Thursday, July 7, 2011

Human Guinea Pig

People complain they exercise their asses off and don’t lose weight. Or, they train their asses off and can’t shave time off their PR. Want answers? I do.

Today I’m channeling Eleanor Roosevelt who said (my favorite quote ever): “Do something ever day that scares you.”

Because …

Tomorrow I’m going to embark on something that could help make me a stronger, better, feistier athlete. But, it kind of intimidates me too.

I’ve been invited to have a consultation at the CU Sports Medicine Exercise Physiology and Human Performance Lab in Denver. I’ll be tested by Dr. Inigo San Millan, Director of the Exercise Physiology and Human Performance Lab at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Health & Wellness Center, and one of the top sport’s physiologists in the county. The 2.5 hour tests will include:

  • maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max)
  • lactate metabolism and threshold, heart rate
  • energy substrate utilization and power.

I addition, I’ll be prescribe training zones based on lactate, heart rate and power output. Dr. San Millan will identify my strengths and/or weaknesses, predict my future performance (Olympics, pro, elite for sure), monitor and assess the effectiveness of different training programs (the “drink wine then run as far as you can” program will not be included), and assist in the detection of acute or chronic training-induced fatigue (I specialize in overuse injuries, so this is a good one for me).

This clip was on the news last week about Dr. San Millan and the lab. Seriously, take a moment to watch this to learn more about the science behind what our bodies do when we train:

While pro athletes come to the lab to learn more about how to be efficient in their training and racing, the lab is open to the public. Dr. San Millan encourages everyday athletes to be tested and states that they can improve performance up to 60%.  Consults range from $100-$300.

I find all of this totally fascinating. Most of us jump into training and never really know the behind the scenes picture of what our bodies are really doing minute to minute. Something as basic as fueling more during training (like in the above video) could make all the difference.

As San Millan states,

“An average person can improve 40, 50, 60%. We open the doors to the community, so not just elite athletes like Rory (Sutherland) can do this, but people who want to do their first marathon, their first triathlon or they just want to improve their PR. Many don't know how to train, they don't know how to eat and so we can really help them a lot."

In regards to trying to lose weight from exercising, San Millan says something surprising:

“The notion that a grueling training schedule automatically leads to fitness and good health is a myth. Why? Because an exercise regimen not tailored to your metabolism can leave you feeling fatigued – and leave you stubbornly over your optimal weight.”

Ever had any of these kinds of tests done? Not me. I’ve only had my gait analyzed by the sport’s medicine people. Can’t wait to delve into this world and learn what might have contributed to my injuries and how I can improve efficiency and performance. Also can’t wait to share what I find out with you all.

Have you ever wondered why you can’t improve your performance or why you cannot lose weight while exercising? While I don't exercise to lose weight, I am always trying to improve efficiency and performance. I’m anxious to hear what I could be doing differently. My guess is that I train in heart rates zones that are too high and this has contributed to past injuries. I am also positive that I don’t fuel as well as I could.

SUAR

58 comments:

  1. I would love to be in your running shoes. I would love to have a test done on me like this. Have fun. Can't wait to hear the results.

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  2. Ok.. I am DRIPPING WITH ENVY! How did you get this lined up? What I would give to get that done.

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  3. I would LOVE to do something like this!

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  4. I've done the lactate testing as the Centre I run out of does it. The zone training is really effective BUT you have to train in them...and for some people if their easy run zone is slow (which it often it) have a tough time with it.
    Have fun! I can't do the V02 max testing..I get too claustrophobic and the tube thing is pretty gross.

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  5. Sounds like an awesome opportunity! Have fun!!!

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  6. I love hearing and reading about this sort of stuff. Our bodies are amazing and it's fun to learn how it all works. I can't wait to hear about what you learn. Bring us back some tips!! :)

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  7. That sounds pretty awesome! I'm definitely not at that level of training but it would be cool to see the results...good luck!

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  8. So interesting! And what Dr. Millan says proves what most of us with a clear head know...there is no one-size-fits all diet or weight loss method. Everyone is different and what works for you may not work for me.

    Very fascinating, and I'm quite jealous! Can't wait to hear what you find out!

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  9. Do you realize how lucky you are to live in Colorado? I am so jealous! You have access to so much awesomeness (both man-made and God-made).

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  10. That sounds really cool. It is something I for sure want to do sometime! Very cool!

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  11. Sounds grueling and cool! Don't shart!
    I struggle with the "weight" issue. I know I'm thin, but I pack around just a few extra pounds that I would LOVE to see go! It's the darn wine and chocolate that keep that little love roll there and I guess, at the end of the day, I'm pretty ok with that! I'm not going for athlete of the year....just a hot momma who runs, ocassionally BQ's and enjoys the finer things in life (a.k.a. wine & chocolate).

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  12. Hey, since you get anything you want, do you think you could ask someone for a set of aero wheels and just roll them down I-70 in my direction? That'd be great, mmmmmmk.

    No, I've never done any of that type of testing, although I'd love to. I actually intended to get a VO2 max test done in KC, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Too damn busy (and poor) :(

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  13. I'm terrified of that VO2 max machine - so, if I ever get tested, that will suffice as my "one" thing that day! :)

    This will be SO interesting! Can't wait to read a recap and see how you feel about the tests, the process and the results. Also interested to see how this will change your training thoughts, schedules, etc. Sometimes it seems like we can never know enough about how to train "properly" for "maximum results" - and the more information that is thrown at us, the harder it gets to keep it all straight! Gah.

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  14. Yes!! I have done this and you will be happy to know that I started doing it three years ago - I go in twice a year - but I have not had an injury since - AND - my marathon times have improved immensely. So excited for you! You will enjoy it and reap the benefits!

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  15. WOW!!!! Very interesting! Cannot wait to hear results! BTW.......after your blog yesterday I learned what a "camel toe" was.......NEVER KNEW!!!! My husband and 20 yr. old daughter were amazed I never heard that before! The things I learn from you! HAHAHA!!! Also...ordered 2 of your shirts yesterday! Can't wait to get them!

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  16. I'm so intrigued by this, Beth. Almost to the point of booking a ticket to Denver. My friend, a SEAL, tried to convince me how to heart-rate train "the smart way"...it would require me to run much slower than I am used to to keep my HR super low. The idea that running slower actually trains your heart to work more efficiently, faster, still doesn't compute to me. As it is, I've gotten my HR down but by running my normal pace. I'll call it "the stubborn method". I'd be interested to see the science behind both methods because I know what he was saying has merit...he runs a ridiculously fast pace with his HR super low because of his "smart" training. Anyway, can't wait to hear how your testing goes and what wisdom you gain!

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  17. Oh Jeez..as a nerdy type I am so jealous..me like data 8)

    Full report is required!

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  18. Please don't show up in your wetsuit. I can't wait to hear about it.

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  19. I had this done years ago and it is such a cool experience. And it's great to get your heart rate zones dialed in. Enjoy it (well, when you're not dying in the last couple of minutes of the test!)

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  20. yeah, I'm with Miz Zippy. I've done LT twice (you're supposed to do it every 4-6 weeks just to make sure you're still training in the right zones) but not at any fancy lab and I have to say 30 min balls out is not my idea of fun at all. Especially at about 16 minutes. Seriously, both times I looked down and saw 14 min to go and wanted to DIE. And when I finished I REALLY wanted to die. :)

    you go have "fun". I'm not doing another LT until winter weather. :)

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  21. This sounds amazing! I was just wondering why I have gained weight since starting to run regularly in February (of course, I have dropped inches and I can feel muscles under the flab, but still, it is a little disheartening).

    I might have to save up to do something like this. I would still count myself as a "beginner" after five months of regular workouts. Do you know if they work with people that don't count themselves as athletes at all (yet) but who are just getting going?

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  22. @Leauxra - I think you would be a perfect candidate. They really want to work with newer athletes who are training for their first distance race b/c it is a great time to get info and avoid training errors. I will ask the doc your question tomorrow!

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  23. This sounds awesome! Can't wait to hear how it goes.

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  24. Sounds AWESOME! I would love to have something like this done. I know there's a perf lab somewhere in Boulder, and one at UVa that I keep meaning to see if I can get into ($$). Good to know we can expect all the gory details. :)

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  25. MJ - the Boulder Center for Sport's Med on Mapleton does these tests as well. Not sure what the costs is compared to the one I'm doing.

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  26. The statement "an exercise regimen not tailored to your metabolism can leave you feeling fatigued...." intrigues me. I'd be very interested to see an exercise program tailored to my metabolism, esp as I've been tired a lot lately, even when I get what should be plenty of sleep.

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  27. This sounds awesome! I can't wait to hear all about it! SO interesting!

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  28. This sounds so awesome...have fun!

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  29. OOH I would love to do one of these tests.

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  30. 'Back in the day'…lol…a lot of my friends did this (rowers not runners). I didn't want to :P I remember them telling about the procedures as being really not fun! But the info gathered is pretty amazing. I'm certain you'll learn a ton and really benefit from having it done :)

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  31. This sounds like major opportunity! Although I agree it would be intimating to go through the testing, the results will be so worth it. I can't wait to read whay you learn.

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  32. We just had a talk about this at clinic. The guy there said that they don't stop you for VO2Max. You have to stop yourself/give up. So you either ease off (un)willingly, puke or faint. Have fun!

    All joking aside, I have friends who have had this done and they swear by heart-rate training. Definitely helps them get faster and more efficient. I know that I run too fast, but until I can get tested I'm just guessing at where I should be.

    I've already told my husband it's what I want for Christmas. :)

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  33. This is so cool, can't wait to hear what you learn!!

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  34. Dude. I want one.

    I've had my gait analyzed for about 2 hours, which was a blast. I'd love to do more tests that make me realize my potential. Getting stuck in the same old rut is contagious.

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  35. oh i sooooo want this !!!!! why is no one asking me ????

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  36. BEYOND JEALOUS! I know most of my issues are fueling issues. I would LOVE the ability to know what I'm doing wrong. I can't wait to hear the results... I may have to come to CO to have hti done what a great experience!

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  37. You will love it. I have done this a couple of times with him and was absolutely blown away by the results. Granted I am a slow Clydesdale on a bike but the results were impressive. I can also say that anyone can do this and the fee is really not that bad. I would also caution all to do your research about other locations that offer similar tests. Make sure they are legit.

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  38. I have relatives in Pueblo that need to be visited. I'd like to hear what he has to say about nutrition. I do NOT know what to eat and when to eat it. I lost 20 pounds quick and can't budge the next 20.

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  39. As an Exercise Physiologist myself, I can tell you that you will LOVE these tests! You are going to find out so much helpful information. Yay you for doing this!

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  40. Lucky you, having that experience. Like you, I'm not trying to lose weight but I do train for performance improvement. I'm at a point now, though, when running is taking a backseat (ugh, did I really write that?). Hopefully, I won't lose anything so that when I come back, I can drop some seconds (or minutes) quickly).

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  41. Way cool. I had this done many years ago and have been training in HR zones. Have fun!

    What I NEED to find is a good place that does gait analysis around here. I would like to see what I can improve on, but I can't find a place that does it (besides Boulder Running CO).

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  42. @Tara, Same place does Gate Analysis with some very cool video software. There are a couple of Physical Therapists that do it which is the way to go since they understand the anatomy of the process way better than most. I am biased since one of them is my wife. Give her a call to learn more about it. Her name is Holly
    at CU Sports Physical Therapy and Rehab 720.848.8209

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  43. Interesting, can't wait to hear results. I know my weight stays pretty stable, whether I run ten miles a week or 70, so I think I fall into the "never lose weight" category. I always assumed it was just because as I ran faster and farther I became more efficient at it and didn't burn as many calories.

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  44. This should be really interesting. I had a VO2 max test (modified) done at the beginning of the year and found it interesting. But the whole metabolic/ training link would be invaluable.

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  45. I'm so excited for you! Sounds amazing. You're right, this is fascinating stuff. Can't wait to hear your report! :)

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  46. I am looking forward to reading what they say!

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  47. Tara - I had my gait done at the boulder center for sport's med. Thought they did a great job.

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  48. Can't wait to hear the report. I had one scheduled a couple of years ago - but got injured and didn't run for a while. Never got around to rescheduling it again.

    This may inspire me to get it done now. I never know what 80% of my max HR is. I did speed work today and my HR was in the 160's and 170's for a while. According to the chart on the treadmill - that is too high for a 54 year old woman - but I don't think someone who is running 2 marathons and 5 half marathons in a year is the typical 54 year old. So I really need to determine what my target zones are.

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  49. I am so freaking jealous.

    My favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quote is:

    "No one can hurt you without your consent"

    Did I tell you how jealous I am. I have done the poor man's Max HR test and LT Test. You so win.

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  50. I'd love to have the opportunity to do something like this!

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  51. I have several friends who say good things about Inigo, hope he helps!

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  52. That is such a great opportunity! Congrats!
    I have been reading "Be a Better Runner" by Sally Edwards, and few other authors. Anyway, lame title but good basic book about heart rate training etc.. Nice for those of us without a place or money to do testing. I'm pretty much a mid pack runner but dam it, I want to go faster, injury free of course. Look forward to report.

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  53. I have done a number of VO2 max and LT blood tests, and found the LT data really useful for establishing training zones. I learned I wasn't pushing hard enough. My VO2 max numbers show I am a consistent underachiever...

    But a useful bit of information is I haven't paid for the tests. I volunteer as a lab rat at a nearby university. Every semester they need people in the human performance lab for the students to use for testing. It's a win/win. I suspect many universities do the same thing.

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  54. Hahaha, I know why I don't improve - 1. potato chips, 2. TV, 3. beer, 4. no will power, 5.... (this list could go on a while)

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  55. Awesome! That sounds like a lot of FUn! Yeah, the f and u were left that way purposefully...someone has to put the FU in fun to help us HTFU! Improve up to 60%? Hmmmm...it might be worth the investment...If I could improve 60% on my 5k time, I just might win the Carlsbad 5000 someday :)

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  56. What a great opportunity and I'm so grateful that you'll share w/ us the results. I have already sent around the video asking for a visit for a girt for me. I'm a wanna be athlete and am training hard but some corrections would be great. The coments are great. I've learned a bunch from them as well.
    Good luck!

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  57. Can't wait to read your thoughts! I would love to do this!! Take full advantage of it!

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