Dr Keith Tolfrey

BA(Ed), MPhil, PhD, FBASES

Pronouns: He/him
  • Reader in Paediatric Exercise Physiology
  • Director of Student Experience and Outcomes

Keith has been in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences (SSEHS) since 2007 and is currently a Reader in Paediatric Exercise Physiology. He has been teaching since graduating from the University of Exeter in 1989. In this time, he has held several senior leadership roles at Loughborough, including:

  • Postgraduate Programmes Director of Studies (PGT DoS): 2011 to 2016
  • Deputy Associate Dean of Teaching (DADT): 2017 to 2020
  • Director of Student Experience and Outcomes (DSEO): 2020-current

Keith chairs the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) for the three undergraduate pathways (3 Bioscience programmes, 6 Psychology programmes and 4 Sports programmes) and across 9 postgraduate programmes. Whilst DADT, he was a member of the School Leadership Team.

Keith is passionate about teaching and enjoys a good rapport with students he supervises (BSc, MSc and PhD) and teaches (Quantitative Statistics and Exercise Physiology). He was thrilled with his Excellence in Teaching Award from the Loughborough Academic Awards in 2018 after being nominated by the students.

Keith’s research interests are in paediatric exercise, health and performance; he also has extensive experience of quantitative statistics and research design, which he uses to good effect through many collaborations.

Applications for self or government funded PhD studentships are welcomed in the following areas:

  • Exercise and dietary effects on metabolism
  • Postprandial lipaemia and glycaemia
  • Cardiorespiratory fitness and exercise training
  • Breakfast meal consumption, physical activity and energy intake
  • Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and energy balance

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.

Keith is keen to support colleagues in Sport and Exercise (Exercise Physiology) through the role of External Examiner; he has examined (external) 20 PhDs and supervised 12 PhDs to a timely completion. Keith aims to be a fair examiner who ensures the research is examined thoroughly.

Keith’s research and projects he has contributed to with many excellent collaborators have been funded externally by the NIHR, British Academy and Leverhulme Trust, UK Sport, Singaporean Academic Research Fund, European Hydration Institute, Singapore Economic Development Board, Tanita Healthy Weight Community Trust, and BASES.

As a long-term member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES), Keith took great pride in his Fellowship status in 2011 for his research with children and adolescents and significant long-standing contribution to Sport and Exercise Science.

As a Director of the BASES Board from 2010 to 2018, Keith chaired the Division of Physical Activity for Health (2010 to 2013), was BASES Deputy Chair (2014 to 2015) before being elected to BASES Chair from 2015 to 2018. He was appointed recently (2021) to the Board as an inaugural Director of the International Confederation of Sport and Exercise Practice (ICSESP), which is a confederation between BASES, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), Exercise and Sport Science Australia (ESSA) and Sport and Exercise New Zealand (SESNZ).

As someone who is passionate about Sport and Exercise Science and how it is taught in the UK, Keith has held numerous External Examiner positions continuously from 2001, with his current role at the University of Brighton taking him through to 2024.

As with most research-active academics, Keith regularly reviews manuscripts for numerous national and international journals, including but not limited to: 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.

Keith is currently a member of the iCardio key stakeholder group, chaired by Prof Helen Jones, which is working to establish a Clinical Exercise Physiology accreditation pathway in the UK. He is on the editorial board of Journal of Sports Sciences, Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, Pediatric Exercise Science, Sports Medicine Open and Sports.

Featured publications

Keith is approaching the 100 peer-reviewed publication milestone (n=95; May 2021) and thanks his collaborators for their considerable contribution to this achievement. The list below includes some of his paediatric exercise physiology outputs with an assortment of collaborators and/or PhD students followed by outputs using Keith’s expertise in research methods:

Paediatric Exercise Physiology

  • Chen YL, Tolfrey K, Pearson N, Bingham DD, Edwardson C, Cale L, Dunstan D, Barber SE and Clemes SA (2021). Stand Out in Class: investigating the potential impact of a sit-stand desk intervention on children's sitting and physical activity during class time and after school. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health.18(9):4759.
  • Davis NL, Tolfrey K, Jenney M, Elson R, Stewart C, Moss AD, Cornish JM, Stevens MCG and Crowne EC (2020). Combined resistance and aerobic exercise intervention improves fitness, insulin resistance and quality of life in survivors of childhood haemopoietic stem cell transplantation with total body irradiation. Pediatric Blood and Cancer. 67(12):e28687.
  • Smallcombe JW, Barrett LA, Sherar LB, Sedgwick MJ, Slater T and Tolfrey K (2020). Short sprints accumulated at school modulate postprandial metabolism in boys. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 52(1):67-76.
  • Massie R, Smallcombe JW and Tolfrey K (2019). Effects of a 12-week exercise intervention on subsequent compensatory behaviors in adolescent girls: an exploratory study. Pediatric Exercise Science. 31(4):495-504.
  • Menon JE, Stensel DJ, Tolfrey K and Burns SF (2019). Increased meal frequency with exercise mitigates postprandial triacylglycerol. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 28:589-594.
  • Smallcombe JW, Barrett LA, Morris JG, Sherar LB and Tolfrey K (2018). Small-sided soccer in school reduces postprandial lipaemia in adolescent boys. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 50(11):2351-2359.
  • Thackray AE, Barrett LA and Tolfrey K (2018). Sex differences in postprandial lipaemia after acute high-intensity interval running in young people. Journal of Sports Sciences. 36(15):1673-1681.
  • Zakrzewski-Fruer JK, Wells EK, CrawfordNSG, Afeef SMO and Tolfrey K (2018). Physical activity duration but not energy expenditure differs between daily compared with intermittent breakfast consumption in adolescent girls: a randomized crossover trial. Journal of Nutrition. 148(2):236-244.
  • Zakrzewski-Fruer JK, Plekhanova T, Mandila D, Lekatis Y and Tolfrey K (2017). Effect of breakfast omission and consumption on energy intake and physical activity in adolescent girls: a randomised controlled trial. British Journal of Nutrition. 118(5):392-400.
  • Henson J, Davies MJ, Bodicoat DH, Edwardson CL, Gill JM, Stensel DJ, Tolfrey K, Dunstan DW, Khunti K and Yates T (2016). Breaking up prolonged sitting with standing or walking attenuates the postprandial metabolic response in postmenopausal women: a randomized acute study. Diabetes Care. 39(1):130-138.
  • Thackray AE, Barrett LA and Tolfrey K (2016). High-intensity running and energy restriction reduce postprandial lipaemia in girls. Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise. 48(3):402-411.
  • Mansoubi M, Pearson N, Clemes SA, Biddle SJH, Bodicoat DH, Tolfrey K, Edwardson CL and Yates T. (2015). Energy expenditure during common sitting and standing tasks: examining the 1.5 MET definition of sedentary behaviour. BMC Public Health. 15:516.
  • Massie RC, Smith BM and Tolfrey K (2015). Recommendations for recruiting and retaining adolescent girls in chronic exercise (training) research studies. Sports. 3:219-235.
  • Bond B, Williams CA, Isic C, Jackman SR, Tolfrey K, Barrett LA and Barker AR (2015). Exercise intensity and postprandial health outcomes in adolescents. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 115:927-936.
  • Sedgwick MJ, Morris JG, Nevill ME, Tolfrey K and Barrett LA (2012). Effect of high-fat meals and exercise on endothelial function in adolescent boys. British Journal of Nutrition. 10:1-9.
  • Boddy LM, Thomas NE, Fairclough SJ, Tolfrey K, Brophy S, Rees A, Knox G, Baker JS and Stratton G (2012). ROC generated thresholds for field-assessed aerobic fitness related to body size and cardiometabolic risk in schoolchildren. PLoS ONE 7(9): e45755.
  • Tolfrey K, Jeukendrup AE and Batterham AM (2010). Group- and individual-level coincidence of the 'Fatmax' and lactate accumulation in adolescents. European Journal of  Applied Physiology. 109(6): 1145-1153.
  • Tolfrey K, Hansen SA, Dutton K, McKee T and Jones AM (2009). Physiological correlates of two-mile run performance as determined using a novel on-demand treadmill. Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism. 34(4): 763–772.
  • 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.
  • Eisenmann JC and Tolfrey K (2008). Genetics and pediatric exercise science: a brief commentary and review. Pediatric Exercise Science. 20(2): 229-239.
  • Morse CI, Tolfrey K, Thom JM, Vassilopoulos V, Maganaris CN and Narici MV (2008). Gastrocnemius muscle specific force in boys and men. Journal of Applied Physiology. 104(2): 469-474.
  • Ingle L, Sleap M and Tolfrey K (2006). The effect of a complex training and detraining programme on selected strength and power variables in early pubertal boys. Journal of Sports Sciences, 24(9), 983–993.
  • George KP, Gates PE and Tolfrey K (2005). The impact of aerobic training upon left ventricular morphology and function in pre-pubescent children. Ergonomics, 48(11-14), 1378-1389.
  • Stratton G, Jones M, Fox KR, Tolfrey K, Harris J, Maffulli N, Lee M and Frostick SP (2004). BASES position statement on guidelines for resistance exercise in young people. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(4), 383-390.

Research Methods (Quantitative Statistics)

  • Goosey-Tolfrey VL, de Groot S, Tolfrey K, Paulson TAW (2021). Criterion validity of a field-based assessment of aerobic capacity in wheelchair rugby athletes. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. Ahead of print.
  • Sindall P, Lenton JP, Mason BS, Tolfrey K, Cooper RA, Martin Ginis KA and Goosey-Tolfrey VL (2021). Practice improves court mobility and self-efficacy in tennis-specific wheelchair propulsion. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology. Ahead of print.
  • Rosen JS, Goosey-Tolfrey VL, Tolfrey K, Arndt A and Bjerkefors A (2020). Interrater reliability of the new sport-specific evidence-based classification system for Para Va'a. Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly. 37(3):241-252.
  • Stephenson BT, Hoekstra SP, Tolfrey K and Goosey-Tolfrey VL (2020). High thermoregulatory strain during competitive paratriathlon racing in the heat. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 15(2):231-237.
  • Graham-Paulson TS, Paulson TA, Perret C, Tolfrey K, Cordery P and Goosey-Tolfrey VL (2017). Spinal cord injury level influences acute plasma caffeine responses. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 49(2): 363-370.
  • Leicht CA, Lavin J, Griggs KE, Tolfrey K and Goosey-Tolfrey VL (2014). Blood lactate and ventilatory thresholds in wheelchair athletes with paraplegia and tetraplegia. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 114(8):1635-1643.
  • Lenton JP, van der Woude L, Fowler N, Nicholson G, Tolfrey K and Goosey-Tolfrey V (2014). Hand-rim forces and gross mechanical efficiency in asynchronous and synchronous wheelchair propulsion: a comparison. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 35(3):223-31.
  • Croft L, Lenton J, Tolfrey K and Goosey-Tolfrey V (2013). The effects of experience on the energy cost of wheelchair propulsion. European Journal of  Physical Rehabilitation and Medicine. 49(6):865-873.
  • Mason BM, Woude van der LHV, Tolfrey K and Goosey-Tolfrey VL (2012). The effects of rear-wheel camber on maximal effort mobility performance in wheelchair athletes. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 33(3):199-204.
  • Berger NJ, Rittweger J, Kwiet A, Michaelis I, Williams AG, Tolfrey K and Jones AM (2006). Pulmonary O2 uptake on-kinetics in endurance- and sprint-trained master athletes. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 27(12), 1005-1012.
  • Martin JA, Tolfrey K, Smith NC and Jones AM (2005). Heart rate responses of rugby union referees in the English Premiership. Journal of Human Movement Studies. 48(3), 211-225.
  • Sakkas GK, Ball D, Mercer T, Tolfrey K, Sargeant AJ and Naish PF (2003). Atrophy of non-locomotory muscle in patients with end stage renal failure. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, 18, 2074-2081.
  • Pringle JSM, Doust JH, Carter H, Tolfrey K, Campbell IT, Sakkas GK and Jones AM (2003). Oxygen uptake kinetics during moderate, heavy, and severe intensity ‘submaximal’ exercise in humans: the influence of muscle fibre type and capillarisation. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 89(3-4), 289-300.
  • Tolfrey K, Goosey-Tolfrey VL and Campbell IG (2001). Oxygen uptake-heart rate relationship in elite wheelchair racers. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 86(2): 174-178.
  • Martin J, Smith NC, Tolfrey K and Jones AM (2001). Activity analysis of English premiership rugby football union refereeing. Ergonomics, 44(12), 1069-1075.
  • Morriss CJ, Tolfrey K and Coppack RJ (2001). Effects of short-term isokinetic training on standing long-jump performance in untrained men. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 15(4): 498-502.