Oxygen uptake and ratings of perceived exertion at the lactate threshold and maximal fat oxidation rate in untrained adults

Corey A. Rynders, Siddhartha Angadi, Nathan Y. Weltman, Glenn Gaesser, Arthur Weltman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between VO 2 and RPE at the lactate threshold (LT) and maximal fat oxidation rate (FAT MAX) in untrained adults and determine the stability of the relationship across sex, age, and fitness status. A total of 148 untrained adults (mean age [year] = 30.5 ± 13.9, height [m] = 1.72 ± 0.08 m, body mass [kg] = 82.6 ± 20.5, body fat [%] = 28.7 ± 12.0) completed a continuous incremental VO 2 peak/LT protocol. Fat oxidation rates were determined using indirect calorimetry. The highest recorded fat oxidation rate was chosen as FAT MAX. The breakpoint in the VO 2-blood lactate relationship was chosen as LT. RPE was based on the Borg 6-20 scale. Bland-Altman plot analysis demonstrated that VO 2 FAT MAX systematically preceded VO 2 LT (mean bias = 1.3 ml kg -1 min -1) with wide limits of agreement (+9.6 to -6.9 ml kg -1 min -1). Multivariate ANOVA revealed a significant difference between VO 2 FAT MAX (12.7 ± 7.5 ml kg -1 min -1) and VO 2 LT (14.1 ± 5.9 ml kg -1 min -1) in the total sample (p = 0.04). There were no differences between the intensities when the sample was divided into sex, age, and fitness comparison groups (p values[0.05). RPE FAT MAX (9.4 ± 2.5) preceded RPE LT (10.4 ± 2.0) in the total sample (p = 0.008), but was not different across comparison groups (p[0.05). The present data indicate that the highest rate of fat oxidation slightly precedes the LT in untrained adults. For exercise prescription, a Borg-RPE of 9-12 identifies both FAT MAX and LT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2063-2068
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011



  • Indirect calorimetry
  • Lactate threshold
  • Maximal fat oxidation rate
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)

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