Endurametrics also offers VO2 testing for both maximum VO2 and submax VO2 for applications such as fat utilization and efficiency.

What is a VO2 test and why is it important? Firstly, what it is? If you’ve ever seen images or video of elite or Olympic athletes in a lab exercising while breathing through some intimidating hoses, this is most likely a VO2 max test. To put it simply, a VO2 Max test measures the body’s maximum capacity to convert the oxygen that you breathe in into aerobic energy that your muscles use to run, swim or cycle.

It is the best measure of an endurance athlete’s athletic potential or performance ceiling. To use an analogy, it’s a little like an IQ test. It measures aptitude, which is determined to some measure through your DNA. A high IQ, though by no means the only determinant to academic success (you need good study habits, grit, focus and organization) is nevertheless the single most important predictor of that success.

A high VO2 Max is, likewise, not the only predictor of success as an endurance athlete, but is the most important determining factor.

This doesn’t mean you’re doomed to failure as an an endurance athlete if you don’t have an exceptionally high VO2 Max, but you most likely are not going to win the Olympic marathon with a low one. However, don’t be discouraged. Although VO2 is largely determined genetically, it is trainable. You can improve and become a successful endurance athlete in spite of lacking a high VO2 Max pedigree. It just takes, like anything else, grit, focus, and consistency in training.

All this is somewhat interesting, but this isn’t why VO2 testing is important necessarily. I believe VO2 testing is important for endurance athletes because we can analyze more fully what the body is actually doing, how it is using oxygen and what ratio of fats and carbohydrates are being used at different exercise intensities.

For example, we can more accurately measure your lactate threshold and your power and heart rate training zones by measuring VO2. Do you want to know what your most accurate endurance training zone is? We can clinically measure it. Are you curious if you burn more carbs versus fats at your target intensity, or do you need the information to better train your body to use fat? A VO2 submax test will tell us what your substrate utilization is so we can better create an optimized training and nutrition plan tailored to your event and your objectives.