These days people expect that they can reach competitive level at any sport if they just train hard enough.
The problem is, that our body isn’t naturally prepared to hit the road or to start an intensive workout anymore. Our sedentary lifestyle, poor food choices, refined carbs and lack of motor skill challenges during child- and adulthood influence the overall status of our body. The consequences are imbalances, changed movement patterns, injuries and serious health risks when starting an unguided training programme, as well as a loss of motivation if the chosen program doesn’t lead to the desired benefits.
Why rules of thumb can be painful
Smart people try to avoid training overload and they will – sooner or later – stumble upon calculations and rules of thumb regarding the maximum heart rate and calculation of their “individual” training zones. Let’s just stay real: it’s better to use a rule of thumb than not having any idea how to choose training intensity at all. But the weakness of any rule of thumb is, that we are too individual to apply one formula for all, for example just depending on age as the only variable.
It’s a bit like recommending a shoe size 7 for everybody, just because it is the global average shoe size. It’s better than having no shoes at all, but it would be awkward for some of us, very painful for others, and just a handful of people will be happy.
The same problem occurs with any calculation regarding our maximum heart rate and training zones, there are plenty of formulas available, all have the same weakness: They don’t consider normal individual differences of people in the same age group. And even, if the calculated and measured maximum heart rate are the same for some people, the training zones are not, because they are quite individual.
If you know, that your training zones are not the same throughout your life and not even throughout a year because they adjust with training (and inactivity as well), how can we expect to calculate the same training zones based on a (as well calculated) maximum heart rate for everybody? For the same person the measured upper limit of the basic endurance zone can change from heart rate of 120 to a heart rate of 150 during a competition preparation (that’s a real test result, see red circles at the picture below).
Interestingly we are perfectly fine accepting different shoe sizes and shapes of feet for everybody, but we do expect one formula regarding our heart rate to fit for all people in the same age group, regardless of body size, height, fitness level and body type.
Performance testing – not only for athletes
That’s the point where Performance Testing, for instance metabolic testing on a treadmill or bike, can play out its strengths: It allows measurement of metabolic efficiency, training zones and tracking of development individually instead of guessing or using a rule of thumb.
The test can be done on the treadmill as a walking or running test and alternatively on the stationary bike. The test is beneficial for people with different goals, because it can be completely adjusted to the individual person.
Your goals for instance can be to:
- improve health (high blood pressure, diabetes, just getting active)
- start again with training after a longer break (or you never trained before)
- lose weight healthily
- to improve performance and competition times as an athlete or competitive weekend warrior
Based on the test results your individual training zones are defined to promote further improvement. Repeating the test 3 to 4 month later can give a great boost of motivation because you see (not only guess) how your fitness already improved!
If you want to have further information about the test, just let me know by dropping a message (Email). You can book an appointment with me at City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy at Guthrie House as well.
When will be your first performance test?
More related articles you find here: