What is VO2 max?
Whether you’re a runner, a hard-training athlete, or someone simply in pursuit of better fitness, VO2 max is a stat to understand and embrace. This article will offer basics on measuring it, as well as training tips on how to improve it.
VO2 max is essentially a “VO2 count” – based on the formula: [(18.83+0.0003)x78]/20
In layman’s terms, this measures the amount of oxygen that your body is taking in per unit of energy than it is expending out. VO2 max is the maximal amount of oxygen that you can consume in less than two minutes. Anything over 2 minutes and the body’s capacity to replenish the oxygen decreases. This makes VO2 max a measure of endurance, not of athleticism.
To test it, all you need is a watch with a second hand, preferably one that has a battery indicator (the best examples are the Pulsar 800 and the Calistos 200). Simply take off for as long as you can during the course of your workout and measure the time. If the time is longer than two minutes, the bodys capacity to replenish the oxygen has been exceeded.
As an example, say you run for forty minutes. Assuming you walk the remaining two minutes, youll have taken in 6.83L (milliliters) of air during the workout. Assuming you expended out 1.67L (grams) of fat, youll have expended out 1.17L of energy.
So the test is based on the assumption that your energy usage will be 1.17L and your breathing rate (which is another energy unit) will be 1.33L. Therefore the test measures the amount of energy that you have used in L times the amount of oxygen you have used, minus the amount of fat that you have burned.
This is why the test is less accurate than the oxygen consumption test. It measures the amount of oxygen that your body has used during exercise and not the amount of calories that you have burned. In the past this measure was not very accurate, as exercise intensity was not standardized. Now exercise intensity is standardized so that the test is more reliable.
How to Measure VO2 Max
To standardize exercise intensity, a test was developed that requires exercise intensity to be the same for every test. In the test, the amount of exercise intensity that should be needed for a person to obtain optimal fitness for daily life is divided by the number of hours per day which the person exercises. For example, a test for daily physical fitness would require that the person exercise at 40% of maximum heart rate. The amount of intensity that should be required to have optimal fitness would be (40/12) = 40%, or 40%
In the same way, a test for daily energy expenditure can be developed, requiring exercise intensity to be the same for every test. In the test, the amount of exercise intensity that should be needed for a person to obtain optimal fitness for daily life would also be divided by the amount of hours per day which the person exercises. For example, a test for daily energy expenditure would require that the person exercise at 40% of maximum heart rate. In the test, the amount of exercise intensity that should be required for a person to obtain optimal fitness would be (40/12) = 40%, or 40%
The amount of daily energy expenditure can then be divided by (number of days per week which the person exercises)/number of days per week which the person exercises.
For example, if a person would exercise 4 days per week, and would burn about 1100 calories per workout, then the person would need to exercise 3 days per week plus (900×2) = 4000 calories to obtain optimal fitness for daily life.
In the same way, the aerobic fitness test measures the amount of energy expended at the same intensity level over time. This means that the aerobic fitness test would measure the amount of energy expended over the course of a week, or a week each time the exercise program is performed.
The aerobic fitness test would also require that the amount of exercise intensity used be equal during the whole test. For example, the amount of exercise intensity used at any time in the test would be calculated as the product of (intensity at that time)/(average of intensity at last three times during the test). The product can be calculated as (intensity at that time)/(average intensity of last three times during test). An average intensity of 100 means that the amount of energy expended during all three times during the test would be 100%.
How to Increase VO2 max?
The daily energy expenditure for an optimal fitness person using the aerobic exercise program can be calculated as (amount of exercise expended during test)/(amount of exercise expended during each of the three previous workouts during the test).
The amount of energy expended during the test can also be calculated as (amount of workout performed during test)/(total amount of energy expended during all previous workouts during the test).
So the aerobic fitness test requires that a person expend the amount of energy which is required to exercise (energy expended during the test) times the amount of exercise performed during the time period during which the work is performed (amount of workout performed).
Using the formula, the aerobic fitness test results are given in:
= amount expended during exercise test
= energy expenditure during exercise test
Knowing your current VO2 max is important in order to understand and improve your fitness. It serves as a starting measurement of your fitness level today, and it can guide you with your training so you can improve your VO2 max readings in the future. You won’t automatically run faster if you increase your VO2 max. But raising your score will make it easier to go faster and sustain a given pace in any aerobic activity you do.