Metabolics - episode 194

Hello TR crew! Just got done listening to episode 194 while hitting some cumberland. I recently had the chance to do some research as well as to perform some metabolic testing and thought I would share some resources, articles and insight into the process and how it can potentially help everyone.
As discussed in the podcast, V02 is not the end all be all. There are plenty of riders with lower V02 max numbers that are top level athletes. The v02 component of metabolic testing however is only scratching the surface. I will let the video below go into the great detail on the subject. INSCYD is a software created by Sebastian Weber a sports scientist out of Germany. He has tested many of the tour riders as well as triathletes such as Jan Frodeno and recently Cameron Wurf. In short detail, not all threshold powers are created equal. Take 2 athletes for instance that have the same FTP. Athlete A has a V02 on the higher end of the spectrum but relative to his V02 max his anaerobic threshold or FTP is a smaller percentage of that (for reference purposes lets say his V02 max watts are 350 but his Threshold is 220 or 62% of that V02). Athlete A is not limited by his V02 max but rather his threshold power. This athlete should work to maintain that high V02 but gradually increase time spent at tempo and threshold as his season progresses to really drive that AT number up.
Athlete B may have a lower V02 max number relatively speaking but relative to his V02 max, his AT threshold may be at a very high percentage of that number ( lets say he has the same AT of 220 as athlete A, if his V02 max power is only 270 his AT is 80% of his V02 max) This athlete would need to really increase his V02 max using V02 max intervals and long slow aerobic work to raise that V02 ceiling before eventually sharpening the blade and working on increasing his AT throughout the season.
Going deeper down the rabbit hole there is an additional concept called VLAmax which is essentially how you obtain your energy. Are you more glycolytic or are you more fat burning. Long steady state athletes such as Ironman want that VLA max very low (but not too low since oxidizing fat for energy is a slower process) while sprinters will want that VLA max high. I have included an article in triathlete magazine as well to demonstrate how Wurf recently used this software. Is metabolic testing necessary for every athlete? no, of course not but neither are power meters, HR monitors and the list goes on. What I am getting at is that I would assume most people here are data driven athletes and might enjoy geeking out on this VERY helpful training information. Enjoy


Almost forgot some icing on the cake…take a look how you can also figure out your nutrition for long course events such as Ironman using the software. interested in your thoughts guys. @Jonathan @Nate_Pearson @chad

Some good info in this thread and in episode 189 on fractional utilization (the concept of FTP as it relates to VO2max that you mention above)

Not sure your comparison is correct. Power meters are a direct training method that is used to structure your entire training season and critical in training percision. Also very useful during most races and invaluable in post race analysis. HR monitors and the data derived over time can give you an indication of your rest, recovery, illness, over-training, stress, etc. Also power meters and HR monitors are readily available, useable and have countless research surrounding their use.

Metabolic testing might be the next best thing, but let’s not exaggerate it’s importance and diminish well established fitness tools.

Missed the point on that one. The point was that if you enjoy power, HR and other data, metabolic testing is some interesting data to have.

My 2 cents: For those of us not professional athletes, much of this metabolic testing is not super useful. It is of course very interesting, but applying it to our own training and non-pro goals won’t (necessarily) improve your performance.

I started riding in 2012, after 16yr hiatus from endurance sports. I was a very serious Nordic skier racer in my teens and early twenties, and settled down with a job, family, etc, playing stop/start weekend warrior ultimate frisbee until I had gained 50lbs and lost sight of being fit. Having a university background in biomechanics and exercise physiology, I had 2 VO2Max tests done over 3 years to help establish HR training zones for my journey to get fitter - at the time I had no power meter.

What did it do for me? Not a ton. Helpful…kiiinda. Brag rights worthy, as Episode 194 illustrated, absolutely. My last VO2Max Test was in July of 2015. I was 39 yrs old and I tested a 72.4.

I have never won a bike race.

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@Oblewis If someone was to go as far as to train with power but also use something like trainer road to have structured training and workouts they are obviously doing it for a reason. If not, you would just go out for leisure rides and not look at any data. I would disagree with the statement that it’s not important. I’m not a professional athlete. I have the “non pro” goal of improving my own performance and I am currently doing that with metabolic testing. I am sorry you didn’t win any races.

Fair point, I didn’t mean to say our goals are not important. How we feel about them is passionate and you’re right , of great value to ourselves personally.

No wins, but the journey is super rewarding :slight_smile:

It’s al about the journey!

There is a new Fast Talk podcast just aired on VLAmax if you are interested. It’s certainly added a additional piece to the already confusing puzzle for me.


Agreed, that podcast explained so much. I will be taking VLaMax and V4 measurements after my TR blocks in addition to using the ramp test. Watching my VLaMax shift with different stimuli is going to be very interesting :nerd_face: I can’t stop reading research papers about lactate and testing procedures now…and I’m an software engineer


definitely opens up an entirely new can of worms. Very interesting to be able to shed light on your individualized physiology.

Were you the med student Ironman triathlete who does his own lactate testing? If not, never mind. If so, have you been measuring your power at MLSS and using that as your FTP for TR workouts?

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I think you really hit it on the nose. There is a lot of consistent training to be done for an athlete to even begin to near the point that this type of information becomes useful. And, as much as no one wants to hear it, most of us will never get that far.

At the enthusiast level, all of the energy spent trying to understand and manipulate biology and technology to maximize performance would almost certainly yield better results if spent pedaling or sleeping:)

I appreciate all of the info and discussion academically and as entertainment, but if I want to get faster I just need to keep training.

That was me. I have been using MLSS for the past 2 years or so. for the sake of consistency of testing, that is what I use every 8 weeks to Test and my TR workouts are based on that number.