Have you ever wondered how some people can exercise longer than others? Or have you struggled with improvements in your own performance? Fitness and fatigue can depend a lot on your VO2 Max.
What is VO2 Max and why is it important to our exercise? If you want to improve your exercise, be it your performance, speed, time, or simply wanting to move up the ranks, it boils down to one important factor: your VO2 Max.
VO2 Max measures the volume of oxygen used per kilogram of body weight per minute during an exercise (mL/kg/min). Essentially, the higher your VO2 Max, the better you can exercise as it means your body can take in more oxygen and deliver it to your muscles, enabling them to produce energy more efficiently.
Different people, depending on their body, have a different amount of VO2 Max. But generally, men have a slightly higher VO2 Max than women; and professional athletes will have a much higher VO2 Max when comparing to amateurs. Since VO2 Max is important to their overall performance, many athletes pay close attention to this particular value and will change their trainings accordingly to maximize their performance. Because if they practice without knowing, and just train for the sake of “training,” there won't be any improvement to their endurance, performance or strength even if they have been training for months.
If we just want to exercise for health or for fun, then the matter of oxygen value and/or VO2 Max might not be as significant for you. But if you want to improve your exercise, increase your fitness, boost your body's ability to exercise longer while feeling less tired, then it is very important to increase your body's oxygen levels.
Here are a few simple ways in which you may be able to aid this process.
Don't skip a speed session! It's the number one reason most amateur long distance runners don’t improve their V02 max over time.
It's easy to get addicted to distance and usually a much more preferred session because it's a lot less painful. Distance is also preferred because you get to enjoy the runners high for a longer period of time. Its not how you'll get those VO2 max gains though.
Here are 2 simple speeds sessions to assist you
The 3k Blitz
The goal here is simple. You need to run 3 kilometers as fast as you can. Treat this session like a super important race. At the end of the session you should be completely out of everything!
Think about athletes that collapse at the end of a marathon. Your goal is to reach a similar level of exhaustion, but you only have 3 km’s to do it in. That should give you a good understanding of how hard and how fast you need to run during the session.
The 5k Split
So this is simple. You want to run 5 super fast 1km splits. You need to be dipping below your 5km race pace for each kilometer that you cover.
You can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes to recover between each km.
Important note: It’s OK if you don’t quite make it to the end of this session or your last few splits aren’t quite as fast as you would like them to be. This is a simple, yet extremely demanding workout that will push most runners to the very edge of their capabilities.
Speed training is hard work, yet very effective. If it were easy, we would be doing it all the time.
Another one we all like to skip.
Matt Fitzgerald, author of Brain Training For Runners, points out that while 20 to 90 second hill training intervals are great for developing strength and speed, hill training intervals of 2-3 minutes are better for V02 max development.
A simple Hill Training Workout to Improve V02 Max:
Run up the hill at a solid speed for 2 minutes
Walk back down to where you started
Repeat this process 4 times
You might be more familiar with longer sessions, but I guarantee this style of workout will push you to the very edge. This where the magic happens, when you push your body over and above your self-imposed limitations.
Include berries, nuts, and grapes, which contain resveratrol, can help increase the endurance of your muscles by up to 21 percent. Thus, you should eat these fruits regularly.
Of course we are going to mention one of the most important ingredients in Modex.
Nitric Oxide (NO) is the body’s main Vasodilator. Vasodilation is the physiological process in which the diameter of blood vessels is widened to increase blood flow. Nitric Oxide improves the flow of blood and the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. This is of particular importance for energy production and hastening post exercise recovery.
Pycnogenol has been shown to act on endothelial cells and aid the production of Nitric Oxide, in turn becoming more effective of delivering oxygen to our cells. This Increases our aerobic/anaerobic threshold / VO2 max.