Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lose Fat with Beep Test Scores and Vo2 Max

How to Measure Fitness
As a physical education teacher I am responsible for conducting various fitness assessments with my students.  You should submit to a test prior to and after your training cycle in order to see whether or not you've improved.  Hopefully by the end of the semester the students are able to make progress in at least one component of fitness.

A good test for everyone
If you want to begin a fitness program, it is highly advisable to get fitness testing on yourself, so you can assess your condition and see what you need to work on. These tests are in use today:

1.  How many reps of push-ups can you do?

2.  Maximum number of situps in a minute

3.  Chin ups (max reps)

4.  Sit and reach (distance stretched)

5. BEEP TEST This test is perhaps the best indicator of your individual fitness level.

The beep test is actually the one that many people dread the most, despite the physical stress placed on them in the other tests.   You might be able to fool your old gym teacher with sloppy push ups or sit-ups, but you are exposed on the beep test, because it is pretty difficult to cheat, and easy to spot the cheaters. 

What Does the Beep Test Do?
Your cardiovascular system's endurance is tested with the Beep Test, which is its primary goal. Though VO2 Max, which is how much oxygen you use in a minute of exercise, isn't measured with this test, you can use this to help you evaluate your performance without having to shell out money for lab tests.  The test is nearly impossible to complete, however there are unconfirmed rumors of various athletes that have beat the test, most notably Lance Armstrong and David Beckham.  Most sports teams won't publish their teammates' results of this test with good reason. It can be very bad press for a top athlete to be shown with a low score on a test, despite the difficulty of the test or the low number of people who have completed it successfully.

What is it good for?
Since the beep test is a great indicator of a your ability to sustain high intensity exhaustive exercise; many organizations use this information to assess their athletes or employees, and often times set minimum requirements in order to become a member.  These organizations utilize this test in some form of fashion:

* National Sports Teams
* Pro Sports Teams
* National Defense (Army, Navy, Marines)
* Law enforcement agencies

How Should the Test be Performed?
Experts recommend that you do such a test using an audio CD in a gym setting so you can control the variables in the environment.  Since most people do not have access to a gym, I will help you set this test up in a different way. 

Equipment You Need

  • A surface that is flat and does not slip
  • A 20-meter measuring tape.
  • Pylons (to place at either end of the measuring tape) or
  • Chalk (alternative means to measure the distance)
  • An iPod or other type of mp3 player.
  • Determination!

Methods Used to Perform the Test
  • Start at one end of the tape; wait for instructions from your headphones!
  • The beep then starts, and you go as fast as you can to the other end.
  • Continue to do this until you can no longer do it. 
  • If you miss the beep on two consecutive occasions you are finished
  • It is important to wait until you hear another beep before moving to the other end again.
  • Your beep test score is determined by the last level that you hear before you complete your session. 
The reason you want a high beep test score is that is correlates well with Vo2 levels.   New research has shown that the higher your Vo2 Max the more efficient your body becomes at burring fat.  Athletes with a great physical condition can get high beep test scores and have low body fat.

Higher fitness levels, better fat burner

A USA Today report suggested that people who have a higher Vo2 Max level are better able to burn more fat after a period of physical exertion.  The information shared in these studies and reports is very valuable, because you can work to improve your Vo2 Max levels.

If you want to boost those levels, you should invest in HIIT Training.  High Intensity Interval Training is now a staple in most fitness programs.  There are many benefits to HIIT training, such as an increase HGH production, which helps to increase the body's fat burning response within the cells, and an increased after burn effect.

Beyond the HIIT basics, there are some strategies that you can employ to get the most out of your training. Go as long as you can to make your Vo2 max levels higher.  At the beginning of the week perform longer interval periods that involve slower speeds, and at the end of the week use shorter intervals that focus on high intensity sprints.  Watch out!

Sample Interval Plan

You could do something else instead of walking or running -  such as swimming, elliptical or cycling.

Monday –  8 min run/3 min walk  (3 Rounds)

Tuesday 6x 4 minute runs

Wednesday – Rest

Thursday - 10x two minute runs

Friday - 10x 30 second sprints and 20 second walks