VO2 Max Testing

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From Margie Shapiro

Fitness Concepts Coaching

In my first season of triathlon racing, I thought I didn’t need a coach.
After all, I knew how to swim, ride, and run, and I was doing well enough in my races. Then I met Ken Mierke. I learned from them right away that triathlon is about a lot more than being able to swim, ride, and run. In the first six weeks under his direction, my training routine changed so much that I was wary of the effects. In my first race, however, I performed far better than ever before (placing second in my age group at the I.T.U. World Championship) and the improvement continues… A coach can offer even the most experienced athlete a new perspective, scientific knowledge, nutritional expertise, psychological aid, and (sometimes most importantly) a voice of reason to temper the most well-meaning athlete’s self-destructive tendencies. (Even the most experienced and educated athlete can’t be objective about his/her own training and racing). Ken’s expertise has brought me to an entirely new level, unquestionably inconceivable on my own. I would not be where I am in triathlon without Fitness Concepts.

VO2 Max Testing

I come from a running background, having competed at the NCAA D-1 level in college for a high-profile running school. In all my years of training and racing, I found myself injured more often than healthy, despite relatively sound biomechanics and physical health. I am convinced that my injuries were a result of overtraining, not with too many miles, but with too much intensity. When Ken and Melissa tested me for the first time in 2002, I found that I (had been)was running most of my “easy” runs way too fast, resulting in a lack of recovery and a tendency to underperform on my hard days because of it. I was also running most of my hard workouts too hard, overstraining my muscles, joints, and connective tissue. I could’ve run slower and easier and still achieved the same physiological gains, had I known truly where my various thresholds were. My training and racing have improved considerably since using my test results, as has my health!


Evolution Running

Despite my relatively experienced background in running as an NCAA division 1 athlete, I have made great gains in technique and speed through Ken’s expertise and Evolution Running. Very few runners have naturally perfect technique. Ken’s keen eye and attention to detail have addressed very subtle flaws in my running technique that have slowed me down and contributed to various injuries. Evolution Running has helped me to correct those flaws—the difference is amazing. I am healthier and run faster with much less effort as a result of Evolution Running.

From Elisa Velarde


After more than 20 years of competitive running, I first hired a coach in 2006 to improve my running and to help me prepare for my first triathlon. He conducted testing and designed efficient training programs around my lifestyle. He taught me more efficient techniques, adjusted my workout paces (slowing my long runs), and added interval training. I had no injuries, wasn’t tired all the time, and consistently got faster. At age 40, after more than 20 years of competitive running, I set personal records in the mile, 5K, 5-mile, 10K, 10-mile, and half marathon distances. I completed my first half ironman triathlon strongly. Having a qualified coach made me confident that my training was efficient and that every aspect of performance was addressed. I could never have entered the races prepared the way I was without such an excellent coach.

Evolution Running

When I first heard about Evolution Running, I thought it was just another marketing gimmick. When a training partner bought the DVD, I reluctantly gave it a try. Once I learned Evolution Running, I have raced faster at every distance, at age 40, from one mile to half marathon, I have had no significant injuries, and I’ve felt less beat up after workouts and races.

The nagging and unpredictable knee problems I had also began to disappear as I became more proficient at using the ER technique. I can honestly say that since I began using ER, I haven't had a single problem with either of my knees. Evolution Running made major improvements in my running.

VO2 Max Testing

Before having a VO2 Max test, I knew that there were different types of workouts that I should be doing, but the differences between long-slow-distance, tempo, interval, and sprints were vague and imprecise. I tended to train medium hard all the time, which I now know was very inefficient. Having the test results enabled me to train much more precisely, using the right heart rate for every type of workout. I improved both speed and endurance with far less residual fatigue. VO2 Max testing has dramatically improved my training and racing.

Lean for a Lifetime

I have always exercised regularly and eaten very carefully, but I’d never been as lean as I would have liked. After working with a personal trainer and a nutritionist for a year, and following their programs to the letter, I gained fat and was the heaviest of my life. Following the principles of Lean for a Lifetime, I became leaner than I ever thought I could be at age 40. I adjusted little things, like when I ate carbohydrates, going slower during fat-burning workouts, incorporating a different type of strength training, and different strategies for managing hunger and satiety. The way the Lean for a Lifetime program combines adjustments to thinking, exercise, and nutrition with no extremes has me looking so much thinner and more muscular. For the first time I can say “I love my body”.

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