Discover Your Fitness Age at Canyon Ranch

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Canyon Ranch provided me with complimentary accommodations at their resort as well as a spa credit and Discover Your Fitness Age assessment. The opinions expressed are honest and all my own.

Ok, back to my adventures at Canyon Ranch! So, the reason I was invited to the Lenox resort was to check out the new “Discover Your Fitness Age” program. It sounded like a great way to kick-off the new year (and I loved my time at Canyon Ranch when I first visited), so I was totally on board.

How old you are and how you feel are sometimes two totally different things, right? The “Discover Your Fitness Age” program measures your physiological age relative to your chronological age. Basically, your physiological age is an indication of how well your body is holding up as you grow older. Based on your results (aka once you “discover your fitness age”), you work with an exercise physiologist to develop a plan to help you improve or maintain your fitness age. It sounds pretty cool, huh? (Ooh, IT WAS.)

The program includes two parts and each one lasts 50 minutes. Part I and Part II are usually scheduled on consecutive days, but, if you wish, you can schedule them back-to-back and get your results immediately. The total cost of the program is $370.

During Part I, I worked with an exercise physiologist named Laura (she was the bomb), who did a bunch of tests with me. The first one was body composition via calipers to assess lean muscle mass. I had never had my body fat tested this way, so I was really curious about the results””more on this in a minute!

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The next assessment was the “submaximal treadmill test” to determine aerobic capacity. Of all the biomarkers that are used to assess a person’s physical health, your oxygen carrying capacity and utilization is one of the strongest values, so the score on this test is a reflection of your cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and metabolic fitness. Long story short, the treadmill test (aka “death by treadmill”) was a lot harder than I expected it to be.

For this test, you start at a comfortable walking pace and then the speed and incline on the treadmill are increased (by the exercise physiologist) until you can’t run anymore. I’m surprised I didn’t last all that long. Sure, I can run at a decent pace on a treadmill, but when you throw in some steep inclines, I dieeeeeee. Holy cow.

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Even still, my predicted aerobic capcity (VOs) was 52.5 mlO2/kg/min, which, according to Laura, was “monstrous” and put me in the 99th percentile for females my age. Excellent.

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Then, there was muscle strength + power and agility testing, which included max assisted pull-ups, using 50% of your body weight, as well as vertical and long jumps.

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I did 40 assisted pull-ups.

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And my vertical jump was 39.10 cm, which gave me a Muscle Fitness Age of 20.

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(I felt like such a goober during the jumping tests. I’m soooo not a jumper! Haha!)

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My long jump was 198.0 cm, which was 122% of my height. (Laura told me most people jump around 75-85% of their height.) This number gave me an Agility Fitness Age of 20.

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The next day, Laura reviewed my test results and designed a personalized fitness plan to help me with my marathon training.

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My overall Fitness Age was 21 years old (13 years younger than my chronological age), which I am really happy about. I received the lowest Fitness Age (20) for all of the assessment tests, except Body Composition Fitness Age, where I received a 25. (This is where things got really interesting!)

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When Laura weighed me at the beginning of our first session, I was kind of shocked to see the scale at 139 pounds. I didn’t feel heavier and my clothes still fit the same, but I was still pretty surprised to see that my weight had increased.

After Laura tested my body composition, she determined that I had 19% body fat, which is actually considered “performance level” (athlete) for a female (17 – 25%). She further broke down the numbers and determined that I had 112.59 pounds of lean mass and 26.41 pounds of fat tissue. If you compare these numbers with my Lose the Dough stats from a few years ago when I weighed 8 pounds less, I had less lean muscle (104.2 pounds) and more fat tissue (27.7 pounds). Isn’t that interesting?! It definitely made me feel better about my “weight” gain. And just another lesson in why the scale doesn’t tell you the whole story!

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After that, Laura and I worked together to come up with a fitness plan to compliment my marathon training. She suggested more running workouts with inclines to further increase my VO2 capacity as well as traditional (heavy) strength training (as opposed to high-intensity strength training, like at CrossFit).

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All in all, I absolutely loved this assessment. It was fun and provided me with all sorts of helpful information. (Laura even figured out how many calories I burn per minute during my long runs, so I can properly refuel.) I also really liked picking Laura’s brain about all things related to fitness and training. She was really knowledgeable and, at the same time, totally flexible about what we did and talked about during my assessment. For instance, I was really interested in how to train for a marathon without losing strength, so much of our conversation was based on that. We also spent a decent amount of time discussing a strength training program for me and finding my heavy 3 rep max for a couple of lifts.

The “Discover Your Fitness Age” program was a-mazing. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to improve their current fitness level and/or fine-tune their routine to better fit and achieve their health and wellness goals. Thank you, Canyon Ranch, for such an enlightening experience and wondering weekend!

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67 Comments

  1. I remember my recent fitness accessment at school–vertical jump and broad jump were always my weakest points(with 12 minute run and beep test being my strongest since I train pretty hard for that). I just don’t have that much maximum power, you know?

  2. That sounds amazing! I would love to take part in all that. The closest I came was at Fitbloggin last year when Walgreens took some blood and other measurements to give me my “actual” age. I ended up with a number 6 years younger than I actually am, so that was pretty great. I would love a more comprehensive testing protocol like this though at some point in life.

    Great job with your results!!

  3. that is so interesting! what did she mean by doing more heavy lifting opposed to crossfit? as far as what i have experienced, its a lot of heavy lifting vs hiit…

    1. I think it depends on the workout. I did Curtis Ps in a WOD last week at 85% of my 3 rep max, and I would definitely count it as heavy strength training! I think Laura just wanted me to focus more on heavy lifting overall (i.e. 3×3) instead of WODs with (generally) higher reps.

  4. holy crap i want to do this SO BAD. with all of the olympic lifting and crossfit i have been doing in the last few months i would love to know how my body composition has changed! this sounds like such a cool process!

  5. It sounds like your weight gain many be due to quitting breastfeeding. Same thing is happening to me. I gave birth in June as well. I pumped 7 times a day until January 1st when my expensive pump broke. I bought a cheap one to help me wean. I am down to one pump a day and gained 3-4 lbs.

  6. Tina, a VO2 of 52.5 is BOMB!! I am a certified exercise physiologist and we don’t see many women with oxygen consumption levels that high – especially within a year of giving birth! Way to go! Your training and your lifestyle are admirable – keep doing you!

  7. You are a BEAST but kudos to you for working so hard to get to that status. I have a feeling if I took that test, my age would be 102. 😉

  8. Wow — so impressed with your fitness ages. I would be terrified that I’d somehow come out older than my actual age!! Lots of good info about body composition, though — the scale definitely doesn’t tell the whole story!

  9. This is pretty interesting. There is no doubt you look much more muscular and super fit! You looked great before too. I’m a major skeptic of those calipers. I’ve had calipers, bod pod, and DMC measurements and my body fat has been all over the charts. (BTW, DMC is basically a bioimpedence measurement, but not the handheld kind. Its a giant device you step on that sends a current through your body and measures the impedence…supposedly as accurate as BodPod which is super accurate).

    Calipers had me at 19%, Bod pod at 23% and DMC at 29%. I also do crossfit, am 5’9, and weigh around 140 lbs. So it’s really been a struggle to know what to trust. In the end, I guess it doesn’t matter as long as you feel good. I definitely feel much stronger and muscular due to Crossfit, but I think the DMC took my muscle gain as fat.

    We’re doing DMC measurements as part of our Whole 30 challenge this month so it will be interesting to see if I change over the next 30 days.

  10. I love your transparency in all your ‘stats’. I struggle with the scale so didn’t weigh myself in YEARS. Finally did on Friday and had a mini-breakdown. I’ve finally brought myself down to earth and realized it’s JUST a number, a starting place, and I’m happy with my physical abilities to run 5 miles in just under 40 minutes, for example.

      1. But expensive, eek! I just checked their rates online. And I think some people might be uncomfortable about the fitness assessment if they are struggling with weight.

  11. So interesting and you are in rock star shape!

    I love the emphasis on the scale not telling the WHOLE story. I think some people like to take that how they want and use it as an excuse to still be unhealthy but when you have a lot of muscle like you do – it will be in the higher range – but you look absolutely fabulous!

  12. Tina this seemed like an amazing experience! I’ve always wanted to get this kind of testing done, because as you said, the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Sounds like you had a blast at Canyon Ranch.

    You mentioned your exercise physiologist calculated out how many calories you actually burn during your runs. I’m curious to know if the number varied a lot from what your Jawbone gives you?
    Thanks!

    1. I use RunKeeper to track my runs, and it overestimates calories burned. We figured out that I burn about 11-12 calories per minute on a long run (6.0 – 6.5 mph pace).

  13. This is interesting. I am in my mid-40s and the first skill I noticed that changed for me with age was my balance. Standing barefoot on one foot with arms out and eyes closed is something I practice frequently….and tree pose.

  14. Wow,way to go! I read Gina’s recap of her fitness age and you both totally rocked it! This was really interesting to read as well, because it does go to show that the scale doesn’t tell the whole story!

    1. I’m sorry this post made you feel this way. It wasn’t my intention. I wanted to give people as much info as possible about this assessment in case they wanted to try it out for themselves, especially since it’s an expensive test and they’d probably want to know exactly what they are getting.

  15. Great trip! I am curious, you said the V02 was “predicated” does that mean you didn’t wear a V02 mask? I have had both a metabolic test, where I used the treadmill while wearing a V02 mask, as well as the resting test. The resting test you wear the mask as well. I found out that I am a carbohydrate burner, as opposed to a fat burner so I have to do HR training where I work on maintaining a certain heart rate for a period of time in order to burn fat more efficiently. I had stopped CrossFit, and it turns out that for now its a good thing until I can get my body conditioned for fat burning. CrossFit tended to keep me in a constant state of anaerobic capacity, which for would be fine a few times a week, but I was going 5-6 days.

    1. @Jen K:

      Ok, this sounds SO fascinating!! Where did you have this test done, Jen? I’d love to get my body fat tested professionally and a test like you described would also be so helpful.

  16. Thank you for yet another great post, and for continuing to be honest and share all of this information. I am a psychologist specializing in health and weight management and know how the scale definitely does not tell the whole story, but we often forget that when we live in such a skinny driven society and where numbers matter, so thank you for posting about your weight and how it is broken down. I also loved your post in particular because it was about your visit to Canyon Ranch, as I won a trip to the Lenox location, but havent used it yet and plan to go in the spring. I am so excited to check it out and hopefully discover my fitness age as well. Keep up the amazing work, you are awesome!

  17. It’s interesting, I never really think about jumping in a workout. I run, or do plyometric type stuff. But it looks like jumping is a good indicator for these tests.

    Cool recap. Sounds like Canyon Ranch was a blast.

  18. Tina you are so amazing. I can’t believe you have 19% body fat! I have been doing crossfit for this third pregnancy (5 months in) and I really hope it helps my delivery and recovery. I am still PRing on some weights! You give me hope 🙂

  19. I would LOVE to be able to go to Canyon Ranch! Wish they had in Northern CA. Also, this is kind of random, but has anyone else heard that you shouldn’t get body composition testing during your period? I was going to have a hydrostatic body composition test done today, but ended up canceling because I read the water retention from your period can skew the results. (I think this is true for some tests like hydrostatic, but not for those using calipers, etc.)

  20. Good information here. And, I just want to make a comment as it seems so important and I keep seeing it overlooked or misunderstood or maybe thought by (too) many as not important. I’m a graduate exercise science student and I see my profs just don’t, for whatever reason, address in our lectures when they talk about age related “things” such as physical capacity, max HR, health and on and on and on, that they never, as in never, address, as you have, fitness and capacity and such may be general associated with age; however, 5when they do this they are like suggesting all men are 5′ 10″ tall and all women wear a size 7 shoe. I’m studying exercise science as a result of learning too many think a 65 or 70 yr old that had a mitral valve repair via open heart surgery is both an age related cripple and a cardiac related cripple, so far from true…but, they just don’t know….it is so obvious and they just are so ignorant about it. ‘nuf said….good job you are doing.

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