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Using Metabolic Testing To Build Effective HIT Sessions

If you're looking to get the best results from your workouts then it's important that you do them in the right way. One of the ways to find out what works for you is through metabolic testing, which can be used to understand your current fitness level as well building a tailored exercise plan based on your needs.

An important part of maximising your fitness is using something called High Intensity Interval Training (HIT or HIIT). In this blog article, we'll go through what HIT training is and how metabolic testing may be used to develop effective HIT programmes based on your unique requirements and capabilities.

1. What is HIT Training?

HIT typically involves periods of intense exercise followed by rest or recovery periods, repeated several times. It has been shown as an effective tool to improve both health and fitness. Some of which include:

  • Improved endurance performance

  • Increased stroke volume (ability to pump more blood around the body)

  • Increased VO2Max

  • Better fat burning (oxidation)

  • Faster metabolism

  • Improve blood pressure

  • Weight loss

  • Lower blood sugar levels

The intensity you will need to work at throughout these sessions must be understood in order to get the full benefits of HIT training. This is due to the fact that when you train near to your VO2Max, the greatest adaptation takes place.

2. What is metabolic testing and how can it help with HIT Training

Metabolic testing is a way of measuring the amount of energy that your body uses when performing exercise. This provides insight into how fit you are, how efficient or effective you are at burning fat and sugars during exercise, as well as providing heart rate and paces for your training zones to help you achieve your goals more successfully.

There are typically two main types of tests: VO2Max tests or Anaerobic Threshold (AT)/Lactate tests. VO2Max tests measure the maximum uptake of oxygen during exercise. VO2Max can give you a good insight into your overall cardiovascular fitness as well as your endurance capacity and health status.

The lactate threshold, or anaerobic threshold as it's sometimes known, describes the point during exercise when blood lactate concentrations begin to increase rapidly. Lactate is a by-product of energy metabolism in the muscles and its only a certain level can be tolerated before pain kicks in..

Testing both your VO2Max and Anaerobic Threshold enables us to prescribe workout sessions that will help improve overall performance and fitness. In particularly, HIT training.

By measuring your Anaerobic Threshold (VT2/LT2) and VO2Max, we can build specific HIT sessions specifically around you as an individual, so you know what pace/power to exercise at to bring about the best results.

3. Why is metabolic testing important for HIT programme design

To get the full benefit of HIT training you must spend time exercising at around 90-100% of your VO2Max or, at least above your anaerobic threshold. If you know know the speed or power you produce at your Anaerobic Threshold and VO2Max, it enables us to provide exact paces/power and heart rate you should be aiming for during your sessions.

Why not just guess?

The issue with guessing these numbers, is that if you go out too hard, you can end up spending LESS time in the required zone. By going too fast in the first interval, you won't be able to maintain the required intensity in subsequent intervals.

On the flip-side, if you don't push yourself hard enough then you may fail to get enough time in the correct zone to see the full benefits of HIT.

What next?

If you think you're not getting the most from your training and wanted to get some more direction, or you just needed to pinpoint your training zones and help with your programming see the metabolic testing we offer. This also coms with 8 weeks worth of HIT sessions based on your individual data.

Secondly, reach out and gain support and information on how here at Box Nutrition we can help support you further. Either send your questions over to, use the form on the contact us section of the website or call 01212937581 and let us guide you with our specialist knowledge in metabolic testing and coaching.


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