Friday, February 25, 2011

Metabolic Testing

Earlier this week I underwent Metabolic Testing at my gym.  I was really excited to see what this test would tell me about the way my body burns fat & my cardiovascular health.  As you know I workout regularly, & have since I was a sophomore in high school.  Working out is an everyday part of my life that I can't see ever giving up.  It makes me feel human... and when I don't do it I feel sluggish, lazy, bloated, etc.  So, even though I'm overweight I thought the test would tell me I'm in great shape.  UH, NO.  Not exactly.
I started the testing by sitting in a room, quietly with no distractions for 20 minutes.  Oh, and I got to wear this attractive apparatus. 
I wish I could tell you that no one saw me with this on, but nope after I sat in the room for 20 minutes to measure my Resting Metabolic Rate I had to hop on a treadmill {with the mask} and do a 10 minute exercise to measure my VO2, which essentially tells me my heart & lung fitness. 
I know that my heart rate jumps up pretty fast, and when I run it's much higher than it should be... I just thought I had a higher heart rate.  What I learned is I can train my body to burn fat sooner while working out, and for a longer period of time according to my heart rate.  Currently I burn the most calories & fat while my heart is pumping from 155-166 bpm.  According to this test if my heart rate goes over 178 bpm I'm burning NO fat... only sugar.  Do you realize how small of a window 155-166 bpm is?!?  If my heart rate goes over 178 bpm I am burning muscle, not fat... and that isn't what I want.  I want to build muscle & burn fat!  This doesn't mean I can't ever go over 166 bpm, it's just not somewhere I want to stay while working out.  (This is where interval training is beneficial)
Another part to the test told me that my Peak VO2 is 26.4 ml/kg/min.  Can I be humble and tell you that this low score doesn't even register on the scale that he gave me?  Which means that for my age my body is in poor shape.  Do you know how frustrating that is for me to hear when I spend as much time at the gym as I do?  After he gave me the results I looked at him and said "So, basically you are telling me that I don't burn fat efficiently and I'm in bad shape"... he said "Yes".  Awesome.
The good news is now I am set up with a heart rate monitor and we are going to be training in different zones to help my body burn fat better based on the information I got from the tests.  He told me even though I've been working out HARD, I haven't been working out SMART.  There IS a difference!  He said lots of people workout a lot, but they aren't doing the right workouts for their body.  After getting this testing it made me realized that running isn't the best workout for me to do because I'm only burning sugar while running, not fat.  My heart rate is usually 190-200 bpm while running and to be honest, it's never been easy for me.  I have friends who run miles and miles and feel awesome... that is not me, never has been... but my trainer assured me that it CAN be, once I do some training to prepare my heart and lungs to run.
I'll keep you posted on the change in workouts, I know it's going to be different than what I'm used to but I'm excited for that.  I'm even more excited to start seeing results again.  The scale not moving has been frustrating, but I'm being proactive about finding out what I can do to jumpstart it again and can't wait to get out of the 200's!



Cori said...

Now you have me questioning my own work outs. Hmmmm....I hope I am not just burning muscle!

ErinG said...

Amy, I'm intrigued to hear more about this because I'm afraid I'm in the same boat!!

Jersey Girl said...

Amy that is really interesting information! Makes you wonder if other people have that same problem! Thanks for sharing!!!

Jessica said...

Now I'm concerned I'm just burning sugar when I work out. Thanks for the information, Amy!!

Audrey said...

I'll be excited to hear updates about this. very interesting