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Understanding Your Body!

What’s the difference between VT1, VT2, and VO2 max and how can knowing this help you in your workouts? Read on to find out or if you’re cool with just knowing that you should be grabbing your knees in your workout to get the full benefits, then jump straight on down to the schedule to plan your knee-grabbing, sweat-inducing, heart-strengthening workouts for this week.

Here goes:

VT1 is called the first ventilatory threshold. It is a marker of intensity that can be observed in a person’s breathing at a point where lactate begins to accumulate in the blood. As the intensity of the exercise begins to increase, VT1 can be identified at the point where the breathing rate begins to increase. A person who is at VT1 can no longer talk comfortably,—but can still string together a few words—while exercising.

Also observed by way of a person’s breathing during exercise is VT2, or the second ventilatory threshold. It is a higher marker of intensity than VT1. At VT2, lactate has quickly accumulated in the blood and the person needs to breathe heavily. At this rapid rate of breathing, the exerciser can no longer speak. The exercise duration will necessarily decrease due to the intensity level. VT2 can also be called the anaerobic threshold or lactate threshold.

VO2 max is the maximal consumption of oxygen. It is the maximum capacity of the body to take in, transport, and use oxygen during exercise and reflects a person’s cardiorespiratory fitness. Measuring VO2 max is a laboratory procedure that requires equipment to analyze the amount of oxygen inhaled and the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled. This test will take an individual to the absolute maximum exercise intensity that he or she can achieve. Maximum heart rate can also be measured at this point.

Here is a simple way to picture a progression of these markers of exercise intensity (from least to most intense):


VT1 (breathing begins to increase)

VT2 (out of breath, high intensity)

VO2 max (exercise needs to conclude due to exhaustion)

A sedentary person will reach VT1, VT2, and VO2 max at a much lower intensity of exercise than a more physically active person. For example, an extremely deconditioned person may reach his or her VT1 while just walking and a more conditioned person will reach these markers at a higher intensity.

Here’s where the heart comes in. Researchers have found that high-intensity exercise is particularly effective for enhancing heart health.

Normally, a human heart beats between 50 and 80 times every minute when at rest. This is enough to supply all the organs systems and cells in the body with as much oxygen-rich blood as they need to function properly. When you get up to take a walk, your heart automatically starts beating a little faster and pumping a little harder. The higher the intensity of the activity, the harder the heart has to work. Exercise strengthens the heart, making it more powerful, so it can pump more blood out to the rest of the body with each beat. Well-trained people have a lower resting heart rate than people who do not do regular cardiorespiratory training.

Cardiorespiratory Training is divided up into three phases:

Base Training - zone 1


Fitness Training - zone 2


Performance Training - zone 3

VO2 max

Stated simply, if you can talk comfortably, you’re in zone 1 or below VT1. If you’re not really sure if you can speak comfortably, you’re probably right at zone 2 or VT1. If you definitely cannot talk comfortably, then you’re probably close to or at zone 3 or above VT2. And if you are at the point where you need to stop to catch your breath, then you’re at your VO2 max.

High-intensity interval training (zones 2 and 3) is incredibly efficient, requires less time to achieve results, and is also highly effective for strengthening the heart. Moderate-intensity exercise also offers plenty of benefits for the body too, the only catch is that you have to train for longer periods to achieve the same health improvements as with high-intensity exercise.

To conclude, exercising is important. Understanding your body is important. Moving on most days is crucial to maintaining a healthy body and strong heart. Incorporating time efficient, knee-grabbing, VT2/VO2 max movement is even better. Bring it!

SoulShine Training Schedule - please sign up for classes now

Monday - HIIT - 8:15-9:15 am

Tuesday - HIIT Yoga Fusion - 8:15-9:15 am

Thursday - PiYo - 8:15-9:15 am

Friday - HIIT - 8:15-9:15 am

Shine on,

Jode xo

Reference - American Council on Exercise - ACE Fitness


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