With 2015 rolling out, many are returning to their age-old new year’s resolution of getting fit, and Ryerson’s new Nutrition and Exercise Testing (NExT) Lab aims to help the public do just that.

The NExT Lab, a nutrition and exercise testing lab, opened its doors to the public Jan. 11 and offers high-tech tests that assess an individual’s aerobic fitness level, resting metabolism test rate, and body composition.

The NExT lab launched in August 2014 as a research laboratory, said Nick Bellissimo, director of the NExT Lab and nutrition professor at Ryerson said.
“Around December, I started thinking that these are really high quality instruments that are not generally available to the public, but are still very useful tools,” he said.
The tests offered can measure an individual’s cardiorespiratory level and determine their body composition, according to Bellissimo.
They also provide specific information about a person’s body composition, like the percentage of muscle versus fat in their biceps using ultrasound technology.
The lab offers a resting metabolic rate test as well, which measures the calories a person burns when they are at rest.

“Your body is still burning calories at rest, and this test will tell you exactly how many calories you are burning in a 24-hour period,” Bellissimo said. “The number of calories from this test is considered the largest number of calories that an individual burns in a day, unless you are a high-performance athlete.”

Bellissimo said the lab produces test results that can then be taken to a registered physiologist or dietitian to help improve or maintain their current fitness marker.
“I am thinking, at some point in 2015, to consider the idea of having a certified exercise physiologist and dietitian in my lab to make that available,” he said.

Bellissimo added he is very surprised by the response the lab has been getting from the public.

“The numbers are astonishing in the fact that we will probably be booked in the next three to four months, running tests every single day,” he said.
Melissa DaSilva, a third-year nutrition student at Ryerson who also works in the lab, said the general public is becoming more educated on their own personal fitness and the consequences of poor health habits.

“With the advent of technology, fitness bands, and health watches, our lab is in demand because we have all these tools that measure different areas of overall health underneath one roof,” DaSilva said.

“It’s the new year, and people make new year’s resolutions related to fitness and people are tired doing it on their own by themselves,” she said. “These tests offer guidance and tangible results that could keep someone motivated.”