Q&A on Heat Acclimatization, Sweat Rates, Altitude Effects, FTP Testing, and Fasted Training, with Lindsay Golich

Physiologist Lindsay Golich, who works with some of America's best Olympic athletes, helps us field questions on heat, altitude, FTP testing, fasted training, and much more.

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Lindsay Golich

Coach Lindsay Golich is a sports physiologist who has worked with the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center for the past five years. She works closely with USA Cycling and USA Triathlon in areas of environmental physiology, including altitude, heat and humidity, as well as data analytics for performance modeling.

With Lindsay’s help, in this episode of Fast Talk we tackle several questions related to her areas of expertise, including heat acclimatization, sweat rates, altitude effects, regulating temperature, FTP testing, and fasted training.

Our first question is a follow-up to a previous question from Dan Swenson on regulating temperature. He writes:

“Being wet and in the wind with bare skin is really going to chill you. And being dry and in cold wind is going to chill you. The nuance I want to ask about is if you compare being damp with sweat under a rain jacket with being dry but having no wind-break at the same temperature, is there a difference in the chilling effect? Or is there perhaps a cross-over temperature where one becomes more heat-depleting than the other?

I’m thinking this could come into play when racing or training on rolling terrain where having no wind break would be more comfortable on the climbs but having a wind break would be more comfortable on the descents.”

Our next question comes from Pete Ying, on the effects of temperature on power zones. He writes:

“You have mentioned before how important training at different energy systems is and that using power and threshold values to set these relative ‘cut-offs’ for training different energy levels is crucial.

How does ambient temperature and/core temperature affect energy systems relative to threshold? For instance, if it is at 200 watts at a normal core temp and an ambient temp of 70 degrees Fahrenheit, what happens if all of a sudden that person trains at 200 watts but at an ambient temperature of 95 or 45 degrees? Does that change the energy system that person is training?

Similarly, what happens if the core temperature increases or decreases during a ride—even if that individual rides at the same power, would that change the energy system that is trained?”

Our next question comes from Abdoullah Mitiche, a coach and athlete who has lived in the hot and humid tropics for the past 12 years. He writes:

“My athletes and I race in hot and humid conditions (33-38 degrees Celsius and 80-90-percent humidity for 4–6-hour races). I’ve read many research papers on heat acclimatization protocols and it’s been part of my peak block. I also do this with the athletes I coach.

Heat compromises quality (intensity), so usually I do the heat acclimatization in the easier sessions (Z1/2 workouts), but that’s not race intensity. Is it worth acclimatizing at race intensity?”

This series of questions on altitude comes from Amanda Barnes in Truckee, California. We can take these one at a time. She writes:

  1. How should I prepare for competition at higher elevation, if I’m coming from lower? Is it better to arrive as close as possible to the competition, or give a certain amount of time?
  2. How do athletes differ in their response to altitude in terms of reductions in pace or power? Is it a wait and see type of approach, or are there general guidelines we can offer as rough expectations?

This question comes from Erik Olsen in Aarhus, Denmark:

“Coming from a middle- and long-distance running background I have a hard time grasping the 4dp test you talked about. To me a five-minute maximal effort is like, ‘Do this and go home and cry,” much like a 1500-meter track competition. I would not be able to do a 20-minute test 10 minutes after and still get near my FTP. What does this tell me? Don’t go this deep on the five-minute test or don’t do this particular test?”

This final question comes from Matt Surch in Ottawa, Canada, who has been on a plant-based diet for the last 16 years. He asks:

“Does the research suggest that riding in the fasted state, or at least improving fat-max function through fasting adaptations, is correlated with decreased rates of inflammation, and perhaps increased rates of free-radical processing/clearing?

I’m thinking of an earlier episode where you discussed the spectrum of free-radical clearing rates between pros, and am wondering whether there’s a link to fat-max, and thereby, the proportional amount of time spent in ‘fat-burning mode’. In other words, might increasing fat-max via fasting protocols improve recovery during and between periods of time spent on the bike?”

[For more on fasted training, check out Performance Gains and Adaptations from Fasted Training, with Dr. Brian Carson.]

References

  • Devrim-Lanpir, A., Hill, L., & Knechtle, B. (2021). Efficacy of Popular Diets Applied by Endurance Athletes on Sports Performance: Beneficial or Detrimental? A Narrative Review. Nutrients, 13(2), 491. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13020491
  • Moro, T., Tinsley, G., Longo, G., Grigoletto, D., Bianco, A., Ferraris, C., … Paoli, A. (2020). Time-restricted eating effects on performance, immune function, and body composition in elite cyclists: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 17(1), 65. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-020-00396-z

Episode Transcript

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