VO2 Test #2

On Feb 4, I completed my second Metabolic and VO2 max test with Angie Sturtevant from Specialists in Sports Performance in Madison WI (www.VO2test.com).   Click here for more on the testing by Angie. I would highly recommend Angie if you are interested in this type of performance testing.

My first test by itself was interesting but not helpful.  My second test was very insightful and helpful because now I can see how my training and nutrition has affected my body.  I decided to have my first metabolic testing done after reading a book by Bob Seebohar, Metabolic Efficiency Training.  More info from Bob can be found at  http://www.fuel4mance.com

My training before the first test consisted of mostly anaerobic and sprint training for the preceding 4 -5 months.  My nutrition involved using GU gels and GU Brew for every ride and eating lots of carbs.  One of the concepts that Bob talks about was the crossover point where you are burning 50% fat and 50% carbs.  When I looked at the graph from my first test, I could not really see any crossover point.  The problem was that my CHO and FAT burn was jumping all over the place.  My training and nutrition was training my body to burn carbs which I believe to one of my performance issues.  The graph below is from the first test on 7/7/10.

After Nationals in August, I decided that need to adjust my training because I was fading at the end of my races.  I had a lot of anaerobic power but I just was burning through carbs so fast that I was always fading at the end of my races.  This is not surprising because I had trained my body that way.  Starting in August, I have been doing a lot of 20-30 min intervals in the “sweat spot” and at my FTP.  The last 3 months, my weekly hours and training stress has fallen, which of course means that my CTL has fallen slowly over the winter from 88.6 on August 1 to 56.7 today. I just can’t ride the trainer more than 2 hours (and can’t x-ski because it hurts my knees).  December and January have all been trainer rides with around 10 hours during training week and zero hours during travel weeks.  My 20 intervals have been falling slightly but I have been doing mostly 30 min intervals for the last few months.

Month Duration TSS 20′w
Jan-11 32:16 1595 318
Dec-10 34:45 1410 314
Nov-10 32:22 1691 343
Oct-10 44:02 2480 323
Sep-10 31:40 1742 342
Aug-10 39:51 2180 322

Nutrition wise, I have modified my approach.  I have also been doing the majority of my rides from 5-7 am.  Before the ride, I have been having a cup of coffee and some amino acids.  After the ride, I have been having a large berry smoothie with some Living Fuel Greens and Protein mix.  For lunch, some meat and large spinich salad.  For dinner meat and veggies.

I tell you all of this because it has dramatically affect my metabolic and VO2 max results.  If you look at the chart below you will notice how smooth the CHO (carbs) and FAT lines are compared to my previous test.  The key for me is how far to the right the FAT line stays up, and how low the CHO line starts and slowly rises.  What does this mean:  It means that during my races I will be burning fat at higher power levels and I will be saving my Carbs for the end of races. 

Also, I have improved my VO2 max by 20%.  I went from a 55.7 (okay for a 40 year old) to a pretty good 66.8 mL/Kg/min.  After my first test, I set a goal of hitting my VO2 Max at 65 mL/Kg/min.  This goal was based upon me dropping my weight to 170 and a slight improvement of my VO2 mL/min.  I am still planning to drop my weight to 175 pounds over the next 3 months so that I can push up my Kg/watts.   I have not been very good over the winter at restricting calories so I have maintained my normal winter weight of about 190.  The key factor for me is that my VO2 mL/min was the only factor contributed to my improvement. 

  7/7/2010 190lbs 2/4/2011 190lbs  
  VO2mL/Kg/min VO2mL/min VO2mL/Kg/min VO2mL/min % increase
Aerobic Base 37.6 3240 46.7 4024 24%
Lactate Threshold 45.3 3904 51.1 4402 13%
Aerobic Threshold 51.8 4468 57.3 4936 10%
Max 55.7 4804 66.8 5756 20%

What does this mean to me and what will I do with this?

First, I am very happy to see the improvement that has happened over the fall and winter.   I was making good progress pushing my FTP up when I was riding outside and was able to get some high training stress rides.  Inside during this winter, I have been doing a lot of long sweet spot rides.  Recently, I have added my “MAX” Tuesday workout, which is a Computrainer stallouts and new addition of pain, ride as long as I can at 420 watts.  I was trying to do this workout a few days week but found that it was fatiguing me so that I could not even do my sweet spot intervals.  Wednesday to Sunday are either endurance or sweet spot rides, and Monday are always off.  I will continue this schedule through February, and I hope to start getting some outside weekend rides starting in March, if the snow will every melt!!!!!

Second, I plan to get re-tested in about 3 months to see where I can push these numbers with my training.  With a drop in weight, I should be able to hit 72.5 mL/Kg/min (66.8*190/175=72.5) and with a 10% improvement of my VO2 mL/min (5756*1.1 = 6331), I am targeting to hit 80 mL/Kg/min (66.8*6332/5756*190/175=79.8).  This will be an intense three months of training as I work to continue to push my aerobic system.  I am also taking this time to push it hard because I won’t be traveling too often during first half of the year because of budget cuts!  Starting in May, I will work to peak for State Crit and TOAD. 

Ride Hard,

Steve