How to become a better You
Background informationSportHealth + Beauty

How to become a better You

Patrick Bardelli
Zurich, on 08.10.2020
Pictures: Thomas Kunz
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
«betteryou» a new company based in Zurich. Their goal: quality of life, joy and satisfaction for all. Sound like esoteric hocus-pocus? On the contrary.

I have a spiroergometry appointment in Zurich's District 6. After about two hours, I went home smarter, with detailed nutritional instructions and a detailed training plan. But let's take it one step at a time.

Searching for a better You

Spiroergometry has nothing to do with tarot cards, reading coffee grounds or any of the sort. It is a scientific analysis of your current health and fitness. By measuring respiratory gases during physical exertion, the heart, circulation, respiration and metabolism are investigated qualitatively and quantitatively. Spiroergometry is the gold standard in performance diagnostics. This method used in competitive sports and cardiology shows what you're working with and provides extensive data on your current fitness and health.

Why am I doing this? Well, I've been feeling exhausted and stressed out a lot lately. It doesn't matter how much I sleep, do sports or otherwise supposedly do something for my well-being. I don't know what it is, but that's got to change. Which is why I'm getting help from betteryou.

Smile more

Benjamin Signer is a qualified nutritionist at betteryou. He accompanied me through the test. Before getting on the ergometer, I have to undergo some preliminary examinations and answer various questions about my life. How many times I've laughed lately is one of them. Well, that certainly made me think. Certainly not very often. Other questions concern stress, sleep quality or everyday annoyances.

Ben Signer explains the procedure.
Ben Signer explains the procedure.

Ben then uses bioelectric impedance analysis to determine my body's water level on the one hand and the voltage of my muscle cells on the other. The better hydrated I am, the more repair processes are going on. This gives a hint towards my system's regenerative capabilities. The higher the muscle tension, the better the cells are nourished and the more realistic muscle build-up becomes.

Endless questions needing to be answered.
Endless questions needing to be answered.
Let the electricity flow!
Let the electricity flow!

Ben Signer also uses potassium permetry to determine my body fat percentage. To do this, he measures the thickness of my skin folds at different points.

Full steam ahead

Then we proceed to the bike ergometer, mask and some cables included. Finally, we measure the respiratory gases under stress. After five minutes of comfortable biking, the resistance is increased every few seconds. My task is simple: pedal until you can't pedal anymore. Sounds easy, but it quickly got extremely exhausting. This is all followed by five minutes of relaxed biking.

The difficulty steadily increases.
The difficulty steadily increases.

«Do you have a music request?», Ben asks before I get going. I chose Rage Against the Machine. I needed something to push me. So I started biking, «Killing in the Name» serenading me as I went. About twenty minutes later I was done. Spiroergometry had finished me. I just couldn't go on. Exhausted doesn't even come close to describing it.

😵
😵

The first step to a better You

Freshly showered and ready to go. An espresso and lots of water in hand, I sit in Ben's consultation room again and look at my data. A lot of data. And here's what it looks like:

Black is good, red isn't.
Black is good, red isn't.

Or in simpler terms...

“ As you've trained mostly with similar intensities while depriving your body of the appropriate nutrients in the past, we see a stunted buffer system and insufficient basic endurance. This leads to sub-optimal regeneration and strenuous everyday experiences. Through better training control and sports nutrition, your body now has the opportunity to repair and regenerate. ”
betteryou
My metabolism is asleep. Ben showed me how to get it back on track.
My metabolism is asleep. Ben showed me how to get it back on track.

Now I know why I wasn't feeling all that great earlier. I eat too little and at the wrong time. I should start eating before, not after doing sports. Besides, I'm not working enough on my basic endurance. Furthermore, I should try to regenerate my mind and body better using relaxation exercises such as meditation. Finally, some constructive advice to work on.

My new plan: extensive breakfasts and no more interval fasting, lunch and dinner with sufficient carbohydrates, protein and fat instead of low-carb. Interspersed by small snacks with fruit. To this end, Ben puts together a detailed dietary plan for me, which I am to follow for the next six weeks. I also received a detailed training plan. It consists of two strength units per week with super workouts and two cardio units to improve my basic endurance.

I also downloaded an app with meditation instructions. Let's see if this will calm me down.

Individualisation

My diet and training plan have been individually tailored to me, my living conditions and my body for quite some time. Will betteryou make a difference? We’ll see. The beginning sounds promising, in any case. No restrictive diets, no boring default training regiments. I’m excited to see what tomorrow brings. In six weeks I'll be back in District 6. To repeat the whole process once again.

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Patrick Bardelli
Patrick Bardelli
Senior Editor, Zurich
What matters isn’t how well you play when you’re playing well. What matters is how well you play when you’re playing badly.

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