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Calculating Your VO2 Max

VO2 MAX! 🏃🏼‍♀️Raises your hands if you remember this from your undergrad ex. Phys labs 💁🏼‍♀️⁣

VO2 Max is a foundational component of exercise physiology. And while my lab/I think it isn’t the only perfect measure of fitness, it’s still a major component of aerobic fitness, endurance success and even related to your health!⁣

Simply — it’s the maximal amount of oxygen you can breath in, deliver to your muscle tissue, and be used for energy production. The more oxygen you can use before tapping out or having to slow down, the better your performance will be! (Among other components for another post).⁣

We measure this in lab…. as in, this is a lot of what I spend my time testing and teaching! We hook people up to this mask that traps the air your breath out into this tube, which goes into something called metabolic cart. This then can assess your oxygen use, breathing rate, and fat/carb use during exercise.

This is the most valid way to test your VO2 Max, and likely your fancy garmin is just taking a best guess using prediction equations! ⁣But you can use these 2 tests we use in lab here as a solid best guess!


The good news is anyone can improve their VO2. Just like strength however, the more trained you are the harder it is to improve. But those who are sedentary or have a low training status can improve it by up-to 50%! With most people improving ~10-20%.

Trust me when I say, it’s a lot easier to walk up stairs now 😂🤘🏻⁣

While training in general can improve this, we still need to train smart and not go balls to the walls every day. There’s plenty of science to back going SLOW and LOW to help develop your aerobic machinery needed! With a sprinkle of harder efforts.⁣

If you’re interested in learning more about the science of endurance performance, and how to test your running zones and training with intention checkout my ebook/training guide ENDURE. All the science and training programs designed to help you do EXACTLY this! ⁣

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Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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