InsideOut client, Anne L'Heureux selected to 2018 Spartan Pro Select Team!
Caroline Kavanagh | Jun 29, 2018
I am proud to report the recently announced 2018 Spartan Pro Team Select now includes InsideOut client, Anne L'Heureux. Huge congrats to a talented and humble athlete! In order to be selected to this cohort of elite obstacle-course racers, the athletes have to consistently finish in the top rankings. The 2018 team is based on the athletes previous year results. Anne's 2017 athletic prowess included: • 9th US Elite female in Spartan Championship point series • 6 podium spots • Consistent top 10 finishes
If you are not familiar with the Spartan obstacle course races -- they are varying distances and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Spartan courses test strength, endurance as well as resolve. The unpredictable terrain and Spartan obstacles are masterfully designed (Navy SEALS helped design these) to push deep into the discomfort zone, and well past self-imposed barriers once considered limits. Some of the obstacles include 12-foot walls, jungle gym swings, inverted ladders, rope climbs and spear throwing, just to name a few. No small matter! I could certainly go on about the intensity and difficulty of these races along with the hours spent training for such endeavors, but my focus here is on one piece of this woman's fitness puzzle -- Metabolic Efficiency Training. Specifically, metabolic efficiency testing helps athletes identify and optimize the exercise intensities (heart rate, pace/power) at which their bodies are able to burn favorable percentages of fat. While this is beneficial for all, not just athletes, it is especially effective for these competitive folks. As an athlete becomes more metabolically efficient they are able to fuel their efforts off higher percentages of on-board calories (fat), while sparing precious muscle and liver glycogen stores for those high-end effort surges and/or in the later stages of an endurance event. This adaptation also reduces the amount of fuel needed during training and racing. I like to refer to it as metabolic flexibility -- the body pulling optimal fuel sources when demanded as per intensity. Athletes use these test results to fine-tune training and racing, as well as implement nutrition strategies that encourage performance success while discouraging metabolic failure (bonking) and gastrointestinal distress. So, let's rewind a bit..... Anne's progress from a metabolic efficiency frame of reference. Last year at this time, Anne performed her first incremental metabolic efficiency assessment at the InsideOut lab on the treadmill and we got a clear picture of her carbohydrate and fat oxidation. Her overall goals were to increase endurance and speed as well as decrease fueling needs during races. Essentially optimizing her athletic performance as well as improving body composition status. The specialized equipment used at the InsideOut lab (same metabolic cart as the one used at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO) captured and measured Anne's breath as she ran on the treadmill. I increased the run paces every 5 minutes during this incremental test while simultaneously recording her carbon dioxide production and oxygen consumption via headgear and mouthpiece that extends and connects via a long tube to the metabolic cart analyzer. Really.... it's not as complex as it sounds! (See photo above of Anne as she prepares to start the testing)
Below is the first page of her 2017 assessment results:
Assessment #1 Client: Elite-Level Female Spartan Racer Age: 34 years
RESULT: Initial Assessment shows MEP occurred at a heart rate of 163 beats per minute (bpm) and a pace of 9:30 min/mile. Below this heart rate and intensity, she was more efficient at using fat as an energy source, but began to burn a higher proportion of carbohydrate beyond this intensity.
................................................................................................................................................... This first metabolic assessment for Anne uncovered solid fat-burning and we now had baseline data from which to work. Based on these results, her focus would be on fine tuning her current nutrition to enhance and teach her body to burn more fat while preserving carbohydrates, both at rest and at increasing exercise intensities. This nutritional focus is 75% of Metabolic Efficiency Training, while the other 25% is on the physical training element.
An additional focus for Anne would be on working higher ratio carbohydrate to protein meals and snacks strategically around those training sessions which warranted the need for higher carbohydrates.
Fast forward to this year....
Below is the first page of her 2018 assessment results: Assessment #2 Client: Pro Select Female Spartan Racer Age: 35 years
RESULT: Second Assessment shows MEP occurred at a heart rate of 162 beats per minute (bpm) and a pace of 8:59 min/mile. Below this heart rate and intensity, she was more efficient at using fat as an energy source, but began to burn a higher proportion of carbohydrate beyond this intensity.
................................................................................................................................................... Anne's second assessment shows marked improvements! I will highlight a few standout points for this example: • At first glance you might say, "heart rate was the same at Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP) as the previous test results." But if you look a bit closer you will see that she is now running FASTER at this same relative heart rate! In fact, 31 seconds faster per minute mile! This means less effort to run at a faster pace. Nicely done! • Also note, Anne's incremental test commences at a faster pace than last year. During her warm up I could see her data as it was scrolling down the computer screen. Her fat-burning had improved so much I needed to lop-off the first two stages of this years test and start her at the 11:19 min/mile pace. As you can see, her fat-burning percentage at the 11:19 min/mile pace with a heart rate of 132 bpm was now 70%. Last year at this pace her fat-burning percentage was 59%. Wow! Stronger, faster and better fat-burner. • Metabolic Efficiency Point (MEP) shifted to the right a stage which means less of those precious glycogen stores are being used at increased intensity and higher percentages of fat stores can fuel her training and racing efforts. Remember one of Anne's original goals was to rely less on exogenous carbohydrates during racing. The focus for Anne during competition is on RACING and not fueling per se. As well, her body will be more efficient at doing critical other tasks, like cooling the body and supplying blood flow to the working muscle groups. Now more so than ever! • Anne's zone 4 heart rate ranges are 148-166 bpm. Based on the report above you can see that she is still utilizing a higher percentage of fat at about 160 bpm heart rate. This means that at intensity she is STILL utilizing a high percentage of fat as fuel. Incredible work! In a nutshell, based on this year's metabolic efficiency assessment results, the goals Anne set forth to achieve have been accomplished. She is now burning more body fat and has better endurance and speed. Also there is reduced need for exogenous fueling during training and racing. A stupendous example of Metabolic Efficiency Training carried out effectively to bring forth positive results. As I would expect, Anne credits her accomplishments to those who surround her and I have included her note below of thanks. I give her ALL the credit as she put forth the effort and did the work. The results are in the data. I can't wait to see her ripping up those Spartan courses this 2018 season! Amazing and inspiring!
Anne's note: I credit my accomplishment to consistency, proper nutrition, recovery, and a team of people providing me with the knowledge and resources to be successful (Coach Kiaran McCormack, MET Coach Caroline Kavanagh, and my amazing husband Ray who has not only attended almost every event but also built me my very own obstacle course in our backyard). The tools have been provided to me, and it was up to me to put them to use. Every good coach needs a coach and I am thankful to Caroline for her professionalism and easy-to-understand approach to taking my MET results and translating them into actionable items. What a payoff!