So this requires another visit to SportFit Lab in the Worldgate Sport and Health. Doug and Beth Baumgarten would be my team of experts conducting the test, collecting the data and crunching the numbers to report training information for me to follow. I have had experience with VO2 max testing, but was excited about the additional feature of blood lactate testing to determine my lactate balance point (LBP).
My visit was on Saturday, July 3rd and this is how the testing process went:
The lab station is set up with all of the measuring devices, rubber gloves, blood test strips, etc. It really looks like I'm going into surgery.
My bike gets hooked up to the Computrainer, so Doug and Beth can adjust incremental resistance throughout the testing process. I strap on a transmitter to send my heart rate (HR) signal to the computer and mount the bike to go through a couple of calibration routines to make sure the wattage output is accurate and my HR is picked up. I then put on a ventilation mask and start my warm up. As I'm warming up, the Fitmate Pro is calibrating as well.
The initial effort is easy. But every 3 minutes the resistance is increased by 20 watts and I'm asked to state my perceived effort based on a Borg Perceived Exertion scale. Approximately 15 minutes pass and I can feel my breathing rate starting to increase. A couple of more increases and Beth starts to take blood samples at the tail end of each 3 minute effort. The blood samples are taken from your finger tips, alternating between the ring, middle and index fingers. As I approached my max heart rate reading of 195 bpm, Beth advised that my finger tips will be sore the next day (based on the number of blood samples she's taken so far).
My HR is allowed to drop to an aerobic level during my active recovery. Then the second effort begins. This is the phase at which the balance point is determined. As my effort increases, my blood lactate is monitored. My blood lactate levels continue to drop as my body consumes the lactate and reuses it for energy. A couple of more samples and Doug finds the balance point (5.4 mmol/l) at which my body is resynthesizing the production of lactate at the same rate it is producing what would be an excess. Raise the HR by 1bpm and my body starts to accumulate an excess of lactate in the blood stream.
Here are my results based on my current age (51) and weight (64.5kg): VO2max = 51.9ml/kg-min; LBP HR = 169bpm; LBP Wattage = 200; and LBPwatts/Bodywt Ratio = 3.10
I will be scanning and posting my data sheets at a later date, as some of the numbers are still being evaluated for optimal training purposes. And again, if you have any questions about what I am doing, please feel free to ask. I'm hoping my experience may help guide some of you in your decision-making process, while trying to set up a strategy to accomplish your personal goals (whatever they may be).
For more elaborate details on the tests I described above, please visit SportFit Lab.