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Accurately measuring your aerobic fitness and metabolic rate helps you individualize your fitness training program
Sophisticated fitness testing is now available to the general public
After a pretty lax summer of training I’m now ready to commit to a more structured fitness training program. I want to compete in ultra endurance events again next year so I need to start preparing now.
Having had my body fat measured a couple of weeks ago, I wanted to get an accurate picture of my aerobic fitness and the Peak Centre Vancouver guys are pros.
To perform at your potential in long duration events you need to have good endurance. And to measure endurance you should know a few key metrics:
It used to be that tests like these were only available at labs that weren’t open to the general public. But with facilities like the Peak Centre for Human Performance, the average recreational athlete now has access to sophisticated tests at reasonable prices.
The test involves taking you to your limits while wearing some pretty funky headgear, breathing through a diving tube and getting your finger pricked every three minutes to draw a blood sample. Fun stuff!
Watch me go through the test to see how it’s done.
Beyond the three key measurements, the Peak Centre test also told me how many calories I’m burning from fat and from carbohydrates at each exercise intensity. I now know exactly how many calories I need to be taking in during a six-hour trail run.
I’m no elite athlete by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s still worthwhile to get these tests done. I have an accurate measurement of my current fitness level to compare future tests to.
And I can use the information to design a training program that is individualized to my specific needs and abilities. I’ll know exactly what heart rates to train at to burn fat, to increase my speed and to improve my fatigue tolerance.
While the test I did is more appropriate for athletes, the general fitness enthusiast who simply wants to lose weight or keep fit can benefit from a slightly different test.
This test gives you an accurate measurement of your metabolic rate and how your body uses carbohydrates and fat for energy. This information can tell you exactly how many calories you need to burn to lose weight and provide you with individualized heart rate training zones to achieve that goal.
This can make your training program much more time efficient than simply guessing or using the pre-programmed zones on exercise machines.
And you can structure your nutrition so you take in the right amount of calories. No more guessing and hoping your diet works.
The high tech equipment and results can be intimidating but they shouldn’t be. They’re just numbers. My test results showed that I’m definitely below my peak level of fitness. But that’s okay. The Peak Centre team didn’t make me feel like I failed because my current results were lower than a previous test I had done a few years ago. They were there to help me.
Mike provided me with a detailed program to get me into peak shape and I’m motivated to see improvement. With a future test I can measure that improvement precisely and adjust my program accordingly as my fitness level changes.
Now that I’ve got all the measurements I need, in my next blog post I’ll tell you about my plan of attack to get fit.