Sparks Systems utilizes running, cycling, and/or resting metabolic testing to pinpoint inefficiencies in both training and diet.  Addressing these inefficiencies enables maximum return on investment from your training and nutrition. 

Metabolic Testing

Most people have heard the term, “VO2 max testing” when looking for a determinate of overall fitness.  Maximum Volume of Oxygen (VO2 max) tells how much oxygen can be consumed and how much of that oxygen actually goes to the working muscles.  During a metabolic test, much more can be determined about an individual's physiology than just VO2 max alone.  VO2 max can tell us the size of the engine, but it is not a great indicator of an individual's efficiency, which at the end of the day, is the most important component in getting the absolute MOST out of your training and nutrition.  Metabolic testing can be performed on a treadmill or on your own individual bicycle depending on the type of activities you participate in.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)

The Resting Metabolic Rate test (RMR) determines the amount of energy (calories) the body is using at rest. This measurement is made by analyzing the amount of oxygen the body uses and the amount of carbon dioxide the body produces. Almost all of the energy your body produces is created through aerobic (oxygen utilizing) metabolism. The oxygen is combined with carbohydrates and fats to make energy in your body’s tissues. This energy is used to keep organs and tissues working properly. When carbohydrates and fats are broken down to make energy, carbon dioxide is produced. The percentage of the energy created from carbohydrates and fats can be determined by measuring the carbon dioxide the body produces.

Performing a Resting Metabolic Rate Test

During the Resting Metabolic Rate test you will be asked to relax in a chair while your oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide output are measured for 25 to 30 minutes. To measure the amount of oxygen your body is using and carbon dioxide it is producing, you will be asked to wear a face mask that covers your mouth and nose (similar to an airplane pilot’s mask). The face mask will not provide you with extra air, you will only be breathing from the air in the environment. It is very important that you remain as relaxed as possible to get the most accurate results.

Utilizing Resting Metabolic Rate Test Results

The results of a Resting Metabolic Rate test can tell you and/or your doctor if you have an increased or decreased metabolism, and if your body primarily uses fats or carbohydrates for energy. This information can be used to determine the amount of calories you need to eat each day to maintain or lose weight. Dieticians often use this information when designing diets for their clients. The results may also indicate that you have a medical condition affecting your metabolism. Diabetes, under or over active thyroid, COPD, heart disease, mitochondrial disorders, and obesity are some common conditions that may alter your metabolism. Doctors may use the RMR to determine if certain medications are influencing metabolic rate or if medical therapy improves your metabolism.

Preparing for a Resting Metabolic Rate Test

Various activities may influence metabolic rate and should be avoided before testing. For at least five hours before the test you should not eat or drink anything so testing first thing in the morning is preferable. Drink water as needed, but please refrain from even brushing your teeth before testing. If you have a condition that requires you to eat frequently, such as diabetes, you may eat no less than four hours before testing. Exercise or physical labor should be avoided for five hours before the test.  Wear comfortable clothing so you can be as relaxed as possible and able to prop your feet up if you prefer. Take medications as prescribed unless otherwise directed.

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