Thursday, November 18, 2010

Research Testing

I signed up to participate in an exercise physiology/nutrition research project that is looking at the effects of two supplements (creatine and alanine) on muscle and performance values. I started the testing on Tuesday. I went on main campus to the nutrition/kines building. They numbed up my thigh with lidocaine and then removed a pea-size piece of tissue. I really wanted to watch - I have a morbid curiosity about these things, and watched my own endoscopy once. However, I knew I would have to do it two more times so I did not watch, in the event that it would make me want to pass out next time. I'll wait until the 3rd and last session to test my luck.

The lidocaine shot was the worst part - akin to getting an intramuscular vaccine injection. They waited for the membrane stabilizing effects of lidocaine (I know, nerd alert) to kick in, then inserted a needle, and through it removed a small piece of my muscle tissue. That part just felt like a little pressure, much like when I had my wisdom teeth pulled (also under lidocaine). After that wore off, it just felt like I had done a hard leg workout and my muscles were sore, for about a day.

Josh texted me a few minutes later, asking about the flavor of "Kristen sushi." :)

Today, I went in for the exercise testing portion. I got a body scan to determine my body fat percentage, and they measured my total body water as well. It was 53% (which is pretty cool, since we learned in Phys that it's about 60%, which was only a theoretical number to me until today). Then I did the first exercise portion. I was on an exercise bike with a heart rate monitor and something like a scuba mask on, and my nostrils clamped shut, so I could only breathe out of my mouth. I had to keep a steady cadence of 70 rpm against a certain power (in watts) that increased every 5 minutes until I could no longer keep cadence (ie, muscle exhaustion). They also periodically checked my lactate levels by pricking m y finger. Apparently, my VO2 max is 46 ml/kg/min, which is high compared with averages in t he 20s for a female riding a bike.

The second part of exercise testing, I was also on the bike, but no heart rate monitor and no mask. I warmed up for 3 minutes, then sprinted for 30 seconds. I rested for 3 minutes, warmed up for a minute, then sprinted again for 30 seconds. This time my lactate and blood ammonia levels were both tested. The sprint was against a given resistance that was based on my body weight. It was pretty tough to move my legs at all
by the end of the 30 seconds.

All in all, the exercise kicked my butt! But I get to have so many cool data points at the end, and get to be part of an awesome study. So glad I decided to go for it!

I will end this one with:

Even upside down, you are still retarded.
And right side up you are beautiful.

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