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What is VO2 Max Testing?

Updated: Sep 5, 2018

Health and Fitness Specialists agree that VO2 Max is the ultimate indicator of cardiovascular fitness, it allows the athlete to find the zone in which the body switches to aerobic metabolism and burns carbohydrates.

What is VO2 Max?

It’s the measurement of oxygen intake while the body endures the stress of aerobic exercise. Each athlete is given a VO2 Max score of 1-100. Athletes such as cross country skiers possess scores in the nineties. The exact VO2 Max score also varies by age and gender.

The Science of VO₂ Max

Technically speaking, VO₂ Max is a calculation of oxygen intake, in milliliters, per kilogram of body mass during a one minute interval. This measurement is taken while the body is under maximum physical stress: aerobic exercise. Simply, VO2 Max may be expressed as:


However, the Fick Equation gives us a better understanding of VO2 Max. The Fick Equation is expressed as:

VO2=Qx(CaO2 -CvO2)

The variable Q is the heart’s cardiac output, arterial oxygen content is represented by CaO2 and CvO2 signifies venous oxygen content. To further explain, cardiac output is the volume of blood that the heart pumps per unit of time. Arterial content is the amount of oxygen in the arteries. Venous content is the amount of oxygen in the veins. Moreover, this equation functions on the assumption that blood flow to an organ can be calculated using a marker substance. For the Fick Equation, the human body is considered “an organ” and oxygen is the “marker substance.”

What is unique about VO2 Max?

It allows for a precise measurement of the calories necessary to burn (based on your specific profile) without wasting extra energy and geared towards your goals. The athlete knows exactly how much energy to exert to burn calories and consequentially the fat loss and/or increased muscle mass that follows.

In the past, VO2 testing was only available to professional athletes, however, VO2 Max is now available to everyone here at GRIND Fitness in central Florida.

Why is VO2 Testing Superior to Other Methods?

Other methods of measuring energy output in relation to calories burnt are gathered from the BMI and are merely averages and statistics. The inaccuracy of these averages has lead to the popularity of VO2 Max, people aren’t a book of standard statistics - each person burns calories uniquely. Oxygen intake and metabolism both play a role in weight loss or gains in muscle mass, something that isn’t accounted for in other methods.

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