Why Start with Testing?
Using proper testing to gather data and understand what physiological limiter/s you have is the first step in achieving elite athletic performance. Any protocols based on anything other than data acquired from testing is a generic protocol and will result in at best generic results. Does this mean you should complete abandon your training protocols? Absolutely not. What testing will allow for is a much higher efficiency in your training protocols.
Think in terms of your car. If the A/C in your car stopped working, would you change the tires? Probably not, because this wouldn’t fix the issue. Identifying whether your limiter is metabolic (muscular), Cardiac (cardiovascular) or respiratory (pulmonary) is going to allow for more focused training protocols to rectify that specific limiter.
What is a limiter?
Simply put, the limiter is the why behind your performance. You couldn’t hold that 6 minute mile pace? Why? Couldn’t hold the prescribed watts on an interval ride? Why?
Your ability to use breathe oxygen to fuel physiologic responses that will result in muscular contractions is the foundation of athletic performance. Everyone is going to be limited by either supply or utilization of oxygen in the body. The supply side of the equation can be broken down into 2 separate categories:
Respiratory (pulmonary) where your lungs are synthesizing O2 from your environment and supplying it to the hemoglobin in your body.
Cardiovascular (cardiac) where the hemoglobin now supplied with O2 is being delivered to the working (contracting) muscles by the heart and vessels.
Once the O2 has been delivered to the working muscles now it is up to our metabolic system to unload and utilize the O2 at the muscle.
The utilization part of the equation is:
Metabolic system (muscle). How well is your muscle able to utilize the O2 delivered to create energy which will be used for muscular contraction.
Each of us will have some sort of limitation in one or more of these areas. Once identified we can put in place proper training to correct the limitation and improve overall athletic performance. To what level that performance will be, will be dependent on how severe the limitation(s) may be. If you want to learn more about these systems and how the interact stay tuned for the next blog!