What Is Metabolic Testing?
We all know those lucky few with a supposedly fast metabolism who ‘can eat whatever they want,’ but do we really understand metabolism? Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories for energy involving your oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output. This is usually based on your height, weight, genetics, and level of activity.
Metabolic tests measure the rate at which your body burns calories and uses oxygen during rest or activity. Usually there are three tests you would be offered when looking at metabolic testing.
Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) – This provides an estimate of the number of calories you burn when your body is completely resting
VO2 Max Test – This tests your metabolic rate during different stages of exercise. VO2 max stands for maximum volume of oxygen, and gives you information about the intensity levels at which your body uses oxygen and burns fat
Lactate Threshold Test – This is mainly used for athletes and provides data about the intensity level at which your body can no longer supply enough oxygen for maximum performance
If you are interested in metabolic testing for weight loss, then RMR is probably the test for you. By understanding your resting metabolic rate and daily activity level, your trainer can estimate the number of calories you burn in a day without exercise. This test will enable you to understand how your body burns energy during exercise which can help with the management of food intake.
There are several factors which can affect the speed of your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so athletes tend to have a higher metabolism. There are some factors which are out of our control, for example age. As you get older, your metabolic rate generally slows, though strength training can help with this by maintaining muscle mass. Gender is also a factor, as the basal metabolic rate of women averages 5 to 10% lower than in men.
While metabolic testing can be useful, it generally tends to be quite expensive and is not a necessity for weight loss. For tips on how to lose weight sustainably, check out our post on manageable healthy lifestyle adjustments here.