Bonus Q&A on Respiratory Exchange Rates, Using Commutes Effectively, and Life-Training Balance

In episode 104, we wanted to give you something you’ve come to love about Fast Talk: a discussion on the science of training, and specifically answering your training questions about respiratory exchange rates, effectively using your bike commutes, and how to balance life with training.

Trevor Connor Fast Talk Podcast Hot and Cold
Trevor Connor

Why is Trevor riding a pink kid’s bike? Well, you’ll just have to listen to episode 104 to find out. Today, we answer the important questions like, what do Canadians do for their bachelor party? (Believe it or not, this pertains to your training!) We debated whether to run an episode today on dealing with the ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic. We decided to push that back; stay tuned next week for recommendations on adjusting your training and bolstering the mental skills to cope with anxiety, defeat, and uncertainty, which applies both to racing generally and to life right now.

Instead, today, in episode 104, we wanted to give you something you’ve come to love about Fast Talk: a discussion on the science of training, and specifically answering your training questions. In this episode, we take on three questions and cover details about respiratory exchange rates in relation to VO2max testing; we also discuss how to most effectively use your bike commute for training purposes; and finally, we address the always important, always challenging question of how to balance life with training. Kick your feet up, safely away from anyone, re-listen to that intro music to get excited, let’s make you fast!

Episode Transcript

Chris Case  00:15

Baba Baba Baba. Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host Chris Case. Did you hear that? Of course you did. Oh my god, there’s no way you could miss that. We have finally been able to lock our previous music away for good in a dark place, never to be heard from again. We hope you appreciate the change as much as we do. It was a long time coming. Why now? Well, as mentioned in our last episode, we no longer co release Fast Talk through The Velo News channel. We are exclusively publishing through the Fast Talk channel. So tell all your friends, tell your teammates, your riding buddies, your coaches to find us right here and tell them as a bonus, we’ve introduced new music finally today. I’m at home in Nyuad, Colorado recording podcasts in between bouts, coloring and dancing with my four year old daughter. Coach Trevor Connor, he’s hunkered down in his apartment in Boulder, likely reading the latest research on PGC one alpha, our producer Jana Martin. She’s hunkered down in an undisclosed location with all her podcast apps churning away her editing station humming with productivity, such as life now and we’re working hard to bring you great content despite the challenging circumstances. We debated whether to run an episode today on dealing with the ramifications of the global covid 19 pandemic. We decided to push it back. Stay tuned next week for recommendations on adjusting your training and bolstering the mental skills to cope with anxiety, defeat and uncertainty, which applies both to racing generally and to life right now. Today instead, in Episode 104, we wanted to give you something you’ve come to love about Fast Talk, a discussion on the science of training, and especially answering your training questions. Perhaps we all need to get back to a sense of normalcy for just a short while. In this episode, we take on three questions and cover details about respiratory exchange rates in relation to VO2 max testing. We also discuss how to most effectively use your bike commute for training purposes. And finally, we address the always important, always challenging question of how to balance life with training. Kick your feet up safely away from anyone now. Re-listen to that wonderful new intro music to get you excited. Let’s make you fast.

 

Doug Rusesel’s Question on Respiratory Exchange Rate

Chris Case  02:54

Let’s jump into it. Our first question is from Google Voice from Doug Russell in Rochester, New York. And his question pertains to respiratory exchange rate. Let’s listen to it now.

 

Doug. R from New York  03:06

Doug Russell, New York. I was wondering if you could shed some light on respiratory exchange ratio and data derived from the VO2 lab test specifically time spent above one RER and also RER post test and how I can use that data to optimize my training. Can you specific numbers my VO2 Max was 55 milliliters per kilogram time above one RER was three and a half minutes. And my RER post test was 1.67. Thanks.

 

Trevor Connor  03:37

I had a lot of fun with this one when we got this question. So it’s going on 10 years now back when I was at CSU I was the head TA for exercise physiology 403 which was the sports science teach everybody about VO2 max testing and resting metabolic rate and all that sort of stuff. So I had to put together the TA manual which I dug out actually found it.

 

Chris Case  04:02

Wow.

 

Trevor Connor  04:03

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  04:04

Dusty. Old thing.

 

Trevor Connor  04:05

Yeah. Yeah. My biggest conclusion from rereading my ta manual is boy I sucked at PowerPoint. It was really bad. And I was giving them those PowerPoints to be able to use for their students. So any of those old 403 students are listening to this. I’m sorry, that was my fault.

 

Chris Case  04:28

Never too late to apologize.

 

Trevor Connor  04:31

But no, it was fun to go back through this stuff. So I’m actually going to have my phone geek out a little bit here and just explain some of these concepts because you will hear them if you do a VO2 max test you are going to hear these things. And a lot of people don’t understand what they mean. Or you’re going to get that VO2 max test and whoever’s giving it to you is going to go Oh, you had an RER of X and you’re gonna go cool. What is that rate?

 

Chris Case  04:59

They’ve tested so many people, it’s second nature to just-

 

Trevor Connor  05:01

-right

 

Chris Case  05:02

Rattle off those acronyms without explanation. But yeah, let’s start with RER, what-what is that?

 

Trevor Connor  05:09

So when you do a VO2 max test, they put a giant mask on you, which as you know is generally fairly uncomfortable that the newer technology is getting a lot better than making at least a little better to handle.

 

Chris Case  05:21

You look like a jet fighter pilot really.

 

Trevor Connor  05:23

Which is kind of cool.

 

Chris Case  05:24

Yeah

 

Trevor Connor  05:24

And basically all what it is doing is measuring how much oxygen you are taking in, and how much CO2 you’re exhaling. Now, people very quickly say it’s measuring how much oxygen you are consuming. No, it actually calculates when you talk about how much oxygen you’re consuming, you’re talking about, not how much you’re breathing in, but how much you’re actually using. So to measure the consumption, it actually measures first how much oxygen you inhale and then how much oxygen you exhale. And the differences should be what your-you, you’re actually consuming RER is just the amount of carbon dioxide you exhale, divided by the amount of oxygen you inhale. So if you exhale more carbon dioxide and oxygen, you will have in RER below one, if you are exhaling the same amount as you inhale, you will have an RER of one.

 

Chris Case  06:22

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  06:23

Now, you will sometimes hear people talk about RER, you will sometimes hear people talk about RQ or respiratory quotient. So I’m going to simplify this when I’m talking about carbon dioxide exhale, the short form is VCO2, and we’re talking about oxygen can be taken in you’re talking about VO2. So they’re both a measure of the ratio. But they are a measure of the ratio at different locations. So RQ is at the cellular level. It’s how much carbon dioxide a cell is putting out versus how much oxygen is taken in. So at the cellular level, it actually is consumption.

 

Chris Case  07:03

Mmmmhmmm

 

Trevor Connor  07:04

RER is that the base level basically-

 

Chris Case  07:09

Yeah, the mask.

 

Trevor Connor  07:10

It’s what-what you’re seeing in the mask, we can’t measure at the cellular level. So RER is an approximation of RQ. It’s the best we can do. And here’s what’s really important, here’s why I was giving you all that science, they are only equal in a steady state. So when you are sitting there below threshold holding a steady wattage, RER and RQ are essentially the same thing.

 

Chris Case  07:40

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  07:40

Once you go over threshold, so there’s two scenarios where you’re not in a steady state one is right when you start exercise, your body often has an obtain a steady state, so you’re gonna get a bit of an are weird RER the other places when you go over threshold. Then you’re no longer in a steady state. And that’s going to impact RER, and I’ll get to that in a minute. So why do we want to know about RER

 

Chris Case  08:04

Right, next question, it’s our next question.

 

Trevor Connor  08:06

Which is a really important thing. This allows you to determine how much fat you’re using for fuel versus carbohydrates for fuel.

 

Chris Case  08:15

Right

 

Trevor Connor  08:16

Now, they will talk about the non-protein respiratory quotient, yes, we burn a little bit of protein for fuel, but it’s it’s pretty negligible. And that’s basically calculated out. So when you’re talking about RER when you’re talking about RQ, so usually short form for non-protein.

 

Chris Case  08:32

Mmmhmm.

 

Trevor Connor  08:34

Version, we’re just really going to focus on just fats and carbohydrates. You start burning more protein as you exercise longer. But early in exercise, certainly when you’re doing a VO2 max test, it’s accounting for 5% or less of your fuel-fuel. Like I said, it’s relatively negligible. But here’s so when we’re just talking about fats and carbohydrates, when you burn fat, you-it requires more oxygen to completely to completely oxidize it. So typical fat molecule, when you completely oxidize it, will produce about 16 molecules of CO2, but require 23 molecules of O2. So if you do the quotient on that, that’s an RER of point zero or 0.7.

 

Chris Case  09:30

Mmmhmm

 

Trevor Connor  09:33

Carbohydrates. It’s a one to one. So typical molecule, a glucose molecule, it’s going to produce six molecules of carbon dioxide and require six molecules of oxygen, or O2, so that would give you an RER of one.

 

Chris Case  09:51

So this is what people say fat is a more efficient fuel?

 

Trevor Connor  09:57

I made this mistake before. No that’s not actually why-why fat is, this doesn’t really when we’re talking about efficiency, this doesn’t really impact-

 

Chris Case  10:07

Gotcha.

 

Trevor Connor  10:08

-efficiency. As a matter of fact, if you looked at it purely this way, since it requires more, if you trying to say something about efficiency, I made this mistake a long time ago. You go, oh requires more oxygen to oxidize that that fat therefore it’s actually less efficient. But what you have to figure out that efficiency, you have to look at energy production relative to oxygen consumption.

 

Chris Case  10:32

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  10:32

And that’s not what RER is about.

 

Chris Case  10:34

Gotcha.

 

Trevor Connor  10:35

If you are doing a VO2 max test, and your RER is 0.7 you know you are relying 100% on fat. If your RER is 0.85 you are fit you are relying 50/50. Half your energy is coming from fat half’s coming from carbohydrate. At one, you are entirely relying on carbohydrate. And you can search us on the web, you can find all sorts of tables that will show you at every single RER what your ratio of fat to carbohydrate is. And that’s one of the things if you do a VO2 max test that you will get if they’re doing a if it’s a good lab, they’ll provide you with a graph that will show you your how much fat your how much you were relying on fat versus how much you’re relying on carbohydrate and where that crossover point is where you are 50/50.

 

Chris Case  11:30

Yeah. And to be clear, this is based on some math, but it’s backed up by a lot of research, correct?

 

Trevor Connor  11:39

Yep, this is this is all calculations. Again, what we’re trying to get at is that RQ, and we actually can’t measure that. So all this is calculations based on some pretty good science. So this is this is quite reliable.

 

Chris Case  11:52

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  11:53

Now, here’s let’s get to the the question that was asked. He went over a one.

 

Chris Case  12:00

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  12:00

How do you do that? Because if you’re relying 100% on carbohydrates, your RER is one, right, you technically shouldn’t be able to go over one. And when you’re talking about RQ, 100% accurate. Yeah, you’re RQ just can’t go over one, but we’re talking about RER.

 

Chris Case  12:18

Mm hmm.

 

12:17 How Buffering Acid Affects the Amount of Carbon Dioxide you Exhale

Trevor Connor  12:19

Other things affect the amount of carbon- amount of carbon dioxide that you exhale, and one of the biggest ones is buffering acid.

 

Chris Case  12:27

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  12:28

We talked about that on a previous episode. But one of the ways your body buffers acid, as it’s produced at higher intensities, is with bicarbonate. And the end product of bicarbonate of the bonding of bicarbonate to the hydrogen ions is carbon dioxide.

 

Chris Case  12:48

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  12:48

And your body has to get rid of that. So when your RER goes over one, that is an indicator that you’re above threshold. You’re producing a lot of acid and your body’s trying to buffer it.

 

Chris Case  13:03

Mmmhmm

 

Trevor Connor  13:03

It-you are considered to be right around VO2 max when your RER is around 1.15 I’ve seen 1.1 I’ve seen 1.15 when I was teaching this lab we used 1.15. So if somebody if you are conducting a VO2 max test and somebody finished and let’s say they were only at one or 1.02 you can actually say I don’t think you did a proper VO2 max I don’t think you’ve reached VO2 max.

 

Can Test Subjects See the VO2 Max Test While They are Being Taken?

Chris Case  13:33

Is there is are the testers and or testee, test subjects seeing this in real time?

 

Trevor Connor  13:42

You can.

 

Chris Case  13:43

You can now.

 

Trevor Connor  13:44

Some testers don’t like the the person being tested to see the screen.

 

Chris Case  13:50

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  13:51

Particularly if they know what they’re reading. Because sometimes people will stop testing because they see the numbers they want to see.

 

Chris Case  13:59

Sure.

 

Trevor Connor  14:00

Other testers are fine. You can you can look at all this.

 

Chris Case  14:03

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  14:03

I used to like when I did a VO2 max test. I used to like to look at it. I’ve stopped for exactly that reason. As soon as I see 1.1. I go Okay, I’m done. Yeah, right, right. Yeah. Which it’s no, you should go until you’re dead. Yeah, yeah, that depends on the tester, but certainly you can see in real time where your your RER is. So this, Doug, was over one for a while and hit 1.67.

 

Chris Case  14:30

Yeah, that’s pretty high.

 

Trevor Connor  14:31

Which is really high. And this is where you can start to see some of the attributes of the cyclists. So when you have a pure time traveler like me, who doesn’t have a huge anaerobic capacity, I’ll get up to that 1.15 maybe 1.2 but I die pretty quickly. I don’t get very high. If you got in a good sprinter with a huge anaerobic capacity and tested them they can hit quite high RERs cause its showing their ability to continue working. Once they’re above threshold once they’re out of out of a steady state.

 

Can any Food or Drink Mess up Your VO2 Test Results?

Chris Case  15:08

Perhaps a silly question, can-the any food or drink that you consume during the test mess up the results that you see?

 

Trevor Connor  15:16

Yes, so your body preferentially burns carbohydrates. So if you eat right before a VO2 max test and eat a bunch of carbohydrates, your body is going to rely on that. I’ve seen that where I’ve told people to-to fast before they do the VO2 max test they forget to do that. They come in, we hooked the mass up to them and they’re already in an RER of one.

 

Chris Case  15:40

Yeah that skews the data considerably. I would I would think.

 

Trevor Connor  15:43

You do fine once you get them exercising, often that will come down. And they’ll get to something a little more normal. But I always preferred when I was conducting a VO2 max test basically tell people I want you for for 5-6-7 hours. I’d like to do the VO2 max test in the morning and basically say come in fasted. And let’s test you.

 

How to Decipher Your Final Number of the VO2 Test

Chris Case  16:05

Well, that’s a great explanation on RER, what about the quote number that people get when they when they’re done with their VO2 max test. This, for instance, Doug, gets 55 millimeters per-per kilogram.

 

Trevor Connor  16:19

This is, yeah, this is the number everybody wants to see. What is my VO2 max? Yeah. So first, when you do a VO2 max test, you will get two numbers for your VO2 max. One is just the milliliters per minute. The other one is that we’ll add that per kilogram. The per kilogram is important because your weight is a factor here. And while we always talk about how to improve your Vo2 max, one of the simplest ways to improve your VO2 max is to drop your weight.

 

Chris Case  16:53

Sure.

 

Trevor Connor  16:54

Which is why climbers tend to have very high VO2 max because you’re really good climbers tend to be-

 

Chris Case  17:01

Thin.

 

Trevor Connor  17:02

Little people.

 

Chris Case  17:02

Yeah, right.

 

Trevor Connor  17:04

Yeah, that is the simplest way to bring that VO2 max down. So the number that most of us think about is the width the kilogram.

 

Chris Case  17:12

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  17:13

When you’re talking about, let’s say people like us, middle aged, sedentary individual.

 

Chris Case  17:19

No, I’m not middle aged, I got like I’m like a third aged.

 

Trevor Connor  17:27

Chris is in denial about his middle age. So an average middle age sedentary individual males, you’re going to be around 35. Females you’re going to be around 30. For young sedentary individuals like Chris, you might see around for males 45, for females 38. By the way, I looked for these numbers last night and you will find if you do a search on charts of what’s typical, you’re going to find 50 different variants. What I’m reading to you is actually out of McArdle, which is one of the big if you take exercise physiology in college that’s likely for a lot of people the textbook you’re going to use. That either or  Powers.

 

Chris Case  18:10

Yeah, yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  18:11

So I just figured let’s go with a standard. When you are talking about high level like we’re talking about pros, Tour de France athletes, you’re going to see him up in the 80s.

 

Chris Case  18:21

Yeah, yeah, this is the number of people like to throw around like Greg Lemond was 93 and-

 

Trevor Connor  18:26

He wasn’t 93.

 

Chris Case  18:27

Yeah, I mean, I get it. People use this number to sort of brag.

 

Trevor Connor  18:33

Yes.

 

Chris Case  18:33

About with their capabilities or something like that. And and yeah, you’ll hear Norwegian cross country skiers, or something like that, Oh, my God, this Junior his VO2 max is 97. And it’s a people are using it, implying that it’s well, he’s going to be the world champion for the next decade because of that number. But it’s not that simple.

 

Trevor Connor  18:57

Well, there was a bias placed on VO2 max because that was one of the things that they really, very early on, figured out in the labs, how to test and all of a sudden we had all this great scientific data. And you could measure somebody’s VO2 max. That was that was a way of comparing people measuring them. So they went ohh. You need this VO2 max test to be this level, etc. Since then, a fair amount of research has come out showing that VO2 max isn’t a great predictor of performance.

 

Chris Case  19:26

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  19:27

And I always think of I didn’t get his permission, so I won’t give his name. But there was a guy at our center who was a Canadian national champion won some big races. And we typically measured his VO2 max in the high 40s. Low 50s. He wasn’t an average.

 

Chris Case  19:42

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  19:42

But he was probably extraordinarily efficient.

 

Chris Case  19:45

Mm hmm. Yeah, then you can’t do this number in isolation doesn’t mean a whole lot.

 

Trevor Connor  19:51

And one study I absolutely love is one where they looked at pro cyclists over a four year period to see how they improved and showed that they tend to do either improve on the VO2 max side, or they improved on the efficiency side.

 

Chris Case  20:07

But not both.

 

Trevor Connor  20:08

But never both. And so this is my opinion, but just based on what I have read when you see an improvement in both do some dope testing.

 

Chris Case  20:20

All right.

 

Trevor Connor  20:21

So, yeah, really high level, you will typically, like I said, see in the 80. The highest numbers measured are generally in cross country skiers, because they use their arms, which means they’re using more muscle tissue.

 

Chris Case  20:35

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  20:36

More oxygen consumption. So they’re gonna be a little higher than cyclists who don’t only use their legs.

 

Chris Case  20:41

Right.

 

Trevor Connor  20:41

Who mostly only use your legs.

 

How Good are Head Units and Garmins in Indicating Your VO2 max?

Chris Case  20:44

One other question Garmin, some other head unit devices will will now have this capability of telling you your VO2 max after a particular ride or workout or whatever. How how poor is that an indication of your VO2 max.

 

Trevor Connor  21:03

Well, I love your bias. Not how good is that, how poor is that?

 

Chris Case  21:07

Well, just thinking through all of the things we just talked about right now? Yeah, I maybe it is a bias. But it seems like it couldn’t possibly be all that accurate.

 

Trevor Connor  21:15

No, in their defense. So I have a Garmin that tells me that. You and I have recently or over the last couple years done some articles, some testing at the lab where I’ve had to get my VO2 max tested.

 

Chris Case  21:28

Sure.

 

Trevor Connor  21:29

And I’ve actually been somewhat impressed. It’s not spot on.

 

Chris Case  21:33

Sure. But it’s a good guess.

 

Trevor Connor  21:35

It’s closer than it’s a decent guess. Yeah.

 

Chris Case  21:37

Okay.

 

Trevor Connor  21:38

So I will give them the credit there. I have no idea how they’re calculating it. You watch the literature, there’s data use every couple months, maybe even more frequently that have the waves of approximate VO2 max without having to go into a lab and put a mask on. And so my guess is they they’ve read that research, they found some formulas that seemed to be fairly good. And that’s what they built into the computer. But I haven’t seen it. I can only talk to my own experience, which was when we did a few tests. I looked at it on the Garmin one that actually surprises me.

 

Chris Case  22:14

Wow. All right. Well, I will rephrase my question the next time.

 

Trevor Connor  22:21

Some of the other things that it tells me at the end of my ride?

 

Chris Case  22:24

Yeah sure, those are a little bit off.

 

Trevor Connor  22:27

My favorite one was I did a ride I realized I forgot something came home, stopped my garments. I’d riden five minutes.

 

Chris Case  22:36

It told you you needed to recover for how many days?

 

Trevor Connor  22:39

Like 34 hours. Fror my five minute easy ride. So some of the things that are a little questionable, but I would love to actually talk to somebody at Garmin about a lot of these metrics and how they’re doing it. But at least in terms of that VO2 max again, it’s not going to be what you’re going to get in the lab. But as a guide. I was surprised.

 

David Slowinski’s Question on Holding Back on Commutes or Trainer Workout

Chris Case  23:02

Our next questions come from David Slowinski, who reached out to Trevor via training peaks. First question. I typically commute to work every day of the week 30k return trip, which takes anywhere from 35 to 55 minutes. David looks like he lives up in Calgary, where it’s sometimes quote crazy, snowy, and other times super dry. He continues. In addition to this, I’m trying to do six to eight hours a week of structured trainer workouts. This puts me at approximately 14 to 18 hours a week. Should I be throttling back the commutes to focus on more specific trainer workouts? Or is it typically okay to do both? Trevor, what do you think here?

 

Trevor Connor  23:46

First of all, he’s Canadian. Kudos for commuting in Calgary. Particularly if you’re doing that in the winter.

 

Chris Case  23:52

Yep, that’s takes a strong man to do that.

 

Trevor Connor  23:54

That is, that’s impressive. I tip my hat to you. I’m actually gonna throw this one back at you, Chris. Since a few days ago, you spent the entire day working in your bike tights at your desk.

 

Chris Case  24:06

Don’t tell people that?

 

Trevor Connor  24:07

Yeah-

 

Chris Case  24:07

Well, without a shower time

 

Trevor Connor  24:08

Anytime is riding time. Is that was your nine hour ride?

 

Chris Case  24:11

I guess so? No. Well, the difference between David and I is that I spend no time on a trainer. So but in terms of how to incorporate commuting into your training week, my practice is to just be thoughtful about it like every other ride that you do, and you can’t use your commutes whether they’re 35 minutes or 55 minutes or if you extend them that day to just blaze blaze through them you know as fast as you can or as as other people have written to us should I be sprinting out of every stop sign or every red light to get my sprinting, practicing? No, you should definitely not be doing that on every commute. What I do, is that,  for the most part,  I’m using the commutes to gain some volume, but do it very slowly. Occasionally, I will use a commute to do an actual workout on. And so you, you have to look at the big picture, as we always emphasize and incorporate these commutes into your week, or into your training, just like you would the other rides. Of course, there’s two of them a day. So you also have to be particularly careful about that often, I feel better doing harder stuff in the morning. So I’ll try to do my, if I’m going to turn my commute into a workout, I’ll do that in the morning. And then you just have to be sure to go very easy on the way home. So it takes some thought it takes some planning, it takes some considerations about how much weight you might be carrying on your bike, all sorts of things. But it can certainly be done. And I literally, don’t ride a trainer. And I commute many times a week, and I will go out on the weekends for some extra volume and that sort of thing. But you can do a lot with the commuting if you do it right.

 

Trevor Connor  26:13

I think length is also a really important factor.

 

Chris Case  26:16

Sure.

 

Trevor Connor  26:17

If you have a short commute, a 10 minute commute. It’s just you don’t sprint out of every light again.

 

Chris Case  26:23

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  26:24

But it’s just not gonna really impact you one way or the other. When I was in school, I had a 10 minute commute I time traveled at every morning because I was always late to class.

 

Chris Case  26:34

Yeah, yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  26:35

Didn’t really affect me too much either way. I was smart enough to get up and take my time to get the class, I would have always ridden it slow, which is what I do now. When you have a longer commute. So in this case, looks like David has a 35 to 55 minute commute. I do think you can have some benefits to that. I think Chris was spot on. Just keep it slow, keep it controlled, don’t sprint at a light and you can get some gains. The commute that I don’t like is that 25 ish minute commute. It’s long enough that it is going to impact your recovery. But not long enough to really have a lot of training gains.

 

Chris Case  27:17

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  27:18

So that’s if I had a 25 minute commute, and I was stuck biking it every day, I would probably take the approach of I’m different Chris I prefer the doing the work in the the afternoon, I would probably do a really slow, get to work in the morning. And then take the real long way home and the the evening and make it longer.

 

Chris Case  27:42

Yeah, I think as a general rule, and this is pretty rough estimate. But if you’re debating whether to put bib shorts on in the morning, then your commute is probably short enough that it’s not that beneficial. So if you put on the bib shorts, if you get dressed in you’re cycling clothing, and you can make it into a legitimate ride, then there’s ways you can make it a constructive ride and workout. And the other thing to do here and I don’t know what the public transportation system is like in Calgary or elsewhere where you’re listening, but you could consider taking the bus in with your bike on it and then riding home to cut down on some of the the junk miles for lack of a better term or vice versa. Ride in, take the bus home and sort of flip it around where you’re alternating between those two modes of transportation. So get creative.

 

Trevor Connor  28:39

And if you do feel you need to put the bib shorts on in the morning. I’m looking at you here Chris-

 

Chris Case  28:42

Take them off when you get to work. Is that what you’re gonna say?

 

Trevor Connor  28:44

Bring clothes to work.

 

Chris Case  28:46

Hey, I forgot them one day. We were in a different office. We now have a shower. We’re we’re moving up in the world. You’ll never see me wear my bib shorts at my desk again.

 

Trevor Connor  28:57

Well, I’m gonna wait for that to happen. You know it’s gonna happen. And I’m gonna remind you of this.

 

Chris Case  29:02

Please do I don’t want to be the guy that sits in his Shami all day. And Jana doesn’t want that either. Jana’s our producer, she’s giving me the stink eye over here, literally the stink eye. So the second part of David’s question.

 

Trevor Connor  29:16

Good save.

 

David’s Second Question on Balancing Training and Life

Chris Case  29:19

The second part of David’s question is around balance. He writes, I have two weddings and two bachelor parties between now and dirty Kansa, which is four weekends, I can’t get quality training in. Are there opportunities around these weekends, I should be, quote, burying myself with more workload during the weekdays to make up for the lost opportunity, or what is a beneficial strategy in your experience in managing last weekends?

 

Trevor Connor  29:46

So there-this is actually a more complex answer than you would think. And there’s a lot of variations here and Chris, I know you have a lot to add to this. What I’m going to start with though, is weekend off, the bike is not going to kill you. Do not get into that mindset. Now, if you take 10 days off the bike, I’ve had a few athletes to do this in the middle of your season, and you get back a week or two before our target race. Yeah, that’s gonna affect your race. So avoid that but a weekend? No, no, you can even if you just train normally. And you are stuck taking a weekend off. It’s not like all of a sudden your fitness has disappeared.

 

Chris Case  30:31

Is there a general rule of thumb here about how long it takes for you to start detraining?

 

Trevor Connor  30:37

Wow, so words, again going to go back to McArdle.

 

Chris Case  30:41

Mm hmm.

 

Chris Case  30:41

But I haven’t read that textbook in a long time, but I was enjoying going through it the other night. There is a chart in there that shows that you your body does not start  detraining until about four days after you stop exercising. So yeah, if you’ve been training, normally, you’ve got a four day window where you’re gonna have no impact. As a matter of fact, you might even see an increase in your form because you’re resting shedding your body adapt. And it’s not like you hit that fifth day, and all of a sudden, oh, there’s all my fitness gone for the entire year.

 

Chris Case  31:12

Right? There’s no cliff there.

 

Trevor Connor  31:13

Right. But there is a point where it starts to decline quite rapidly. But that’s again, when you’re getting into that I’ve been off the bike for 10 days.

 

Chris Case  31:21

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  31:22

Or you’ve had an injury that’s taking you off the bike for a while, then. That’s a whole different conversation.

 

Chris Case  31:27

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  31:28

But we’re talking about weekends right now. So a couple things to consider or remember here, we’ve talked about stress is stress. Maybe flip that around and say recovery is recovery or not all recovery is recovery. More the remember, time off the bike isn’t necessarily recovery.

 

Chris Case  31:52

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  31:52

You might say, “Oh, I’m going to a bachelor party and be off the bike. So let’s destroy myself and then let my body recover.” But then I’m going to get on a plane, I’m going to go party, I’m going to stay up all night. I’m going to drink. Don’t think you’re coming back from that recovered.

 

Chris Case  32:08

Yeah, your body doesn’t realize the difference between training stress and other types of stress and a lot of in a lot of ways.

 

Trevor Connor  32:15

Right, that’s-the I got criticized once for using that stress is stress. Because there is an important distinction. Yes, stress on the bike. You’re going to adapt from.

 

Chris Case  32:27

Right

 

Trevor Connor  32:27

Work stress, no, you’re not going to adapt from

 

Chris Case  32:30

Your hear turns gray and you get heart palpitations. But that’s another story.

 

Trevor Connor  32:34

But when it comes to keeping yourself in balance, and that balance between stress and recovery, stress is stress. And I have to have this talk with athletes a lot where they’ll tell me, “Oh, I had a killer week at work. The kids were sick. I’m sniffling and all this sort of stuff. But it’s pretty easy week on the on the bike. So I think I’m pretty recovered.” And you go, “No, you’re not recovered at all. You’re beat up. You just you weren’t beat up by the bike. You’re beat up by life.”

 

Chris Case  33:01

Right

 

Trevor Connor  33:02

But you got to adjust your training to account for that. You can’t separate the two.

 

Chris Case  33:07

Absolutely.

 

Trevor Connor  33:08

So this is the same thing. The first question I would throw back at David is what does that weekend look like? Is it partying hard drinking hard? Or is it going to your I don’t know, your-

 

Chris Case  33:22

The lake house

 

Trevor Connor  33:23

The lake house, right. Relaxing.

 

Chris Case  33:26

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  33:26

A nice, quiet wedding, whatever, and you’re gonna get a lot of get a lot of rest. That’s going to have an impact. If it’s that ladder, or it is going to be truly a restful weekend. Yeah, have do a good hard training week, then go and rest at the wedding.

 

Chris Case  33:41

Mm hmm.

 

Trevor Connor  33:42

If it’s the bachelor party? No.

 

Chris Case  33:47

Not as likely that that would be a relaxing time, but you never know. So yeah, just you have to weigh all those things into the equation of how to determine what happens the week leading into it. How many days you might if the bachelor party is looking stressful, but you still think I want to get some big training in maybe do that in the beginning of the week. Give yourself some time to recover, and then go into the weekend. Not fresh, but you know, with with some days between you and the hard workout so that you can then drink your brains out and not get sick and overdo it.

 

Trevor Connor  34:27

Especially if you’re getting on a plane.

 

Chris Case  34:29

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  34:29

And you brought up we had that talk?

 

Chris Case  34:32

Yeah, absolutely. With Brent Bookwalter in Episode 93, we talked a lot about balancing life and training. And specifically in a segment we spoke about travel and you don’t want to set yourself up for a traveling on a day when you’re immunocompromised because you just did a massive week of training and put yourself, make yourself vulnerable in an airport or an airplane when you’re in that state. So again, taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture of where training and life come together is really important here. We spoke about staying healthy generally also in Episode 31. So both of those episodes are great resources here for more information on how to do this the right way.

 

Trevor Connor  35:29

Now another thing is you can look for ways to get a little training over that weekend, especially if you’re at that nice relaxing wedding. I don’t know if you can bring your bike if you can sneak out go for a ride. You can potentially hop on a gym bike and just spin the legs a little bit. I often use things like that to say I as I’ve said before I lift weights all year round. I might look at see if the hotel I’m at has a weight room and maybe go lift over that weekend.

 

Chris Case  36:00

How, how much does dancing do for cardiovascular health? Can you get like really into it do the tango a lot. And that could be a workout?

 

Trevor Connor  36:09

The way I dance?

 

Chris Case  36:11

You put your back out.

 

Trevor Connor  36:12

However-

 

Chris Case  36:13

You put your back out.

 

Trevor Connor  36:14

The way some people dance? Yeah, actually. I mean, it’s it’s can just be good. Seriously, I mean, it can be some good cross training. Yeah, we’ve talked about the fact that Cycling is a very specific movement where you’re kind of locked in, it’s good to have those opportunities to use your legs in different ways work other muscles. And quite frankly, dancing accomplishes that.

 

Chris Case  36:35

Yeah, I would also think here that we talk a lot about the mental component here. If you can enjoy it, just enjoy yourself and you have had some big weeks or, or and you do it right. Just letting go of that. And like you started this answer with taking a weekend off maybe from thinking about racing and just let your mind relax and enjoy the wedding. That might be the best way to do it.

 

Trevor Connor  37:01

Really valuable. So my bachelor party.

 

Chris Case  37:04

Yeah.

 

Trevor Connor  37:04

It was in Boston in a snowstorm. Uh huh. And they got a pink five year old bicycle with training wheels and made me ride around on that thing in a skinsuit boss, so I got great training and my bachelor party. Excellent.

 

Chris Case  37:23

That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we love your feedback and your questions, keep them coming. Email us at fasttalk@fasttalklabs.com or call 719-800-2112 and leave us a voicemail. Subscribe to Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcasts. Please pull out your phone right now. Leave us a rating and review on iTunes as that helps others find faster. And of course follow us on social media. We’re @ real Fast Talk Labs. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Tast Talk are those of the individual for Trevor Connor. I’m Chris Case. Thanks for listening.

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