The Phase IV Process

Setting Goals

At Phase IV, we believe every journey begins in the mind, and the first step toward changing your life patterns is identifying a goal. Goals make the journey sustainable, acting as a tangible sense of potential accomplishment. Have you dreamt of stepping up from running 10K’s to completing the Boston Marathon or an Ironman? Would you like to improve your current race times, your golf handicap or dominate in your team sport? Whatever the goal of your desire, you will team up with a Phase IV Performance Specialist to identify the path and accompany you on the journey.

Evaluative Assessments

By taking a careful history of your athletic career from Junior High School through your recent achievements and disappointments we will identify your limitations, pattern of injuries (if any) and your greatest assets. This conversation will illuminate the “critical path” to your goals. It will tell us how to best assess how you “work on the inside”: how your body metabolizes the food you eat, how well your joints function to support your weight and how your muscles make energy to create movement specific to your sport.

Together we will scrutinize your current lifestyle: your work demands, time constraints, and family responsibilities. Based on information gleaned from your clinical evaluation, a thorough review of your medical history and your personal goals, we then identify and prioritize your present and future needs in health and fitness. Whether your goal is to train for a local half marathon or the Ironman in Hawaii, get back to your old high school sport, or find a new one, Phase IV will customize a program for you to succeed.

Over the past 25 years, we’ve converted couch potatoes into outdoor activity junkies, 5k runners into marathoners, and college competitors into age group world champions. They each had a goal, and combined with our understanding of how the body works from a structural and metabolic perspective, they transformed themselves and their lifestyle into what they always wanted.

Through scientific analysis we will come to understand the special set of needs you bring to the table. What will emerge will be an educated you, empowered with the knowledge and understanding of how your body performs best for life, work and sport.

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Structural Analysis

Basic to all exercise programs is your body needs to function well mechanically to avoid injury while you execute your tailored training plan. The workout program designed to train your metabolic fitness to a peak will require biomechanical symmetry and efficiency on a very high level. This analysis will illuminate the best way to achieve these important physical prerequisites.
Most sports training, in fact, are hampered if not sabotaged by a failure of the structural system (also known as the musculoskeletal system) i.e., injury. Overuse injuries effecting connective (sprains, strains and tendonitis) and bone (stress fractures, bone spurs and arthritis) are a constant threat to those committed to chronic exercise for all its metabolic benefits.
Phase IV was founded by Physical Therapists who have evaluated and treated thousands of clients and athletes across all age and abilities, from six-year-old soccer players to professional all-star athletes to eighty-year-old retired insurance executives. We have seen just about every physical ailment and condition. Studying your physiology, anatomy, kinesiology, and pathomechanics, our Physical Therapists identify patterns of injury and dysfunction, and utilize a scientifically sound functional analysis to identify your present structural preparedness with your personal goals in mind.

Beginning with a complete head-to-toe structural examination, we will identify where you are tight, where you are weak, how old injuries are hindering you and predict where new ones may occur while on the journey to a new you. We will evaluate you for strength, flexibility, postural alignment, pronation and supination foot function, leg length discrepancies and muscular imbalances. We use goniometers to measure joint range of motion, manual muscle testing to determine strength deficits and orthopedic testing to identify functional joint stability. In the process we render a picture of your current state of structural preparedness and then design the right strength, flexibility and conditioning program to meet your goals for life.

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Metabolic Fitness Assessment

The specific goal of this analytical process is to determine how your body is currently wired to make energy and determine what type of personalized exercise prescription will shift your metabolism to better facilitate your goals (i.e., weight reduction, increased muscle mass, increased energy, reduction of risk factors, etc). Utilizing the most advanced scientific technologies, our testing provides a snapshot of exactly what energy production systems are operating well and which are deficient. The information culled from this testing will shed light on the secrets of your personal physiology and solve the diet and exercise puzzle keeping you from attaining the body you want, and the performance goals you have only dreamt possible.

Whether you are performing life’s daily tasks or exercising, your body has, through genetics and your past exercise habits, developed a preference for burning fats, carbohydrates and protein in a specific ratio. The Phase IV Metabolic Testing protocols will determine your body’s current preference for energy production and direct us to a specific set of strategies to modify your metabolism. Through nutritional adjustment and specifically targeted exercise intensities we can reprogram your physiology to favor fats as a primary energy source. When fat metabolism is favored, the implications for weight reduction are obvious. A lesser-known benefit of fat vs. carbohydrate metabolism is the absence of lactic acid production when you are geared to burn fats. By becoming a “Better Butter Burner” you will produce less lactic acid and avoid fatigue, thus exercise for longer periods of time.

The Phase IV Blood Lactate Test Protocol is the gold standard in metabolic fitness testing. Utilizing the latest scientific innovations we will establish the exercise intensity and corresponding heart rate training zones to produce a shift toward a fat favored metabolism, creating a leaner more energetic you.

The Blood Lactate Protocol test can be done for a variety of different activities at our Phase IV location in Santa Monica, or we can do group testing at a location of your choice. We currently offer lactate testing for walking, running, swimming, cycling and rowing.

The primary reason for blood lactate testing is to determine your current fitness throughout the energy production spectrum. It is most valuable to you when it is used to find the intensity (and therefore heart rate) below which we are certain your body is producing energy nearly entirely aerobically. This tells us the heart rate training zone to prescribe for you in order to shift your metabolism to favor fats as a preferred energy source- as this is the most valuable information culled from this testing.

Blood lactate levels are measured by a tiny prick in your fingertip. As exercise intensity and duration increases, both your lactate and heart rate increase. As lactate levels increase the shift from primarily aerobic activity to anaerobic activity becomes obvious, indicating that your body is strongly favoring burning carbohydrates in greater proportions than fat.

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The Test

  • Brief warn-up
  • 4 minute workout at pre-determined exercise intensity
  • Heart rate is recorded at 3 min. and at 4 min.
  • At minute 4 of each stage, a small blood sample is taken from the fingertip
  • The exercise intensity is increased another 4-minute interval
  • The cycle continues until the runner/walker/swimmer/cyclist has reached a speed that she/he can no longer maintain

Based on the knowledge of these corresponding heart rate ranges an intelligent, scientific and individualized training program can be constructed.

Nutritional Analysis

Phase IV’s Registered Dietitians make sure that your nutritional intake fuels your physical activity while still allowing weight loss. We start by getting a good picture of your day-to-day lifestyle by asking you to complete a 3-day food diary and activity log that includes everything that you eat, drink and the activity that you do, how hungry you are, how you feel, the time of day of your meals. We then analyze what and how much you are eating, and compare it to what you really need and when you need it.

Our programs are individualized so it works for you – because no two people are created equal. In order to make the program effective, we take into consideration your medical history, pregnancy history, family medical history, medications, communications with your physician, weight history and any lab results. We try to determine any main causes of weight gain to get at the root of the problem. We also look at your diet history to better understand what has and has not worked for you in the past, and what are your best motivators.

Finally, we put what we’ve learned into practical and easy to follow changes. Making change easy and not leaving you hungry will allow the necessary changes to naturally occur.

Technique Analysis

Regardless of which sport or exercise activity you practice, developing proper technique is paramount for injury prevention, performance enhancement, and, therefore, sustainability of your activity. At Phase IV we utilize DartfishTM computer video analysis to dissect your current technique for flaws and deviations so subtle they cannot be appreciated by the human eye at real time speed.
Your team of Licensed Coaches, Biomechanists, and Physical Therapists will examine function at every joint while performing sport specific movements and plan corrective exercises and drills to perfect your technique. The results will influence our approach to your improvement strategies.

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