Theory and Discussion for Rest Day

Addressing Questions about VO2MAX
The article inside the quotation marks below is from the link on the right hand side by MAPPs. Nuri e-mailed me asking a few questions because he didn't see how this information fit into everything we are doing (he is always trying to educate himself on the processes that I have brought to his training and I love the feedback he gives me). Instead of just answering Nuri's questions I thought that since today was an official rest day we could spend some time picking this apart for everyone to learn from. Also below is a new conceptual thought I have been chasing down which is sort of akin to a previous article I posted that talked us through possible metabolic effects of epinephrine on the glucolytic pathway. I am very appreciative of all the intellectuals we have accumulated in our Society, I never really figured people read the stuff I was posting so now that I don't have to kick things around in my head alone it has become truly enjoyable to explore some new concepts and frontiers in training. Read on, Savages.

Excerpt from the MAPP article that caused confusion:
"OK then, ALL HARD INTERVALS ALL THE TIME, RIGHT? NO, keep reading, the plot thickens. From what I have presented so far, and other research, I feel comfortable in saying that a program employing relatively low volume but high intensity endurance type exercise will be very effective in increasing the VO2max of a previously untrained or (substantially de-trained) person. For the untrained, interval training is a way of accumulating minutes of exercise at a higher intensity than our skeletal muscles are initially adapted to tolerate. In the untrained, the heart is better conditioned to endurance performance than the skeletal muscles. Therefore it needs a greater overload to adapt maximally. Intermittent high intensity training is also a powerful stimulus for increasing blood volume, which is a critical adaptation that contributes significantly to improved maximal cardiac output and VO2 max. BUT, Here is the MAJOR PITFALL of THE ALL INTERVAL MENTALITY The VO2 max is only the 1st wave of change for the endurance athlete. VO2 max plateaus quite early in the career of an adult runner or cyclist who trains hard and regularly (though its exact value will undulate several % from off-season to competitive season). SO, we have to ask "I am no beginner, is hard interval training also the best approach to improving the other components of my performance?" Improving the endurance capacity of the skeletal muscles Remember the 2nd Wave of Change ? It is the improvement in lactate threshold, or the percentage of VO2 max that can be maintained without significant lactic acid accumulation. As, I have discussed previously, changes in the lactate threshold occur over a longer time-course than the improvement in maximal oxygen consumption, even if we train regularly. The site of adaptation moves from the cardiovascular sytem to the skeletal muscles. Additional mitochondria are synthesized, new capillaries are constructed, type II b fibers are converted to more fatigue resistant type II a. These adaptations occur progressively (again with seasonal undulation) over a period of several years. The most powerful stimulus for change in skeletal muscle aerobic capacity is different from the most powerful stimulus for cardiac functional changes! Hard but short interval training fails here. We MUST put in the hours of continuous constant intensity exercise to maximize these adaptations! This will range from steady state efforts at 65-75% of VO2max lasting 45 to 120 minutes to repeated "Anaerobic Threshold work" at 80-90% of VO2 max for 15 to 30 minutes."

Let's break down all the scientific blabber into something a little more understandable and see how this article's statements apply to us:

-First and foremost we need to address that this article is looking at how v02max benefits from interval training. This measure of metabolic capacity is more of a correlative of how you can perform than anything else (my personal opinion) and people have come to realize that this test, while providing useful quantitative measures of progress, is not the be all end all of endurance/stamina based ability testing.

-Looking at what vo2max really is: it's your ability to continually maintain your energy expenditure in the oxidative pathway--this feeds right into how we have been talking about the lactate shuttle and lactate threshold as well. VO2max is currently used as more of a prediction of potential in the aerobic capacity of athletes than an actual test of ability (at least in the circles I frequent).

-The article is making a point of how interval training isn't the best tool for those that are experienced and have been training in endurance sports and says that for them to increase their vo2max it might be better to use longer duration periods of around 70% exertion (based on a vo2max scale of cardiac output). I want everyone to head back and re-read the post about the 10 aspects of fitness. Nuri doesn't need to train as much in this way because it is not representative of his immediate and longterm goals. Overall aerobic capacity will assist him and boost his fitness but we will not be putting the majority of our eggs in that basket.

-Incorporating the running and rowing programs that Crossfit Endurance uses is a great way to cover any deficiencies addressed by the above article. There are periodic runs called tempo runs or RPE (rate of perceived exertion) runs that involve longer duration capacity and have you work on maintaining your output at a particular level (sometimes in the oxidative pathway). Intervals are not the be all end all for sure, but they are far greater at eliciting the metabolic responses you all want in a shorter, more efficient time period. Why? Because there is a sort of trickle down effect in metabolic pathways, and those that are lower in the output scale reap some of the same benefits of training while you spend time in the higher end areas.

In summation I would like you to take away two things from this. First, remember that there are many different opinions and thoughts on training out there, and I want us to always keep an open mind (for example I use a gasmask in order to elicit a number of metabolic responses in training that I couldn't stimulate otherwise, including v02max capacity). The MAPP article addresses a certain aspect of training in order to create a little hard thinking on the part of the reader and to get you looking for answers, this is never a bad thing. Second, we are using intervals and a host of other methods to train with, understanding the metabolism and how it produces energy and helps the organism adapt to different stressors is key to grasping the overall concept of stimuli and evolution on the part of the athlete. The more we change our ways and keep from routine the better we become...and the more fun we will probably have.

New Concept Thoughts
An article I am working on bringing up here involves the POSE Running method and various other bio-mechanical efficiency methods for human movement. I was thinking the other night about the coaching and instruction that military and police units receive on this...which is next to none based on my own experience. This seems to be a terrible thing and I wonder how much correlation there is between the mental acuity and response time to high stress situations and running with a more efficient bio-mechanical posture? There are a hundred questions I want to ask on this subject based on exercise metabolism and the connection to fuel choice for the multiple levels of response and brain function. I think this could be something guys performing protective details (running alongside the cars of foreign delegates, etc.) or serving at embassies around the world could use to make themselves more efficient and quicker to react.

I remember people making fun of me for running on the balls of my feet while doing some laps back at UNH (I liked to run in the morning) despite the fact that I was going for 5 or more miles. I always felt more agile and faster (and I was) running in that fashion than with the traditional heel strike and foot roll method. This is a far cry from the actual POSE method but it opened the door in my mind, and once I found CrossFit Endurance it was love at first site. The guys that run that site are the types of characters I find it the easiest to relate to, and upon hearing their stories I see similar threads of experience and thought. Definitely worth checking them out if you haven't already.

I'm looking forward to reading the comments from everyone's thoughts on these topics, feel free to contribute!


chris toomey said...

SAMY, you area freak man. I dig the fact that you are so passionate about what we are trying to do. Articles like these are great. and what you said about always keeping an open mind and we need to "constantly vary" our workouts and how we do our workouts. what you just wrote is a great way to amplify what we do as crossfitters. see if you can find that Crossfit Journal about that SAS unit during desert storm who got lost and captured. they lived their lives by what you had just decribed as always varrying what we do in our workouts and what we do in our lives..."Hard Routine" i loved it man.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Chris the Crossfit Journal article titled "The Hard Routine" is top notch. Your article also relates to another CF Journal article titled "Police Training." It talks about the importance of varying exercises and reps - in the Law Enforcement/ Military field unlike the athletic arena, you never know what you are gonna face. It could be one advisary, or two, or three. You could have to chase a subject for a couple of blocks with a duty belt and vest on, and THEN have to wrestle with them. Crossfit is a constantly varying "Hard Routine" that does a great job getting your mind and body ready for the unknown.


SRD said...

The hard routine article was also referenced in Melissa Byers new article for the CFJ as one of her top 5 all time pics. It strikes a cord in all of us that spent time living in those austere locations and the lifestyle which I think we all try and emulate back here. I want to see some hardline science that looks at stresses and the low to high level cognitive function associated...how does biomechanic efficiency relate do the speed and power of mental processing?

chris toomey said...

hey just to keep the competition going. Lindsay (who still needs a nickname) and i did the Clean and jerk workout from a couple days ago today. i did as prescribed and got 8 rounds + 6reps. lindsay did clean and jerks with 75lbs and did 7 rounds + 5reps. she has come a long way and her form and intensity is improving dramatically. also, Samy, what do you think about El Gaupo for a nickname for myself

SRD said...

haha that nickname is fine, I think we are running out of spanish surnames...I will put up your guys results with the stuff everyone does today, if you guys can take pics when you do wodsand stuff then send them to me and I will post those as well, everyone loves good hard work pictures...plus maybe we can get some other people to submit stuff as well

APurple said...

By the way.. nice picture with you on the rower! must have been an awesome photographer who took that amazing picture!! :o)

and did you submit any pics for the concept 2 contest?!