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How Metabolic Testing Can Supercharge Your Performance – bringing science to practice

Are you considering metabolic testing, but not sure if it would benefit you?

OK, why would you test?

Metabolic testing helps us understand how your body responds to exercise. Based off this information we can determine what areas you need to improve on, provide you with highly accurate data about your training zones (so you know how hard to push on particular workouts) and to help you fuel various sessions correctly.

Understand what and how much you should be eating for your event with this free macro workbook for endurance athlete's. Click below to get your copy now.

OK but what do we actually test?

1. VO2 Max - How big is your engine?

Your VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can inhale and use per minute. Your VO2 max is essentially the size of your endurance engine and is known as the benchmark of aerobic performance.

Knowing this can indicate how fit you are whether it’s an area you need to work on.

Your ventilatory threshold (VT2) is the functional portion of your VO2 max. Used interchangeably with your anaerobic, or lactate threshold, measuring this tells us what intensity you can sustain for 30-60mins. The better trained you are, the longer you are able to hold this point. Knowing this is important as it helps us predict your ‘race pace’ and determine your heart rate and power zones.

Wouldn’t it be useful if you know exactly how hard to push without overcooking yourself?

3. Aerobic threshold (VT1) - Establish your aerobic base

Your aerobic threshold (ventilatory threshold 1) is an intensity when exercise begins to feel harder. This point also signifies when carbohydrate usage starts to take over from fat as the predominant fuel source.

Your VT1 is important to know as it highlights where your recovery sessions and zone 1-2 work should fall within. These sessions are important as they help train the cardio, respiratory and muscular systems more efficiently. Training these zones will enable you to run faster with less effort and become better adept at using fat as fuel source.

3. Mechanical Efficiency

Mechanical efficiency is how effectively you are able to use kcals to produce power.

More efficient athletes are able to use less oxygen and less kcals to produce the same amount of speed/power. If an athlete has an identical VO2 max and ventilatory threshold, the athlete with better mechanical efficiency will be able to go for longer by producing more power with less effort.

Knowing your efficiency can highlight if you need to look at areas such as weight, technique, strength, biomechanics, mobility and gait.

4. Metabolic efficiency and fuelling strategies

At what point do you start using more carbohydrates than fat as a fuel? Testing enables us to point to the intensities where you rely more heavily on carbohydrates. This helps guide your eating for particular sessions and highlights if you need to improve your fat burning capacity.

Being able to use more fat as a fuel at lower intensities enables you to spare glycogen for when you really need it.

When you should you test

1. Baseline assessment

Testing at the start of your training block, season or in advance of your big event. This enables us to set your power and heart rate zones as well as highlight areas that you need to work on.

2. Evaluate

Halfway through your training block, re-testing can help evaluate if your training is working and further influence your decisions moving forward. Ideally you want to retest every 6-12 weeks.

3. Change in exercise

If you are changing the type of exercise, you will need to re-evaluate your training power and heart rate zones. Your VO2 max will vary depending on what exercise mode you choose.

Are you interested in testing?

VO2 Max Testing Birmingham

Box Nutrition offers affordable and accessible athlete testing and nutrition coaching for sports men and women of all abilities in Birmingham, UK.

We understand that even recreational and amateur athlete’s want to get the best out of their training and competition, however can’t always get access to physiological testing.

Box Nutrition is able to offer a complete athlete screening for key performance and health indicators. ​ This includes a VO2 analysis as well as a body composition assessment via a skinfold assessment to accurately determine body fat levels.

This enables us to provide you with tailored nutrition programme and informed training guidelines so you can achieve your results more quickly.


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