Three lab tests that can help you reach your health and fitness goalsJanuary 27, 2017
Whether you would like to run your first 10k, finish with a personal best in your next GranFondo, or improve your conditioning and recovery for your next soccer season, exercise testing can help you take your training goals to the next level.
At the Fortius Lab, we measure cardiovascular fitness, production and use of energy, body composition, as well as sport-specific measures such as power and speed. These measures establish a baseline to evaluate and monitor health, fitness and performance, and to provide valuable feedback to help you plan your best year yet.
Not sure where to start? We’ve answered a few frequently asked questions on some that can enhance your training and ultimately help you reach your training and performance goals.
Why should you measure body composition?
If you’re trying to lose weight, put on muscle mass, assess changes post-training or injury, or just improve your health, anthropometric (body composition) assessment can help.
In our basic assessment, we take measurements of your height, weight, girth and skinfolds. If your training program has specific body composition goals, these measurements are used as a baseline to evaluate its effectiveness. They also help us to evaluate your health status and risks for certain health conditions. If you are working with a dietitian, these tests can help design a nutrition plan to optimize your performance.
In addition, we offer an advanced assessment which can be tailored to include sport-specific measures for the more detail-oriented athlete.
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 can determine your current level of cardiovascular fitness by measuring your VO2max during an incremental exercise test while cycling or running.
What is lactate and how can measuring it help with my training?
Throughout the day and during exercise, your body is consuming carbohydrates and fats to create energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). 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 bursts 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.
Why 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 keep you on track to reaching your peak performance.
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About the Fortius Lab
Most human performance labs are located in university settings. The Fortius Lab is a purpose-built, state-of-the-art human performance lab (HPL) that is integrated within the Fortius Institute. Our vision is to make applied biomechanics and exercise physiology accessible to all athletes, of all ages and to all levels of competition.