DC Lab- Available Tests


Test Descriptions

Resting Metabolic Rate

The resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy (calories) a body burns while at rest, which accounts for approximately 70% of the body's daily energy expenditure. This is the amount of energy needed to perform vital body functions such as respiration and circulation. RMR can vary with age, sex, fitness level, and lean body mass. Using gas analysis, we can measure an individual's RMR, which can be used to inform decisions regarding diet and exercise plans.


Avoid eating for 6 hours prior to testing. This does not include drinking, although very cold liquids can affect results if ingested just prior to testing. RMR testing is most accurate in the morning. Also refrain from exercising the day before testing. This does not preclude normal daily activities; rather it refers to any workout that elevates heart rate for a sustained period of time. If possible, avoid the use of stimulants, such as caffeine, on the day of the test. Consult with a physician before skipping a dose of any prescribed stimulant. Over-the-counter antihistamines, caffeine & some herbal remedies should be avoided.

Example of an RMR report

Example of an RMR report
Example of an RMR report

Body Composition - Skinfolds

Based on the assumption that total body fat is directly proportional to subcutaneous fat (fat just under the skin), skinfold measurements are taken at multiple sites on the body using calibrated Lange calipers. This allows us to estimate total fat mass, total lean mass, and percent body fat with an error of less than 3%.

Body Composition - BIA

The bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) predicts body composition by conducting a low-level current through the body to measure how well the body conducts electricity, which is an indicator of how much fat is present. The underlying premise of the procedure is that lean tissue (mostly water and electrolytes) is a good electrical conductor (i.e., has low impedance), whereas fat tissue is a poor conductor of electricity. The single frequency can also detect both intra- and extra-cellular fluid, resulting in a more accurate assessment.

Note: Though an electrical current (~50-200 kHz) is conducted through the body, there is NO shock to the patient or pain of any kind associated with this procedure.

However, this test is not recommended for females in the early stages of pregnancy or subjects with pacemakers or any implantable electronic device.


You will have to remove your shoes and socks for this test. Avoid eating for at least 4 hours prior to testing, and abstain from caffeinated food and beverages (coffee, tea, sodas, chocolate, etc.) for a minimum of 12 hours prior to testing. Since hydration status can affect the accuracy of results it is recommended that you come for testing adequately hydrated; we suggest drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water within two hours of testing. If you wish to have multiple tests performed on different days for pre- and post-comparisons, it is important that you follow similar procedures prior to each test. Do not exercise for 12 hours prior to the test.

Body Composition - Air Displacement Plethysmography (Bod Pod)

Similar in principle to underwater weighing, the Bod Pod measures a subject's mass and volume via air displacement to determine body density. This non-invasive procedure is a common and convenient method for calculating body fat and fat-free mass with an accuracy of ±3%.


Clients should refrain from exercising or eating immediately prior to testing. As the calculations rely on an accurate measurement of body volume, please come prepared with a swimsuit or other compression-material clothing to wear. A private changing room is available at the facility. We will provide you with a swim cap. It is also advised to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, and accessories prior to entering the Bod Pod.

Once inside the Bod Pod, clients will sit comfortably and quietly and refrain from moving excessively or talking for about 1-2 minutes. Subjects may hear sounds related to the valves opening and closing, but most do not report experiencing any physical effects.

Note: Please inform your tester if you have any pulmonary diseases or other conditions that may affect your lung capacity prior to testing, so that additional measures can be taken to ensure similar accuracy.

Body Composition – DEXA (or DXA)

The Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry is commonly considered the gold standard for body composition assessment. The DEXA scan uses a low-dose x-ray (less than 1% of a traditional chest x-ray) to determine body fat percentage, an overall bone mineral density score as well as fat, and fat-free mass in specific regions of the body with an accuracy of ±2%.

Note: This test is suitable/equipped for persons up to 300 lbs.


This non-invasive test requires very little preparation. You may eat and drink normally on the day of the test and may wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing of your choosing, provided there are no metal zippers, large buttons, underwire clothing, etc. You will also be asked to remove any eyeglasses, jewelry, or other accessories prior to the test. If performing a second comparison test, it is advisable to follow similar pre-test procedures in terms of exercise and hydration.

Aerobic Capacity (V02max and V02 submax)

A maximal or sign/symptom-limited graded exercise test (GXT) of endurance assesses aerobic capacity and can be performed on either a treadmill or cycle ergometer. Indirect calorimetry is used to measure maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and carbon dioxide production during exercise to exhaustion.

Note: The VO2max test requires the participant to exercise to exhaustion. It is HIGHLY recommended that you consult with a physician before having this test performed, and laboratory staff reserve the right to decline testing based upon perceived risk to the client. Please complete both the Informed Consent and Health Screening Questionnaire forms and bring them with you on your test day, for both maximal and sub-max exercise tests.

Cardiorespiratory fitness can also be estimated with a high degree of accuracy using submaximal exercise testing, with or without gas analysis. The procedure is similar to that of a maximal test, though the test is terminated when the subject reaches a predetermined heart rate or other measure, and is often considered to be relatively safer and more comfortable than a maximal GXT. It has been shown that better aerobic fitness is linked to much lower risks of heart disease and other illnesses, thus a submaximal test can be a useful indicator of health status. Please contact a member of the Lab Staff to discuss this option.

For safety reasons, graded exercise tests (maximal or submaximal) will not be performed on persons with suspected or known cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic disease, or who experience signs and symptoms characteristic of such disease.

Health screening form and informed consent form required for this test.

Basic Fitness Screening

A member of our staff will run through a battery of basic fitness assessments, including general tests of strength, endurance, and flexibility. This screening also includes body circumference measurements to assess your waist-to-hip ratio, which can be associated with certain disease risks. Please wear or bring athletic clothing to change into.

Neuromuscular Power

Neuromuscular power is assessed by performing a vertical jump on a high-tech pressure pad. The subject jumps straight up into the air without a running start, and the time taken to complete the jump is used to calculate height, which can then be computed to power. Neuromuscular power is of special interest in certain sports, such as cycling, track and field, basketball, etc.

Neuromuscular Strength (Isokinetic)

Isokinetic exercises allow for maximal muscle contraction while promoting a free range of motion of the limbs. These exercises are often used in physical therapy as part of rehabilitation. An isometric machine, such as the Biodex, can also objectively measure neuromuscular strength by measuring the force that a muscle exerts at a constant velocity against a variable resistance.

Anaerobic Fitness

Anaerobic power and capacity are assessed by performing a Wingate test on a cycle ergometer. After a brief warm-up, the subject will exert as much effort as possible against a constant force. Test results reflect the maximum power that a person is capable of producing, as well as the rate of anaerobic fatigue. Anaerobic capacity is an important variable for sports such as soccer, basketball, ice hockey, etc.

Pulmonary Function Testing

Spirometry is used to assess lung function. The spirometer can measure the volume of your lungs and determine the vital capacity, forced vital capacity, and forced expiratory volume. These values can be compared against normal parameters for your age and gender, and though our staff will not diagnose, you may take the results to your physician if you have any concerns about possible pulmonary illnesses such as asthma or COPD.