Our physiological fitness testing services include VO2 max, lactate threshold and resting metabolic rate.

What is VO2 Max?

VO2 max, also known as maximal oxygen uptake, is the measurement of the maximum rate at which oxygen is delivered and utilised during severe exercise, and is the gold standard assessment of aerobic and cardiovascular fitness. VO2 max can be measured while running, cycling, or rowing in a laboratory environment. The unit of measure for VO2 max is mL/kg/min – millimetres of oxygen consumed in one minute, per kilogram of body weight.

What is lactate threshold?

Lactate is present at low levels in the blood and is produced during anaerobic (oxygen deficient) energy production in muscle cells, red blood cells, the brain, and other tissues. When the body is at rest or at low intensities of exercise, the rate of blood lactate production and blood lactate removal are generally equal, so the concentration of lactate in the body doesn’t really change.

As the intensity of exercise increases, the rate of lactate production exceeds the rate of removal, resulting in a build-up in the blood. The lactate threshold refers to the intensity of exercise at which blood lactate levels increase above resting values. This information can be used to identify and prescribe training zones for exercise (e.g. heart rate training zones).

What is resting metabolic rate (RMR)?

RMR is the measurement of how much food, or energy, is required to maintain basic body functions such as heartbeat, breathing, and maintenance of body heat while you’re in a state of rest. This information could be useful for an individual attempting to manage their weight, by helping them calculate how many calories to cut out each day to achieve fat loss.

What to expect from your appointment

Generally, most lactate threshold and VO2 max assessments at MIHP are performed either running or cycling. Tests can vary depending on your capabilities, but generally follow the same principles. The outcome measures include maximal oxygen uptake, maximal heart rate, lactate thresholds, heart rate training zones, maximal aerobic power, speed at VO2 max, and running economy.

Running assessment

Running assessments are split into two parts, submaximal and maximal.

The submaximal part involves a multi-stage incremental test, where running speed is increased every 3 minutes throughout – this is to identify lactate threshold and lactate turn point. A rest period is given following the completion of the multi-stage test.

The VO2 max part involves an additional multi-stage test where running intensity is increased every minute until maximal exhaustion.

Cycling assessment

Cycling assessments are generally performed using one continuous multi-stage test. Cycling intensity is increased every 3 minutes throughout the test, until maximal exhaustion. This continuous test can be used to determine both lactate threshold and VO2 max.

What to bring

  • Clothing suitable for performing maximal exercise
  • Cycling shoes and pedals (for cycling assessments)
  • Any medication that may be needed due to allergies or exercise (e.g. epipen or inhaler).

Get in touch

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