If you already have your Physical Fitness Assessment scheduled, you will have heard of the beep test, also called multistage fitness test. It is a beast of a test designed to test your aerobic capacity (VO2 Max); you will keep going until you can't anymore and at what level you stop will determine if you passed the test or not.
If you would like to find out more about the actual test, read our previous blog on how to master the beep test. This article will go into details on how you can improve your VO2 Max so you don't need to worry about passing your PFA for the Australian Defence Force.
What is VO2 Max
VO2 Max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your lungs can take up while exercising. You reach that maximum when the amount couldn't be increased despite increasing the intensity.
VO2 Max is used to measure the capacity of the cardiorespiratory system. The higher the number is, the fitter you are. Not surprisingly elite athletes will have a much higher VO2 max than hobby runners.
It can accurately be measured in lab settings, but the beep test is a great way to determine how efficient your body is at getting the oxygen from the air that you breathe to your muscles which is why the ADF uses it in their recruitment process.
Performing the multistage fitness test is a clear and simple way to estimate your VO2 capacity. It can help you to benchmark yourself against the fitness requirements for the Australian Defence Force. It’s a good way to tell if your fitness levels make the mark, so you can figure out how far you need to go before your scheduled PFA to make sure you can pass.
How to Improve VO2 MaX
Improving your VO2 max is important if you'd like to get into military shape. While genetics play a part, training and other lifestyle habits are determining factors too.
1. Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS) Training
MAS is simply defined as the slowest speed at which athletes will achieve their VO2 max. Before you can start training at your MAS, you will need to know where that is. Assessing Maximal Aerobic Speed requires methodology and a good understanding or the process so we recommend hiring a coach or paying for a professional assessment. These can be done on the track and there are several ways to test your MAS.
It's generally left up to the coaches to conduct for sports teams or large groups of athletes. The goal of MAS training is to spend as much time while training at your Maximum Aerobic Speed. That's hard to achieve with continuous training, like running, cycling, etc because it's hard to maintain a sufficient intensity for prolonged periods.
A more effective approach is via interval training, where you work at high intensity for a short period of time, then rest and repeat that for several rounds. Our formula is 15 seconds on then 15 seconds rest for 5 - 8 minute blocks with 3 minutes rest between each block.
This is simple. Run more and run more often. By running more often and at different distances, you can up your intensity without overtraining your muscles. You will need to challenge your VO2 max by running at an intensity level where you are able to maintain a vigorous speed at least once a week. Think of when you'd like to run a fast 3k or 5k. Including interval training too will also help with increasing your running speed and time.
3. Lose Weight
This point doesn't apply to everyone, but if you think you have some excess body fat, even if only 3-5kg, this would be a good time to start working on your nutrition habits and get rid of it.
Becoming the leanest you can will have a positive impact not only on your body image and general fitness, but on your VO2 max too according a Scandinavian research study.
So, back to your your beep test for the ADF, applying all the methods above that are relevant to your unique situation will increase your chances to pass your initial assessment and enrol onto your dream career.
If you are ready to do everything you can to pass, feel free to check out the training options here and get ready to smash that BEEP TEST.
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