As part of the Blackwater Triathlon Club’s on-going aim of improving the health and fitness of all our members in as many ways as possible, the club recently arranged for Seán Kinane of Health Matters to come to Fermoy to carry out a battery of VO2 testing on any of the club members who wished to avail of the service. Vo2 testing measures an athlete’s ability to transport oxygen from the air and deliver it to the working muscles. It provides each athlete with a detailed breakdown of their unique fitness profile. According to the experts, VO2 testing is the single most effect way to measure an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness and maximise their training. Club members were able to avail of testing on either the bike or the treadmill, or both if they wished. The tests were performed with the athlete hooked up to Seán’s equipment via a mask and a heart rate monitor. The athlete begins to run or cycle as required and the intensity is increased at 1-2 minute intervals through speed or incline in order to raise both oxygen consumption and heart rate. The minimum the test can last is four minutes and the maximum the test can last is 20 minutes. The athlete keeps going until failure, after which they spend a few minutes recovering while still hooked up to the monitoring equipment. The results are available straight away and Seán went through the results in detail with each of the participants at the end of the session. Each athlete was given a Vo2 score, their maximum heart rate, details of their aerobic and anaerobic thresholds in both heartbeats per minute and power (watts) generated. The process enabled the athletes to identify their 4 unique training zones, recovery times and calorie expenditure in each zone. The tests gave a very detailed look at each athlete’s fitness profile and how efficiently their heart and lungs are performing. This is all very useful information for members who are trying to formulate an efficient training regime. Hopefully, we will see the results of applying this knowledge in the coming months. Thanks to club chairperson, Niamh Fleming, for arranging the testing and to Seán for his help and expertise.