Week 1 of editor Alex’s 6 week fitness challenge at Harley Street’s Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP).
In the build up to my first week of exercise in the Milon Studio I had to undergo a ‘cardio pulmonary exercise test’. Explained simply, I was wired up and masked in order to measure my heart and lungs and told to keep on cycling until I was no longer able to. As the wattage of the bike was upped gradually, it felt like I was cycling up an ever steeper hill and after about 11 minutes I was done – my legs just wouldn’t turn any more!
The measurements that senior physiologist and lab manager Jim Pate took were vital in getting my exercise routine ready – the report that landed in my email inbox a few days later featured a whole range of heart rate, work rate, power to weight ratio and various other threshold numbers that can allow Richard in the Milon Studio to fine tune my workout to be perfect for me.
The Milon Studio is fairly amazing in itself. At face value it looks like a room full of fairly ordinary gym equipment, but on closer inspection each piece of machinery is precision engineered and features a built in computer. Each person who works out on the Milon equipment has a smart card that they insert into each machine, causing it to calibrate itself perfectly for each user – from the height of the bicycle seat to the weight of each leg lift – everything is optimised for you. At the end of each session all of the data is stored on the card and can be viewed on the computer, as well as a heart rate monitor providing your heart rate throughout the workout.
This merging together of science and hard numbers with your workout is once again unique and there’s something great about seeing just how much weight you’ve lifted or how many repetitions you have done at the end of each session.
After a first session that was fairly straightforward and mainly used for calibrating equipment, my second session was a little harder and I definitely felt like I’d had a good workout by the end of it. Things are being stepped up with 3 sessions this week so check back soon for another update!
Here’s what trainer Richard had to say about my efforts so far:
Obviously this was our week to calibrate and test your limitations in order to structure the training effectively. As explained by Jim – you had normal cardiovascular responses to increased workloads, which provided great data for us to work with.
Once we applied suitable workloads in today’s session, you responded excellently. It is a totally different way of training and so can take a few sessions to get used to what is expected, but you have adapted very quickly. This week has given us a great platform to work from, and for yourself possibly a better understanding of how the process works.
You mentioned, after 12 minutes of exercise, that you would usually feel like that at the end of an hour’s training – this is exactly what I am hoping for!