You’re not a non-responder, you just need to work a lot harder! Yay?

From death to stock photo

From death to stock photo

I’ve written before about the good/bad news for non-responders.

More research just in confirms what I suggested then. There aren’t any true non-responders. Instead, there are just people who have to work an awful lot harder to see improvements in fitness.

See The Myth of Exercise “Non-Responders.” It’s subtitled, “New research suggests that everyone gets fitter with training… if they do enough.” It reports on a new study which shows that non-response is a function of exercise dose.  Subjects were divided into groups that exercised different amounts each week and while some people who exercised one or three days a week didn’t get any fitter,  there were no non-responders in the 5 day a week group.

Think about this when you’ve signed up for a running clinic, for example, and you see that some people see improvements in running fitness working out just one or two days a week. Other people might do the recommended three days a week and still not get any fitter. It may be that for those people three days isn’t enough. Some people may need to train 5 times a week or more to see improvements. We’re not all alike although you’d never know that from standardized training plans.

Link to actual study: Refuting the myth of non-response to exercise training: ‘non-responders’ do respond to higher dose of training. The Journal of Physiology, January 30, 2017

(Abstract: One in five adults following physical activity guidelines are reported not demonstrating any improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). Herein, we sought to establish whether CRF non-response to exercise training is dose-dependent, using a between- and within-subject study design. Seventy-eight healthy adults were divided into 5 groups (‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘5’) respectively comprising 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 × 60 min exercise sessions per week but otherwise following an identical 6-week endurance training (ET) program. Non-response was defined as any change in CRF, determined by maximal incremental exercise power output (Wmax), within the typical error of measurement (±3.96%). Participants classified as non-responders after the ET intervention completed a successive 6-week ET period including 2 additional exercise sessions per week. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), haematology and muscle biopsies were assessed prior to and after each ET period. After the first ET period, Wmax increased (P < 0.05) in groups ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘5’, but not ‘1’ . In groups ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and ‘5’, 69%, 40%, 29%, 0% and 0% of individuals, respectively, were non-responders. After the second ET period, non-response was eliminated in all individuals. The change in VO2max with exercise training independently determined Wmaxresponse (partial correlation coefficient (rpartial≥0.74, P < 0.001). In turn, total hemoglobin mass was the strongest independent determinant of VO2max (rpartial = 0.49, P < 0.001). In conclusion, individual CRF non-response to exercise training is abolished by increasing the dose of exercise and primarily a function of haematological adaptations in oxygen-carrying capacity.)

Thanks Sarah for sharing this with us.

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

2 thoughts on “You’re not a non-responder, you just need to work a lot harder! Yay?

  1. Casey says:

    Interesting…I wonder how this could correlate to things like overuse injuries and the like for people trying to force their bodies into higher levels of physiological markers of fitness…

    Liked by 1 person

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