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Low VO2max

EnglishGent

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I've haven't trained regularly in some time and want to start getting back into shape. Had a quick physical before joining a gym and they said that my oxygen intake is really low. I'm a smoker and I know that is a huge part of the problem. Basically stopped the cigarettes, just the occasional one plus weekly cigar and pipe smokes.

Is there any training I should start with to increase my oxygen intake before doing anything else?
 

rjmaiorano

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^^^ All of the above will get the V02max up, but I would say there is nothing you can do initially other than build a base of aerobic capacity with extended work at an elevated heart rate. Building a good foundation with simple 30 min runs will make the Tabata's etc that much more bearable and won't dissuade you.
 

EnglishGent

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Thanks for the suggestions.
 

SUPER K

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I would imagine some cardio and no smoking would make an improvement. With someone already training, it may be difficult to make a major change. I was told by a pro triathlete that knowing your VO2 max: " is kinda like telling a 30 year old woman she's ugly. She's been happy all this time not knowing, and there's nothing she can do about it "
 

Eason

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What was your relative/absolute Vo2Max? Can you remember? There's a point where it's dangerously low for exercise and then past that it isn't a huge deal as long as you keep improving your cardio.
 

EnglishGent

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I don't have the information to hand, but I do know that it fell in their lowest classification bracket.
 

rjmaiorano

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Originally Posted by SUPER K
I would imagine some cardio and no smoking would make an improvement. With someone already training, it may be difficult to make a major change. I was told by a pro triathlete that knowing your VO2 max: " is kinda like telling a 30 year old woman she's ugly. She's been happy all this time not knowing, and there's nothing she can do about it "

^^ thats the worst mindset I have ever heard. I also respectfully disagree.
 

bbaquiran

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Super K was talking a pro triathlete, not regular guys.

VO2Max responds very well to interval training. So well that it's possible to reach one's genetic limits within a few years of training. This is great for regular guys, but for endurance athletes, this just means that if they haven't performed extraordinarily well after their first couple of years they have little chance of going pro.
 

rjmaiorano

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I guess. It seemed to me like he was talking about regular guys, but a pro tri had told him this. Regular guys, even training hard, can get their V02 max up and improved very quick if they haven't been previously training for it.
 

Working Stiff

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Really, they gave you a VO2Max test? As in, a treadmill test to exhaustion, wearing a max to measure your oxygen input? That seems excessive and, to me, bizarre. Also, so what? VO2Max has a weak correlation to performance in endurance sports; even for athletes, it's not a very useful number. What are you worried about?
 

Flambeur

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Originally Posted by rjmaiorano
^^^ All of the above will get the V02max up, but I would say there is nothing you can do initially other than build a base of aerobic capacity with extended work at an elevated heart rate. Building a good foundation with simple 30 min runs will make the Tabata's etc that much more bearable and won't dissuade you.

I respectfully disagree, with proper interval training you can get results much quicker than old school boring cardio.

Yes, it's hard to get into proper hardcore interval stuff first sometimes, but the progress is much quicker if you stick with it.
 

Working Stiff

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True, you get quicker results with interval training. However, it is really hard and the gains start to level off after a few months. At that point, if you want to continue improving your aerobic fitness you need to be doing "old school boring cardio." Also, in my opinion it is safer and better to start by get used to doing low intensity exercise, before attempting high intensity stuff.
 

rjmaiorano

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Originally Posted by Flambeur
I respectfully disagree, with proper interval training you can get results much quicker than old school boring cardio.

Yes, it's hard to get into proper hardcore interval stuff first sometimes, but the progress is much quicker if you stick with it.


While I'm not disagreeing with you, results will be much quicker if you can get into intervals immediately. But I still would not consider it safe to jump into if someone hasn't worked out in a while. If I thought about doing a full tabata or anything that made me get broke-off with sprints or quick movements when I was out of shape I know I could push myself mentally to a place my body couldn't handle. I would injure myself.

The other reason I say its not the best idea is because the shit is hard work, and like you said if you stick with it the results are great. But I don't see a normal guy trying to get into shape being able to stick with these type of workouts.

Maybe after a week or so building a base, an abridged HIIT workout would be good. But I would still make the progression somewhat slow.
 

Working Stiff

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Originally Posted by rjmaiorano
Maybe after a week or so building a base, an abridged HIIT workout would be good. But I would still make the progression somewhat slow.

A week or so? One week? One week of base is, frankly, no base at all. Your body takes 3 weeks to begin to physiologically respond to training. Aerobic adaptations are particularly slow. You need to spend months building a base, not days.
 

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