Poor Vo2 Max, damaged ego

  • Creator
  • #61968

    Hey All,

    I am a 29yo M, in relatively good fitness (My “Alpine Combine” results would be excellent for 1000′ with 20% of BW pack, and excellent or good for the rest of the tests). I can routinely do ski tours with 4-7K vert, climb pumpy gym routes, but have cut running + biking completely from my training schedule. I maybe spend about 1.5 hours in my zone 1, 1 hour in zone 2 and maybe 30 min in zone 3, climb in gym 2-3x, and do 1 ski tour, in an average week. I have no serious objectives until May, so I am just maintaining right now.

    I have been using tftna for many years and decided to get a professional V02 max treadmill + o2 mask test done recently. I keep a loose eye on my VO2 max via my apple watch, and always get a range from 52-57, which it estimates from nordic skiing, alpine touring, and doing stair-master. I know this is just an estimate.

    I was fairly shocked when I got the result that my max score was 34, anerobic threshold 30. I fully admit that I devote a fair portion of my life to training and my ego was hurt to see such a low assessment of my progress. I am pretty sure the test was administered correctly. I also smoked cigarettes on/off from years from 22-28, and drank heavily. Sober now 🙂

    Considering that before this, my training had been going smoothly (hitting major goals, overall aerobic base has improved on paper, had a successful past season), my questions are:
    * Should I add intensity/aerobic specific stuff (like running) to specifically target improving Vo2?
    * Is the score so concerning I should I go to a doctor to get checked out?
    * Any other thoughts/ideas from the uphill athlete community? Have others experienced such discrepancies in test results?
    * Other people who have cleaned up their life care to share their experiences?

    Thanks for listening!


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    Dada on #61990

    Did you do the VO2MAX testing fasted? Doing VO2max fasted, can cause you to not reach your full potential in those tests.

    My Garmin value where pretty in line with Garmin values.

    To be honest, VO2MAX training caused my best performance at ski mountaineering at altitudes of 4000m.

    mustache_alpinism on #62016

    No I was not in a fasted state- I had not eaten much, but had a bullet coffee and a big dinner the night before . Their protocal was “Avoid eating a large meal a few hours before your test”. Interesting thought though.

    Are you saying your Garmin values are in line with another vo2 test values?

    Anonymous on #62030

    Have you read https://uphillathlete.com/max-vo2-myth/? I think you will find this illuminating. because I have had experience with very high maxVO2 athletes performing relatively poorly and low maxVO2 athletes performing very well.

    As an example: That young woman skier I mention that article: I know she had a lox maxVO@ by comparing her uphill time trials to her contemporaries. But, I never wanted or allowed her to do a maxVO2 test test the young woman skier because I knew it could potentially have a devastating effect on her ego and hence her desire to continue in the sport. She ended up ranked 5th in the world several years in a row. For sure her low maxVO2 kept her from being number one. But she exploited her genetics 100% and that’s what counts.

    What counts to athletes is performance. All these measures from lab tests are measuring proxies for performance. Some of the proxies are better than others but none of them are better how the athlete performs.

    Your maxVO2 is what it is whether it is 32 or 72 doesn’t matter. There is very little you can do to change it very much as an adult who has been doing a bunch of aerobic training for a couple of years.

    The important things you should be asking: Are you able to keep up with your buddies on ski tours? Are you seeing improvements in performance?

    I recommend you tear up that test and go back to enjoying these pursuits.

    mustache_alpinism on #62037

    Hey Scott- thanks so much for your reply, it actually really brightened my spirits. You are right- I can keep up with my buddies on the skin track, and have seen huge performance gains over the past two years- I am in the best shape of my life.

    I had re-read the article in the book with that title, but had not seen this web version of the article. Point taken: If I want to improve my performance on the uphill I would be wise to focus on things I can control: optimizing my aerobic base, and improving technique & economy.

    I retrieved my touring skis from the dumpster, and put the VO2 test results there. Thanks again for your input.

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