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How exercise testing can help you train smarter
October 18, 2016

Whether you would like to run your first 5k, finish with a personal best in your next GranFondo, or improve your conditioning and recovery in your hockey off-season, exercise testing can help you take your training to the next level.

At Fortius Sport & Health, we assess maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and identify training thresholds as indicators of cardiovascular fitness and to prescribe individualized training zones. If you are considering coming in to the lab for testing, here is some information on how lab testing can enhance your training and ultimately help you reach your training and performance goals.

So what is VO2max?              

VO2max refers to how much oxygen your muscles are using at your highest intensity of exercise. The more oxygen your body can take up and use, the more energy you can produce. VO2max is important for endurance activity (i.e., long distance running) as well as for sustaining and recovering from repeated high intensity activity (i.e., sprints in soccer or hockey). At the Fortius Lab we will measure your VO2max to determine your current level of cardiovascular fitness.

 © 2013 Photography by Mark Whitehead

What is lactate and how can measuring it help with my training?

Our bodies use carbohydrates and fats from the food we eat to create a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for energy.  ATP is formed by either our aerobic energy system to sustain exercise for long periods of time (i.e., marathon pace) or the anaerobic energy system for shorter, high intensity busts of exercise (i.e., sprints).

When ATP is created, it produces a by-product called lactate which can be measured using a fingertip blood sample. When we use the anaerobic system we produce more lactate than when we use the aerobic system. At the Fortius Lab we measure blood lactate levels and heart rate during an incremental exercise test to identify at what intensity we are using the aerobic or anaerobic energy system. From these results, we provide you with individualized training zones to train at optimal intensities to maximize performance gains.

VO2max with Lactate Test

By adding on lactate measures to a VO2max test, we can give you the big picture of your aerobic fitness, as well as the specifics of your training zones. If the test is repeated every 8-12 weeks, it can help show the effectiveness of your training and help keep you on track to reaching your peak performance.