ACE: Customized Exercise Programs Enhance Fitness and Health
Recent research from a three-year study reveals consistent evidence that the implementation of personalized exercise programming, like that featured in the American Council on Exercise’s ACE Integrated Fitness Training® Model (ACE IFT® Model), optimizes training responsiveness and positively impacts a client’s cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular fitness and cardiometabolic health.
“The findings from this multi-year study help demonstrate that an exercise program is most effective when developed in a person-centered and individualized manner,” said Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., ACE president and chief science officer.
The research was conducted by Lance Dalleck, PhD, and his team of researchers in the High Altitude Exercise Physiology Program at Western Colorado University. Between 2021 and 2023, physically inactive adults were recruited to participate in a 13-week study. Research participants within the ACE IFT Model intervention groups experienced favorable changes in body-fat percentage, blood glucose, and VO2max (a commonly used measurement of the aerobic endurance or cardiovascular fitness of an individual) compared to the standardized, non-personalized groups and the control groups – a finding that was consistent across all three years of the study. Review the research from Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3.
“These comparable findings add more and more credibility to the idea that the personalized approach that the ACE IFT Model provides does what it’s intended to do,” said Dr. Dalleck. “It matches the individual’s physiology and goals to the programming and, as a result, we have consistent improvements in key health outcomes.”
Importance of muscular fitness
Over the past decade, low muscular fitness has garnered considerable attention as an independent and powerful predictor of chronic disease risk and premature mortality. Indeed, it has been reported that increased muscular fitness is associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Additionally, various muscular fitness parameters (e.g., strength, endurance and power) have been found to be associated with common cardiometabolic risk factors, including body mass index, waist circumference, blood lipids and blood pressure. It also has been demonstrated that there is a strong association between muscular strength and mortality from all causes in various clinical populations, including those with cardiovascular disease, cancer and arthritis. More recently, elevated levels of both upper- and lower-body muscular strength have been linked to lower risk of mortality. Research participants within the ACE IFT Model intervention groups experienced muscular fitness improvements that were consistently 1.5- to 2-fold greater across all IFT group participants when compared to their standardized and control group counterparts. These muscular fitness responsiveness findings further reinforce the critical importance of personalizing the exercise program.