VO2Max is an industry measure of aerobic capacity, or the maximum rate at which the body is able to consume oxygen during exercise. The upper limit of your personal VO2Max score depends in part on your age and gender as well as your fitness level. While VO2Max is a reliable indicator of cardiovascular fitness, the insights it provides to develop one’s training plan are limited. This is because a person must be completely fresh to measure their VO2Max.
The VO2Max metric does not account for one’s fatigue level. How often do you experience zero fatigue levels while training? For most people, it takes 5 or more days to freshen sufficiently for a true VO2Max measurement to be obtained. This is often difficult during a training program due to the continuous frequency of exercise sessions.
PEAR’s Enhanced VO2Max & Daily Fitness Score
To make VO2Max more insightful, PEAR has added factors that account for your recent fatigue level, which impacts your actual performance. The resulting rolling fitness score is a refinement of VO2Max, modulated by recovery and load. PEAR calls it your Daily Fitness score
|Daily Fitness||What am I capable of today based on my recent exercise load and recovery schedule?||
This is a sensitive, rolling fitness score that is constantly refined based on lifestyle factors such as sleep, work loads, hydration and many other factors.
|Fatigue||How much have recent life activities affected my cardio abilities?||
Fatigue levels are measured using recent exercise load and recovery.
|PEAR VO2Max||What am I capable of at my best?||
How I will perform at my very best from a cardiovascular and respiratory standpoint. This is a slow-moving metric that changes only slightly over time.
All of these scores are important. Unlike VO2Max, the Daily Fitness score can change quickly and is a more timely measure of how well you performed cardiovascularly today given your recent activities and rest. It replaces VO2Max, which is a broad, top-of-the-funnel fitness level measurement.
Improving on the Standard: PEAR’s VO2Max Algorithm
The PEAR VO2Max calculation has been refined over the past 25 years of science and coaching. Most common calculations estimate VO2Max using heart rate and speed, and then eliminate inputs that appear to be affected by differences in terrain.
- The PEAR VO2Max algorithm improves upon the common metric by utilizing PEAR’s proprietary Running Power metric which takes terrain gradient into account as well as the cardiac lag that results from acceleration and deceleration.
- Since VO2Max is a maximal cardiovascular measure, it must be reported only when the exerciser is fresh and not suffering from any fatigue. We have optimized PEAR’s measurement window to be longer in order to use only ‘fresh’ workouts where an accurate estimation of VO2Max is most likely.
The Who & Why of Optimized Performance Metrics
Individual users typically prefer simplicity in their metrics -- “Just tell me what I need to know.” Coaches and trainers, on the other hand, favor more precise tools that help them make informed decisions for their clients.
Following is an example of how a coach can make use of these measurements. The Daily Fitness trend will indicate if performance improvements are being made. The Fatigue metric can explain why a workout was not as effective as expected and may raise a flag to modify the next workout. VO2Max is not a useful metric in this example as it doesn’t provide information that would change the next workout.