You all know how I feel about running so you can imagine how excited I was to take a treadmill test at Seattle Performance Medicine. Yet I am unable to resist anything that lets me quantify either gear or performance, and SPM will give me numbers that I can add to my vast repertoire of excuses for poor climbing performance: "Oh, I could have redpointed that 5.13d if only my VO2 max wasn’t acting up."
The tests involve walking and running (or biking if you’re into that) on a treadmill until you tell the sadistic bastards you can’t do it anymore. While running you’re wearing a mask and they throw things at you and call you names like "sweaty, milk-fed, sandwich-eating bitch." OK, not really. The staff is extremely professional and you even get a real doctor to go over your results with you.
I can now compare myself to my peers. I’ll use Ed Viesturs. You may have heard of him. He certainly has never heard of me, but screw him, he doesn’t get out much, he’s too busy rolling around naked in piles of money and free gear. My VO2 max = 43, Ed = 66. I know, it’s scary they’re so close. On the relative scale I rate as "very good" and Ed is "competitive ultra-endurance." Same-same.
My lactate threshold – no, I don’t actually lactate, that’s just what they call it = 88% of VO2 max, which is pretty high and probably explains why altitude doesn’t seem to affect me too adversely. Where VO2 max is about how well you burn oxygen for energy, LT is about generating energy without oxygen. In another measure my heart rate dropped 50 beats in 2 minutes from my max HR of 195, which is a pretty good recovery time.
The biggest surprise for me was finding out that my resting metobolic rate was 1,632 calories per day, 25.7% of which was from burning protein. My recommended intake was 2,150 calories, with under 17% protein burning; these numbers show I’m burning lean muscle mass because I’m not eating nearly enough. These numbers don’t include exercise calories either. SPM gives you a customized training recommentation with heart rate target zones, calories burned at each and a lot of general sports nutrition tips. All in all, great service and great information.