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VO2 Max

VO2 Max screen

VO2 max is the defining measure of cardiorespiratory fitness and aerobic performance capacity. The ability to see your current fitness level and track changes over time is a game-changer. It can help you set appropriate goals, evaluate progress and determine the effectiveness of your training. It can also provide the motivation you need to keep going and to reach your goals.

The Firstbeat analytics engine embedded in your Garmin cycling computer or watch reliably estimates your VO2 max by identifying, analyzing and interpreting meaningful performance data during your ride. The power you are generating is placed into the context of how hard your body is working to produce your performance. Mostly, the relationship between internal and external workloads (intensity of effort versus watts recorded by your power meter) is linear and stable. To generate more power, your body needs to work harder.

Smart analytics capable of recognizing good data ensure that only the most meaningful parts of your performance are used to evaluate your fitness level. In practical terms, this means you don_x0092_t need to worry about speeding up, slowing down, climbs, descents or stopping at intersections. You just warm up, cool down and ride as you normally would, without the need for any special fitness testing protocols.

Measured in terms of VO2 max, your fitness level combined with insight from your activity history provide valuable context for personalizing training effect feedback, estimating recovery time, defining the optimal range for your weekly training load and determining your current training status.

There are certain environments, however, in which your body must work harder than normal to keep up and maintain the same power output. Good examples are rides performed in hot and humid conditions or at high altitudes. A number of recent Garmin devices are capable of automatically recognizing one or more of these situations and understanding how your performance data is being affected as a result.

In addition to letting you see how well your body is adjusting to the environment, recognizing and accounting for the influence environment has on your performance improves the reliability of other metrics. This means more meaningful feedback in a growing number of tough environments.

For example, this includes the feedback you get from the training status data screen, which interprets changes in your VO2 max in light of your current training load and activity history. Left unaccounted for, the effects of uneven terrain or a measurable decrease in aerobic performance from altitude or a hotter-than-normal environment could mistakenly identify your training status as unproductive or overreaching.

How long does it take to acclimate to heat and humidity?

The speed at which your body acclimates to elevated temperatures depends on several factors.

One of the most significant factors is the difference between the conditions you are acclimating to and your normal environment. The bigger the change, the longer it takes to adapt.

Another factor is the frequency and duration of your workouts and time spent outdoors in the new environment. The acclimation processes are triggered by your direct exposure to the environment.

Evidence shows that prolonged daily outdoor exposures to challenging climates can produce the necessary adaptations in as little as 1 to 2 weeks. An athlete with a higher VO2 max typically adapts to challenging climates at a much faster rate, sometimes decreasing the acclimation period by as much as half.

Physiological Adaptations That Result From Acclimation

  • Improved sweating
  • Improved skin blood flow responses
  • Improved cardiovascular stability (ability to sustain blood pressure and cardiac output)
  • Better fluid-electrolyte balance
  • Lower metabolic rate