The Physical Rules

of Aerobic Metabolism Part II

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

by | Lessons

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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