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It was the Cheshire Cat who said to Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” So true for a cardio work out! If clients don’t know where they are starting from, or how to get where they think they want to go, the results can be disastrous: fatigue, sore muscles and no measurable improvement in fitness or weight loss. Even with the guidance of a personal trainer, clients often stump us. We’ve got them on a good cardio program, but they are not progressing. The weight should be coming off, but they’ve hit a stubborn plateau. Their endurance should be increasing, but they are still struggling. How do we make sure the cardio workouts at our facility are giving clients maximum results?
The answer lies in individual VO₂ assessments. VO₂ Assessments, sometimes referred to as VO₂ Max tests, are considered the ultimate fitness assessment tool. For years it has been the standard used by professional athletes, university trainers and human performance labs to maximize the performance of high caliber athletes. Recent advances in technology have made this equipment available to gym owners and personal trainers at every level of expertise. Unlike equipment of the past, it is now affordable, portable and easy to use.
During a VO2 fitness assessment, the client wears a mask that directs the gas they breathe into a device to be analyzed. The device measures the client’s “VO2” or the rate at which the client consumes oxygen. During the test, the client exercises on a bike or treadmill, steadily increasing their workload and thus increasing their heart rate and oxygen consumption.
The data gathered during this test provides a wealth of information about an individual’s level of fitness. VO₂ max, aerobic threshold, anaerobic threshold, peak oxygen consumption and calories burned during exercise are all key physiologic markers that will go into making your client’s workout as custom and effective as possible. Some personal trainers will choose to incorporate the information into workouts they design, while others will let the VO₂ equipment automatically generate a customized plan.
A workout based on a VO₂ test will identify various target heart rates for different goals, each unique to the client. At that point, they can hop on any piece of cardio equipment at your facility and have the most comfortable workout of their lives! Why? Because they are working out in their personal “sweet spot” where they can maximize their results while minimizing pain, discomfort, and fatigue. And, as their conditioning improves, a simple re-test allows the trainer to adjust those target heart rates to their new level of fitness.
Additionally, the benefits of this customized workout go far beyond comfort. By pinpointing the proper target heart rates for each exercise goal, clients can get results they never dreamed of before. It also allows them to be very efficient with their workouts, usually reaching goals more quickly than expected. There is a reason VO₂ testing is used as standard training equipment by professional athletes and Olympians: it leads to results. Now your clients can benefit from the same technology once reserved for the elite, well-funded athlete.
Cardio equipment and programs are an enormous investment for any facility. It’s important to protect that investment by making sure your clients get the best results possible. Follow the lead of the professionals and start with a VO₂ Max Test. The results will be worth it!
Julie Kofoed is the Vice President of Marketing of KORR Medical Technologies. She can be contacted at (800) 895-4048, or by e-mail at email@example.com.