The Metabolic Cost of Your Rides—Is It the Same For Everyone?

In this episode we have a classic Coach Connor special. We ask a question not many other physiologists are asking: Is an amateur’s zone 2 ride (in a five-zone model) as physiologically taxing as a pro’s zone 2 ride?

Dr. Iñigo San Millán Fast Talk Podcast

Today we have a classic, complex, Coach Connor special.

We ask a question not many other physiologists are asking: Is an amateur’s zone 2 ride (in a five-zone model) as physiologically taxing as a pro’s zone 2 ride?

To put it another way, if a pro and an amateur are each doing a zone 2 ride—and for the pro let’s assume that means riding at 300 watts and for the amateur that means 150 watts—even though it feels the same, is it actually the same?

When you look at the extremes, the training effect can be quite dramatic—for a pro, 300 watts might be a long base-miles type ride. For the amateur, 300 watts could possibly be maintained for a five-minute effort and nothing more. These efforts are fundamentally different given the athlete.

So why is this important? Well, we wouldn’t tackle this question if we didn’t think it had repercussions for your training, in your specific situation. The answer is multi-faceted. Most significantly, it’s important because it could mean that as you get fitter, your training must change. For example, if a pro and amateur get different training adaptations from a four-hour zone 2 ride because of the vastly different power they can generate, then it’s likely they need to use those rides differently.

We’ll discuss what that means in much more detail with today’s main guest Dr. Iñigo San Millán, the lead physiologist for the UAE-Emirates WorldTour team, and a researcher at the Anschutz Medical Center in Colorado. He’s also the former director of the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center.

In this time of stay-at-home orders, Dr. San Millán was fresh off being quarantined at the UAE Tour in the Middle East. We connected with him via Zoom, so apologies for any audio quality loss as the rest of the world also uses Zoom.

We’ll also hear from physiologists Dr. Stephen Seiler and Jared Berg; Xert creator Armando Mastracci, and Mitchelton-Scott’s Brent Bookwalter.

All that and much more today on Fast Talk.

Now, let’s make you fast!

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  • Lucia, A., Hoyos, J., & Chicharro, J. L. (2001). Physiology of professional road cycling. Sports Med, 31(5), 325-337.
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  • Seiler, K. S., & Kjerland, G. O. (2006). Quantifying training intensity distribution in elite endurance athletes: is there evidence for an “optimal” distribution? Scand J Med Sci Sports, 16(1), 49-56. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2004.00418.x
  • Serrano, E., Venegas, C., Escames, G., Sanchez-Munoz, C., Zabala, M., Puertas, A., et al. (2010). Antioxidant defence and inflammatory response in professional road cyclists during a 4-day competition. J Sports Sci, 28(10), 1047-1056. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2010.484067
  • Tiidus, P. M., Pushkarenko, J., & Houston, M. E. (1996). Lack of antioxidant adaptation to short-term aerobic training in human muscle. Am J Physiol, 271(4 Pt 2), R832-836. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1996.271.4.R832

Episode Transcript

Chris Case  00:05

Hello and welcome to fast your source for the science of cycling performance. I’m your host, Chris case. Today we have a classic complex coach Connor special. We ask a question not many other physiologists are asking is an amateurs zone to ride, we’re talking about a five zone model here is an amateur zone to ride as physiologically taxing as a Pro’s zone to ride. And to put that another way, if a pro and an amateur are doing a zone to ride, and for the Pro, let’s assume that means riding at 300 watts. And for the amateur that means 150 watts, even though it feels the same, is it actually the same? When you look at the extremes, the training effect can be quite dramatic. For a pro 300 watts might be along base miles type pride for the amateur 300 watts could possibly be maintained for a five minute effort and nothing more. The efforts are fundamentally different given the athlete. So why is this important? Well, we wouldn’t tackle this question if we didn’t think it had repercussions for your training. And for your specific situation. The answer is actually multifaceted. Both significantly. It’s important because it can mean that as you get fitter, your training must change. For example, if a pro and an amateur get different training adaptations from a four hour zone to ride because of the vastly different power they can generate, then it’s likely they need to use those rides very differently. We’ll discuss what this means in much more detail with today’s main guest, Dr. Iñigo San Millán, the lead physiologist for the UAE Emirates World Tour team, a researcher at the Anschutz Medical Center in Colorado, and the former director of the University of Colorado sports medicine and Performance Center. One thing to note, in this time of stay at home orders Dr. Sam Milan was fresh off being quarantined at the UAE tour in the Middle East. We connected with them via zoom. So apologies for any audio quality loss, as the rest of the world also uses zoom. Today we’ll also hear from physiologist Dr. Steven Siler and Jared Berg, exert creator Armando stretchy, and mitchelton Scott’s Brent bookwalter. All that and much more today on faster. Now let’s make you fast.


Chris Case  02:34

I appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today about this this topic. Dr. Sun Milan. It’s one that I know you and Trevor have talked about in the past. It’s one that Trevor has been, it’s been on his mind for literally years. Thank you for for being with us today.



Well, thank you very much for having me. It’s always a pleasure


Trevor Connor  02:54

been way too long since we’ve had you on the show. We had you on a bunch of times in the in the early days when you were spending more time in Colorado. And we’ve always really enjoyed hearing your perspectives and your insights.



Yeah, thank you. It’s good to be back. Yes. You know, it’s been a while. Now, how are you guys are growing? So yeah, congratulations. Good job. Thank you.


Trevor Connor  03:15

Thank you. This is an episode I have been excited to do with you for a while because we’ve had this conversation offline, multiple times, it’s a question that I will admit, I’ve written an article about it, we’ve talked about it, I’m still don’t, I’m still not certain I, I have an answer to this that I’m fully comfortable with. So I I’m going to start by saying right out, we’re gonna probably have a really interesting conversation for the next hour, hour and a half. But it’s probably going to be a little contradictory, we’re probably going to go back and forth. And let’s talk about a five zone model right now where when people talk about a zone to ride, they’re talking about riding right around that aerobic threshold, or vt one. For a pro and an amateur rider, that’s the same relative percent of their max or their their threshold, depending on how you calculate your zones. But for an amateur, they might be riding at 180 watts. For a top Pro, they can be riding upwards of 290 300 watts. So even though it’s the same relative percentage, that’s a lot more power for the Pro.



There, that’s


Trevor Connor  04:32

a lot more metabolic flux, you still have to produce that energy somehow. So the question for this whole episode is, is it the same for both? Is it the same training adaptation? Is it the same effect? Or because of that big difference in the power and the metabolic flux? Does it have a different impact on on both of them? So that’s that’s a question when asked and I wrote an article about this back in 2000. 18. And in the article, I used an analogy, and I just want to give that analogy before we dive into it. So I compared it to a car. And the idea here is, if you’re talking about engines, it’s kind of like the Pro has a jet engine where the amateur has a little four cylinder engine. So both engines working at 50% of their Max, that that pro engine that jet engines going to be using a lot more fuel, even though it’s it’s still only working at 50%. But there’s more to it than just the engine. There’s also what is the body that the engine is in? Is it in a Volkswagen? Or is it in a Ferrari. And one of the points I tried to make in the article is, you put a jet engine in a old Volkswagens body and run it at even 20%, you’re probably going to destroy that car. So we have to look at all these factors. So that’s the analogy. But let’s kind of dive into this. And I guess the first question, the is the demand different on the engine? For the pro versus the amateur? Is the oxygen consumption the same? Or is it different,



I would look more like at the metabolic level. Right, so the higher the metabolic stress, yeah, the more oxygen, you’re also going to need in many instances. So that’s one of the reasons where we see higher via to max and higher oxygen consumption. But not necessarily could be the case, as it is a lot about metabolic efficiency. So two people can be at the same metabolic point, if you will, or metabolic stress, and one is 180 watts as you play earlier. And the other one he thought 320 bucks. That’s something that we see in the world class athletes, you know, some of our best fits of the team, UAE, UAE, UAE, they can do five hours on the bike at 300 watt. Whereas I can do that I only had 150 watts, for example, at most, you know, they use more oxygen, they, they they oxidize more fat, oxidize more carbohydrates, but they’re very efficient metabolically speaking.


Trevor Connor  07:22

So I actually dug out a really interesting study just just a few days ago, this is one from 2009, in the European Journal of Applied physiology, it was a interesting design, where they took endurance athletes and compare them to sedentary people and set them up on a device where they could really analyze what’s going on with the quads and had them exercise the quads in a way that they completely isolated that muscle. So they are just using that muscle to see what the effects were. And one of the conclusions, which wasn’t what they expected of the study was that the oxygen consumption, so they had them working at about the same wattage. And this is again, trained endurance athletes versus sedentary individuals. And they actually found that the oxygen consumption and the energy cost when they’re working at the same wattage was the same that the the elite athletes actually weren’t more efficient. That’s also been shown in a few other studies, at the end of the day, when you’re talking about power power is his work over time work is it takes a certain amount of energy to do a certain amount of work, you know, to a degree you have to say energy is energy, it can’t be created or destroyed. So it’s going to take more more energy, it’s going to take more oxygen, whether you’re a pro or an amateur to do 300 watts than 180 watts, correct.



Yeah, exactly. For the amateur 180 watts, or for an amateur for the weekend warrior warrior, right. And it requires a lot of energy and a lot of effort or the same energy and effort as it could be for a world class athlete. For example, because hundred 80 watts is as tasking metabolically speaking, for the amateur the weekend warrior as it is 300 watts for the athlete,


Trevor Connor  09:26

if it requires the same amount of energy, if the oxygen consumption is the same, then what’s what’s the difference between the the pro and the amateur? Is there any



The one thing is that oxygen consumption per se is not an important discriminator like, you know, some people do something that I personally I have observed these for 25 years almost that you could have two people pedaling at the same oxygen consumption and, and they might have the same view to max the same time. But metabolically speaking at the cellular level, there are completely different. We have a study fact, showed it two years ago at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting. And we need to finalize it to publish it, where we clearly see that there’s new correlation itself, poor tomatoes, at best eating oxygen consumption, and different parameters of metabolic stress. And this is what we’re focusing on at the metabolic level at the cellular level. So why nearby gazes like in this study, for example, wouldn’t see that how much Pyro bait did their oxidation which is the carbohydrate source or how much lactate or how they are producing or in oxidation, and how much fighting and also proteins or amino acids or oxidation, right, so this is what we see tremendous amount of differences in into populations. We are now since we last spoke when I was last in that podcast. And I left for century molder and working at the University of Colorado, the medical competition that the new Hebrew center and in car space that we’re opening, so I’ve been doing a lot of research, both with a new technique that we call it a what is called metabolomics, which was one blood sample, we can get to analyze up to 2000 parameters of the metabolic level metabolites. And also we have a study now under review, hopefully will be published soon. And also we’re also doing muscle biopsies. So we’re we’re doing in across different groups from from sedentary individuals, or people will also have type two diabetes with people with poor weekend warriors with people who are more reactive amateurs as well as elite athletes. And we are seeing within those skeletal muscle biopsies. We’re looking at mitochondrial function, substrate mutation, metabolomics proteomics. And so far, the differences are incredible, are among all the groups right on the oxygen level of consumption, they, you know, might not be much of a difference between one group of the same category that is the elite athletes or the mature athletes, but the metabolic level at the cellular level. And this is what one of the reasons why we’re doing the study, we’re seeing the poor differentiate.


Chris Case  12:27

Can you give us an example of one of those major differences at the metabolic level?



Yeah, so for example, we see that Yeah, elite athletes, they can oxidize fatty acids very well to music and sleep better than those ones who are amateurs. Even within the same group. We see there’s differences in fatty acid oxidation within and I’m talking to worse or class athletes even. And we also see there’s a significant differences in pyruvate. Oxidation, Pyro varies. That’s the end of that, like colleges. And that’s what he’s been converted into su co a and in the mitochondria, it’s interest that Krebs cycle to produce energy ATP. So we’re seeing significant differences in pyruvate oxidation, or utilization between an amateur athlete and an elite athletes, for example. And also we’re seeing important differences in in amino acid oxidation and glutamine especially, which is one of the most important amino acids that we have for because enters the Krebs cycle directly. And yeah, glutamine utilization in elite athlete, it’s much higher than what it is, and I’m not sure if it, were also seeing that within the same group of elite athletes. So this is what we’re seeing with metabolomics. We see that the top of the world compared to the average pro World Tour, cyclists, it’s significant, it’s huge, as well, could be twice. So this is what we’re entering a new era where where we can look at oxygen consumption anymore, we’ll look more at mitochondrial function at SR utilization. I started doing obese side and carbohydrate oxidation rates 15 years ago. And I know with my colleague, Dr. George Brooks from Berkeley, we developed this method to indirectly look at mitochondrial function and metabolic flexibility in athletes that we published. A belief is now two years ago or three. And but now we’re looking directly into the mitochondria. I mean, with muscle biopsies at the cellular level with all kinds of new technologies that we have, including metabolomics, which is a it’s it’s a game changer in looking at, you know, metabolic responses to exercise.


Trevor Connor  14:46

I’ve known Dr. Sam Milan for a long time and I’ve learned a ton from him about the physiology of cyclists and how to train. But we couldn’t address a question this important without also hearing from another physiologist who has taught me a lot over the years. So let’s check in with Dr. Steven Siler and hear what he has to say about endurance training and elite versus amateur athletes. You take, for example, what what people call zone two, or I prefer to call it training at just below that two millimoles. If you have an amateur versus a high level professional cyclist for the amateur that might be training at 160 watts for a pro that can be training close to 300 watts. So my question for you is, are they is that producing the same physiological gains? Or is there such a bigger metabolic flux in the pro that they’re actually seen benefits that the the amateur writer wouldn’t?


Dr. Steven Seiler  15:48

Yeah, you kind of stole my thunder there, because I’ve used that term metabolic flux. And I and I do sometimes feel like that, you know, one of the first responses to training is you do get an increase in vo, two Max, you do get an increase in that upper limit. So if you express training intensity, as a percentage of Max and Max goes up considerably in the first month or a year of training, then obviously, that impacts that there is a change in what’s sustainable metabolic flux for for the athlete. And I do think that’s part of the reason why an elite athlete can train at 65% of your max and and benefit, because 65% of five or six liters a minute, is still a lot, it’s still a big work capacity, it may, if we take totally untrained people again, then probably I would say, let’s just get you going, I’m not going to ask you to run for two hours. Because in the in the early phase, so a totally untrained, I think you can pretty much do whatever you want with them, and they’re going to get better, and maybe some more high intensity is going to be a way for them to kind of get up to speed. But as soon as you have been training, probably six months, then I’m going to start saying All right, now let’s look at how you train, let’s look more carefully at how you train. And and so far with even with recreational athletes that are running 30 miles a week, or training five hours a week, we’ve seen that this polarized approach helps, it helps them if nothing else, it helps them to understand the idea of easy hard that they get more variation in their training intensity, instead of letting every workout be kind of 45 minute redline. So so I do believe our data suggests that at least down to recreational five hour a week or 30, you know, 2030 mile a week guys and women, there’s still a benefit to be made from looking carefully at training intensity distribution.


Trevor Connor  18:07

Alright, let’s get back to the show. What is the difference that 300 watts even though it’s the same relative intensity? What is the difference for the the pro versus the the amateur when one is up close to 300 watts once it at 180 watts, what’s the different effects on their engine, you need to produce a lot more ATP, right to to run that agent right at that speed or at that power output it for that you



need to mobilize different metabolic sources. So elite athletes are extremely good at oxidizing carbohydrates, and even fatty acids. So these intensities, whereas the amateur athlete at those intensities, of 300 watts, they’re not there. They’re not oxidative fight at all. And if you can get glycolytic and therefore they produce a lot of lactate. So for those people that the same metabolic state, it would be more 180 watts for example, as we could refer to the 180 watts, for example, right? That’s where they would be at the same metabolic level. But if you want to go from 180 watts to 300 watts, you’re going to have to mobilize a lot more energy, or you’re going to have to produce a mean to oxidize a lot, a lot more aerobic energy, and you’re going to produce a lot more lactate. But you need to oxidize that lactate. And this is the capacity and everything happens in the mitochondria. And this is why these these elite athletes have an amazing mitochondrial function, which can oxidize the pyruvate and it can oxidize fatty acids and also produces the produce largest amount of lactate as a result of polluted oxidation. But the oxidized lactate very well within the mitochondria mainly as well as net just mitochondria and in all sorts lot to twizel fibers.


Trevor Connor  20:00

So I get with the amateurs that if they go up to 300 watts, it’s very different. But But I guess the question here is, if they’re both in their zone two, if they’re both writing that aerobic threshold, is that the same thing? Yeah, I would say so metabolically speaking, that is the I would say it is the same metabolic stress, or the same metabolic situation. Even though with the Pro, we’re looking at a situation where they are requiring a lot more energy. They’re, they’re requiring a higher oxygen consumption to produce their higher wattage.



Well, but this is what I would like to In my opinion, I don’t look at oxygen consumption anymore. I look more about the metabolic level. I think we’ve been for four decades talking about oxygen. And from at least what we’re seeing with muscle biopsies, correlating with looking at genomics, metabolomics, proteomics, we’re looking at transcriptomics, we’re looking elsewhere, even exosomes. And we’re we’re not at No, like opening new areas where we’re looking specifically at a very cellular level. And, and we already see that there’s little correlation with oxygen consumption within the same group. So I that’s what I would not like to get stuck in the oxygen consumption. Right? I will, I will, I think it’s more about what happens at the cellular level. Right? So those athletes, they, they have a much higher capacity to mobilize fuels, whether it’s from carbohydrate source, where he’s from fatty acid source, or Where’s his from naked from, I mean, for money, you know, acid, right, or fatty acids. So and for that the mitochondria, it’s key for that. So to a 300 watt, obviously, the muscle contraction force, it’s much higher than what it is 181. So you require more more substrate, right. And, and those shorts are more more more carbohydrate oxidation you need, you need more more more fatty acids, you need also more amino acid to swell to produce ATP. Because at the end of the day, metabolic stress, it’s about ATP synthesis rate as well. But, you know, an athlete who doesn’t have the same capabilities can only do that at 180. Watch, for example, if that athlete wanted to, so there will be at a similar formula status, if you will level. But with lower products, ation, lower carbohydrate oxidation and lower amino acid oxidation. And that’s that’s the capacity that the world train athletes have. I know it’s complicated, but


Trevor Connor  22:51

it is an interesting question. That’s very complicated. But going back to what you were saying about the the substrates, they’re both in their their zone to the pro to generate that 300 watts compared to the hundred and 80 watts from the the amateur, that Pro is going to be burning a lot more calories per minute, how are they doing that? Are they still are both going to be relying equally on fat versus carbohydrates? Or are you going to see a different reliance?



Yeah, in total number, again, the elite athlete has a much higher capacity to burn or oxidize carbohydrates or fatty acids or amino acid, therefore, they can’t afford to produce or seem to have so much energy ATP, that is needed to produce 400 300 watts. However, they the amateur athlete cannot get there doesn’t have enough mitochondrial function doesn’t have enough directly the capacity doesn’t have enough lucky clearance capacity and product sedation. So there are four can only two maybe if you will, a percentage of the metabolic stress and maximum metabolic stress can only do 180 watts. And we see that that in the laboratory that that level, for example, that they lead athlete is burning or oxidizing 00 point seven grams per minute of fatty acid. And the same level, the amateur or moderately active athlete can only do 0.3. So we’re talking about more than twice. And this is what we’re seeing in with muscle biopsies. Well, we in the muscle biopsy, what we do is like we take a chunk of muscle and we inject directly into that muscle biopsy different substrates. We look at a robot we look at which is a representative of carbohydrates. We’ll also look at lactate which is also the end product of glycolysis and, and and and the main carbohydrate source as well. And we’ll check it out soon. and inject amino acids in this case is glutamine. And now that we see how they utilize it, compared to the in between groups, so we see that they have a much higher capacity to utilize all substrates. So say going back to the, to the analogy of the car, right, if a Ferrari, for example, can can go like that, let’s say 150 miles an hour, and it’s maybe going at 60% of the maximum metabolic stress, if you will, of that engine, right. Whereas fargen, for example, as you said, 160 miles an hour, a car is maxed out, right, so that car to go out 50% of the maximum engine capacity has to go 70 miles an hour. Now, the gasoline consumption at 70 miles an hour, the full fog, and that is the substrate is a lot less than that off the Ferrari, which had 150 miles an hour is using what the what that first login would use, if it could go 150 miles an hour,


Trevor Connor  26:05

Amanda Stasi, fellow torontonian and inventor of the exert training software has really been able to capture what the top end physiology of cyclists looks like, including the vast individual differences that you see. But I had a chance to talk with him about this lower end more in that zone to or rubber threshold range. And what he seen with all of his work, you have a top pro versus an amateur. And they’re both riding at, let’s say 85% of their their lt their threshold power, or mlss, is it going to be the same in terms of the physiological strain the isn’t working the same systems?



Well, so from our standpoint, they will have a different amount of strain that’s being applied to them. Typically, the the the athlete that has where their lower threshold is lower, in other words, they’ve got the relative lower threshold versus their threshold is a lot lower, at 85% official, they’re going to have more strain, and they’re going to be more impacted by that effort, versus someone else who has a much higher lower threshold, let’s say the 5% was below their lower threshold. In fact, they may not, they may have much less strain. Now experience,


Trevor Connor  27:30

that’s something that you’ve see train changes with the level the rider, meaning does a more amateur rider is there, their lower threshold, a much smaller percent, and you tend to see in higher level athletes that their lower threshold is a higher percent, or is it really individual,



mostly individual, okay, um, but for endurance trained athletes, you can or you can say, a couple of things, you can say that, hey, they’ve been they’ve trained their lower threshold to be a lot higher. But then you can also say they’ve also self selected themselves in the process. So the only ones that are really successful at the highest levels will have the higher threat, lower special power. So it’s not like they missed the train that they may have already. The only people that are successful and is as you know, competitive road racers will tend to have these lower, higher lower threshold powers.


Trevor Connor  28:19

So second question for you is let’s, let’s give you a scenario. So we have a pro and an amateur rider. And you’ve measured their their lower threshold. And the amateur riders lower threshold is, let’s say, 140 watts. And the pros lower threshold is 300 watts, right? If they both went out and did a long ride at their their lower threshold? Is it going to be the same for them in terms of strain in terms of training effect in terms of fatigue? Or is it going to have a bigger impact on that that top pro that they’re putting out so much more power



in our modeling we don’t so are modeling really characterized as lower threshold is lower special, so it’s a certain amount of strain relative to their numbers. So so the, the if we assume that although their numbers are different, that the overall strain is the same, then then if they did the same amount of work, if they did the same effort, it would have the same impact to their overall training. So at least that’s the way I we’re currently modeling it is to say that to individuals that have relatively similar characteristics, if they perform the same training relative to the lower threshold power, they’re going to get the same amount of benefits. Okay.


Trevor Connor  29:38

Now, what about effects on fatigue? I’m also you are talking about maintaining carbohydrates, you were talking about the the fuel sources, the fact of the matter is, even though it you know, 300 watts might be the one person’s lower threshold, and 140 might be the other person’s. So it’s relatively the same. The fact that matter A calorie is a calorie. Mm hmm. And that pro at 300 watts is burning a lot more fuel, correct? Yeah. So are you going to see Do you think more of a depletion in them at that lower threshold?



Exactly, you’re right. So it really depends upon how much how much fuel storage they have, and how well they can preserve those fuel stores over the course of a long ride. Right. So granted, you know, the, as far as my awareness is, you know, people’s capacity to store glycogen is relatively the same across different individuals. Although there’s there’s still variation. And I think it’s the amount of variation and that will that will determine how long a particular athlete would be able to sustain a particular particular output power. So, you know, someone has a lower lower threshold. First thing, if they had the same capacity as some of these top athletes who have very huge carbohydrate stores, you’d imagine to be very, that they would have very little effect on, on their performance. But you’re absolutely right, if you have a lot of power, you’re gonna need more to be able to sustain that power over a longer duration rise.


Trevor Connor  31:12

Okay, so that was one, I guess you haven’t tested this. But it’d be interesting to see, in your software, since you’re, you’re seeing changes in that power duration curve, you’re seeing changes in their numbers as they do a long ride. It’d be very, very interesting to me to see if you took that pro at 300 watts. If they’re curve change more than that amateur. And 140, their numbers change just because of the huge metabolic flux, you know, this, these



are fantastic questions. And you know, and the reason why we haven’t implemented, the actual what we call endurance energy, is what we characterize in the system to the ability to kind of measure and quantify how well you can preserve your stores over a longer rise, is because there’s lots of variables involved, right? How much how much capacity you have, how well are you feeding during during the rise?






you know, how is it How are different people affected by based upon different characteristics. So, first of all, measuring it being able to depict it properly, enable us that information, and for actively prescribing, training or using it to understand the athlete better. All that information needs to be kind of properly put together. It’s not a simple problem, right? If you think about what’s happening is we’re seeing that how you’re performing and your capacity performance changing over time, and we have to be, we have to be able to map that out. It’s pretty profound concept overall, it’s pretty profound that we can measure it kind of interactively within the first hour, right, that we can pinpoint how much power an athlete would have when first it was in the first hour, let’s just say, but being able to then pinpoint how much power they have, after five hours would be would be a pretty tall order giving all the various all the various variables involved. Yeah.



Now let’s get back to doctors on a lot.


Trevor Connor  33:06

Basically, what we’re saying, is it 50% that pro engine is definitely using a lot more fuel, when you’re talking about the mix of fats to carbohydrates at 50% are both both the pro and the amateur burning the same percent fats to carbohydrates, or is that going to be different,



they would be at the key Miller percentage to their maximal capacity to oxidize fats and carbohydrates. Right? And but the lead athlete at the same percentage or relative intensity is oxidizing more fats, more carbohydrates, and more amino acids, and synthesize and oxidation lactate better in order to produce 300. What’s the one thing that it can also in a way telesis thesis that this elite athlete can be five hours on the bike at 300 watts, without major suffering or major stress, and which is a similar stress, if you will, or RP rate of perceived effort that an amateur cyclists would be in 180? So like, in more layman’s term, if you will, if you tell that elite athlete after after five hours or 300 watts, without looking at a mitochondrial function or anything, right, you can see the RP they will tell you, this probably was like a sixth. Right? And then you tell the amateur athlete after five hours, 150 watts or 180, they might tell you a six as well. Yeah, so


Trevor Connor  34:35

let’s take that example, if you’re talking about that five hour ride, so you have the pro they’re both doing it and there’s own two on that five zone model. The Pro was averaging, let’s say 290 watts, the amateur was averaging 180 watts. At the end of that ride, was the overall stress the same was the overall adaptation the same or is it Is it going to be different? And who is if it is different, who’s it gonna be harder on?



Yeah, I will take the same, I wish he would be the same or very, very similar. And that’s, that’s the stimulus that that upset me. That’s what I, when I, when I talk about and I started using the zone two, it was more like that that exercise intensity, right before you start switching into the more glycolytic. fast twitch muscle fiber. That’s where you were stressed the mitochondria the most, in order to have that stimulus for the highest bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, buy Genesis possible, whether it’s 180 watts for that monitor athlete or use for the lead acid, because if you have the athlete, training 180 watt, they’re there. That’s a recovery, right? There’s no stress enough to elicit mitochondrial biogenesis, for example, or different adaptations at the body bioenergetics level, right, so. So that’s what it would be a very similar exercise intensity and metabolic stress for both.


Trevor Connor  36:10

So one of the things I found really interesting, when I was researching for my article, I was looking into that and who had had a bigger impact on and I’ll give you my honest opinion going into it, I thought, well, the pros doing five hours at 300 watts, that’s going to have a much bigger cost to them, even though they are better trained than the the amateur right at 180 watts, but I actually was at least the research I read, saw that it might actually be the opposite, as you’re saying is the same. But what are the things that I found that was very interesting was looking at Ross production, reactive oxygen species. This is one of the things that causes damage. It’s one of the things that causes inflammation after training, you do a lot of hard training or you do a big volume of training, you’re gonna produce Ross, and then your body needs to adapt, it needs to repair the damage caused by that and even found it an interesting study that showed that too much Ross is what leads to overreaching and overtraining. And there was this one great study that shocked me, that showed that in amateurs, less experienced cyclists, it was very easy for them to quickly overwhelm their antioxidant system and produce a lot of inflammation, where they looked at pros, put them in a Ford. So this was this was actually a study with pros had them do a four day top European stage race, and showed by the end of that stage race, there was actually a net reduction in Ross because their antioxidant system was so good. So what I was reading in some of this research is actually that that five hour ride, even though the amateurs doing it at 180 watts might actually be more stressful on the amateur than the 300 watt ride on the Pro, because the the amateur might get overwhelmed with by the the oxidative stress where the the pro wouldn’t.



Yeah, well, that that could be deaths, maybe something that just isn’t right or separate then to bioenergetics. And it’s more what’s the toll. Right. Right. I said that we still don’t know for certain. Because we need to do a lot more. We should In my opinion, right? I think that there are not many researchers out there. We I have been using or measuring Ross enough. Let’s use 2002 2003 for that. So it’s been close to 20 years doing that with the with the micro method. photometer where I look at hydroperoxide which is the most representative opera Ross probably. And one thing that we see very clearly that as an F Dundee in Grand tours I have done based in Malta have done this in the Tour de France and ask the status progress the Russ of those cyclist, the increase and but that too, that’s that’s because we’re talking about the blood tower. The to the front, we’re looking at a grand tour around the metabolic stress on these guys. It’s tremendous, right? Where’s I don’t see that with pork sample during the training load. The one thing that I’ve seen is that and I still don’t probably don’t know why that’s what we need to do more research is that those elite athletes, they used to have been they normally have lower rough levels. That’s what I’ve seen over the years, the better ones have lower rush than the other ones both during training, both at rest and both also during like a grand tour. And this is done. Again, we haven’t published it. Just there’s so many out there that we need to put I need to put together from 20 years that didn’t have the time. But yeah, it’s I’ve been observing that for for a long time. The one thing that we also know is that these athletes, it’s very possible that they have a higher was possible, it’s been shown that they have a higher antioxidant capacity endogenous. This is another theme that we’re looking at. So with metabolomics, we’re looking at sort of the tax hidden capacity of athletes. And absolutely, we see that there are differences in the antioxidant capacity of different athletes within the same group. So it’s very possible that definitely they’re better they have a better on tax and capacity than other athletes have lower performance level, is the antioxidant capacity, something that


Chris Case  40:58

allows them to be better athletes, or does that come about because they’ve trained so much? Which comes first?



Well, that’s what? Yeah, that’s a very good question. That’s what we’ve done know very well, I think that maybe it’s a capacity that maybe they’re, they’re not as tasked, right, while the computer train, or maybe just they have a much higher recovery capacity, which is something that we see. So we’re seeing, for example, and this is something that we’re going to start publishing data, because we’re acquiring there already, we see something that is not in the books, or at least haven’t seen in the literature, where we thought always that the lead acid didn’t use much protein, right, because they use mostly fighting carbohydrates and protein didn’t use much because they don’t want to get catabolic, when, in fact, we’re seeing that they use more protein than the other athletes, but they also so they get more catabolic during the during the race, for example. Excuse me, however, we see also that their anabolic capacity, and those amino acids Chart Show financial Listen, they’re also higher. So this is very, really cool thing that we have observed. Because I was myself, the first one was like, nuts, you know, like, it was a shock to to see that. Right. So. So that’s why there are a lot of fees are still returned to understand. But without a doubt the Yeah, that it’s a good question that will try to understand whether it’s like they go through a lower effort or less tasks metabolically speaking or CMT, they, they go even the democracy, but they have a much better recovery capacity, which in my opinion, I would be more inclined towards the latter, right, they might have a better recovery capacity in between sessions, which is something that, you know, empirically, or we see that, you know, from the feedback from the athletes, you know, you see athletes who are, you know, after stay trace, they need four or five days to recover. And other ones, within two days, they’re ready to go. And I tell you, Hey, you know, like, I need to start doing training again, because I’m ready to go. And I’m not, I’m not going to name people, but we see that, you know, with assets, which shocks me, you know, because those hotspots, and that’s what you’d see, while this happened, it’s very amazing. They, they recover very well. And we’re starting to see that at the cellular level. Because the why in the world is guys telling me two days later that he’s ready to go again, versus the other guy I’m talking to. And he said he’s too tired. And he went for a two hour right in the legs hurt, and the other guy wants to do five hours. Now we’re starting to see the signatures of the cellular level, very well differentiated. And it’s it’s, it’s everything, it’s just that they have a higher antioxidant capacity, a higher recovery capacity. during the race, they don’t suffer as much. they they they also they synthesize glycogen. That’s another thing that we’re seeing this after they synthesize glycol change glycogen much better and at a higher rate than others. And therefore, they don’t lose so much glycogen during the race or in between day and they can fill it up the tank faster so they have less protein, licentiousness, metabolism, etc. So it’s not I don’t see is one door only. It’s everything that you can imagine, you know, in terms of buying a Jake’s recovery and tax units, whatever they do, they’re just to better.


Trevor Connor  44:35

So this goes back to that that analogy that I gave earlier of the car where we talked about the engine and certainly the the pro engine is using a heck of a lot more fuel. But you also have the body of the car and when I think about handling oxidative stress, when I think about recovery, everything else to me, that’s the what’s the the body that’s around the engine and That, forgive me all you amateurs out there. I’m an amateur. But it’s it’s the difference between a bit of a beat up old Volkswagen body versus a Ferrari body, you can take that Ferrari out rabbit pretty hard, take it for a good ride, and it’s still gonna be purring The next day, you take that Volkswagen out and drive it at a, as you said, 150 miles an hour for a bit, you’re going to be leaving pieces of that car on the road.


Chris Case  45:28

Yeah, and to me, it’s more like the cooling system on that engine and the transmission and all of these other parts. And systems are just more robust, more resilient. And that leads to a greater capacity and a greater ability to recover. And all of those systems come into play when you’re talking about this question here of what is it? Is it harder? Is it easier? Or is it the same at a relative power?



Yeah, I would agree. Exactly. I would agree with the car analogy. I think you guys are right spot on that with onion brands, right. But there may be like a, you know, lower category brand that you know, that car is not going to go so fast. You know, he’s gonna have lower miles per gallon capacity, maybe or just not as efficient, but especially in 150,000 miles, that car is going to start having problems because it’s taking a toll on that car. Whereas the the high level car can go way faster, accelerate faster, more horsepower, and can go up to a million miles without major issues, for example, that, you know, there’s a lot of things that as you said, you know, that they’re more prepared.


Trevor Connor  46:47

I think the the take home, as I was doing all this research, like I said, I wrote an article on this a couple years ago, and I’ve been excited to talk to you about this topic for for a long time, because I think it’s such a fascinating topic. But I remember what I got out of doing all that research for the article is we often focus on building the engine, what’s the horsepower? How much watts Can you put out, but you need a body to that car that is commensurate to the engine, you could build a huge engine, but if the car can’t handle it, it really doesn’t matter. You need to be working on both simultaneously. And you’ve talked about this before we’ve had other guests, I’ve talked about this before. I think that’s where you’re getting into your repeatability your sustainability, you might be able to go out and do one good day, but can you do multiple good days? Things like that?



Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing, too, is, what’s what’s interesting, which is absolutely key, right? You know, are you feeling that energy properly? Maybe not, then that’s maybe why you’re not recovering that well, for the next day, you don’t have enough glycogen, for example. And you cannot, therefore you lose your flexibility to capacity. versus if you were to eat correctly, you would have a better glycolytic capacity, right? Even even at a high level you need during the race, you know, I like in 2008 or sorry, 2006 or seven. for that. Now, I that’s when I start to recommend events over three hours. At the high level of competition, I start to recommend 80 to 100 grumps per hour of carbohydrates, because that was when I started doing obese a fighting carbohydrate oxidation rates. And I was clearly seeing that the elite athletes, they oxidize tremendous amount of carbohydrates and tremendous amount of soft fine as well. But I was like, Oh, these guys oxidize a lot of carbohydrates. Therefore, the guidelines back then, were about 30 to 55 grams per hour. And I said, I you know what, I just don’t think this is enough. So I started to change to from 80 to 100. And that was 2006 seven. And I was highly criticized by by by a lot of people, because they said it was not possible. God, you know, the human body can only you know, like, simulate 60 at the most you know, and I was going so i i started I and I started playing that with great results even at the two different levels. And and the writers were telling you, they’re experienced writers are telling you for the first time in my life, knowing and seeing that I was not eating properly right now. We saw two years ago that the American College of Sports Medicine and I forgot another Association they got together and and most of these people who were criticizing me 13 years ago, they’re telling now the new guidelines are nanograms per hour. You know, So on one hand, it’s funny another time the other hand is like okay, you know, these people were saying this was impossible. And now they’re saying that hey Ruby command to do this. So it is possible, but this is because There’s a very high level of carbohydrate consumption for these athletes up those high levels of competition. So that’s why you need a lot of fuel for that engine, as I mentioned, they have a much higher carbohydrate oxidation capacity. Therefore, also you need to feed those, those those engines, you know that the oxidation is not so important because you can, you know, you have also adjusted to the mitochondria, especially in the slow twitch muscle fibers, they have what’s called a fat droplet. In terms of intra intramuscular intramuscular, triglycerides, they’re right there, next to the mitochondria and about 20 to 25% possible of all the fat oxidizer and exercise comes from that fat droplet also comes obviously, from the interim media, to cutaneous adipose tissue. But a big percentage, I mean, a good a good percentage 20 to 25% is is right there, which is another patient that they have that others don’t have, either. So it’s it’s about, it’s just producing fuel.


Chris Case  51:13

If you don’t mind, I’d like to sort of step back a little bit here. And we’ve talked about the differences. How does that inform the different ways that amateurs can should train based on our discussion today, they have this smaller engine, it’s perhaps in some ways, it’s hard to do damage or do the constructive damage you want to see in these two different scenarios between pros and amateurs? So do you have recommendations there on what that means for an amateur


Trevor Connor  51:48

before you add to that? I just want to throw in if this is as much a question as a statement, what I was doing my research for that article a couple years ago, my thought was, well, of course, if a pro is doing a five hour ride at 280 watts, that’s a huge metabolic flux. That’s a powerful ride, it’s going to take time to recover where the amateurs riding a pretty low wattage, it’s probably going to be easier. I almost feel like based on our conversation, based on the research we talked about, it’s almost as you said, the pros have such an amazing ability to handle the Ross to recover. It sounds like you’re it’s almost the opposite, that the pro can go out and do that five hour ride 290 watts and do it the next day where the amateur even though they’re the ride, net 190 180 watts, might actually need more time to recover. How do you feel?



Yeah, you’re right. And and this is another thing that I, I was so shocked when I was doing Ross. Back in the day, I would do before a maximal physiological test. And after, as well as even in some stages I do at the beginner stage and at the end. And I was I would assume, right that at the end of maximal physiological testing at the end of the stage, they will have much higher Russ in the blog, right. But actually, they had about the same or even a little bit lower. So that was like, what why in the world disease. And it is very possible that also, they are untaxed in machinery, it overreacts or because he’s prepared and therefore neutralizes the excess of rust and free radicals. Right. So therefore, that’s why they might be able to recover very well for the next day. And maybe someone else cuz this is another again, as mentioned earlier, is another Jessen, part of things of training, which is not about power output or about oxygen or body fat and carbohydrate is more about how do you deal with the byproducts if you will, right? Or the, you know, the rush, the free radicals, and how do you improve the attack capacity, because we know to have that the Ross they are necessary to elicit stimulus at the idea DSLR level and they’re absolutely necessary. And we know that from science, it used to press Russ, you’re not going to have read adaptation, there are a few papers showing that already. And this is this is what you need to train your body and the body has to adapt to that stress and and has to produce or enhance the the antioxidant capacity. One of the things that it Bucky today’s you know with a for example regarding the advantage that we had and this is like 2009 that that most of the team was leaving in Girona and so I had a person that coach there, Girona leaving the whole time and the writers once a week it was to sculpt before training around the waist trainer would just go to the to the, the headquarter, so the team or the machine was there. And it’s a few small drops of blood where you can see the free radicals. And, and we would never supplement with any antioxidant whatsoever, we would just look at the free radical count. And the free radicals were normal, they were in suplemento, right? When the free radicals were high, which usually was when the writer had the training, more than what he could assimilate. Or after like a maybe a big race. Dutch were like, okay, we could supplement a little bit with antioxidants, but, but we we really want it. And up until this day, obviously, you know, we even at the to the front, we don’t supplement writers with antioxidants, and we monitor free for free radicals. And, yes, when the free radicals, they just go up. Okay, that’s where we we see that, okay, they have lost the adaptation to deal with this, this this supraphysiological effort, which is the Tour de France, and therefore, they produce a lot more free radicals for Ross than they became neutralized. So that’s what I think it’s indicated to supplement with antioxidants. But and maybe I’m just, I’m, I’m extending myself to look too much about the recovery process. But yeah, I think that it is about improving the recovery capacity through the right training, because if we, if we train someone that at a level, that is too much that that athlete or that type in particular, you know, cannot adapt very well for that intensity, and, and might be too much. This is why I always insist that the only way to release Tet the training zone, so that alpha is to do that in the laboratory. In an STP in the field, it can give you a very, very estimate of your intensities, but is now going to look at your metabolic flexibility, your lack of experience capacity is not going to give you that information. So but you know, any five he can he can, quote unquote, fool you and tell therefore your your stps these therefore, okay, let’s do whatever 70 75% or you’re going to, it’s going to be, I don’t know, 200 watts, or 150 to 130 to 140 beats per minute, do you want to do the heart rate, right. But we don’t know if that’s too much or too little? Right. And the only way to see that is in the laboratory.


Trevor Connor  57:38

Right. And that’s that that 2009 study, which I brought up right at the beginning of this, one of the things I got out of that is you saw in the so this was again, comparing elite to completely sedentary people. So the bit of the extremes. But you saw on the sedentary individuals, much more acid production, you saw them rely much more on anaerobic metabolism, their ability to maintain homeostasis, was just not there. And I think you see that in lactate curves as well. When you do a lactate test with a top Pro, the curve is just a flatline until very high levels were with with less trained athletes, even at low levels, you start to see the lactase kick up.



Yeah, exactly. And now what we’re seeing because we’re really advancing this, this knowledge to and we will have a publication out there soon, showing this, that even within the same group, I’m not I’m not talking about more tour, versus, you know, like domestic pros, I’m talking within the same group of World Tour, we’re seeing very important differences at the metabolic level, which is something that through this new techniques of metabolomics, we’re seeing things that we have never been seen before. So we have a paper now showing, showing the first proof of concept and we have another paper coming up soon. That issue should show more information. And this is the line of research. We’re an application because bird that we’re doing that already with our team team at UAE, we’re utilizing these to learn how our cyclists go through each stage and how metabolically speaking, they suffer or they, they go through that and learn so we are still learning. right but but but yeah, we have this new methodologies where we can choose things that we have never been able to see before, you know, seeing 2000 parameters of an athlete right now this maintenance, you know, when we start to do this, I couldn’t even fit didn’t even myself next, this would be so much and especially how, you know, you know how many differences we could see in one same group of war class athletes or tour Love it. Right? So, so we’re going to be understanding this more and more over the years, for sure. But in the meantime, we can discriminate a lot already in the laboratory looking at, you said, Trevor, the lactate clearance capacity of each rider is different, and it can be dramatically different from one to another one. And we can also see fat and carbohydrate oxidation rates, which is an indirect methodology, look for mitochondrial function and metabolic flexibility as we published two, three years ago. And but yeah, this tells you continue in the laboratory. And, and I think that more and more laboratories are going to come out or more technologies, but I seen the TFTP and, you know, and different, you know, similar parameters, there are pay, you know, that they’re, it’s something, but it can, it can really be far away from the reality. In some instances,


Trevor Connor  1:01:00

Jared Berg, the head physiologist at the cu Sports Center addresses a question of the different engines that he sees in athletes. He works with everything from tour riders, to people who just bought their first bike. In this clip, Jared talks about how this affects the training recommendation he gives them.


Jared Berg  1:01:18

Yeah, we could you do justice giving one of those elite level cyclists, hey, I want you to do 80% of your training and zone two, right, which is still a very polarized training approach, right? And then let’s do some sweet spot, let’s do some Thresh sub threshold, you know, or via to max work, right? Could you do that athlete justice by saying that? I say no, that that is that would be poor consult, right, it’s too much work for somebody with that cycling proficiency to always work at the top of their zone to, for for that length, or that amount of, of their training, right? Where you could give that recreational athlete or that more sedentary individual, you know, give them 80% of their training, and that zone two, and they’re gonna feel like it’s too easy. You know, it’s like, you’re hardly even getting a workout. Right? It’s there’s a big, there’s a, there’s a big gap there. And so often with those with those elite level athletes, I will have them do you know, 80%, zone two and under. But within that 8%, I will break them up and say, hey, I want you to do you know, 40% of it and sort of in that zone, one area, where you’re working on other things, just really trying to, you know, increase your fat burning and trying to maybe work out where your fat utilization is higher than your carbohydrate utilization and total calories, right? This use that sort of point. And then let’s spend the other 40% trying to press what you can do with baseline lactate levels?


Trevor Connor  1:02:54

And what about a novice writer?


Jared Berg  1:02:56

Then I would I won’t you know what, let’s push, let’s push 80% of that spot will We’re known that we can move our sort of mitochondrial capacity and start encouraging those type one muscle fibers to build up more mitochondria. Right there. They’re going to make more gains by pushing higher volume right at the top of that zone to threshold. It’s very different, very different recommendations, right, based on four different two different outputs.


Trevor Connor  1:03:26

All right, let’s get back to the show.


Chris Case  1:03:29

Going back to the recommendations for for amateurs, here. Because we know that their capacity to deal with Ross is so much lower than in pros. Do you have any specific recommendations so that they aren’t overwhelmed so easily? How do they limit the number of damaging rides and balance those things because high intensity rides are in that mix? You know, high zone two rides that are right at that aerobic threshold, they start getting into stressful situations there as well. So do you have any recommendations for for dealing with that?



It’s funny to see that in many times, you see category three, or category category force training at a much higher level than to the friend cyclist. And I’m not seeing for it volume, I’m seeing about the metabolic stress. And this is my opinion where the training program has to be rearranged according to that person. A first mistake is that or first lack of information is like we wouldn’t know where the training is. And for that person, we might be thinking that the person is trended on to but actually made it its own for or zone three, and therefore the metabolic task is much higher, right. So that’s why he said laboratories are the best way to look into this parameter. But, but again, I think that it is more or less without the arrangement of the training program. Have an athlete. So, for example, we we look at, you know, it’s, you know, there’s three weeks training and one week recovery, that works really well, within a week, even with the best cyclists in the world, we do one off completely off day, and maybe another recovery day. And then depending on the face of the season, if you’re in the winter, or during the midst of the season, you have different arrangements, right. So if you’re in that, in those winter months, yeah, you do a lot of that zone too. And which could be maybe three to four days a week. And then you touch also the little bit of that, that some three or four that the glycolytic capacity, which could be maybe one day a week or two days a week, as the season gets closer, you might do less of the zone two, and then do a little more high intensity. But also keep in mind that you’re going to have the high intensity from the racist as well. And in the midst of decision, you need to do a lot of recovery training. So it’s all about what the, you know, parody sation of the asset that is very important. But it’s not I mean, what I, I see the way many athletes train and, and right off the bat, you see them in, in in November, or December during all out spring, right and intervals and 4020s. And, and they you see that between November until March or April, they have only done five sessions of his own to, for example, that’s in my opinion, that’s a receipt for disaster of that in that case, and for overtraining for not adopting correctly. And this is, if you look at the Best Actress in the world, they’re doing the exact opposite. That’s what I see. And this is again, going through the 8020, right, that poor rice training. That may be a way, if you were to without many numbers and talking about metabolism and about adaptations, you i think that that 8020 polarized training, I seen a lot of people understand those concepts. And I think that’s a very good concept. In my opinion.


Trevor Connor  1:07:14

That study that looked at amateurs versus pros in terms of oxidative stress to the the key points that are brought up or one, it’s very easy with more amateur riders to overwhelm that system and lead them into overreaching or overtraining. The other thing I pointed out was at lower intensity, it seems that it’s at lower intensities, that you really improve your antioxidant system. pros have that well developed, so they can handle actually more intensity. That’s why they can hop into a three week stage race and survive, where it’s almost sounds like it same with amateurs, you need more that lower intensity to build that antioxidant system. So you you don’t overwhelm your body.



I was not aware buddy tend to do so thanks for bringing that out. But the lower intensity increase in that taxing capacity. But yeah, this is kind of what we believe that that and it’s called the old school view, if you want to but the base training, right? That’s, that’s key. And now we’re seeing this, not just because, you know, we’re doing these things that we sell from people from the 80s. But we’re seeing now the metabolic level with with the highest techniques and methodologies possible with metabolomics. With transcriptomics. We’re seeing this with muscle biopsies, right? We’re confirming all these hypotheses or theories, right, that yeah, that lower intensity, and that 8020 model, it’s definitely better than just go out there and do a sprint and sprint and sprint, you know. But that’s it too. I in my opinion, too. It comes back to how the business of training and coaching is, in my opinion, this is a very important point. Because if you are a coach that just wants to have as many assets as possible and and this is unfortunately what many coaches are doing instead of spending time with your athletes, like informing them about energy systems informing about how that athlete needs to plan, not just the next month or two but the next year or two years and how to become a better athlete. And, and the NBA, the coach is there to to hold the hand over that asset every day and say how’s your day going? And how’s your recover pay we can change it a little easier there. My opinion that many coaches that they they don’t care much about these concepts are they don’t they don’t want to know Are there no, because it’s easier to write a program super complicated that you need to do today. X amount of spring It’s 4020 and x tech and recovery, and the next day, you have to do similar things. And you literally, you need to bring a sheet of paper with you, right? To know or your phone and pull out and see how my training is. And it which is extremely complicated, extremely full of sprains and accelerations and, and changes of rhythm and, and 40 20th, which you can remember. But my look like that coaches very smart, because it’s coming out, we don’t be super elaborate training, I suppose to the coach who understand these concepts, and and prepares that athlete for the long term and tells that, hey, for the next three months, this is where you’re going to be doing, you know, just four days a week, you’re going to do three to four hours, for example, and so on to one day, where you’re going to do, you know, maybe zone four, and then the other two days easy. So, because of how the business of coaching is, and this is where the cyclists, and this is my only opinion, the cyclists are the ones who say, wait a minute, am I going to pay you $300 a month to tell me that I have to do four days for the next three months, four days a week, three to five hours, or two to three hours and zone two and only one day? So for? Or you know what I mean? I supposed to Okay, pay you every month $300. But you gave me a super complex and elaborate system where I need to even bring with me, because it’s 4020 intervals. And Tara, you know what I mean? I don’t know if I’m explained myself, well, but I think that the coaching business, in a way it’s it’s it’s throwing a wrench into many of these concepts.


Trevor Connor  1:11:44

Yeah. We’ve talked about that, before that. Sometimes coaches feel a pressure to come up with an overly complex plan so they can justify why they’re they’re being paid. Where you’re my personal bias and sounds like you’re on the same place is is the art of coaching is in the interaction with the athlete, it’s in the conversations, it’s in the hearing what’s going on with them and adjusting. It’s not the complexity of the workout you give them?



I agree. Yeah. And that’s what we see many coaches, they don’t have that interaction with athlete like, I working with world class cyclists, but they’re be winning big races this year, for example. And last year, you know, it’s more the interaction. It’s just like, they have this structure and literally do crazy things of training things. No, it’s more the interaction. It’s very structure, but very basic training. And, and they understand it in the first place. And they know the goals, and they know what this training is going to do to their mitochondria, for example. It’s from an academic level, I like to explain that, but it’s more of a day to day interaction, right? How do you feel today? Like, I didn’t have the lecture, okay, then we cancel tomorrow’s training. Let’s say you had, for example, another four hours? Or maybe you have a few intervals to do? No, it’s the two hour cc? And then how do you feel in today, you know, all today, I feel much better, you know, I remember, okay, then then this resume the next, the sister to the training that you had, for the other day, have this plugged it in back in, you know, today, or whatever, right? I seen that that’s, that’s, that’s the key, then rather than just do cyber coaching and having 40 athletes, you know, not knowing who, you know, I mean, giving them the same copy and paste program, very liberated, and not having that, that human touch, I think, I think that the system eventually will go back to where it was. That’s my humble opinion.


Trevor Connor  1:13:39

We’ve talked a lot about this concept of zone two, or long aerobic endurance training from a physiological and theoretical standpoint. But let’s hear from Brent bookwalter, about the more practical side of this type of training, including his opinion of whether it’s different for riders like him, and how it changes from base to race season,



I’d say it is a little different. And I I would say the best way I could explain that is sort of what what I’m feeling this time of year, and that’s being less strain, you know, I came came off a late season injury came off a period of offseasons main activities and cross training. And you know, now I’m getting back on the bike and I’m starting to do some lower zone work. And you know, the, the wattage the outputs are down from what I would do in peak form in the season. But even at that decreased percentage, I still feel it takes a little bit different toll on the body. And I wouldn’t say that scale is like is linear. I would say it’s even individual, you know, I’d say some people, some, some athletes would, um, would feel the same way, you know, if they’re doing 60 minutes at 65% of their Max, and that, you know, Max is changing throughout the year. They’re gonna feel like the same accumulated fatigue on that sliding scale. But, you know, I think I think for other people, they the the fatigue of the net stress seems higher. When you’re not as fit, and I know personally, I feel that, but I look at some of my teammates, and I feel like that’s that phenomena doesn’t exist in them. So, yeah, I would chalk that up to, you know, I guess individualized sort of specificity of training and everyone being a little different. But I would definitely be hesitant to say that it’s matter of factly the same if you’re working out a percentage no matter who you are. Right.


Trevor Connor  1:15:25

So that begs the question, we certainly our listeners, and our readers are always wondering what the pros are doing. And I know a lot of the pros are pro spent a lot of time training in that zone one or zone two. But for them, that’s anywhere from 200 watts up to 300 watts. So there’s still a big, energetic flux there. Sure, amateur riders who have a much, much lower zone one, zone two, should they be spending as much time down in those zones where I guess my question is at 100 watts? Are they getting the same benefits? Or do they necessarily need to train a little harder until they can get the same sort of energetic flux? I hope that makes sense. Personally, I



think that’s sort of an issue of again, like individual management, like if it’s, if this is an amateur writer that has high flexibility in his daily schedule, and his you know, maybe their, quote, day job, they’re doing, you know, able to do it, you know, a lot of volume, a lot of hours, the pro approach is conducive, but if it’s a person with less time and less to work with to begin with, I think it’s great to push that, like you said, essentially train a little harder.


Trevor Connor  1:16:42

I guess a another way to ask this whole question is when you’re on on peak form, and you’re going out and you’re doing that that zone to ride or Robic threshold ride or tempo ride or whatever you want to call it. Even though it’s it’s a lower percentage of your backs. Do you find when you’re up at that high, two hundreds or low three hundreds that it’s still a tough ride? Do you feel that or you sit there go? No, it’s just a 65%.



It did nothing. Yeah, it’s a strange phenomena that the strange but that that’s something that I feel like, you know, I adapt to. And it’s like another example of like, laying down those really fine layers year after year after year after year. Like if I look at, if I look, if I pick one season from seven years ago, it would like, you know, fatigue me or stress me just as much when I’m really fit when I wasn’t. But I feel like as I look back on the years and see my death increase as a rider, it doesn’t affect me as much you haven’t hear guys talk about doing grand tours and coming out with another year, that sort of thing. I think that’s sort of like a little bit of a testament to that depth where you can, you can do that zone two zone three stuff beyond the gas a lot more and, and in the form, not really feel like it’s, you know, denting the tank, or or taking as much energy as it would when you’re not fit. Okay, time


Chris Case  1:18:09

for one minute take homes. Back to Dr. Sun Milan. Dr. Sun Milan. I don’t know if you remember our usual closing statements, but we’ll give it to you. Now we give each guest 60 seconds to sort of encapsulate everything that we’ve talked about in the episode. So you’re on the clock. We’re talking about the metabolic costs of zone two. What are your take home messages?



Well, my take home messages are that say like yes to athletes, when they train into zone two. It doesn’t matter if you’re elite athletes, or if you’re an amateur athlete you are have a very similar metabolic cost. That is going to lead to the read adaptations, both to improve fighting carbohydrate oxidation rates, mitochondrial function on taxing capacity. And it is very important to establish where those training tenses are, because we don’t stablish them correctly. You and I might, but you may not be training the right zone and then you might elicit maybe an excessive metabolic task to your body, then it’s very important to have a permutation on how you’re going to plan to train not just this month or next month, but how is the next four blocks or only four months are going to be once the season starts during the season. And the programming is very important and also the nutrition is absolutely key to put it all together as well.


Trevor Connor  1:19:36

This one was interesting questions in Endurance Sports training to me it’s just this when you think about it with a pro doing 290 watts and zone two and more amateur athlete doing 180 watts you just think it’s got to be completely different. It’s got to be harder on the Pro. But as Dr. Sol Milan said metabolically It’s it’s the same. So when you’re talking about the engine, it’s it kind of is the same even though the pros engine is consuming more fuel. But I kind of liked that analogy of the car, because the other factor is what is the car that that engine is inside? And how well can it handle the the horsepower that you’re putting out? And what it seems like is in the Pro, that’s a really well built car that can handle it and can handle it day after day after day. And and you have to consider that not just what’s what’s the wattage?


Chris Case  1:20:34

Well, yeah, to to continue with that analogy that helps bring this all together, I think it’s worth understanding or considering the the person who takes the Honda Civic and tunes up the engine, but doesn’t change out the struts, or the suspension or some of these other things. And that car might go fast for a little while and can go fast for a little while. But it soon starts to run into trouble, because there’s not a whole lot of balance between the engine and the chassis and the other supporting systems that make the whole package go. So when you’re training if you’re an amateur, of course we’re are we’re directing our messages here today, mostly to to the amateur, even though we’ve talked a lot about pros, it’s about that balance of bringing up all the systems simultaneously so that you’re not overwhelming one with the other. So the engine does doesn’t just doesn’t sit in a in a vacuum, you need all the other supporting systems to come along with it to help it to help you maximize what you can get out of that engine and make it sustainable.



Yeah, I agree. Well, thank


Chris Case  1:21:49

you, Dr. Sam, Milan, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you. I know you’ve had a rough last month with the team and the quarantine and all of that. So thank you for taking the time to be with us today.



My pleasure. Thank you for having me. Yeah, really. It’s always a pleasure to be to be back with you guy. Yeah, they’re doing a great job with this podcast, which is it’s it’s sending a great message to the community. It’s very informative. I think it’s great that you guys have different guests that some might have the same opinion. Some models have different opinions, but it’s it’s a very good service that you guys do to the cycling community. Because you guys are bringing your expertise, other people say expertise and discussing that in an open forum where people are very well informed. And I appreciate that because it’s a great service for the cycling community.


Chris Case  1:22:45

That was another episode of Fast Talk. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at Fast Talk at Fast Talk Labs comm or call 719800 to one one to leave us a voicemail since driving Fast Talk wherever you prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talker those of the individual for Dr. And ego son Milan, Dr. Steven Siler, Jared Berg, Brent bookwalter, Armando moss Traci and Trevor Connor Chris case. Thanks for listening