Taking it to the Next Level with Physiological and Metabolic Testing
By Dede Griesbauer
Team INFINIT veteran, Dede Greisbauer, explains why she recently decided to go through physiological and metabolic testing, what the experience was like, and how the results affected her nutrition plan.
I had the opportunity to spend some time at the University of Colorado Sports Medicine and Performance Center earlier this month. Going in, I’ll be honest, my expectations were modest.
To put it gently, I’m a veteran of the sport; been at it longer than most. I was confident in my training and racing zones. At this stage of my career, I thought most gains in performance would come from execution and from showing up healthy. I was wrong.
The methodology will be familiar to most; it was an incremental protocol, commonly referred to as a step-test. I started the test at a very light effort; warm up pace, so to speak. Every 5-10 minutes, blood was drawn to measure my L-lactate levels the rate of my perceived exertion was recorded, my heart rate was monitored, and then the level was increased.
This continued until I failed and could no longer sustain the effort. In other words? Go ‘till you blow.
Throughout the entire test, they monitored my ventilation levels, oxygen consumption and gas exchange. This information helped them to calculate my perspiration rate, and the concentration of sodium lost in my sweat.
“getting away with it’ makes for a poor strategy when trying to compete at the highest levels of your sport… where there can be no mistakes.”
I was fascinated by the results. Now, I’m not going to turn in state secrets here, but what I learned was incredibly valuable. In short, I learned that I am able to push higher wattage on the bike in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 racing, but to do so, I need to increase my fluid intake slightly, and increase my caloric intake massively!
Nutrition, both in and out of training, has always been my proverbial Achilles heel. I’ve always been a picky eater, without much interest in what meal comes next, and with zero interest in what might comprise that meal. I’m just not a foodie. I get into training, and I am far more concerned about my HR, my power and my cadence than I am about when I last took in nutrition. Because I’m extremely efficient with calories, I “get away with it” better than the average bear.
Here’s the key: “getting away with it” makes for a poor strategy when trying to compete at the highest levels of your sport, especially at the age of 49 where there can be no mistakes.
Putting Results to Action
In seeing the results of the test, most might fret as to how to increase their caloric intake on the bike by nearly 30% per hour. Not me.
The #1 reason why I have chosen to partner with INFINIT Nutrition since 2007 is because of the simplicity and elegance with which I can modify my nutrition strategy with ZERO change to my process. By simply going into My Custom Mix formula, and adjusting the sliders, I can set the calories per serving to where I need them to be, based on my test results. Because it was such a large move, I have also had to modify the blend of carbohydrate slightly, but the slider tool makes it so easy for me to do, I know the drink I am concocting is going to be gentle on my stomach and easy to digest when working at race pace effort.
“I learned that I am able to push higher wattage on the bike in Ironman and Ironman 70.3 racing, but to do so, I need to increase my fluid intake slightly, and increase my caloric intake massively!”
My trip into the lab this month made me ever more grateful to be working with INFINIT, and I am thrilled to drill more power on the bike to meet my full potential and be in a better place calorically when I start to run. I continue to wonder why anyone would choose anything else to put in their bottles on race day.
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About the Author
Dede Griesbauer is one of the original Team INFINIT athletes. A graduate of Stanford University, she was a 4-year Varsity Swimmer, 3-time NCAA Champion and captain of the Stanford Women’s Swim Team. Her swimming experience during college led her to swim for the U.S. National Team from 1989-1994. Dede currently resides in Boulder, CO, where she continues her career as a pro triathlete and runs her own coaching business. You can also find Dede working as a live commentator for IRONMAN Now on Facebook Watch.