Suunto Training Effect

What is Training Effect?  
How do we arrive at the Training Effect Number?
Suunto's Description of 5 training effects, pretty watered down version

















There are a variety of Training Effects that range from Sleeping to Max Race Effort.
  • As Humans we need a mixture of each intensity into our total routine.
  • Think about it this way: Want to Improve your Health?  You have 168 hours a week to get the job done!  
  • How are you going to spend those hours?  
If you do not understand the Human Metabolism and Nervous System how can you possibly undergo a VALID Training Program?  If you do not understand the 5-Primary Metabolic Levels we live and perform by (Plus Sleep), How can you ever improve your Health and Performance?
  • How do YOU spend your Exercise Time?
  • How SHOULD you spend your Exercise Time?
  • Is MORE better?
The point of this website and our lives as it's creator is to share information from the icons of Human Performance. From Per Olof Astrand to Lydiard to Vigil. Be it the sport of Running, Cycling, Rowing, Swimming, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing or Paddling.  The Human Metabolism and Nervous System are the same.  

To be good at anything, including being healthy you have to learn the Neurological Bio-Mechanics of Movement  given your own personal pursuit, and you have to cover the Metabolic Cost of that Movement and or Lifestyle. Example would be taking the top Track Cyclist Sprinter in the World, could he jump off the Bike and outrun Usain Bolt on the Running Track, or vise-versa?  No, but the training principles and cost of energy are the same only applied to two very different specific movements.   

Think about that for a minute.  You can know how to Box, but if you are out of condition and your metabolism to create and sustain energy is shot, you cannot execute movement and you will get knocked out. You cannot raise your arms to Block or Punch.   Or you can be in great shape and not have the skill set of boxing and also get knocked out!  You can have both and be Champ!  You cannot ignore either and you MUST incorporate both, Our tools  help you do that.

Training effect is a simple look at 5-Metabolic Thresholds common to most Humans.  
  1. Fat Threshold.... 
  2. Aerobic Threshold....
  3. Anaerobic Threshold...
  4. Lactate Threshold... and your 
  5. Max/Supramax.
To get better at most any movement, discipline or sport you must train the Neurology of Movement -Specific to Activity- at all of these Metabolic Thresholds, PLUS have Effect Sleep Pattern to induce the recovery needed to get from training day #1 to training day #2. Same is true of life.  Try missing sleep for a few days and see what happens!

The Systems We Sell, are Tools to Monitor these Training Effects. 

SMART training, the use of motivational metrics that allow you to Pinpoint Training Effect.  Not trying to sell you anything, just pointing out real-time non-invasive technology to take the guesswork out of your training or wellness regime. Be it iQniter Cardio Training, The Suunto Quest, The Suunto Ambit or the Garmin 910xt. All just TOOLS........

Here is a Metabolic Threshold Matrix to get a visual of 5-Thresholds:
click to enlarge
Make a note of what each level produces in terms of Metabolic Effect! 
Intensity Level 1 -Training Effect (TE) 1:
If you jogged for 2-hours at a very low intensity (Under 75% of Max Heart Rate) the primary effect of this session would be Aerobic, training the bodies ability to Oxygenate Human Cells and to become more efficient at Utilizing Fat (Burning Fat) as a Source of Fuel while at the same time Conserving "limited" Glycogen Stores.  Understanding this level is KEY to Fat Loss, it is also KEY to Marathon Training.  This Level builds Capillary Beds and Develops Mitochondria (The power Plant of your Cells).  Do not make the mistake that this is poor training time!  Do your best when training at this level to work on technique  move as efficiently as possible, execute the best Neuro Mechanics possible. 

This level is mixed into every workout as recovery and it should also specifically be targeted as the primary Training Effect of at least one session per week.  It should be up to 40% of total training time.  Think about it:  If you sprinted  for 30 seconds and walked for 4 minutes to fully recover so you could truly sprint again at 100% for every 4-minutes and 30-seconds you spent approximately 90% of each of these training units in recovery!  Recovery is Key! Adaptation to Training Load does not effectively happen without it.  Do NOT overlook it.  Make sure you take time to do specific Level 1 training.  We call it FFA or Free Fatty Acid training.  Time spent improving your ability to utilize abundant fat stores as fuel to perform, thus saving critical Glycogen for intense sections of life or competition.  Developing Level 1 can also reduce stress, stress such as Metabolic Acidosis from life trauma, or Very Intense Training Sessions.  

Intensity Level 2 -Training Effect (TE) 2:
Aerobic Threshold or AT for short. Think of this as the ceiling in your living room, everything in this room is Aerobic.  As Dr. Vigil told me when I asked him his defitnion of Fitness he simply said the ability to intake and utilize oxygen...WHY I asked... he said: Tim, we are all "AEROBES"  Oxygen based organisms.  The faster you can run, walk, the harder you can punch, Paddle or Walk within the limits of Aerobic Respiration ... THE BETTER! Training of this system is simple, do your craft as Best you Can as Fast as you can in Interval Fashion, Steady State Tempo Fashion ect between 75% and 80%.  IN a Mile run if your Best Mile is 4:00 you should be capable of running at least a 5:00 mile without your heart rate exceeding 80% of your Max Heart Rate.  Same holds true of Paddling, Rowing,Cycling, Swimming.  Learn to train at a Fractionalization of your Max Speed/Power and Max Vo2 or Max Heart rate.

Intensity Level 3 -Training Effect (TE) 3:
Anaerobic Threshold or AeT for short generally starts to occur just beyond 80% of max in most humans.  Your metabolism shifts from primarily Fat for Fuel to more and more Glycogen as it's primary energy source, so this intensity becomes more and more limited in duration as intensity  goes up.  Again you would train this level between 80% and 85%.  Train to move as efficiently as possible.  My example has always been:  If two guys run a mile in 5:00 who is the fitter?

Answer: The one who spends less energy to do it!  If I run 5:00 mile at 80% of my max and you run it at 95% of your max... WHO is Fitter?  

AeT is that Anaerobic level of intensity that is PRE- OBLA, we say 80-85% to include most. Most Semi Trained Humans will have a Lactate Threshold at or around 85%-88% of Max Heart Rate.  LT is our 4th Training effect.

Intensity Level 4 -Training Effect (TE) 4:
OBLA is short for Onset of Blood Lactate Accumulation.  Often referred to at LT or Lactate Threshold/ Lactate Balance Point, this level is the Onset of Metabolic Acidosis and your time here is very limited.  WHY...?  because your Blood Chemistry is becoming more and more acidic as the result of excessive levels of Lactate that your body cannot:  Utilize- Clear or Buffer.  

The result is you SLOW down, Muscle cannot contract as well, Power fades, Pace slows.... Training at this level is like walking a Tight Rope.  Sneak up on it, work Tempo Runs, Paddles, Bouts, Rides, Rows at 4-Minute to 20 minute tempo sessions right below this fine line you can test in the Lab with a Lactate Pro Lactate Meter.  Test's have shown that for most this level will occur at or around 88% of Max Heart Rate.  The fitter you get the more Lactate you can produce, utilize, buffer and clear.  So you may increase the speed you can maintain as your LT goes from 88% to 92% of Max Heart rate.  You can stay on the horse longer!!

Intensity Level 5 -Training Effect (TE) 5:
NMF  or Neuro Motor Facilitation.  You can be very fit and not know how to dance!  NMF is a SKILL SET!  Movement Training! Rolling Stones Rhythm guitarist Keith Richards is not known for fitness but he has one hell of a SKILL set in his ability to move around the Fret Board on a Guitar!!  These are MAX Efforts 1-15 seconds on duration, perhaps 20 seconds, basically the 40-60... 100 to 200 Meter Sprints in Track and Field.  200 is pushing it a 19 seconds.  Here we train Movement.  These are often so short that the metabolism does not have time to react to them fully.  I did these today in my own training.  I did 100 meter Sprints in  my Sprint Kayak I took the boat from 0-10 miles per hour in 24 seconds to cover 100 meters by GPS.  My heart rate went from 65% to 95% in 24 seconds as I went from floating to MAXIMUM SPEED!

My goal was to achieve better and better Neuro Muscular Facilitation (NMF) relative to proper technique.  These were at Sub-4 minute Kilo Pace, and my best Kilo is 4:25 so I would refer to this as SUPRAMAX training or Above Speed Training.  the focus here is not the metabolism as much as it is the Neurology of Movement... Skill under Duress!

Okay so how do we get that number at the end of the workout that rates your session.  It may say 3.1 improving or it may say 2.0 Maintaining or recovery.  Ignore it!  Know that it is NO MORE than an AVERAGE of time spent in all 5 training zones.  You may warm up and Warm Down at 70% for 20 minutes and then do like I did this morning and do 8 x Maximum 100 meter Sprints at 24 seconds each a whopping total time of 192 seconds  or 3 minutes and 12 seconds.  So was this an EASY workout?  Metabolically YES! Neurologically... NO!  It was a great workout, but as you see in the matrix above it is only about 5% of my total training time.

Learn to use our system to recognize and steer you through ALL 5-Training Effects.  Use our systems to help you navigate your Total Training Hours you have to dedicate toward your own definition of EXCELLENCE!

Self Knowledge is KEY!

As you become better at distributing a variety of Metabolic Threshold workouts per cycle you will master the Super Compensation Model  See Illustration below or go to this link Click:


Use your Intelligence, Technology and SMART work to Kick ASS!

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