The Fitness Fact or Fiction series tracks the BioMark team’s explorations into popular training methods, nutrition, and all manner of ways to maximise our wellness and athletic performance.
Welcome back to the 2nd part of our Coached fitness journey! Read the first installment here, where my colleague Evangeline shares her experience with the Coached fuel efficiency test.
Before I met Ben at Coached, my workout routine went something like this:
“Go hard or go home” was my gym mentality. I’d step into the gym, feeling determined, a little lost and intimidated by the fitness enthusiasts. To distract myself from my self consciousness, I’d lock my eyes on my one and only target – the treadmill, ready to log some miles.
Getting my run on the treadmill at Coached
When every step started to put me further back from the control panel, I’d know I was reaching my limit. Despite the opposition from my legs, I’d increase to a faster-than-usual pace, hoping to see the calorie count go up, before my short runway was gone. Exhilarated, I’d step down, feeling satisfied and completely burnt out, as usual.
Treadmill and equipment at Coached
My thinking was: Intensity yields results, right? It all changed during my session with Ben. He helped me find the optimal intensity for my training regime, and changed my perspective on what a “good workout” really means.
The Coached Story
Coached was founded to help people optimise, track and enjoy their training. I’m sure you’ve already read it in the first part of this Coached series where Evangeline also shared her experience for the Fuel Efficiency test!
The Lactate Test is a simple exercise test that measures lactate accumulation in the blood at increasing intensities. The ability to efficiently clear lactate is a fundamental requirement for success in endurance sports, such as running and triathlon.
Before the lactate test, I was a little nervous for the finger-prick blood test to track the lactate concentration in my blood. Ben asked me a few questions to gauge my level of fitness and after one tiny jab, I started running.
I was asked to run at five different intensities, increasing my pace every five minutes. I got a one-minute rest interval in between each step up, where I got to catch my breath while Ben sanitised and squeezed my finger for a drop of blood to detect the lactate concentration.
What I Learnt
Ben explained how our muscles produce lactate and that higher training intensity would lead to increased lactate accumulation in my blood – simple enough. He helped me understand how I can determine the correct training intensity to increase power and endurance from the lactate test results. After his explanation, my “Go hard or go home” training mentality had been completely debunked.
As it turns out, I have to improve my aerobic fitness as my body is unable to effectively clear lactate even at low to moderate intensities. As such, my training routine would result in a constant and quick accumulation of lactate in my body. This makes perfect sense! Now I know why it takes me days to recover from a run. Ben recommended me to start training my aerobic fitness by exercising at low intensity and work my way up when my aerobic fitness improves.
That’s a great news for me. Now, I don’t have to force myself to train as if I’m running for my life and exercising won’t feel so stressful anymore.
I learned so much from Ben, and I’ll never approach my time at the gym the same way again. I was inspired to ask him more about his philosophy and why he created his business in the first place.
The Philosophy with Coached
1. Who should take the lactate test?
A person looking to measure their current fitness level, establish heart rate training zones and track their progress.
2. What changes can one make after doing the test?
The primary change that results from a lactate test is being more specific in the intensities that you train at. Depending on your current level of fitness, you’ll either have to slow down, speed up or do some specific threshold focused training sessions to improve your ability to clear lactate and improve lactate threshold.
3. In your opinion, what is the single most important thing needed for effective training?
Self control. Knowing when to take it easy (and then going easy) and when to push it harder.
4. What’s the quote that captures your life philosophy?
Steve Prefontaine, Nike’s first signature athlete and the legendary American distance runner, puts it best: To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice that gift.
Thank you so much, Ben! Coached help me learn so much, and I’m looking forward to coming back again soon.
In the meantime, we want to thank Coached for collaborating with us on this feature.
To find out more about the programmes Coached offers, check out their website here.
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