Can you imagine a gym session that begins with you lying down on the massage table? Well, this is exactly how every training session begins at my new high-tech gym/health club and I want to share with you why I think this model is the future for the ideal muscle and bone strength training program.
What is so special about the futuristic, high-tech gym?
Comprehensive baseline testing is a hallmark of the futuristic gym. No longer do you go to the gym just to “pump iron” and run laps as best you can. Rather, at the futuristic gym, you are given the option of a concierge-type service that employs science-based methods to assess and maximize musculoskeletal strength, oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, body composition, and posture alignment.
Upon signing up for these specialized training services, my new fitness facility conducts the following baseline tests, which are then monitored over time as I implement my personal fitness program:
1. Bone mineral density testing done on the DEXA machine
Your doctor tests the bone density of your spine and hip using the DEXA machine. Here at my high-tech gym they measure bone density of your entire body (head, arms, legs, spine, trunk, ribs, & pelvis) and watch the changes over time as you build muscle strength.
2. Testing of your muscles
My new high-tech gym uses a proprietary system for detailed muscle testing known as “Bionetics.” This is a type of kinesiology that assesses the muscles, identifying which ones are strong, which ones are weak, and which ones are inactive.
The fitness specialist then bases your program on your muscle activity profile, and knowing which muscles are strong, weak or even inactive guarantees the safety of your strength training program. Assessment of shoulder and trunk rotation is also a key measurement monitored over time as this program has its roots in optimizing performance for golfers and other athletes.
3. Testing of posture and body alignment with 3D imaging
For example, in my case this imaging revealed a misalignment with my right shoulder being lower than my left, it also showed that I had an imbalanced distribution of weight on my feet leading to posture misalignment.
4. An oxygen uptake assessment
This is much like the VO2 max and is used to define the ideal training heart rate for each individual. If the goal is fat burning, one training heart rate is established, if the goal is endurance, another calculation is made.
5. Resting metabolic rate testing
This test determines how many calories are used at rest and activity and helps to define the ideal energy sources for the individual. For example, some individuals are more inclined to use fat for energy, while others are more inclined to use carbohydrates, or many are evenly split on how they process energy. This test helps determine how your metabolic system will function most efficiently.
6. Diet and eating guidelines
Specific guidelines as to the composition of the diet, the amount of protein, the amount of carbohydrates, and total calories is calculated for each individual given their goals.
Why start each session with time on the massage table?
A central component of this futuristic fitness center is muscle testing. The first focus in each session is to detect which muscles are strong, which muscles are weak, and which muscles are inactivated. An inactivated muscle suggests that the brain-muscle messaging system is impaired — and this neural pathway must be reestablished.
In my case, bionetics testing found that my chest pectoral muscles and some upper back muscles were inactive. For movements and strength training that might involve these muscles, I was compensating using my arms and shoulders. This can lead to injury and overuse, and even more, it gave me a tendency to slump my shoulders forward. Now that I know this slumping is a result of weakened upper back muscles and inactive chest pectoral muscles, with proper corrective strength training and careful activation of the inactive pectoral muscles, I have improved my body alignment and posture.
This high tech gym in my hometown is known as the Athletic Apex Health Club, with locations in four cities (Orlando, Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; Syracuse, New York and Rochester, New York). Their approach has a lot in common with the Australian Bone Clinic where older women, under careful supervision, are able to build substantial bone density with strength training.
Looking into my crystal ball, I see these higher tech, science-based fitness programs becoming more popular and available over time. If you already belong to a gym that you love, why not show them this blog and ask if they could consider adding these much-needed biometrics assessment services?
Watch Dr. Brown in her training session at a “high tech gym”!
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.