VO2 Max

VO2 Max is a measurement of your maximal Oxygen consumption. In other words, it is a number that quantifies how much oxygen your body is capable of processing during intense exercise. Your body’s ability to use oxygen reflects how well your cardiovascular system is delivering oxygen to your muscle tissue for use in energy production and as such is a reflection of your aerobic fitness level (think cardio). A higher VO2 Max typically means better endurance and better cardiovascular health.

Measuring your VO2 Max doesn’t stop there. The test also helps determine what type of fuel your body is using when you exercise. Your body will burn fat when it is able to but when it needs immediate energy it goes for carbohydrates. The VO2 Max test is able to determine what type of energy you are metabolizing at different heart rates to help you burn the fule you want to be burning.

The test is performed by measurements made while the patient is exercising. The patient where’s a mask which captures all of the gases that are being exhaled and analyzes them. Different substances are exhaled when carbohydrate is being burned versus when fat is being burned. A heart rate monitor is also in place throughout the exercise to correlate where your body is metabolizing different types of fuel to target heart rate zones. To achieve a true VO2 max result you have to push hard on the test, all the way up to your maximum heart rate and to your quitting point. You do not have to go this far to determine your fuel burning zones, only if you want to measure your peak performance. The test typically takes about 20-30 minutes to perform with about 10-15 minutes of exercise.

Knowing your VO2 Max and fuel burning zones has many health benefits. Here are a few:

  • A Personalized Exercise Prescription. Do you want to know you are burning a maximum amount of fat? For you that could mean keeping your heart rate between 115-130. For someone else it may be different. Know what your numbers are with this test.
  • Fitness Assessment. This test is a very precise measurement of your cardiovascular fitness. With it you can understand how well your heart is pumping blood to your tissues and how effectively the muscles are using that oxygen.
  • Health Risk Evaluation. A low VO2 max can indicate poor cardiovascular health and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
  • Managing your Weight. Optimize your calorie expenditure during exercise to maximize weight loss
  • Athletic Performance. Athletes use VO2 max to set performance goals and to track progress through training. Know the work you are putting in is delivering results and drive yourself to the next level of performance.

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