Fitness Certifications ▶
Continuing Education ▶
Fitness Pro Resources ▶
My ACE Account ▶
About ACE ▶
ACE Store ▶
Need Help? Call Us ▶ (888) 825‑3636
Share this page
Pin It

May 4, 2012, 03:29PM PT in Fitnovatives Blog  |  0 Comments

Applying the ACE IFT® Model to Popular Workout Trends (Part 3 of 3 – Zumba®, Insanity® and Indoor Cycling)

National Nutrition Month ACE ResourcesThe previous two posts addressed how understanding the Functional Movement and Resistance Training components of the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® (ACE IFT®) model can help you market your services when you’re asked about many popular exercise trends.  This post will address how to use the cardiorespiratory training progressions of the ACE IFT® to appeal to potential clients when they ask you about popular exercise programs such as Zumba®, indoor cycling or Insanity®.

How is Cardiorespiratory Training different using the ACE IFT®?

ACE IFT® organizes exercise program design variables for cardiorespiratory training into four distinct phases: Aerobic base, Aerobic-efficiency, Anaerobic-endurance and Anaerobic-power.  Traditionally, intensity for cardiorespiratory training is determined by estimating maximum heart rate (MHR) using the formula 220-your age, then working at percentages of MHR. ACE is the first personal training certification to move away from this standard and instead use heart rates at specific metabolic markers to establish a training program based on an individual’s specific response to cardiorespiratory intensity.

ACE IFT® recommends identifying the heart rate at the first and second ventilatory thresholds (VT1 and VT2, respectfully) to create a three-zone model for determining exercise intensity.  Again the reason for the creation of the program is to have a systematic way of increasing exercise program intensity. 

Why re-invent the wheel?

Research indicates the No. 1 reason people quit exercise programs is because they’re too difficult. They go too hard, too fast and get burnt out. The cardio element of ACE IFT® provides a gradual increase in exercise intensity because studies have found it’s more important to help individuals establish exercise as a regular habit before increasing the intensity of a program.

Having a four-stage model of progression like the ACE IFT® allows professionals to design programs for clients based on their current fitness level, helping them make exercise more enjoyable. If clients enjoy it, they have a greater chance of sticking with a program.  

How does all this apply to Zumba®, Insanity® and indoor cycling?

There’s no denying that popular fitness trends like Zumba®, Insanity® and indoor cycling do provide results based on high-intensity cardiorespiratory training. But those programs are often too difficult for individuals just starting an exercise program.  How many times have you been asked about these programs? Think of these questions as opportunities to educate a potential client about the benefits of cardiorespiratory exercise in general, but more importantly to highlight how critical it is to exercise at an appropriate intensity to maximize aerobic efficiency or allow for appropriate work-to-recovery intervals. Doing so will give them the greatest benefit from anaerobic interval training.

The Talk Test has been validated as an effective tool for measuring exercise intensity and is the basis of the Aerobic-efficiency phase of the ACE IFT®.  Taking time to develop an effective aerobic base can make exercise more enjoyable while laying the foundation to be able to work at higher intensities as a program increases in difficulty.  Zumba® is a dance-based program that has had phenomenal success at getting people up and moving, and having fun. The biggest benefit of Zumba® is that it’s consistent with the Aerobic-efficiency phase because it focuses on endurance through dancing. If a potential client asks you about Zumba®, tell them about how using the Talk Test can help monitor exercise intensity, and then show them how to do it in a few training sessions. Make sure to emphasize having this information will allow them to experience more success, no matter what program her or she ends up following.    

Programs like Insanity® jump right into the advanced phases of cardiorespiratory training without taking time to create an effective aerobic base, which is essential for proper recovery between work intervals and training sessions. Anaerobic-endurance training is based on the science of how the body works to clear metabolic waste from high-intensity exercise; hence why identifying the heart rate at the onset of blood lactate (OBLA, or VT2 – the second ventilatory threshold) is such a critical component of designing an effective high-intensity interval training (HIIT) program. There is nothing wrong with HIIT programs like Insanity®, but doing too much high intensity work without the appropriate recovery intervals can not only increase the risk of an overuse injury but more importantly, put the body in a catabolic state where it’s burning protein for fuel instead of fats or carbohydrates (known as gluconeogenesis). Ultimately that limits the amount of protein available for optimal muscle repair (critical for recovery from a challenging workout).  If a potential client asks about a HIIT program advertised on late-night TV, encourage them to start an exercise program, but teach them some basic science related to cardiorespiratory training and how working with an ACE-certified personal trainer can help him or her reach their unique goals much more effectively with a lower risk of injury than a mass-marketed canned program.

Indoor cycling has been around for a while and has developed a reputation as a fun and effective way to get cardiorespiratory exercise.  Recently, it has experienced resurgence in popularity thanks to a few studios that only feature cycling classes.  While there is nothing wrong with the exercise format itself, what happens in many cases (I’ve been teaching indoor cycling for 12-plus years so I’ve seen it first hand) is that many instructors compete against one another to see who can be the most difficult or create the biggest “butt-kicking” workout. As discussed earlier, doing too much high-intensity exercise without appropriate recovery intervals or mid-workout fueling (to maintain muscle glycogen and blood glucose) can lead to a condition where the body is using protein for fuel. If the goal of doing a cardiorespiratory program like cycling is to burn calories in general, and fat in particular, then taking the time to identify heart rates at VT1 and VT2 is worth the investment of working with an ACE-certified personal trainer.  If you have a successful cycling program at your health club then consider offering training sessions to help participants identify their optimal heart rates at the metabolic markers to help them maximize their time on the bike.

How can I use this to get more clients?

The next time someone approaches you to ask about the latest exercise trend, don’t just sigh and roll your eyes – use it as an opportunity to educate them about how to identify the best exercise program for their needs.  More importantly, use it as an opportunity to educate them on how working with an ACE-certified personal trainer can help achieve results in a safer, more efficient manner than anything available in a program that’s designed for the masses. Remember, they should walk away believing the best thing about working with a trainer is that we make exercise fun, effective and personal.

Interested in learning more about the ACE IFT® model while earning continuing education credits? Take the free ACE IFT® Model for Exercise Program Design online course, and learn how you can create cutting-edge programs for clients of all ability levels.

By Pete McCall, MS

McCall has an MS in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. In addition, he is an ACE-certified Personal Trainer (ACE-CPT) and holds additional certifications and advanced specializations through NSCA and NASM. McCall has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Runner’s World and Self.

More info on Pete McCall »