Increasing VO2max can be easy at first, but becomes challenging when you already have a decent training history. In this article we talk about all the advanced methods that improve VO2max. From training to nutrition. We also cover how to overcome a plateau in VO2max and common mistakes to avoid when trying to increase VO2max. Most importantly: after reading this article you know exactly how to find out which strategy boosts your VO2max most effectively. Let’s get started!

By Loek Vossen

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Table of Contents

The value of VO2max

VO2max is commonly referred to as the size of your aerobic engine. It is probably the most well-known and accepted measure of endurance. Coaches and athletes who measure VO2max want to know how well the aerobic energy system is able to produce energy. This makes sense, because the aerobic energy system is highly dominant and performance-determining in most (endurance) sports.

VO2max represents the ability to use oxygen to produce energy in the muscle. The higher your VO2max, the higher your aerobic power, anaerobic threshold and maximal ability to burn fat (FatMax) – all other things equal. In many (endurance) sports, these parameters are crucial. Which is why VO2max is important

Find out whether your VO2max can use a boost by comparing your VO2max with norm values by age, gender and sport.

Learn more about VO2max in this 6-minute video:

Breaking down the basics: how to increase VO2max

If VO2max is about using oxygen in the muscle to produce energy, how can we improve it?

First of all it’s important to break down the basics. To get oxygen from the air to the muscle cell, you need a good respiratory system. This system takes oxygen from the air and transports it to your bloodstream. In healthy people the lungs are not a limiting factor.

Once oxygen enters the bloodstream, the cardiovascular system needs to transport oxygen to the working muscle. Red blood cells with oxygen carriers (hemoglobin) need to start moving. This is the job of your heart, using its stroke volume and (maximum) heart rate.

Finally, when oxygen reaches the muscle it needs to diffuse into the muscle to enter the mitochondria, which will eventually use the oxygen to produce energy.

A high aerobic energy production (VO2max) in the muscle requires a good oxygen transport of these systems. In theory, there could be many weak links that would increase VO2max when improved. With training and nutrition you could for instance aim to:

  • Increase blood volume, red blood cells, stroke volume and maximal heart rate
  • Increase muscle oxygen diffusion
  • More mitochondria per muscle

In practice though, the limiting factor often occurs within the muscle itself. In fact, even during intense exercise, the blood that goes back from the muscle to the lungs contains a significant amount of oxygen. Only for sudden change of oxygen demand (power output) oxygen delivery can be a limiting factor for a few seconds.

This means that in training, standard practices for VO2max improvement should aim to improve the ability of the muscle to use oxygen to produce energy.

In general, every workout that raises your oxygen consumption provides a stimulus for your body to increase VO2max. For instance: long slow endurance training or high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Therefore it’s important to do regular exercise, when wanting to increase VO2max. There are also nutrition enhancements that have the potential to increase VO2max. Let’s dive a little deeper into these workouts and nutrition strategies that aim to increase VO2max.

Strategies that increase VO2max

Some people think VO2max is predetermined by genetics. It is true that some aspects are at least partly genetically determined, like:

  • How quickly your VO2max adapts to training
  • How high your VO2max can become
  • How much you need to do in training, to increase it

However, VO2max is also highly trainable… In fact, VO2max is one of the best traininable metrics in endurance sports. It increases with good training and decreases with inactivity (or too hard training).

Let’s talk about the 3 most accepted ways of increasing VO2max with training:

  1. Endurance training
  2. Interval training
  3. HIIT

Endurance training

There are many terms describing what we mean with endurance training: continuous training, base training, long slow distance training, moderate training, high-volume low-intensity training. Eventually it comes down to exercising at a relatively easy pace for a relatively long time.

A large scientific review, looking at 28 studies, defined the intensity of endurance training as everything between 60-85% of the maximum heart rate. In terms of training zones, this roughly equals zone 1 in a 3 zone model, or zone 1 and 2 in a 5 zone model.

This type of training is highly dominant in training models like polarized training and pyramidal training. It’s also a large portion of the Norwegian training method.

Polarized training vs Pyramidal training
Both polarized training and pyramidal training rely heavily on “slow” endurance training in zone 1 and zone 2.

If you want to learn more about the three-zone and five-zone models, or if you’re eager to dive deeper into the polarized and pyramidal training methods, then we have indispensable resources for you. 

[E-Book] - Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Using A Training Method

Download our comprehensive E-Book, titled ‘Mistakes You Need To Avoid When Using A Training Method | INSCYD X AZUM’, provides expert strategies, insights from elite coaches, and practical tips. 

The scientific review showed that endurance training increases VO2max by 4.9 ml/kg/min on average, with bigger increases for those who have a lower baseline fitness.

Example workout

Continuous endurance training is almost monotonous per definition. When choosing the intensity it’s important to keep in mind the duration of your workout and the rest of your training program. This determines at least partly how fast your pace should be.

You could for instance do a long 1,5 hour run on your lactate threshold 1 (LT1) intensity.

If you want to focus more on your fat combustion, you could do a 2,5 hour bike ride on your FatMax intensity. Although you should keep in mind that for well-trained athletes, FatMax might not be the ideal training intensity.

With the INSCYD software, you can easily see what your FatMax intesnsity is by looking at the intensity (x-axis) at your maximal fat combustion (green line).

Want to be sure that your endurance training today doesn’t hamper your performance tomorrow? Pick an intensity at which you burn roughly 40-50 grams of carbohydrates, and make sure you consume the same amount of carbs during training. This way, you don’t empty your muscle energy, which enables you to train hard again the day after.

You can find the carbohydrate combustion rates in the INSCYD’s Fat & Carbohydrate combustion graph (example above).

“One way I have used INSCYD to tailor training plans is by leveraging the insights on fuel utilisation. The information about fat combustion versus carbohydrate combustion during exercise allows me to design training sessions that target specific energy systems and metabolic adaptations.”
PETER POULY - INSCYD COACH & FOUNDER THE COACHING PHILOSOPHY (TCP)
PETER POULY
INSCYD COACH & FOUNDER THE COACHING PHILOSOPHY (TCP)

With INSCYD, coaches and labs can create a full metabolic performance profile for athletes. INSCYD’s Fat & Carbohydrate combustion graph allows you to create highly individual fueling plans for training and racing, ensuring your athletes never ‘bonk’ again. Furthermore, you can create precise pacing plans for endurance events and prevent overtraining with strategies based on energy availability over time

Coaches and Labs book a free demo with the INSCYD team and discover how you can supercharge your coaching business. Athletes, unlock your full potential with INSCYD. Gain insights into your metabolic performance and create personalized training programs. Find your INSCYD coach or lab.

Interval training

With interval training we mean “long” intervals, somewhere ranging between 3-20 minutes. These intervals take place at or (slightly) above the anaerobic threshold. The most famous interval training to increase aerobic power are probably ~5 minute VO2max intervals.

VO2max intervals: what intensity to choose?

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A scientific publication showed that an interval training with these intervals increased VO2max by 7%, during an 8 week training program (3 sessions per week), in moderately trained subjects. It also showed that this was a significantly more effective training method than long slow distance training. These findings are in line with the previously mentioned scientific review, which concluded that higher intensity training results in greater VO2max gains than endurance training.

Creating highly individual interval training with the right interval and recovery duration and intensity is easy, using the INSCYD lactate recovery and accumulation graph. Learn more about it via the article: Lactate accumulation & recovery and download our whitepaper.

The lactate recovery and accumulation graph shows how fast you fatigue (accumulate lactate) and how fast you recover (clear lactate) from intervals. This enables you to create highly individual interval training.
The lactate recovery and accumulation graph shows how fast you fatigue (accumulate lactate) and how fast you recover (clear lactate) from intervals. This enables you to create highly individual interval training.

Remember, every athlete is unique, and it’s essential to customize your interval training program based on your athlete’s goals, fitness level, and recovery capacity. Using INSCYD can help you create a more personalized and effective interval training program.

infographic vo2max training

Watch our interval training webinar, in which Sebastian Weber talks about creating physiology based interval training. 

Example workout

The range of these intervals – and therefore workouts – is pretty large. Some examples are:

The typical 5 minute VO2max intervals. For instance, 4 times 5 minutes at VO2max-power, with 5 minutes recovery in between. Or a slight iteration, used in the scientific publication we just mentioned, 4 times 4 minutes at 90-95% of maximum heart rate, with 3 minutes recovery in between.

On the longer side of the spectrum, you could do over-under intervals, that alternate intervals slightly above anaerobic threshold with intensities slightly below threshold, without recovery in between. For instance, 4 times 2 minutes at 105% AT, with 4 times 1 minute at 95% AT in between. You can then recover for 5 minutes between 2 sets. 

Example Over-Under interval workout
Example Over-Under interval workout: 2 sets of 4x2min. at 105% AT, 4x1min. at 95% AT. 5 minutes recovery in between intervals.

HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the opposite of continuous endurance training. During HIIT, you alternative short high-intensity efforts with recovery. These workouts typically last less than 60 minutes.

When increasing VO2max is your main objective, science shows HIIT is often best practice for both the average athlete and for elite athletes.

Follow our 4-step guide to create highly individual interval training. You can also download our infographic for a visual guide.

Example workout

There are many HIIT workout examples, like Tabata workout and 40-20 Intervals. You can vary between submaximal efforts and all-out intervals (sprint intensity training, SIT). You can also vary between active recovery and passive recovery (intermittent training).

Here’s an example HIIT workout of 3 sets with 10 40s intervals at 120% of anaerobic threshold, with 20s active recovery in between.

Example 40-20s interval workout
Example 40-20s interval workout: sets of 10x40s at 120% anaerobic threshold, 20s recovery in between intervals.

Just because these short high-intensity intervals work best for most athletes, doesn’t mean they also work best for you. Find out whether longer or shorter intervals are better for you via our 6 step plan to answer this question via this article: 5 Most iconic High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts for endurance athletes.

Can nutrition enhance VO2max?

To reach a high VO2max during a VO2max test, you of course need enough energy, which can for instance be derived from a carbohydrate rich diet. The well-known stimulant caffeine can also increase your VO2max test results, since it increases time to exhaustion during an incremental test. But are these really VO2max improvements?

Fundamental VO2max improvements are more likely related to improvements in oxygen transport or mitochondrial function in the muscle.

Iron

We know iron is important for oxygen transport. It therefore makes sense that if you’re low on iron, adding extra iron into your diet could enhance VO2max. There is no evidence that iron supplements increase VO2max in healthy athletes though.

Nitrate (beetroot)

Another popular supplement is nitrate. Nitrate has shown to increase the efficiency of mitochondria. It also increases blood flow to the muscle. However, nitrate rich beetroot juice does not significantly increase VO2max.

Micronutrients

There are several other micronutrients that are essential for mitochondrial function. So far, none of them are proven to directly increase VO2max. A healthy and energy rich diet is of course crucial in training, which does increase VO2max.

Monitor VO2max improvements

Once you start implementing strategies to improve your VO2max, it’s important to be able to see whether they are effective. The only way to do that is to monitor your VO2max over time.

Depending on your current fitness, you can expect VO2max improvements within 1-3 months. If you don’t see changes within this timeframe, your training program might be ineffective, and you better know that sooner than later. Frequently testing for VO2max changes saves valuable time.

Track progress over time, using the INSCYD performance tracking chart.

Fortunately, it’s not necessary to visit a lab everytime you need a VO2max update. You can also accurately measure VO2max outside a lab, using a remote test. With the INSCYD Power Performance Decoder (PPD) test, you can measure all relevant physiological components, using only a power meter (in cycling) or GPS watch (in running).

  1. Athletes performs the test wherever they are
  2. Athletes than sends the power or GPS file to the coach
  3. Coaches uploads the file to INSCYD

As a result, you get a full metabolic profile report with lab level accuracy. Read more about test results over here. This does require a specifically validated all-out test protocol and INSCYD software.

“With INSCYD you can create this metabolic profile with all the metrics you need as a coach. You can even do remote testing. In fact, we often start with such an INSCYD Power Performance Decoder test."
Olympic mountain biking coach Filip François
FILIP FRANÇOIS
INSCYD COACH & CO-FOUNDER BUILT BY HARD WORK

Coaches and Athletes, take your performance tracking to the next level with INSCYD’s Power Performance Decoder (PPD) test. This remote test provides a full metabolic performance profile with lab-level accuracy.

Coaches, you can now offer lab-level testing to any remotely coached athlete anywhere in the world, increasing the revenue of your coaching business. Athletes, you can perform the test wherever you are and get a full metabolic profile report.

Coaches, book a software demo to see how INSCYD can enhance your business. Athletes, schedule a remote VO2max test with an INSCYD coach today.

Interpreting VO2max trends

The VO2max readings allow you to understand if your training strategies worked. Now you don’t rely on scientific studies anymore, and instead know what works for you.

INSCYD performance projection feature enables you to not only look at your VO2max trend retrospectively, but also look into the future possibilities

It shows how your metabolic profile will change if VO2max increases by e.g. 2%. It answers how much additional aerobic power you will have, how much your fat combustion will increase, how your anaerobic threshold will trend, and many more.

Use the INSCYD performance projection to see how an athlete will perform after e.g. VO2max increased by 2%.

It also works the other way around. If you have a specific goal, you can calculate how much your VO2max needs to increase to reach that goal.

"Performance Projection helps to show athletes how our approach in training will affect performance."
Luke Derksen - Head of Performance
LUKE DERKSEN
INSCYD COACH & HEAD OF PERFORMANCE AT TEAM SPORTFORUM

Coaches, to discover how INSCYD can revolutionize your work and enhance the performance of the athletes you train, book a call with our performance team. For athletes, find an INSCYD coach to receive a comprehensive and personalized training program based on your unique physiology. Set your goals based on your individual capabilities, not just generic benchmarks. Remember, it’s time to train smarter, not harder.

Learn more about performance projections via this article: Predict future performances and boost your coaching business.

How to overcome a plateau in VO2max improvements

What if your VO2max is not increasing anymore? A plateau in VO2max  improvements is pretty common in well-trained athletes who have several years of training experience.

Although HIIT training, described earlier in this article, can even increase the VO2max of professional athletes, at some point there simply isn’t any room for VO2max improvement left.

When you detect such a VO2max plateau, it’s time to shift your focus to other key performance metrics. In fact, increasing or decreasing your VLamax (anaerobic power) is most effective when you already have a high VO2max. That’s why VLamax is the secret weapon of elite coaches and athletes.

Common mistakes to avoid when trying to increase VO2max

Before you start aiming to increase VO2max, it’s good to know the most common pitfalls.

Lack of consistency

Consistency in training is very important when trying to increase VO2max. There are two simple reasons why:

  1. The higher your VO2max becomes, the more time and energy (training) it takes to increase it even further.
  2. Inactivity quickly decreases VO2max. For example: 8 weeks of inactivity decreased an Olympic rower’s VO2max by 8%, which wasn’t reversed after 20 weeks of retraining.

So don’t only focus on training, try to prevent detraining (inactivity) as well. For instance by focusing on injury prevention and making sure busy work weeks or long vacations don’t cause you to fully stop training.

Lack of patience

You can’t expect significant VO2max improvements in no-time. It’s better to start your race or event preparations early and slowly add progressive overload to your training, than to suddenly go all-in on your training program a few weeks before your goal.

This allows for proper recovery between workouts and prevents disappointments. If motivation over the course of several months is a challenge, make sure to track athlete progress. This way you objectively see the result of your hard work.

The INSCYD performance development chart

Stay motivated by tracking your progress over time, using the INSCYD performance tracking chart.

One of our INSCYD coach – Peter Pouly emphasizes: 

“One common misconception is that performance testing is only beneficial for elite or professional athletes. I emphasize that performance testing is valuable for athletes of all levels as it provides objective data to guide training and track progress. 

My decision to work with INSCYD was sparked by my preference for working with lactate tests. Over time, as we collected sufficient data, I realized that we could also obtain accurate numbers without the need for systematic lactate testing. Instead, we (also) use PPD tests.

This has revolutionized the way I monitor my athletes’ development. I can objectively measure their progress over time, track their physiological adaptations, and make informed adjustments to their training plans. This not only enhances their training effectiveness but also allows for early identification of potential performance plateaus or overtraining issues.”

Neglecting individual differences

Some athletes respond better to several short HIIT workouts per week while others prefer enjoying long endurance training. Don’t just copy the training program of your training buddy and expect similar results.

Instead, aim to learn what works for you. Try a training strategy, stick to it for a couple of months, and test whether it results in the desired VO2max improvements. If not, quickly adapt.

Comprehensive infographic - How to Increase VO2max

Uncover key insights with our compelling infographic on “How To Increase VO2Max”. Unlock athlete’s potential with our expert tips and strategies on enhancing VO2Max.

 

Discover how VO2Max impacts your aerobic power and learn strategies to enhance it. Avoid common mistakes and learn how to monitor improvements effectively. Remember, it’s not just about working harder, but smarter!

Conclusion: taking VO2max to the next level

We talked about some advanced techniques to take your VO2max to new heights. According to science, HIIT, interval training and endurance training are effective ways to increase VO2max. HIT training seems to be the most promising training strategy to boost VO2max, both in recreational and in professional athletes.

We showed that nutrition can also play a role in increasing VO2max, but mainly when you have deficits like iron deficiency. It’s not very likely that nutrition directly increases VO2max in healthy athletes.

The most important take home message is that if you want to understand what increases your VO2max, you need to monitor your VO2max improvements.

With INSCYD, coaches can offer lab-level testing to their athletes, no matter where they are. Our Power Performance Decoder (PPD) test provides a comprehensive metabolic performance profile, enabling them to design personalized training strategies. Using INSCYD’s performance projection feature they can predict how an athlete’s metabolic profile will change with specific training adaptations, and set realistic, achievable goals. And monitor athletes’ progress over time.

By integrating INSCYD into your services, you not only enhance your service offerings but also significantly improve your athletes’ performance. Open up new revenue streams and stay ahead of the curve in the competitive world of sports coaching and performance analysis. Don’t hesitate to Book a Free Call and ask any questions you may have about integrating INSCYD into your coaching.

Athletes, level up your training! Stop settling for standard coaching and general training plans. With INSCYD coaches, you get tailored, data-driven training plans specifically for you and your goals . Find your INSCYD coach today, but act fast – they’re in high demand!

Last but not least: if you avoid the common mistakes when trying to increase VO2max that we mentioned, and hit a plateau in your VO2max improvements, it’s time to look at the brother of VO2max: the maximum anaerobic power, or VLamax.

VO2max literature

HIT training vs Endurance training to improve VO2max

Milanović, Z., Sporiš, G., & Weston, M. (2015). Effectiveness of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIT) and Continuous Endurance Training for VO2max Improvements: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Trials. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 45(10), 1469–1481.

Interval training increases VO2max more effectively than endurance training.

Helgerud, J., Høydal, K., Wang, E., Karlsen, T., Berg, P., Bjerkaas, M., Simonsen, T., Helgesen, C., Hjorth, N., Bach, R., & Hoff, J. (2007). Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 39(4), 665–671. [LINK]

Elite athletes improve VO2max with short intervals

Rønnestad, B. R., Hansen, J., Nygaard, H., & Lundby, C. (2020). Superior performance improvements in elite cyclists following short-interval vs effort-matched long-interval training. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 30(5), 849–857. [LINK]

Beetroot does not increase VO2max

Perez, J. M., Dobson, J. L., Ryan, G. A., & Riggs, A. J. (2019). The Effects of Beetroot Juice on VO2max and Blood Pressure during Submaximal Exercise. International journal of exercise science, 12(2), 332–342. [LINK]

Caffeine increases VO2max test results

Stadheim, H. K., Stensrud, T., Brage, S., & Jensen, J. (2021). Caffeine Increases Exercise Performance, Maximal Oxygen Uptake, and Oxygen Deficit in Elite Male Endurance Athletes. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 53(11), 2264–2273. [LINK]

Detraining alters VO2max faster than retraining 

Godfrey, R.J. & Ingham, Steve & Pedlar, Charles & Whyte, Greg. (2005). The detraining and retraining of an elite rower: A case study. Journal of science and medicine in sport / Sports Medicine Australia. 8. 314-20. 10.1016/S1440-2440(05)80042-8. [LINK]

LOEK VOSSEN

Human Movement Scientist | Content Marketing and Education

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In this blog, Sport Scientist Dylan Lindsey shares how he coached Sarah Gigante towards the National TT Championships. He specifically dives into the benefits of using the Lactate: Recovery & Accumulation graph. Ready to learn how to become a national TT champion? Let’s start! Sarah Gigante: National TT Champion 2021 After a long hiatus from…

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Using metabolic profiling to streamline training programs

Dan Lorang talks about how he uses metabolic data of his athletes to create more efficient training programs: Performance Management at Team BORA-hansgrohe Assessing athletic performance in the field and in the lab Apply results to daily training programs Apply results to daily training programs The Presenter Dan Lorang is one of the most successful…

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Two-Time Olympic athlete Brijesh Lawrence joins team INSCYD

As the INSCYD community grows, so does our team. We are happy to welcome track and field sprint expert, Brijesh Lawrence OLY. Introduction Brijesh Lawrence OLY Brijesh started running when he was 5, but noticed his Olympic potential when he studied at Doane University. He soon became a 100m & 200m specialist, winning a bronze…

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mobile VO2 analyzers
How to Calculate and Measure VO2Max: Testing Outside a Lab

Discover how to measure VO2max without visiting a professional lab, utilizing field tests, sports watches, or online calculators. This article explains different ways to measure your VO2max without requiring expensive lab equipment. Let’s explore these methods and their precision in calculating your VO2 max. Image: INSCYD Partner COSMED Spread the knowledge! Share this article with…

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How to increase fat combustion
3 Training Tips to increase fat combustion

Here’s how to increase your fat combustion, be less dependent on precious carbohydrates and sustain a higher exercise intensity for a longer amount of time. These 3 tips talk about what to avoid in training, what (not) to eat and your overall long term training goal. PS you can also download the tips in PDF.…

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Performance analysis in swimming
Case study: performance testing in Swimming

This case study is about an 800 meter National Swimmer who is not able to keep up with her teammate during training and racing. Observations and lactate measurements seem to indicate she needs to improve her aerobic energy system, but this turns out to be a false assumption. Read the article and register for the…

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Webinar Alpecin-Deceuninck using INSCYD test software
Alpecin-Deceuninck shares how they prepare for key races

Join Elliot Lipski, Performance Manager of Alpecin-Deceuninck and Plantur-Pura, and find out how a professional team prepares for key races. Temporary deal: get a free INSCYD test. Agenda: Periodisation Training camps Nutrition strategies Practical use of INSCYD software Presenter Elliot Lipski Performance Manager of Alpecin-Deceuninck and Plantur-Pura Take action Ready to perform an INSCYD test…

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Go Long, Ultra Long, With INSCYD

Want to race or run super long races, like the Race Across America, Cape Epic, Dirty Kanza or the Transcontinental? We’ve got you covered! As Certified Sports Nutritionist Coach Sofi Marin (INSCYD user since 2017) says: “During a 4-hour ride, you can underfuel and get away with it. However, during a 48-hour event, it’s essential…

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Glycolytic Power in swimming : the missing link

Because of the relatively short duration of swim races, the anaerobic energy production plays a huge and significant role. It therefore makes sense to learn more about this race winning energy system, that not many coaches take into account. A French national team member gets his lactate sample taken after an exhaustive exercise to determine…

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INSCYD partner Velocity
INSCYD PARTNERS WITH VELOCITY

Velocity is a new performance-driven indoor cycling app that is designed to make cyclists faster by customizing their training to their physiology. To accomplish this, Velocity will leverage INSCYD’s proprietary software and comprehensive experience with elite athletes to provide riders with their unique metabolic profile. Readers may think of Zwift when hearing “indoor cycling app”,…

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The serial Kona qualifier who trains 12 hour per week

You’ve been told you need to train 15, 18 or even 20 hours a week to qualify for the Ironman World Championships. You’ve been told that you had to want it so badly that you had to devote your entire life to it – let alone your family and professional commitments. And although yes, the task is…

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Part 2. Metrics all Runners should know: Lactate accumulation and Recovery

In the previous blog we talked about the importance of knowing fundamental running metrics like VO2max, VLamax, Fat combustion and Carbohydrate combustion. We saw how knowing those metrics makes you a faster runner instantaneously. In this blog we’ll show you how knowing your lactate accumulation and recovery will optimize interval training. How VO2max and VLamax…

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INSCYD partner Triathlon Training Academy
3 Key Metrics Athletes Want to Know: How to Collect and Use Them

As a sports performance coach, you’re well-versed in creating training plans and guiding your athletes to success. However, are you providing them with the metrics they truly crave? Our survey revealed that athletes are highly interested in 3 specific metrics, which most coaches often overlook. Here are these 3 metrics, along with tips on how…

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Norman Alvis Motorola
Former Motorola pro (59) aims for hour record – using INSCYD

From 7-Eleven to Motorola to Saturn to INSCYD. Norman Alvis – retired Pro, multi-national champion and world record holder – has turned INSCYD to go beyond… Norman Alvis at Motorola (1994) vs Norman Alvis now Norman lives in Colorado Springs where he set a US Hour Record late in his pro career, 1997. The distance…

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Tabata Workout -the king of HIIT Training
Tabata Workout: The King of HIIT Training

Tabata workouts, a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), are named after Dr. Izumi Tabata, who compared the effects of these intervals to moderate-intensity endurance training in a scientific publication (1996). The original Tabata workout only takes 4 minutes and boosts your VO2max and anaerobic capacity. Check out our in-depth guide on understanding and improving your VO2max.…

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The Physiology Behind Power-Duration Curves

Power vs. Duration respectively Speed vs. Duration analysis has a long history in sport science.Power-Duration relationships have become very popular and also very useful in managing training & performance in endurance sports – particularly in cycling. It provides a relatively easy way to get an idea of the performance of an athlete. Watch the webinar:…

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INSCYD test. Partner: Triathlon Training Academy
INSCYD test: protocol, results, cost and more.

This article covers everything you need to know about the INSCYD testing protocols, test results, testing cost and many more. Let’s start by addressing a common misunderstanding. Image: INSCYD partner Triathlon Training Academy Before we can dive into the INSCYD test, we have to understand what INSCYD is. INSCYD is a software tool that allows…

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Webinar: CANYON//SRAM Racing x INSCYD
CANYON//SRAM Racing about the practical use of INSCYD

Join CANYON//SRAM Racing rider, Ella Harris, and the team’s performance coach, Stephen Gallagher from Dig Deep Coaching, for a dive into the practical use of the INSCYD software. They’ll discuss the insights from various testing protocols and real-life examples of how these understandings have helped shape and improve performances across training, racing and recovery. Agenda:…

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Team Alpecin Fenix
Create A Nutrition Plan For Training And Racing

In this post you learn 5 actionable steps to create a nutrition plan for training and racing. In fact, this is the exact process that partners like Alpecin-Deceuninck Cycling Team and the Belgium Triathlon Federation use to create a fueling plan. So if you want to know what and how much you should eat during training and…

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Infographic 40-20’s: work-to-rest ratios in HIIT
40-20 Interval Workout: Work-To-Rest Ratios in HIIT

Are 40-20’s (40s ON 20s OFF) the best work to rest ratios in HIIT intervals? Or should you consider 30-30 Billat intervals? Both are common in endurance sports like cycling and running, and recent scientific literature shows why. Continue reading to learn more about work-to-rest ratios in HIIT training. Spread the knowledge! Share this article…

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Running power with Stryd and INSCYD
Running power: how to add physiological meaning to it

With the arrival of affordable running power meters like Stryd, power has become an important metric in running over the past years. Now it’s time to unlock the power of your running power meter. Previously, power was only a number expressing your output. Today INSCYD links this running power to your individual physiology. The result:…

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INSCYD and Zwift: race stronger by training & testing indoors

Although running, cycling, triathlon – and the majority of other sports – are still performed outdoors, indoor training and (remote) indoor testing are both very popular. Even in the professional world, the digitalization of training software and performance analysis tools are common practice. But take two digital platforms (let’s say INSCYD and Zwift), blend them…

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Glycogen stores in the exercise body
Muscle Glycogen and Exercise: all you need to know

Muscle Glycogen and Exercise: all you need to know Glycogen is the most important energy substrate during exercise, especially at higher intensities. Since most races require such high intensities, glycogen is important to every athlete who wants to be strong, fast and become a winner. Regardless of the intensity at which you exercise, at some…

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INSCYD coach Tenille Hoogland
How women can train and fuel for their unique physiology

Lift heavy is the number one tip that all female athletes in perimenopause and beyond can take on to stay strong and play to their best. Eat more protein is another. But what about those endurance goals that we love training for? How do you balance “going long” with doing strength and intensity? How do…

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Lactate production and dilution space
Body composition in performance testing: stop ignoring it

Body composition in performance testing: stop ignoring it When expressing VO2max in oxygen uptake per kg bodyweight, or FTP in watts per kg bodyweight, you immediately understand the importance of body composition. However, it seems like not all coaches and labs feel the same when expressing blood lactate values in mmol per liter. Do you…

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Belgian Hammers – Road to Olympic Mixed Team Relay

The Belgian Triathlon Team Mixed Relay won the Olympic qualifier in Lisbon. As a result, they will compete in the Tokyo Olympics on July 31. What is their formula for success and how do they use INSCYD to create race winning training programs? Read it in this blog. ABOUT THE TRIATHLON MIXED TEAM RELAY Triathlon…

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Übersicht über die einzigartigen Vorteile menschlicher Trainer gegenüber KI, wie emotionale Unterstützung, Anpassung von Trainingsprogrammen und Interpretation von Daten im Kontext und mit Empathie.
Wie Trainer in Zeiten von ChatGPT und anderen KI-Revolutionen relevant bleiben 

Werden ChatGPT und andere KI-Tools den menschliche Coach ersetzen? Hier sind 3 Möglichkeiten, wie man neue, innovative Technologien nutzen kann und sich gleichzeitig unersetzlich macht. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Reddit Email Trainerwissen vs. ChatGPT Bevor wir uns mit den spezifischen Coaching-Qualitäten von ChatGPT befassen können, ist es wichtig zu verstehen, woher es sein Wissen bezieht. Laut…

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Breaking 7 at “La Marmotte” – with INSCYD

Henrik Kraglund on his way to break the 7-hour mark at La Marmotte 2019 There are several badges of honour in the world of endurance sports. For some, it is running a marathon in less than three hours, or qualifying for the Ironman World Championships. For pure cyclists, on the other hand, it can be…

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Track running sprint
Should my Track and Field runner increase or decrease VLamax?

In our previous article about Why the best track and field running coaches look beyond VO2max, we talked about the importance of knowing your athlete’s anaerobic power (VLamax). We showed that having a too low VLamax can easily cost you more than 5 seconds in an 800m race, while a too high VLamax can cost…

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Measuring Energy Demand in Swimming using simple Pool Tests

In this webinar we show how to measure the energy cost at a given swimming speed, using simple testing in the pool. About the webinar The energy cost at a given speed is decisive for the race performance in swimming. The methods shown in this webinar are all based on peer reviewed scientific publications. We…

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How To Apply The Norwegian Method To Training

The Norwegian Training Method is gaining attention after the success of Gustav Iden and Kristian Blummenfelt in triathlon. In this blog post, you will learn how to apply the Norwegian Method in 3 simple steps to increase your triathlon performance. We will discuss the training philosophy, how to control intensity with lactate measurements, and the…

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The Future of Cycling Training: Insights from Former Pro Cyclist

Together with former professional cyclist and INSCYD user Peter Pouly, we talk about the future of cycling training and how that affects endurance coaches and their business. Peter is a former professional cyclist (5x National Champion Cross-Country Mountain Bike, 5x winner Haute Route Alps, 1x winner La Marmotte) and now works as a Directeur Sportif for…

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From Training to Victory: Strategic Planning for Championship
Webinar: From Training to Victory: Strategic Planning for Championship

Join us for an exclusive webinar where we’ll delve into the secrets behind Team Sportforum‘s success in the ‘Rad-Bundesliga’ opener in Schweigen. Guided by Luke Derksen, Head of Performance, we’ll discuss the strategies and methodologies employed to elevate the team to the status of the best amateur cycling team in Germany. Learn from their real-world experiences…

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Coach Sofi Marin INSCYD
Mastering Nutrition Utilizing INSCYD

In this blog, Certified Sports Nutritionist Coach Sofi Marin (INSCYD user since 2017) explains how she translates INSCYD data into specific nutrition advice. After all, who knows better how to use INSCYD than an INSCYD user? Translating INSCYD insights into specific nutrition advice With INSCYD, I have clear and specific data to support and justify…

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Lactate threshold graph showing a shift from the lactate curve to the right: a lower lactate concentration at any given exercise intensity.
How To Interpret A Shift In Lactate Curves – The Right Way

Many labs and coaches use lactate threshold graphs to measure progress in their athletes. However, when analyzing a lactate threshold chart, it’s important to know exactly which factors cause a shift in the lactate curve. After reading this article, you will understand why a right shift in the lactate curve can be a bad thing.…

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INSCYD partner Alpecin-Deceuninck Cycling Team
How Power is Composed and Why This Matters

Yes, power has advantages over speed and heart rate. But if you want to fully exploit its potential, you need to know how your running or cycling power is composed. How much power is coming from the aerobic vs the anaerobic energy system? And which fuel source contributes most to your power output? In this…

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Webinar: Uncommon Strategies to Increase Triathlon Performance

Watch the webinar where Sebastian Weber, who is the project leader of INSCYD will share insights on effective but uncommon strategies to increase triathlon performance. Learn how to increase your swimming economy, optimize your carbohydrate intake, improve your running economy and more.  Join us for a webinar where Sebastian Weber, who is the project leader of INSCYD will share insights…

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MESICS VS INSCYD: Die Beste Software Für Laktat-tests

Sind Sie sich nicht sicher, welche Software Sie zur Leistungsdiagnostik in Ihrem Labor verwenden sollen? Werfen Sie einen Blick auf diesen Vergleich zwischen Mesics Winlactat (LC-Laktat) vs. INSCYD und entscheiden Sie, welches Tool am besten zu Ihrem Laktat- und/oder Spiroergometrie-Diagnostiklabor passt. Um Verwirrungen zu vermeiden: Mesics ist der Firmenname. Ihr Produkt heißt Winlactat. Bald wird…

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Cycling at FatMax
Why FatMax is not the best endurance training intensity per se

There are many reasons why endurance athletes should want to increase their fat combustion. Riding many hours at FatMax (intensity at which you burn the most fat) might seem like the best way to do this. However, this is not always the case. It can even harm you and cause overtraining. Here’s what you should…

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INSCYD metabolic profile in AZUM
Implement INSCYD data in everyday training, by using AZUM

INSCYD users have a clear advantage over their opponents who still work with conventional performance diagnostics. To make the most out of this (metabolic) data, AZUM developed a platform that enables coaches to implement INSCYD data in everyday training. This makes impractical Excel tables or inaccurate training zones a thing of the past. Here are…

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Carbohydrate combustion determines pacing and fueling
Race fueling strategies: how to use carbohydrate combustion rates

Carbohydrate and fat combustion rates are among the most important features INSCYD can offer for runners, triathletes, and cyclists. Here’s why: While fat combustion rates are a valid marker to monitor training progress and set training intensity zones, carbohydrate combustion is crucial not only in training – but even more in a race. Carbohydrate storage…

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How mid distance running coaches use INSCYD – case study

INSCYD’er and short distance runner Vanessa Scaunet during the European Championships Indoor, Torun 2021. More and more running coaches use INSCYD to create better training programs and race pacing for their athletes. This blog covers the story of Vanessa Scaunet, who was able to switch her running goal from a 2k cross country to an…

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Infographic - INSCYD help professional athletes and Time-Crunched amateur athletes
How Time-Crunched Amateur Athletes Benefit from INSCYD

In collaboration with renowned coach Frank Pike, we share why and how recreational athletes and age groupers benefit from using INSCYD.  Spread the knowledge! Share this article with your fellow coaches and athletes. Click the share buttons below and inspire others on their journey to athletic excellence. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Reddit Email The challenge of…

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Florian Wellbrock Wins Gold at the World Championships 2023
Florian Wellbrock Wins Gold in 2023 World Championships

Florian Wellbrock has continued to make waves in the swimming world with his recent achievements. He pulled away for an 18.7-second win in the Open Water 10K at the World Championships, showcasing his dominance in the sport. This win was Germany’s second in two 10K races in Fukuoka, marking a significant milestone for the country…

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Preview webinar Swimming performance: test protocols & most valued results
Swimming performance: test protocols & most valued results

In this webinar, we share which performance metrics make the difference in swimming, how you can measure those and how you put them into practice. Watch the webinar: Agenda timestamps: [01:29] Physiological testing in swimming: which metrics are of interest? [02:40] VO2max – Maximum aerobic performance. How to test VO2max without measuring it during the…

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Sport Coach explain the training data
How INSCYD Empowers Small-Scale Coaches & Amateur Athletes

INSCYD is known for its partnerships with national federations and professional teams. However, small-scale (one-man) coaching businesses and their amateur athletes can also significantly benefit from INSCYD. This article covers common reasons why (part-time) coaches are hesitant, but extremely successful once they start using INSCYD. Consider a typical athlete who trains slightly more than 5…

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Mark Turnbull INSCYD coach
Use case: rehabilitation program using INSCYD

James (39) is self-employed, working long hours and having to fit training in around his demanding physical job. His results had plateaued and he was finding it difficult to structure his training and balance his work/life commitments. As a result, he was struggling to improve his performance enough to warrant the time and energy necessary…

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Image: INSCYD Partner Team Sportforum
Talent Development Using INSCYD: Insights from Champion Team

Team Sportforum has one mission: to become the best amateur cycling team in Germany. Head of Performance, Luke Derksen, shares how they use INSCYD for talent identification, progress monitoring, predicting future performances and deciding on race strategies. Image: INSCYD Partner Team Sportforum About Team Sportforum Our mission is to become the best amateur cycling team in…

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Aya Sinay testing triathlete
3 Tips For Triathlon Coaches – From an IRONMAN Kona Coach

Aya Sinay has raced as a triathlete in IRONMAN Kona (Hawaii) twice and has been a successful triathlete coach for over 10 years. In this article, she shares 3 important tips that all triathlete coaches should read. Get ready to boost your athletes’ performance and your coaching business. Spread the knowledge! Share this article with…

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Undercover test: INSCYDs Power-Performance Decoder versus lab gold standard

Exercise Physiologist Tero Joutsen, PhD, rideson the treadmill during a 30min constant load test – the gold standard for validation of the maximum lactate steady state (AKA anaerobic threshold / FTP) Advertising claims are often designed to make more out of products than they actually are. INSCYD’s Power-Performance Decoder (PPD) software doesn’t have a claim.…

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INSCYD webinar: training zones and training zone builder part 1
Training Zones and Training Zone Builder – part 1

This webinar is about Training Zones and the new INSCYD Training Zone Builder (part 1). Watch the webinar: Agenda timestamps: [02:55] What are training zones and what are they used for: benefits and downsides [11:10] Examples of training zones in different sports and countries [19:40] Translating training zones to real life training: the challenges with…

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Graphic - How to qualify and prepare for IRONMAN Kona
How triathletes qualify and prepare for IRONMAN Kona

Many INSCYD athletes and coaches qualified and prepared for IRONMAN Kona, Hawaii. In this article we bundle their tips and tricks. Spread the knowledge! Share this article with your fellow coaches and athletes. Click the share buttons below and inspire others on their journey to athletic excellence. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Reddit Email Table of Contents…

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FatMax: definition, training (zone) and exercise test

FatMax: definition, training (zone) and exercise test Whether you like cycling, running or any other endurance exercise: knowing your FatMax zone will enable you to train your fat oxidation and boost your endurance performance. This blog contains everything you need to know about FatMax. From theory to practical application. Let’s dive right into it! WHAT…

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Mesics vs INSCYD: The Best Software For Lactate Tests

Not sure which software to use for analyzing lactate tests in your human performance lab? Checkout this comparison between Mesics (LC lactate) vs INSCYD, and decide which tool fits your lactate- and spiroergometry diagnostics lab best. To prevent confusion: Mesics is the company name. Their product is called Winlactat. Soon the product name will change…

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Heart rate in swimming training zone
INSCYD integrates Heart Rate in Training Zones

We are happy to announce that from now on, heart rate is integrated into our training zones. That means you can now describe a FatMax training zone – or any other training zone – based on heart rate. Image: INSCYD partner Triathlon Training Academy In the past, INSCYD training zones were described based on speed…

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Infographic Zone 2 Training - Benefits, Science, and How-To Guide
Zone 2 Training: Benefits, Science, and How-To Guide

Zone 2 training is promoted as your go-to training intensity, whether you’re a professional athlete or simply looking for exercise health benefits. Zone 2 training gained popularity when the coach of Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar revealed that his athlete spends 80% of the training days in zone 2. In this article we talk…

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VLamax: Elite Coaches Secret Weapon

VLamax: Elite Coaches Secret Weapon Are you a cyclist looking to sprint faster than Wout van Aert? Or a triathlete dreaming of racing with Jan Frodeno at the next Ironman World Championships? These may be hard goals, but a good way to start working towards them is to understand a very important metric of human…

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Infographic - Over-Under intervals - Benefits, mistakes, workout examples and how-to create effective
Over-Under Intervals: Benefits, Mistakes, and How to Create Effective Workouts

Over-under training is a type of interval training that alternates between intensities above the anaerobic threshold or FTP and those below it. The primary objective is to accumulate fatigue and lactate during the “over” interval and then efficiently clear it during the “under” interval. But how can coaches ensure they’re getting the intensities just right…

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Decrease VLamax
5 Training Tips to Decrease VLamax

Want to reduce your VLamax so you burn less carbohydrates and increase your anaerobic threshold? Here are 5 training tips on how to decrease VLamax, talking about: training intensity, frequency and nutrition! PS you can also download the tips in PDF. Having a high VLamax will make you go faster in any sprint or attack*.…

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How to Create Highly Effective Interval Training
How to Create Highly Effective Interval Training: 4 Steps

Interval training is a highly effective way to improve your athlete’s performance, enabling to train at intensities that are too high to sustain for a long time. To create an effective interval training program, you need to consider the duration and intensity of both the interval and the recovery. In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show…

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How coach Flo Heck used INSCYD on himself

Whether you’re considering becoming a coach or are already an experienced coach, we honestly can’t imagine a better way to test our physiological software than by using it on yourself (as a coach) before using it on your athletes. That’s what coach Florian Heck, 28 years old from Tri2gether (Trier, Germany), did with INSCYD. INSCYD…

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Aerodynamics, Biomechanics & Metabolism – shaving off > 1h in IRONMAN

This webinar will teach you how to use a holistic approach, utilising biomechanics, aerodynamics, training and nutrition to tremendously increase the performance of a triathlete in no time.  Learn how to use real world biomechanical analysis, nutrition strategies and efficient training programs to maximize value of your coaching and bike fitting service. High Performance Expert…

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