How Often & WHY Should You Do Exercise Testing?

We can go back and forth all day about how you 'could' be successful without tapping into as much data WITHIN you as possible. Why not change 'you could' to 'YOU WILL' be successful when tapping into your true physiological and metabolic capabilities to propel your performance to the next level.

We know this test is essential for individuals to surpass their competition, which we recommend doing the testing 3-4 times per year.

So, let's talk about 3 MAIN reasons to DO the Metabolic Testing, not just how often.

1. Perform the 1 Test that is Essential to Your FULL Success at the START of Training Programs

We have goals, and we make action plans to achieve those goals. Some action plans don't have much direction, and it takes on a winding road trying to stay focused. Educating yourself on direction, targets and the tools you need to achieve your goals efficiently and productively is the best option. This is why we need to start with a Metabolic Test upon setting your Target Training/Racing Goal.

So, you sign up for your race, or have the race in mind you want. Step 1, perform the metabolic test that will tell you and your coach where you are right now. What is your VO2max and VLamax? How quickly are you producing lactic acid, and how quickly can you recover?? When you are training, which intensity, wattage, pace, zone are you burning the most fat vs how many carbohydrates are you utilizing at your higher intensities?? A correlation of how you're using your Aerobic and Anaerobic energy systems along with how economic you are at all intensities. How much room for improvement? How long will it take?

The first INSCYD test through Optimize Performance will answer all those questions and many more. We will work with your coach on how to implement this into your training program and plan. Your coach will be able to compare your current state with the demands of what your goal is!

We now have an initial TARGET and Action Plan to get you headed toward your goal.

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2. How OFTEN Should You Perform this Gold-Standard Test? When in Your Training?

Great question! This is an easy answer. We always recommend every 3-4 months depending on your training goals and race time-line. For example, if you are racing an Olympic distance IRONMAN in January, and a Full IRONMAN in May, you'll need completely different metrics for these two races. It will be crucial to look at your VLaMax along with your Threshold and Carb/Fat Combustion data to be sure you're Optimizing your training time. It will take about 6 weeks to see any major adjustment in your physiology (such as your VO2Max) from training, so we recommend about 6 weeks - 4 months between tests.

What if you're training for the same distance race through your year? Simple! Test every 4 months as well. Why? This will help you be sure you're trending in the right direction for training and hitting your racing / training targets.

3. Why Should You Do a Test Right Before / After Your Goal??

A third essential reason to test is when your event is about to happen. Let’s take a triathlon, marathon or century ride for example. You invested a lot of time, effort and money to be in peak shape and performance. You don’t want to leave things at chance on race day. A sports performance physiology test prior to the event will now make sure you have a manual to tackle the day. For example:

The lactate accumulation- and recovery chart will tell you exactly how to pace yourself. This will prevent easy to avoid mistakes like going to fast in the beginning. Use the chart to manage your fatigue and race pace.

The fat- and carbohydrate combustion chart will tell you exactly how much energy intake is necessary during your event. This prevents you from being that athlete that trained all year, but forgets to eat and drink enough during the event.

This data is crucial to assist in your training and race day preparation. Testing shortly after your event (if you didn't test prior) is key as well to finding out where your metrics are when you're at PEAK performance. This way, if you take time off, change your distance for racing and training, we will have markers for you to track your performance and data from *build* to *peak*, and everywhere between!

Contact us for more information on the metabolic testing for your coaches, team and athletes! We work with groups to provide tools for success.


Alyson Sheppard, MS CSCS

Sports Performance Coach

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