What is it?
Your V02maxis the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use in a single minute; it is expressed as either a relative (ml/kg/min) or absolute (L/min) value which are used to determine a snapshot of an athlete’s fitness as well as a marker for improvements going forwards. Our bodies require oxygen to function and when we undergo an acute bout of exercise (stress), we need more oxygen to be able to cope with the demand. The higher your V02maxthe fitter you are, and the lower your body fat, the higher your V02max will be. There’s a reason why marathon runners are sub 7% body fat!
How is it measured?
There are ways to measure it sub maximally, however the gold standard method involves state of the art indirect calorimetry equipment (such as cortex or oxycon) to measure breath by breath expired/inspired gases. This allows the machine to calculate how much oxygen, as well as fuel, is being used in each breath. The point in which you use the most oxygen (at maximum exercise intensity) is deemed your V02peakand your mean at the top exercise intensity is your V02max.
What’s a good score?
This differs depending on your age and sport, however anything above 50ml/kg/min is considered a good value. Recently, a Swedish pro cyclist recorded a V02maxof 97ml/kg/min which is the highest ever recorded value. Professional triathletes and runners will generally range from 60-80ml/kg/min and team sport athletes can range from 50-70ml/kg/min.
How can I get tested?
We are able to carry out (post covid) the performance tests in one of our clinics in central London. It takes just 1.5hours from start to finish, and you’ll receive a detailed, personalised report to explain your results and implications. If you’re serious about your performance and training, this is a must.
How do I improve it?
This is individual to your sport and results. Data gained will tell us where your shortfalls are, and we are able to design a bespoke programme to target these. However, generally speaking, low intensity longer exercise bouts, coupled with short higher intensity bouts are proven to push back your V02max. As mentioned earlier, the lower your body fat, the higher your V02max, so consider shifting a few lb of body fat to facilitate this…plus you’ll be lighter on your run/bike/swim! Our performance nutrition or personalised nutrition packages can take care of this for you!
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