​The Importance of VO2 Max Testing

Cenegenics® is designed around creating a completely personalized experience. This applies to each of our programs, as well as our advanced testing. How your body utilizes oxygen is an important measure of your overall health. The results gathered from VO2 testing can aid in further customizing your Elite Health Program to meet and exceed your goals.

What is a VO2 Max Test?

VO2 Max Tests are all about functional capacity. The test itself is specifically geared toward your ability to progressively increase your intensity of cardiovascular exercise. It’s an extremely accurate indicator of your cardiovascular fitness--and you don’t need to be an athlete to perform it! Whether you’re sitting at a desk all day or running marathons regularly, we’ll effectively test your aerobic & anaerobic performance.

How is VO2 Max Testing Performed?

Depending on the patient’s needs, there are usually multiple ways of performing the same test. This is the case with VO2 max. The most routine way involves walking on an inclined treadmill.

Every 120 seconds, the treadmill’s total speed and incline are slightly increased in intensity. This process continues until your maximal work capacity is reached. While this is a widely used method of testing, it also increases the risk of personal injury. Running and even walking, at consistently high speeds while fatigued, can possibly create an unsafe environment for those who are overweight, sedentary, or dealing with a previous injury.

When you reach a state of physical depletion, there can be a serious risk of falling involved. At Cenegenics®, our first concern is that all precautions are taken to prevent injury and ensure your safety at all times.

A safer and equally accurate option to the treadmill test, is the cycle ergometer. It utilizes the same principle of increasing intensity, but minimizes the risk of injury, while also negating the possibility of a fall.

Aerobic Threshold (AeT)

This is where oxygen supply is adequate for the
major muscle groups. Below the aerobic threshold indicates a level of effort that can be maintained for many hours. Training below the aerobic threshold is of minimal value for most populations. This is also measured.

Anaerobic Threshold (AT)

This is the exercise intensity level at which your muscle’s demand for oxygen is not being fully met, leading to “oxygen debt”, and is recognized as your anaerobic metabolism. Lactic acid begins to accumulate causing burning in your muscles and increased fatigue. Vigorous effort can be sustained for an extended duration, at intensity levels below the anaerobic threshold, but not above. The anaerobic threshold is measured as a part of a VO2 Max test.

Why is VO2 testing important?

Can you recall the last intense workout you had where you monitored your heart? Going all out-- hearing your heart pump like you were running after the ball again. Regular exercise is a crucial part of staying young, but most heart rate machines that you see in the gym are giving inaccurate readings. Your anaerobic threshold (AT)-- could be off by over 50 heart beats per minute.

Due to the large discrepancy in target heart rate displays, they are deemed ineffective and counterproductive. At Cenegenics®, we feel that health should be built around the individual, not the other way around. Our team will design a cardiovascular program based on your current fitness level-- aimed towards strengthening and conditioning your heart, incinerating fat, and reducing the total amount of time spent working out. Just like each patient has unique needs and goals, no two programs will look exactly alike.

How to Read VO2 Max Test Results

We use cutting-edge VO2 max software that provides extremely accurate and useful information. Using this data simplifies and streamlines the process of understanding your results.

One of the most outstanding qualities of this test is its ability to track all of the following data in 15-second intervals for the duration of the entire test, allowing our physicians to observe not only the changes that occur but also how quickly physiologic markers shift as the exercise intensity increases. Simply put, this helps us track your body’s every move while in a state of exertion.

Why Do a VO2 Max Test?

With all of the above data points combined, a VO2 max test provides you with a better understanding of your overall health, potential disease risk factors, and fitness levels. The VO2 max test is a solid predictor of long-term health and significant disease risk. Any serious lifetime wellness plan is incomplete without a proper VO2 max test.

What if working up a quick sweat could save your heart? Low VO2 max values have been linked to a high risk of cardiovascular disease. Believe it or not, this one test is a more accurate predictor of heart disease than looking at smoking, hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol. It’s that powerful.

All variables are important, but when evaluating your overall health, the relative VO2 max and METS are the most important indicators. Above all the others, these two data points can reveal the most about your current health status.

VO2 testing combines your general health and overall fitness level together-- providing practical and applicable information. This data can transform your current exercise plan. Not all exercise equipment has the ability to analyze VO2, but a simple heart rate (HR) monitor will allow you to implement the data.

Everything from smart phones to Fitbits have the ability to measure your heart rate and provide you with instantaneous feedback. By using heart rate as a method of prescribing exercise, you can match it to the desired intensity. This makes it easier to track results and have a base for progress.

How, precisely, is this done? For clinically healthy individuals, your Cenegenics® physician will commonly prescribe high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to support your goals. After warming up and building up to your moderate range heart rate, you will increase your intensity to achieve a higher target heart rate range – your anaerobic zone. After reaching your physician-provided target heart rate, you will recover back into the moderate range heart rate. Based on your VO2 Max results, your recovery periods and frequency of achieving your anaerobic zone is determined.

On the other hand, if your VO2 Max results indicated that high-intensity interval training is too difficult to start with, your physician will prescribe a heart rate range to provide moderate, steady-state cardiovascular exercise.

Maximizing Results at Cenegenics® with VO2

Wellness is much more than having a certain body fat percentage or cholesterol level. At Cenegenics®, we focus on your body as a whole, to promote 360 degrees of wellness that runs throughout your daily life. Using the valuable data from your V02 max test, we can create a fully customized Elite Health Plan that’s tailored to your goals, timeline, and lifestyle. Your Cenegenics® physician, along with your exercise coach and nutrition counselor, will help customize and adjust your plan even further as you reach and exceed your goals.

Once you know the correct target heart rate zones for your body, you will have a clear and definite path to reach your exercise goals. Staying within your heart rate zone will assure that you not only perform anaerobic exercise, but you will stimulate a powerful source of calorie burning, called the EPOC effect as well.

EPOC stands for excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. After an intense bout of exercise, it takes your body a period of time to clear out the built up lactic acid and return oxygen levels and your overall body temperature back to normal. After putting in all the work up-front, you can relax as you go about your day-- knowing that your body has now become a fat incinerating machine.

Cenegenics® was designed to help you increase your productivity, longevity, and overall wellness. 

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