EPE Research: Keep Climbing!

“You can’t fool me. There is no top of the hill!”

A participant attempted to relay this to the researchers through his mask while running at a percent grade on the treadmill during his VO2max test. Of course, his words could not be understood during the test, so we had to wait until the conclusion of the test to know that Dr. McCole failed to fool him.

This not only served as the comedic relief for the week, but verbalized our realization that there is always more to do in the research field. As the six student-researchers become more familiar and deeply engrossed in the study, each of us has moments where we think of all the possibilities for data collection and analysis in just a single study. Some of us even Endurance runspend our free time pondering new studies to explore different components related to ours.

Last week wrapped up the pre-training portion of the study where we obtained participants’ body composition and physical fitness level via underwater weighing, a VO2max test, and an endurance run on the treadmill. Dr. McKenzie, Dr. Laird, and Matt ventured to Orlando for the national ACSM conference last week, so Dr. McCole and the five gals held down the fort.

While they were gone we…

  • Conducted a majority of the endurance runs. This test consists of a three minute warm up period before setting the treadmill at the speed determined to elicit their VO2max and having the participant run for as long as possible without any sort of time cues. This involved creating an individualized regression equation from the participant’s VO2max test. Let us tell you from experience, running without a grasp on time is difficult.
  • Made a snack drawer! Filled with anything from fruit snacks to crackers or nuts, this drawer has become our/mostly Kerrin’s saving grace when blood sugar runs low over the course of our days. In research, it can be the little things that keep you motivated.
  • Started a new secondary study! For those individuals who felt so inclined as to run more than one VO2max test, we are now going to have data for a reliability study on the equipment used during our research.
  • Continued our research by reading articles related to our chosen topics and have begun to prepare for our senior capstone projects. As rising seniors, it’s exciting to be starting our work and getting a jump start on the school year, but incredibly terrifying all at the same time.
  • Learned how to be quick on our feet. Conducting research on human subjects is tough work! Our schedule is determined by each individual’s schedule and changes from day to day. As researchers, we must be flexible and think creatively in order to meet the subjects’, researchers’, and study’s needs.
  • Don’t worry, even after two weeks we all still love each other! Glad to have the full team back in action, increasing physical fitness one day at a time :)

This week marks the beginning of the three-week training programs! Participants have been randomized into either the high-intensity interval or the standard training groups, both running 31-minute training sessions four days per week. The excitement of training is just so high that you’ll have to tune in next time for the scoop!

Thanks for reading! HIIT Team signing off!

EPE Research: Keep Breathing!

“Keep breathing!”

Dr. McCole rolls his eyes, convinced that telling someone to breathe won’t help them run any further. Emma defends her statement, arguing that it encourages deeper breathing and increased oxygen supply. Kerrin wavers between stances, seeing the redundancy of an obvious statement but unable to disprove Emma’s theory. Matt starts using scientific terms that no one is prepared to comprehend at this early hour. Kaitlyn and Allison continue to encourage the participant. Alicia laughs…. And Dr. McKenzie and Dr. Laird ignore us all, discussing the training protocol we will start on June 2nd.

Sydney Flores -VO2This is what EPE summer research has revolved around this first week. Six students and three professors collaborating to explore the differences between high-intensity interval training and traditional aerobic training over a three-week training program.

These first two weeks make up our pre-testing phase of research in which we recruit participants and create a performance baseline comprised of a questionnaire/health history, underwater weighing for body composition, VO2max testing on a treadmill, and an endurance run at the established VO2max.

This week has taught us a few key things:

  • We love working as a team! It didn’t take long to discover that this self-proclaimed “HIIT team” has great cohesiveness, camaraderie, and chemistry. This wouldn’t be nearly as fun without each other.
  • On the first day, “crash course” is a real thing. You feel as if you just learned an entire semester’s worth of information. From compiling literature reviews to learning each test procedure, our brains were thoroughly saturated at the end of the first day.
  • Our learning curves are huge! We’ve gotten very good at things we do not usually do very quickly, including: taking blood pressure at rest and directly following exercise, taking small blood samples for lactate measures, running various programs on the computers for the different tests, and speaking professionally to participants in the study.
  • Dr. McKenzie loves running multiple VO2max tests… Just kidding!

Breathing is an essential part of HIIT Team’s first week of research. Whether it’s making sure enough air is blown out in underwater weighing, getting your maximal oxygen intake in each of the two run tests, or the research team taking a deep breath over the course of our long days, we just keep breathing!

We’re looking forward to next week, where we will continue pre-testing and begin placing participants into the different training programs! Tune in next week to read about the end of the pre-testing phase!

Thanks for reading! HIIT Team signing off!

The End of the Beginning

Nearing the end of research, 141 tests later, we are finally finished with data collection now. Working on posters for both the ACSM Regional Conference and senior seminar projects. Kaylee Hoover is analyzing data to see if there is any difference in blood lactate levels between the max test on the elliptical versus the treadmill. Evan Venters is comparing caloric expenditures with and without the use of arms on both the treadmill and elliptical. Katie Timmons is focusing on the difference of the criteria for VO2max between the elliptical and treadmill. Sarah Mason is comparing cardiovascular variables on the elliptical with and without the use of arms. Matt Peterson and Lindsey Crehan both are assisting in creating these posters for the conference.

Dr. McCole and Dr. McKenzie have been a huge help this summer and we want to thank them for everything they have done for us. There was great food and fun at the McCole household. Yesterday we had the privilege of meeting Lardarius Webb and Ed Dickson (Ravens football players).

photo (1)  photo (2)

We will be back before the start of classes for freshmen fitness testing if you wish to see how fit you are! We also want to thank our participants, if it weren’t for you this study wouldn’t have been accomplished.  It is time to go home and enjoy the remainder of the summer until we are back to finish up our projects! Enjoy your summers!

-Team Research



A Day In The Life of an EPE Researcher

Hello Fellow Researchers! We would like to tell you a bit of how a typical day in our lab is. Along with a very early morning, just after sunrise, the research team arrives at the lab. Much preparation is needed before we start the day. This entails calibrating the VO2 system and the glucose/lactate analyzer. We need to make a 10% bleach solution for which we place the VO2 masks in after an exercise test.

electrode 1

When subjects arrive they fill out health questionnaires and an informed consent paper. They will then be prepped with electrodes that measure cardiac output variables. After a ten minute resting period, and if the systems are up and calibrated, the subject will partake in an exercise test. These tests include a max exercise test on the treadmill and elliptical, a walking test on the treadmill comparing the use of arms to no arms and the use of an elliptical with and without arms.100_4614 We like to treat our subjects well so we offer them a bottle of ice cold water afterwards. Hope all is well.

EPE Research!

Summer Research in Exercise Science

Hello from the Human Performance Lab! Sorry for the late posts, this blog is harder to figure out than the Cardiac Output System, but we are up and running!


We are going to jump right into what we have been researching this summer! We are working in the Human Performance Lab this summer with Dr. McCole and Dr. McKenzie from the Exercise Science Department. This summer we are doing two different studies; one on the treadmill and one on the elliptical, looking at the various physiological (metabolic and cardiovascular) variables associated with using arms during exercise versus not using your arms. We are learning many different lab techniques throughout the research so far.



We are learning things such as: taking blood samples, proper placement of electrodes, data analysis, and learning how to operate and understand the VO2 and Cardiac Output Systems. Each individual researcher is starting to focus on particular topic within the study. The data collected and analyzed will be used in each researchers’ senior seminar project. We have started performing this study on ourselves along with volunteer  participants, and cannot wait to see where this study takes us!

Happy Researching!!!