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Let Me Count the Ways: How the Isochain Has Transformed My 69-Year-Old Body and Being

Laura Phillips Isochain results: Back and biceps strength and definition

When it comes to hardcore exercise, I’m no newbie. I was a karate instructor for over 10 years, and have an extensive background in weightlifting, yoga, gymnastics, track, and kickboxing. I have done kettlebells for almost 20 years. The hardest thing I have done physically is to get certified as a Dragon Door RKC Kettlebell Instructor. The RKC certification process included six months of heavy training as preparation, followed by the three intensely grueling 10-hour days of the certification itself.

However, about 18 months ago I suffered a major setback. I started to experience severe pain in my hip. My doctor informed me that it was due to arthritis and warned me that I would probably need a hip replacement sooner rather than later.

Everything I tried to do as exercise caused me more pain, more limping, more sleepless nights. I couldn’t even walk half a mile at this point without being up half the night in pain and taking two days to recover. Forget kettlebells, kickboxing, or even yoga. Even going up and down stairs became an ordeal...

I was desperate to reverse this decline in my physical abilities and began to research every possible exercise modality that might turn things around for me.

So, when I first read about Isochain isometrics and its apparent ability to heal and strengthen the body in a pain-free manner, I was hooked. My order went in that same day. I had absolutely loved my kettlebells and dearly missed being able to workout with them pain-free. The Isochain looked like the perfect way get back into shape while my kettlebells were off the table, as it were…

The day the box arrived I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to try this totally innovative device. With a big smile on my face I took the Isochain out of the box, laid it on my living room floor, and looked at it….. for a long time. In fact, I kept looking at it for 10 long months!

Why? What happened?

The fact is, the Isochain had intimidated me. I felt inadequate and confused. I thought to myself, "This should be simple. This should not be this hard." Then a memory came of a time before I started kettlebells. I realized I was once again feeling the way I felt the first time I went to lift in the "guys" part of a gym. I heard a lot of grunting noises and loud, low guttural sounds as the guys lifted. It sounded very primal. It was like a verbal sign that said, "Girls Stay Out!"

At that time I was the only girl in that part of the gym. I didn’t know how to set up to do lifting with the barbell, let alone how to have good form, or what a good workout program would be.

But, I wanted to get strong so I went through feeling uncomfortable, feeling stupid and I asked for help. Slowly I learned how to set up for deadlifts and squats. Learned good form. Got help with workout programs. Now I even know what clamp collars are and how to use them. I didn’t need to know all the correct terms to do the lifting. What I needed to know was how to set up, good form, and a workout program.

Ugh! So here I am again. So excited to get started with the Isochain and yet I can’t figure it out! To cap it all, the pandemic had shut everything down, including my work. I knew no one else who had an Isochain. Even if the gyms were open, there would be no one there to help me with this. I was on my own.

I was frustrated. I read through the Ultimate Isometrics Manual. I watched the videos. I joined the Isochain Isometrics Users Group on Facebook and read the posts. Everyone there was doing great, making solid gains, loving the Isochain. What is wrong with me? Was I really such a hopeless case? Then I would bolster myself up and try again. I went through this process over and over. Nothing was clicking. I needed help!

Finally, one day I had the thought to call Dragon Door to see if possibly they had any suggestions for me. I talked with John Du Cane and explained my dilemma. I felt silly that I couldn’t figure this out on my own. John was great. He listened and was understanding. Then he gave me a life line. He gave me Chrys Johnson’s name and number. He told me that Chrys was coaching people online with the Isochain. Really??? Cool!!! Maybe this would work!
Laura Phillips - Seated Isochain Exercise

I started working with Chrys on Zoom this past August. Ten months after receiving my Isochain. By that time I had noticeable strength loss and my confidence was waning. The first time I spoke to Chrys he reassured me that everything was going to be alright. He calmed my fears that I was inadequate to learn this. I felt comfortable with him in that first call because of all he was saying to me. I knew I could trust him. I didn’t feel dumb, or embarrassed that I had not been able to do this on my own. I just felt relief and gratitude for being connected to someone who was going to help me.

All my concerns went away the very first lesson. Chrys saw the smallest details and was able to tweak what I was doing effectively. I’m not saying I understood the Isochain and how to do isometrics right away. That takes time. I have a lot to learn still. Just getting the breathing down took a while and I continue to get better with it, learning as I go. It is different than any other exercise breathing I have done. These are all new skills I am learning, step by step, session by session.

I started out doing two days a week with Chrys and quickly moved into three. I started getting my form and groove in the exercises. I was learning how to tell better if my body was in the right position to get maximum benefit and not cause any damage. All this was happening because Chrys kept giving me truthful encouragement, feedback and corrections when needed. He gave me tons of tips, like, "Concentrate on your quads with this one", "Think of your body as one unit", "Breathe in with your nose and out with your mouth."

There are so many things Chrys said that has helped me not only with strength gains, but with my confidence, fortitude and all-around determination. His encouragement keeps me trying harder. I do love it when he says, "Ok, this is the last one of the day. Put your all into it!" Chrys truly cares and is like a professor with the Isochain. He knows his stuff and has a big heart!

So what has happened to change my life?

I no longer have hip pain! It happened slowly over time. One day I realized I wasn’t having a hard time going up and down stairs. I was able to sleep on my side and did not have any pain waking me up. This is a miracle to me. This means no hip surgery. At least not for a long time, or maybe never. Besides this incredible benefit, I have also gotten so much stronger over all. My balance is better. My knees and lower back that have always been prone to getting hurt, have gotten stronger. My energy level is up and I am just plain happier.

There are some more benefits I have experienced from working with the Isochain. They are things that I greatly appreciate being a 69-year-old woman. Two years ago I started taking Salsa and Bachata dance lessons. Before Isochain, I was sad to see the wrinkly skin at the crook of my arm when I lifted my arms to dance with a partner. My triceps had also gotten loose and moved a lot more than I liked. Those things have gone away now. When I flex my arms they are solid and hard! In addition my booty is looking so much firmer and tighter. I like that! I like all the strength I am achieving. Being stronger makes me the happiest.

I do have a few numbers to share on the progress I have made. I asked Chrys for them. He keeps track of everything for me, thank goodness! Over the course of the last two months, I am up a total of 23% overall strength. My Calf Raise went from 125 lbs of force to 300 lbs. (I love seeing 300+ pounds on the readout. My highest has been 366.) Deadlift: 85 lbs to 114 lbs. Squat: 77 lbs to 110 lbs. Seated Row: 94 lbs to 108 lbs.

Laura Philips - Isochain Exercises and Results Collage

These are not big numbers compared to others, but they are big for me. I am not comparing myself to anyone else, only competing with my own numbers, skill and ability. When I first started with Chrys he had me do 6-second holds for a few months. Who knew six seconds could be so killer long! Then he started to add in a day of Hypertrophy holds of 20 seconds. What!?!? This is torture! Then a few weeks later 25 second holds! WHOA! This week, 5 months in to training, we did 30 seconds! And I thought 6 seconds was torture. Ha! But, you know what? Doing 4 reps of 30 second hold Zercher Squats kicks butt and I feel amazing after.

So, that is my story. I am in love with my Isochain now. All the bumps and turns and twists to get here was worth it. It has changed my life for the better. I can do all the things I want to do and my body is not holding me back. I even have new physical goals that I hadn’t considered before. Thank you Chrys. Thank you John Du Cane and Dragon Door. Thank you Isochain. I’m eternally grateful.

PS I am now making the female version of grunts and loud guttural sounds doing my Isochain workouts. Now I understand. :)