First of all – What is VO2? VO2 is the rate of oxygen uptake, or consumption, measured during exercise.
What is important about this? The more efficient you are in using oxygen while exercising, the more energy you will produce and therefore will have for exercise.
Why is this test beneficial? It shows you at which heart rate(s) you are most efficient at using oxygen as well as at which heart rates you burn the most calories.
How can you apply this information to your workouts? If you know that you burn the most calories between 78-85% then you can keep within this range during your workouts. This will help ensure that you are getting the most out of your exercise time. Many heart rate monitors will allow you to input your own heart rate zone so that you can really personalize your workouts by monitoring your workout intensity.
Will your V02 change if you increase or decrease your fitness level? Yes. With improved fitness comes the ability to work more intensely while still using oxygen efficiently and therefore burning max calories. In other words, the more fit you become, the more calories you can burn. Now of course the reverse is also true. Taking your V02 every 6 months as you are getting into shape can be beneficial.
What is involved with the test? The test is administered on a treadmill. You will walk or run depending on your fitness level. You wear a mask that fits over your nose and mouth so that your oxygen consumption can be monitored. The test begins with a warm up and then progresses through your anaerobic state (meaning you are no longer using oxygen to produce energy). The test can last anywhere from 10-20 minutes on average.
I would recommend this test to anyone wanting to be more effective with their workouts. We all are tight on time and this is a great way to maximize the time you do have to spend with exercise.