I spent much of the afternoon worrying.
I’d been offered a full Bupa fitness assessment by the Great Run sponsors and I was fretting. I’d spent the last 3 weeks either in my sick bed or recovering from the effort of dragging myself out of it. I was not really in the mood for a full on, exercise to exhaustion session.
As it happens my initial fears of a VO2 max session on the treadmill were replaced with a much scarier prospect – half naked exercise biking with an audience.
They didn’t advertise that.
Turns out the required exercise levels were to be capped at 80% of estimated max HR and therefore I never really felt as though I was exerting myself too much but that was probably a good thing. High energy topless exercise is not to be advised for the well endowed lady.
I was actually experiencing a sub max VO2 assessment which involved cycling through ever increasing resistance levels while breathing through a mouthpiece. I was wired and tubed up and able to view numerous screens displaying my blood pressure, pulse, heart rate trace from assorted chest electrodes and the O2 and CO2 composition of my breath. It was a fascinating cockpit of body data and I’d love to rig that up in front of my home gym. I wouldn’t understand it but who cares, I’d have pretty charts.
Thrown in to the assessment were stretch and strength exercises, lung capacity tests, electrical impedance body fat measurements and a review of all of the above with the exercise physiologist.
I’ll get a full report in a weeks time but for now you’ll just have to take my word for it – I’m super fit.
Or at least I would be if I wasn’t super fat.
Efficient heart, super lung capacity but the gold standard measure of fitness, the VO2 max (or in this case submax) was low because it is a measure of the volume of oxygen delivered per kg per min. I’ve got way too many kg’s to make this a great number. It is quite a good way to estimate the impact of weight loss on fitness though, just by altering the denominator in the equation.
Given the mainly positive messages I received at the assessment review I can actually say I feel quite inspired to try again to drop some more weight. I think it would be fascinating to have a concerted effort with a diet and fitness program and then book myself in for another session in 6 months time to review the impact.
The assessment was extremely good value at £149 for easily a full hours session, I think its perfect for setting a baseline from which to measure improvements if you are new to exercise or targeting a new event or fitness push.
My only criticism is that it was advertised as a VO2 max test while they only delivered a submax version. This sort of thing might be important to you if you are trying to get an absolute measure of your fitness or compare it to a previous max result. As a comparator to the same test its perfectly valid though.