Are you training for performance and/or longevity?
Are you striving to be FIT and HEALTHY?
I have learned the hard way that sometimes LESS is MORE! how do you know?
Test and not guess if you are healthy under the hood.
I am sure you know how can you measure and track your PERFORMANCE!?
Yes, you use your heart rate monitor (hopefully) for training at MAF and for intervals – while avoiding the “BLACK HOLE” training.
Perhaps you use power meter with your heart rate monitor to measure progress in your strength and speed using your Garmin watch then sync to Strava and Training Peaks.
But do you measure and track your recovery?
I believe that creating an effective recovery routine is just as, or more, important as your training schedule.
Ask yourself WHY are you training?
What are you training and racing for this year? What is your WHY?
Now ask yourself are you concerned or motivated to improve the aging process?
How do you see yourself living in retirement? What do you see yourself doing when you are over 70 years old? Where do you see yourself living and traveling?
Are you doing everything you can do now to improve the life of your future self?
I want to be a HEALTH OPTIMIZER.
What is being a health optimizer all about?
What I am doing now in my daily life is to be happy and thrive each day now but benefiting my health and well-being for my future self when I am over 65 years old. I know we plan on living in Italy part time and cycling the hills of Tuscany while traveling around different countries. I will be living part time in Arizona, maybe Hawaii one month a year then living abroad! My body, mind and spirit need to be in optimal condition so I can thrive each day and not struggle to move around different foreign countries as well as hills, terrains, languages, time zones, and food! Traveling can be stressful – especially in foreign countries so being mentally and physically sharp is essential to my future self’s wellbeing.
What type of training is best for endurance?
Most scientific studies show that successful endurance athletes use a training concept with a great proportion of training with low exercise intensity (Zone 1—e.g., running with low to moderate speed over longer time) combined with training sessions using very high exercise intensities (Zone 3—e.g., interval training, …May 14, 2018https://kids.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/frym.2018.00017
Funny the quote/reference above is from this “kids” educational website that I come across frequently when researching health and fitness topics. These kids would be super smart if they read all of these articles- fit, healthy and smart!
Now one of my mentors in my early days, 25 years ago, was Sally Edwards. She started Danskin Triathlon as well as Heart Rate Training -plus 100’s of other programs, books and events! I was fortunate to learn from her and work with her as I started coaching individuals and competing in triathlons myself (starting with Danskin!).
Sally continues to teach heart zone training as smart training – as well as being FIT and HEALTHY instead of FIT and FAT! For years Sally taught us about training in the lower heart rate zones to burn fat using heart rate monitors then we started testing metabolic efficiency with the New Leaf Testing Carts (before Lifetime Fitness took them away from everyone! Booo).
Sally talked about avoiding the BLACK HOLE in training as well as Ben Greenfield spoke about avoiding the black hole in his book BEYOND TRAINING.
What is the BLACK HOLE that you want to avoid if you are concerned about performance and longevity?
The Black Hole for Runners
It turns out that very fast runs are good for you—and that moderately fast runs (those just above threshold, in the Black Hole) are not. That’s because Black Hole runs are too slow to cause enough stress to make your body want to strengthen itself, and too fast to allow you to go long enough to improve your endurance. Studies of top runners find that they (by design or not) minimize their time in the Black Hole.https://heartzones.com/zone-2-the-temperate-zone/
How fast is the Black Hole?
In terms of pace, heart rate, and the Heart Zones chart, the Black Hole is actually a very narrow band. It starts at threshold, right as you enter Zone 5, and goes about 5 percent higher. So, if your threshold heart rate is 150 bpm, your Black Hole would extend from 150 to 157 bpm. That means if you really want to improve, your fast runs should roughly start at a second threshold: 158 bpm.https://heartzones.com/better-runner-2017-black-hole/
Here are some of my top supplements for Performance and Longevity
What I do know to prepare my future self is becoming a HEALTH OPTIMIZER with the eight elements of ‘THE WHOLESTIC METHOD’.
- Digestion & Gut health
- Happiness, Gratitude & Play
Are you a health optimizer or striving to be a health optimizer?
I would start with WHAT you are eating, WHY, HOW and WHEN… listen to my podcast to gain more insights on WHAT you should be eating to BURN FAT, REGAIN ENERGY and REDUCE CRAVINGS (as well as gain focus!), as we are all unique bio-individuals.
Next, let’s get started by identifying our HIDDEN sources of chronic stress with functional lab tests and nutritional therapy assessments. With biometrics (Nutrisense, Keto Mojo, Garmin, Training Peaks and OURA) genetic testing and well-chosen functional lab tests, we can individualize a program to help you be a fat burning athlete
- Hormone balance
- Immune system
- Energy systems
- Nervous system
So, back to training for performance and longevity…
I used to be able to run a marathon under 3hr30min each year and quality for Boston Marathon – which I had my PR in Boston of 3:12. I also was able to compete at a high level in Ironman races and qualify for Ironman Hawaii for many years…until the start of 2013. I have never been able to run again as fast and as long without fatigue and damage to my body as I broke down my body systems so much from an accumulation of EXTERNAL and HIDDEN internal sources of CHRONIC STRESS.
Yes, I do focus my full-time job now as a health practitioner and fitness coach to help guide them down a new healing transformational journey to get their body and vibrant self-back again because I want to be the coach that no one was for me back when I was searching for answers, solutions and help starting back in 2013. As a competitive athlete, I just wanted to get my body and health back so I could race again top of my age group, but no one seemed to have the program I needed. I was not accepting my weight gain, fatigue and poor recovery from workouts as my new “normal”- and certainly my age wasn’t the issue as I was in my early forties.
Fast forward eight years to March 2021, I have learned so much about my own health and fitness from experimenting with workout schedules, heart rate, distance and fueling. Remember – we are all unique so there is not a ONE SIZE FITS ALL approach to anything. We just share ideas to be used as templates, suggestions or recommendations, then you have a starting base to play with then course correct based on your own assessments.
My example today is my running – as my running has always been my “area of opportunity” or struggle since my internal breakdown (mitochondria damage) starting in 2013. Once upon a time, running an eight-minute mile was easily in my “aerobic” MAF (Max Aerobic Function) training zone, but know running any pace over a few minutes just elevates my heart rate. I tried for years to use my trusted MAF training for pacing myself in my long runs on Sundays. Perhaps I should NOT run the long distance as it is not good for our bodies as it creates more damage than benefits for the aging process (45-60 minutes max is ideal), but I enjoy going out along the coast for 1hr30-2hr run. What I have learned that works best for ME is to run 4-5 minutes at a comfortable pace and then fast walk for 1 minute… easy. Now that is against what I have always suggested to my own clients and for my own coaching program. I would always suggest training by MAF for all of your endurance workouts then add in one interval pace workout per week.
Lately, I discovered that my long runs were not only faster overall pace by running and walking as compared to running non-stop, but my BODY felt better the next day. My recovery and repair were easier as I was doing less damage to my body by running over 45-minutes which creates less oxidative stress. I believe my mitochondria are still damaged as I took the Organic Acids Test (OATS) last year along with BiomeFX, DUTCH Complete hormone test, and a GI stool test to discover that I had MOLD TOXICITY that was undetected for YEARs (or I assume) since none of the practitioners or doctors that I saw starting back in 2013 ever tested my organic acids or my microbiome.
Running long distance is too much stress on my body – my heart rate would be increasing to keep up with the demands and the mitochondria had to work harder to create energy.
Then I questioned my fasted long runs… could I feel better, perform better and recover faster if I had a little boost before the workout?
You don’t know what you don’t know – so what did I do? Experiment.
N = 1.
I started taking one VESPA pack before my long run (30-minutes prior to run start) to see how my pace, energy and fatigue levels were compared to a fasted run. We may perform well in a fasted workout during the week- but what about on your long bike ride or long run workout? Even if you are training in your fat burning zones (MAF)- could you be even performed faster, feel stronger and recover faster if you had a little boost of energy shot as VESPA or UCAN? Experiment and compare your data- as I am sure you have a Garmin, Heart Rate Monitor and power meter- plus even an OURA Ring to track recovery and repair.
What do your genetics say about your fitness performance?
According to my genetic report on DNAFit… ironically, I am more power athlete vs. endurance athlete so if I am training for endurance events, I should train in shorter distance with more intervals for most of my workouts with one long endurance day. Perhaps for years I was training for Ironman triathlons, marathons, cycling events and 50k trail runs that I was creating additional stress on my body doing endurance work when it preferred shorter interval events? That is an odd thought to me as I have never been a fast twitch sprinter athlete, but I do respond well to strength training with fewer reps and heavier weight. Ever since I did my first long distance cycling event (Tri Island Trek in the San Juan Islands in WA), I found it easy to do distance events and enjoyed the longer workouts.
My DNAFit Power/Endurance Response
73% Power Your Score and 27% Endurance.
Understanding Training Intensity
Whatever your level, whatever your goal, there’s a number of different workout methods to get there.
High Intensity vs. Low Intensity Exercise
High Intensity/Power exercise
High intensity exercise methods use short, intense bursts of exertion to work towards your goal. In general fitness, this is most commonly seen as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions. In sports training terms high intensity is characterized by short sprints or intervals, or resistance training using higher weights but with less volume.
Low Intensity/Endurance Exercise
Lower intensity exercise methods use longer, less intense periods of exertion. In general fitness, this is most commonly used in road cycling, longer jogging, hiking or cardio work, and circuit style training with higher volumes but lighter weights. In sport, lower intensity disciplines would be generally characterized by the longer distance running, cycling and swimming events.
Here’s how we calculated your Power/Endurance Response Score
In the table below you’ll see the genes we’ve looked at for this section, these are the most researched genes around training response. We only include variants that have passed our evidence threshold and are known for having an impact on our individual response to different exercise intensities.
“Your assessment has determined that your genetic profile falls more in the zone of power activities, based on variations in your genes. Make the most of your genetic tendency for power activities by placing a priority on power exercise in your training program”.
Ironic right …for me? The endurance junkie?
But maybe this is another contributor to my health breakdown as I overtrained my cells? Not sure as that is another “rabbit hole” to dive into some rainy day.
Another reminder for us all is to avoid the “BLACK HOLE” training for endurance events/races. I have always trained myself and coached others using heart rate monitor to make sure we are training in the maximum aerobic function (MAF) zones, or ZONE 2, and avoiding the “BLACK HOLE” zone. Which is why I find as I age, the aging athlete strategy, is to do more interval training and less non-stop exercise as well as an easy MAF day and then long run with 4 minutes running/1 minute walking. My weekly schedule includes 2-3 days cycling, depending on the time of year, 3 days running, 2-3 days strength training (30-minutes) and 1-2 days power yoga.
How are you changing your training schedule as you age up? I don’t blame my age but rather embrace the changes to improve my performance as I age up. I believe in more lifting weights and more intervals as we age up as we experience loss of muscle and loss of speed- so it makes sense to me to follow my theory of “LESS IS MORE” and stop believing that MORE is Better!
This is my current experiment, N = 1, for 2021 as I age up in November to the big 5-0 and work with my body energy systems while I detox from mold toxicity and improve my mitochondrial health. You don’t know what you don’t know so TEST and not GUESS if you are healthy from the inside out. Remember- I was feeling better these past few years but something was holding me back, so I ran more tests and discovered serious Mold Toxicity and Candida Overgrowth as well as mitochondrial dysfunction, low enzymes, poor protein digestion, detoxification and hormone imbalance (low estrogen!).
Let me know if you need help creating your health transformation program by getting your hands on the right functional lab tests, nutritional therapy assessments, DNAFit and lifestyle changes to improve the WHOLE you from the inside out to be FIT and HEALTHY for life! I am concerned about my performance in life and improving the aging process, so I am living my best life in my older years. Don’t wait until it is too late to feel, look and perform your best self.
Contact me here to schedule a complimentary call to discover more. Remember- self-care is self-love and we can’t assume we are healthy without investigating what is actually going on under the hood!
CHEK HLC, NASM CPT, FDNP, FNTP, Kion Coach
Next: How do we reduce oxidative stress and improve our mitochondria?
“The reduction of oxidative stress could be achieved in three levels: by lowering exposure to environmental pollutants with oxidizing properties, by increasing levels of endogenous and exogenous antioxidants, or by lowering the generation of oxidative stress by stabilizing mitochondrial energy production and efficiency.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3670843/
Don’t forget to review METABOLIC EFFICIENCY and METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY!