Getting Healthy

A Better Burn for Philippine Wanderer

Philippine Wanderer– being tested for maximal oxygen consumption at the Institute for Exercise Medicine and Prevention

A better burn for Philippine Wanderer

Initially I began going to this gym because I’d heard how different it was, you know what I mean.  At many run-of-the mill gyms there always seems to be an Adonis or ten who get stuck while walking past a mirror and who give off vibes that they are superior.  I can appreciate a well-defined body, but hate it when the conceit is so obvious (it reminds me too much of my younger days).

In addition, typical questions are, “What area do you want to work” (of your body) or, “Which machines do you think you’ll be using?”  Well I don’t know about you, but I like to work my entire body (especially my butt / it disappeared on me and I want it back, did you take it?) and to use as many of whatever type of machines I would like.

At – I. EM. PHIT, one is given a VO2 Max test that measures oxygen consumption, expiration rates, heart rates, and daily caloric burn rates.  The VO2 Max Test also tells the exact heart rate at which your body switches from burning fat as a fuel source to burning carbohydrates.  That number called anaerobic threshold, can change how you exercise because knowing what it is – and how to broaden it – can help increase the percentage of fat you burn during workouts.

In conjunction with the V02 Test, you are given a fitness assessment to decide what machines or free weights or bench exercises would benefit you the most.  In my case, it was a combination of the 3.  I began my workouts on the Octane machine because I could set my difficulty level and vary the settings to either make my heart pump faster or slower.

My medical insurance covered their cost, as I. EM. PHIT is not your everyday, neighborhood gym.  They in fact deal with sports injuries, school – primary, secondary, college and professional athletes.  Many of their clients are physically disabled in some way, like myself.

I.EM. PHIT, The University of St. Thomas, the University of Minnesota, and some fitness facilities offer the test.  Most insurance cover the cost because they know that a fit client, is of course, a healthier client.

The VO2 Max testing gives you “your ideal heart rate training zone,” which allows you to create training programs that are more efficient, results-oriented and help you “burn fat more efficiently.”

Luke Carlson, an exercise physiologist at Discover Strength in Plymouth, said that track athletes, coaches, kinesiology professors at Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin regularly use VO2 Max Tests to boost performance.

Even if you’re not an athlete, knowing your anaerobic threshold and the other numbers the VO2 test reveals can help you lose weight because it tells how many calories your body burns each day when resting or active and when you burn fat.  That way you can plan your caloric intake and exercise accordingly.

Chris Coffey, exercise physiologist, measured my blood pressure during an hour of interval training. He monitored my heart rate and varied them every 2 to 3 minutes.  After 50 minutes the heart rate monitor I wore registered that I had also burned 560 calories.

Chris measured my exact total caloric burn, oxygen intake  and CO2 expiration in real-time while on their programmable exercise bike.

Off of the bike, Chris got calipers to measure my body mass, and had me grab the daylights out of a grip tester.  Steve, Chris’s assistant measured my flexibility in inches as I stretched for my shoes and again when I took a leap for the imaginary stars in my vertical jump.  I returned to the clinic the next day to see my results.

I am healthy, but disabled
I am healthy, but disabled

I have always been fairly fit (at least that’s how I saw myself), however; after seeing the test results it was clear that I had work to do.   The test showed that I burned 1,238 calories a day while sitting, which is most of the time since the car accident.  It also showed that when I exercised vigorously that number jumped to 2,353 calories burned.  My grip, reach and leg strength proved excellent.  My vertical jump and oxygen uptake were good, but my anaerobic threshold was low.  That’s not so good because the higher your anaerobic threshold, the more fat calories your body burns.

During spurts of exertion I burn many calories, but rarely fat calories; wouldn’t you know it?  Chris suggested I focus on interval training and plyometric (or jumping) exercises.

The people at I. E.M. PHIT know their stuff because I applied for State Farm’s preferred rate – term life insurance recently and thanks in no small part to, I. EM. PHIT.  I qualified for the money-saving rate and few pass that test, but I did!





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Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


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