Are you looking for a way to boost your performance as a coach or athlete? Then you need to consider performance testing. In this article, we’ll cover the top 3 reasons why the best coaches use metabolic testing, whether you’re working with a professional or amateur athlete.
What is performance testing?
Before we dive into the benefits of performance testing, let’s first define what it is. Performance testing is a way to measure how your body performs during exercise. A good performance test does not only look at your maximal capabilities, like VO2max, it also looks at how your body performs during sub-maximal efforts.
The list of performance tests is endless. Here are some examples:
- VO2max test
- Wingate test
- 1RM strength test
- Multistage fitness test (beep test)
- Functional Threshold Power (FTP) test
In this article we’re going to focus on the gold standard test for “endurance sports” (everything from a 5×3 minute kickbox match, to a 2×45 minutes football match to a 15 hours Ironman Triathlon). This gold standard test is called a metabolic test.
What is a metabolic test?
A metabolic test is like a look under the hood of an athlete’s engine. It provides detailed insights of how your body works during sub-maximal and maximal efforts.
Metabolic test results
A metabolic test is different from all other tests, because it gives you information about:
- Oxygen consumption and VO2max
- Lactate dynamics and VLamax
- Anaerobic threshold
- Substrate utilization: fat- vs carbohydrate combustion
Although this information is interesting in itself, the real benefit is that it’s easy to put these test results into action during daily training and racing. More about the practical benefit of metabolic testing in a bit, but first:
Who BENEFITS from metabolic testing?
Yes, all professional athletes do metabolic tests to gain another 2-3% in their performance. But metabolic testing benefits all athletes who want evidence-based recommendations on how to become a better athlete in the most effective way.
This includes athletes ranging from a dedicated age grouper to a time restricted athlete who doesn’t want to waste precious time on ineffective training.
How does metabolic testing work?
Metabolic testing used to be a time-consuming combination of several tests in a lab. For example: a VO2max ramp test using an oxygen mask, a lactate threshold test using lactate samples, a VLamax test using an all-out sprint protocol, a body composition analysis using a DEXA scan, etc.
The INSCYD software removes these time-consuming barriers.
The INSCYD software enables you to collect all metabolic data in one test. The coach, lab or athlete can choose the test protocol: from power-only (cycling) or GPS-only (running) tests to lactate field tests to lab tests with VO2.
With metabolic testing and the guidance of the INSCYD team, you can unlock the full potential of your athlete’s performance! A metabolic test can provide precise information that can be utilized to develop evidence-based training that is targeted to your athlete’s specific needs.
Coaches and labs can Schedule a Free Consultation with the INSCYD team now to learn more about how metabolic testing may help you maximize your athletes’ performance and take training to the next level. And athletes can find an INSCYD coach or lab to perform a test. Contact INSCYD today.
3 Reasons why every coach should do performance testing
Let’s look at the importance of performance testing in athletic training. Here are 3 reasons why every coach should use performance tests.
1. Understand the metabolic profile and starting position
Let’s try to understand the importance of knowing your athlete’s metabolic profile before starting a training program, by looking at two analogies:
When you go to a doctor, you expect a detailed doctor’s examination, before you get a diagnosis and medical treatment.
When you bring your car to the garage, you expect them to first find out what’s wrong, before they start replacing components.
But what do you do when an athlete comes to you with a problem or challenging goal? Do you take the time to really understand their physiology? Or do you do a 20-minute test and start creating a program?
We believe coaches can boost their athlete’s performance, by first analyzing the metabolic profile, before creating a training plan. INSCYD is the only tool that can give you the necessary in-depth understanding of the metabolic profile of your athlete.
Once you know your athlete’s goal and metabolic profile, it becomes much easier to understand what needs to be improved during training. Moreover, you need a metabolic profile to get highly individual training zones to create a training program anyway.
In addition to understanding the importance of knowing an athlete’s metabolic profile, it’s worth noting the benefits of using the INSCYD tool – Training Zone Builder. With this information, coaches can create personal training zones based on master metrics and see exactly what (will) happen in the athlete’s body when exercising in that training zone.
2. Track progress in detail
Tracking progress sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s only effective when done correctly.
If your athlete’s goal is to run a marathon, you can not track progress with a 5k test, or with a beep test, or with a sportswatch estimated VO2max test. Why not? Simply because none of these test results will be the limiting factor during a marathon.
The same is true for using a FTP test in cycling for an athlete who’s preparing for a cyclosportive.
A metabolic test enables you to see exactly what needs to be improved and tracked over time. In many endurance events, this goal could be to decrease carbohydrate combustion at a certain intensity. Or to increase the fat combustion.
3. Prepare for a race
Too many coaches and athletes miss out on this opportunity.
They do a performance test in the beginning of the season and maybe repeat the test somewhere halfway through the preparation.
But one of the biggest benefits of performance testing is that it helps with race pace and race nutrition planning. This does require a test close to race day, but the value you get from it is enormous.
For instance: if your athlete is performing in a short to middle-distance race (up to ~1 hour), the lactate accumulation graph of INSCYD shows exactly what the highest sustainable pace/power is.
If your athlete is performing in a long-distance race, the carbohydrate combustion graph of INSCYD shows exactly what the highest sustainable pace/power is AND how much carbs your athlete needs to consume.
So don’t miss out on the opportunity to use a metabolic test to plan a race in detail. After all, you don’t want all the hard work to be useless, simply because your athlete started too fast or didn’t eat enough.
We also recommend watching the webinar to learn more: How to utilize metabolic assessment for better coaching.
With a metabolic test, you can gain detailed insights into how your athlete’s body works during sub-maximal and maximal efforts, including information about oxygen consumption, lactate dynamics, anaerobic threshold, and substrate utilization. This information can be used to create evidence-based training recommendations that are tailored to athletes’ individual needs, helping them to unlock their full potential.
By now you start to understand the importance of performance testing, in theory. But you only experience the real benefit when implementing it. With the INSCYD software, you can collect all the metabolic data in one test, saving time and effort while refining the quality of your coaching.
Coaches and Labs can Schedule a Free Consultation with the INSCYD team today to learn more about how metabolic testing can help you optimize your athletes’ performance and any other questions to take training to the next level. And athletes can find an INSCYD coach or lab via this link and schedule a metabolic test.
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