Went for my first ever fitness test with my coach on Monday.
The idea is to test all kinds of indicators which can inform my training. Although power can be more accurate, I’m currently training on heart rate because I don’t have a power-meter.
So, the fitness test included body fat percentage (using calipers). This isn’t the most glamorous of tests you can do. Really, it isn’t. It basically involves a metal clamp pinching skin (and fat) on different parts of your body, The thicknesses of the clamped bits are then jotted down. To ensure that you are thoroughly put at ease, this is then repeated. three times. To help reduce inaccuracies. Once a median if found, some magic formula is applied and hey presto! you have your body fat perentage. ish (the science is still not very accurate). No, I’m not going to tell you what mine came out as! To start with, I don’t know. I’ve asked not to know. All I need to know is that next time I have the test, it’s lower!
I then did a 6 second sprint power thing, which involved spinning up as quick as you can before a computer drops a weight, causing resistance and you have to keep spinning for 6 secs as fast as you can. This gives you your 6 second power output thingy. I have no idea what a good power output is, and I can’t remember what mine was, but my coach has it all written down and the point is that I improve on it. And that’s what I have a coach for. Anyway, before this test, you have to be weighed to calculate your power-to-weight ratio.
So, after the sprint power test, it was time to calculate my heart rate zones and VO2 max. My bike was attached to a computrainer, I was sat on the bike and a mask with tubes was attached to my face. Brilliant. And no, I don’t have any photos! So, the mask can calculate how much oxygen I’m taking in as I pedal. The computer keeps adding resistance, so it becomes harder and harder to spin, but you’ve got to keep going. As I’m peddling, Mark “the vampire” Walker, is pricking my finger and taking blood samples to test for lactate. This hurts for the first few times, but you know you’re really pushing it when the pain of pushing the pedals becomes more intense than the finger prick and you can’t feel it anymore!
So, there I am, pushing the pedals, looking a wolly with a mask over my face, concentrating on keeping my cadence up whilst getting my finger jabbed and I’m just getting to the point where it starts to hurt and I know I’ve got to keep going through the pain barrier and out the other side when… sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss. Yep, the tyre punctures. There’s no good time to puncture, but nearing the end of a VO2 max test really really isn’t a good time!
Thankfully, the figures required to inform my training (heart rate zones) are all in. Just no VO2 max or maximal power output.
All good fun. I’ll learn the science of it over the next few months, just because I’m interested.