How Often and WHY Should You Do Exercise Testing ?

We can go back and forth all day about how you ‘could’ be successful without tapping into as much data WITHIN you as possible. Why not change ‘you could’ to ‘YOU WILL’ be successful when tapping into your true physiological and metabolic capabilities to propel your performance to the next level.

We know this test is essential for individuals to surpass their competition, which we recommend doing the testing 3-4 times per year.

So, let’s talk about 3 MAIN reasons to DO the Metabolic Testing, not just how often.

1. Perform the 1 Test that is Essential to Your FULL Success at the START of Training Programs

We have goals, and we make action plans to achieve those goals. Some action plans don’t have much direction, and it takes on a winding road trying to stay focused. Educating yourself on direction, targets and the tools you need to achieve your goals efficiently and productively is the best option. This is why we need to start with a Metabolic Test upon setting your Target Training/Racing Goal.

So, you sign up for your race, or have the race in mind you want. Step 1, perform the metabolic test that will tell you and your coach where you are right now. What is your VO2max and VLamax? How quickly are you producing lactic acid, and how quickly can you recover?? When you are training, which intensity, wattage, pace, zone are you burning the most fat vs how many carbohydrates are you utilizing at your higher intensities?? A correlation of how you’re using your Aerobic and Anaerobic energy systems along with how economic you are at all intensities. How much room for improvement? How long will it take?

The first INSCYD test through Optimize Performance will answer all those questions and many more. We will work with your coach on how to implement this into your training program and plan. Your coach will be able to compare your current state with the demands of what your goal is!

We now have an initial TARGET and Action Plan to get you headed toward your goal.

2. How OFTEN Should You Perform this Gold-Standard Test? When in Your Training?

Great question! This is an easy answer. We always recommend every 3-4 months depending on your training goals and race time-line. For example, if you are racing an Olympic distance IRONMAN in January, and a Full IRONMAN in May, you’ll need completely different metrics for these two races. It will be crucial to look at your VLaMax along with your Threshold and Carb/Fat Combustion data to be sure you’re Optimizing your training time. It will take about 6 weeks to see any major adjustment in your physiology (such as your VO2Max) from training, so we recommend about 6 weeks – 4 months between tests.

What if you’re training for the same distance race through your year? Simple! Test every 4 months as well. Why? This will help you be sure you’re trending in the right direction for training and hitting your racing / training targets.

3. Why Should You Do a Test Right Before / After Your Goal??

A third essential reason to test is when your event is about to happen. Let’s take a triathlon, marathon or century ride for example. You invested a lot of time, effort and money to be in peak shape and performance. You don’t want to leave things at chance on race day. A sports performance physiology test prior to the event will now make sure you have a manual to tackle the day. For example:

The lactate accumulation- and recovery chart will tell you exactly how to pace yourself. This will prevent easy to avoid mistakes like going to fast in the beginning. Use the chart to manage your fatigue and race pace.

The fat- and carbohydrate combustion chart will tell you exactly how much energy intake is necessary during your event. This prevents you from being that athlete that trained all year, but forgets to eat and drink enough during the event.

This data is crucial to assist in your training and race day preparation. Testing shortly after your event (if you didn’t test prior) is key as well to finding out where your metrics are when you’re at PEAK performance. This way, if you take time off, change your distance for racing and training, we will have markers for you to track your performance and data from *build* to *peak*, and everywhere between!

Contact us for more information on the metabolic testing for your coaches, team and athletes! We work with groups to provide tools for success.

Alyson Sheppard, MS CSCS

Sports Performance Coach



  • Optimize Performance and INSCYD partner to BRING YOU metabolic testing that you can do remotely! Here is an article that speaks about important metrics you’ll receive in your data*
Runner who wears multiple sport gps watches


It almost looks like a new running metric is introduced every day. This makes it easy to lose sight on the metrics that are important and fundamental. In this blog we don’t want to get lost in details like cadence, stride length and ground contact time. Instead, we are going to look at the big picture and tackle the basics: the fuel that enables us to move forward. Understanding fueling in terms of fat and carbohydrate demands, related training intensities and refueling will make you faster runner – period!

As a runner, you probably know your (estimated) 10k time. Maybe you even know at which pace or intensity your Anaerobic Threshold occurs. But do you also know where the energy is coming from during training & racing? This is important because you might be aware that carbohydrate is a precious fuel because stores as well as intake rates are limited. Your energy metabolism highly predicts the actual performance during short(er) and long(er) efforts!

Two runners can have the exact same 10k time or Anaerobic Threshold, but still perform very different from each other during a marathon or half marathon.


Your muscles need energy to move forward. Energy is produced by energy systems that need fuel. Let’s discuss the two energy systems of interest and their fuel.

  • 1. The system that prepares the carbohydrates to enter the Aerobic energy system is called the (Anaerobic) Glycolytic energy system. This system uses glucose and produces lactate to fuel the Aerobic energy system. It also creates (anaerobic) energy itself. The amount of lactate produced is proportional to the amount of energy this Glycolytic system produces. Therefore, the maximal lactate production rate – or VLamax (V= flux, La= lactate, max= maximal) – tells us how well this system works within an athlete.
  • 2. The Aerobic energy system uses oxygen to burn carbohydrates and fat. The amount of oxygen uptake in the body is proportional to the amount of energy this Aerobic system produces. Therefore, the maximal oxygen uptake rate – better known as VO2max (V= flux, O2= oxygen, max= maximal) – tells us how well this system works within an athlete.
How the aerobic energy system burns fat and carbohydrates via the glycolytic energy system that uses glucose and produces lactate
Image 1. The Aerobic system burns Carbohydrates and Fat to produce energy. The Glycolytic system prepares the carbohydrates to fuel the Aerobic system and produces energy in doing so.


The Aerobic energy system can only process a certain amount of fuel. When more carbohydrates enter the Aerobic energy system, less fat is combusted (burned). When you know your VLamax, you know how many carbohydrates you combust. When you know your VO2max, you know how much additional fat you can combust. If you want to run very fast, you need to be able to quickly burn carbohydrates. The downside however is, that you don’t have an unlimited amount of carbohydrates available in your body. So if you want to maintain a high speed, you need to be able to burn enough fat as well.


Did you ever wonder why many runners bonk at 30k during a marathon? They run out of carbohydrates! Running out of energy will be history when knowing your Fat and Carb combustion rates. Let’s look at an example of an athlete who uses INSCYD.


Our athlete wants to run a marathon in less than 4 hours. Therefore, the aim is to run almost 3 m/s (5:30 min/km). By using the INSCYD test results, we can see that the carbohydrate combustion rate at this pace will be ~160 grams per hour.

INSCYD software showing fat combustion and carbohydrate combustion for runners
Image 2. The x axis shows the running pace/speed/intensity, the right y axis shows the combustion rate. The red line describes the carbohydrate combustion curve. It shows our athlete burns 159 grams carbohydrates per hour at a running pace of 3.01 m/s.

This means that our runner will combust 160 grams x 4 hours = 640 grams of carbohydrates during the marathon. Using the INSCYD software and body composition of our athlete, we know our runner has 420 grams of carbohydrates stored in the body. If our runner does not consume any carbohydrates during the marathon, he will (indeed) bonk after about 2,5 hours (420 grams divided by 160 grams per hour), which equals about 30 kilometers when running 3 m/s. This would however not happen if he knew he needed to consume 640 – 420 = 220 grams carbohydrates during the marathon. In other words, the race fueling strategy contains 55 grams of carbohydrates per hour! Click here to read more examples.

Carbohydrates stored + Carbohydrate intake = Maximal Carbohydrate combustion

You can now easily find out what the fueling strategy should be and whether your goals are realistic or not. If our desired pace would for instance result in a carbohydrate intake of 100 grams per hour, we would know for sure that this would be challenging, if not impossible.

Want to run faster tomorrow? Increase your carb intake! Already reached the upper limit of carb intake? Increase your fat combustion via training, so that you don’t need to burn as much carbohydrates! No time to increase fat combustion anymore? Decrease your pace up to the point where your carb combustion meets your carb availability! Want to know how professional long distance triathlete Jo Spindler uses carb combustion rates as a professional coach? Read it here!


Yes, there are many metrics that could be interesting for runners. We however suggest you start with the most fundamental metrics that determine the vast majority of performance: VO2max and VLamax. As a result, you get to know your Fat and Carb combustion rates. This not only teaches you about fueling strategies, but also about a realistic pace and what to work on when you want to increase this pace. In the next blog we will tell you more about the benefits from knowing your VO2max and VLamax when creating the most effective interval training. Read part 2 of this blog here!

Loek Vossen


Human Movement Scientist at INSCYD

Constant Aching, New Pain, Past Injuries and Why You Need a Run Analysis!

Remember that ankle sprain from years ago? That knee surgery you had when you were younger? That time you tried a crazy strength workout and pulled a muscle? Yep, those nagging one time injuries have potentially caused compensation through the years resulting in other pain/damage. 

Fast forward, now you’re running or you’ve just continued to run through the pain. Although through this time, you have had nagging aches and pain or can’t get beyond a certain mileage because your back hurts, your Achilles hurts or your knee just starts KILLING YOU!  You can run on a treadmill and feel a little better, but that’s partly because the treadmill is doing SOME of the work for you. 

I know, Google and YouTube say you need to buy a 50$ awkward contraption to alleviate all this pain and make you “Boston Qualified in 10 days!” — no.

False, we need to find the true problem and work to fix it, not put a bandaid on it. For the simple reason that if you put a bandaid on it for a couple miles, chances are you will feel it the moment you try increasing your mileage or pace.

So, let’s break it down a little more! Here are some common pain points that I’ve heard people talk about and we’ve needed to evaluate and break down to the root cause!

  • “I had knee surgery years ago and I feel like I just started running through it once I was cleared from PT. Now I feel like I have some knee pain, hip pain and when I run a lot my arch starts hurting.”
    • Yes, this is true and very real! Typically what can happen is the surgical (or just injured) leg never gets full trust from our brain, or full strength on the single leg!
    • So, when we go to load that single leg at mid-stance, we do not flex the knee through the gait cycle appropriately causing a rigid mid-stance followed by OVER absorption on the opposite leg.  
    • Some examples of what follows lack of knee flexion →  stiff hips, weak glutes and medial loading on the inside of the knee and ankle! 
  • “I’m a single-sport athlete and started running, but can’t figure out why one side of my body is always in pain. I also feel so tired so early when I run.”
    • Yes, yes and yes. This picture speaks for itself and is ALL TOO COMMON. 
    • Single sport, or specific rotational athletes will have an under-development with their opposite side core/stability. 
    • If this is not controlled and balanced at a young age, it will lead to so many imbalances as we continue running whether it be for sport or recreational exercise.
  • “I have struggled with stress fractures in my foot and ankle over the years and can’t figure out why they keep coming back.”
    • This is all too common when we rotate surfaces, mileage and shoes! We tend to let strength and stability go out the window quickly.
    • Simply stated we can start having shin pain and foot pain due to the type of shoe we wear, BUT you have to keep in mind, this pain could be coming from the hips due to fatigue, muscle breakdown and tightness!
    • We can’t always assume it’s a bad shoe!
      • Check out these photos, the left photo is the first analysis, the second is after a month of working on stride, strength and stability.
  • “Years ago I pulled my hamstring and ever since then I can’t improve my pace or go beyond a certain mileage.”
    • Frustrating because it happens to all of us. The unfortunate part is that we learn to compensate for the tightness and pain which starts restricting other aspects of our running.
      • You can see in the photo below, he was restricted based on his toe off which limited his forward momentum and created too much vertical displacement. 
      • Once ideal stretching and mobility was added, we saw immediate improvement!
  • “I’ve had some nagging issues over the years but I just run through it. I feel like I have a decent stride but I just can’t figure out how to get rid of this random pain.”
    • This, right here, is what I hear so often. It’s normal to feel like you need to ‘run through the pain’, or that it’s just the ‘well you increased mileage’ kind of pain.
    • Not true. These ‘nagging’ pain issues can be caused by fatigue and muscle breakdown over time that has gone untreated. 
    • You can be running next to someone and they say “oh you look good” or “well it’s probably because you aren’t running barefoot — you know, we should all run barefoot because that’s what humans do.” (Exaggeration but also a common recommendation from friends when not appropriate for certain people).
    • Those statements that friends make can be dangerous. What you may not realize is that this nagging pain is simply caused by imbalances we don’t see or notice because it is happening BEHIND us. Glutes, Hamstrings and Core imbalances that our friends don’t notice with the ‘naked eye’.
    • We noticed this when we did a run analysis on this awesome guy below. His stride laterally was phenomenal, but from the posterior angle, we noticed the culprit of his aches and pains. Now we can tackle them head on! 
  • “I just started running and want to see how to improve and stay injury free!”
  • “I’ve been running for years and just want to make sure things look good!”
    • Ah, tackling any potential issues early is by far my highest recommendation. This is great to be able to see a full view of how we can eliminate any potential injuries before they arise, and just make sure things are efficient and set up for success!
    • You do NOT need an injury to get a Run Analysis! We recommend doing this at any point to make sure you have a solid foundation going forward.

With all of this said, there are appropriate ways to correct and maintain a gait cycle. At Optimize Performance we pride ourselves on getting individuals into the correct ranges through their gait pattern so they stay efficient and injury free. There is no PERFECT gait cycle, but there are ways that we can achieve the ranges safely. 

This isn’t something you need to ‘wait until you’re injured’ to do. We meet you and will perform a run analysis on the terrain you’re used to running on. Treadmill’s mess with our stride at times, so we want to see what your body is doing in your normal environment. 

Stay ahead of the game! Keep yourself injury free and be able to get out there and run!

Reach out for some bullet-proof, rock solid mobility and strength exercises that can start you on the right path for efficiency and injury prevention. REMEMBER!!! NOT EVERYONE IS THE SAME! Your knee pain or ankle pain can be caused by something COMPLETELY different than your friends pain. 

**This is why doing an individual Run Analysis is important. OFF OF THE TREADMILL! 

Contact us for more information!


Losing Weight, Gaining Strength, Optimizing Performance

Mentally we have to decide at what point our excuses run out of validity. At what point have you had enough? At what point do you realize your mind has been the main thing holding you back. You can blame it on others, social media, family, finances — but YOU are the one making those blames and excuses. YOU can take one small step at a time to change things.

I hear it all the time: 

  • “There is no way I can lose weight without losing my muscle mass”
  • “I don’t want to get bulky, I just want to lean out but I hate running”
  • “I don’t have the time to exercise right now, so there’s no way I can lose the weight I want”
  • “I’m exercising so much and NOTHING is changing.”
  • “I already eat clean so I must just need more protein.”
  • “How can they do it, but I work twice as hard and can’t.”

The HARDEST one to hear…

  • “I’m happy with so much, but hate how I look.”

So, what comes next? The stuff we ‘know’ or have been taught in regards to weight loss — kind of, right? 

-“you can only have a specific amount of caloric deficit.”

-“you have to each chicken, broccoli and rice for every meal”

OH — here is a jumbled version of my favorite: 

-“Keto is the way to go. No, paleo is. No, MY version of paleo mixed with intermittent fasting, but only on Tuesday and Thursday.” (That one might be exaggerated, but let’s be real…someone has tried it)

We hear it all. We see it all.

So, the next step is reaching out for guidance. I APPLAUD anyone who reaches out for guidance in these areas. Guidance and clarity can be the MAIN determinant for success in so many areas. It is an empowering step to say “I know some stuff, but not everything.”

When I chat with people about how YES they CAN exercise, be in a caloric deficit AND gain strength/maintain strength … It’s somewhat of a tricky process. The good news is that it’s all backed by science. You see it everyday. No, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym. No, you don’t need to try the “balance on the stability ball, do a backflip while curling 2 different weights and you’ll have the CORE LIKE A GREEK GOD!” No, you don’t need to become a “chicken, broccoli and rice” connoisseur. That’s right, it’s ok to have steak, it’s ok to be vegetarian, it’s ok to be vegan, oh and it’s ok to take some time away from the gym if it’s causing more stress than relieving stress! NONE OF THOSE WILL CREATE FAILURE. Failure comes with lacking in understanding, lacking in commitment, and lack of TRYING!

What we need to focus on takes us back to the basics. Do not overthink things! What’s important? Macronutrients and micronutrients. Portion control and well-balanced meals. Proper exercise that increases and decreases based on other stressors in life. 

Also, keeping up with muscle recovery! Guess what, there’s an answer for that also! 

There’s so much in life that we overthink, or let society determine for us. When you take a second and look at so many different stories, the successful ones committed, showed up, asked for help, accepted the help, kept an open mind, and ultimately knew it was going to be a continued and steady process.

If it were easy and effortless, nobody would have any issues or struggles. 

So, here’s my call to action to you. Do you find yourself struggling with something? Trying to workout but the scale doesn’t move? Your clothes don’t fit better? You’re just running out of options and ideas?

Before you try the “7 day lemon water detox”, reach out. There’s a solution that doesn’t require you to only drink shakes and shrivel away to nothing. There’s healthy habits and adjustments we can start doing that will allow you to finally see all the hard work you’ve been putting in.

With commitment and an open mind, you will succeed. 

With commitment you will avoid the countless hours with no results.

With commitment you will have a new level of success, empowerment and self-appreciation.

You have to commit. You have to understand coaches are here in every industry to help us grow. You need some structural tension to get out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone led you to where you currently are stuck, so let me help you bust out of it and Optimize your Performance without sacrificing the things you love.

Be open minded and keep growing in the BEST aspects of your life.

You can find my FREE Health Assessment here 👇🏼:



Use code “optimize” for 10% off

Alyson Sheppard MS, CSCS

Sports Performance Specialist

Certified Health Coach

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Alyson Sheppard MS, CSCS

After over a decade of working in the Sports Science industry, Alyson decided that it was time to put to action a long-standing vision she had to help athletes and individuals achieve the most out of their physical performance. Early on in her career, Alyson found a passion for helping athletes with injury prevention, returning from injury, or fine-tuning training on a metabolic and physiological level. Now, through Optimize Performance,  she has partnered with an International, Professional Testing group to bring Metabolic & Physiological Testing to athletes around the United States, and the World. This testing can now be done remotely, or in-person.

Alyson was born and raised in Ohio and attended Otterbein University where she played basketball, and studied Health Promotion and Fitness. After finishing her Bachelor’s Degree in 2011, she went on to become a Graduate Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at Kent State University while also completing research in the Exercise Physiology lab with a main focus on Parkinson’s disease. Alyson graduated with a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from Kent State University in 2013. 

The foundation of Optimize Performance began during Alyson’s experience in the Strength and Conditioning sector of the Sports Science industry at The Ohio State University, Youngstown State University, and Kent State University. After spending the majority of her career working with athletes as a Strength and Conditioning coach, Alyson transitioned into a clinical setting at IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute in Houston Texas, giving her the opportunity to not only work with individuals of all levels returning to sports and daily life but broadening her work to those returning from non-surgical and surgical injuries. During her time at IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute in Texas, Alyson assisted in developing the return to play protocol that IRONMAN still uses today. She was also given the opportunity to complete metabolic testing such as VO2 Max testing and Blood Lactate testing on individuals competing in high-endurance events. 

On a personal level, Alyson lives the lifestyle she promotes by staying active and monitoring her personal nutrition. Alyson enjoys the outdoors, being on the water, endurance and weight training. She has competed in many races from 10K’s, half marathons, all the way to completing the full IRONMAN Texas. Alyson is active within the community and often donates her services to local causes, working with local running clubs, and actively attends races and other events. 

Overall, it is Alyson’s goal for Optimize Performance to help athletes and all individuals reach beyond their potential and personal expectations in injury prevention, returning from injury, and adjusting their metabolic and physiological training levels in high endurance training activities and events. 


Thanks to INSCYD, Optimize Performance is able to bring Cyclists ANYWHERE the opportunity to do testing within their home, and receive the same data they would in the lab!

Contact us to Download the 4 STAGE Protocol!! 90 MINUTES or 3-DAYS!

Do the Test, Send Us the File, Get Your Full Report Back!


Get Faster While Training Inside!! Be Race Ready When the Races Are Ready!

INSCYD introduces PPD (Power-Performance Decoder) software. A revolution of performance diagnostics.

When it comes to physiological parameters, field tests with powermeters have – up to now – been of very limited use only. Lab diagnostics were needed to measure aerobic and anaerobic capacities, and fat and carbohydrate combustion rate. Field testing could – at best – estimate only the athlete’s FTP values, resulting in a very insufficient way of benchmarking performance. The biggest gap with this approach – all context of understanding how complex human performance truly is.

This has changed!!!

Introducing INSCYD’s Power-Performance Decoder (PPD).

Remote testing – full 360° athletic performance profile within minutes.

The Power-Performance Decoder allows coaches to test athletes remotely: outdoor or indoor. Test on their time, as part of their typical training schedule. Testing is done as part of a regular training session, alone on the road or trainer.


  1. Do the 4 Stage Protocol in 90 Minutes OR Spread Across 3 Days: WE WILL BE ACCESSIBLE AT ANY POINT! Let Us Know!
  2. Download the File from YOUR Bike Power-Meter when Finished
  3. Send the File to Us! — Alyson@Optimize-Performance.com
  4. We Input the data in INSCYD’S scientifically validated software
  5. You Receive YOUR Full Metabolic & Physiological Profile for Optimal Training & Racing!

The first software to combine physiological lab data AND field testing power data.

PPD is the first and only tool combining physiological lab data (lactate values or VO2 captured in the lab or field) with field-tested powermeter data. Up to now, athletes went to a performance diagnostics lab for a lactate or VO2max test for physiological data. Next, a coach might have them ride a power duration test, outdoors or on a trainer.

The problem? Test results stood separately, without a way to melt them together. There was no way to capture a complete performance profile. The same athlete was “running on two systems”, until now.

PPD changes this!

By merging physiological test data and field derived powermeter data, it enables coaches and athletes to see – for the first time – how the bodies energy systems work together, and how they are to be looked at as a complete unit.

Thoroughly tested by pro teams and coaches

Derived and based only on fundamental, peer reviewed basic science, INSCYD’s Power-Performance Decoder is used by the highest ranked cyclists and triathletes around the world. Over the last few months, PPD has been beta tested by pro teams CCC Team, JUMBO-VISMA, Alpecin-Fenix, SEG Racing as well as by many WorldTour coaches and coaching businesses. Testing and benchmarking has been done in direct comparison to lactate- and lab testing, ensuring top-level accuracy is guaranteed, AND validated.

PPD offers up the following data

  • • Maximum aerobic performance (VO2max)
  • • Maximum glycolytic performance (VLamax)
  • • Accumulation and recovery of lactate
  • • Fat and Carbohydrate combustion rates
  • • Aerobic vs. anaerobic energy contribution ratios
  • • Anaerobic Threshold

This athlete profile allows coaches to measure and quantify the respective athlete’s unique characteristics, resulting in a laser focused training plan to improve race performances and help athletes reach goals.

Key facts about Power-Performance Decoder

PPD is unique:

  • Accuracy: Standard tolerance is on par with state-of-the-art lab testing, e.g. VO2max divergence is 2.5%, threshold is 2.2% – in line with the most accurate metabolic carts (and without requiring powermeter conversions from lab to training equipment). •
  • Capture race decisive glycolytic power (VLamax) without the need to visit a lab. The secret weapon of professional coaches is now available to all coaches using INSCYD.
  • Reporting – Athletes get a 360-degree physiological assessment
  • Coaches can now test remotely – for the first time ever, coaches don’t have to be with their athletes for performance testing. Athletes complete a field test on their own time, alone. When done, the athlete submits the ride file for their coach to input into INSCYD.
  • Renders traditional physiological lab testing OBSOLETE – Faster, less expensive, more accurate, all without the overhead of measuring lactate and or VO2

Some Quotes from Coaches & Athletes:

“The more we can understand how an athlete does what they are capable of doing the better we can focus what they need to do to get better and this is why after months of assessing and testing with INSCYD I am happy to partner with them to ensure I am doing my utmost to get the best out of the athletes I work with.”

David Tilbury-Davis, Professional Triathlon Coach

“The Power-Performance Decoder is like a remote controller, and nowadays crucial to give us coaches an insight in the riders their actual level.”

Kristof de Kegel, Coach of Mathieu van de Poel and Team Alpecin FENIX

“Your really know what you need to work on if you know your VLamax“

Dan Lorang, Coach of Jan Frodeno, Anne Haug

“With the help of the INSCYD software I have been able to cater my training to my own unique energy systems, and tailor that plan to be efficient at the races and durations that I want to excel at.”

Lionel Sanders –Pro Triathlete

“INSCYD testing especially helps my coaches to help create the best training programs for us.”

Primoz Roglic, Winner Vuelta d’Espagna 2019

“INSCYD offers us the ability to create the most accurate measures of metabolic efficiency available today”

Prof. Elliot Hawkes, Stanford University

“INSCYD is the perfect solution to understand how training effects the adaptation of specific physiological systems.”

Dennis Sandig, German Triathlon Federation

“INSCYD helps me the most before the major training periods because we want to make sure that we make the best possible training program.”

Mathieu Heijboer, Head Coach Team JUMBO-VISMA

Cheers, come get it for yourself!


About INSCYD Founded in 2017, INSCYD is the leading scientific software, used by top cycling, triathlon, swim, speed skating, and rowing teams/federations and coaches. INSCYD has been called the ‘perfect solution to understand how training effects the adaption of specific physiological systems’ by Dennis Sandig, of German Triathlon Federation. INSCYD offers coaches and lab owners software for power testing, lactate testing and lab testing


We are excited to announce that with INSCYD, we are now able to test our cyclists virtually using the Power Performance Decoder! Races have been cancelled and rescheduled, but we know training has not.

What is needed? Your bike, power-meter and your bike computer!! This can be done inside! We know athletes are using Zwift for training and virtual races, and with the help of Zwift coaching, INSCYD has allowed us to help coaches, and individuals without coaches, tailor training sessions specifically for their athletes and themselves from a distance!

INSCYD has been working hard to allow us to give individuals an opportunity to Combine Physiological Parameters like Lactate and VO2Max with Pure Performance Parameters like Maximum Power via Power Meter!

Again, why is it important to know your Physiolgoical Parameters?

Here is a quote from INSCYD and Zwift Coach Kevin Poulton from https://www.inscyd.com/blog/inscyd-zwift :

“When you give them (athlete) an interval you know how much lactate they’re going to accumulate and you know how long it is going to take them to recover” in terms of how fast they will clear the lactate, he says. “Even more, with INSCYD you also know the best fuel source for the athletes, how much energy they’re using and so on. INSCYD answers all those questions. And when you prescribe a specific training, athletes have much more confidence in what they are completing because they know it comes from accurate testing and accurate data.”

You can perform all tests on the same day within the same session. However, if it is more convenient, you can space them out over three consecutive days, but not more. We will give you specifics on how to conduct the test. We will advise on how to break up the intervals. Make sure your powermeter is calibrated and your cycling computer is charged and has sufficient memory capacity remaining. Set to record data every second (no smart recording!). Make a zero offset calibration before each test if required, and ensure you record your heart rate (if you have a heart rate monitor).

Then…….you ride!

Don’t forget:

‘Although the trend is leaning towards a widespread use of tech and digitalization for training and performance assessment purposes, INSCYD would also allow you to test your athletes in a lab, or – alternatively – where it most matters: outdoors’ – Nicola Busca, INSCYD Blog Post https://www.inscyd.com/blog/inscyd-zwift

Contact us for more info, and how to get yourself testing in your own home!



Cycle to Run Transition: What is Happening, Why This is Important & What We Need to Know!

One of the biggest stressors in triathlon, is also such a dynamic concept of the sport. This comes from the cycle to run transition. Let’s think about the sport in general: Triathlon is based on the endurance and strength of an individual.

Endurance: The ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way, and the capacity of something to last or to withstand wear and tear.

Strength: The quality of being physically strong, and the capacity to withstand great force or pressure.

Unfortunately, 80-85% of injuries in endurance sport are attributed to overuse. With more than 70% of injuries that occur whilst training and competing in triathlon attributed to running (1). Seems like the body tends to struggle on enduring things when we neglect working on them properly.

We ask a lot out of our bodies in training and racing, which is why we need the correct tools to endure this sport safely and efficiently.

Let’s check out the math on this:

After your swim, you hop on that bike thankful you didn’t have to get picked up by a kayak.

  • – If you pedal at around 90rpms, that will be around 10,800 pedal strokes per leg in a 2 hour training ride.
  • – If you can knock out around 8 hours per week on the bike when you train, this equates to around 43,200 pedal strokes. IN A WEEK.
  • – Race day – if you can get off the bike in about 5 hours 30 minutes, your going to manage around 29,700 pedal strokes BEFORE hitting the ground running.

Let’s think about running (which of course requires the body to load and distribute impact forces).

  • – If your cadence is around 90 steps per minute, you’ll average about 5,400 strikes per minute in ONE HOUR on ONE LEG. Whew.
  • – So, if you tack on a 4 hour 15 min marathon finish AFTER cycling for around 6 hours, you’re giving your body about 22,950 foot strikes after the huge day that is IRONMAN.

Think that’s nothing? Well, your body will think otherwise unless you’ve trained appropriately for this. That brings us to our main point. How to manage the cycle to run transition, and how to allow the body to endure this the correct way.

Once we get off that bike after many hours in the seated position, we then hit the ground running which requires the highest energy demand. This is unfortunate since after the bike we naturally will be more fatigued, have depleted glycogen levels and we will need to get that blood flow redistributed! Notoriously we all hop off that bike and end up running slightly faster than we should, or unable to pace ourselves properly. It makes sense due to the proprioception of what our body is doing being so low!

Sitting in those aerobars for an extended amount of time places the body in a prolonged period of hip flexion and core fatigue, which can create increase in tightness through the front of the hip and pelvis.

For the run, this can cause an increase in the anterior pelvic tilt, and a decrease in hip flexion. Unfortunately, these two items are linked to a few major running injuries. When those hips and quads are tight causing our pelvis to be rotated incorrectly, we lose optimal power at toe off which will decrease our running performance. This will also cause low back tightness which we all have felt one time or another! Having a neutral pelvis will help with shock absorption. When the pelvis is compromised through injury, fatigue or muscle breakdown, this will place huge stressors through the hip, knee and ankle joints. It will be nearly impossible to load the joints evenly for force distribution. The core fatigue and breakdown throughout that day will be a major factor when trying to keep the body’s center of mass in alignment as well. We may end up seeing increased upper body shift, shoulder sway, uneven hip load along with lack of hip extension at toe off.

We want to note, this is not the only thing causing tightness, fatigue or pain in the cycle to run transition, or through-out training. There are many other factors that we can help eliminate or provide answers to when doing a cycle to run analysis at Optimize Performance.

The good news?? There are drills, mobility work and strength movements to help make the bike to run transition safe and efficient through-out training and on race day!

Contact Optimize Performance for more details on ways to help prevent running injuries off the bike. Come in for cycling testing to measure VLaMax, Threshold, VO2, Nutrient Combustion and find your Specific Wattage and Pacing for training, then hop off the bike and go out for a run while we follow you and perform our ‘in the field’ running analysis!


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#optimizeperformance #inscyd #runninganalysis #biomechanics #triathlon #triathlete #cyclist #runner #marathon

Achilles or Calf Pain? How to Get Rid of This Annoyance!

Do you ever feel that nagging pain near the bottom of your calf when you jump, run or go on your toes repeatedly?

This could come from a few different things, but you might be struggling with Achilles Tendinitis. Well, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one!

Injuries involving the Achilles tendon / manifested as chronic tendon pain are common, especially among recreational athletes.

What causes this pain?? Achilles Tendinitis is caused by repetitive or intense strain on the Achilles tendon, the band of tissue that connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. This tendon is used when you walk, run, jump or push up on your toes.

Check out some facts and tips from these articles on how to improve your strength and avoid causing more issues!

Eccentric Loading:

· One *study took 15 patients with Achilles Tendinitis, and showed after 12 weeks of heavy-eccentric loading, all 15 patients were back at their preinjury levels with full running activity.

· There was a significant decrease in pain during activity, and the calf muscle strength on the injured side had increased significantly and did not differ significantly from that of the non-injured side.

· A comparison group of 15 recreational athletes with the same diagnosis and a long duration of symptoms had been treated conventionally, i.e., rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, changes of shoes or orthoses, and in all cases also with ordinary training programs. In no case was the conventional treatment successful, and all patients were ultimately treated surgically.

In another **study, on a much larger scale (101 recreational athletes):

· Eccentric strength training of the calf-muscle for 90 of the 101 Achilles tendons (89%) with chronic painful mid-portion Achilles tendinosis: treatment was satisfactory and the patients were back on their pre-injury activity level!!!

There are some solid stretching and strengthening exercises that will get you on the road to less pain and increased strength! Here are just a handful:

So, what’s the take home: Don’t just sit around or ‘keep doing what you’re doing’ and wait for it to get better! Be pro-active and get the correct program for optimal healing and strength!

Contact us for more information about fixing these aches and pains! Whether it comes down to a Running or Mobility Analysis or a written Strength / Mobility Program to add into your routine!

FB/IG: @OptimizePerformance1


*Heavy-Load Eccentric Calf Muscle Training For the Treatment of Chronic Achilles Tendinosis

Håkan Alfredson, MD, Tom Pietilä, RPT, Per Jonsson, RPT, Ronny Lorentzon, MD, PhD

**Chronic Achilles tendon pain treated with eccentric calf-muscle training

Martin Fahlström, Per Jonsson, Ronny Lorentzon & Håkan Alfredson