Science is all around us in our everyday life and now local trainer and former Quesnel Millionaires and Kangaroos coach, Brian Kozak uses technology to get athletes into top condition. Kozak, who is the owner of the Quesnel Acceleration Centre utilizes Leading Edge technology – the Muscle Oxygen Monitor and SpiroTiger – to help athletes reach their goals.
The Moxy is a small, wearable sensor that utilizes infrared light to continuously monitor oxygen saturation levels in athletes’ muscles as they exercise.
It’s designed to measure the percentage of hemoglobin and myoglobin carrying oxygen in the capillaries and cells of the muscle tissue, where oxygen is consumed to produce energy.
It also helps identify optimal training intensity zones and provides feedback on the physiological systems limiting performance.
The SpiroTiger trains athletes respiratory system to increase air volume in and out of the lungs to expand oxygen intake with improved air distribution to the whole lung, as well as deep expiration and also avoids air entrapment to get rid of carbon dioxide. With this, trainer’s are now able to use science to efficiently guide training.
Kozak was introduced to the equipment by Juerg Feldmann, a physiotherapist who took him under his wing to teach him how to use this technology. He says this allows trainers to find an individual fitness picture based on each athlete’s physiology and use the technology to help guide the individual to become a better athlete. Kozak says the QAC provides athletes with a training and research centre, where they search for different ways to tailor each training program to suit the individual athletes needs. The other advantage the QAC provides is, athletes who pursue a career in Sports Training like Shelby Ballendine (Kinesiology), have a place to research and ‘play’ with new technology with local athletes.
“It’s a win/win situation for the athletes training with leading edge technology and the trainers also gain valuable experience in using the equipment,” Kozak said.
He added the idea of the QAC is to give Quesnel athletes the best opportunity to excel. One of the things with the Moxy which is different than other fitness equipment is they see the training ‘live’ on a computer screen or watch. They also see the most efficient time an athlete can train at full-out intensity and how long until recovery, plus how many sets.
“With the live data we can adjust the athletes training plan daily, based on their physiology,” Kozak said.
“The next level of training is the athletes are able to link what they see on the computer screen to how they feel and this is when they become their own best trainer.”
Kozak says the Moxy technology works hand in hand with the SpiroTiger as the Moxy reads oxygen consumption and recovery and the SpiroTiger increases the athlete’s ability to move more oxygen. He adds it’s all based on the athletes physiology and building it up.
“Your breathing is all muscles that have to be trained, just like your biceps or tricep muscles and without this machine your breathing cannot be trained,” Kozak said.
He adds a great example of this is Alex Roach of the Manchester Monarchs of the East Coast Hockey League, who he trains and is from Quesnel.
“I started training him when he was 13 and he had a lung capacity of 5.2 litres and right now it is 8.2, which is one of the biggest in the world,” Kozak said.
“He could move around 150 litres in a minute which was really good at that time and now he can move over 400 litres, so breathing will never be a limitation for him.”
Kozak said in a study they found that breathing was a huge factor for hockey players in limiting their performance.
“We found that in more than 90 per cent of hockey athletes the limiting factor that shuts their legs down is breathing because they can’t get rid of enough carbon dioxide.”
Kozak is also the owner of Next Level Sport Preparation which evolved from the QAC, where they work with athletes around the world. They assess them with the Moxy and the SpiroTiger to find their limiter and compensators. This comes from Feldmann’s idea of finding what limits and what compensates the athlete, so they can deliver an efficient training program. He says a number of athletes have come to get Feldmann’s advice.
“Olympic athletes fly into Quesnel to get assess tested and trained by this guy,” Kozak said.
Along with being a fitness instructor he has a coaching resume which includes time with the Millionaires and Kangaroos.
He also coached the Bantam teams with the Quesnel Minor Hockey Association, where it gave him an opportunity to work on his skills. He adds young coaches don’t realize it takes around 10 years to thoroughly understand what is involved in becoming a great coach. Kozak still volunteers with local Rep teams when available to teach the youth and coaches. He also shares his experience about the game and says he’s always learning more.
“I learn just as much, if not more from the young players and coaches,” Kozak said.
With this new technology at his disposal, he now offers a new outlook, providing athletes around the world and in Quesnel high caliber training. This allows them to reach their goals and also has the proven science behind it.