Kelly the Culinarian: Training Tuesday: Finding Science in My Art

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Training Tuesday: Finding Science in My Art

So much about running is personal: where to run, what to eat before, how to fuel during, shoes and so on. Running is really just a series of personal choices. But with the aid of a lab of really expensive equipment, I've now learned way more about myself and my fitness level than I ever knew possible.

Elmhurst College has a kinesiology department, which I contacted about a month ago. They put me in contact with an exercise physiologist whose students used me as a guinea pig last night. It was truly fascinating to get my VO2 max measured. First, the students took a bunch of stats from me, like my weight, blood pressure (111/68) hear rate (52) and body fat percentage (21.78 percent). However, the professor told me that body fat percentages aren't as useful as one would think. While most people assume that it's an error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percent, he explained that it's more like two standard deviations of 3.5 percent. Basically, the margin of error is more like plus or minus 7 percent. So really, the number itself isn't all that useful except as a tool for comparison. So retesting it in a few months can tell me if I'm improving, but it can't really tell me if my body is, in fact, about 1/5 fatty mc fat fat.

Then on to the fun part. First, I warmed up on a treadmill for 10 minutes. I have never run on a treadmill, so that was interesting. Next, they hooked me up to an apparatus that measured my oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output and had me start walking on the treadmill. They started me at a 12-minute mile jog, then increased the speed by .3 miles per hour every minute until I couldn't run run any further. It took about 20 minutes.

When all was said and done, I found out that my VO2 max puts me in the 80th percentile
for women my age. Additionally, the pace that I can currently maintain for a prolonged period (maybe indefinitely, depending on what scientist you prescribe to) is 8:50. With training, the students informed me, I could hope to increase my VO2 max by as much as 30 percent. I also spoke with the professor regarding my blood test from a couple of weeks ago that indicated I have high cholesterol. He told me while my total cholesterol is high, it's because what's considered good cholesterol is super high, which is great.
Fascinating stuff indeed.

However, when it was all over with, I was starving. I was looking for the quickest path from
famished to at least not homicide-inducing hangry. I ran home and mixed up what might have been the best dinner ever: two cups of cooked broccoli spears from the night before, 1/2 cup of whole wheat pasta and a 1/4 cup of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Pasta Sauce that I got from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program. I topped it all off with Parmesan cheese and had a really tasty dinner in less than 15 minutes for less than 300 calories.

I devoured the whole thing and wondered why I don't buy more broccoli. Must buy more broccoli.

No comments: