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


Metabolic Testing

Most people have heard the term “VO2 max testing” when looking for a determinate of overall fitness or fitness potential. Maximum Volume of Oxygen (VO2 max) refers to the maximum amount of oxygen that can be consumed during exercise by working muscles. During a metabolic test, much more can be determined about an individual’s physiology than VO2 max alone. While VO2 max refers to the size of a person’s “engine,” it is not a good indicator of an individual’s efficiency which, at the end of the day, is the most important component of training and nutrition plans.

The results from a client’s Sparks Systems metabolic test serve dual purposes: 1. to help our coaches determine heart rate training zones to increase overall aerobic fitness, and 2. to help our registered dietician accurately modify daily nutrition to address any/all inefficiencies.


Preparing for a Metabolic Test

In preparation for your cycling 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 wintin 3 hours of the test.  You will also need to complete a Health History Questionnaire and sign an Informed Consent prior to the test.

Performing a Metabolic Test

The test will begin with a warm-up on a stationary bike, your personal bike, or on our treadmill. Once the warm-up is complete, a comfortable mask will be placed over the mouth and nose so that information regarding your gas exchange can be obtained by the metabolic cart. The test will begin at a low and comfortable intensity, and will increase in wattage or pace every two minutes thereafter. During the test, a Sparks Systems Testing Administrator will be monitoring the rate in which the body consumes oxygen, as well as heart rate and rate of perceived exertion (RPE). The level of oxygen consumed will increase as the exercise intensity (wattage or pace) increases. After reaching a maximum effort and the peak level of oxygen consumption, a two minute cool-down period will begin to assess how quickly the cardiovascular system recovers. Total time for the test will be about 60 minutes, including time for warm-up, the exercise assessment, and a preliminary overview of the results.

Utilizing Metabolic Testing Results

After performing a 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 nutrition modifications and adjusting training intensities.    

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