Skip to content
Freak Shake
Previous article
Now Reading:
Happy 100th Birthday VO2 Max
Next article

Happy 100th Birthday VO2 Max

Happy 100th Birthday VO2 Max

By Byron Fergerson, M.D. Chief Science Advisor to Freak Shake

A.V. Hill already had a Nobel Prize in muscle physiology and could run the mile in 4:45 when he published a paper with Hartley Lupton a century ago originating the concept of VO2 max. While it isn't the only predictor of performance among endurance athletes, VO2 max remains one of the most important and valid measures of fitness when endurance training. Read on to learn what it is and how supplementation with specific antioxidants may help support VO2 Max when endurance training.

Aerobic Respiration

As you increase intensity of exercise, your muscles demand more and more oxygen - up to a point. When oxygen consumption plateaus, athletes are still able to increase output but at a cost. At lower to moderate intensity, mitochondria in muscle cells rely on oxygen to create ATP, the energy currency that fuels muscle contractions. This is called aerobic respiration. As effort and intensity rises, the energy demands of the exercise start to exceed the threshold for aerobic respiration.

Anaerobic Respiration

This plateau point was identified and named VO2 Max. It is the threshold where mitochondria cannot access enough oxygen and energy supplies to make ATP fast enough to keep up with demand, and muscle cells begin to rely increasingly on a different chemical process to fuel muscle called anaerobic respiration. The byproduct of anaerobic respiration is lactic acid which will accumulate in muscle and contributes to "the burn". Eventually the level of effort becomes intolerable and unsustainable. Which is a good thing because it prevents us from over-exerting and damaging our muscles through an excess accumulation of stress. Unfortunately anaerobic respiration imposes a natural limit on our endurance, or ability to sustain exertion.

So for athletes training in moderate to high intensity endurance, a key factor in performance is the ability to maximize output in aerobic zones, or elevating their VO2 max threshold where exertion becomes unsustainable. The longer or harder you can go before reaching your VO2 max, the greater performance advantage you will have in endurance exercise.

How can supplements support VO2 Max?

Epicatechin, an antioxidant micronutrient extracted from cacao or tea has been studied for decades with properties that aid multiple important pathways supporting VO2 Max and peak endurance. Supplementing with Epicatechin may benefit endurance athletes through several physiological processes. (Read more, for additional insight into how athletes can boost VO2 Max).

1) Mitochondrial function in muscle cells.

Happy mitochondria are able to access more Oxygen and more Fat reserves for energy production before shifting predominantly to anaerobic respiration or what VO2 originator A.V. Hill described as "Oxygen Debt" 100 years ago.

2) Mitochondrial Biogenesis

Freak Shake's micronutrients promote the production of more mitochondria in muscle cells, assisting the body's adaptation to exercise. A larger population of mitochondria in muscle means a higher VO2 Max

3) Blood Flow

These same micronutrients also promote increased blood flow, delivering oxygen, energy resources, and electrolytes to muscle cells faster, as well as whisking away the cellular debris that exercise generates when muscle cells are stressed through exertion.

Rapidly Replenish and Rehydrate

  • Speed Glycogen Replenishment
  • 33g Carbohydrates
  • 1000+mg Electrolytes
  • Optimal protein composition for endurance training
  • Drink within 30 minutes after exercise to quick-start recovery                          

Antioxidant Fortified for Recovery

  • 100mg Epicatechin 
  • Supports adaptations in muscle linked to VO2 Max & Endurance
  • Aids in regulation of free radicals & inflammation response to endurance training
  • Promotes resilient muscle at high intensity or high volume


Outside Magazine

Moreno-Ulloa, A., Miranda-Cervantes, A., Licea-Navarro, A., Mansour, C., Beltrán-Partida, E., Donis-Maturano, L., ... & Álvarez-Delgado, C. (2018). (-)-Epicatechin stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and cell growth in C2C12 myotubes via the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor. European journal of pharmacology822, 95-107.

Cart Close

Your cart is currently empty.

Start Shopping
Select options Close