The Physical Rules

of Aerobic Metabolism Part II

Week 11. VO2 Capacity and Performance in Machines, Animals, and Athletes

by | old version posts/lectures

“Oxygen powered metabolism” pushed to the max begins to top off in the world’s fastest athletes at a speeds running near 13 mph in a marathon – and then maxes out around 15 mph in the 5k and 3k races – as shown in the combined lactate and VO2 graph below.

Accelerating past 15 mph, extreme anaerobic glycolysis powers the body (as lactate increases exponentially) toward sprinting speeds reached by track athletes – up to Usain Bolt’s world record 27.8mph

The hard line is: Oxygen based power in muscle cells cannot boost speeds past 15 mph. This tells us aerobic metabolism is a ‘weaker’ form of metabolism relative to anaerobic glycolysis.


This lecture is a short story on aerobic metabolism, VO2 max, health and performance, but one that tells it much differently from conventional standards – particularly by:

1. Clarifying what it is not. (by comparing speed and power production across events like the marathon, 5k, and sprinting.

2. Understanding the body’s use of oxygen – first at rest. (before explaining oxygen consumption relative to exercise intensity or any physical effort whatsoever)

3. Reinterpreting aerobic exercise in terms of the physical severity of stress and damage it causes – ranging on a scale from ‘easy on the system’ to ‘stressful maximum on the heart’.

This reinterpretation expands into derivative lectures on nutrition, health, the heart, brain, and functional longevity.

In short, the conventional way presents a narrow view of the whole that restricts more complete understanding.

Overall, I am emphasizing the conventional view – “oxygen uptake and speed/muscle cell-performance” should not be used for teaching oxygen powered metabolism and so-called ‘health benefits’ of aerobic exercise – it is vital to understand the whole body and see how all cells consume oxygen – especially the brain and heart.


Clarifying Aerobic Metabolism: what it is not

Oxygen powered metabolism never produces explosive power, does not make muscles contract with great force in any type of exercise, and cannot boost speeds past 15 mph.

Aerobic power allows us to sustain a ‘high’ submaximal speed over time and distance in races like the marathon and 5k or 3k races, all of which are extremely stressful on the heart, blood, and coronary arteries.* (just delays the inevitable of power >LAT)

*Derivative presentation
  • Thinking in pure physical outcomes of stress/strain on tissues – specifically the overstretching of body parts such as the left ventricle and blood vessels – reveals why ‘pushing aerobically’ at high intensity levels for an hour or more (repeatedly over years) can easily damage both the heart and coronary arteries. (Covered in Week 16)
  • Keep in mind for now and future presentations, the majority of negative effects, e.g. arterial calcification, heart fibrillation, muscle thickening and fibrosis  – apply mainly to competitive performers who actually do perform in the high end of the ‘VO2/maximal-stress’ aerobic zone.


Reinterpreting the range of aerobic exercise into an analogous range of stress

By interpreting aerobic exercise in combined terms – of speed and stress – we see the entire range of oxygen produced power spans from ‘easy on the system’ to ‘stressful maximum on the heart’.

 

 

‘Easy on the System’ begins at the yellow dot (at rest / zero mph).

The green dot marks ‘Stressful Maximum on The Heart’ (at maximal aerobic power or where VO2 max occurs) running 15 mph.


Summary of what aerobic exercise is, is not, and its characteristics.

1. When aerobic power reaches its maximum – it cannot boost speed or power past 15mph. (running)

2.  Severity of stress on cells, muscles, blood, the heart and its arteries ranges from ‘low to high’ – from zero to 15 mph.

3. ‘Oxygen powered metabolism’ is active at zero mph – your body is still working and consuming oxygen at rest – akin to an ‘engine at idle’ in a car.

From this standpoint I’m presenting a more complete way to understand aerobic exercise and health.

From this standpoint – while I am preserving a conventional presentation showing muscles’ dual role in producing speed and consuming oxygen – I am introducing a more vital way to understand functional longevity of the body – especially the brain, blood, the heart and arteries.

This begins by visualizing what aerobic metabolism is – at rest.


Oxygen Consumption Visualized – at rest.

All the cells of your body use a tiny amount of oxygen. If you place your body inside a sealed airtight space as the artist did in the plaster of Paris box below – the space you inhabit becomes a single cell – and to an outsider you appear as a single gigantic cell.

Let’s look at this real life example and other scientific ones that show how this works.

 

Under all the conditions above a grand total Volume of Oxygen (VO2) enters the ‘space’ and a Volume of Carbon Dioxide (VCO2) exits.

When we say “oxygen is consumed”, this means O2 combines with the carbon in food to make CO2. Thus, aerobic metabolism is a slow form of combustion in cells – including the brain, heart, muscles.

Fuel + VO2 –> VCO2 + H2O + Heat

In tests such as a VO2 max test we measure the volume of O2 gas consumed collectively by all cells of the body – measured in liters or ml – indicated for now on as VO2.

Next, in a VO2 graph, we first consider the VO2 used at rest over a 1-minute period.

Then we consider how VO2 increases with exercise intensity.


Graphing Oxygen Powered Metabolism ‘at Zero’ (or at Rest)

Assume the astronaut, tapped artist, or scuba diver or anyone are relaxed and still.

Relaxing humans consume on average, approximately 1/3 liter of O2 per minute – as indicated by the yellow dot on the VO2 graph below.

 

 

Keep in mind – even though speed is zero – power production in cells or aerobic metabolism is happening. (fuel + VO2 –> VCO2 + H2O + heat).

Key Points of VO2 at Rest in a Human

  • The volume of O2 used per minute by a human at rest would fill a balloon approximately the size of an orange, which is 1/3 liter. 1/3 liter = 333ml.

  • At rest, VO2 per minute is called 1 MET for 1 metabolic equivalent, which = 1/3 liter.
  • 1 MET is a human’s form of ‘idling’ – akin to an idling car engine using fuel and oxygen at its low point of consumption.
  • Every human’s ‘idle’ point consumes either a bit more or less than 1/3L O2. This means 1 MET for all people – or their basal metabolic rate – is unique – but always fairly close to 1/3L O2 consumed per minute.

 

Now, forget about the graph for a moment and picture your whole body using oxygen at rest.

Feel each breath enter into your lungs; this air contains oxygen gas, which enters into your bloodstream through your lungs.

At rest muscle cells consume very little O2 – since you are not using them to move. But since only muscle cells dramatically consume more oxygen over their resting values compared to other cells  – your whole body’s VO2 increases progressively and linearly – from the yellow to green dot – as speed increases.

 

Thus, we see actual values of VO2 in humans rise from 333 ml to nearly 3000 ml per minute.

Comparing a horse to a human, we see speed and oxygen consumption increase similarly and the exact same leveling off – where aerobic metabolism provides no additional boost to speed.

There’s nothing extraordinary about testing and graphing VO2 in animals. Gradually increase speed. Record oxygen consumption until it peaks and no longer rises – though speed may still increase. Stop the test there. Details next week when we do it in lab.

We return to the hard line:

Power production in cells of both humans and horses performing at VO2max are nowhere near maximum. Oxygen based power is ‘weak’ compared to anaerobic glycolysis.

Keep in mind, performing for short periods near maximum aerobic output – the maximum stress zone – is not necessarily harmful. It the sustaining that creates the damage – and additionally prevents recovery to cells and tissues at speeds too high and frequent over time – especially in competitive ‘athletic’ people.


What VO2 max is and is not in perspective:

Humans can almost double their speed sprinting over the speed where VO2 max occurs! (15 to 27mph)

Only anaerobic power – specifically extreme glycolysis –  boosts speed past VO2 max speed.

Increasing speed from idle – 1 MET – progressively consumes more fuel and oxygen at a linear rate. (as opposed to the exponential increase with acid production.

In the world record 3k and 5k runners VO2max occurs at 15 mph – which can be sustained for only around 7.5 minutes.

The men’s 3k world record is 7:20.67 set by Daniel Komen of Kenya, in 1996.


Real World Graphing of VO2 – in MPH from Walking to Sprinting

ASSIGNMENT: Graph these figures above on the graph below:

Note: 1 minute is the standard amount of time used to quantify a measurement.

  • A person’s VO2 at rest may be 333ml/min.
  • VO2 at moderate intensity could actually be 1500 ml/min
  • Max VO2 could actually be 3300 ml/min, which occurs at moderately high intensity – well before reaching very high intensity.

absolute-vo2-graph


Comparing Out of Shape People to the World Record Marathon Runner, Dennis Kimetto

‘Out of shape’ people shift into high rates of glycolysis at low intensities compared to fit or trained people.

Compare the blue, gold, and red dot in the graph below and interpret all three lines.

overlay-acid-vo2-max

Red line: Dennis Kimetto, World Champion Marathoner runs 26.4 miles averaging just under 13mph. The red dot shows where Dennis Kimetto’s ‘race pace’ acid levels are before rising exponentially – just under 13mph at 85% VO2 max.

Blue dot: An ‘out of shape’ person’s threshold pace is at 6.5mph or 40%VO2 max – with acid levels shifting exponentially ‘sooner’ at lower speeds.

Gold dot: A fit person reaches race pace or lactate threshold occurs at 10mph or 65% VO2 max.

How does an out of shape person get ‘in shape’ to sustain running faster speeds?

or, How does an untrained person become trained?

After a year of training it is possible that a badly out of shape person could run 10mph at lactate threshold – shown by the gold dot. The key to this is:

Work near, at, or slightly above lactate threshold pace (or MLSS)

If and when an out of shape person increases their fitness, this means they increased lactate threshold – shown by pushing the curve to the right. This is called the lactate shift.

lactate-shift-2

It requires sustained mental and physical effort to perform near lactate threshold.

Compare the ability to sustain performing at threshold:

  • Out of shape people: 30-45 minutes
  • Recreational athlete: 60 minutes
  • Pro-elite atheltes: 90 minutes

It is uncomfortable to sustain paces at MLSS, and explains why some people never work hard enough to get in shape or whine about ‘hard work’. This is pretty much only time ‘no pain no gain’ should be thought as a positive.

Improving Fitness Illustrated by The Lacate Shift

Endurance training shifts the graph to the right.

This is called the lactate shift.

lactate-shift-2

What change occurs in muscle cells to allow this to happen?

lactate-shift-as-seen-in-th

Note to myself: Explain in class why Andy uses 19x more glucose compared to Dude when both run 10mph.

 

Questions:

How do we train to increase fitness or lactate threshold?

What is the stimulus or correct intensity to train at to increase lactate threshold?

The Answers:

chris-charmichael

lactate-threshold-training

b-side-v1-mastertiff

 

5. Advanced Integration
[wonderplugin_slider id=”1″]

 

Muscle’s demand for producing power is evident by the 500% increase of blood flow over their resting levels at their maximum VO2 produced power, which maxes out at 15 mph in the world’s fastest runners.

Insert image here, comparing oxygen use and blood flow in muscles, the brain, and heart.

Do not forget, the heart is under great strain running competitively. It stretches dramatically by filling up with up to or more than 2x the volume of blood at maximal output compared to at rest.

Additionally, sustained high aerobic intensity (from 10-15mph) leads to energy depleted, mitochondrial damaged, swollen/inflamed cells – which is not examined/mentioned by O’ Keefe, et al. in Run For Your Life. (But others do examine this)  I am purposely conditioning you – the reader – to come to the realization that ‘excessive endurance exercise’ is a problem for the heart and coronary arteries in other ways, beyond the damage O’ Keefe illustrates.

Title
Important points of how the whole body consumes O2.

Now we’re ready to see VO2 in terms of speed and performance, Next, let’s see how a progressive increase of speed translates to oxygen consumed in horse and a human.


 

Oxygen Powered Metabolism up to 15 mph/VO2 max.

 

  • or from ‘easy on the system’ to ‘stressful maximum on the heart’

Let’s first see how graphing an animal’s VO2 from rest to VO2 max such as a horse compares to graphing a human.

A horse’s VO2 graph look essentially the same as a human’s. As each runs faster from rest VO2 increases until oxygen produced power maxes out – shown where the graph flattens out.

There’s nothing special about measuring and graphing VO2 in animals. Gradually increase speed while measuring oxygen consumption until it peaks and no longer rises – as speed may still increase. Stop the test there.

We return to the hard line: Speed and power production in cells of both humans and horses running at VO2max are nowhere near maximum. Oxygen based power is ‘weak’ compared to anaerobic glycolysis.

What VO2 max is not in perspective:

VO2 max is not the absolute maximum speed a horse or person can run. In human, running at VO2max (which last only around 7.5mins) occurs at 15 mph in the world record 3k and 5k runners.

The men’s 3k world record is 7:20.67 set by Daniel Komen of Kenya, in 1996.

  • Humans can almost double their speed sprinting compared to the speed where VO2 max occurs! (see this infographic)
  • All speeds ran faster to the right do not consume more oxygen – so the VO2 graph stays flat – but lactate increases sharply. Oxygen consumption has maxed out but speed and rate of glycolysis has not.
  • Extreme glycolysis provides the power to boost speed after VO2 max has been reached.

 

What VO2 max is: Real World Graphing of VO2 – in MPH from Walking to Sprinting

 

 

In humans, oxygen consumption increases from 1 MET to its maximum limit at 15mph. A horse’s muscle cells work the same way, but the max speed where oxygen power can no longer boost speed is simply a higher speed.

Thus, oxygen produced power – graphed when running – looks fairly the same in a horse and human as each simply speed up from rest.

But even after reaching their maximal oxygen use – human, horses, and other mammals can still increase muscle power without oxygen. Track athletes can almost double their running speed past the point of maximum aerobic power – well past the point where VO2 max occurs.

Reinterpreting the ‘power zone’ for aerobic metabolism in a new graph below, we see the minimum to maximum values of oxygen consumed spans from the yellow circle at rest to the green circle.

aerobic power is quite limited in terms of producing power.

The range of human oxygen consumption in terms of VO2 spans from resting (at zero mph) to its maximum (VO2 max) running 15mph at world record paces – indicated by the green circle.

15mph is the average speed maintained by the world record holders of the 5k and 3k races.

All other longer races are ran at slower speeds at a fraction of 100% VO2 max.

‘Use of oxygen’ in the range above is measured as the volume of oxygen consumed per minute by cells.

Volume of oxygen used is written as VO2, measured in liters or ml.

Thus, the entire range for measuring volume of oxygen consumed (VO2) spans a range from zero mph (rest) to 15mph – as shown by the yellow and green circles in the graph below.

Let’s break this graph down.

You can sprint without breathing. We proved why this is so in week 2 – graphed just below. This graph showed aerobic metabolism (oxygen used to produce power) maxes out around 15mph – and remains steady running all speeds faster up to 27.8mph – beginning with the world record 3k and 5k runners.

You can sprint without breathing, and in fact your cells must not use oxygen to sprint.

You can sprint without breathing. We proved why this is so in week 2 – graphed just below – which showed anaerobic glcycolyis is absolutely required to produce power and in fact produces the speed necessary to accelerate past 13 mph up to 27.8 mph. (Usain Bolt’s world record absolute speed is 27.8mph)

The graph below – from week 2 – showed aerobic metabolism (oxygen used to produce power) maxes out around 15mph and all speeds faster, beginning with the world record 3k and 5k runners.

Thus, aerobic metabolism, and the volume of oxygen used spans only a  from rest to running 15 –

The second graph extends the line – down toward slower speeds all the way to rest.

In fact, aerobic metabolism is maxed out around

“Oxygen powered metabolism” at its max (aerobic power pushed to the limit) enables elite humans to run a maximum speed of approximately 15mph, 12.8mph slower than Usain Bolt’s top speed.

The vertical red line in the graph below marks where anaerobic glycolysis powers the body (and lactate rises exponentially) while accelerating past 15mph to true sprinting speeds.

Accelerating past 15mph up to Usain Bolt’s maximum record at 27.8 mph requires anaerobic power, which explains why you can sprint without breathing – as visualized in a cell and shown in a lactate graph in week 2.

I say ‘oxygen powered metabolism’ to indicate the fact many different cells throughout the whole body use oxygen, e.g. cells of the brain, heart, organs, muscles, etc.

  • ‘Use of oxygen’ is the volume of O2 gas consumed collectively by all cells of the body – measured in liters or ml – indicated for now on as VO2.

To visualize all your cells working collectively consuming oxygen, imagine your body is contained and sealed off into a small space. Under this condition you become a ‘single gigantic cell’ as shown in the gallery of photos below.

 


Muscle cells increase the body’s VO2 more than any other cells by their ability to power the body to move. Despite muscles’ ability to consume great amounts of oxygen (look up increase percentage), humans can still ‘push muscle much faster’ and almost double their running speed past the point of maximum aerobic power – where VO2 max occurs.

Reinterpreting this in a new graph below we see aerobic power is quite limited in terms of producing power.

The range of human oxygen consumption in terms of VO2 spans from resting (at zero mph) to its maximum (VO2 max) running 15mph at world record paces – indicated by the green circle.

15mph is the average speed maintained by the world record holders of the 5k and 3k races.

All other longer races are ran at slower speeds at a fraction of 100% VO2 max.

‘Use of oxygen’ in the range above is measured as the volume of oxygen consumed per minute by cells.

Volume of oxygen used is written as VO2, measured in liters or ml.

 

Thus, the entire range for measuring volume of oxygen consumed (VO2) spans a range from zero mph (rest) to 15mph – as shown by the yellow and green circles in the graph below.

 

Let’s break this graph down.

You can sprint without breathing. We proved why this is so in week 2 – graphed just below. This graph showed aerobic metabolism (oxygen used to produce power) maxes out around 15mph – and remains steady running all speeds faster up to 27.8mph – beginning with the world record 3k and 5k runners.

You can sprint without breathing, and in fact your cells must not use oxygen to sprint.

You can sprint without breathing. We proved why this is so in week 2 – graphed just below – which showed anaerobic glcycolyis is absolutely required to produce power and in fact produces the speed necessary to accelerate past 13 mph up to 27.8 mph. (Usain Bolt’s world record absolute speed is 27.8mph)

The graph below – from week 2 – showed aerobic metabolism (oxygen used to produce power) maxes out around 15mph and all speeds faster, beginning with the world record 3k and 5k runners.

Thus, aerobic metabolism, and the volume of oxygen used spans only a  from rest to running 15 –

The second graph extends the line – down toward slower speeds all the way to rest.

In fact, aerobic metabolism is maxed out around

VO2 indicates Volume of oxygen gas consumed in the body – i.e. all its cells collectively.

Volume of O2 is measured in liters or milliliters.

Key Points of Understanding VO2 at Rest in a Human

  • The volume of O2 used per minute by a human at rest would fill a balloon approximately the size of an orange, which is 1/3 liter. 1/3 liter = 333ml.
  •  At rest, VO2 per minute is called called 1 MET. (Metabolic Equivalent = 1/3 liter)
  • 1 MET is a human’s lowest VO2 – at rest when ‘idling’ – and is akin to an idling car engine using fuel and oxygen at its low point of consumption. From this low point VO2 rises steadily – but never exponentially – as intensity increases.
  • Every human’s ‘idle’ point consumes either a bit more or less than 1/3L O2. This means 1 Met for all people – or their basal metabolic rate – is unique – but always fairly close to 1/3L O2 consumed per minute.

Graphing VO2 in a Horse – or Rate of Combustion – During Exercise.

We saw from week 2 how acid production increases in cells as you speed up from rest, left graph below. In likewise fashion, oxygen consumption increases as speed increases – right graph – a horse’s VO2.

horse-and-human

Oxygen consumption in a horse rises similarly to a human’s – graphed below. VO2 in all mammals increases up to a maximum amount, shown where the graph flattens out.

The Basics of  a VO2 max Graph of a Human.

vo2-max-partitioned

 

The circled spot labeled “VO2 max” indicates the speed where using oxygen to power muscles has maxed out. At VO2 max speed and exercise intensity are nowhere near maxed out.

What VO2 max is not:

VO2 max is not the maximum speed a horse or person can run.

  • Humans can almost double their speed sprinting compared to the speed where VO2 max occurs! (see this infographic)
  • All speeds ran faster to the right do not consume more oxygen – so the graph stays flat.
  • Extreme glycolysis provides the power to run faster after VO2 max has been reached.

Measuring VO2 and Interpreting the Graph.

Measuring volume of oxygen consumed takes a bit of time. 1 minute is the standard amount of time used to quantify a measurement.

Potentially Real Measurements of VO2 in Humans:

  • A person’s VO2 at rest may be 333ml/min. Indicated by the yellow circle, marked 1 MET
  • VO2 at moderate intensity could actually be 1500 ml/min
  • Max VO2 could actually be 3300 ml/min, which occurs at moderately high intensity – well before reaching very high intensity.
ASSIGNMENT: Graph these figures above on the graph below: (In The Physical Rules or provided in class)

absolute-vo2-graph

SUMMARY

  1. Increasing speed from idle – 1 MET – progressively consumes more fuel and oxygen at a linear rate. (as opposed to the exponential increase with acid production)
  2. Once the speed that consumes the max amount of O2 has been reached, aerobic metabolism does nothing to increase speed.
  3. Only anaerobic power allows you to increase speed past VO2 max.

Infographic of the summary: (hand drawn on-screen pic)

Idea: Challenge the fastest runner in class to ‘experience’ running the same speed as the world’s best runner’s 100% VO2 max speed. Sign the waiver and have a throw up bag available.

or: see how long he or she can run Kimetto’s speed, just under 13mph!

(Now quit over training in the gym with so many damn reps to failure if you want to get stronger. Train the nervous system, grasshopper)

We are Billion-Year-Old Carbon

Before I begin my lecture I have my students watch Joni Mitchell sing Woodstock as I draw this graphic on the board.

Joni Mitchell aerobic metabolism carbon

1. VO2 in Horses and Humans

VO2 indicates Volume of oxygen gas consumed in the body – i.e. all its cells collectively.

Volume of O2 is measured in liters or milliliters.

Key Points of Understanding VO2 at Rest in a Human

  • The volume of O2 used per minute by a human at rest would fill a balloon approximately the size of an orange, which is 1/3 liter. 1/3 liter = 333ml.
  •  At rest, VO2 per minute is called called 1 MET. (Metabolic Equivalent = 1/3 liter)
  • 1 MET is a human’s lowest VO2 – at rest when ‘idling’ – and is akin to an idling car engine using fuel and oxygen at its low point of consumption. From this low point VO2 rises steadily – but never exponentially – as intensity increases.
  • Every human’s ‘idle’ point consumes either a bit more or less than 1/3L O2. This means 1 Met for all people – or their basal metabolic rate – is unique – but always fairly close to 1/3L O2 consumed per minute.

Graphing VO2 in a Horse – or Rate of Combustion – During Exercise.

We saw from week 2 how acid production increases in cells as you speed up from rest, left graph below. In likewise fashion, oxygen consumption increases as speed increases – right graph – a horse’s VO2.

horse-and-human

Oxygen consumption in a horse rises similarly to a human’s – graphed below. VO2 in all mammals increases up to a maximum amount, shown where the graph flattens out.

The Basics of  a VO2 max Graph of a Human.

vo2-max-partitioned

 

The circled spot labeled “VO2 max” indicates the speed where using oxygen to power muscles has maxed out. At VO2 max speed and exercise intensity are nowhere near maxed out.

What VO2 max is not:

VO2 max is not the maximum speed a horse or person can run.

  • Humans can almost double their speed sprinting compared to the speed where VO2 max occurs! (see this infographic)
  • All speeds ran faster to the right do not consume more oxygen – so the graph stays flat.
  • Extreme glycolysis provides the power to run faster after VO2 max has been reached.

Measuring VO2 and Interpreting the Graph.

Measuring volume of oxygen consumed takes a bit of time. 1 minute is the standard amount of time used to quantify a measurement.

Potentially Real Measurements of VO2 in Humans:

  • A person’s VO2 at rest may be 333ml/min. Indicated by the yellow circle, marked 1 MET
  • VO2 at moderate intensity could actually be 1500 ml/min
  • Max VO2 could actually be 3300 ml/min, which occurs at moderately high intensity – well before reaching very high intensity.
ASSIGNMENT: Graph these figures above on the graph below: (In The Physical Rules or provided in class)

absolute-vo2-graph

SUMMARY

  1. Increasing speed from idle – 1 MET – progressively consumes more fuel and oxygen at a linear rate. (as opposed to the exponential increase with acid production)
  2. Once the speed that consumes the max amount of O2 has been reached, aerobic metabolism does nothing to increase speed.
  3. Only anaerobic power allows you to increase speed past VO2 max.

Infographic of the summary: (hand drawn on-screen pic)

Idea: Challenge the fastest runner in class to ‘experience’ running the same speed as the world’s best runner’s 100% VO2 max speed. Sign the waiver and have a throw up bag available.

or: see how long he or she can run Kimetto’s speed, just under 13mph!

(Now quit over training in the gym with so many damn reps to failure if you want to get stronger. Train the nervous system, grasshopper)

 

1. VO2 in Horses and Humans

VO2 indicates Volume of oxygen gas consumed in the body – i.e. all its cells collectively.

Volume of O2 is measured in liters or milliliters.

Key Points of Understanding VO2 at Rest in a Human

  • The volume of O2 used per minute by a human at rest would fill a balloon approximately the size of an orange, which is 1/3 liter. 1/3 liter = 333ml.
  •  At rest, VO2 per minute is called called 1 MET. (Metabolic Equivalent = 1/3 liter)
  • 1 MET is a human’s lowest VO2 – at rest when ‘idling’ – and is akin to an idling car engine using fuel and oxygen at its low point of consumption. From this low point VO2 rises steadily – but never exponentially – as intensity increases.
  • Every human’s ‘idle’ point consumes either a bit more or less than 1/3L O2. This means 1 Met for all people – or their basal metabolic rate – is unique – but always fairly close to 1/3L O2 consumed per minute.

 

Graphing VO2 in a Horse – or Rate of Combustion – During Exercise.

We saw from week 2 how acid production increases in cells as you speed up from rest, left graph below. In likewise fashion, oxygen consumption increases as speed increases – right graph – a horse’s VO2.

horse-and-human

Oxygen consumption in a horse rises similarly to a human’s – graphed below. VO2 in all mammals increases up to a maximum amount, shown where the graph flattens out.

 

The Basics of  a VO2 max Graph of a Human.

 

vo2-max-partitioned

 

The circled spot labeled “VO2 max” indicates the speed where using oxygen to power muscles has maxed out. At VO2 max speed and exercise intensity are nowhere near maxed out.

 

What VO2 max is not:

VO2 max is not the maximum speed a horse or person can run.

  • Humans can almost double their speed sprinting compared to the speed where VO2 max occurs! (see this infographic)
  • All speeds ran faster to the right do not consume more oxygen – so the graph stays flat.
  • Extreme glycolysis provides the power to run faster after VO2 max has been reached.

Measuring VO2 and Interpreting the Graph.

 

Measuring volume of oxygen consumed takes a bit of time. 1 minute is the standard amount of time used to quantify a measurement.

Potentially Real Measurements of VO2 in Humans:

  • A person’s VO2 at rest may be 333ml/min. Indicated by the yellow circle, marked 1 MET
  • VO2 at moderate intensity could actually be 1500 ml/min
  • Max VO2 could actually be 3300 ml/min, which occurs at moderately high intensity – well before reaching very high intensity.
ASSIGNMENT: Graph these figures above on the graph below: (In The Physical Rules or provided in class)

absolute-vo2-graph

 

 

SUMMARY

  1. Increasing speed from idle – 1 MET – progressively consumes more fuel and oxygen at a linear rate. (as opposed to the exponential increase with acid production)
  2. Once the speed that consumes the max amount of O2 has been reached, aerobic metabolism does nothing to increase speed.
  3. Only anaerobic power allows you to increase speed past VO2 max.

Infographic of the summary: (hand drawn on-screen pic)

Idea: Challenge the fastest runner in class to ‘experience’ running the same speed as the world’s best runner’s 100% VO2 max speed. Sign the waiver and have a throw up bag available.

or: see how long he or she can run Kimetto’s speed, just under 13mph!

(Now quit over training in the gym with so many damn reps to failure if you want to get stronger. Train the nervous system, grasshopper)

 

 

 

Intro Week 11 and Recap Week 10, 2017

INTRO Week 11, 2017

O2 consumption is a simple concept. Carbon burns.

  • Fuel (2 carbon atoms/acetic acid) + O2 –> CO2 + H2O + Heat

Graphing VO2 is even simpler.

  • Move, mover faster – and the graph of O2 consumed rises steadily in a straight line until ‘the fire’ reaches its maximum rate of burning. At this point – no additional power is produced by oxidizing carbon.

 

Recap Week 10

Clarified Butter = Ghee: Because it has been fermented there is negligible lactose (much less than a gram). Lactose intolerant people can ingest 8g and remain unaffected.

Lymph: What is it spatially/anatomically – around the cells, vessels, and nodes?

Match Stick: Look at Week 3 chart: Glycogen Depletion Rates

Billion Year Old Carbon:

2. Real World Graphing of VO2 in MPH - From Walking to Sprinting

The bold face type in this generic VO2 graph lists the World Record speeds in 7 Olympic races from the 5k to Usain Bolt’s 100m dash.

The entire x-axis shows how VO2 increases as humans run in MPH.

 

absolute-vo2-relative-to-re

Champion 3k runners run close to 100% VO2 max – at the speed indicated by the red line – 15 mph.

Running at VO2 max is unsustainable for all humans, regardless of fitness levels. The fastest 3k runners can sustain 15 mph speeds no longer than 8 minutes because high acid-lactate production forces a slow down around that time/distance.

The men’s 3k world record is 7:20.67 set by Daniel Komen of Kenya, in 1996.

 

Overlaying acid production onto the VO2 graph below shows Komen’s acid levels rise to around 6mmol/L as he runs the 3K – marked where the thin red line crosses the vertical red bar.

This level of acidity in a cell is unsustainable at the pace he runs – approximately 15mph.

overlay-acid-vo2-max-2

 

Summary of Running Speeds Past VO2 max:

  • Glycolysis provides the power past VO2 Max – in all shorter races – in the red zone.
  • Even the world’s best are forced to slow down when high acid production (extreme glycolysis) forces the cell to slow down.

It is interesting to compare acid production in ‘out of shape people’ to champion 3k and  marathon runners, next!

 

3. Comparing Out of Shape People to the World Record Marathon Runner, Dennis Kimetto

‘Out of shape’ people shift into high rates of glycolysis at low intensities compared to fit or trained people.

 

Compare the blue, gold, and red dot in the graph below and interpret all three lines.

overlay-acid-vo2-max

Red line: Dennis Kimetto, World Champion Marathoner runs 26.4 miles averaging just under 13mph. The red dot shows where Dennis Kimetto’s ‘race pace’ acid levels are before rising exponentially – just under 13mph at 85% VO2 max.

Blue dot: An ‘out of shape’ person’s threshold pace is at 6.5mph or 40%VO2 max – with acid levels shifting exponentially ‘sooner’ at lower speeds.

Gold dot: A fit person reaches race pace or lactate threshold occurs at 10mph or 65% VO2 max.

How does an out of shape person get ‘in shape’ to sustain running faster speeds?

or, How does an untrained person become trained?

After a year of training it is possible that a badly out of shape person could run 10mph at lactate threshold – shown by the gold dot. The key to this is:

Work near, at, or slightly above lactate threshold pace (or MLSS)

If and when an out of shape person increases their fitness, this means they increased lactate threshold – shown by pushing the curve to the right. This is called the lactate shift.

lactate-shift-2

It requires sustained mental and physical effort to perform near lactate threshold.

Compare the ability to sustain performing at threshold:

  • Out of shape people: 30-45 minutes
  • Recreational athlete: 60 minutes
  • Pro-elite atheltes: 90 minutes

It is uncomfortable to sustain paces at MLSS, and explains why some people never work hard enough to get in shape or whine about ‘hard work’. This is pretty much only time ‘no pain no gain’ should be thought as a positive.

 

4. Improving Fitness Illustrated by The Lacate Shift

Endurance training shifts the graph to the right.

This is called the lactate shift.

lactate-shift-2


What change occurs in muscle cells to allow this to happen?

Click the image ‘Lactate Shift as Seen in the Cell’ to enlarge.

lactate-shift-as-seen-in-th

Note to myself: Explain in class why Andy uses 19x more glucose compared to Dude when both run 10mph.

 

Questions:

How do we train to increase fitness or lactate threshold?

What is the stimulus or correct intensity to train at to increase lactate threshold?

The Answers:

chris-charmichael

lactate-threshold-training

b-side-v1-mastertiff

 

5. Advanced Integration

Performing at, near, or slightly above lactate threshold coincides with the concept of maximizing carb depletion through maximizing time spent training at very high rates of glycolysis learned in week 3, repeated below:

There are two essentially different exercise intensity methodologies to maximize overall time performing at high rates of glycolysis – each of which requires maximum carb intake:

  • MAXIMAL STEADY STATE TRAINING
  • INTERVAL TRAINING

People who train either way maximize both the rate of burning fat and depleting glycogen. Why?

Most trained or fit people shift into maximal glycolysis around 60% to 65% VO2 max. (gold line acid production overlay on VO2 graph)

This coincides where ‘fat max’ burning occurs – ranging from 50% VO2 max to 72% VO2 max – shown below.

fat-max

Training around this 65% of max range is basically the ‘magical’ point to stay lean and in shape – and to maximize utilizing fat and carbs over time – as shown in the combined graphs below.

crossover-lat-glycogen

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