Whether you’re an athlete looking for an endurance or performance edge, or someone who has spent years unsuccessfully trying to shift stubborn kilos; Metabolic Efficiency Testing (MET) is a simple and effective process that uses science to help you reach your goals.
The MET explained
Metabolic Efficiency Testing (MET) includes Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and/or VO2 max and submaximal exercise testing. Simply put, RMR helps to determine how many calories you burn at rest (i.e. how many calories your body needs just to stay alive), while VO2 max reveals how many calories you burn at different exercise intensities/heart rates, and how many calories come from fat versus carbs.
If you’re doing the RMR test, this is completed sitting or laying down and takes about 10-15 minutes; while the VO2 max exercise testing is performed on a bike or treadmill and starts at an easy pace, with intensity gradually building over about 15-20 minutes.
Benefits for weight loss
Embarking on the weight loss journey can be frustrating — especially if you are trying to do everything right and still not seeing the results, or are sick of fad diets that only have temporary gains. The great thing about the Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) test is that it tells you how to eat the most calories possible and still lose weight — it’s about knowing what your body needs to maintain a healthy metabolism, rather than depriving yourself.
This quick test doesn’t require much physical effort, as the idea is to measure how much oxygen your body uses in 10 minutes (it takes oxygen to make energy), and that indicates how much energy (or calories) you are burning. Contrary to some assumptions, RMR represents the majority (about 70%) of calories you burn in a day. This measurement is not affected by activities, or anything else you do during the day — it’s just staying alive.
Once the test is complete — amongst many other things — you’ll get your unique Weight Loss Zone. This is the magic number (or sweet spot) that shows the range of calories you should eat in order to lose eight. The goal is to eat the most calories possible within your Weight Loss Zone for maximum metabolism efficiency and weight loss.
The reason most weight loss programs fail is because the transition from ‘dieting’ to ‘real life’ is too abrupt. By learning to eat to your metabolism, you will be learning to stay slim and eat healthy for the rest of your life. You’ll continue to have your RMR measured throughout the weight loss process so your plan can be continually tweaked.
Benefits for athlete performance
As a athlete, it can often be a guessing game with nutrition — take on too little and you ‘bonk’ (or hit the wall), but take on too much and your digestive system can’t cope and you end up bloated and nauseated. In a recent article, registered dietitian and certified Ironman coach Susan Kitchen said when you’re completing in endurance events that are longer than three to four hours, matching your carbohydrate output (CHO) to your input is key, but you first need to determine if you’re a sugar or fat burner.
“Sugar burners burn a larger percentage of carbs than fat and need to be hyper vigilant about continuous fuelling in longer events,” Susan said, adding that the body has up to 2,000 calories as glycogen in the liver, muscles and blood glucose; yet 80,000 calories stored as fat — even in skinny people. “On the other hand, fat burners use fat as their main fuel source, sparing sugars stored in the body. Fat burners have a metabolic advantage in endurance events, which can be attributed to good genetics and/or effective training.”
MET can be used to determine exactly this and give you an advantage over other competitors who are only guessing. The test gives you your ‘crossover point’ — the intensity at which you start to burn more carbs than fat. The idea is to race at a pace that’s just below your crossover point to preserve glycogen stores, draw on more fat for fuel, and keep gastrointestinal distress at bay. This can be achieved by creating a fuel plan to match your body’s energy requirements that’s tested well in advance of the race.
It’s worth noting that your fuelling requirements are in a constant state of evolution. As you become more adapted to burning fat, you’ll need less carbs in training or racing and will become a more ‘bonk proof’ athlete. Yes — your metabolism can be trained.
Find out more and get tested
Hardcore Brands now offers MET testing — RMR, VO2 max, and VO2 submaximal — for weight loss clients, athletes & everybody / anybody else in Townsville, North Queensland at Performance Physio Group North Ward. There is no other commercially-available equipment of this kind north of Brisbane to the best of our knowledge.
Please note: We welcome referrals from doctors and allied health professionals.