This month’s Buzzword Breakdown features a metric the average fitness tracker won’t tell you, but that you’ve certainly felt the effects of at some point in your life: lactate threshold.
WHAT IT IS
LT: Lactate Threshold
WHAT IT MEANS
Lactate is an organic molecule produced by most tissues in the body, particularly our muscles. Your Lactate Threshold (LT) is the intensity of exercise at which lactate begins to build up in your blood at a faster rate than your body can remove it.
WHAT IT TELLS US
Your LT, like RHR and HRV, is one way of measuring your physical fitness. The higher your LT, the longer you can sustain high-intensity exercise. If you’re exercising and you feel like you’re going to vomit, you’ve surpassed your LT: this is your body’s response to trying to rid your system of unbuffered acid.
HOW IT WORKS
When we exercise, our body produces energy by way of aerobic metabolism, which requires oxygen to break down carbohydrates, amino acids, and fats. If not enough oxygen is available (for instance, during intense exercise), our anaerobic metabolism kicks in, which uses lactate conversion for energy. However, if too much lactate builds up in our blood stream before our liver can process it, we start to feel sick and have to rest.
HOW DO I IMPROVE MY LT?
LT is thought to be primarily genetic, though you can raise your LT through regular physical training, proper breathing, and balanced nutrition (particularly oxygen-rich foods, such as leafy greens, shellfish, and red meat).
HOW NOSE BREATHING CAN HELP
Nose breathing boosts nitric oxide production, which in turn can boost available blood oxygen by 10-20%. The higher your available blood oxygen, the longer your body can produce energy via aerobic metabolism, and the lower your levels of excess lactic acid will be. In short, higher oxygen levels mean you can extend the time you’re able to exercise at peak capacity.
Nose breathing is like any practice: the more consistent you are, the more benefits you’ll see. Ready to take it to the next level?