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VO2 Testing: A Solution for Retaining the Deconditioned Client

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Statistically, there are about 123 million out of shape Americans in the prime age category for a health club membership. Yet, IHRSA reports that just a little more than 12 percent of the American population (33.8 million) are members of a health club. Often, deconditioned clients join a fitness facility with great intentions, only to let their membership expire. Meeting the needs of the deconditioned population is without a doubt, the key to ongoing success of any facility.

VO₂ testing can provide the solutions to meeting the needs of the deconditioned client. This assessment provides unique information about individual clients, regardless of their level of fitness. Although, we sometimes associate VO₂ testing with elite trainers and professional training centers, it is now available to any facility.
So what solutions can VO₂ testing provide?

Problem: Negative Reinforcement
Many deconditioned clients see exercise as a punishment, adhering to the “no pain, no gain” school of thought. They actually push themselves too hard, trying to make up for years of sedentary lifestyles, yet the discomfort and soreness that follows actually act as a negative reinforcement.

Solution: Aerobic and Anaerobic Thresholds
VO₂ testing determines Aerobic Threshold, which is the intensity level that will maximize fat burning, yet keep the client comfortable. At this level of intensity, a person can work out for an hour without significant lactic acid build up. It will decrease the fatigue and discomfort associated with overexertion.

VO₂ testing also determines Anaerobic Threshold, which defines the border between moderate and high intensity zones. This is the level that the cardiovascular system will support for about 45 minutes of working out. It is a key intensity level for strengthening the cardiovascular system. Clients will accumulate some oxygen debt, but will suffer less from sore muscles following their workouts.

Problem: Ineffective workouts
The deconditioned athlete is poorly prepared to apply the perceived exertion method of determining intensity. Many are uncomfortable with the sensation of pushing themselves, and think they are working harder than they really are. Consider this statement by Oprah Winfrey, “I used to start a workout program thinking that it was enough to show up every day to work out, but I would hardly break a sweat. What I learned was that I was not working out at the right intensity. In my past exercise experiences, whenever I hit the right intensity zone, I’d stay there for a short while, then I’d prefer to work out at a slower pace.”

Solution: Precise Target Heart Rates
VO₂ testing will show the client’s precise target heart rate in order to maintain the proper level of intensity and meet their goals. The test pinpoints unique heart rate zones that can be used to improve cardiovascular strength, increase endurance or lose weight. Using these customized heart rates will help teach the client what it feels like to be at a “low,” “moderate” or “intense” level of workout. It will also maximize the effectiveness of the expensive treadmills and other equipment at your facility that base their resistance on target heart rates.

Problem: Weight loss
The deconditioned client is frequently concerned with weight loss. Unfortunately, they often have no idea how to effectively integrate exercise into their weight loss goal.

Solution: Calories Burned during exercise
VO₂ testing will show clients just how many calories they are burning during each level of exercise. This information will allow you to customize their workout to maximize their caloric burn.

Problem: Discouragement
Deconditioned clients can get discouraged very easily.

Solution: Results!
There is no greater retention tool than results. With VO₂ testing, clients can maximize their workout efforts to obtain amazing results. They will become increasingly more comfortable working out and learn to enjoy — not dread — their time in the gym. They will experience improved health that will improve the quality of life spent with friends and family, and in their various activities throughout the day. VO₂ testing will bring results that will get you customers for life!

Julie Kofoed, BSN is the Vice President of Marketing for Korr Medical Technologies. She can be reached at 801.483.2080 or by e-mail at jkofoed@korr.com, or visit www.korr.com.

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