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Take your workout to the max
11/01/2005
Athletes like Lance Armstrong know their VO2 max, and now you can, too.

VO2 max testing gauges your aerobic fitness by measuring how much oxygen your body can consume and use to generate energy. The higher your score, the greater your level of cardiovascular fitness.

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But the testing offers more than just bragging rights. It can help overweight people, marathon runners and everyone in between design workouts that are more efficient.

"We find that a lot of people train too hard and a lot of people don't train hard enough," says Tom Gmitter, personal trainer at the Maryland Farms YMCA.

The Maryland Farms Y began offering the testing this year and is making the service available to other Middle Tennessee YMCAs.

During the test, which takes about 15 minutes to complete, you wear a mask that measures how much oxygen you consume and how much carbon dioxide you exhale as you run on a treadmill at an ever-increasing level of difficulty. Once you hit your anaerobic threshold the point at which your body is about to stop burning fat and begin to exclusively burn carbohydrates for energy the test stops. A computer analyzes your results and gives you and your trainer information that'll be used to design a personalized aerobic exercise program.

"The best thing about this test is that it takes the guesswork out," says Marilyn Heindrichs, a personal trainer at the Franklin YMCA.

Colleen Long of Bellevue took the test and discovered that more isn't always better when it comes to exercise intensity.

www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051101/FEATURES04/511010327



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