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Metabolic Testing for Performance Enhancement

Metabolic testing at the HSS Sports Performance Center can help endurance athletes of all levels. Our comprehensive services include evaluating your current level of fitness and creating a targeted, effective training plan for performance improvement.

What is Metabolic Testing?
Metabolic testing measures an athlete’s individual physiological response to exercise. At HSS, we use a Parvo True One metabolic cart, the gold standard in metabolic testing. With the aid of this device and the Performance Center team, you will learn:

  • Your maximum ability to consume oxygen (VO2 Max)
  • Your efficiency at race pace
  • Your lactate threshold
  • Your optimal cadence (for cyclists)
  • Your use of carbohydrate and fat at different exercise intensities
  • How your results compare to elite athletes in your sport

What is VO2 Max?
VO2 max represents the maximum ability of your body to consume oxygen and is a key indicator of your potential as an endurance athlete. Your performance in endurance sports depends on your ability to consume oxygen at a high rate for a sustained period of time. A high VO2 max is necessary for success in endurance events, but a high VO2 max alone does not ensure success.

Why is efficiency important?
The amount of oxygen consumed at your race pace can be compared to the amount consumed by elite athletes. If your form causes you to waste energy, we can offer training tips to help you become a more efficient runner or cyclist. Improvements in efficiency may translate to faster finish times.

What is lactate threshold?
Lactate threshold is the point during exercise of increasing intensity at which blood lactate levels begin to rise rapidly and fatigue ensues. Lactate threshold indicates your maximum sustainable pace and has been found to be the most reliable predictor of race performance. Lactate threshold occurs at roughly 45-55% of VO2 max in untrained individuals but can be increased significantly with targeted training.

How can metabolic testing help my performance?
A comprehensive metabolic profile can:

  • Give you a baseline of your current level of fitness
  • Assess the effectiveness of your current training plan
  • Identify areas where performance gains are possible
  • Identify individualized target heart rate and power zones for training
  • Identify precise caloric expenditure at various exercise intensities, providing tools for fueling strategies

One Athlete's Story
Nicole Sin Quee is an example of an athlete who used metabolic testing to fine-tune her training. Nicole is an elite triathlete who was preparing to defend her title as overall female winner of the NYRR Sprint triathlon. Nicole’s VO2Max, Lactate Threshold, and Efficiency were tested in both running and cycling. Like most athletes, Nicole’s results were sport-specific; all of her numbers were different when running versus cycling.

Nicole’s results allowed her to identify key areas to target in her training program. Her comment was, “Now it's time to put in some work and move those numbers!”

By working on those areas that were limiting her performance, and by capitalizing on her many strengths, she was able to successfully defend her title at the NYRR Sprint Triathlon, winning decisively for the second year in a row.

“I have been training pretty intensely as a triathlete and was curious to know what my potential was,” Nicole says. “I went to HSS, and Polly and Josh did my VO2 testing. The cheerleading these two provided certainly motivated me to crank up the effort and get good numbers. I had a strong inclination that my cycling abilities were excellent, so it was reassuring to see the numbers support this. More importantly, the testing specifically showed where I needed to concentrate my training. No matter what level the athlete, I think everyone could benefit from the numbers VO2 testing provides, as this will allow them to realize their potential.”

How do I get started?
Give us a call at 646.797.8005 and talk with one of our Clinical Exercise Physiologist to see if metabolic testing is right for you.


Call Us to See if Metabolic Testing is Right for You