Looking for a lab

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  • #9102

    I have decided to get a lab test to have a baseline to start more serious training. The problem is how to find a lab that can do the proper tests? In my area (South Florida) I can find very few places that offer the tests that I believe I am looking for. One is a commercial gym that seems to specialize in in high intensity training, but they advertise performance testing that includes: body fat percentage, VO2 Max, Aerobic and Anaerobic thresholds, and Metabolic Rate Assessment (calories burned at rest and during exercise). They use a Korr Cardio Coach Plus – I don’t know of that is a decent testing device or not.

    The other place is a major hospital with a Performance and Fitness Evaluation Program. They advertise VO2 Max and Target Heart Rate Zone Analysis, but when I asked about Aerobic Threshold she didn’t seen to know what I was talking about. I would think that would have to be included target heart rate zones but it gave me concern.

    Any tips or advice is appreciated.

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    Anonymous on #9107

    You’re not alone in your plight and I’ve written about this before. Maybe someone can find the link to the forum post.

    maxVO2 is all the rage in the labs. They by a canned program that comes with their Cardio Coach or other device. They can turn the test to a low skilled operator who only has to turn it on and turn it off. These devices have dropped a lot in price recently and are advertised as another revenue stream for labs and clubs. High return on investment.

    If the lab is confused by the term Aerobic Threshold don’t waste your money. maxVo2 tests often are ramped up in intensity too fast with each stage being occasionally as short as 15″. The aerobic metabolism is quite slow to respond to changes in intensity. Stages less that 3 min are unlikely to give you an accurate assessment of your aerobic systems response. Your aerobic metabolism will be playing catch up for the full test and the balance of the energy demands will be being met anaerobically. That’s not a huge (but still flawed) deal if all you want to see is maxVO2. They don’t want you to become fatigued during the run up of the test before reaching max or you won’t achieve your highest max.

    Ask how long are the stages. Less than 3 min is not going to be very helpful. Ask how long you can warm up. The aerobic system needs a long warm up to get it firing on all cylinders.

    I don’t have any experience with labs in S FL.


    Richie on #9111

    I have run into the same problem here in Japan.

    Thanks to Scott’s advice I have saved a lot of money and potential heart-ache.

    All places that I have checked are using a short VO2Max protocol. The most common being to increase the speed by .5km per minute (Even the Asics Flagship shop in Tokyo uses this model). One owner I asked said he wouldn’t use the 3 minute protocol as the test would take far too long. The tests usually take between 9 to 19 minutes. Big business and very easy money.

    I also found that if they use a machine made by Korr (CardiacCoach, as mention by Scott) it is a potential bad sign.

    An alternative that you might want to seriously consider is to take a lactate test. Thanks to this article Blood Lactate Testing: The Silver Standard I will be taking a lactate test myself next week.

    In my situation, it will be a far more accurate test than what I can currently find on offer here at the moment and it is a lot cheaper too.

    Good luck in your search.

    madanyang on #9114

    Thanks @Scott for all the information provided regarding the lab test. In order to reduce the confusion and possibly save money and time, what questions one should be asking and what to look for the correct answers, so one finds the correct lab for the testing?

    Once again thanks

    Anonymous on #9129


    As mentioned above:

    Ask how long are the stages. Less than 3 min is not going to be very helpful. Ask how long you can warm up. The aerobic system needs a long warm up to get it firing on all cylinders.

    If you see a confused look on their face or hear it over the phone when you mention Aerobic Threshold then walk away. I’ve heard of labs ask what that was or “why would you want to know that”.

    Its the wild west out there when it comes to testing.

    If you have a buddy you might consider buying your own Lactate Plus tester for around $280 from Lactate.com. You can learn how to do the test on their site and it will pay for itself in one test vs going to a lab.


    scottgo on #9154

    I found a lab here in Australia run through the local university. More likely to be run by people with an actual exercise physiology background and not salespeople looking to get as many people through to make money. I was talking to the guy running my test and he brought up the research on elite XC skiers spending 90% of their training time below aerobic threshold that I remember reading about in TFNA. That being said I’m curious about the home lactate meters, do you have any experience with this machine?

    Accutrend® Plus System

    Anonymous on #9165


    Sounds like the lab you discovered would be a potentially good source for our readers down under. If you do not mind, can you please post their location and contact info. We regularly get requests for lab recommendations from all over the world.

    As for the accutrend: I have no experience with it but it is interesting that it measures several other blood markers. Seems like a good choice for self testing. Thanks for sharing that.


    Reed on #9263

    I did a bit of research into blood lactate testers a year or two ago.

    – Roche / Accutrend is a high-quality medical device manufacturer, and you likely can’t go wrong. They do not sell blood lactate testers in the United States (or at least not without a prescription) but do in other parts of the world. They sell blood glucose testers, but similarly only as regulated medical devices for diabetes.
    – I purchased a Nova Biomedical Lactate Plus tester. This is available on lactate.com. I purchased directly from the manufacturer (https://lactateplusmeter.com/index.php/). It has worked quite well.
    – I’ve only followed a warmup / 3-minute run / increase by 0.5mph protocol, and a similar 3-minute-interval protocol on a rowing ergometer. Perhaps there are better protocols to consider, per Scott’s first reply above?

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