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Why Metabolic Assessment?

Determine Your Unique Power & Heart Rate Training Zones

What are your athletic and fitness goals? If you're a cyclist, triathlete or runner, it might be to win specific races, win your age group or place better. Maybe you're just looking to set a Personal Record (PR) in your favorite century, triathlon or marathon. Or perhaps your goals are to maintain a certain body weight and fitness level.

Whatever your goals might be, you stand a much better chance of reaching them by training according to a plan within Heart Rate and/or Power-based zones determined from your body's unique metabolic profile. A metabolic stress test (or VO2 Max - Power/HR Threshold test) is the most accurate way of determining your training zones.

Some athletes have their own coaches. These coaches all prescribe workouts that have you train for certain amounts of time in certain zones. Some people self-train by following the books of many nationally-known coaches such as Joe Friel, Chris Carmichael and Hunter Allen, to name a few. But no matter your approach, before devising any training plan, you must know the training zones unique to YOUR physiology and current fitness level.

Your training zones can be determined in one of two ways: a lab test or a field test. In the past, the argument against lab testing was that it was very expensive and that quality labs were few and far between. The SoCal Endurance Lab at ARB changes all this.

After a two-hour visit to our studio, you will come away with key metrics that will allow you to calculate your personalized training zones. This data can be provided to your personal coach who may have his or her own method of calculating training zones. Or, we will provide you with your eight personalized training zones - Power as defined by Hunter Allen and Heart Rate as defined by Joe Friel, two leading authorities in their fields.

What is the Metabolic Stress Test (VO2 Max - Power/HR Threshold)?
A comprehensive metabolic stress test is considered by many to be the gold standard of fitness assessments for endurance athletes. Each individual, regardless of their age or fitness level, has a unique cardio/power metabolic profile.

Using a gas exchange analyzer that measures the rate at which the athlete consumes and utilizes oxygen, this graded exercise test determines what is the most important, yet most often ignored, physiological threshold for endurance athletes: the anaerobic threshold (AT). AT is the point at which blood lactate begins to be produced faster than it can be cleared by the body. This is also referred to as the lactate threshold (LT).

Several parameters are measured in order to determine AT. They include: lactate levels (though not as measured directly through blood samples), heart rate (HR), power output (wattage), oxygen consumed (VO2), carbon dioxide exhaled (VCO2), and breathing rate / volume of air moved (VE).

Advantages of a Lab Test
As mentioned previously, there are two ways to determine your unique training zones - a lab test or a field test. A self-guided field test can be useful, but has many limitations, including lack of repeatability and limited data capture. A lab test has the following significant advantages:

  • One 20 minute test can provide all of the following metrics:
    • Functional Threshold Power (FTP) 
    • Heart Rate at Anaerobic Threshold (AT); also referred to as Lactate Threshold 
    • VO2 at Anaerobic Threshold
    • VO2 Max 
    • Maximum Heart Rate 
    • Maximum Power 
    • Efficiency
  • Environmental conditions are controlled so that the test is highly repeatable (enabling valid comparisons between tests to track fitness progression)
  • The entire test is conducted by a highly trained and experienced exercise physiologist at your side
  • More affordable than ever before

If you are serious about reaching your fitness or sport-specific goals, then you should be training in specific heart rate or power zones according to a plan. The only way to know your training zones is to be tested! Schedule an appointment now! Or click here to learn more about ARB Cyclery's fitness testing facility.
 
         
Main St. & Red Hill Ave. Irvine, CA 92614
949-752-2080 (call or text)
(866) 742-2196 toll free (call only)
Store Hours:
Mon - Fri: 10:30-6
Sat: 8-5, Sun: 12-5
 
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