By: Jason Lewis
Most professional athletes fine-tune their diet and training regimen by using the best tests that science has made available. From VO2 max to body composition to blood testing, the pros learn how hard they need to train, and exactly how many calories that they need to consume to obtain their desired results.
For the typical weekend warrior, whether they are competing in endurance races, mud runs, or just trying to get in great shape, it is mostly trial and error based on a lot of information that is not customized to their personal needs.
“The only way that you can enhance performance is to know where you are now, verses where you want to be,” said Nick Baggetta, Fitness Manager at TriFit Multisport. “The efficacy of any training program is determined by its ability to get you the results that you want. You don’t go to school and never test.”
The point of testing is so that a person learns their own baseline, and can monitor their improvements, or lack there of, to make adjustments to their diet and exercise program. And these scientific tests take out the trial and error because they are more objective than subjective. These tests deal with the facts, not somebody’s opinion.
TriFit Multisport tests their client’s, whether they are professional athletes or weekend warriors, resting metabolic rate and exercise metabolic rate, also known as the VO2 max test. The resting metabolic test is to see exactly how many calories that a person’s body burns on any given day at rest.
“If you have specific weight loss, gain, or maintenance goals, you’ll know exactly how many calories that you can consume to achieve those goals,” Baggetta said.
The VO2 max test tells a person exactly how much oxygen that their body can use, and how many calories they burn at any given heart rate, as well as the amount of burned calories that comes from fats and carbohydrates during exercise.
TriFit Multisport also performs the lactate threshold test, which informs a person of their heart rate training zone. An improved zone allows a person to train at a higher intensity, and the workout will not feel as hard.
These tests are of great importance to professional athletes, and they come in really handy for people who are just looking to improve their fitness level.
“When you get to [the professional level] seconds makes the difference,” Baggetta said. “If one person is training more efficiently than another, that person is going to get a bigger pay check. For the weekend warrior it is the difference between a race being the hardest thing that they have ever done, and a race being something that they did in a certain pace, and now they are going to do this training program, and they see their numbers go up or down.”
For a person to get the best results out of their training regimen, it is extremely helpful to customize it to fit their own needs. That is where the InsideTracker’s Home Kit comes into play. It is a blood-analysis program that allows athletes and fitness enthusiasts to easily understand the strengths and weaknesses of their unique body chemistry.
This blood test tells a person how many calories that they should consume, what type of foods that they should eat, and how certain foods and supplements affect their body. This test, which is performed at home and then mailed to a laboratory, gives the person recommendations on what they should be eating, and how intense they should be working out.
“Most of us, especially those who are weekend warriors, are interested in making sure that we can tweak and improve performance by doing things that are healthy for us,” said Rony Sellam, CEO of Segterra, Inc. “We want to feel good, feel right, recover quickly after the efforts. Being able to do that using food as our, quote unquote, drug of choice, is a fantastic option.”
Many people are taking supplements and multi-vitamins that are healthy for them, but in many cases those supplements are not needed. A person could be taking a vitamin B-12 supplement, but the test shows that the person’s B-12 levels are higher than normal.
A test such as the InsideTracker gives the user a high tech monitoring system, and allows people to adjust their diet and exercise program to their own unique needs.
Many weekend warriors’ diet and exercise programs are geared toward body composition as much as it is to athletic performance. The most common measurement for body composition is stepping on the scale, but at times the scale will lie. That is where the InBody 230 Body Composition Analyzer comes into play. It is a high tech, and accurate way to test a person’s body fat percentage, better indicating body composition than the scale.
“We call it the ‘truth,’ and we call it the ‘fitness report card,'” said Steven Sanchez, owner of West Coast Sports Fitness.
The test shows how much bone, organ, muscle, and fat that a person has, something normal scales can’t provide. This is of great importance, because a person can be on a weight loss program, but some, or most of that weight could be from muscle instead of body fat, which is not the goal.
“If lean body mass has been lost, then I know that the person is not consuming enough calories, and more specifically protein calories, because those are the building blocks of muscle,” Sanchez said. “It also shows me that if their body fat has increased, then they just are not committed or they are making the wrong choices.”
The test allows Sanchez to give his clients a customized program, instead of a template diet and exercise program, and he tests them every 45 days to track their progress, and make changes as needed.
Whether the goal is becoming more athletic for competition, or making body composition changes, a person knowing what is going on in his or her own body takes away the trial and error, and allows a person to know exactly what they need to do to obtain their desired results.