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Avera Medical Minute: Metabolic testing for athletes and wellness

Updated: Jun. 27, 2021 at 7:21 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -When it comes to health and fitness, we all need something different. What works for one person may not work for others. So a type of equipment available through Avera Health is helping people customize their own health plan.

Jacquie Grinde is on the road to health. So she is trying out the COSMED Metabolic Testing equipment at the Avera Human Performance Center. She wants to see where her endurance levels are at.

“I used to be like, I feel like in fairly decent shape before like having kids. And so just, I’m finally like getting back into running and feeling good about myself and everything like that. So I kind of just wanted to see where I was at,” said Grinde.

The equipment became available in 2020. It assesses maximal oxygen consumption and resting energy expenditure, giving folks a baseline of their health.

“It allows you to assess somebody’s current state of fitness as well as compare them to other people either within the same sport, same gender, same age category,” said Derek Ferley, Avera Sports Science and Research Director.

The equipment can be used in a lab or out in the field to help athletes optimize their performance. Athletes and their coaches can use the data to come up with a personalized training plan.

“People respond very quickly to certain types of training, other people don’t respond at all, other people take a much longer time to respond to training. As long as you’re testing periodically, then you’ll be able to assess whether or not the efforts of your training program are having the desired effect,” said Ferley.

One example of how the information can be used is to figure out how to properly fuel your body for exercise.

“So we can actually determine or see whether or not you’re burning more fat or burning more carbohydrates during the course of the test,” said Ferley.

Grinde says it helps to see the data laid out.

“One of the things that I took from it is that just sometimes I’d just go out for runs and everything like that or like I’d keep the same pace at the treadmill. And just how important it is to like do like more speed intervals or just to get my heart rate up and down kind of thing,” said Grinde.

The data can also be used to help folks create optimal wellness or weight-loss routine.

“There’s a lot of things that, you know, affect our metabolism, your weight, your age, your body composition, your hormones. So it’s not just an easy number of ‘Hey you’re 5’6, 150 pounds, you need 12,000 calories.’ It’s not like that at all. Our bodies are all very different,” said Anna Heronimus, Avera Sports Registered Dietician.

Heronimus has clients wear the equipment while relaxing. Then she tests how much the body burns at rest.

“So I’m able to take this and also kind of help with, you know, where the calories are at, where their macros are at, where their carbs, protein, fat, how much they need per day,” said Heronimus.

The goal is to get clients away from restricting calories.

“We kind of work with trying to get the metabolism up a lot faster so we can have them eating more and enjoying. So they aren’t in that starvation mode or they aren’t feeling low on energy,” said Heronimus.

Grinde plans to use all this data as a road map on her own health journey.

“I’d like to come in, in like six to eight weeks to kind of see where I am at and what I should tweak,” said Grinde.

“I just think it’s amazing how far we’ve come, like most people wouldn’t know about aerobic states and getting your heart rate up and bringing it down and how important that is,” she added.

For more information on the COSMED Metabolic Testing equipment click here.

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