STANDARDIZED VERSUS INDIVIDUALIZED TRAINING TO ACHIEVE MEANINGFUL FITNESS GAINS. Lauren Mazzo’s article for SHAPE.com “Science Found the Best Exercise to Overcome Your Weight-Loss Plateau” reported on research that was featured a January 2017 American Council on Exercise (ACE)-Certified™ item.
She explained a study showing that the bodies of nearly 36% of exercisers following a typica, standardized, moderate-intensity 13-week exercise program that included both cardiorespiratory (aerobic) and strength training did not seem to show the benefits of this physical activity.
Specifically, measurement of maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), a common test to assess fitness level, did not improve. These exercisers were designated “non-responders” by the researchers when compared with exerciser “responders” who showed positive changes in VO2max with training.
By comparison, 100% of exercisers who followed a different program, the ACE™ Integrated Fitness Training (ACE™IFT) Model were “responders” who recorded a favorable VO2max change. Measures of body fat percentage, and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure also showed positive changes in this group compared with those of the standardized exercise group.
Improvement in other key cardio-metabolic risk markers including waist circumference, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood glucose, was recorded in the ACE-IFT group participants compared with a control group who performed NO exercise during the 13-week study.
The difference in results obtained from the standardized and IFT programs, the study’s author indicates in Mazzo’s SHAPE.com article, may be due to differences in intensity at which the workouts were performed.
Resistance “multi-joint/multi-planar” exercises in which free weights and machines that “allowed for free motion” were employed in the IFT routines. This type of effort may have forced the IFT exercisers to work harder to achieve higher levels of effort as determined by heart rate targets based on breathing rate (“ventilatory threshold”) calculations. The standardized group performed “single- and multi-planar exercise” on machines only, and exercise intensity was determined by heart rate targets that were based on heart rate reserve (HRR) calculations.
The ACE™-Certified report, meant to help ACE Certified trainers be more effective in helping clients see fitness gains as a result of their training efforts, stressed that the results of this study demonstrated the importance of developing personalized programs for individuals. Taking “a more cookie cutter approach will always yield less-than-optimal results”, it advised.
Mazzo’s article indicates the way to remedy the problem of being a ‘non-responder’ is to “switch up your workout”. There’s more discussion about how to accomplish this switch-up and links to other DIY advice articles in her SHAPE.com piece.
After reading the full ACE™-Certified account of the research it sponsored and checking out the linked articles, exercise newbies might consider consulting a certified trainer for an individualized functional strength program, like the one in the study in which 100% of participants showed positive results. More experienced exercisers may be comfortable with identifying ways to mix-up their current routines themselves, especially if they are not seeing desired cardio-metabolic marker or body composition improvements from workout regimens.
Mazzo article offers advice on to increase the intensity of workouts. Below are additional links to routines that might introduce challenging new moves, performed at high intensity. A PDF of the research article published in Journal of Fitness Research is also provided.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Resistance bands needed; demonstrated in pictures
Outdoor park workout that requires a bench, step, flat rock, curb, monkey bars
Requires gym equipment to perform entire workout; demonstrated in video
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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