls, Herndon, Middleburg, Arlington Sterling and Northern Virginia.

    483A Carlisle Drive
    Herndon, VA 20170

    300 West Washington Street
    Middleburg, VA 20118