Katelyn Sander

Does Lactic Acid Impair Performance?

Living Well

We’ve been touting the benefits of high intensity training (HIT). These anaerobic training bouts make your muscles and lungs burn to the point where you have to stop or slow down. You’re essentially pushing yourself to work above your lactate threshold which challenges your heart, lungs, muscles, and your brain. 

But what exactly is happening? Why can’t we sustain effort in these higher training zones? Why does it burn so badly? Why are we sore the next day or a few days later? And is suffering through all that discomfort actually beneficial?

When we exercise – or start to push our bodies physically – our body breaks down ATP for energy and hydrogen ions are released. When the exercise is moderate in nature, we deliver sufficient oxygen to the muscles, which essentially combines with the hydrogen and forms water as a by-product.

During HIT training, there isn’t sufficient oxygen being delivered to buffer the hydrogen ions. This is what causes the burning sensation in the muscle and causes you to slow down.

Lactate is also building up in the muscle (an end product of broken-down glucose combined with hydrogen ions) and actually – like oxygen – serves as a buffer to the acid hydrogen. In fact, without lactate, our muscles would stop working far sooner.

Furthermore, roughly 75% of lactate produced in the muscle is recycled into glucose and used as fuel, further delaying muscle fatigue is both aerobic and anaerobic scenarios.

And the soreness that happens later? That’s the result of small tears and inflammation in your muscles and connective tissue. Lactate starts clearing out of your system the second you start slowing down and the majority of it is recycled 30-60 minutes post-workout.

So lactic acid per se isn’t a bad thing. That still leaves us with the fact that training at the point where lactate is building in the muscles is brutally uncomfortable and causes tearing and inflammation in our tissues.

So why bother? Review Thursday and yesterday’s posts on Improving Memory and Decreasing Cancer Risk for starters.

And beyond that? Challenging your body to the point where things start to fall apart sends a strong message. It essentially tells your tissues they need to be stronger. It signals for the heart, lungs, muscles, and the brain to adapt. Become more powerful. More resilient. Vital.

HIT training sessions might not be sweet, but they can be remarkably short. They only need to be done once or twice a week. And they just might make you feel like a superhero.

Inspiration of the Day

“With a hint of good judgment, to fear nothing, not failure or suffering or even death, indicates that you value life the most. You live to the extreme; you push limits; you spend your time building legacies. Those do not die.” - Criss Jami

Live Workout of the Day

Today we’ve got a couple of live workouts on the schedule.


Today, Lauren’s bringing you your lunchtime pick-me-up! This workout will focus on the shoulder, hip, and ankle, moving you through a full range of motion. There will be additional stability work for the glutes and core included!

Recommended equipment: chair & towel

Join Lauren at 12:00pm (35 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 892 2779 8538
Password: 903005


Garth’s back with another week of On Core, where you’ll challenge your core and stabilize your trunk in just 30 minutes!

Recommended equipment: light/medium dumbbell or weighted object (water bottle, book, etc.)

Join Garth at 5:30pm (30 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 868 1155 7138
Password: 998132


Click here to review this week’s schedule.

If you have any questions about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren.

Trainer Moves of the Day

Anaerobic intervals are always high intensity but they don’t need to be high impact. Meg shares a few moves and strategies for fitting a few 90-second low impact strength intervals into your day.

For questions about today’s Trainer Moves you can connect directly with Meg here.


Do you have a “Something of the Day” you’d like us to share?! Email Meg.

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