VO2 Max testing is known as the gold standard of fitness evaluation and has been for decades. Aside from determining ones level of fitness, a VO2 max test provides a wealth of pertinent information associated with training concerns.
For many years, professional athletes have depended on the results from these tests to establish their training protocols for endurance, speed, power and even weight management.
So what exactly is a VO2 max? As the term implies, a persons VO2 max represents the maximum amount of oxygen the body is able to process in milliliters per minute relative to body mass measured in kilo’s (a kilo is equal to 2.2 pounds). The equation is depicted like this: VO2/Mils/Kg/Min.
Why is this important? The more oxygen that your body can consume, the more energy it is able to liberate to perform work. A key point to consider is that energy from fat is released in the presence of oxygen. This why endurance athletes seek out this information because an average person stores well in excess of 70,000 calories from fat energy but less than 2500 calories from sugar energy. As exercise intensity increases an untrained athlete will shift from an “oxidative” state (aerobic – in the presence of oxygen) to a hypoxic state (anaerobic – in the absence of oxygen). In the absence of oxygen, the body reverts to its limited sugar stores for energy. In the example of a marathon or a triathlon, efforts that extend beyond a few hours, an athlete that is inappropriately trained can easily run out of energy and be forced to walk, crawl or quit!
How is the test performed? In our lab, we perform what is referred to as a direct gas analysis marked with heart rate. The test typically takes less than 15 minutes to perform; the test is painless other than the temporary discomfort associated with brief relatively high intensity exercise.
Do I need to get into shape before I take the test? We are asked this question often. Our response is simply this; the reason you take the test is to determine what to do moving forward with your training not to confirm that you are already in great shape! If you feel out of shape now, you are going to bring that out of shape body into training with you and it’s best to know how to treat it. A VO2 max test provides you with the precise information you need to get the most out of your training regardless of your current state of fitness.
A VO2 max test is best performed in a task specific modality. If you are a runner, you should be tested running, if you are a cyclist, you should be tested on your own bike. If you are a triathlete, you should be tested on both the run and the bike as the information between the two efforts will vary in some cases by quite a margin.
An RMR (a measure of your resting metabolic rate) clearly determines how much energy you should consume to: Manage your weight without sacrificing lean muscle, improve your energy for work, or help you to shed excess body fat.
What is a Resting Metabolic Rate Assessment (RMR)? Much like the VO2 max test, the difference is that the test is conducted while you rest in a prone position, generally in a fasted state in the early part of the day. Heart rate is not monitored during this test; the important data is the gas exchange. The amount of oxygen your body draws in relative to the amount of CO2 your body releases. The test takes about 15 minutes and upon conclusion reports how many calories your body requires at rest and the percentage of fat vs. sugar your body relies on in a rested state.
What does this test do for me? We use this information to begin developing your nutritional meal plans. Depending on your specific needs, we may create a manageable caloric debt to successfully drop body fat. Or meals that ensure that you get the energy your body needs to perform at optimal levels in your training and racing.
Our unique approach to testing: As a result of testing athletes from amateur to world class professionals for nearly 2 decades, we have learned that it is not so much what we know, but more what we can teach you about the results we find . After each and every assessment we adjourn to the dry erase board and begin deciphering the data. We answer the burning questions and make sense of the information gained from the assessment.
What does it mean to me?
What should I do now?
What is my potential?
We also explain how to set up a heart rate based training program, all of which is included in our price. Our goal is to make sure that you get it. We make sure that once you leave you are excited about the prospect of putting your new found information to work. Get ready to train and race!
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