Katelyn Sander

Understanding Lactic Acid's Relationship with Performance

Living Well...together, while apart

Spring is just around the corner. What better way to shed a few winter pounds than pounding through some awesome 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 byproduct.

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? High intensity exercise improves brain function, mood, metabolism. 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.

Today’s Inspiration

“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

Today’s Live Workouts

Today is going to be a great day because we’ve got our THREE regular live workouts for you to join!


Join Adriana for your morning pick-me-up! This workout will focus on moving through a full range of motion and develop your full body control, flexibility, and usable range.

Recommended equipment: yoga block or pillow

Join Adriana at 7:30am (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 812 2541 6617
Password: 013104


Get an amazing cardiovascular workout on an indoor bike. The workout will simulate an outdoor ride, including a mix of intervals and hills.

Recommended equipment: bike trainer

Join James at 12:00pm (45 minutes) from your own living room.

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 862 7308 7908
Password: 263088


This workout will challenge you to your max! Come out and perform the prescribed workout for the day. This workout utilizes all your skills, from coordination to endurance and strength.

Recommended equipment: dumbbells (or weighted objects)

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

Click here to join the workout.

Meeting ID: 842 2984 9491
Password: 510345


Click here to view this week’s schedule.

To learn more about our virtual live workouts, please reach out to Lauren directly.

Today’s Trainer Moves

Runners, stepmillers, cyclists, rowers, power walkers…  today’s workout is for YOU. AND all those you care about.  These repeating Under/Overs keep you training right around or slightly above your “sweet spot”, the variety makes them (sort of?!) fun, and they tax your body to try and recover at a higher pace than you are accustomed to. So, it’s really tough. Will make you stronger. And you’ll feel both tired and exhilarated afterwards.

For each of the 45 second intervals think of someone you love, are grateful for, are concerned about. Channel the strength in your legs, lungs, and heart towards each of those amazing people. As we charge up the hill, surge out of the saddle, sprint along the road, imagine our collective positive energy streaming upwards and to all those who need a little boost.

I’m writing this on Wednesday morning, but when you receive it – Thursday – I will be out on the road in my running shoes. Join me!

  1. Warm up:  5 minutes (Zone 1-2)
  2. Pick ups:  10- 15 seconds sprints (Zone 4-6) followed by 40-45 second recovery (Zone 2).  Repeat 4-6 times.
  3. 9 Minute Work Set:  90 seconds (Zone 3): 45 seconds (Zone 5). Repeat this 2:15 min set x 4*
  4. 3-5 Minutes Recovery (Zone 1-2)
  5. Repeat 1-3 times
  6. Cool down 5-10 minutes (Zone 2-1)

*Note the Zone 3:Zone 5 interval is 2 :1.  You could change the duration to fit your mood, fitness or the terrain!  Have fun with it.  The point is you are “recovering” at a far higher intensity than in comfortable.

Intensity Guidelines:

Note that using heart rate training zones have limitations.  For example, cycling workouts will typically elicit a lower heart rate response for the same exertion compared to running workouts.  Variables such as psychological stress, fatigue and dehydration will also alter heart rate response, making it difficult to gauge how hard you are or more importantly should be working.





RPE 10 max

Typical Interval



Zone # (1-7)






“VERY easy”



Active Recovery





Zone 1




60+ minutes


Aerobic or “all day pace”

Zone 2




20-90 minutes


“Race Pace”

Zone 3




5-30 minutes


Continuous sensation of “serious effort”.  Conversation is difficult.  Motivation and concentration needs to remain high.

Zone 4


VO2 Max


3-8 minutes


Strong to severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Consecutive days of training at this level typically not possible.

Zone 5


Anaerobic Capacity


30 sec – 2min


Severe sensations of “burning” or fatigue.  Conversation impossible.

Zone 6


Neuromuscular Power


>15 sec


Maximum effort

Zone 7


*HRR or Heart Rate Reserve:  The difference between your resting HR and your maximum HR (220-age for males, 226-age for females). 

Now calculate your training zones by adding RHR to a % of HRR.

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

Today’s Bite

Sesame Soba Noodles

This recipe not only offers tips for foolproof soba noodles, it also gives you a delicious salad that's loaded with veggies and great for weekday lunches! With a bright sesame dressing, fresh mint, avocado, snap peas, and radishes, these soba noodles are tangy and tasty!


For the Sesame Dressing

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tamari, more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 tsp maple syrup or honey

For the Soba Noodles

  • 6 oz soba noodles
  • Sesame oil, for drizzling
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • Squeezes of lemon
  • 2 cups blanched snap peas
  • 1/4 cup edamame
  • 1 watermelon radish or 2 red radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Sesame seeds


  • Make the dressing: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, tamari, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and honey. Set aside.
  • Bring an unsalted pot of water to a boil and cook the soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse well in cold water. This helps to remove starches that cause clumping.
  • Toss the noodles with the dressing and divide into 2 to 4 bowls. Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the avocado slices and add to the bowls along with the snap peas, edamame, radish, mint, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Drizzle with more tamari or sesame oil, if desired.


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

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