I've written about getting your VO2 max tested as well as finding your maximum and minimum heart rate values to follow my heart rate training. But I wanted to send out a warning that you need to have it tested by reputable facility sites.
This became apparent to me when I had a reading done at my LifeTime Fitness health club this past Monday morning. First, I want to say I love my LTF health club. I've got no complaints on any of the services I've used in the past and think they do a great job of keeping their facilities updated and clean. But when it comes to VO2 max testing… ummm… not so much.
He performed the test in record time, 10 minutes. Not that I don't think you can get a good VO2 Max test done in that time, but I don't think you can when 6 of the 10 minutes are done in warming up and cooling down.
The readings he got were very bad. For instance, I got off the machine not even feeling like I broke a sweat. I don't think these tests need to kill anyone but they also shouldn't give anyone a pass. He had my VO2 max or anabolic threshold at 153 beats per minute. Since I completed a 22.2 mile run 9 days before this at a 155 BPM average, this is physically impossible.
It was useful telling me how much fat I burned at the different zones, everyone should know this. But I did question those numbers when the others were in question. I'm sure that LTF has to be careful in giving tests like these to the general population. They have to deal with folks with varying degrees of fitness like those just starting out, triathletes, marathon runners, treadmill walkers and the weekend warriors. But then they should have different levels of testing for those wanting exact readings when they are counting on these numbers for a goal such as a 5K or 10K race, or as in my case, a marathon.
If you are looking for this type of precision from a testing center, I would recommend going on-line to http://bit.ly/iEYgSC . If there isn't one listed in your state, ask some of the top finishers in your next race where they have gone for their test.