Exercise Tolerance Testing

3 Types of Exercise Tolerance Testing:

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  1. Field Test- 1 mile walk test or step test can be used for lower participants with lower levels of conditioning.
  2. Sub-max Test- YMCA bike test can be used for decreased risk and with decreased expenses when compared to maximal testing. However, this type of testing estimates higher intensities and the assumptions do lead to an increased rate of error.
  3. Maximal Test- Bike test achieving VO2 max in 8-12 minutes. This is the most reliable in attaining cardiorespiratory endurance, but includes higher cost and may not be suitable for individuals with lower levels of conditioning.

VO2 Max: is the measurement of the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during intense or maximal exercise. The difference between the amount of oxygen inspired and expired allows us to know the utilization of oxygen.

MET (metabolic equivalent): a measure of exercise intensity based on oxygen consumption.

  • At rest our body uses 1 MET = 3.5 ml O2/kg/min (average baseline metabolism)
  • Participant’s weight 70kg = 154lb
  • Example to figure out resting metabolism based on weight
    • (70kg x 3.5 ml O2/kg/min= .245 L O2/min)
    • .245L x 5kcal/L O2 = 1.225 Kcal/min
      • *5 calories are burned for every L of O2
    • 1.225 x 1440 (min in a day)= 1764 calories/day to maintain resting metabolism

How to lose weight?
The simple answer is burn more calories than you intake. A 70kg/154lb person would require 1764 calories daily in order to maintain resting metabolism.

Does exercise at a low intensity burn more fat?
Yes, but no. Proportionally fat is used more as a fuel source during low intensity exercises, while carbohydrates are used primarily during high intensity exercises. However, more weight and fat loss occurs with high intensity exercises, since the total amount of calories required is greater.


  • 30 minutes of low intensity cardio (3 MET)
    • 90% fat and 10% carbs, so they would burn 270 calories of fat
    • Total calories burned = 300 calories
  • 30 minutes of high intensity cardio (9 MET)
    • 30%fat and 70% carbs, so they would burn 270 calories of fat.
    • Total calories burned = 900 calories

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