Purpose: Evidence suggests considerable heterogeneity in exercise-induced changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and common cardiometabolic risk factors, with some individuals even experiencing adverse responses when exposed to regular exercise training. The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of two exercise training programs for improving fitness and cardiometabolic health. Methods: Sedentary men and women (n=46) performed 60-75 min/day, 3 days/wk for 13 wk according to one of two exercise training regimens: 1) a standardised program, or 2) an individualised program (ACE IFT). Results: Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), body composition, systolic blood pressure (BP), and muscular fitness increased more favourably (p<0.05) in the ACE IFT treatment group. In the standardised treatment group 64.3% (9/14) of individuals experienced a favourable change in relative VO2max (Δ > +5.9%) and were categorised as responders. Alternatively, exercise training in the ACE IFT treatment group elicited a positive improvement in relative VO2max (Δ > +5.9%) in 100% (14/14) of the individuals. Furthermore, the incidence of anthropometric, cardiometabolic,and muscular fitness responders to exercise training were overall more favourable (p<0.05) in the ACE IFT treatment group: waist circumference (92.9% vs. 78.6%), percent body fat (100.0% vs. 78.6%), systolic BP (100.0%vs. 42.9%), HDL cholesterol (100.0% vs 50%), blood glucose(92.9% vs.42.9%), bench press 5-RM (100.0% vs 64.3%), and leg press 5-RM (100.0% vs 64.3%). Conclusions: The major findings from the present study were as follows: 1) an individualised exercise prescription elicited significantly (p<0.05) greater improvements in VO2max, muscular fitness, and key cardiometabolic risk factors when compared to a standardised exercise prescription, and 2) an individualised exercise prescription increased training responsiveness when compared to a standardised exercise training program as evidenced by the significantly reduced (p<0.05) incidence of exercise training non-responders in the ACE IFT treatment group. These novel findings are encouraging and underscore the importance of a personalised exercise prescription to enhance training efficacy and limit training unresponsiveness.
Journal of Fitness Research / Vol. 5, No. 3, pp.15-27