There are a ton of measurements we tend to use for 'physical fitness' testing like heart rate, cadence, pace, etc...but VO2max is an intriguing and very custom measurement. VO2 Max is the volume of oxygen your body consumes per minute - marked by body’s ability to deliver oxygen to the exercising muscles during intense exercise. It's basically the best measure of cardio respiratory fitness that we have.
AEROBIC VS. ANAEROBIC
To actually test your own personal VO2, it's quite a difficult test since you are giving your MAX effort! When giving your "max effort", this means that you're going from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism (KATIE....wtf do those mean?). The main different is whether or not the body uses oxygen to break down that protein bar you just ate or does NOT use oxygen.
- AEROBIC means "oxygen using" and includes types of workouts that increase heart 🫀 & breathing rate 🫁 over a sustained period. When we do endurance-based movements, like quick-walking, swimming, cycling, running - these are "aerobic" because we're still using the oxygen you have floating in your lungs to break down those carbs, fats, & proteins for energy.
- ANAEROBIC means "absence of oxygen" and includes short, intense bursts of physical activity. When we're sprinting, weight lifting, resistance training, or high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.), these are anaerobic because our body is breaking down the carbs, fats & proteins without the help oxygen because there's like no free oxygen left floating around since you're so out of breath after those 100 burpees!!!
VO2 MAX PEAK AGE
A higher VO2max score = greater oxygen utilization = a greater capacity for physical work. This measurement usually peaks at around 25 years old --> early 30s. That said, it's definitely something that's considered "trainable"...meaning an active person in their 40s could have a higher VO2max than during their sedentary 20s (source).
Your friends, family members, favorite IG & TikTok influencers might be "vegan". Majority of your probably know what veganism/ 'being vegan' means, but I want to bring in a little refresher for you since 'plant based' is the ultimate buzz word of our generation!
VEGANISM EXTENDS BEYOND JUST GRUB
Vegan can refer to a sandwich, a car seat, a shampoo, or a person. Vegans do not eat any food derived from animals. This includes but is not limited to: avoiding foods like meats, seafood, egg, gelatin, whey proteins (since these are from milk!), and honey (since this is from bees!). If they're real legit, vegans might not use products derived from animals. This includes but is not limited to: certain cosmetic products, clothing (like leather!), and shampoos (since these contain animal-based biotins, keratins, gelatin, etc.).
VEGAN? PLANT BASED? DIFFERENCES?
Being 'vegan' and being 'plant based' are nearly one-in-the-same; the two consume solely plant-derived foods fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes, including beans, peas, and lentils. Luckily, in today's day and age, you can find plant-based foods almost anywhere! There are plant-based-alternatives to cheeses, eggs, burgers, meatballs - the list goes on!
POTENTIAL NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY
Vegan diets tend to be low in some nutrients because certain vitamins, like B12 and iron, are found in larger, more sufficient amounts in animal foods like salmon and eggs. For this reason, healthcare providers often recommend vegans take certain vitamin and mineral supplements, including vitamin B12, iron, omega-3 fats, zinc, and more (source).
FUN FACT: What is "gelatin"...and why is it not vegan?
You may have inhaled gelatin in the form of jello shots mixed with your favorite adult liquor or as marshmallows in a deliciously gooey s'more, you've eaten "gelatin" - the primary ingredient in both. Gelatin is NOT vegan because it's actually made from ground up animal skin, bones, tendons and ligaments (source).
While this sounds repulsive, gelatin - because of its animal tissue content - is actually very high in protein. The process extracts the collagen (a fibrous protein that connects muscles, bones, and skin) from the animal tissue and turns it into gelatin (a flavorless, colorless, jelly-like substance).
Spelt a wee bit differently than Las Vegas (but pronounced the same), the vagus nerve is the main pathway in the gut-brain connection; it controls parasympathetic nervous system from the hip bones up. "Parasympathetic" functions are the “rest and digest” conditions (aka not "fight or flight), they are involuntary - meaning you can't consciously control them. These involuntary functions are anything from heart beat, to swallowing, to speech, to digestion, to your immune system.
We touched briefly on this oh-so important nerve in B: Blood Brain Barrier and the D: Digestive Tract, but this vagus nerve is essentially the super highway that your organs and brain use to send messages back and forth to one another. Since your gut is the primary point of contact between the inside of your body and the outside of your body, each meal you eat has the potential to swarm your insides with sometimes dangerous bacteria, viruses, and toxic substances… So your immune system better be suited and booted to fight 'em off! Your gut is the brain's 'second in command' (as Shawn Stevenson says), so they're constantly walkie-talkie-ing what to welcome with open arms, and what to assassinate.