how to improve vo2 max

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Improving VO2 Max: A Look at Vegetarian and Vegan Athletes

This is the first of a three
video series about exercise. Do plant based diets have an
impact on fitness? What are the best times
to workout? Watch the series to find out. "Improving VO2 Max: A Look
at Vegetarian and Vegan Athletes" In my video about comparing vegetarian
and vegan athletic performance, endurance, and strength, I discussed
a 2020 study that found that vegan athletes—even though
they were significantly older— had significantly superior
aerobic capacity and endurance, lasting 25 percent longer on a
time-to-exhaustion cycling test. The question is why? One potential mechanism
that could explain the greater level of endurance performance
in vegans may be a higher amount of carbohydrate intake, which could
lead to better endurance performance through higher
muscle glycogen storage.

Other potential mechanisms
that may explain the better endurance performance in vegans could
be due to the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory
profiles of their diet. Maybe it’s even their hearts. Yet another study showing superior
VO2 max in vegan athletes, meaning superior
aerobic capacity: this time they also
did echocardiograms, looking at their hearts
in real-time using ultrasound, and the lower relative
wall thickness and better main ventricle
systolic and diastolic function in the vegans are most
likely positive findings. Now wait a second. Given
the higher VO2 max reached by the vegan athletes, maybe
they were just better trained than the nonvegan athletes,
and that’s why their hearts looked like they
were working better.

However, the weekly training
frequency and running distance were similar in both groups,
suggesting benefits even with the same
amount of training. So, it’s important to educate
healthcare professionals; so they don’t try
to discourage a vegan diet and may even want to consider
telling folks implementing an exercise training
program to give it a try. But you don’t know if it
has the same kinds of effects in nonathletes, until
you…put it to the test. A vegetarian vs. conventional
calorie-restricted diet: the effect on physical fitness
in response to aerobic exercise in patients with
type 2 diabetes. Diabetics were randomized
to the same caloric restriction, the same exercise, but just
vegetarian versus nonvegetarian. They provided all the meals
so they could ensure compliance and closely monitored
the exercising. VO2 max increased by 12 percent
in the vegetarian group, significantly better than in
the non-vegetarian group who didn’t significantly
improve at all. Maximal performance increased
by 21 percent in the vegetarian group, again, significantly better than in
the non-vegetarian group who didn’t significantly
improve at all.

In other words, the results indicated
that more plant-based diets led more effectively to
improvement in physical fitness than less plant-based diets, after the same aerobic
exercise program. Here’s what the graphs look like: significantly better power
output and aerobic capacity in the group that was randomized
to a vegetarian diet. It seems that those eating vegetarian were able to better burn off carbohydrates compared
to nonvegetarians, and had better insulin sensitivity, both markers of improved
metabolic flexibility, meaning the ability
to switch back and forth between burning sugar and fat. Besides physiological
mechanisms, there may also be
psychological factors. They observed reduced hunger
and reduced feelings of depression in the vegetarian group
which may have given them a more positive attitude
towards exercise. Here’s the psychological data. Those randomized to eat vegetarian
had a greater improvement in quality of life and mood. They felt less constrained,
meaning the calorie restriction didn’t seem as burdensome; they had less disinhibition, meaning less tendency
to binge and overeat, along with maybe
less feelings of hunger. Not to mention the superior effects
of a vegetarian diet on body weight, glycemic control,
blood lipids, insulin sensitivity,
and oxidative stress.

Wait, better body weight? I thought they were given
the same number of calories. Yes, both diets were isocaloric,
the same calories, yet just eating meat-free led
to significantly more weight loss— about six pounds more;
more waist loss, a slimmer waist; lower cholesterol, of course;
and less superficial fat, meaning the external jiggly fat; and most importantly, significantly
more visceral fat loss, the most metabolically
dangerous deep belly fat. Same calories, yet more
loss of body fat. And not surprisingly,
better control of their diabetes. All in addition to leading
more effectively to improvements
in physical fitness..

Video Transcript – As found on YouTube

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