School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Dr Keith Tolfrey

Photo of Dr Keith Tolfrey

Reader in Paediatric Exercise Physiology

Deputy Associate Dean (Teaching)

After completing his undergraduate teaching degree in Physical Education and Mathematics at the University of Exeter (Eric Sparrow Memorial Award for Outstanding Student 1989) Keith taught secondary school P.E. His first position in higher education was as a Tutor at the University of Exeter whilst completing an MPhil (Paediatric Exercise Physiology 1993) under the expert supervision of Professor Neil Armstrong. Keith then spent two years at the College of St. Mark and John in Plymouth teaching a variety of practical and theoretical disciplines, but focusing predominantly on Exercise Physiology. A move to the Manchester Metropolitan University as a lecturer in 1994 allowed him to complete his PhD (Paediatric Exercise Physiology 1998) under the expert supervision of Professor Ian Campbell.

Keith came to the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences (September 2007) as a senior lecturer to join the vibrant and internationally reknowned team of exercise physiologists. In 2011 Keith was awarded a BASES Fellowship for his work with children and adolescents and significant long-standing contribution to Sport and Exercise Science.

Young People's Supervised Exercise Programme

Thank you for visiting my web page – if you received a letter through your child's school recently, please click on the links below for copies of files designed to provide interested parents and their child(ren) with details of a research study funded by the Tanita Healthy Weight Community Trust. As indicated in the letter you received recently, this study is designed for school students (aged 11 to 14) who are interested in increasing their physical activity or fitness by completing a supervised exercise programme at the University. Also, this project must be supported by your child's school for her/him to take part as it involves two days away from school to complete some of the measurements. This is a small “pilot” study designed for only 12 school students in the first instance, so it may not be possible to accommodate everyone who volunteers. However, I hope that it will be possible to include your child in future planned studies that will extend this health-related work – so please do not be discouraged if your child is not selected to take part on this occasion.

Please note: this study is not really designed for children and adolescents who already play sports regularly (at school or in local clubs) or attend exercise classes. It is aimed specifically at those wishing to increase their activity levels or fitness, perhaps because one or both of these important lifestyle characteristics are lower than they would like them to be at the moment.

Thank you for your interest.

Information for parents (pdf)

Keith’s primary research interests relate to health in young people (children and adolescents) and how this might be influenced by either structured exercise training or participation in regular physical activity.

Some of his work has focused on physiological determinants of endurance performance such as maximal lactate steady state, economy, and peak oxygen uptake in young people. He has, however, also collaborated on various projects focusing on wheelchair sports performance and oxygen uptake kinetics.

Current research interests include fat metabolism, postprandial lipaemia, and estimation of energy expenditure in physical activity in young people. From the teaching and learning perspective Keith enjoys working with students on most aspects of exercise physiology, but also has a keen interest in research methods and quantitative statistics.

Postgraduate Research Students

Please refer to the main Loughborough University website for current advertised PhD studentships or contact me if you have funding to complete a full- or part-time PhD studentship (e.g., government funding). I would welcome applications from anyone interested in the following areas of research with young people (children and adolescents 
< 18 years of age):

  • Postprandial metabolism - effect of diet and exercise manipulation
  • Breakfast meal composition and consumption - effect on health outcomes
  • Maximal fat oxidation (Fatmax) - acute and chronic responses and adaptations to exercise
  • Fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism - effect of diet and exercise manipulation
  • Post-exercise energy intake and energy expenditure - behaviour compensation
  • Fluid intake, hydration and energy expenditure

All of the research themes above can be examined with reference to participant gender, weight-status, chronological age, biological maturation, cardiorespiratory fitness, socio-economic status, physical activity and sedentary activities.

Selected External Research-Related Roles:

Keith is invited regularly to review scientific papers by numerous journals including Ann. Hum. Biol., Atherosclerosis, Brit J. Sports Med., Eur. J. Appl. Physiol., Int. J. Obes., Int. J. Sports Med., J. Appl. Physiol., J. Sports Sci., Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Pediatr. Exerc. Sci.,  Sports Med., Res. Quart. Exerc. Sport, J. Pediatrics, and the Scand. J. Med. Sci. Sports.

Current external examining roles (2011 to 2015) are at Bangor University (MSc Applied Sport and Exercise Physiology, MSc Applied Sport Science and MSc Exercise Rehabilitation) and Liverpool John Moores University (MSc Sports Physiology and MSc Clinical Exercise Physiology). Keith has been invited as a subject specialist on validation and re-validation panels for numerous BSc and MSc Exercise and Sport Sciences (or related) programmes.

Keith is a member of the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Sports Sciences (2004-) and an associate editor for the European Journal of Sport Science (2011-).

Selected Recent Research Projects and Sources of Funding:

  • Effect of exercise energy expenditure on subsequent energy intake in overweight and  non-overweight children - £8400. Tanita Healthy Weight Community Trust Grant. Principle investigator (2011-2012).
  • Effect of breakfast glycaemic index on fat oxidation during subsequent low to moderate exercise  - £7000. Tanita Healthy Weight Community Trust Grant.
    Principle investigator (2009-2010).
  • Postprandial lipaemia in adolescent boys and girls – £1,326 Research Institute for Health and Social Change.Co-investigator DJ Stensel (2006 – 2007).
  • Physiological profiling in wheelchair tennis and preparation for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games - £75,500 British Tennis Federation.Co- and principal-investigator VL Goosey-Tolfrey (2005-2008).
  • Applied physiological support and research for British wheelchair tennis - £24,436 British Tennis Federation.Co- and principal-investigator VL Goosey-Tolfrey (2002-2005).
  • Zakrzewski, J.K., Stevenson, E.J. and Tolfrey, K. (2011). Effect of breakfast glycemic index on metabolic responses during rest and exercise in overweight and non-overweight adolescent girls. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. E-pub ahead of print DOI: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.175
  • Tolfrey, K., Bentley, C., Goad, M., Varley, J., Willis, S. and Barrett, L.A. (2011). Effect of energy expenditure on postprandial triacylglycerol in adolescent boys.European Journal of Applied Physiology. E-pub ahead of print DOI 10.1007/s00421-011-1936-x
  • Zakrzewski, J.K. and Tolfrey, K. (2011). Comparison of fat oxidation over a range of intensities during treadmill and cycling exercise in children. European Journal of Applied Physiology. E-pub ahead of print DOI 10.1007/s00421-011-1965-5
  • Zakrzewski, J.K. and Tolfrey, K. (2011). Exercise protocols to estimate fatmax and maximal fat oxidation in children. Pediatric Exercise Science, 23(1):122-135.
  • Zakrzewski, J.K. and Tolfrey, K. (2011). Fatmax in children and adolescents: a review.European Journal of Sport Science. 11(1): 1-18.
  • Tolfrey, K., Jeukendrup, A.E. and Batterham, A.M. (2010). Group- and individual-level coincidence of the 'Fatmax' and lactate accumulation in adolescents. European Journal of  Applied Physiology. 109(6): 1145-1153.
  • Morse, C.I., Tolfrey, K., Thom, J.M., Vassilopoulos, V., Maganaris, C.N. and Narici, M.V. (2008). Gastrocnemius muscle specific force in boys and men. Journal of Applied Physiology. 104(2): 469-474.
  • Eisenmann, J.C. and Tolfrey, K. (2008). Genetics and pediatric exercise science: a brief commentary and review. Pediatric Exercise Science. 20(2): 229-239.
  • Tolfrey, K., Doggett, A., Boyd, C., Pinner, S., Sharples, A. and Barrett, L. (2008). Postprandial triacylglycerol in adolescent boys: a case for moderate exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 40(6): 1049-1056.
  • Tolfrey, K., Barker, A., Thom, J.M., Morse, C.I., Narici, M.V. and Batterham, A.M. (2006). Scaling of maximal oxygen uptake by lower leg muscle volume in boys and men. Journal of Applied Physiology, 100(6), 1851-1856.