AEI Technologies recently met up with Dr. Scott Kieffer to shed some light on the practical application of metabolic carts, and the various ways he uses AEI Technologies’ MOXUS Metabolic Cart.
Scott Kieffer is a Professor of Health & Exercise Science at Messiah University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Kieffer combines his passion for teaching and undergraduate research to offer students a wide variety of experiential learning. He has published and presented many research studies with undergraduate students serving as co-authors and on many occasions as the lead author.
Here is our conversation:
- What is exactly, in your own words for our readers, the MOXUS metabolic cart?
KIEFFER: “In exercise physiology, we use the metabolic cart for many things. We look at an individual’s VO2 Max, we can look at changes in training, and various parameters of energy expenditure as well. In the work that I do, and the work with my students, I want them to understand these parameters. When they go out and work with clients or to graduate school they have to know how the body utilizes energy. The MOXUS helps them understand that process.
The main classes that I use it for are my Research Methods and Statistical Analysis classes. In that class, we have the students do a research project in which they use the Oxygen Analyzer quite a bit, and it helps them form ideas around this information. We also use it in Exercise Testing and Prescription, where we will do a max treadmill test on individuals to see which fitness category a person is in, and then design a fitness program for them.”
I use it all the time, and it’s very helpful in my student’s Undergraduate Research projects. The students go on to present regionally and nationally their ideas formed by VO2 and the parameters surrounding the metabolic cart’s results.”
- What compelled you to acquire a metabolic cart?
KIEFFER: “A metabolic cart is one of the key pieces in an Exercise Physiology lab. The main thing is that I want a really good cart that we can do a lot of stuff on, and one that helps me give my students the best experience.”
- Which components of the cart are most impactful to you?
KIEFFER: “Specifically, the MOXUS. For my students, I want them to understand the back side of things- what the equations mean and what it’s really about. With this software, I can really tell them what’s happening, rather than just looking at numbers. If you don’t understand what goes into the numbers, you won’t be able to critically analyze and understand metabolism. The MOXUS software really helps you understand what’s happening at that level.”
- Why is it important to take measurements of oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide consumption, such as collegiate-level athletes? What does the data clarify? What does it help you to determine about your subject?
KIEFFER: “I get to work with a lot of really good soccer players, as well as runners that finished in the Top 10 of the Boston Marathon. Understanding your VO2 really helps with training. I once had an individual who was running on the treadmill at an incredible pace, and from looking at his RRO2 and his efficiency, I told him he should really consider running a marathon. With metabolic carts, you can see your body’s energy efficiency quite clearly. I’ve also worked with competitive cyclists to view Heart Rate and VO2 and help them adapt and maximize their training programs.”
- How do these types of measurements help different students understand physiology (e.g. kinesiology/exercise physiology students vs. anatomy/biology students heading towards the medical field)?
KIEFFER: “We can see how a body responds to different exercises, and then how to adapt. For training effects, we can see how that is going to affect or change your VO2. We can see how people tend to go backward, when they retire for example, and what happens at the cellular level.”
- For somebody that is a cyclist, would they go see you at your university because you specialize in this type of research?
KIEFFER: “Yeah, within your field, you tend to learn who does what. It’s kind of out there that I do that stuff. I like to cycle, and someone at my cycle shop would refer to me cyclists looking to maximize and understand their physiology and training.”
- What conclusions can be drawn with measurements of oxygen consumption at rest when compared to measurements during exercise?
KIEFFER: “I work with weight loss programs and see how a person at rest is burning calories. We can develop a personalized exercise program and see how exercise and weight loss affect metabolic rate. We can also look at Qi Gong exercise effects and how metabolic rate and what the magnitude of effect is with this training. Qi Gong is a form of fitness and health exercise involving low-level activity within intrinsic muscles. It’s especially useful with older people, and this cart can show you those types of smaller-scaled results.”
- What is the importance of accuracy in your field of work?
KIEFFER: “It is so important. Little mistakes create big errors. That’s what I appreciate about the MOXUS. Its ease of use and perfect calibration is essential in my field and for instructing my students.
If you’re trying to make a straight line and it’s a millimeter off, stretch that out over 10 feet, and then see how accurate you are. If we’re doing data analysis, trying to publish research, and we’re off that little bit, our research goes down the drain. I don’t have a chance to redo it. I rely on accuracy for myself, my students, and clients.”
- What implications does the use of metabolic carts have in clinical vs. health/fitness settings?
KIEFFER: “I kind of bridge the gap between those. With the metabolic cart, a lot of times we’ll have the ECG hooked up to it as well, so we have real-time data on the cardiovascular aspect of things as well as the metabolic side of things. When we’re looking at research with weight loss programs, various disease states, and fitness for our cyclists, the metabolic carts have both practical and necessary purposes.
As a person who teaches undergraduates, I really want my students to know what’s happening in the body and its physiology. I had a student who had taken biochemistry and memorized all the equations he would ever need to know, but he told me that in taking my “Chronic Disease and Exercise Science” class, that it’s the first time he really understood the metabolic pathways and actually utilized the process of metabolism. Now he comprehends the application of biochemistry in his current endeavors. My students get real experience with VO2 and MET processes and how to put together a person’s exercise program safely.”
- Would you recommend the metabolic cart to other professionals in your field? If yes, can you explain why?
KIEFFER: “Absolutely! I currently recommend the MOXUS to a lot of my friends. I like it as a teaching mechanism. We actually have three metabolic carts. The way it functions in the lab for me is just amazing. When my students come back to me and say, “Wait, my numbers aren’t quite right, what did I do wrong?”, I know they have it, I know they understand. I think the number one thing going for MOXUS is actually Phil (of AEI Technologies). He’s passionate about this. He’s caring if I call and need something, and he puts forward that customer care.”
- Anything you want our readers to know about you?
DR. KIEFFER: “My whole thing is education- working with these Undergraduate students, getting them to know what they’re talking about. That’s my schtick, and I’m going to stick to it.”
-End of Interview-
Authored by: Adam Schwarzbach