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St. Luke’s fitness guru publishes book

“How are we all doing today,” John Graham shouts out on a humid Saturday morning.

“Awesome,” shouts back a group of almost 40 people who have assembled on this early morning to undergo a 60-minute metabolic conditioning class which Graham, the Senior Network Administrator for St. Luke’s Fitness and Sports Performance, has designed specifically to burn fat and increase lean muscle mass.

Graham’s metabolic conditioning delivers results, and his methodology is available in his new book, “Metabolic Training,” written with co-author Michael Barnes, released on Oct. 31 by Human Kinetics.

Commonly known as met con, or metabolic conditioning, this form of training is often mistaken for any combination of high-intensity exercises. The truth is that grouping exercises together without structure or purpose does not define a training style.

Featuring 60 pre-designed workouts with more than 100 exercises, the book is designed for everyone from beginners looking to improve their fitness levels to experienced athletes hoping to achieve that next level, as well as fitness professionals.

“We didn’t want this to be just a textbook for colleges and universities like so many fitness books are,” Graham said. ‘We wanted to design this for the mainstream fitness participants and give them a progression to follow so that they can progress to the next levels and ultimately the most advanced levels if they wish.”

In “Metabolic Training,” he explains the concepts behind the training, and showcases tested and proven exercises that produce results. Graham leads five weekly metabolic conditioning classes at St. Luke’s Fitness & Performance at St. Luke’s West End location.

“I started taking metabolic conditioning because I wanted to be in better shape,” said Donna Sabol, a regular at the Saturday classes. “They’re tremendously fun. It’s a whole-body workout. It’s challenging, but it’s taken my energy and fitness to a whole new level.”

“Metabolic Training” addresses the body’s different energy systems by taxing the cardiovascular system, the muscular strength and endurance systems in order to burn fat, increase lean muscle mass, strength, power and athletic performance.

“We avoided utilizing machines and traditional barbell-type exercises in order to reduce the time to complete sets and move from one exercise to the next,” Graham explained. “We wanted to set up workouts where people in the same group could work out together regardless of their fitness level and still get a high-quality workout. We set up multiple weights at each station to accommodate the strength and fitness levels of each participant.

“The goal is to spend a lot more time exercising and less time recovering,” he said. “Ultimately we want to take people from 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of recovery to 40 seconds of exercise and 20 seconds recovery, to 50 and 10. If you’re newer to a class, you may actually take a break before the session ends for a particular exercise set.”

This is Graham’s first full book. He has contributed chapters in other fitness books on subjects ranging from fitness to sports performance to chronic conditions and disorders.

“I always wanted to write a book from beginning to end,” Graham said. “This project gave me that opportunity. I think the most important part is that I got to put in something creative and new that I think people will be excited to read about. It may be a previously thought of concept, but it’s how you modify it that makes the big difference.