Metabolic Testing Preparation

Getting ready for a metabolic test? Learn more about testing options at www.4starendurance.com/vo2max and www.MetabolicRunner.com (if you have not done so already), and then please note the following Test Preparation instructions when scheduling a metabolic test with us – which includes both VO2, RMR, Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP), and more!

In order to get the most accurate results, it is important to follow these standard METABOLIC TEST PREP instructions:

  • FASTING – You should be fasted by avoiding eating or consuming any calories for 4 hours before any RMR or VO2 test. For Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP) testing, please fast for a full 12 hours.
  • MEDICATIONS ARE OK – Continue to take any medications as directed.
  • BE WELL RESTED – Avoid high intensity exercising 24 hours prior to your test.
  • NO CAFFEINE OR STIMULANTS – If possible, avoid the use of stimulants such as smoking or caffeine for 6 hours prior to testing.
  • WORKOUT GEAR – Bring or wear comfortable workout attire to your appointment, including running shoes for treadmill testing and/or any cycling gear for bike testing.
  • SNACK – Consider bringing a snack for after your test. You might be hungry from fasting and you’re more than welcome to snack during your post-test consultation!
  • SHOWERS AVAILABLE – Consider bringing any change of clothes for after your test. Locker rooms and showering facilities will be available at most of our testing location (please inquire at the front desk about use of secure lockers as some locations may require you to bring your own lock).
  • PARQ – Consult with your physician to ensure you are cleared for any physical activity if conducting an active metabolic rate (AMR) test. We will conduct a pre-test interview and Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PARQ) onsite prior to testing in order to ensure that you are ready, and that we adapt any testing protocols regardless of age, physical limitations, and fitness level. And yes, anyone can have metabolic testing adapted for any limitations in mobility or fitness level… even if that means just walking for 5 minutes! For a preview of possible questions, we always welcome and recommend reviewing or completing a detailed PARQ should you have any questions or concerns, such as this one found at http://eparmedx.com/
  • REVIEW TESTING PROTOCOL – For active testing, we use a wide variety of exercises testing protocols that can be adapted to your individual needs, including adapted BRUCE, BALKE, and similar protocols for our Graded Exercise Testing (GXT). If you are not familiar with testing protocols, feel free to review this guide from the AMERICAN COUNCIL ON EXERCISE (ACE) and feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
  • MASK UP – Follow local COVID guidelines as these may change from time to time. For the city of Chicago, this may require MASKS TO BE WORN INDOORS at all times regardless of vaccination status. Depending on city guidelines, please bring a mask to wear before and after testing. Learn more and check for updates to this policy at https://www.chicago.gov/covid
  • ARRIVE EARLY – please arrive about 15 minutes early to ensure you have time to check in at the front desk (photo ID may be required to check in) and take a seat in the “member lounge” area where your test administrator will meet you (unless otherwise coordinated ahead of time). If available at your testing site, you may use the locker rooms ahead of time (please inquire at the front desk about use of secure lockers) but you’re also welcome to bring any and all personal items with you to the appointment (no need to use lockers if you don’t need them).
  • TEST CONSULTATION – Testing appointments will include a full consultation to review your data and discuss how the information can be utilized for your training goals. The consultation will generally take 15-30 minutes. While some tests can be completed within 60 minutes if necessary, please budget up to 75-90 minutes for your entire appointment from start to finish (including your test consultation), depending on your test type, additional questions you might have, and if you require additional time before/after to change in any locker rooms, parking, etc.

At 4 STAR ENDURANCE and METABOLICATHLETE.COM we use two different types of metabolic carts, including the Korr Medical CardioCoach PRO for indoor testing and PNOE Portable Metabolic Analyzer for portable, at home, and outdoor testing. The following video is for testing with the PNOE cart, but general guidelines apply to any VO2 Max, VO2 Submax, Metabolic Efficiency, or Active Metabolic Rate (AMR) test:


We use a wide variety of testing protocols. During your consultation before testing, we will review any medical or physical limitations or modifications you may require, including using different types of equipment such as a Treadmill, Concept2 Rowing Machine, Upright “Spin” Bike, or anything else that may be more appropriate for you and your goals. Testing protocols are then adapted to meet your requirements, or those of any coach or system that you are following.

Generally, for a standard VO2 Max test, you can anticipate a protocol that might look similar to this. If you are in good health & fitness, you can attempt to follow such a protocol for training in anticipation of your appointment, but do not push yourself to max effort unless you are under supervision, and ensure at least 24-48 hours of rest before your test appointment:


1min @ 2mph walk
1min @ 3mph walk
1min @ 4mph (very fast powerwalk)
1min @ 5mph (jog/running begins)
1min @ 5mph + 2% grade
1min @ 6mph + 2% grade
1min @ 6mph + 4% grade
1min @ 7mph + 4% grade
1min @ 7mph + 6% grade

… continue alternating +1mph or +2% grade every minute until VO2max sustained (for at least 1min).


Have any additional questions or special requests? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at coach@metabolicathlete.com or schedule a consultation at calendly.com/metabolicathlete/consult

We look forward to seeing you!

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