When I received an invitation to try ZOOM+Performance, one of the three primary care platforms from ZOOM+Performance Health Insurance (based in Portland’s Pearl District), I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical.
The invitation said it would be an evaluation of my VO2 Max IQ, neuroagility assessment, body comp assessment, and food and movement as medicine which sounded like something that might be more useful if I were say, training for the Olympics. The invitation also suggested that I wear athletic clothing and footwear and a sports bra or swim suit top so I figured that scheduling the appointment after a full morning of teaching classes at Flex & Flow would be the way to go – because, hey, at least I’d already be dressed!
What I didn’t read before scheduling was that I was not supposed to eat or exercise for a full 2 hours prior to the session. And while I was mostly able to hold off on the exercise (albeit a little demo’ing for my classes), I had a difficult time not eating and was pretty hangry upon arrival. Good thing they offered me hot tea while I checked in. While not food, it was better than nothing.
After check-in, Dr. Natasha Kassam escorted me into a private room to take my vitals and obtain my health history. She did some white boarding as we talked through my current health conditions and goals for the future.
Dr. Natasha then explained that ZOOM+Performance’s assessment is aimed at helping people improve their athletic performance, mental-focus and creative energy. She said we would be doing some deep brain, cell and body tests, including VO2 Max, Neuroagility and Body Comp and then we’d regroup and she would prescribe food and movement to help me achieve my potential.
The brain and nervous system test:
The first step was the brain and nervous system test. I was instructed to sit in a big chair in front of a flat screen TV and they attached some sort of monitor to my earlobe. And then all kinds of math problems and puzzles started to flash on the screen and I was instructed to answer them only in my head. After a few too many puzzles, a giant lotus flower started expanding and contracting and I was instructed to inhale and exhale along with it.
At the end, I realized what the test was all about. They were testing to see how I would respond to stresses and then how well I calmed down when instructed to breathe easily. I got my lowest “score” of the day on this portion – and was told I need more mindfulness and meditation in my daily life – fair enough!
Body composition test:
Next we went into a room with what looked like an egg shaped alien space pod. I was instructed to take everything off except for underwear and a swim cap before getting in the pod. Once I was properly outfitted, Dr. Kassam locked me in for two rounds of tests – they were quick and painless.
My body fat percentage was measured at 16.2% which fell into the ultra lean category (15-18%) which she said would be a great place for me to maintain. She also recommended that with my level of activity, I should be getting 2100-2500 calories a day (um, sure thing!). But perhaps the most fun thing about this test was bringing it home, because on the sheet that she gave me explaining body fat composition ranges it says this range is typically found in elite athletes – which is a never ending joke in our house….Every time I eat something indulgent, I saw, well I’m an elite athlete and all…. 😉
Videogames…er, I mean neuroagility test:
Next she had me stand in front of a giant flat screen TV and gave me instructions on how to move around responding to cues on said screen. And almost right away, I cold tell I was my mother’s daughter. I was constantly moving my hands the wrong way (as in not following directions) and felt like I was about to get a big womp, womp, womp, woooommpppp…game over.
Instead, the agility test came to an end and I got a score of average. Game over, indeed.
Lastly, she had me get on a stationary bike that was connected to a machine to measure VO2 max. Of course as soon as I was on the bike, I started pedaling like I was ready to get my sweat on and she came over and told me that I would need to try and maintain the cadence showing on the screen in front of me – which was much, much slower than how I was originally pedaling. While I pedaled, they were tracking my heart rate and other stats to figure out my VO2 score.
The results for this one weren’t a huge surprise to me – I scored an “excellent” rating – meaning my aerobic efficiency and endurance are in tip top shape. I guess I should hope so given I was competing in a 100 mile race a couple of weeks after this assessment… 😉
After the final VO2 max assessment, we headed back to the room to discuss all of my results in more detail and recommendations for moving forward.
The recommendations were as follows:
- Increase my intake of B12/folate rich foods because of my vegetarian diet, active lifestyle and high stressors.
- Increase my intake of iron rich foods due to my exam findings and based on my history (in particular, my conjunctiva, tongue and skin were pale during my exam). She said that many of her athlete patients can’t sustain optimal iron stores, hence the recommendation.
- Increase my intake of my omega 3 fatty acids and healthy fats – incorporating more chia seeds, avocados, and raw walnuts into my diet.
While I have yet to go back in for my labs, I found the tests to be really interesting and enlightening; I am following through on all of Dr. Kassam’s recommendations (especially the one about more calories) and look forward to going in for labs and a second assessment in the next several months.
Whether you’re an athlete or not, this is a great way to see where you’re at and where you can make improvements. It’s an opportunity to get in front of your health and its empowering to walk out and feel like you can make easy changes to improve your performance and overall health and well-being.
Disclaimer: I received a free performance assessment. That being said, all opinions expressed in this post are my own. I truly appreciate all of the brands that support the Fit Approach and Flex & Flow communities.