The INSCYD Test is a more extensive version of the VO2max Test that we normally conduct. The test protocol is made up of separate blocks that measure power and lactate levels. To analyse the test results, we use INSCYD software developed by sports scientist and cycling coach Sebastian Weder. This software is based on the models of Professor Alois Mader, the man who invented lactate testing. The INSCYD software returns an analysis that covers several interesting metrics that will enable you to make your training even more targeted on specific results. INSYCD not only lets us determine the VO2max and the power at your threshold (anaerobic threshold, inflection point, FTP), but also the VLaMax.

Threshold: VO2max and VLaMax

Figure 1, the VO2max and VLaMax determine the threshold.

The VLaMax is an (as yet) rather unknown term in contemporary exercise physiology that stands for the maximum speed at which your body is able to convert carbohydrates into lactate (or pyruvate). The higher the VLaMax, the faster you produce lactate. A high VLaMax rate is important when you need to produce a lot of energy over a short period of time to be able to maintain high-intensity (and short-term) physical exercise.

And then there is the VO2max, i.e. the maximum amount of oxygen you can take in, which determines the extent of your ability to burn the lactate you produce (red line in Figure 2) and remove it from your muscles (blue line). Combined, VLaMax and VO2max determine the level of your threshold.

Figure 2, development of lactate production (red) and burn rate (blue). The yellow line is the net result.

Changes to either parameter can explain downward or upward movement of the threshold. An increase in the VO2max, while the VLaMax remains unchanged, for example, will lead to a higher threshold. However, an increase in the VLaMax with a steady VO2max will lower the threshold! This means that monitoring both these parameters will create better insight into your physiology, which is crucial knowledge in optimising your training programme.

Dan Lorang, coach of triathlon world record holder Jan Frodeno, on the importance of VLaMax for endurance athletes.

Fats and carbs

Figure 3, the FatMax zone is different for each athlete.

Besides measuring the VLaMax, INSCYD software also makes the link to specific training zones and fuel consumption (carbohydrates, fats). INSCYD measures the FatMax, i.e. the intensity at which you, in proportion, burn the most fats. And it identifies the associated training zone – the FatMax zone – to improve fat combustion.

For endurance athletes, the CarbMax is also an important metric; the level of intensity at which you burn 60-90 grams of carbs. Depending on the kind of carbs, this is your body’s maximum carbohydrate intake rate. When training at a higher intensity, you will burn more carbs than you can take in, meaning that your reserves will ultimately run out, which is when your energy levels drop suddenly and you come up against that mythical figure called ‘the man with the hammer’. Insight into your fuel consumption will help you optimise your food intake during training and races.


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