With an INSCYD performance projection, you can show your athletes exactly how much their FTP (or any other parameter) changes when they increase their VO2max (or any other parameter) by say 5%. In our experience, that is exactly what motivates athletes to stick to a training program and retest more frequently.
BY LOEK VOSSEN
The performance projection enables you to see how changes in VO2max, VLamax, body composition, running economy and/or any other metric affects the performance of your athlete. As a result you can make informed decisions on what to work on in training.
From an athlete’s point of view, knowing what you are working on and how much this will benefit your performance, makes it easier to stay motivated. It also increases the curiosity to retest more often, once you know what changes you are aiming for.
A performance projection predicts future performances by changing one (or multiple) performance-determining parameters.
In this blog, we explain how the performance projection can help you as a coach, both from a training perspective and from a business perspective.
HOW TO USE THE PERFORMANCE PROJECTION TO SET UP TRAINING PROGRAMS
There are several reasons to use a performance projection. Let’s look at some.
1. Out of curiosity
One reason could be simply out of curiosity. You want to answer a question like: what does it take to run a sub-2h marathon or what does it take to break the cycling hour record or what does it take to swim 200m freestyle sub 1’42”. From scratch you create a virtual athlete with the physiological capacities of your choice. You than find out whether those capacities are sufficient to meet the race demands.
Keep reading if you want to know how you can actually create a performance projection in INSCYD.
2. BECAUSE YOU WONDER HOW CHANGING ONE PARAMETER AFFECTS ANOTHER
By playing around like mentioned in the previous paragraph, you can also start to see how certain parameters affect others. For instance: how changes in body composition affect the anaerobic threshold. You could call this qualitative information: the mechanisms itself.
We are now going to look at quantitative information: how much does a certain parameter affect another.
3. BECAUSE YOU WONDER HOW MUCH EFFECT CHANGING ONE PARAMETER HAS ON ANOTHER
Understanding that increasing VO2max has an effect on the anaerobic threshold is one thing. Once those mechanisms are clear, you start to wonder how much effect certain changes have.
A performance projection can give you the exact answer. This answers the question how much progress do we need to make to achieve the goal? Here are some quick examples:
How to increase FatMax by 10%
Do you want to increase the FatMax of your athlete to make sure he/she is depending less on carbohydrates? A performance projection can show you exactly how much – for example – the VLamax would need to decrease to increase FatMax by 10%.
In this example, the performance projection (image below) shows what will happen when the athlete decreases the VLamax from 0.5 mmol/l/s (represented by the solid line) to 0.43 mmol/l/s (represented by the dashed line).
As the image shows, FatMax will increase from 307 kcal/h to 337 kcal/h (+10%) and the intensity at which FatMax occurs will increase from 1.6 m/s to 1.8 m/s (+12%). Moreover, the carbohydrate combustion at any given intensity will decrease. At 1.8 m/s for example, the athlete will burn 59.4 grams carbohydrates per hour instead of 66.3 grams per hour (-12%). As a result, there are more carbohydrates left for high intensity efforts at the end of a race.
Now you know what it takes (decrease VLamax by 0.07) to reach the goal (increase FatMax by 10%), you can start creating a training program that focuses specifically on decreasing the VLamax.
How to climb the Alpe d’Huez 3 minutes faster
Is your athlete aiming to shave of 3 minutes from their personal best on a specific climb or a specific race/performance ? A performance projection can show exactly how – for example – the body composition would need to change to climb the Alpe d’Huez 3 minutes faster by bike.
In this cycling example, the performance projection shows what will happen when the athlete decreases the bodyweight from 80 kg (15% body fat) to 76 kg (10% body fat). Let’s assume the rider climbs the Alpe d’Huez at anaerobic threshold power.
The performance projection shows that the anaerobic threshold power will go up from 3.8 watt/kg to 4.0 watt/kg. This will shorten the time it takes to climb the Alpe d’Huez from 59 minutes to 56 minutes (3 minutes faster).
Two short notes regarding this example. First, when losing weight is associated with changing the body composition, it can have an effect on multiple parameters. For instance, when you lose muscle mass, you not only have less contractile units, but also less lactate distribution space. Therefore, losing weight does not mean you can simply divide the same power output by a lower body weight to get the watts/kg.
Second, keep in mind that there are inter-individual differences of what the best body fat percentage is. The lowest possible value, may not always be the desired goal.
How to recover faster from intervals
Do you think the training quality of your athlete would be higher when he/she recovers faster between intervals? A performance projection can show exactly how much the VO2max would need to increase to recover 20% faster between intervals.
In this example, the performance projection (image below) shows what will happen when an athlete increases the VO2max from 50 ml/min/kg (represented by the solid line) to 55 ml/min/kg (represented by the dashed line).
As the image shows, the apex of the lack of pyruvate curve will increases from 0.4 mmol/l/min to 0.48 mmol/l/min (+20%). This means that previously the athlete needed 2 minutes and 30 seconds to recover 1 mmol/l of lactate (1 mmol/l lactate ÷ 0.4 mmol/l/min), where it will now only take 2 minutes and 5 seconds (1 mmol/l lactate ÷ 0.48 mmol/l/min). Besides the fact that recovery takes 25 seconds less per 1 mmol/l of lactate, the recovery can also take place at a higher intensity. Looking at the image, the intensity at which the athlete recovers fastest will increase from 1.63 m/s to 2.03 m/s (+25%). In other words, the apex of the lack of pyruvate curve is shifted upwards and to the right.
Now you know what it takes (increase VO2max by 5 ml/min/kg) to reach the goal (recover 20% faster), you can start creating a training program that focuses specifically on increasing VO2max.
Two quick notes about the examples. First, it is important to understand that the quantitative effect (how much change in x creates how much change in y) depends on all the parameters. It therefore differs per individual.
As a result, decreasing VLamax by 0.07 will not always result in a 10% increase of FatMax. In some athletes it will increase FatMax more, in some it will increase FatMax less.
There is also no linear relation: if the example athlete decreases VLamax by 0.14 (two times more), he/she will not per se increase FatMax by 20%.
Secondly, even though the previous examples looked at 1 parameter changing 1 other parameter, the truth is that multiple parameters can get you closer to your goal.
To give an example: we’ve seen that you can increase FatMax by decreasing VLamax , but you can also increase FatMax by increasing VO2max.
The example showed that the athlete needed to decrease VLamax from 0.5 to 0.43 mmol/l/s (-14%) to increase FatMax by 10%. To get similar FatMax results, he would need to increase VO2max from 50 to 53 ml/min/kg (+6%). Looking at multiple solutions for the same outcome can help you choose (and combine) parameters to focus on in training: e.g. the one that you think is easiest to change through training.
4. BECAUSE YOU WONDER WHAT A REALISTIC GOAL WOULD BE
I’m sure defining a SMART goal for your athlete is not always easy. On the other hand, I’m also sure that your athlete expects you to give them a realistic goal that is both challenging and achievable. A performance projection can help whenever you wonder: what would be a realistic goal for my athlete?
How? By combining realistic improvements of parameters that you think the athlete can improve within the agreed window of time. Let’s for instance look at the Alpe d’Huez example we just talked about. Imagine your athlete has another 6 months to prepare. Losing those 4 kilos of bodyweight we talked about, can be possible within 6 months.
You could easily focus on improving more parameters besides body composition. Why not try to increase VO2max as well? Based on test results from the past you could make an educated estimation of how much you could increase VO2max in the upcoming months.
Add both the body composition- and the VO2max improvements to the performance projection and see how that increases the watts per kilogram. You can now manage expectations and share a realistic goal with your athlete, based on a combination of improvements.
Knowing exactly what parameters you are going to work on also helps explaining how your training program is going to get the athlete reach the goal.
This boosts the athlete’s willingness to get “on board” of your program, which ultimately is one of the most important steps in coaching.
5. AND MANY MORE
There are many other good reasons to use a performance projection. Feel free to share your favorite reason with us by sending us an email!
HOW TO CREATE A PERFORMANCE PROJECTION
Start creating your performance projection right now!
Go to the INSCYD app.
If you want to build a performance projection from scratch, you should first create a (virtual) athlete. Go to Manage Athletes and add an athlete. Then go to Manage Tests and click Manual Test. Create your performance projection, using the virtual athlete.
If you want to build a performance projection based on a previous test, go to Manage Tests. Click on the test and click Create Virtual on the right hand side.
Fill in/change all the details that you want to take into account and press Save & View*. You can now see the results of your performance projection.
Do you want to compare the original test with the performance projection to create graphs with solid and dashed lines? Go back to the Manage Test area. Select both the original test and the performance projection. Click on Multi Athlete Metabolic Profiling.
*In some plans and subscriptions, performance projections are for free. In others, creating (= pressing the view button) will trigger an extra fee, starting at €10/$10. Check your plan/subscription to learn about your personal agreement, or reach out to us!
HOW TO USE THE PERFORMANCE PROJECTION TO BOOST YOUR BUSINESS
The previous part of the article mentioned the benefits of the performance projection from a training and coaching perspective. Using the performance projection can increase your expertise as a coach and the value proposition of your business.
PERFORMANCE PROJECTION TRIGGERS REQUEST FOR COACHING
Test labs who did not coach in the past started offering coaching services after using a performance projection. Why? Because the performance projection triggered the athlete’s question: “how do I train for those results?”. This opens the door to not only sell tests and retest, but also training programs.
Want to learn more about boosting your business? INSCYD users can watch the full webinar: Transform your performance testing lab: more clients, more revenue, more profit. The last 10 minutes are specifically about using the performance projections.
In our experience, the performance projection is also a tool to boost your coaching business. By showing athletes what will happen when they improve X or Y, they better understand where they are working towards. This is highly motivating and rewarding, which is the combination that keeps athletes loyal to their coach.
Athletes go from “I hope my coach will make me climb the Alpe d’Huez faster than last year..” to “My coach showed me that if I can increase my VO2max by 5% and lose 4 kg body weight I will shave off 6 minutes of my personal best on the Alpe d’Huez.”
This helps building trust and shows that you as a coach know what you are doing. It also increases your level of expertise and therefore differentiates you from others coaches/competitors.
So you did an initial test to set a base line. Now you added a performance projection to see what your athlete should work on and what the result will be if he/she reaches that goal. The next logic step would be to retest frequently enough to monitor if the training program brings the athlete from base line to the projected outcome. In other words: creating a performance projection triggers the request from an athlete to retest. From a business perspective, retests are a good way to improve business retention.
From an athlete’s point of view, a retest can motivate as an intermediate goal towards the end goal, set by the performance projection. A retest is also a welcome confirmation that the hard work he/she is putting into training, is leading to the desired goal. Learn more about when it makes sense to (re)test via this blog: When and how often should you test.
We talked about the benefits of performance projections from a training- and business perspective. We also provided a step-by-step how to. Now it’s time to experience the benefits yourself! Play around with the performance projection and let us know if you have any questions.
For coaches who don’t have access to the INSCYD software just yet, get a free demo in which we can talk about how the performance projection can add value to your business, team or federation!
Human Movement Scientist at INSCYD