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Human Performance Evaluation Overview


Aerobic Fitness

The Sports Physiology Center of Chicago performs aerobic fitness testing that goes beyond a simple measurement of oxygen consumption or VO2 max.  The Aerobic Fitness Assessment evaluates 4 components of aerobic fitness essential to optimal performance:

Exercise Tolerance

Exercise tolerance refers to the physiologic capacity of an individual to perform exercise in terms of the amount of work the body must do in order to perform the exercise. This includes peak work capacity and VO2 max.

Ventilation

Ventilation refers to how fast air moves in and out of lungs. This measurement allows us to assess the effectiveness of the respiratory muscles and breathing mechanics during exercise.

Gas Exchange

Gas exchange refers to how well the lungs are taking in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide during exercise.

Cardiac Response to Aerobic Exercise

Once the lungs take in oxygen, the heart must deliver this oxygen to the exercising muscle during exercise.



Anaerobic Power

The Sports Physiology Center of Chicago uses the Wingate Anaerobic Test to evaluate each athlete's anaerobic power. The Wingate AnaerobicTest is the gold standard for evaluation of power in the elite teen athlete. The Wingate Anaerobic Test requires the athlete to pedal a mechanically braked bicycle ergometer for 30 seconds at supramaximal resistance. This is the test that has humbled 240 pound future NHL defensemen at the NHL combine! Research in exercise physiology has determined a strong correlation between performance on the Wingate Test and specific athletic performance parameters.  Some of the valuable information obtained through the Wingate Test includes:

Peak Power 

Represents the explosive properties of an athlete's muscle power.

Mean Power

Represents the average local muscle endurance throughout the test.

Anaerobic Capacity

Represents the body's capacity to perform exercise using energy from metabolism that does not require oxygen.



Body Composition Assessment

At the Sports Physiology Center of Chicago, each athlete's body composition is evaluated using both anthropometric measurements (Skinfold measurements) and 8 point tactile bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA).  Multiple measurement modalities are used to provide a detailed assessment of body composition as well as fat and muscle distribution in the body. Some of the measurement modalities we use include Holtain Skinfold Calipers for skinfold measurement and bioelectrical impedance analysis (InBody) using the 8 point tactile method. The 8 point tactile method for bioelectrical impedance analysis is unique in that it divides the body into 5 separate regions for measurement.  Most commercially available devices divide the body into 2 regions, which results in much less specific measurements.

 

Sports Psychometrics Assessment

The Sports Physiology Center of Chicago uses well validated surveys to evaluate each athlete's mental game.  Psychometrics is the science of measuring mental capacities and processes. Specific assessments have been developed and validated for evaluation of the elite teen athlete.  Just as physical testing provides direction for training the body for optimal performance, psychometric assessments provide direction for understanding and training the mind for optimal athletic performance.  Factors such as sports performance anxiety, coping stratgeies, motivation, and burnout are determined by this evaluation.

 

Sports Nutrition Assessment

At the Sports Physiology Center of Chicago, we not only assess an athlete's nutritional practices, but his/her knowledge as well.  We evaluate general and sport-related dietary habits as well as hydration practices for each athlete.  Each athlete's knowledge of good nutrition practices is evaluated through a computer scored nutrition knowledge questionnaire. A dietary supplement usage survey is also used to screen for safe and appropriate use of supplements in the athletes that use dietary supplements. Proper nutrition is essential for optimal athletic performance.  Sound, science based knowledge of good nutritional practices facilitates optimal fueling and hydration habits.

 

Individualized Consultation

The Sports Physiology Center of Chicago provides each athlete with a complete analysis and explanation of the data obtained during the evaluation and helps each athlete understand how to use this information to optimize his/ her athletic performance.  Once we have analyzed the hundreds of pieces of data obtained during the evaluation, each athlete will return to the Sports Physiology Center of Chicago for a one on one consultation. Dr. Boas and our clinical team, Crystal (Certified Athletic Trainer), Marissa (Phsyician Assistant), and Drew (Nurse Practitioner) will review the evaluation with the athlete and provide individualized recommendations based on those results for performance optimization. We will also provide referrals to a sports dietician or psychologist specializing in optimizing athletic performance, if necessary.