Category Archives: Blog

Successfully Failing During Your Workouts

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Diana Del Garbino, Owner & CEO of Muscles in Motion

Summer seems to have gone by so quickly this year, in contrast to sitting at home during the “Stay Home/Stay Safe” order which seemed to last a year!

Question: Are you taking advantage of the nice weather by getting outside every day and at the minimum taking a short walk?

What an easy way to boost your energy and clear your mind.

As for me I’ve finally turned a corner in my healing… I have ENERGY!

It hit me about the first week in August that my workouts started getting harder, but I wasn’t wiped out for two days anymore. I was able to stay awake all day without feeling that I would need to sleep for 12 hours. But then my eating turned south… I baked a whole carrot cake on Saturday evening and finished it for breakfast on Monday. 😮

Normally, sweets aren’t my first choice. Hmmmmm, something is definitely not going well. I contacted my doctor and she gave me a B-vitamin complex and just like that the craving for sugar and cake was gone. I really felt better and even played golf, and rode my bike in the same morning!! 

My point is that it is really important to listen to your body and be aware of unusual behaviors and feelings.

With that said, let’s talk about WHAT is happening in your body when you push yourself during your workout and WHY it’s so important.

Remember, last time I talked about Hypertrophy=building of muscles. HOW to do that is really relevant here. Completing an exercise to the point of Momentary Muscular Fatigue is what tells the brain that “There was not enough ENERGY in that muscle to complete the repetition.” The brain then sends a message to your muscle to repair what breakdown happened and make room for more energy next time.

That’s how you’re able to complete a better repetition, lift more weight or keep the muscle under load longer the next time you come in to workout.

Each of these equate to MORE energy!

The optimal amount of time for recovery is 48-72 hours in between workouts. 

In the next blog, I will talk more specifically about recovery. For now, focus on pushing yourself to complete muscular fatigue in each exercise to make sure your body adapts and changes for the next workout!!

What it Really Means to Build Muscle.

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Written by: Diana Del Garbino, CEO of Muscles in Motion.

Now that we’ve all been back to the gym, how’s it going?

Do you feel your muscles coming back?

Do you feel your strength and endurance coming back? I sure do.

Where I wasn’t able to squat down and get back up just using my legs only, I can do that now. My endurance is slowly gaining momentum, and I’m able to walk 8500 steps and not feel like I have to sleep immediately afterwards. I can see my shoulder muscles again!! 

Let’s get back to the science of what’s happening now.

There are so many terms that it makes it really confusing as to what exactly it is that you are doing when you are working out in the gym. Let’s break it down, you’ll get that joke in a moment.

Muscular hypertrophy is the building of muscle, and no matter if you want to call it “tone” “lengthening” or “strength training”, it’s all doing one thing, BREAKING DOWN THE MUSCLE FIBERS and then proteins repair the minuscule tears. (Get it?) Therefore building more muscle.

We all have certain genetics that allow for larger or smaller muscles by size-

  • Women generally have less amounts of the hormone testosterone therefore smaller muscles.
  • Men generally have a much greater amount of testosterone therefore having larger and stronger muscles.

There will always be outliers who could have more or less of the hormones or size, depending on their genetic makeup. 

But what about “bulky” muscles?

Ideally, we should have 10-20% body fat and be able to see our muscles underneath. However, with fast food, high sugars, and eating too much, we usually just have more fat content in our bodies.

Example: If someone who has 30-40% body fat (this is very common) begins to workout but continues to eat the same poor diet, they won’t see an immediate shrinkage in their arms or legs. Instead, they will see the muscle increase in density therefore making the appearance of the subcutaneous fat (just under the skin and on top of the muscle) appear to be bulkier.

But why? Take a down pillow and put it on top of another down pillow and press it down in the center. It will just squish all the way to the bottom of the lower pillow. That’s fat without muscle underneath. Now, place a piece of wood in between those two pillows and push the top pillow down. It will stop and appear to be “bulkier” than before. But it’s not, it’s just that you now have a dense layer of muscle underneath which gives the fat something to sit on and which it can’t press through. 

Why is this even important? Think of fat as “Inactive” tissue. Fat is sitting around in your garage adding to itself each time you eat too much. It just waits for you to be absolutely starving on an island for days before you can use it. On the other hand muscle tissue is “Active” tissue. Tissue that takes calories, helps you lift, lower, squat, jump, pull, push, turn, twist, play, hike, walk, jog, run….well you get the idea.

Muscle is a storage for energy. The more area to store energy (more muscles) the more energy you have to use up each day! Seems like a really great plan. Now that you know why muscle hypertrophy is so great, keep working out, moving slowly, and making small incremental gains to your weight training program.

Not sure how to start, get a Professional Personal Trainer to help you out. I might know of some really great ones!

Returning to Your Workouts Post-COVID


Written by: Diana Del Garbino, CEO of Muscles in Motion.

July 1 is the beginning of our second month of returning to the studio at Muscles In Motion, after the Covid-19 mandatory shutdown. We perfected our post-quarantine workouts to account for the prolonged absence of routine, lack of activity and most importantly to ensure a safe return.

For me, June 1, marked the first time I would use the weights again since my last workout on December 24th, 2019. Yes you read that right, Christmas Eve 2019. I’ve been in the hospital 4 times and had two surgeries, so there was only recovery time allowed during the closure. My return to the gym was harder than I first realized…

I was down about 23% of my workout weights in December. That might not sound like a lot, but what it looks like in real life is:

  • not being able to get up off the floor using just my legs.
  • not being able to push myself away from the table because my arms were too weak.
  • not being able to walk down the stairs without holding on to the rail because I felt like my legs would give out.
  • being tired after a long walk.

These are things that impacted my life and affected my confidence. The lack of confidence in my body left me feeling unable to go to the store because I wasn’t sure I could carry what I needed, that I wouldn’t have the stamina to work a full day, and that I was afraid if I walked too far I wouldn’t be able to make it back. 

I know this is much more intense than losing the ability to workout at the gym during the shutdown but I’m hoping you can see the relation between the two. I have experienced first-hand how intimidating it can be to return to working out and lifting weights after so much time away. I will say, it honestly is not nearly as painful as losing the ability and confidence to do the simple daily activities I once took for granted.

I want to guide you through this uneasy time with a couple of simple steps that I believe will help you regain your strength and confidence-

Go slow. This is the most important thing I can emphasize for returning to your workout after you haven’t done much during the closure. Here is what I mean by going slow: 

1. Move slowly through the exercise. At MIM we use High Intensity Training as our basis for safety and muscle hypertrophy (muscle building). This is an important component due to your muscles beginning to atrophy. Atrophy is a gradual decline in effectiveness or vigor due to underuse of muscle tissue.

By moving slowly during the exercise we limit the speed of movement so there is greater recruitment of the muscle tissue fibers. Moving slowly removes a lot of the momentum in the exercise so there is less time where the muscle is NOT under tension. This keeps the muscle working at a greater contraction rate.

It’s very easy to want to jump back in and start where you left off. This can be both dangerous and painful. Depending on how much sitting, sleeping or eating you did. Now, don’t think once you’ve lost it you can’t bring it back! The good news is that once you’ve had that muscle, it’s going to come back fairly quickly. 

Your trainer will know how to adjust your weights appropriately to account for any muscle loss during your time away, but make sure you’re talking with them and letting them know if it feels too light or too heavy so they can dial it in just right. 

2. Stop after you feel the burning sensation in said muscle group. Use this technique for the first couple of weeks to minimize soreness, and allow your body to adjust back into your workout. Don’t worry, you’ll be working plenty hard but remember we want to workout SMARTER not always HARDER. And you will always want to avoid an injury. 

Take your time increasing the weights. We use Time Under Load programming to determine when the weights need to increase. Once you’ve hit or exceeded the set time frame we’re looking for we will increase anywhere from 4-15% depending on the exercise. Smaller muscle groups will have a smaller increase compared to larger muscle groups. 

Don’t forget:

  • A POST workout snack- 20 grams of protein, 20 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fat is plenty for recovery.
  • Drink HALF your body weight in ounces of water per day.
  • Get plenty of rest! Remember we all went from not doing a lot to doing more, so rest is going to be even more important to focus on as we get back to being more active. 

Working out isn’t just about looking good. It’s about so much more in your day-to-day tasks, how you feel about yourself and what choices you make. I know I am making the decision to use my time to build myself to be stronger so I can feel confident in my body.

Virtual Training is the solution!

The studio may be closed but we are still here to support you,

•Ensuring proper form
•Specifically designed workouts to utilize your space & equipment (if any)
•Challenging orders & techniques

Make the most of your workouts during this Shelter in Place order, don’t let it stop you from feeling your best and maintaining your routine!

Click the link in the below to schedule a 1-on-1 Virtual session!

Schedule now!


The sessions at Muscles in Motion are designed around a scientific-based approach to exercise. The research shows that 2-3 thirty minute workouts per week will change your body’s composition (muscle vs fat) and give you a better quality of life.

Join us for this seminar on Body Composition to learn about the importance of a healthy muscle vs fat ratio. Get true answers to your health and fitness questions from the professionals at Muscles in Motion. Lastly, find out how to join the Fire-Up Your Fitness program starting in October to begin applying the information from the seminar to your everyday life!

CALL: 503.699.6948 to reserve your space!


MIM Seminar Series










Integrity, Commitment and Accountability

Benefits of day-to-day living when following a steady resistance exercise prescription, the impact of falling away from the prescription, and tips on ways to maintain accountability to that routine during busy times.

Speakers: Patrick Long & Logan Tyson
Saturday November 10th @ 1pm.











Come on out for a Night of Indulgence!

Thursday November 8th from 6pm-8:30pm at The Upper Cervical Clinic- 7180 SW Fir Loop Suite 250, Portland, Oregon 97223


The Upper Cervical Clinic, LLC will be hosting this event bringing local health, retail, and service professionals together for fun, mingling and indulging!

>>Snacks, Shopping, Wine and Raffle prizes<<


Diana Del Garbino, CEO and OWNER of Muscles in Motion will be at the Muscles in Motion booth sharing information and offering FREE workouts to those attending the event.

This is a night to TREAT YOURSELF, Ladies!
Please RSVP to let us know you’re coming and how many guests you’ll be bringing.

•Free massages
•Hair, Skin, and Fitness vendors
•Jewelry shopping
•Clothing, Fashion, & Photography vendors
•Apps, Chocolate, and Wine
• Free consultations and demos
• Raffle prizes every 15 minutes

We hope to see you there!

MIM Halloween Costume Contest












MIM Halloween Costume Contest was a BIG success last year, let’s see what you come up with this year! 🙂

We dare you to dress spookier then PATRICK! (if you can)

Wednesday October 31, 2018 6am-7pm