Non Exercise Based Estimated VO2max Calculator + Calorie Burn
Calculator created by Jeff Burmann, NSCA-CPT. Questions? Email Jeff
About this Calculator
This calculator is unique compared to our other VO2max calculators in that it helps you identify your VO2max without exercise. The best method of measuring this number is through a maximally graded exercise test typically done in a sports laboratory. That method gives the most accurate number but may be too expensive or unavailable for most people. For general fitness enthusiasts we recommend trying another VO2max test such as the 1 Mile Rockport Walk Test or the 1.5 Mile Run. If you cannot perform the physical tests or are just curious, this may give fairly accurate results (± 10-15%).
Be sure you accurately check your height and weight and if you’re well trained, accurately identify your ratings of perceived exertion (RPE. Borg 6-20 scale).
- National Strength and Conditioning Association’s “NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training Vol. 2.” Human Kinetics. 2012
- Kordich, J.A. 2002. Evaluating Your Client: Fitness Assessment and Protocol Norms. Lincoln, NE: NSCA Certification Commission.
- Kraemer W.J., N.A. Ratamess, A.C. Fry, and D.N. French. 2006. Strength training: Development and evaluation of methodology. In: Physiological Assessment of Human Fitness, P.J. Maud and C. Foster, eds. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
What is VO2max
VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in and utilize. Not all air taken in is used by the body. The more cardiovascularly conditioned you are, the higher your VO2max will be, thus the more oxygen you’ll be able to utilize with each breath. Finding VO2max is among the best measures of cardiorespiratory fitness. Each liter of oxygen utilized burns about 5 kcals so the higher the VO2max, the more energy you will require to exercise meaning you can burn more calories and get better more intense workouts. Striving for a higher VO2max is one of the best ways to improve all cardiovascular functions in the body which will improve your overall fitness level.
VO2max and HRR
HRR (Heart Rate Reserve) is a helpful number needed to understand how hard you’re working during exercise. Since you cannot know how much oxygen you’re using up during exercise, and you cannot exercise at 100% all the time like the VO2max, using a pulse count is still best in a typical exercise routine. Finding your heart rate bpm and knowing various heart rate reserve percentages, you can know approximately how much oxygen your consuming because exercise intensities from VO2max to HRR are very closely related. 50% VO2max is equal to about 50% HRR, 75% VO2max = 75% HRR, etc.
VO2max vs. VO2R
For greater precision over VO2max / HRR relation, use the following equation to get target VO2 or VO2 reserve. VO2R = [(Intensity %) x (VO2max – VO2rest)] + VO2rest.
VO2max and METs
At rest, oxygen utilization is about 3.5mL ⋅ kg-1 ⋅ min-1 and is known as a “Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks” or MET. 1 MET is resting, so at 5 METs, the body is working 5x harder than at rest. 1 Met is also known as VO2rest. Normal healthy individuals typically have a VO2max of 25-80 or 7.1 to 22.9 METS.
For another perspective, here is a list of estimated METs for various activities.
- 1 MET = lying in bed or sitting, watching T.V., doing nothing.
- 3 METs = resistance training with light to moderate effort, or walking 2.5 mph
- 5 METs = walking 4 mph on level surface, or low impact aerobic dancing
- 6 METs = vigorous resistance training
- 8 METs = playing singles tennis, or circuit training including cardio stations with limited rest
- 10 METs = running 6mph, or swimming vigorously
- 16 METs = running 10 mph, or cycling outdoors at >20 mph