Performing her first Metabolic Efficiency Assessment on the treadmill is my client Susie McCrea. A recreational exerciser with the goal of losing body fat and reversing her upward trend in weight gain.
What is a Metabolic Efficiency™ Assessment?
The Metabolic Efficiency™ Assessment looks at variables that are beneficial for validating a clients current nutrition plan relative to their health and performance goals.
The exercise test is incremental in nature and performed in a fasted state. The client is wearing headgear, a nose clip and heart rate monitor, while breathing into a mouthpiece that is connected to a metabolic cart via tubing. This is a sub-maximal exercise session of which the client may or may not reach threshold intensity. This is NOT a VO2 max test! The intensities at which a client exercises during the test are relatively easy and many individuals do not make it to a hard or threshold intensity.
What is being measured is the volume of oxygen inhaled relative to the volume of carbon dioxide exhaled. Varying amounts of oxygen are used in metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. The Parvomedics cart (used here at the InsideOut Lab) software collects this data as the stages of intensity increase. The body burns a mix of both carbohydrate and fat to fuel exercise. This test serves many purposes. It determines the bodies efficiency in using stored fat and carbohydrate, and can provide information on how to improve exercise training and daily nutrition habits. If a competitive athlete, it can help to determine a specific competition nutrition plan that is based on individual physiology and current fitness level that will optimize performance and eliminate GI distress.
As the intensity of exercise increases, the contribution of carbohydrate to sustain exercise increases as fat decreases. This test reveals whether or not a client has what is called a Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP). This crossover point, is the intensity where carbohydrate and fat intersect. Where each substrate utilization reaches a 50/50 balance of carbohydrate and fat. Beyond this point energy from carbohydrate increases and fat decreases.
The goal of the Metabolic Efficiency™ Assessment is to quantitatively validate whether or not your daily nutrition and exercise plan is working effectively. Based on these results a customized nutrition plan is provided via a report of all the data collected during the test.
Implementing this nutrition plan is termed Metabolic Efficiency Training™. In other words, teaching your body to utilize a higher percentage of fat as the energy source at higher and higher intensities. Hence less stored fat is the result - leaner body!
Follow Susie's journey in Part 2 to see her Assessment results - to come...