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Exercising Without Results? Individualized Protocol Shows Promise

San Diego, CA – Are you exercising endlessly but not seeing results? You may be what researchers call a “non-responder”—someone who receives no clear health benefits from a form of exercise that produces significant visible results for most people. The Cooper Institute estimates that 20 to 45 percent of some populations may be impacted by the frustrating, non-responder phenomenon. As part of its mission to get people moving and make a significant impact on the physical-inactivity epidemic, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) commissioned a third-party study, conducted by Western State Colorado University to investigate a more individualized programming approach.

The study, recently published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Exercise Research, found that a unique combination of functional fitness, resistance training and cardio workouts eliminates the non-responder phenomenon.

"Although there are several credible theories, there's no definitive answer as to why some people don’t achieve the desired results of an exercise routine while most others do,” says Lance Dalleck, a lead researcher for the study. “What we do know is that the approach we studied is incredibly promising."

The study measured the health markers of three groups before and after a 13-week period. A control group was not instructed to not do any formal exercise. The second group was guided through the fitness industry’s traditionally recommended routine of cardio and resistance training, while a third group was instructed in using the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model. The two latter groups performed the same frequency and duration of training, totaling 150 minutes of exercise per week.

The cardiorespiratory training program for traditional exercise group used a heart rate–based model, while those in the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model exercised according to their ventilatory threshold. This approach allows for a truly individualized exercise intensity. For the resistance-training component, the traditional group performed a set routine of machine-based exercises at a predetermined “moderate intensity,” while those in the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model group performed a combination of functional and resistance exercises, the intensity of which progressed according to individual performance.

Health markers of the majority of participants in both exercising groups improved, but 35 percent of participants in the traditional exercise group were non-responders, meaning that they failed to show significantly improved markers for health. In contrast, all members of the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model group saw important, positive changes in their health. Additionally, this group outperformed the other groups in almost every metric, including VO2 max, muscular fitness and key cardiometabolic risk factors.

“This is a major breakthrough for the many people struggling to improve their health through exercise without the results they need,” says Dalleck.

For more information on this study, you can visit

For more information on the ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model, you can visit

About ACE 

With a mission to get people moving, the nonprofit organization American Council on Exercise (ACE) educates, certifies and represents more than 65,000 currently certified fitness professionals, health coaches and other allied health professionals. ACE advocates for a new intersection of fitness and healthcare, bringing the highly qualified professionals ACE represents into the healthcare continuum so they can contribute to the national solution to physical inactivity and obesity. ACE is the largest certifier in its space and all four of its primary certification programs are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the gold standard in the United States for accreditation of certifications that assess professional competence. ACE also plays an important public-service role, conducting and providing science-based research and resources on safe and effective physical activity and sustainable behavior change. For more information, call 800-825-3636 or visit AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE, ACE and ACE logos are Registered Trademarks of the American Council on Exercise.


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Founded in 1985, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) is a nonprofit organization committed to America's health and wellbeing. Over the past 30 years, we have become an established resource for health and fitness professionals, and the public, providing comprehensive, unbiased research and validating ourselves as the country's trusted authority on health and fitness.

Today, ACE is the largest nonprofit health and fitness certification, education and training organization in the world with more than 65,000 certified professionals who hold more than 72,000 ACE Certifications. With a long heritage in certification, education, training and public outreach, we are among the most respected organizations in the industry and a resource the public has come to trust for health and fitness education.