Hey Athletes! Want to learn how to improve your VO2 max? Then make sure to check out the newest episode of Ask Me Anything!
Episode 34 of Ask Me Anything is up!
In this week’s episode of Ask Me Anything, Jerred and Joe talk about VO2 max. They explain what it is, how to improve it, and how it relates to your training.Â
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Ask Me Anything: How to Improve VO2 Max
[00:00:00] Jerred Moon: Welcome to garage the math. He asked me anything. It’s pretty simple. I’ll be answering questions from the thousands of athletes that follow our daily programming. If you have a question or topic you want submitted, go toÂ dot com slash AMA. Let’s get started.
All right, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the garage athlete podcast. Jared moon here with Joe Courtney. What’s up JoeÂ
Joe Courtney: flipping. Fantastic.Â
Jerred Moon: Jared. Well, that’s great.Â
Joe Courtney: It didn’t really answer your question, but I already had that preloadedÂ
Jerred Moon: or what you’re asking. I was going to say that no matter whatÂ
Joe Courtney: it could have been like.
Yeah. You shouldn’t like what’d you eat today? Flip and flame. ItÂ
Jerred Moon: has to flipping pancakes. Yeah. All right, man. Well, let’s get into this one. We’re talking VO two max today. Jeremy asked hi Jared. Over the week again, I researched VO two max. I have literal understanding of what it is, but wanted a [00:01:00] more detailed explanation from a trusted source.
What is it in how to improve your VO? Two max, what exercises are best for improving your max? Thank you for all you do for the GGA community. Thank you very much. Uh, so real quick, I mean the definition of view to max, um, and we can get into this more, but I mean, VO two max is simply, uh, the maximum rate of oxygen consumption, measured during exercise.
Um, and it’s how much volume of oxygen you can handle. And the maximum amount, uh, recorded over a certain time period. And. Typically the higher, the VO two max, the more oxygen in your body you can utilize. And so the fitter you are, and the more you can, you can work, you can put out, I mean, that’s the short and sweet of, of VO two max, but I think, uh, speaking more practical terms cause scientific terms.
I mean, that’s what it is is, is leaders are typically liters of oxygen. Your body’s using, like I said, over a time period [00:02:00] and we can get into that time period. But, uh, It’s a very strong indicator of health and longevity. Like when they look at different studies for, um, people who lived the longest, um, VO two max is heavily correlated to how long you live, assuming you don’t get hit by bus.
Joe Courtney: Plus hits are bad for your kids.Â
Jerred Moon: Yeah. They’re they crush it. Um, no pun intended. So anyway, VO two max is important. It is a thing worth, worth tracking. It’s just hard to track because how you should really be tracking VO two max or the best way is I’m sure you’ve, you’ve seen people do it. You know, you.
Uh, you strap on a mask. Yeah. Basically you strap on a mask and then you, uh, get on a treadmill test. And, and typically what they do is they have you run at a, at a certain, um, grade four. It’s typically a certain amount of [00:03:00] time, like one to three minutes, and then they increase it and they just keep increasing that until it gets until you quit is really what it is.
They go until you quit. And then once you quit, they ha they tabulate your VO two max score. And the reason I liked that test a little bit more is because it throws in a little bit of that mental fortitude in there, and like you pushing forward and in all these things and how you measure it at home is just very different.
And that’s why I don’t like it as much for Truvia to max, but it doesn’t really matter. Um, because let’s say you’re measuring with your Apple watch if you’re consistently wrong, at least you’ll see. As long as you’re doing the same test every time I think it’s okay. Um, what do you mean tests that you wouldÂ
Joe Courtney: do for, uh, to get your max heart rate?
Jerred Moon: both of them sound awful. Uh, yeah, I mean, very similar. And you can, I mean, you can stack these tests too. Like I’ve done the VO two max where they are pricking my finger every three minutes to test my blood lactate levels and you know, trying to see where you’re at there and your, your [00:04:00] lactate threshold.
So there, there are a lot of different things you can, you can test a, but VO two max I do think is really important. Um, now how do you train it? How do you improve it? Uh, there, and then we can talk about measuring it. Uh, cause I think, you know, Joe’s done it. I’ve done it with more at home type stuff. But the first thing I think everyone needs to realize if you dive into the, the research on VO two max, you’re going to see a lot of things about high intensity training and proving VO two max.
Uh, but if you normalize the results for time and effort, uh, work output, it’s basically the same with like mid-level intensity and high intensity. They both produce about the same results. And obviously it will just take longer periods of time. So. You could do high intensity for just an example, like say 30 minutes that improve your bot max, but a medium amount of intensity for 45 to 60 minutes will improve your VO two max, the same amount, but it just takes longer, but it might be better for you as [00:05:00] opposed to doing high intensity all the time.
And so the trap I think people get into is they think to increase VO two max, if you’re trying to look at. Scientific studies. You’re going to see a lot of stuff about high intensity interval training to improve your VO two max, and it will work. But what this could lead you to doing is just getting on a high intensity interval training on a daily basis program to try and increase your VO two max, and for what?
Cause just for the sake of this number that you’re tracking and screw everything else, you know, your recovery, and you’re just gonna hit it hard every day to try and improve your VO. Two max, when, like I said, you could do it with other types of training and then also. You can only improve it so much. Um, if you don’t widen your robotic base and now that’s the big that’s what’s completely missed.
Is these, uh, powerhouses with massive VO two max is like cyclists and runners and stuff. They have this ridiculous base. Of aerobic [00:06:00] conditioning that they got by training for very long periods of time at very low intensity. And so that’s what I think is missed. So the true way to improve it would be to do a lot of low intensity like zone to level, a aerobic based training to widen your aerobic base, then throw in some high intensity interval type training, uh, you know, once or twice per week.
And that’s going to give you. A lot more trajectory room for VO two max, if you just go out in your garage or go to the gym and you’re like, I’m going to increase VO two max 30 minute high intensity interval training. You will you’ll you’ll bump it up. Let’s say a couple of points. And, but then you’ll be stuck if you want, like a true, like, Hey, I want to get into that elite level VO two max, you need to do a bunch of aerobic training, widen that base as big as you can, and then throw in some high intensity interval training here and there, uh, to increase it some more.
So that’s, that’s my take on it. Um, what are your thoughts on VO? Two max are measuring it, tracking anything like that, Joe.Â
Joe Courtney: Oh, I’ve done the say [00:07:00] about it, but if you have certain wearables love, our athletes are now getting into wearables because we do like a lot of things with heart rate, check out what your wearable is and see what the, um, if there’s a test or what you have to do to calibrate it.
Cause a lot of times you’ll be gathering all this data. Like I had my garment, I was gathering data for awhile and I was like, what the heck? Why isn’t my dog max showing up? And I looked it up, but what I had to do, and it was like two, two runs within a week, 10 minutes long getting my heart rate up to 80% and then it was giving me.
VO two max score and stuff like that. And then you mentioned Apple has something like that, so, or whatever your device is and see if you can, uh, just test it out and see what it is and, and jump on the train and see how it can, can affect.Â
Jerred Moon: Yeah. Yeah. And I’ve looked into Apple watches specifically. So if you had an Apple watch and they measure VO two max, uh, but they have like parameters, I think it’s only two as a, as of recording this and up to my, my UpToDate knowledge, Apple watch record your VO two max under two circumstances.
The first is. Uh, so you have different workout [00:08:00] selections that you can make when you start exercise. And the first one is an outdoor walk in. The second one is an outdoor run and I’m pretty sure the time threshold is, uh, a minimum of 20 minutes. So you have to walk at a brisk pace outside for 20 minutes, or you have to run outside for 20 minutes.
And what they’re doing is they’re measuring. The distance you’re covered, you’re covered under a certain timeframe and also where your heart rate is at. And then they’re giving you an estimate. Obviously none of this is tied to your, your lungs at all, right. You’re how much oxygen you’re taking in, but they’re, they’re using some pretty strong calculators and estimates to take it in.
It’s not the most accurate, but they’re, they’ve gotten pretty good. Like it’s not that bad. It’s just, wouldn’t be as accurate as the super expensive, stupid test. I said, I’m talking about I’ve done because yeah. Why would you go do that? Like you don’t need to. Um, and they’re, I’m assuming their algorithms only get better and better.
The reason I don’t like those as much as because, um, and this is just a personal stance. [00:09:00] Like I might go for a run for 20 minutes or longer with a vest on. And that’s going to screw things up, right? My heart rate is going to be much higher with a vest on than it would be without a vest on, or maybe I turn it on for like a walk and a, you know, I was going super slow or whatever.
So you have to kind of be like intentional about how you’re going to measure it and track it. Um, and just pay attention to that. So, That I like, if you pull up your, if you have an Apple watch and you pull up your Apple watch health, like it already might have some VO, two max recordings in there. And that’s what I’m saying.
Ignore those. If you weren’t intentionally trying to measure it and then have like days where you’re like, Hey, I’m going to try and test my VO two max, where you’re like, all right, I’m running for, I’m gonna do a 21 minute run for me, max distance, and then just go do it. And then that would be a more accurate reading than like, Yeah, randomly doing something else when and having the app on.
So, uh, that’s about it. That’s how I measure it, how to [00:10:00] improve it. Um, don’t miss that low intensity piece that I think would be the best at really giving you the best bang bang for your buck for VO two max VOD, max, super important, like super important in, uh, living longer, in my opinion, more like much better than heart rate variability or anything else you could be, you could be tracking and you also don’t need to like.
Be at this ridiculously elite level. Um, if you do look at the, we, we did like, it was a podcast. About man. I think it was the one where we talk about zone two a lot. When we first brought up zone two in the DGA podcast, that was the one that looked at VO. Two max is, um, low intensity training. And, uh, how long you would live based off of your VO two max.
So that is the least helpful thing I could have said probably right here at the end. If you guys go find it, the information is there and you can even go to the blog and check out the studies we’ve already pulled on it. Um,Â
Joe Courtney: It’s great to improve, but it doesn’t do a ton for you day to day.Â
Jerred Moon: It’s not gonna [00:11:00] fluctuate something you would want to test maybe once a quarter, um, just to see what kind of improvement you’re getting.
I definitely want test it weekly or monthly, anything like that, because that would suck. Those tests should suck a little bit. Just so we’re all clear.Â
Joe Courtney: Yeah. I’ve, I’ve thought about doing those, but I’ve even looked at the cost or even if it was free, I would just be very hesitant on either of those things, especially like my, a max heart rate.
Cause I am curious what that actually is. Let’sÂ
Jerred Moon: do well, I, I mean, I think even if you’re just doing it with your watch for a 20 minute run, That should suck too. It shouldn’t. Um, cause if you just go for, like I said, they’re, they’re trying to see how much distance you cover over time, and then they’re looking at your heart rate.
And then, so if you’re going slow, like you’re not covering as much distance, but your heart rates, you know, Slightly elevated. Like it’s going to give you, uh, a bad reading and give you a number. It just, it might not be truly accurate. So it really should kind of be like 20. And the reason I say 21 minutes is because 20 minutes is a hole and let’s just make sure [00:12:00] that we meet the threshold.
So you don’t do the test, miss it. Um, did I go, sorry. I have enough data. So do 21 minute timed run for distance. And I think that will give you the best reading you can with Apple watch at least. All right, that’s it. If you guys have a question, go toÂ dot com slash AMA, and we will answer the question here on the podcast video form and.
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