Sportstest is the brain child of Dr Garry Palmer and was founded in 2003 with the aim of providing high level fitness testing services to athletes of all levels. It has its main testing facility in the West Midlands, with a satellite operation in London and offers a national and international mobile testing service.
Garry started off his sporting career as a runner, selected to represent the county in cross-county at the age of just 11, and then every year until the age of 18. This ignited his passion for sport.
An undergraduate honours degree in Sports Studies at University College Chichester was to widen this interest. Garry was fortunate enough to be tutored by Peter Keen (later to become the head of the British Cycling Performance Plan) and become involved in testing high level cyclists including the likes of Chris Boardman and Tony Doyle. For his final year dissertation Garry used members of the Barcelona Olympics track cycling squad as his subjects! During this time Garry remained an active runner, posting a 32:02 ten km time, and also was very active in triathlon (competing in the Portsmouth Heiniken Triathlon and lining up with the greats such as Scott Tinley and Mike Pigg!), cycle road racing, regularly competed at the “Goodwood Gallop” crits and time trialling.
A PhD in Exercise Physiology under the eminent Professor Tim Noakes at the University of Cape Town swiftly followed. Garry was the first in the world to record and publish the heart rate responses of elite and professional riders during cycle stage racing. His studies then went on to replicate and examine these stresses in a laboratory environment, providing another break-through in the understanding or stresses of cycling events, and widening his knowledge of how to gain the best from these athletes.
Parallel to his studies Garry was being asked to advise, coach and undertake fitness testing high level cyclists in South Africa. This included members of the National Squad (Douglas Ryder amongst others), but also including advising many recreation riders looking to undertake the famous Cape Argus Sportive.
Following his studies in Cape Town, Dr Palmer headed to London to take up a teaching position at Kingston University. Continuing his academic career, Dr Palmer continued to research the effects of cycle racing and training, and went on to gain Accreditation from the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences, and was awarded a Fellowship by the American College of Sports Medicine. At Kingston his students included Olympians Gail Emms (Badminton) and Matt Kidd (Swimming).
Alongside teaching, Dr Palmer continued to work with a diverse range of athletes. He made several return trips to South Africa to test and advise the South African Triathlon squad prior to Sydney Olympics (including Conrad Stoltz), as well as travelling as exercise physiologist to the English Karate team which won both European and World Championships, working with the Jordan Formula 1 motor racing team, and undertaking pre-season fitness testing for Fulham Football club. However, during this time, his main focus remained working with cyclists and triathletes.
Following a brief time as Reader in Exercise Physiology at the University of Wolverhampton, Dr Palmer decided that working with athletes and seeing the impact he could have on their performance gave far greater career satisfaction, and so Sportstest was born.
The concept was to provide high level fitness testing and coaching, previously available to only elite athletes, to individuals of all levels. Since it’s inception in 2003, Sportstest, headed by Dr Palmer has successfully helped many cyclists and triathletes achieve their performance goals.
From complete novices undertaking their first major sportive, to charity riders doing multiple day events Sportstest can offer advice to get you through.
At a higher level, testing can give a club athlete the ability to reach the next level of performance, and Dr Palmer has tested many top level Professional cyclists including, but not exclusively Adrian Timmis, Roger Hammond, Malcolm Elliot, Russ Downing.
Furthermore, Dr Palmer has successfully coached a wide range of individuals including World Junior Pursuit Champion Andy Tennant, Elite XTerra triathlete Ian Leitch, as well as many GB age group triathletes at Olympic and IronMan distance.
Dr Palmer hasn’t only worked with endurance sports, and spent a season working with Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and had great impact on the fitness of players such as Paul Ince and Joleon Lescott.
Throughout this time developing Sportstest, Garry has continued to practice what he preaches. He is still an active runner, cyclist and triathlete. In recent years he has achieved a personal best of 2:57:11 for the marathon, and has completed many major cycling sportives (such as La Marmotte, Paris-Roubaix cycle challenge and the Maratona dles Dolomites) with gold standard performances. He really enjoys the complexity and balance of training for triathlon, and in the past 25 years competed in everything from sprint distance to Ironman (pb 10:30). In 2015 he was second at National championships and represented Great Britain at the (age group) World Triathlon Olympic distance Championships.
Garry looks forward to welcoming you to Sportstest, and passing on his knowledge and expertise of fitness and training, to help you improve your performance and meet your goals and ambitions.