Metabolic testing can take the guesswork out of exercise. By evaluating several key factors, this test can give exercisers specific personalized numbers to reach their goals, whether those goals are improved health, weight loss, or both. This Ask the Trainer question comes from a healthy older exerciser who is frustrated after hitting an exercise plateau.
Get Your Rear in Gear reader: I am 67 years old. I think I’m in above average physical shape for my age. I have been doing high intensity Zumba Classes 3 to 4 times per week for 6 months and haven’t lost a pound. Along with this cardio, I weight train two to three days a week (machines only). I have been going to a whole health clinic since March and am following a very healthy eating plan along with dietary supplements. I use a heart rate monitor and my heart rate during cardio averages 145-148. I know this is above the scale for my age but I am not winded and don’t have trouble talking with heart rate this high. In the past two years, I’ve gone from 184 to 144 lbs and am really trying to get the other 4-6 lbs off. I just don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I try to stay within the 1200 calorie range because if I go over that, I gain. Do you have any recommendations for me?
Kris Wayne: Congratulations on your huge weight loss! That is a major accomplishment and I can understand your frustration with the last few pounds. I lost 105 pounds when I was 19 (forty years ago!) and understand what that battle involves in terms of exercise and lifestyle change. If you have been eating only 1200 calories and yet exercising a lot you may have inadvertently slowed your metabolism down. If we exercise regularly and eat minimally, our bodies respond by conserving fuel. My best recommendation is to have metabolic testing done with New Leaf for resting and exercise metabolic rates. This test takes very little time and will accurately tell you exactly “what it costs you to live” (resting metabolic rate) and the precise heart rate where your body burns fat most efficiently (exercising metabolic rate). Often, people work too hard and burn sugar or glycogen for fuel and not fat as the energy substrate. With metabolic testing, you take the guesswork out of the exercise process, so you are getting the best bang for your buck and not spinning your wheels. There are many places you can have this test done – including many of your local YMCAs. There is a charge for this test, but it maximizes the likelihood that the energy you are expending is getting you closer to your goals. I hope this is helpful!
Kris Wayne is the Generations Fitness Specialist for the Metropolitan Minneapolis YMCA. As part of this program she develops fitness programming for baby boomers and senior populations in the areas of Pilates, Group Fitness and Personal Training. Her program, “Functional Fitness” concentrates on undoing what occurs during the aging process and daily life. Kris is a certified presenter and fitness instructor through the American Council on Exercise and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer.