December 3, 2020

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MattDoesFitness Tries the Pacer Fitness Test Without Training

3 min read
British bodybuilder and YouTuber Matt Morsia, a.k.a. MattDoesFitness is game to try any type of...

British bodybuilder and YouTuber Matt Morsia, a.k.a. MattDoesFitness is game to try any type of fitness challenge. He’s already taken on the British Army Fitness Test, the Russian Army Fitness Test, and the U.S. Air Force’s Physical Fitness Test (PFT) . For his latest challenge, he’s taking on the PACER fitness test, along with his brother Ben.

You might be familiar with the test as the beep test, or the multi-stage fitness test. “There are multiple names for it, but there is one universal description: it f*cking sucks,” Morsia says.

PACER stands for Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run, and the test is used to gauge aerobic capacity for everyone from elementary schoolers to pro athletes. During the test, you run 20 meter shuttles back and forth, trying to get to the other side before you hear a ‘beep’. The beeps get faster and faster—and once you can’t complete the shuttle between the beeps, you drop out.

Morsia will also be measuring his VO2 max throughout the test (how much oxygen his body uses while exercising) using specialized equipment.

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“I imagine the reading for me is going to be poor. Like off the chart in a bad way,” says Morsia. “If you watch my videos, you know my cardiovascular capacity is absolutely awful.”

After Morsia straps on a heart monitor and the VO2 max mask, the guys are ready to go.

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The video cuts to a montage of running levels that the guys pass. At level 8.1, Ben drops out. But Morsia keeps going all the way to level 10.0, where he falls to the ground and starts dry heaving.

“Level 10, I think that’s good. I’ll take it. I felt quite sick towards the end and I was scared of throwing up in the mask as well,” says Morsia. “That was horrendous.”

Morsia’s VO2 max reading was 58.

“It’s deemed as ‘excellent’. That’s pretty nuts because I assumed automatically anything cardiovascular rated I’m going to suck at,” says Morsia.

While the gear he used was more complicated than an estimate from a wrist-worn fitness tracker, it’s important to note that the most accurate way to calculate the measure is in a controlled lab environment, using specialized equipment.

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