A few days ago I went to Peak Performance, a very well-known training gym here in NYC to do an iMett Analysis. Before my recent Miami trip I spoke with the ladies behind Well + Good NYC and one of them told me that when she went to Canyon Ranch in South Beach taking this test was one of the most useful things she did. Basically it’s a cardiovascular assessment that compares your heart rate against how well you use oxygen while running on a treadmill (you wear a mouth-covering mask that’s attached to a computer). You pre-select a comfortable running speed and, after a brief warmup, the incline on the treadmill gradually increases. The test is stopped as soon as you find it too challenging to continue. There is no way to “fail” the test, and the whole thing takes roughly 20 minutes from start to finish. Since I don’t run on a treadmill regularly I wasn’t sure what speed to pick, but you can’t really go wrong. If you pick one that’s a little too fast you’ll reach your max quicker and if you pick one that’s a bit too slow, it will take a little longer for you to reach your max.
After the test is done you get a printout of how your body used oxygen at various points throughout the test and it suggests a number of workouts. It doesn’t tell you what to do for those workouts, but rather it tells you what heart rate levels you should aim for and for how long and at what points, allowing you to adapt that information to suit any kind of workout. I got 15 heart rate specific workouts on my print-out and ideally I would do those and then come back and take the test again to see how I’ve improved and how I can improve moving forward. Obviously you need a heart rate monitor for this and as soon as I realized that I knew this was something I wouldn’t do. I decided against using a heart rate monitor at the same time I decided to never to step on a scale! Doing this test however, if you’re training for a marathon or something similar or trying to loose weight, is a great idea. Jump to find out why!
When exercising there’s a threshold where instead of burning carbs, you’re burning fat
and that’s where you want to spend the bulk of your time if you’re trying to lose weight. This
test is the fasted non-clinical way to find out what that threshold
heart rate number and by using that number to give you customized workouts, you maximize the time you’re
working-out just below the maximum point where you can’t push any
further (that’s where you burn the most fat). This also clearly is amazing for improving your overall performance level, but for me personally I’m just happy when I get myself to the gym, take a class, and feel energized afterwards. I’m already in good shape and not looking to lose weight, but if I ever decide to take my workouts to the “next level” I definitely will consider slapping on a heart rate monitor and being more conscious of how effectively I’m working out.
If you’re thinking of doing this kind of a test, there’s no specific pre-test procedure just eat, hydrate, and caffeinate as you normally would for any high-intensity run, and wear workout clothes and running shoes. Lastly, not to toot my own horn or anything, but the trainer who administered this test (Derek Peruo – who was super sweet by the way!), told me that my test results were at near athlete level! Only goes to show if you make an effort to eat well and exercise regularly, you don’t really need fancy gadgets and tests…though obviously that’s a daily struggle!