Exercise Test

Essential information for cardio training


The Exercise test (also called a VO2 max or submax test) is perfect for anyone who is exercising and wants to lose weight and/or get leaner and lower their body fat percentage. This is an essential test for any performance athlete or individual who is racing or competing in an endurance event.

The test defines 3 key training points: maximum fat burning, threshold (race pace for endurance athletes e.g. half marathon, marathon, cyclo-sportif) and RQ1 (high intensity). From these measurements, your personalised training zones are created to get maximum results in the quickest possible time.

Everyone is different and displays a different response to exercise. No two people’s training zones are the same and what is an easy intensity for one person may be really hard for another. In addition, your own training zones change as your fitness improves or drops over time.

If you’re serious about improving your performance or stripping off body fat , an exercise test is essential to pinpoint your individual training zones so you can nail your cardio training and get the results you’re after.

If you train with a heart rate monitor and have not had a metabolic test, then it’s likely that you have a very expensive and inaccurate piece of plastic on your wrist!


All exercise tests carry an element of risk. However, the tests are considered to be safe for a healthy individual and are conducted by qualified health and fitness professionals.  Just as in the Calorie Burn test, you wear a soft mask which is made out of neoprene and there is a small rubber washer which may touch your lips. If you are allergic to neoprene and/or rubber, please inform your test assessor as this may prevent you from doing the test.

However, please be aware that there are additional risks from doing an Exercise test!

There are inherent risks from exercising. Please ensure that you inform your assessor of any relevant information that may prevent you from safely doing a test e.g. cardiovascular issues, joint problems or medication.

It is widely accepted that exercising at 80% of maximum heart rate is considered to be safe, even for those individuals who have suffered a cardiac event. If you do not know your maximum heart rate, your assessor will calculate this using conventional methodology.


How to book a test

Give us a call, drop us an email or fill in the contact form and we’ll schedule a convenient time and date for your test.

Please note: due to no-shows, bookings will not be accepted until you have paid for your test. Pay now. 

The test

The difference between a VO2 max and VO2 submax test is the time it takes to reach the end of the test. If you decide to do a submax, the test is terminated when you reach steady-state RQ1. For most people, this intensity is generally around 80-85% of maximum heart rate and if often characterised by a burning sensation in your working muscles. The VO2 max continues where the submax ends. You will continue with the test until failure and you can’t go any further. Make no bones about it, this is extreme and takes you to your limit.



What equipment is used?

All VO2 tests are done on your preferred equipment i.e. a runner would choose a treadmill and likewise, a cyclist a bike. The test is sport-specific so a cyclist would score poorly doing the test on a treadmill and vice versa. For triathletes, choose your strongest discipline and your data will be adjusted to calculate your running and cycling zones.

What information will I receive?

You will understand how your body reacts to different exercise intensity and know where to train in order to achieve different goals; whether they are weight loss, strip off body fat, improve performance or general fitness. The 3 key pieces of information are:

1. Aerobic Base – endurance training & maximum fat burning

2. Lactate Threshold – endurance race pace

3. High Intensity – high performance

Download sample report



Who should do this test?

An exercise test is suitable for anyone involved in regular activity or is planning to do so in the near future. It doesn’t matter if you are deconditioned or untrained. The results will help you exercise effectively, even if you are relatively unfit compared to normal. Also a reminder that you do not have to do a “max” test. You get all the important training information from a sub-max.

How long does it last?

The test itself is quite short and lasts between 8-14 minutes. The remainder of the time is spent on analysing and explaining the results. We pay great attention to ensuring you understand exactly how your body works and know how to exercise correctly to get the maximum benefit out of every session.


What should I wear?

You need to wear suitable exercise kit of your choice.

Should I avoid anything?

Ensure you do not eat or drink anything other than water 4 hours before the test. This is critically important. If you do eat or drink anything before the test, there is a strong likelihood that the test will have to be postponed to another time. If you smoke, do not smoke at least 4 hours before the test. For the best test results, avoid any strenuous activity at least 24 hours prior to your test. If you are going to train the day before, keep it light and easy.

Are the results accurate?

The analyser is extremely accurate. It is made by one of the leaders in gas exchange analysis and is used in sports science and research facilities throughout the world. Athletes have been using gas exchange to improve their training for around 25 years. Only now has technology allowed the unit to be accessible for use in this way.

Will I get a training plan?

No. If you are looking for a full training programme, then choose Trainsmart Interactive, details of which are in the product page.


Where do you do tests?

Most tests are done at venues in Central London. If you have the appropriate equipment (treadmill, turbo etc), home or place of work visits are available for a small additional fee (location dependent). Block bookings are also available where a Trainsmart assessor will come to your venue. In the past, we have done onsite tests at running, cycling and triathlon clubs as well as gyms up and down the UK.

How much will it cost?

A test costs £124.99 including analysis.  If you choose to combine it with a Calorie Burn test, the price is £149.99 (saving £50.00).


Things to do before a test


It’s important that you have sufficient rest before your metabolic test. We advise no training at least 24 hours before your test time. If you do wish to train, please keep the intensity light, otherwise your test performance may be reduced. If you are doing a max test, we strongly advise only light training with 48 hours to go and no training 24 hours before the test.


Continue to take any medication as normal and only delay the timing of your medication if it’s safe to do so. If you delay, remember to bring your medication with you so you can take it after the test. If you have any concerns about doing the test, please seek advice from your GP.


Things not to do before a test


Refrain from smoking at least 4 hours before your appointment. This is a gas exchange test and the air you inhale and exhale is analysed. The test is extremely sensitive, so if your lungs are filled with smoke your test results will be contaminated. As a general rule, if your assessor can smell smoke on your breath, they will likely postpone the test and reschedule it for another time.

Eat & Drink

Do not to eat or drink anything other than water within 4 hours of the test start time. This includes chewing gum. Unless you are fasted, your test results may be contaminated and appointment will have to be rescheduled.


Exercise test £134.99

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