Jumping Outside the Comfort Zone

A post by Lucie Oren, on keeping it fresh and fun by seizing new opportunities to continue to learn and improve. Enjoy the read…

It is always good to try new things, wouldn’t you agree?  It keeps life exciting, interesting, fun, and challenging!  In my case, this “new thing” is not only seriously pushing my comfort zones, but it’s also helping me to improve my bike handling skills.  If you ask me, that’s a double “win!”

It’s called off-roading!  It started last fall with cycle cross.  The first time I watched a local race, I thought there is no way I’m brave enough to try that!  Then I did my first clinic.  I thought it was crazy, but also thought “Why not?  Why not just go for it and see what happens!”  Well, I was hooked!  I did a few local races, met new friends, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried this new sport earlier. 


Fast forward to this Spring…as I’m watching some my friends and teammates race and ride MTB I have that thought once again…”Why not?”  Never mind the bruises I see on their arms and legs or the occasional broken bone, why not just get over my fears and go for it.  So, I did.  Holy cow!  The people, beautiful trails, no traffic, encouragement from friends, and swooping single tracks are priceless!  Notice I didn’t mention the rocks…yeah, the rocks.  They scare the heck out of me and I have fallen during every bike demo I have done thus far, but I refuse to give up.  With the help from my friends, I will keep practicing those tricky rocks!  Get out of your usual routine and/or comfort zone and try something new!  I’m sure glad I did!

The Science Behind Your Metabolism

Endurance athletes have a number of challenges when preparing for competition. There is the sheer volume of training hours required for a four to six-hour event, but also how to manage intensity and fueling during workouts. Not surprisingly, performance is directly related to how well athletes understand their bodies’ metabolism and fueling needs, during training and competition.

An important predictor of your ability to finish strong in longer races is how well your body utilizes fat as a fuel source. Understanding your metabolic rate and how to maximize metabolic efficiency is useful for any athlete, but particularly for those focused on endurance events.

Fortunately for local athletes, Silver Sage Sports & Fitness Lab is equipped with the gold-standard in metabolic efficiency testing equipment and the science and knowledge to extrapolate and analyze the resulting data, to further focus your workouts and maximize your training investment.

This data is valuable when properly implemented, meaning the individual’s results are combined with the individual’s fitness goals to create a training program that phases proper nutrition with appropriate training to maximize the metabolic benefits.

Silver Sage metabolic testing provides you with the specific heart rate, power and/or pace to help you scientifically focus your workout. At the end of the assessment, you will know:

  • Caloric expenditure at various heart rates and intensities
  • How to preserve carb stores in order to decrease the amount of fuel replenishment required
  • How to increase fat as fuel, so you can perform workloads faster, longer
  • Lactate levels for your various metabolic zones

During a long race, or even a long training session, it’s impossible to ingest as many calories as you’re burning. As a result, your body depends on breaking down fat to get more energy.

“If you find yourself bonking during an event, or having gastrointestinal distress during races, our assessment will give you the information you need to improve your ability to utilize your on-board energy sources,” explains Silver Sage Sports & Fitness Lab Director Julie Young.

Professional XTERRA triathlete and professional mountain biker on the Sierra Endurance Sports Team, Suzie Snyder, gets the data she needs to maximize her training.

Professional XTERRA triathlete and professional mountain biker on the Sierra Endurance Sports Team, Suzie Snyder, gets the data she needs to maximize her training.

Suzie Snyder is a professional XTERRA triathlete and professional mountain biker on the Sierra Endurance Sports Team, as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). She began working with Silver Sage in early 2016. “I knew the importance of training easier between closely spaced races, but I didn’t have the data I needed until I started working with Julie at Silver Sage,” she says. “Once I completed the metabolic efficiency evaluation, I adjusted my training accordingly and I definitely saw a difference when I competed.”

Young explains, “When you’re training for an endurance sport, it’s even more important to understand how your body is expending calories and preserving carbs. With this assessment, an athlete can better understand how to increase fat as fuel, reducing the need to ingest calories. All of this can shave time off a race, while also helping with healthy weight management.”

In 2015, Snyder was having her best season yet as a pro, winning XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA East Championship. But then she fractured her pelvis, cutting her season short. After spending 9 months recovering, Snyder competed at XTERRA Oak Mountain in May 2016. She won handily and, according to Slowtwitch.com, held a women’s best 22:33 swim split followed by the women’s fastest 1:35:36 mountain bike split—2:28 faster than nearest challenger, Maia Ignatz. This year, Snyder also earned her professional mountain bike license by winning the first three national qualifying races she entered—all by significant margins.

We can’t promise Suzie Snyder-level performance for all athletes who do metabolic efficiency, but we do guarantee that the data you collect will enable you to improve the way you train and perform. Click here to see a sample metabolic efficiency test.

If you’re interested in finding out how this simple test can up your performance, call us at 530-448-0498.