Premium Partners

Profiting from Cardio Science

Use technology and specialized training programs to help your members reach their goals, and help your facility gain a profit.

The road to peak performance for members now involves technology and specialized training. Fitness center owners and managers must become knowledgeable about the new technology that is available to improve retention and help members reach their goals.

Technology can also be used in the fight against obesity.Statistics about adult and child obesity in the U.S. are astounding and frightening, but they can also be seen as a business opportunity. Fitness centers can establish comprehensive programs to address childhood and adult overweight and obesity in a profitable and efficient manner. These programs can contribute significant revenue to the bottom line, while contributing to the decrease in healthcare dollars spent (currently exceeding $117billion annually).

Customized training

Programming over and above regular fitness center offerings should be offered at an additional cost to members.These programs require a greater degree of expertise and equipment. Plus, customized training and nutrition programs can maximize results and safety.

Technology now exists to accurately evaluate members and design appropriate, objective programs to improve fitness, nutrition and health. Consider weight management. Weight management is arguably the most sought-after result of new and existing members, and technology can be used to help your members lose weight.

Everyone has a unique metabolic response to exercise. A simple metabolic test will determine resting metabolic rate and anaerobic threshold, allowing true individualized programming to occur.

Fitness professionals should be able to answer the following questions about their members before designing a weight-loss program for them:

*How many calories per day can your clients eat without gaining weight?
*At what heart rate during exercise do they burn maximum fat?

*How do you measure exercise intensity and safety for members?

The science of metabolism

Oxygen is more critical to weight control than people realize. Metabolism involves the use of oxygen to create fuel. Metabolic testing is the individualized measurement of energy expenditure by evaluating the rate of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide exhaled. Both glucose and fat, the primary fuels of the body, require oxygen for burning. The gas content of the breath reflects the metabolic exchanges that are occurring in the body.

At rest, the burn rate of oxygen, or Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), provides the means to calculate the number of calories per day that the body requires. With the addition of the calories expended in activities of daily living and exercise, it is possible to determine the "burn rate" of the body at any given weight, and manage energy intake/output to control body weight.

During exercise, the burn rate of oxygen (called VO2) is an indicator of the capacity of the lungs to provide the oxygen that muscles require. VO2, or the exercise burn rate, determines the intensity and duration of workouts to maximize either the calories used in a workout, or the workload required for maximum aerobic development of heart/lung fitness.

Benefits of metabolic testing

Offering metabolic tests for your members can help them with weight management, and to individualize workouts.

Weight management. For weight management, you can help your members to:

1. Establish realistic weight goals based on burn rate.
2. Create a meal plan to match the burn rate.
3. Create ideal nutrition plans for appetite control.

4. Adapt any diet plan to maintain lost weight.

Exercise. For individual members' workouts, you can help them to:

1. Increase calories used per workout.
2. Set workload based on tolerance.
3. Exercise safely using a heart rate monitor.
4. Maximize efficiency of exercise.

5. Improve heart/lung fitness.

Sports-specific training

A sports-specific training program should be designed using a heart rate monitor. This system enables members to condition for sports or activities based on the results of exercise testing that determines individual oxygen use. The training program can then be tracked with each workout via the web or through existing software (several companies currently provide this type of software).

VO2 in athletes. Sports-specific training/testing uses science to give athletesa competitive edge. With knowledge of how the body works, training can be smarter and faster.

An athlete is like a race car. Fuel in the body is stored in the muscles, blood stream and liver. Air containing oxygen is provided by the lungs. That's why athletes "feel winded" and a "burning" in their chest when they are low in oxygen and can't power the muscles. When using oxygen efficiently, athletes are in the best shape to generate a peak performance.

Max VO2. Genetic lung capacity sets the stage for whether an athlete is best suited for endurance sports or high-intensity sports. VO2 is an individual's metabolic blueprint, and is 60 percent genetic. Each individual has a maximum "burn rate" of oxygen (VO2Max) based on how well the muscles respond to the demands of exercise.

The ability to use max burn rate is based on conditioning level. When the body is not conditioned, it is less efficient and "runs out of gas" quickly. Fatigue occurs faster and the individual is more apt to be out of breath -- trying to get more oxygen to the muscles. The burn rate of oxygen is the key to playing sports longer and harder without getting tired.

Anaerobic Threshold (AT). The point when a person "gets out of breath" and feels fatigued is called Anaerobic Threshold (AT). It is also called Fatigue Threshold. At this point, the muscles become overwhelmed by lactic acid produced as muscles work. Lactic acid is removed by a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide (CO2), which is expelled when a person breathes out. At the AT point, the amount of CO2 in the breath dramatically increases, and indicates when a person is no longer able to burn energy efficiently.

VO2Max and the AT can be determinedby measuring the oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the breath. This can be accomplished with the use of gas exchange technology. Currently, technology is available to measure this at a reasonable cost, which can be passedon to the member (see Technology-Based Revenue).

Designing an exercise program

With training, the efficiency of the heart and lungs and the ability to supply oxygen to the muscles is dramatically improved. In addition, trained muscles learn to tolerate higher levels of lactic acid. These training effects improve efficiency, moving the AT closer to maximum (VO2Max).

The burn rate can be used to determine how well the body is responding to a training program. If the efficiency level is increasing, then the program is working. If the efficiency level is staying the same or dropping, then the program needs to be modified and improved.

Retesting intervals. It is recommended that a training program be maintained for eight weeks to give the body a chance to respond to the demands of that program. Under time constraints, retesting may be considered after four weeks of training.

Technology and your bottom line

The science of exercise can be both educational to members and profitable to the facility. For fitness centers to remain competitive and progressive, they must invest in technology and expertise to satisfy the needs of a diverse and ever-growing membership base. If you embrace these concepts, you can be rewarded through emerging market growth and retention of current memberships.
A 12-minute metabolic test to ensure training success for members has an average market price of more than $150 for combined resting and exercise testing. For as little as $199 per month, fitness centers can own a portable metabolic test system. So, if a facility charges $85 for a resting metabolic test, and sells five per week, the fitness center makes $425 per week. At 48 weeks, that is $20,400 per year. And that is just for the first assessment per member. Members can get reassessed as often as once per month.
For the VO2 test, facilities can charge $175. At five per week, that is $875. For 48 weeks, that is $42,000 per year.

Additional revenue can come from heart rate monitor sales, training packages, a "CompuTrainer" and more.

AB Show 2022 in Orlando
AB Show is a solution-focused event for athletics, fitness, recreation and military professionals.
Learn More
AB Show
Buyer's Guide
Information on more than 3,000 companies, sorted by category. Listings are updated daily.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide