Metabolic performance testing: how does it work?

Written by: Dr Ralph Rogers
Published: | Updated: 24/07/2023
Edited by: Nicholas Howley

What is the best way to assess your fitness – and create a training plan personalised to your needs? We spoke to leading sports medicine specialist Dr Ralph Rogers about how metabolic performance testing works and what it can tell you.

What is metabolic performance testing?

Metabolic performance testing is a series of tests that measure your body’s response to exercise. During metabolic performance testing, we aim to measure a range of performance indicators, including:


VO2 Max

This is a measure of your body’s maximum ability to consume oxygen. If you can sustain a high level of oxygen intake over time, you can perform well in endurance events.


Lactate threshold

High lactate in the blood is a precursor to fatigue. Your lactate threshold is the maximum pace at which you can exercise before your blood lactate levels start to rise. If you can increase your threshold, you can sustain a faster pace when exercising. Your lactate threshold is also known as your functional powerrace pace, or maximal lactate steady state.


Energy expenditure and substrate utilisation

Put simply, it’s important to measure how much energy you’re using and how much of this energy is going into efficient movement. If we identify any areas of inefficiency, we can create a targeted training plan to work on these areas. By measuring your energy expenditure while you carry out different types of exercise, we can also determine your precise nutritional needs.

Who can benefit from metabolic performance testing?

Metabolic performance testing can be beneficial for both athletes aiming to be at the top of their game, and keen enthusiasts looking for evidence-based recommendations on how to improve their fitness. It is also an excellent option if you are aiming to lose weight.

What tests are performed?

Metabolic performance testing involves assessing your running speed on a treadmill or power output when cycling. You will wear an oxygen mask to record the amount of oxygen you breathe in and the carbon dioxide you breathe out. We will increase the speed of the treadmill or bike at regular intervals to test you at different intensities of exercise, until you ask to stop.

Using the latest cardiopulmonary exercise testing equipment (CPEX), we can measure your VO2 max, energy expenditure and lactate threshold in detail.

What happens after the test?

Following the test, we will sit down with you to analyse and explain the results. You should leave the clinic with a targeted training plan that addresses any inefficiencies in your technique, and meets your fitness goals.



If you are interested in metabolic performance testing and wish to schedule a consultation with Dr Rogers, you can do so by visiting his Top Doctors profile. 

By Dr Ralph Rogers
Sports medicine

Dr Ralph Rogers is a renowned consultant in sports medicine and regenerative orthopaedics, with a special interest in non-surgical orthopaedic techniques and regenerative medicine to treat chronic pain and musculoskeletal problems. He is an innovator, using cutting-edge techniques, such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and Cooled RF treatment as treatment options for chronic pain and osteoarthritis, extracorporeal shockwave therapy, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, and lipogems.

Dr Rogers studied a degree in psychology in Delaware, US, before undertaking his medical training at the University of Leuven in Belgium. He went on to gather further qualifications from various international institutions, including a PhD in exercise physiology and an MSc for his work on PRP.

He specialises in non-surgical treatments for orthopaedic conditions, working closely with his patients to improve mobility, performance, and maintain a good quality of life free from pain. Dr Rogers tailors treatment to each patient and considers the needs and goals of each and every one.

Dr Rogers has served as team doctor and sports physician for various associations and teams, including the Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Chelsea Football Club. He has acted as Musculoskeletal Consultant for the West Midlands, Manchester, and Nottingham Police Forces, and he currently serves as the Medical Advisor to the National Basketball Association (NBA) in the US. 

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