Vail Vitality Center partners with Anschutz Health center |

Vail Vitality Center partners with Anschutz Health center

Daily staff report

VAIL — Until very recently, targeting individual fitness training zones using personal heart rate was an exercise in guesswork. Most athletes — amateur and professional — have used the pulse-based calculation, or consulted a trainer, coach or fitness expert to determine their target zone, or they’ve simply done what “feels good.” Unfortunately, for many, this method may be doing more harm than good. Professionals at Denver’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, specifically the Human Performance Laboratory, have introduced research that supports an entirely new performance testing platform applicable to everyone from elite athletes to the average human hoping to improve his or her health. This new testing shows that many people hoping to optimize performance — or weight loss, or fitness level — are actually overtraining, flooding the body with harmful toxins that produce the opposite result; their bodies are literally breaking down. There is a new tool available, however, that can improve individual health and fitness for life: comprehensive physiological and metabolic testing available at the Vail Vitality Center.

Overtraining is a concept usually associated with elite athletes. And while high-level athletes do often experience fatigue and overtraining, recreational athletes are the population most vulnerable to overtraining. In fact, they have the same overtraining issues as elite athletes, but do not have a stable of experts to help them avoid overtraining. Generally, overtraining is caused by training overload — excessive training — or improper recovery; not allowing enough time for the body to regenerate and get stronger. Either way, this leads to a decrease and deterioration in performance, which is exactly the opposite of the desired result for all athletes whether performing at an elite level, training with a purpose or simply striving for a healthier lifestyle.

A new testing and training program available at the Vail Vitality Center, introduced in partnership with Anschutz Health and Wellness Center’s Human Performance Laboratory, provides cellular-based physiological and metabolic testing that pinpoints the exact zone at which the individual being tested metabolizes fat — the optimal fuel for fitness. The Vail Vitality Center’s Human Performance Program uses this scientific testing to create an individualized, performance-based fitness plan that is 100-percent unique to each participant.

“This is not a fad diet; it’s not a pill,” said Nicholas Edwards, M.S. in exercise physiology and assistant researcher at CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “We’re looking at what your body is capable of and building a lifelong program around it. Human performance is not reserved for the elite athlete. Put very simply, if you don’t have a plan, you’re guessing.”

The Human Performance Program at the Vail Vitality Center determines the exact point at which the body stops metabolizing fat. It allows an individual to understand why their body may not be working as effectively as it could or should. The testing provides the baseline from which to build a personalized training plan designed to increase fat metabolism, increase muscle maximization and create a correct and optimal workout program, no matter the goal.

“We all train to get better, and that means something different to everyone,” said Jeff Morgan, Vail Vitality Center director. “Without knowing exactly how to maximize your individual fitness, you’re actually training to get worse.”

The Human Performance Program includes a variety of components based upon individual goals and begins with an initial test and evaluation-consultation. Cost depends upon programming selection and plan recommendations, but starts at $499 for the initial two-hour appointment, which includes testing for lactate clearance and threshold, fat and carbohydrate metabolism, performance blood analysis, strength, speed and movement and VO2 Max. Edwards recommends repeating the text three times per year to maintain training recommendations, as an individual’s target zone will change through implementation of a correct training plan.

For information or to schedule an appointment for complete physiological and metabolic testing and training through the Vail Vitality Center’s Human Performance Program, call 970-476-7960 or visit

The program features certified professionals from Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and the Vail Vitality Center, in addition to Edwards and Morgan, including: Inigo San Millán, Ph.D. Exercise Physiology, head researcher at CU Anschutz Health and Wellness Center and director of the facility’s Human Performance Laboratory; Miles Gentry, NSCA, exercise physiologist, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) coach and strength and conditioning expert; Ellen Miller, outdoor cardio coach, extreme high-altitude climber and two-time Mt. Everest summitter; Angela Muzic, Pilates specialist, fitness and dance coach and group fitness professional; and Mandy Owens, NSCA, certified strength and conditioning coach and Kinesiology specialist.

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