Thursday, February 15, 2007

VO2 Max Test and Amino Acid Study

A few months back, I decided to take part in a Kinesiologists graduate these study at SDSU. The study was to see if an amino acid alinine could increase endurance in athletes. I also got to take a VO2 max test as part of the study, which is pretty cool.

A VO2 max test measures that maximum oxygen uptake a particular person can achieve. Think of it as someones ability, or capacity, to utilize oxygen while exercising.

In order to measure this, a subject (which is me) is hooked up to a special machine, and an exercise is performed. For this test, it was on a bike. As you can, I have a lot of hardware on my head. That thing in my mouth is measuring my oxygen intake and CO2 exhaust. That thing on my nose is a clip closing off any breath from going in through my snout. That thing around my head holds it all together.

The test itself is pretty tough - pretty similar to a max heart rate test. There was a certain workload (resistance) on the stationary bike, and every 3 minutes, it was increased. I was directed to spin until failure/exhaustion.

This was all hooked up to a computer, the final readings were:

VO2 max: 60.7 ml/kg/min (about what a club athlete would get)
Max power on bike: 316.3 Watts

That was just the baseline test. There was 2 additional tests, that were pretty tough. Each test was the same, with a different drink consumed during each iteration.

The test was 1 hour at a moderate pace (I was averaging about 78% max HR), 5 minute break, and then the equivalent of a 40K Time trial (where I was averaging about 86% max HR). Overall, 2 tough hours on a stationary bike. Oh, and 3 instances of drawing blood - probably one of my least favorite things to do, but oh well.

But the real challenge was that it was all done on a stationary bike. Certainly not the most scenic of bike "rides", but at least I got to pick my own music (pearl jam, beastie boys, and dave matthews band - all out of the high school CD case!).
Overall, the tests were pretty rude, and I won't find out the results of the entire study for at least 6 months. But, it was a cool experience nonetheless, and I got to learn some physiology things from the guy doing the study. I will eventually get some results on the 2 tests, and will post them when I get them.

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