What is Pyruvate & Lactic Acid ; How to Utilize Them!

How lack of pyruvate and lactate accumulation will let you create more efficient workouts

Below is some information on pyruvate and lactate accumulation. Working with these VITAL metrics can have a very positive effect on the development of an athlete. Optimize Performance & INSCYD helps you to understand this data, and put it to good use by creating perfectly tailored training regimes.


Lack of pyruvate

In the data you receive from our Metabolic Testing (Running AND Cycling), you will see a lack of pyruvate (LOP) and lactate accumulation curve. There is a

point where it curves down to the X-axis. To the left of this point, we have the LOP

curve. Before we dive deeper into this, lets briefly touch on what “lack of

pyruvate” means.

Pyruvate is the fuel that balances with lactate in the muscle, and is the primary fuel

that enters the aerobic energy metabolism.

At the intensity where LOP is zero (where the curve touches the X-axis), the aerobic metabolism is saturated with pyruvate (or lactate if you wish). This means that the amount of fuel needed in the aerobic metabolism is matched by the available pyruvate/lactate.

At lower intensities, the actual fuel needed is higher then the availability of pyruvate.

We therefore we call this zone the lack of pyruvate – LOP.

In steady state conditions, where the intensity is steady and the metabolism is adapted to this intensity, this gap of energy has to be filled with another fuel. This fuel primarily comes from fat.

Lactate accumulation

Whenever lactate is available, for example after accumulating from a bout of high intensity exercise, pyruvate is generated out of this lactate and not fat. This

then results in a reduction of lactate levels.

On the graph, the line to the right of the point where the curve touches the X-axis is

where lactate accumulates. The graph shows the increment of lactate per minute at a given intensity.

Lactate combustion and lactate shuttling are crucial performance metrics in many sports. This is especially so in interval sports with non-load profiles.

Increase lactate levels further

In addition to an PERSONALIZED designed interval program, you can also add an additional trigger to your lactate shuttling system.

As an example: prior to starting the first interval, undergo a longer, less intense bout of exercise. By doing so, you can raise lactate levels to a high concentration inside the muscle.

The interval training described previously represents a perfect balance between lactate accumulation and lactate combustion. So this means that net lactate change is zero. However, if lactate levels have been elevated before starting the intervals, it is possible to maintain high lactate levels throughout the whole set of exercises. This means more fuel for your athlete.

As a practical example, lets briefly assess the impact of a 2 minute effort prior to 10 sets of 1 minute, on/off intervals. After the extra initial effort, lactate can increase up to 10mmol/l. With perfectly balanced interval training, it is easily possible to stay at this level for 20 minutes. No other set up allows your athlete to stay stable at this level for this long.

Reach out for more info, and to get YOUR PERSONALIZED METABOLIC TESTING!

In-Person OR Remote Testing Available for athletes ANYWHERE.

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