Monday, 4 July 2011

VO2 Max Testing at UPANDRUNNING, Al Wasl Road, Dubai

VO2 max measures the ability to transport and use oxygen, and is accepted as the single best measure of cardiovascular fitness and maximal aerobic power. It is measured either in absolute rate in litres of oxygen per minute (l/min), or more commonly as a relative rate in millilitres of oxygen per kilogram of bodyweight per minute (ml/kg/min). An average score for males and females would be 45 ml/kg/min and 38 ml/kg/min respectively. Scores among super-human runners, cyclists and cross-country skiers exceed 85 ml/kg/min for men and 70 ml/kg/min for women. My score was recorded as 59 ml/kg/min.

Before the session started I’d completed a form detailing my health and history, and we started today with initial measurements; height 172cm, weight 72kg and calliper tested body fat 9.6%. The test was fully explained by Dr Anna and Orla. I was to be on the treadmill strapped in with a harness (ominous to say the least!) and my mouth and nose was to be covered with a gas-mask-type thing rigged to the machine. The test can be tailored to the specific individual, so Dr Anna and I agreed on the incline increasing every 2 minutes minute up to a 5% plateau, and speed increasing every minute until failure. Nice.

I wasn’t comfortable running with the gas mask, not that it affected my performance, it just didn’t feel right. The novelty of Darth Vader-like sound effects wore off quickly. After 9 minutes I was running at a 5% incline and at 10kph and impatient to get intom my normal stride and rhythm. Before the test started I told myself that I should be aiming for 18kph, but when it got to 15kph (which is the pace I’d run 10k in) I really started to struggle. Within the next minute I was spent, despite the vociferous encouragement provided by Dr Anna and Orla. My heart rate during the final minute plateaued at 189pbm and my VO2 max peaked at 59.2 ml/kg/min.

Here's a few clips from the test very kindly recorded by Dr Anna.

The data gathered also included my Anaerobic Threshold (AT), this is the point where more lactate acid (the stuff responsible for causing cramp) is produced than the body can deal with and it accumulates in the bloodstream. A runner’s worst nightmare. I’m thinking about training to run another marathon, therefore the feedback from this type of testing can be invaluable to me to ensure that I’m training in the right zones to optimise and increase my AT. With luck and hard work, hopefully this time if I do run a marathon I’ll not run face first into the wall after 19 miles!

The test was conducted at UPAND RUNNING, 969 Al Wasl Road, Dubai and costs AED 750. See or call +971 4 328 4600 for more info.

Huge thanks to Dr Anna and Orla.

Fitness in Dubai features reviews of all the latest fitness programmes and local gyms, such as The Circuit Factory, 24 Fitness and CrossFit LifeSpark, as well as reviews of fitness fads, fitness tests and fitness equipment, from Vibram Five Fingers barefoot running shoes to VO2 Max testing. Ultimately, this fitness blog - as featured in Good Taste, Men's Fitness, Time Out and Shape magazines - contains everything you need to know about fitness in Dubai, UAE, in the Middle East. Bookmark it now.



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