Active Metabolic Assessment

I recently did some metabolic testing to help gauge the efficiency of my workouts. I did both a resting metabolic test to get my nutrition and resting metabolism checked out and an active metabolic test to help get my cardio on point! Check out the results from my Resting Metabolic Assessment

This test is obviously a little different from that test in that this test is done while I was actively working out. I chose to do the test on the treadmill as that is what I am most comfortable on. 

First, the test is started with a warm-up. This is absolutely critical whether you are getting tested or just doing a regular workout. You can significantly change your metabolism by simply taking the time to warm-up

First thing this test measures is your VO2. Your VO2 is simply the amount of oxygen your are consuming at any given time. Typically people look at this for getting your VO2 max which is the maximum amount of oxygen you can possibly utilize. This number is very helpful and can help a lot when planning your cardio workouts.

Here is my VO2 peak. Notice how I called it a VO2 peak and not a VO2 max. I called it this because scientifically there are very specific protocols for being able to truly call it a maximum number. Since we don't really need to know a true max for the type of training I do and I don't feel like being on a treadmill till I practically fall off, a VO2 peak is fine.

As you can see I'm not really going to be running any marathons anytime soon. I genetically am not a very aerobic person. I did make it barely into the FAIR category...for the 60+ year old group...needless to say I have some work to do. Check out the categories below.

However, if you have the equipment why not take it a step further? Why not measure your RQ as well?


 So by measuring RQ we can know what is going on metabolically while you are working out. This is so helpful so we can train each individual energy system. Quite simply as your exercise gets more and more intense you burn less and less Fat and rely more and more on sugar.

Fat burning is what is called an aerobic process, basically is means that oxygen is required in order to burn fat. Sugar burning​ is an anaerobic process, which means it does not require oxygen to burn sugar.

I like to explain fat burning (aerobic metabolism) as your low and slow energy system. By this I mean that you low amounts of energy for a long period of time. Sugar burning (anaerobic metabolism) is ​your high and fast energy. You get high amounts energy VERY quickly. Imagine running a marathon vs 100m sprint. the marathon is primarily aerobic and requires a low amount of energy for long periods of time, while a 100m sprint requires a large burst of energy over a short amount of time.

What can we learn from these tests?

The two major things we learn from this test is our Aerobic Base and Anaerobic Threshold.​

Aerobic Base​

Your aerobic base is the point​at which your body is most efficient burning fat.

Anaerobic Threshold​

Anaerobic Threshold is the point at which your body switches from burning fat to burning just sugar.​

​From these two numbers we can calculate Heart Rate Zones and utilize those to help us train the energy zones and become more efficient. Here are my zones based on my test results.

You can see not only can we utilize heart rate to know what energy system we are training but we can also use workload (speed and incline). You'll see how this is significant in a later post. 

Here is a graph depicting the amount of calories I burn in each zone as well as the percentage of fat vs carb burning. SOO COOL TO SEE!!​

Here is a nice break down of each zone!!

I hope you can see the benefits of doing this type of testing. If you still can't then stay tuned for my next few articles on how I apply this to my workout planning!!

Stephen Cummock

I am a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through NSCA, Strength and Conditioning Coach Certified through the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, Level 1 Sports Performance Coach through the USA weightlifting Organization, Level 1 Precision Nutrition Certified, as well as a Corrective Exercise Specialist, Performance Enhancement Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer through NASM. I have over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry and 3 years of experience as an NCAA D1 strength and conditioning coach. I completed my bachelor’s degree from University of Northern Colorado in Exercise Sciences in 2010 and finished my Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Biomechanics in 2012. I have worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from special populations, weight loss, and even up to professional athletes. I have trained and educated people on how to become top notch personal trainers.

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