Minturn Fitness Center offers metabolic testing to help craft fitness goals |

Minturn Fitness Center offers metabolic testing to help craft fitness goals

Kirsten Dobroth
Special to the Daily
Coach Jason McCleery oversees a test on Miles Gentry at the Minturn Fitness Center. The center offers a variety of tests for athletes of all abilities to help formulate and measure training programs.
Special to the Daily |

Metabolic testing

Where: Minturn Fitness Center, 1000 Maloit Park Road, Minturn.

For more information: Call 970-790-5090

Hours: Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

MINTURN — Minturn Fitness Center offers more than just training for elite athletes — it has become an epicenter for Vail Valley residents looking to customize a workout program to meet their individual needs.

The approach embraced by John “J.C.” Cole, human performance director at Minturn Fitness Center, and his staff is deeply philosophical and ingrained in the training methods implemented by world class athletes to the more casual athlete who simply wants to stay fit.

“Everybody has an inner athlete; everybody has things they like to do on a daily basis,” Cole said. “We train all of our clients as athletes, isolate what their interests are, test them and build a program based on individual goals and baseline data. We like to see our clients moving better through space.”

This idea of “moving better through space” is a mantra that the trainers at Minturn Fitness Center apply to everything connected with daily movement. From reaching for a box of cereal in the morning to racing a World Cup downhill event at 80 miles per hour, the goals of Cole and his staff are anchored by the idea of injury prevention, with the added benefits of increased strength, endurance and performance.

Battery of tests

In order for clients to reach their specific endurance goals, Minturn Fitness Center offers a range of metabolic testing to everyone. Prospective clients can take a VO2 max test, a watts-per-kilo test and/or a blood lactate test in order to pinpoint their baseline level of fitness and plan a training road map from there. A VO2 max test indicates the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use in a specified amount of intense exercise. A watts-per-kilo test measures the power to weight ratio of a cyclist and is a key component of strength in regards to endurance athletes. A blood lactate test measures the rate at which lactic acid builds up in the blood system, which is often noticed as “the burn,” felt when performing at high intensity.

These tests work collectively to paint a picture of an individual’s baseline fitness. The ability to pinpoint such a precise starting point is imperative for achieving a range of results and is a unique capability of Minturn Fitness Center.

“You can go online and look up a generic chart that will establish some sort of training for any given event or for staying fit, but it’s not customized. With the tests we have here, we can pinpoint dates that you’re hoping to have fitness goals and engineer that training so you peak at certain events. We can customize workouts based on deficiencies such as leg strength or endurance,” said Miles Gentry, the Minturn Fitness Center’s metabolic specialist, who performs many of the fitness tests on participants.

Gentry further explained that the equipment used for testing at the facility provides instant feedback on charts that can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses, and design a plan of action for training,

“We can use the data derived from our tests to chart a training program on a calendar,” he said. “This is a really easy way to customize training. Based on lifestyle and goals, you can pick rest days, work out days and we can incorporate upcoming athletic events into the calendar so you peak at the right time.”

Training smarter

As a road cyclist, Gentry has used the testing system provided at Minturn Fitness Center extensively in order to improve his own results.

“The only other places in the state that have the Watt Bike system are in Denver and Grand Junction,” he said. “Watt Bikes are unique because they have a free spinning resistance wheel that mimics a road or mountain bike. I can monitor my pedal stroke efficiency, see if I’m more right or left leg dominant and use data provided by sensors to identify where I put power when I’m pedaling.”

Cole advocates the effectiveness and importance of such athletic testing and individual programming for casual athletes as much as elite ones. Specifically, for everyday athletes looking for better training methods or to snap a plateau in performance, Cole often sees the same patterns.

“Many people’s idea of training is to bury themselves up Vail Pass on a bike, but are they targeting their total metabolic system or their goals?” he said. “Are they training to ride more efficiently? Many endurance athletes tend to believe in only overtraining; the MFC staff believes in training smarter and harder.”

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