Maximizing Your Workouts with Metabolic Testing

Setting you up for Success 

Everyone loves to get the most out of their workouts. We all have goals of reaching our full potential and feeling our very best. From the food we eat to our daily exercise regimen, we want the most that life can deliver. We know that working out equates to weight loss and/or management and improvements in cardiovascular fitness. Bone density loss is staved off by performing weight bearing exercises, which also help control our weight by maintaining muscle mass. The benefits aren't a mystery - we should all be working out. 

If we have specific goals, we need to have a specific plan. If you don't know the right intensity to workout at, you may be working out too hard or not hard enough. And what about those calories? How much can you eat without gaining weight? Your metabolism requires a precise number of calories each day to optimally perform. If you eat more, you gain weight. It's an easy concept, but can deem useless if we don't know the exact amount. Our workout intensity can also be determined through metabolic testing. Arming yourself with personal metabolic data is the key to setting yourself up for success. 

Working out at the Right Intensity

In order to be effective in your workouts, you need to have personalized intensity zones. Monitoring the frequency, duration, and intensity of each workout allow you to chart your progress and avoid plateaus while maximizing your time spent working out. Frequency and duration are pretty simple to nail down, but intensity necessitates a closer look into your personal physiology. There are a million variables that can affect how you feel day to day, all of which can affect your ability to perform your workouts. Your intensity will also dictate your body's ability to tap into high-energy fat stores during the workout. So if intensity has so many variables, how do we get an accurate idea of our true workout intensity?

Tools of the Trade

>Heart rate is the only accurate way to judge intensity, and is the easiest way to maximize your time spent working out. The only way to know your ideal training intensity zones is through a VO2 test, where we measure the exact amount of oxygen your body is able to use during exercise. VO2 is defined as the volume of oxygen (O2) consumed. This is the best indicator of fitness and can help track your progress. It also reveals your personal intensity zones which will indicate your ideal fat burning intensities. Through the test, your Anaerobic Threshold is revealed and used as the foundation for your personalized zones. Knowing your Anaerobic Threshold (the point where lactic acid begins to accumulate; beginning of the “burn”) is the single most valuable piece of information you can have in your training program. It's the only way to be certain that you're working at the right intensity to meet and surpass your goals.

No More Guesswork


In the past, formulas such as 220-your age were considered to be the best way to find your target intensity zones. These estimates have a major flaw - they do not take your personal physiology into account and can be as inaccurate as 20+ beats per minute. VO2 testing takes all of the guesswork out of the equation and gives you personalized zones that are accurate and based on your physiology. It is the only way to be sure that you are training in the right zones.

Eating for your Metabolism


Properly fueling our bodies has become a mystery, while weight loss has become the Holy Grail. The real key to weight loss is in knowing precisely what your body needs on a daily basis. If you know exactly how many calories your body requires, you can give it just that. No more, no less. In order to lose or maintain your weight, everything you put in must be used, either through exercise or daily metabolic requirements. We know that eating too little will actually force our bodies into a conservation mode which will inhibit weight loss. Now you can have the secret to eating the maximum amount of calories and still lose weight. Knowledge yields success in the realm of weight loss. Eat what you need and start losing!

About the author

Joe Sulak is the owner of Peak Fitness. He performs VO2 tests and Metabolic Rate assessments in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Corpus Christi. Visit for more information on how he can help you reach your goals.