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.

Performing a Running Metabolic Test

The test will begin with a warm-up on the treadmill. Once the warm-up is complete, a comfortable mask is placed over the mouth and nose so that information regarding gas exchange can be obtained by the metabolic cart. The treadmill will then begin moving at an easy, comfortable pace and will increase in speed every two minutes, up to a point that is slightly faster than race pace speed. During the test the exercise physiologist will monitor the rate at which your body consumes oxygen, as well as your heart rate and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). The level of oxygen consumed will increase as the exercise intensity increases. After you have reached your peak level of oxygen consumption, a two minute cool-down period will begin to assess how quickly your cardiovascular system recovers. Total time for the test will be about 60 minutes, including time for warm-up, the running assessment, and a preliminary overview of the results. 

Utilizing Running Metabolic Testing Results

After performing a running metabolic test, clients will be provided with individual heart rate training zones, which removes the guesswork out of training and ability to increase your overall aerobic fitness.  Your results will also be used to determine where inefficiencies lie from a metabolic standpoint so overall health can be addressed through diet modifications and adjusting training intensities.   

Preparing for a Running Metabolic Test

In preparation for your running metabolic test, please refrain from strenuous exercise within 24 hours of the test.  Do not consume caffeine or nicotine within 3 hours of the test.  Avoid thermogenic aids (weight loss products/metabolic enhancers) 24 hours prior to the test.  Do not consume alcohol 24 hours before the test.  No food or drink with the exception of pure water within 3 hours of the test.  You will also need to complete a Health History Questionnaire and sign an Informed Consent prior to the test.


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