Once upon a time, I was a serious athlete. These days, not so much. Between work and family, there is little time for physical activity – and inertia now feels, at times, like a warm embrace. I have high quality free weights at home but even just the idea of lifting them out of their state-of-the-art casings is exhausting. And the idea of going to a loud, crowded, mirrored gym? No.

Then, about a month and a half ago, I heard of MedX Precision Fitness and decided to give it a try. Several aspects of the MedX setup were intriguing: 1) the workouts would take no more than 20 minutes, 2) there was only one workout a week, and 3) there would be no one else in the gym during the workout, other than the personal trainer guiding me through the exercises. Efficiency. Exclusivity. Privacy. I had to give it a shot...

MedX PF is the brainchild of Blair Wilson, a personable young man who got into the world of exercise and strength conditioning as a result of an injury. Wilson had been a professional water skier in his teens, until he was finally sidelined by a busted shoulder. As part of his rehabilitation, he began working out with John Little, a pioneer in the field of exercise and the creator of Max Contraction Training, a philosophy that emphasizes high intensity training; muscles are made to work harder, the contractions are more severe, and greater muscle growth is stimulated. It’s a method embraced by Wilson.

“We focus on efficiency and try to elevate the work per unit of time that you’re in the gym,” Wilson says. “Anybody can go in and throw the weight up and down for three sets of twenty reps with the idea that more is better. But if more is better than why would you ever stop? In fact, one good hard set to a point where you cannot move the weight is sufficient enough to signal your body to make an adaptive response, i.e., to get stronger and more efficient.”

PFXINSET.jpgThat’s the philosophy. The sessions themselves take place in a small, air-conditioned gym in downtown Toronto. The room is cooled to 65 degrees fahrenheit, the optimum temperature for muscular exertion. During my sessions, there was only myself and Wilson in the gym and we’d quickly move from machine to machine. In 20 minutes or less I’d be done for the day. Over the course of the next week, my damaged muscle tissues would rebuild themselves and then we’d do it again, Wilson fine tuning the weight and time spent on each set to maximize muscle growth. Interestingly, despite the intensity of the workouts, I experienced only a pleasant burn – not the painful lactic acid buildups that I’d experienced after many of the two hour weight-lifting sessions of my youth.

So...does it work?

Well, I went to MedX PF for five weeks and can say that I’m definitely stronger. Wilson monitored the amount of weight and the number of repetitions during each session, information that I was later able to track on their website. So my strength has increased, and that’s measurable. Muscular development aside, other benefits that MedX PF say clients might also see include everything from a raise in metabolic rate to an increase in neuromuscular efficiency to improved posture. While it’s difficult to gauge my neuromuscular efficiency, I’ve asked our associate editor, Erin, about my posture. She says I’ve always had good posture – and, as a yoga aficionado, she should know.

A single session at MedX PF goes for $85.00 and there are discounts for packages. But the advantage of having my movements carefully monitored by an objective, expert set of eyes was invaluable.

In other words, yes, it is worth it. I’d recommend MedX PF to friends. Why? Because I feel stronger. Because I feel I can now crush small- to medium-sized objects in my bare hands, and I can hurl myself headlong into wooden doors and smash them into a million pieces. And that’s priceless.