General Program Questions

1. Will this cost me anything?
There is no cost for GEAR, but in order to use the gym’s facilities you must become a member of the Medical Wellness Center. If you are a student, staff, or alumni of the University of Miami and are a member at the Coral Gables facility, you can use the Medical Wellness Center as well.

2. Do I get any nutritional counseling?
The GEAR study is an exercise intervention study alone. We request that you notify a GEAR staff member if you decide to make dramatic changes your diet since this will affect the results of our research. As a benefit to GEAR participants, Josephine Greto, a registered dietician, will host monthly group counseling sessions. At these sessions, you may ask any questions that you may have about your diet. We will notify you of the next upcoming session. Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations>>

3. Where do I pick up my workout card?
Your workout card will be at the front desk of the wellness center in alphabetical order. Feel free to ask to check the box yourself if the front desk attendant is having trouble finding it (she/he may have not understood the spelling of your name).

4. Where do I meet my trainer?
At the front desk or at the Drop Box on the second floor of the gym. Once you pick up your workout card from the front desk, please meet your trainer on the second floor of the gym.

5. Can I come in at different times?
Yes. We want to ensure that you will make it to the gym 3 times per week, which means that we will be flexible with your schedule. During the first 3 weeks of the study, we ask that you come in at structured times so that our trainers can get to know you. In addition, personal training is one of the benefits of the study, and we want everyone to take advantage of this. After the first 3 weeks you may come in at different times according to your schedule, but we will check in with you periodically (at weeks 6, 9, and 12) to monitor your progress throughout the study. If you ever need to switch your times during the first 3 weeks of the study, please contact one of the GEAR team members so that we know that you are not missing a session. Communication is key!

6. Do my workout days have to stay the same?
Your days do not have to stay the same, but we will require you to separate your strength training days by at least two days. Therefore, you can perform strength training on Mondays/Thursdays, Tuesdays/Fridays or Monday/Fridays. We separate your strength training days so that your muscles have time to recover.

7. What if I am going on vacation?
If you are going on vacation we can either make a photocopy of your workout card and you can perform your routine while you are away (most hotels have gym access), or your vacation days can count as missed days, which means we would add a 13th week to your GEAR routine. If you are just starting the study, we will wait to enroll you until you come back from vacation so that we can still have the 3 weeks of monitored training.

8. Can I take my card home? On vacation or a trip?
You can take a photo copy of your workout card, but not the actual card. We enter the data from these workout cards weekly, so if anything was lost we would be missing valuable research data. Please notify us ahead of time if you would like a photocopy of your card.

9. What if I misplace or lose my workout card?
Your workout card should NEVER leave the Wellness Center. If you misplace your card while at the gym, someone should be able to find it and return it to the front desk. Please use the clips on the machines to store your card while performing exercise in order to avoid misplacing your card and losing the valuable data.

10. Where do I drop off my workout card?
At the front desk or at the Drop Box on the second floor of the gym.

11. What happens when I am done with the study?
Upon completing your post-study assessment, you will be free to participate in as much exercise as you would like. If you choose to maintain your membership at the Medical Wellness Center, there are several classes and pieces of gym equipment to choose from. Also, if you are a UM employee, you will qualify for shape-up benefits (a 20% reimbursement check in the mail) if you use the gym 6 more times after you complete your 36 GEAR exercises. Upon request, we can provide you with a more intense exercise plan that uses the same equipment you had already been using during GEAR.

12. When is the gym the most crowded?
The gym has peak hours from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., which means if you use the gym at this time you may have to wait to use the weight machines. We suggest visiting the gym during the other times that our staff is available (6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., or after 6:30 p.m.) We understand if your schedule only permits certain workout times, we just want you to be advised.

13. When will I get my cholesterol results?
The results to your blood test (cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin and fasting glucose) will be available within 1-3 weeks from when your blood was drawn. Karyn will drop off the results at the fitness lab, so feel free to email her to ask if the results are available for pick up. If so, your trainer, Kimberly, or Karyn can handout your results when you come for your training session.
Understanding your Blood Test>>

Exercise Questions

1. Will I have a personal trainer?
Yes, and no… Our GEAR trainers work with all GEAR participants throughout the course of the study. They are here to help you perform all of the exercises properly, motivate you, and answer questions about exercise. We guarantee close supervision during your first 3 weeks of the study while you are learning to execute the exercises safely and properly. We also will guarantee training at periodic checkpoints throughout the study (weeks 6, 9, and 12). However, if you come in during the hours that they are here, even when you have completed the first 3 weeks of the study, the GEAR staff will always be willing to help you and answer any questions. Specific training guidelines will be made for participants with previous injury or other considerations that may hinder performance of any exercise.

2. What happens when I no longer have a trainer?
After the first 3 weeks of your routine, we will switch our close attention to some of the newer participants of the study. At this time, you can always ask us for help, but we will not be setting appointment times to meet with you. At this point, it is crucial that you mark your card with the date, reps performed, and cardio performed, so that we can keep track of your GEAR progress. The trainers will update your weights after you turn in your card at the front desk. Feel free to use the card to communicate with our trainers, since they look at your cards almost daily.

3. What happens when I miss a session?
You have two options: You can make up the session during the same week (i.e. if you miss a Monday session you can come in on Tuesday), or you can make it up at the end if the study by adding an extra week. It is very important to us that all GEAR participants complete the 36 exercise sessions, ideally in 12 weeks. Because we understand that this is not always feasible, we allow for a maximum of 14 weeks from your start date to complete all 36 sessions.

4. What if I am sick?
We do not want you to come in and exercise if you do not feel well enough to do it (and to prevent other from getting sick, too.) If you become sick during your first three weeks, please notify us so as soon as possible so that the trainers do not wait for you. If you become sick during the later 9 weeks, you can mark your workout log as “N/A” for the days that you missed. Should you become very sick and think that you will be missing more than three days, please notify us immediately.

5. Can I do other exercise if it is not weight training or can I take classes at the wellness center?
No. The GEAR study is looking at the effect of a specific intervention. For the duration of the study we ask that you commit to our intervention and then move on to different exercises when you complete GEAR.

6. Why can’t I work out three days in a row?
The GEAR workout consists of two weekly strength/cardiovascular combination workouts and one cardiovascular only workout. We strongly suggest that you have at least a two-day rest period between your weight training sessions, but no more than 4 days rest. The 2-3 day rest period between the weight training days allows you to recover before attempting to lift heavy weights again. Inadequate recovery may not allow you to work as hard for the second weight training session, therefore not achieving the necessary amount of repetitions or increasing your risk of injury. However, if you must cut your rest period on a rare occasion (i.e. leaving for a trip or deadline at work), we would rather you get in your three weekly workouts so that you can complete the study.

7. Do I need to warm-up?
A warm-up is recommended before any exercise session. The trainers will teach you appropriate warm-up techniques. Due to the nature of the UM Medical Campus, for some participants, walking to the Medical Wellness Center may be sufficient for the cardio only days.

8. What is a MET? And can I only use a treadmill?
A MET is also called a metabolic equivalent and is used to express a person’s metabolic rate during an activity. After your cardiovascular fitness test (on a treadmill), we will prescribe your cardiovascular exercise in terms of METs based on your personal fitness level. Walking on the treadmill is the most common type of cardiovascular exercise and has been used in the majority of previous studies. In order to keep our protocol standard for ALL participants, the treadmill allows us to control the speed and incline at which you will be walking, in addition to providing a more accurate measurement since your pre-test and post-test will be on a treadmill as well.

9. Can I do cardio at home if I have a treadmill?
Yes. You can note the time, speed and incline at which you should be exercising. Then, on your next workout at the wellness center, please mark the date on your log card.

10. How long do I have to train?
Each session will take somewhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. As the weeks progress, your cardio times will also increase for up to 55 minutes.

11. Will the resistance training be really heavy?
Your resistance training loads will be specific to your personal fitness level and we use what is called progressive overload. During the first couple sessions, we will keep the resistance at a light to moderate weight so you can learn to use the machines properly. Once we know that you can execute the exercises safely and correctly we will progress you to a weight that will challenge you when you get to 12 repetitions and progress the weight accordingly once the 12th repetition has become comfortable.

12. Will I gain muscle or become bulky during GEAR?
Each exercise will be performed at a moderate load for a total of two sets per week. This volume of resistance training is not specific for gaining muscle mass, rather it is the recommended volume for the general population to experience health benefits. Most participants will not experience a significant increase in muscle mass, however individuals may respond differently.

13. What exercises will I perform for the GEAR study?
The exercise protocol consists of a combination of resistance training and cardiovascular training. All cardiovascular training is performed on a treadmill, and all resistance training is performed with the assistance of a personal trainer. For a detailed description of all exercises, click here