Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cardio-Metabolic Exercise Profile

Today I began a two month study at the Fit Stop Human Performance and Health Enhancement Lab. The study is for a performance drink, however I'm in the placebo test, where I only consume water. Yeah for not having to store a case of the drink in my fridge. (and have angry roommates!)

They measure my aerobic capacity, metabolic fitness/lactate threshold, metabolic efficiency, and my biometrics (i.e. how fat I am) four times over the course of the study. Today they recorded my baseline levels. I arrived and the testing began.

Resting HR: 60 bpm
Blood Pressure: 120/78 which apparently is "textbook."
Skinfold: 20.9% Improving this will improve my VO2 max. Surprisingly better than college however, even with all that swimming and lifting!

Onto the real testing: we got the bike set up with the proper size and put on my pedals. HR monitor on. He then placed the mask on my face with the recording wires sticking out. Ready?
Must keep rpms above 70 for the entire test.
5 min warmup at 100 watts.
Then the "ramp up" began. Every minute he'd ask me my effort level from 1-10.
Constantly watching the computer. RPM's 85. okay. You're feeling good.
200 watts, getting harder.
Uh, the last 4 min were hard hard. Getting through that 280 watt 1 minute period was killer. That's all I had. I looked up, my HR was 207. wow.
He then pricked my finger for a lactate level blood test.
5 min cool down. HR 130 bpm
5 min sitting with mask still on.
5 min without mask. Then another finger prick.
HR 90 bpm
Results time!

Aerobic Capacity
-VO2 Max 51.2 which is high for my age group (good!)
Metabolic Fitness/Lactate Threshold (LT)
-LT 39.0 which is 76% of my max. Want to get this percentage up to 85%
-LT Heart Rate 175 bpm - typical Rachel Rate :) which is 86% of max.
Metabolic Efficiency
-Calculation 39.2 which is 99%. This should be over 100%
-LT Watts 188
-Max Watts 280

Decoding the numbers:
Aerobic capacity is my capacity to deliver oxygen to the working muscle. Higher VO2Max = better. This number will fluctuate in waves over the course of a season. My number is in the high category for women of my age (49-53). I'm almost to the athletic category (54-59), and a bit off the olympic category (60+). Losing weight will significantly improve this number.

Metabolic Fitness is a marker that describes how much of that aerobic capacity can be utilized by my working muscles. Higher means greater resistance to fatigure and higher sustainable work rate. This can take up to 5 years for someone to reach their greatest potential. Having only been cycling for less than a year, I'm the most excited to hear I haven't reached my potential...and knowing that may be around the time I age up.

Metabolic Efficiency is a description of my economy of motion and efficiency in doing physical work. Again, this needs to improve and will over time.

So now I have zones. I think I'm going to start back up with the garmin on bike days to see where my training is at. I can also use these numbers for my running, just add 5-8 bpm to each zone. Tomorrow is day one. JT's ride and my first tempo run. Eeek! Looking forward to the testing these next two months.

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