Clients get physical, mental lift at Elite Training Solutions

Nathan Wadsworth can take 10, 20 or even 100 pounds off your weight the first time you visit Elite Training Solutions.

It’s a temporary condition caused by an anti-gravity treadmill called the Alter G, but it’s no gimmick. The Alter G is used by some of the world’s elite distance runners as well as rehabilitation facilities treating injuries. Wadsworth said he has the only Alter G sports model open to the public in the Midwest.

"I wanted to put in state-of-the-art, top-end equipment for people to train on," Wadsworth said.

Wadsworth, who was twice an All-Missouri Valley Conference cross-country selection at Wichita State University, opened Elite Training Solutions in an industrial area along South West Street last month. He still runs, as his lean looks attest, but these days he’s putting his master’s degree in exercise science to work helping others as well.

He said he’s not worried if the location seems a little off the beaten track because his facility is a "destination" for clients, many of whom are trying to improve their performances in marathons or triathlons.

Wadsworth’s personal best in a marathon was the 2:21:51 he ran in 2006. In addition to running in the New York City and Boston marathons, he qualified for the U.S. Olympic marathon trial in 2007, finishing 57th.

Wadsworth said much of his work is designing training programs for clients who want to compete in endurance events. He tests clients’ heart rates and blood lactate levels to determine the desired intensity of workouts, and observes them to correct any flaws in their form. He also incorporates flexibility and strength training.

"I really try to help them become more athletic and strong," he said. "Running is a full-body exercise, it’s not just your legs."

One thing anyone who wants to complete a marathon should do is start training early, he said.

"If you’re smart, put it on your calendar six months out," he said. "We’re going to build you up gradually."

The Alter G, which uses a pressure-controlled chamber to gently lift the runner, can help in a couple of ways. For people coming back from injuries, it can keep their cardiovascular system in shape while injuries heal.

Judy Stanton, who had knee surgery seven months ago, spent an hour Wednesday running on the Alter G.

"I want to get back to a marathon," Stanton said. "These last six months have been frustrating, but this (Alter G) has been like a mental lift, too."

The Alter G is also good for athletes who are recovering from more minor injuries or who just need an easy "recovery" day after a hard workout, Wadsworth said. Former marathon champ Alberto Salazar, who now trains elite runners, bought a half-dozen of the Alter G treadmills.

"When you’re pushing your body hard, this is one way to go if you do get a little banged up," Wadsworth said. "I can personally attest that it does help with recovery."

Finally, the Alter G can help train people to run faster. At a top speed of 18 miles an hour, Wadsworth notes, the right runner "can get on there and run a 3-minute (mile), almost."

"You can’t run slow all the time and expect to run a fast race," he said.