Metabolism, quite simply, is the conversion of food to energy.B METABOLIC TESTING IMAGE


Metabolism is the process of converting food into heat or energy and the rate at which the body can convert food to heat/energy is referred to as the ‘Metabolic Rate’

Every calorie you consume requires a fixed amount of oxygen for it to be converted into energy.

Simply put we measure how much oxygen you consume to show you how many calories you using.

Whatever diet or exercise program you decide upon it is critical to protect and indeed increase your metabolic rate to ensure long term results

You will be seated in a rested state while we analyze your breath.  The test itself is 10 minutes although we ask that you allow 20-30 minutes for your appointment to allow for test preparation and test evaluation.

Upon completion of the test you will receive a unique print out of your results and suggested action plan

Metabolic rate is a measure of how much food, or fat, is converted to energy in a day. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the measurement of how much food, or energy, is required to maintain basic body functions such as heartbeat, breathing, and maintenance of body heat while you are in a state of rest. That energy is expressed in calories per day.

This type of test until more recently was only available in a hospital or medical facility using more cumbersome and time consuming equipment

How Metabolic Testing Works

Indirect calorimetry (a measurement of metabolic rate) relies on the fact that burning 1 calorie (Kilocalorie) requires 208.06 milliliters of oxygen. Because of this very direct relationship between caloric burn and oxygen consumed, measurements of oxygen uptake (VO2) and caloric burn rate are virtually interchangeable.

Oxygen uptake requires a precise measurement of the volume of expired air and of the concentrations of oxygen in the inspired and expired air. The process requires that all of the air a person breathes out be collected and analyzed while they rest quietly. The testing apparatus contains a precision air flow sensor that measures the volume of expired air, and an oxygen sensor that measures the concentration of oxygen. Factors influencing oxygen consumption (humidity, temperature and relative humidity) are calculated and accounted for to provide you with the most accurate results possible.

Why Test Metabolic Rate?

  • Proof of metabolism.

Some people believe they have a slow metabolism and some people fear they have compromised their metabolism with severe dieting, through sickness, lack of activity or other factors.  Without passing judgment this test will show you where you are at a given time.  The results will motivate and encourage you, they will provide you with the direction you may need with your exercise and nutrition plan.

  • Stabilize weight loss.

Regardless of the method used to lose weight, a patient’s RMR will decrease after weight loss. The decrease is actually below the level predicted by fat-free mass (FFM) or non-obese counterparts. This makes it very easy for a patient to re-gain weight. Unfortunately this happens even with preventative measures, such as resistance training. It is undoubtedly a factor in the high rate of relapse. Although the cause is unclear, it appears that in most cases, if a patient can maintain his new weight for 6 months, his RMR will eventually rise to the expected level.

Frequent testing of RMR can be the key to surviving this crucial period. True success is the patient who loses weight, and then keeps it off!


  • Assess the effect of weight loss treatment on metabolism.

Once calories are restricted, medications are introduced, or an exercise plan has been implemented, the human body will respond. This is especially true of significant interventions, such as bariatric surgery. The caloric goals of a dietary plan will rarely sustain a patient throughout an entire weight loss regimen. The result is the dreaded “plateau.” Periodic assessment of RMR will show the effects of the treatments and allow adjustments to the caloric goals..

A HYPO-METABOLIC CONDITION (slow metabolic rate)

Hypo-metabolism can result from a variety of causes, including:

  • Disease state
  • Genetics
  • Low percentage fat-free mass
  • Hypo-caloric diet

Detection and Diagnosis of hypo-metabolism.

  • In cases where a patient has a clinically low metabolic rate, further diagnosis and treatment by a physician will be required before successful weight loss can be achieved


  • Frequently Asked Questions


Why measure RMR rather than use predictive formulas?

Predictive formulas have been used for years because an actual measurement through Indirect Calorimetry has not been practical. But the truth is, while predictions might hold their ground statistically, when applied to individuals, they are woefully inadequate


What is the effect of dieting on RMR?

Each individual will react differently to dietary changes which is why a true measurement of RMR is so valuable. But if you reduce calories, don’t be surprised if your RMR also goes down. This may or may not be in conjunction with weight loss. “It is critical to measure those changes periodically to make the necessary adjustments in diet and exercise to keep patients on track and avoid the dreaded “plateau” (Martin)


Does RMR change after weight loss?

Often after a significant weight loss, RMR is depressed even lower than expected relative to the change in body composition. Most researchers point to this as a key factor in the high rate of weight regain among the formerly obese. Identifying this post-diet RMR is a vital step that is key to long term weight loss success. It gives the information necessary to set an appropriate caloric goal for maintenance and teach a patient to eat within the constraints of their new metabolic requirements (jaquier , Elliot)


What is the effect of resistance training on RMR?

When calorie intake remains unchanged, even a minimal resistance training program (10-15 mins per session, 3 times per week) can result in an increase in RMR. (Kirk)


What is the effect of aerobic exercise on RMR?

Although many studies have been done regarding this question, there is not a simple answer to this question due to the many variables involved: the type, duration, frequency and intensity of exercise, degree of energy deficit, total daily calorie intake, and distribution of calories between fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. A conservative summary of the existing research would be that RMR does decrease significantly in response to a diet of less than 1000 Kcals per day, and that the addition of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (50%-70% maximum aerobic capacity) performed for 30-60 minutes, 4-5 times per week decreases this response but does not return RMR to baseline. (Connolly)




Does RMR decline with age? Why?

Resting Metabolic Rate declines slightly as individuals’ age. The cause is not clear. One reason may be due in part to a slowed metabolic rate of individual organs, such as the brain, liver, heart, and kidneys. These organs alone account for 60% of RMR in adults, and all but the heart decrease in mass with advancing age. Another cause may be a tendency for decline in physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle that leads to a decrease in lean mass and bone mineral density. (St-Onge)


Is there a familial link to RMR?

Both the New England Journal of Medicine and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition have published studies that examine the familial influence on variances in Resting Energy Expenditure. Both conclude that REE is moderately heritable, and a low rate of energy expenditure may contribute to the aggregation of obesity in families. (Ravussin E, Bosy-Westphal A)


How does caffeine affect RMR?

As with any chemical ingested, rate of absorption, individual tolerance, and dosage relative to body weight all factor in to a person’s unique response. Under controlled conditions, studies suggest that caffeine can raise RMR at a rate relative to the dose ingested: around a 4% increase with 100 mg of caffeine, increasing up to as much as 15% with 500 mg (equivalent to 5 cups of coffee). It is a short lived increase – no more than 3 hours. This potential effect is why caffeine consumption is discouraged prior to testing.. (Dulloo, Acheson)