Performance Success & Metabolic Training



Metabolic Cost of Living and Performance Success
Our exercise objective is to maximize your performance ability at every metabolic level.  That is the measurable correlation of performance to heart rate or metabolic cost. Example of this is running a mile in 5-minutes at 80%:  the performance is, 5-minute mile, the cost is 80% of MHR (Max Heart Rate), this can be done with any movement. Improving the form and function of your Heart, Lungs and Metabolism is the key to a new performance horizon.  The key is lowering the cost of movement or what I call:
Lowering your Metabolic Cost of Living!
The purpose of this article is to clarify the various intensities of movement specific to your fitness level and athletic performance goals.  Smart training involves paying attention to your performance capacity at each of 5- distinct metabolic levels. 

The definition of insanity is: “Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result” this is madness.  STOP and grab a road map, understand HOW your body works and let’s set a course (Systematic Methodology) toward achieving a tangible result, then let’s do it again.  Progress happens in cycles, so we will be building in cycles, measurable, evidence based cycles.  It is this EBE (Evidence Based Exercise) that is missing from the Health, Wellness and Fitness landscape.  Our #1 Cost to our National Debt in the USA is Healthcare, a treatment based fiasco that does not address the three main components of this debt:  Heart, Respiratory and Metabolic Exercise!

Step #1 Understand the *Waking Metabolic Thresholds and what they mean to YOU!

Metabolic Level #1 (FFA): 
60%-70% of Max HR.  40% of total training volume:

We live on the planet Oxygen. Our survival is dependent on oxygen- our metabolism is oxygen based! We must have a very good cardiovascular systems and a highly developed oxidative capacity in our muscle tissue, to be considered very physically fit.  

Free Fatty Acids (FFA) + O2 = Aerobic Base

Getting fitter is the ability of your training program to improve this process. Improve the ability of your body (metabolism) to deliver, extract and use oxygen in muscle tissue providing movement.  As an Aerobic (Oxygen based) organism your first training goal has to be improving your base aerobic system, what we call FFA Free Fatty Acid oxidation.  In other words, while less trained individuals are tapping into their glycogen stores, these athletes are still using more fats as a fuel source along with less glycogen (Carbohydrates) and maintaining lower blood lactate levels, thus maintaining a performance base blood PH level.

Evidence Based Measurement of Performance at Metabolic Level #1: using the mile run as a reference point of performance, what can you run the mile in at an average heart rate that is 70% of your Maximum Heart Rate?  Regardless of what the answer is, improving these performances vs. metabolic cost it he key to evidence based exercise.  We will ask this question at every metabolic level. We can perform this correlation with wattage on a bike or speed/pace on a treadmill or other ergometric devices.

Based on total time spent exercising or training on a weekly basis, how much time (% of training) do you spend developing this metabolic level, on average?  For the past 30 years I have monitored this since running a 4:02 mile at the University of Arizona and when I competed in Multi Sport, Ultra Cycling, Track Cycling, Olympic Paddling ect. When you add it all up, most great athletes spend about 40% of their time training at this level. This means, a top runner training at 100miles per week will run 40 of those miles at this intensity level and the benefit to his or her program is: Increase myoglobin which transports and stores oxygen in the muscle as well as increase capillary density to the working muscle so that glucose and fatty acids diffuse into muscle more quickly. 

The Key to this Metabolic Intensity level is: Increased oxidation of fat, muscular stores of triglycerides and activity of enzymes that activate, transport and breakdown fatty acids and oxygen.

*5- Waking Metabolic Levels does not include the very important metabolic state of SLEEP.   Proper Sleep is critical..

Metabolic Level #2 (AeT): 
70%-80% of Max HR.  25% of total training volume:

This is your Aerobic Threshold Training level (AeT).  Some call it alactic power or max performance outputs without lactate buildup.  The more oxygen and fat you can utilize in correlation with increased power speed, pace performance without the buildup of lactate the better.    FFA + Carbohydrates + O2 = Aerobic Threshold

Much like a car has gears, and a knowledgeable technician performs a power scope to enhance performance, you should pay attention to your performance at each metabolic level. I would say this is the #1 mistake fitness and performance programs make, they do not asses, or train each level, they train blind.  

I have heard it said “Metabolic Thresholds are hocus pocus”, as if to say there is no such thing as a Lactate Threshold (balance point) or a Aerobic Threshold (AeT) (point at which human energy metabolism is yet to shift toward the addition of Anaerobic Energy) or a Optimum Fat Oxidation Threshold.   Keep in mind as Olympic Coach -Dr. Joe Vigil and Arthur Lydiard have taught me: There are 3-Primary Energy Systems in the human body- that apply to 5-Distinct Metabolic levels that we train.  They are:
  • 1.       Aerobic
  • 2.       Aerobic/Anaerobic (combination)
  • 3.       Anaerobic

To ignore performance capacity (correlation of Speed/Pace or Power output at the upper end of each Metabolic Level (Threshold) would be flummerous. It would be like a Race Car Technician ignoring Maximum Power and Speed per gear!

It is a Physiological fact- that as the intensity of activity increases, metabolic pathways shift.  Carbohydrates, fatty acids and protein are broken down in a series of chemical reactions.  There are shifts in the composition of these metabolic reactions, and to perform at your best it is beneficial to correlate and establish performance objectives at each of these metabolic cost levels.   

Evidence Based Measurement of Performance at Metabolic Level #2: using the mile run as a reference point of performance, what can you run the mile in at an average heart rate that is 80% of your Maximum Heart Rate?  Regardless of what the answer is, improving these performances vs. metabolic cost it he key to evidence based exercise.  We will ask this question at every metabolic level. We can perform this correlation with wattage on a bike or speed/pace on a treadmill or other ergometric devices.

Training efficient Neuro Muscular Facilitation (NMF) at each metabolic level is critical! What is NMF?  Skill to move, you can very physically fit and be a great runner, it does not mean you can play a guitar riff!  The ability to play a guitar riff or to put one foot in front of the other is a skill that possesses a cost.  Improve your skill at each cost, regardless of athletic activity. This is the overwhelming theme of our program.  Smart Training using iQniter Cardio Training Tools that educate and inform of as we progress and improve against factual markers or performance reference points.

The Keys to this Metabolic Intensity level -Aerobic Threshold Training (AeT) are: Increased oxidation of glycogen, increased muscular stores of glycogen and glycolytic enzymes, Increased size, surface and number of mitochondria which are located in the cell and where aerobic metabolism takes place, Increased aerobic capacity and hypertrophy of type 1 fibers (slow twitch) and increased glycolytic activity in type 2 fibers (fast twitch ).  In a nutshell, Improve your performance at this Metabolic level. The best Non-Invasive way to do this is by heart rate.  How Fast, How Much Power, what Pace can you achieve at 80% of your True Max Heart Rate?   Does it come close to 80% of your Max Performance? This is how you grade your performance.  It will never lie to you, providing you have a true Max Performance Reference Point. 

Metabolic Level #3 (AT): 
80%-85% of Max HR.  15% of total training volume:

This is your Anaerobic Threshold Training level (AT).  This can still be qualified as alactic power or max performance outputs without lactate buildup.  The more oxygen and fat you can utilize in correlation with increased power speed, pace performance without the buildup of lactate the better.  At this Metabolic Level you are reaching the limit of your Aerobic Energy System and shifting the metabolic pathways toward that of Aerobic/Anaerobic energy.  This Pre-Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation is Critical to any endurance performance.

Critical Non-Invasive Performance Parameter of this Metabolic Intensity Level:  how fast can you run our reference point mile run in at a limited average of 85% of True Max Heart Rate?  A 4-Minute miler should be able to run at least a 4:42 mile at this metabolic intensity level. His or her Mile time at 85% would be 4:42 or better.  He would be capable of running 10k to a half marathon at this pace.  Dr. Vigil has proven this with Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor.

Evidence Based Measurement of Performance at Metabolic Level #3: Regardless of your own “Current” metabolic fitness level, improving your performances vs. metabolic cost it he key to evidence based exercise and your progress/achievement.  Does your program assess and prescribe this methodology? We will ask this question at every metabolic level. Keep in mind we can perform this correlation (performance vs cost) with wattage on a bike or speed/pace on a treadmill or other ergometric devices.

Carbohydrates +O2+Lactate = Max Aerobic Power

Training efficient Neuro Muscular Facilitation (NMF) at each metabolic level is critical! NMF is the Skill & Efficiency of Movement.  Improve your skill at each metabolic cost, regardless of athletic activity.

This is the overwhelming theme of our program.  Smart Training using iQniter Cardio Training Tools that educate and inform of as we progress and improve against factual markers or performance reference points.  What can you do at each level? 

How do you split up your exercise/wellness/training week? What is your periodization program?
With healthcare the #1 draw on National Debt why are our fitness programs in this country evidence based?  Why is health insurance not Performance Based? We can do better.  The current system cannot sustain treatment based health care, it must shift toward evidence based preventative programs that reward performance.

The Keys to this Metabolic Intensity level -Aerobic Threshold Training (AT) are: Sustain a high percentage of VO2max over a specific time or distance without fatiguing.  Reduce the use of carbohydrates as a fuel source and increase the use of fat as a fuel source at all exercise intensities. Increase VO2max - This is a function of the amount of blood pumped from the heart each minute and the amount of oxygen in the blood that is extracted by the muscle cells.

Higher intensity sessions that increase this upper limit and lower intensity sessions that maximize energy production are the basics of endurance training. A metabolic test that determines aerobic and anaerobic thresholds as well as VO2peak can optimize your endurance training to achieve these goals. Although adaptations to training do occur over a wide spectrum of intensities and durations, the person who finds their fitness or weight loss goals at a plateau is too often spending their training time not addressing the max performance capacity of each distinct metabolic level.

Western Society is very good at doing two things:  Too Much and Not enough.  What about in between?  What about balance?  Metabolic Balance!  How do you train?  How do you monitor training Intensity- Duration and Frequency?

Metabolic Level #4 (LT): 
85%-90% of Max HR.  10% of total training volume:

This is your personal Metabolic Lactate Balance Point or Lactate Threshold (LT): At this Metabolic Intensity, blood lactate and CO2 levels rising faster than heart rate and VO2; large increases in breathing rate for small increases in intensity.

Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation above 4 mmoll is often referred to as OBLA or LT: it generally occurs between 80-90% Max Heart Rate, lower for Untrained Individual and higher for trained individuals. We have chosen this Metabolic Threshold to Reflect 88% based on the entire test done worldwide by Dr. Vigil and Per-Olof Astrand stating that LT (Lactate Threshold) or what some refer to as Lactate Balance Point happens at an average of 88% MHR.  For Non-Invasive purposes 88% of your MHR will most certainly involve OBLA. It may be higher it may be lower depending on fitness.

Critical Non-Invasive Performance Parameter of this Metabolic Intensity Level:  how fast can you run our reference point mile run in at a limited average of 88% of True Max Heart Rate? What is your Pace, Power, Speed at Lactate Threshold?

 A 4-Minute miler should be able to run at least a 4:42 mile at this metabolic intensity level. His or her Mile time at 85% would be 4:30 or better.  He would be capable of running 10k -15k  at this pace.   
Evidence Based Measurement of Performance at Metabolic Level #4: Regardless of your own “Current” metabolic fitness level, improving your performances vs. metabolic cost it he key to evidence based exercise and your progress/achievement.  Does your program assess and prescribe this methodology? We will ask this question at every metabolic level. Keep in mind we can perform this correlation (performance vs cost) with wattage on a bike or speed/pace on a treadmill or other ergometric devices.

Carbohydrates + Lactate = Speed Endurance

Training efficient Neuro Muscular Facilitation (NMF) at each metabolic level is critical! NMF is the Skill & Efficiency of Movement.  Improve your skill at each metabolic cost, regardless of athletic activity.

This is the overwhelming theme of our program.  Smart Training using iQniter Cardio Training Tools that educate and inform of as we progress and improve against factual markers or performance reference points.  What can you do at each level? 

How do you split up your exercise/wellness/training week? What is your periodization program?
With healthcare the #1 draw on National Debt why are our fitness programs in this country evidence based?  Why is health insurance not Performance Based? We can do better.  The current system cannot sustain treatment based health care, it must shift toward evidence based preventative programs that reward performance.

The Keys to this Metabolic Intensity level -Aerobic Threshold Training (AT) are:   Speed at Lactate Threshold and increasing the speed or power your body can achieve at higher and higher Onsets of Blood Lactate accumulation. Untrained you may achieve OBLA  or Lactate Threshold (LT) at 88% of max Heart rate, while fully trained you may increase your relative Heart Rate to 90% before you see a OBLA.

The key to training this level is to assess it and train it with what is called Lactate Dynamics.   A great example of a Lactate Dynamics Workout would be to perform at an intensity of 90-95% of Maximum for a 1-Minute period (ON) float or slow down for a 1-Minute Period (OFF) and repeat 4 times to be accounted for as a “SET”  get a full recovery and repeat 3-4 Sets.  This would take our Blood lactate up above Threshold and then allow for your body to train Utilizing, Clearing and Buffering excess lactate while in the float or (OFF) phase.

Example: Running 400-meters in 1-minute, float 200 in 1-minute x 4 or riding at 500-watts for a minute, followed by 250-watts for 1-minute x 4.  Your objective is to train your lactate metabolism as it correlates to Neuro Muscular Facilitation or Performance.

Metabolic Level #5 (NMF/Supra Max): 
95%+ of Max HR.  5% of total training volume:

This is your personal Metabolic Maximum, Max Heart Rate, Max Vo2, Max Performance Period!   

Critical Non-Invasive Performance Parameters of this Metabolic Intensity Level:  What is your MAXIMUIM performance? What is your Maximum Speed, Pace or Power over period of time very close to 4-minutes?  

Events lasting 4-minutes in duration- over the annals of time are a reflection of the maximum capacity of all 3-Energy Systems combined, any less duration leans toward Anaerobic, any more Duration leans toward Aerobic.  What is your max capacity for performance utilizing all your energy systems combined?

Evidence Based Measurement of Performance at Metabolic Level #5:  High Intensity Training 95% or higher of Max Heart Rate. Intervals of 30 seconds to 90 seconds, Supra Max- Short bursts of Speed in Excess of the event pace you are training for. 

Creatine Phosphate + ATP = Speed

Training efficient Neuro Muscular Facilitation (NMF) at each metabolic level is critical! NMF is the Skill & Efficiency of Movement.  Improve your skill at each metabolic cost, regardless of athletic activity.
  • Increases anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular power
  • Must incorporate high intensity intervals to improve the ability to burn fat during endurance sessions
  • Very high blood lactate levels
How do you split up your exercise/wellness/training week? What is your periodization program? 

The Keys Physiological adaptations to this Metabolic Intensity level are:  
  • Increased ability to tolerate high amounts of blood lactate during exercise
  • Increased ability to buffer lactic acid and shuttle blood lactate to other tissues
  • Increased muscular stores of ATP
  • Increased muscular stores of glycogen and glycolytic enzymes
  • Increased VO2max
In Conclusion:
With healthcare the #1 draw on National Debt- can we really afford not to start utilizing Innovative Fitness Technology to enhance our Health, Wellness and Athletic Performance?  iQniter Cardio Training takes the Guess Work out of your Wellness Programs and replaces it with Evidence Based Exercise that documents performance outcomes as it educates and informs your Students, Athletes, Patients, Clients, Healthcare Population.  Regardless of what you call it or what tier of human performance you come from.  Heart, Respiratory and Metabolic markers are the cornerstones to the Future of our Health.

For more information on our programs please email us at: tim@olympiatrainingsystems.com


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