Debbie Potts Coaching

What is the best way to train as you age to improve longevity?

Peter Attia tells us in OUTLIVE and on podcasts to train in “ZONE 2” and do VO2 Max Workouts (1-4 minutes all out)… is that what ALL of us need to be doing?

I will add…

  • Test and not guess.
  • Personalization is key.
  • Women are different than men.

What is LACTATE?

Lactate, also known as lactic acid, is a byproduct of anaerobic metabolism, particularly when glucose is broken down for energy in the absence of sufficient oxygen.

During intense exercise, the body may produce lactate as a temporary energy source when oxygen demand exceeds supply, such as during high-intensity activities like sprinting or heavy weightlifting.

https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/the-importance-of-lactate-threshold/

https://www.endureiq.com/blog/understanding-and-practically-determining-the-first-aerobic-threshold-of-endurance-training

How and why should you measure it?

Lactate production increases with exercise intensity, and it accumulates in the bloodstream when its production outpaces clearance.

This accumulation is associated with muscle fatigue and a decrease in exercise performance.

However, lactate itself isn’t solely responsible for fatigue; it’s just one factor among many in the complex process.

Lactate threshold testing is a method used to determine an individual’s exercise intensity at which lactate accumulation starts to increase significantly. This is typically done through incremental exercise tests where blood samples are taken at various stages of increasing intensity to measure lactate concentration.

The point at which there’s a notable increase in lactate accumulation is identified as the lactate threshold.

What does a breath analysis test as PNOE measure as compared to Lactate Threshold test?

Metabolism breath analysis, such as PNOE, involves measuring respiratory gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) to assess metabolism and energy utilization during exercise. While lactate threshold testing focuses on identifying the intensity at which lactate accumulation begins to rise, metabolism breath analysis provides insights into energy systems being utilized (aerobic vs. anaerobic), substrate utilization (carbohydrates vs. fats), and overall metabolic efficiency during exercise.

PNOE metabolism testing and lactate threshold testing are two different methods used to gather physiological data for optimizing training programs, and they provide distinct insights into an individual’s metabolism and exercise performance.

  1. PNOE Metabolism Test: PNOE utilizes breath analysis to measure respiratory gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) during exercise. This analysis allows for the determination of key metabolic parameters such as oxygen consumption (VO2), carbon dioxide production (VCO2), and respiratory exchange ratio (RER). From these measurements, PNOE can estimate energy expenditure, substrate utilization (fat vs. carbohydrate oxidation), and metabolic efficiency during exercise. This information helps to understand how the body is utilizing fuel sources and can guide nutrition and training strategies to optimize performance and achieve specific goals.
  2. Lactate Threshold Testing: Lactate threshold testing involves measuring blood lactate concentrations during incremental exercise to identify the exercise intensity at which lactate begins to accumulate significantly in the bloodstream. This threshold is an essential marker for determining optimal training zones and intensity levels. Training near or slightly above the lactate threshold can improve endurance and performance by enhancing the body’s ability to clear lactate and tolerate higher intensities of exercise.

The data from both PNOE metabolism testing and lactate threshold testing provide valuable information to help determine a personalized training program:

  • PNOE Metabolism Test Data: This data helps to understand an individual’s metabolic profile, including their aerobic capacity, substrate utilization patterns, and metabolic efficiency. It can guide nutrition strategies, such as determining optimal fueling strategies for training and competition, and help tailor training programs to maximize fat oxidation, improve metabolic flexibility, and optimize energy production during exercise.
  • Lactate Threshold Testing Data: This data identifies the specific exercise intensity associated with lactate accumulation, which is crucial for establishing individualized training zones. By training at or slightly above the lactate threshold, athletes can target the physiological systems responsible for endurance performance and improve their ability to sustain higher workloads without fatiguing. Lactate threshold testing data informs the prescription of intensity-specific training programs tailored to an individual’s fitness level, goals, and performance needs.

In combination, the data from both PNOE metabolism testing and lactate threshold testing offer comprehensive insights into an individual’s metabolic and physiological responses to exercise. By integrating these insights into a personalized training program, athletes and fitness enthusiasts can optimize their performance, improve their endurance capacity, and achieve their goals more effectively.

What is LACTATE THRESHOLD?

  • Lactate threshold is a physiological concept related to exercise intensity at which lactate begins to accumulate in the bloodstream faster than it can be cleared.
  • During low to moderate intensity exercise, the body can clear lactate efficiently.
  • As exercise intensity increases, there comes a point where lactate production exceeds clearance, leading to a rise in blood lactate concentration.
  • This threshold is often associated with a point where there is a significant increase in fatigue and a decrease in performance.

https://www.endureiq.com/blog/understanding-and-practically-determining-the-first-aerobic-threshold-of-endurance-training

 

What do you do with the data?

  • Understanding your lactate threshold—the exercise intensity at which lactate accumulation significantly increases—is valuable for optimizing training.
  • Training near or slightly above the lactate threshold can improve the body’s ability to clear lactate and tolerate higher intensities of exercise.
  • This can lead to enhancements in endurance and performance.

How do you measure LACTATE?

  • Measuring lactate threshold typically involves performing a graded exercise test, such as a treadmill or cycling test, while periodically measuring blood lactate concentrations.
  • The point at which lactate levels begin to rise sharply is identified as the lactate threshold.
  • This can be done in a laboratory setting with blood samples taken from a fingertip or earlobe, or with portable lactate analyzers that provide real-time measurements during exercise.
  • Ideal ranges for lactate threshold vary among individuals based on factors like fitness level, genetics, and training background.
  • Generally speaking, the lactate threshold is often expressed as a percentage of maximum heart rate or as a percentage of VO2max (maximum oxygen consumption).
  • Training around 80-90% of lactate threshold intensity is often recommended for improving aerobic fitness and endurance.

It’s important to note that lactate threshold is just one marker of fitness, and individual training goals and preferences should also be considered when designing a training program. Consulting with a fitness professional or sports scientist can help tailor training plans to optimize performance based on lactate threshold and other relevant factors.

In summary, lactate threshold testing specifically targets the point of lactate accumulation during exercise, while metabolism breath analysis provides a broader picture of metabolic processes and energy utilization. Both can be valuable tools for assessing an individual’s fitness level, training zones, and performance potential.

Should you test both Lactate and Metabolism/Breathe Analysis?

Testing both PNOE metabolism and lactate threshold can provide a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s physiological responses to exercise and metabolic profile.

However, whether both tests are necessary depends on various factors, including the individual’s goals, training objectives, budget, and access to testing facilities.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Training Goals: If the primary goal is to improve endurance performance, understanding lactate threshold intensity and training zones may be essential. Lactate threshold testing provides direct information on the intensity associated with lactate accumulation, which is crucial for designing effective endurance training programs.
  2. Metabolic Profile: PNOE metabolism testing offers insights into an individual’s metabolic efficiency, substrate utilization patterns, and aerobic capacity. This information can be valuable for optimizing nutrition strategies, improving metabolic flexibility, and tailoring training programs to enhance fat oxidation or carbohydrate utilization, depending on the goals.
  3. Budget and Accessibility: Lactate threshold testing often requires specialized equipment and trained personnel, which can be more costly and less accessible compared to PNOE metabolism testing. Considerations of budget and availability may influence the decision to prioritize one test over the other.
  4. Comprehensive Assessment: Testing both PNOE metabolism and lactate threshold provides a more comprehensive assessment of an individual’s physiological responses to exercise. This approach allows for a deeper understanding of metabolic and performance factors, which can inform more precise training prescriptions and strategies.

Ultimately, the decision to test both PNOE metabolism and lactate threshold depends on the specific needs, goals, and resources of the individual.

Zone 1 – Very Light (50-60% HRmax):

    • Fuel Source: Primarily fat oxidation with minimal carbohydrate utilization.
    • Measurement Using Breath Analysis: During Zone 1 exercise, respiratory gases (oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production) are measured. A lower respiratory exchange ratio (RER) indicates higher fat oxidation, as fat metabolism produces more carbon dioxide per unit of oxygen consumed compared to carbohydrate metabolism.
    • Lactate Testing: Lactate levels in the blood are typically low during Zone 1 exercise, so testing may not be necessary at this intensity.

Zone 2 – Light (60-70% HRmax):

    • Fuel Source: Balanced fat and carbohydrate oxidation, with a slight increase in carbohydrate utilization compared to Zone 1.
    • Measurement Using Breath Analysis: Similar to Zone 1, RER can indicate the balance between fat and carbohydrate oxidation. As exercise intensity increases, RER may trend slightly higher due to increased carbohydrate utilization.
    • Lactate Testing: Lactate levels remain relatively low during Zone 2 exercise but may start to show a slight increase towards the upper end of the zone.

Zone 3 – Moderate (70-80% HRmax):

    • Fuel Source: Increased reliance on carbohydrate oxidation, with fat metabolism still contributing significantly.
    • Measurement Using Breath Analysis: RER continues to increase with higher carbohydrate oxidation rates. However, fat oxidation remains substantial, especially at the lower end of the zone.
    • Lactate Testing: Lactate levels start to rise more noticeably during Zone 3 exercise, particularly towards the upper end of the zone, as the body begins to rely more on anaerobic glycolysis for energy production.

Zone 4 – Hard (80-90% HRmax):

    • Fuel Source: Predominantly carbohydrate oxidation, with minimal fat metabolism.
    • Measurement Using Breath Analysis: RER approaches its highest values, indicating a greater reliance on carbohydrate metabolism. Fat oxidation decreases significantly as the intensity rises.
    • Lactate Testing: Lactate levels continue to increase substantially during Zone 4 exercise, reflecting the onset of significant anaerobic metabolism and lactate accumulation.

Zone 5 – Maximum (90-100% HRmax):

    • Fuel Source: Almost exclusively carbohydrate oxidation due to the high demand for energy.
    • Measurement Using Breath Analysis: RER reaches its peak values, indicating near-exclusive reliance on carbohydrate metabolism. Fat oxidation is minimal.
    • Lactate Testing: Lactate levels are at their highest during Zone 5 exercise, reflecting maximal anaerobic glycolysis and lactate production.

Timing for Lactate Testing:

  • Lactate testing during incremental exercise testing is typically performed at the end of each stage or workload increment. Blood samples are taken immediately following the completion of each stage to measure lactate concentration. This allows for the assessment of lactate accumulation at various intensities and the determination of lactate threshold.

By understanding the fuel sources utilized during each heart rate zone and utilizing breath analysis and lactate testing, individuals and coaches can tailor training programs more effectively to optimize energy metabolism, improve performance, and achieve specific fitness goals.

What is your ZONE two?

  1. Zone 1 – Very Light (50-60% HRmax):
    • Fuel Source: Primarily fat oxidation with minimal carbohydrate utilization.
    • Benefits: Enhances aerobic base fitness, improves fat metabolism, aids in recovery, and promotes overall cardiovascular health.
    • Improvement Strategies: Perform long, steady-state cardio sessions or low-intensity activities such as walking or cycling.
  2. Zone 2 – Light (60-70% HRmax):
    • Fuel Source: Balanced fat and carbohydrate oxidation, with a slight increase in carbohydrate utilization compared to Zone 1.
    • Benefits: Builds aerobic endurance, increases mitochondrial density, improves cardiovascular efficiency, and enhances fat metabolism.
    • Improvement Strategies: Incorporate longer duration aerobic workouts, such as jogging, swimming, or cycling, at a comfortable pace.
  3. Zone 3 – Moderate (70-80% HRmax):
    • Fuel Source: Increased reliance on carbohydrate oxidation, with fat metabolism still contributing significantly.
    • Benefits: Improves aerobic capacity, enhances lactate threshold, boosts endurance performance, and promotes glycogen utilization.
    • Improvement Strategies: Include tempo runs, sustained efforts, or interval training at moderate intensity to challenge aerobic fitness and lactate threshold.
  4. Zone 4 – Hard (80-90% HRmax):
    • Fuel Source: Predominantly carbohydrate oxidation, with minimal fat metabolism.
    • Benefits: Increases anaerobic threshold, enhances speed, power, and VO2max, and improves lactate tolerance.
    • Improvement Strategies: Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT), tempo intervals, or threshold workouts to push anaerobic limits and improve performance at higher intensities.
  5. Zone 5 – Maximum (90-100% HRmax):
    • Fuel Source: Almost exclusively carbohydrate oxidation due to the high demand for energy.
    • Benefits: Enhances peak power output, sprint performance, and VO2max, and stimulates anaerobic adaptations.
    • Improvement Strategies: Include short-duration, maximal effort intervals, sprint drills, or high-intensity bursts to push physiological limits and improve sprinting ability.

Mitochondrial Function and Benefits:

  • Mitochondria are cellular organelles responsible for energy production through aerobic metabolism.
  • Improved mitochondrial function leads to enhanced energy production, better fat oxidation, increased endurance, and faster recovery.
  • By optimizing mitochondrial health, individuals can improve fat loss, performance, and longevity markers through increased metabolic efficiency, better utilization of oxygen, and enhanced cellular repair mechanisms.

Strategies to Improve Mitochondrial Function:

  • Engage in regular aerobic exercise and endurance training to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis.
  • Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to induce mitochondrial adaptations and improve metabolic flexibility.
  • Consume a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, essential nutrients, and healthy fats to support mitochondrial health and reduce oxidative stress.
  • Prioritize adequate rest, recovery, and quality sleep to optimize mitochondrial repair and regeneration.

By targeting specific heart rate zones, optimizing fuel source utilization, and improving mitochondrial function, individuals can enhance their overall fitness, performance, and longevity while achieving their specific health and fitness goals

The training zones are described as follows:

  • Zone 1 (recovery/easy): 55%-65% of HRmax or 75%-80% of HR at VT2. This zone is used to get your body moving with minimal exertion. It may be appropriate for an easy training day, warm-up, and cool-down.
  • Zone 2 (aerobic/base): 65%-75% of HRmax or 81%-89% of HR at VT2. This zone is used for longer training sessions, such as endurance sports. Subjects working in this zone can improve their mitochondrial function and fat-burning efficiency.
  • Zone 3 (tempo): 80%-85% of HRmax or 96%-100% of HR at VT2. This zone can be used to build up speed and strength. It can also be appropriate for people who suffer cardiopulmonary limitations since it can help them strengthen their pulmonary muscles and improve their cardiovascular system.
  • Zone 4 (anaerobic threshold): 85%-88% of HRmax or 102%-105% of HR at VT2. This is the zone where lactic acid, as a by-product of the anaerobic metabolism, builds up, and thus fatigue kicks in. Training in this zone helps your body improve its VO2max and efficiency when working at its maximum sustainable pace.
  • Zone 5 (aerobic-anaerobic): 90% plus of HRmax or 106% plus of HR at VT2. This zone can only be maintained for a minimal time (60-120 seconds). It can improve your VO2max, your peak power output capability (e.g., maximum speed or wattage), and increase your fatigue threshold at maximum intensities.

PNOE Metabolic Testing & Heart Zones

 

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