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Mike Roberton in Episode 4 of Morpheus Radio

 

 
We welcome Mike Robertson to this episode of Morpheus Radio to talk about:

  • Finding information you can trust and distilling it down to our own set of coaching principles (ref: Mel Siff, Lee Taft, Charles Poliquin)
  • How Joel and Mike went from novice coaches to having numerous published books and lucrative coaching certifications
  • The importance of correct breath work to achieve better results and increased performance for your clients
  • How one of the critical keys to coaching success is setting expectations upfront and delivering the results your promised
  • How the incorporation of fitness data will soon become the “new norm” and it’s role in redefining the fitness profession

About Mike Robertson:

Mike Robertson is one of the most highly sought-after coaches, consultants, speakers, and writers in the fitness industry today.

Known for his “no-nonsense” approach to training and brutal efficiency, Mike has made a name for himself as a go-to resource for professional athletes from every major sport.

Mike is the President of Robertson Training Systems and the co-owner of Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training (IFAST) in Indianapolis, Indiana. IFAST has been named one of the Top 10 Gyms in America by Men’s Health magazine three times in the past six years.

Mike currently coaches a handful of professional athletes during their off-season, and is the physical preparation coach for the Indy Eleven professional soccer team.

You can learn more about Mike’s best coaching and training strategies here:
https://robertsontrainingsystems.com/
https://completecoachcertification.com/
https://www.instagram.com/robtrainsystems/

In this episode of Morpheus Radio:

  • 5:00 – Mike & Joel discuss the modern digital bombardment of information thrown at coaches and how to diffuse the noise and distill it down to solid coaching systems
  • 7:55 – Mike explains how coaches can dive deep into one expert’s work within a specific topic (i.e. Joel Jamieson’s conditioning principles) and then apply it over his/her career as a filter for new principles and education
  • 8:36 – Mike references Lee Taft’s work as solid principles in speed & agility
  • 9:13 – Joel discusses the “old days” when he was learning from Mel Siff’s “SuperTraining” online community and compares it to the current state of things where anyone with a social media account can post coaching content
  • 11:23 – Joel & Mike discuss the importance of absorbing information with the intention of understanding the “why” – referencing Charles Poliquin’s work
  • 12:53 – Mike shares his initial start of his certification creation process and overcoming the “imposter syndrome” that comes with it
  • 15:23 – Joel reflects on his first book “Ultimate MMA Conditioning” back in 2009 and the uncertainty he had as well as the unexpected success
  • 18:54 – Mike discusses how he identified breath work as a tremendously powerful piece of the puzzle of delivering client results and subsequently educating the industry on its importance and application
  • 23:53 – Joel outlines his introduction to correct breathing application through a personal shoulder injury and how it go to his applications
  • 27:18 – Mike informs the audience how the average person can start to incorporate breath work into their training and some educational references:
    https://www.8weeksout.com/recover-to-win/
    https://www.amazon.com/Anatomy-Breathing-Blandine-Calais-Germain/dp/0939616556
  • 29:27 – Joel and Mike detail how breathing can influence the autonomic system and those implications for better performance and recovery
  • 32:07 – How the availability and access to coaching data is making classic principles objective in their applications as well as displacing biases for clients AND coaches
  • 37:05 – The importance of setting expectations upfront with clients regarding the length and detail of the process and not making promises you can’t keep
  • 39:57 – the conversation takes its final turn to the topic of coaching data – it’s promise and utilization for both coaches and clients
Chris Duffin on resilience and recovery

 

 

Chris Duffin is arguably one of the strongest pound-for-pound humans in the world. He’s the ONLY person who has squatted and deadlifted over 1000lbs for reps and he holds the Guinness World Record on the Sumo Deadlift.

He’s also an inventor and entrepreneur, co-founding Kabuki Strength, Bearfoot Athletics, and Buildfast Formula. Chris details his incredible story of trauma and resilience in his bestselling book, “The Eagle and the Dragon: A Story of Strength and Reinvention.”

Listen in as Chris shares his strategies for recovery and resilience that help him stay healthy while performing at a world-class level.

In this episode of Morpheus Radio:

  • 1:30 – Chris recounts his life as an athlete, world record holder, and owner of Kabuki Strength, Bearfoot Athletics, and Buildfast Formula
  • 3:05 – Chris provides a short version of the challenges he’s faced as it’s laid out in his best selling book, “The Eagle and the Dragon: A Story of Strength and Reinvention
  • 4:35 – Chris explains his admiration and application of Japanese Philosophy as well as the importance of stress and trauma when building mental and physical resilience
  • 7:07 – Chris shares what it’s like to prepare for a world record lifts (1000lbs deadlift and 1000lbs squat) over a 5 year process
  • 10:25 – Chris talks about the essentials of recovery when training at a world class level
  • 14:21 – Chris recommends pre workout protocol and his nitrate blend, Vasoblitz
  • 17:19 – Chris shares his sleep protocols and tools: Morpheus HRV, Oura, cooling mattress, dark curtains, heavy blankets etc. – he sleeps 9.5-10 hours per day
  • 18:41 – Chris reflects on how he only squatted one session per week, but the remainder of the time was spent purely on recovery
  • 20:31 – Chris explains how he applies HRV and bar speed data to dictate training loads and intensities
  • 21:45 – Chris dives into how he prepares his mind and soul for training and performance
  • 23:40 – How mental preparation is really emotional state management and recovery from the emotional intensities required to perform at the highest level
  • 26:00 – Chris explains how he’s transitioned from training for optimal human performance to longevity and health, as well as his plans to change the face of fitness and healthcare
  • 29:31 – Chris lays out his new training protocols consisting of just 35-45min workouts
  • 31:20 – Chris explains his flywheel training system
  • 33:45 – Chris plugs his wife’s chef career and her instagram for more insights into his nutrition
  • 36:33 – Joel and Chris details the soft-tissue tools that they recommend and use frequently
  • 43:25 – Chris explains his “Go Find Your Problems” approach to recovery and mobility
  • 46:49 – Joel and Chris give advice for up and coming coaches who want to implement better and more advanced recovery protocols

You can follow Chris Duffin using the links below:
https://christopherduffin.com/
https://www.instagram.com/mad_scientist_duffin/
https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherduffindotcom/

Eric Cressey on episode 1 of Morpheus Radio

Eric Cressey is president and co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, with facilities located in Hudson, MA and Palm Beach Gardens, FL. A highly sought-after coach for healthy and injured athletes alike, Eric has helped athletes at all levels—from youth sports to the professional and Olympic ranks—achieve their highest levels of performance.

Behind Eric’s expertise, Cressey Sports Performance has rapidly established itself as a go-to high-performance facility among Boston athletes—and those that come from across the country and abroad to experience CSP’s cutting-edge methods. Eric is perhaps best known for his extensive work with baseball players, with more than 100 professional players traveling to train with him each off-season. In January of 2020, he joined the New York Yankees organization as Director of Player Health and Performance.

Eric’s ability to bridge the gap between science and application has produced some of the world’s most cutting-edge information on human performance. Today, we’re going to cover the idea that there are no boundaries to what you can do, and Eric is going to show you how you can push your limits like never before.

In This Episode of Morpheus Radio:

    • 2:00 – Eric gives a brief, but details outline of his vast experience as a coach, founder of Cressey Sports Performance, current role with the New York Yankees, father and husband

 

    • 4:27 – Eric & Joel discuss the evolution of high-level athletes being bigger, stronger, faster and dramatic changes in the demands of a professional sports season

 

    • 11:37 – Eric & Joel lay out the concept of “survivorship bias” in athlete development and for how every success story there are 100’s of ones that didn’t make

 

    • 13:11 – Eric & Joel explain how the advancement of sport-specific strength & conditioning is a major factor in the advancement of human performance and the technology that drives it

 

    • 18:41 – Joel poses the question of how recovery science is keeping pace with the advancements in training

 

    • 26:45 – Eric outlines the details of a grueling Major League Baseball season for athletes as well as coaches and trainers. Wow

 

    • 33:35 – Joels poses the question of what Eric uses to identify athletes that are innately durable and trainable

 

    • 35:21 – Eric details the technology stack used by Cressey Performance and the Yankees in managing their athletes

 

    • 43:25 – Eric & Joel offer advice for up and coming S&C coaches on where to get their education and attain success in their chosen sports

 

 

Links

Elite Baseball Podcast
https://ericcressey.com/
http://cresseyperformance.com/

Welcome to day 1 of the Morpheus Recovery Challenge.

Now that it’s officially started, let’s talk about the rules, scoring, and how to get the win!

To get as many points as possible and give yourself the best shot at claiming the top spot, it’s important to make sure you understand how the scoring works.

There are 4 different ways to earn points:

1. Recovery score
2. Completing daily activities
2. Working out with Morpheus
3. Being consistent and hitting streaks

Recovery score

The single biggest way to earn points is the daily recovery score. Each day, you’ll earn the number of points equal to your recovery score. If your score is 87%, for example, you’ll earn 87 points in the challenge.

The higher your recovery score, the more points you’ll earn.

Scoring for daily activities:

Each day, you can earn up to 30 points by completing each of the 5 activities below. Being consistent and hitting each of these goals each day is also how you maintain a high recovery score and unlock bonus points from streaks.

7,000+ steps per day: 10pts
Sleep 8+ hours: 10pts
Sleep 7-8 hours per night: 5pts
Complete daily lesson: 10pts

Scoring for workouts:

Each calendar week (mon-sun), you can earn points for up to 4 workouts. You’ll receive 10 points for each workout, plus bonus points if you do recovery workouts.

A recovery workout is any workout that causes your recovery score to go up afterwards.

All the details on recovery workouts will be covered in an upcoming lesson, but the basic guidelines for recovery workouts are:

  • Keep your heart rate in the blue zone for the vast majority of the time
  • Workout for generally around 25-40 minutes
  • Make sure your average HR for the workout is above 100bpm
  • Have an RPE of 6 or lower.
  • You can do a variety of different exercises, it’s totally up to you.

Recovery workouts can increase your daily recovery score from 1-7%. You’ll earn bonus points based on this number.

For example, if you do a recovery workout and your recovery score increase 5%, you’ll earn 10 points for the workout + 5 bonus points, for a total of 15pts.

You can do as many workouts throughout the challenge as you like, but you’ll only receive points for a total of 4 per week.

It’s important to keep in mind that the key to workouts in the challenge is balance. If you do too many workouts and/or too much intensity, your recovery score will be lower. If you don’t do enough workouts, or all you do is low intensity, your fitness may decrease.

Throughout the challenge, you’ll learn more about the most effective ways to build training programs using Morpheus.

Unlocking bonus points for streaks

Consistency is a major key to success in fitness and an important part of the challenge. You can unlock bonus points for hitting 7, 14, and 28-day streaks for hitting the daily goals for steps, sleep, and getting a recovery score.

To get into the top spots, you’re going to need to unlock as many of the streak bonus points as possible. Not only will this help you win, being consistent will also help you build the right habits to each your fitness goals.

Tracking your scores

You can see exactly what you stand in each of these areas by clicking on the “Scoring” tab next to the leaderboard.

These scores are updated in real-time so you will always know where you stand.

Note that because we have people from all over the world in the challenge, you may see people a day ahead of you based on time zones. You’ll see what day people are on listed in the scoring tab.

What to do next

Our goal is to help you take the next step in your fitness journey by unlocking the power of faster recovery and smarter training.

Over the coming days, you’ll learn a lot more about what recovery really is, how it’s related to stress, and why the 23 hours outside the gym have such a big impact on whether or not you achieve your fitness goals.

By the end of the challenge, whether you win first place or not, you’ll know exactly how to connect all the dots to drive meaningful (and sustainable) improvements in your fitness, health, and performance.

By completing this first lesson, you’ve earned points in the challenge!

To get more, all you have to do is make sure to take an HRV measurement so you can get a recovery score, and then hit at least 7,000 steps a day before getting a good night of sleep.

Finally, before tomorrow’s lesson, your homework is to take a few minutes to write down the answer to two important questions:

1) What is your single biggest fitness goal? In other words, what motivates you to get up, go to the gym, and put in the work day in and day out?

2) What is the main obstacle keeping you from reaching that goal?

Write the answers to these two questions down because we’ll refer back to them as we progress through the daily lessons.

You’ve put in a lot of work to get here—well done!

Let’s quickly review what you’ve learned on this 30-day journey:

You began by learning the science of HRV and how it’s a powerful reflection of your recovery.

You dove into other major contributors to your health and recovery: training, sleep, movement, and nutrition.

Then, you discovered how to build new healthy habits, one step at a time.

The following lessons helped you build your recovery toolkit with specific recovery and regeneration strategies: hydrotherapies, sauna, breathing strategies, soft tissue care, mental relaxation drills, cold water immersion, compression, and recovery supplements.

This taught you exactly when to use each recovery strategy and how to perform them for maximum impact.

That’s when you studied the Train, Recover, Repeat model of health and fitness and learned how to balance your stress and recovery using Morpheus.

You continued by investigating specific training methods and how to use them to improve different areas of your conditioning and performance.

All those lessons laid a solid foundation for how to transform your recovery and fitness.

The final section helped you define why.

You used the Morpheus Recovery Assessment to examine the habits and behaviors affecting your recovery. And the results from this test helped you identify your biggest recovery limitations.

These “recovery roadblocks” gave you a starting point to:

    • Single out an outcome goal for your health/fitness

 

    • Set process goals to help you steadily pursue your outcome goal

Finally, at the end of the last lesson, you wrote down how you intend to track your progress, identify setbacks, and hold yourself accountable as you chip away at your process and outcome goals.

Now, it’s time to follow your well-developed plan.

The beauty of this recovery roadmap is that you can use it again and again.

Things change. Down the road, you may struggle with areas of your recovery that seem effortless now.

At any time, you can take the Morpheus Recovery Assessment again, identify a high-benefit behavior change you can make with the least amount of effort, and map out your new outcome and process goals.

This is a system for continually adapting your recovery plan as your needs evolve.

We hope you’ll use it as a framework for the methods and strategies we’ve covered in these lessons.

Thank you for following along with us over the past 30 days.

And congratulations on completing the final lesson!

In the previous lesson, you identified one area of your recovery you want to improve.

Now, it’s time to pinpoint the exact goal you should set to make the greatest positive change in your health and performance.

It’s important to understand that successful goal-setting is an actual science. If you don’t work with the brain’s natural dopamine reward system, you’ll fight an uphill battle and ultimately fail to make changes that stick.

Part of what is knowing how dopamine motivates us. Each time we predict a reward, whether it’s getting thousands of likes when we open Instagram or seeing the number go down when you step on the scale, we get a little dopamine spike.

This is important, because the spike comes before the actual reward! It’s the anticipation of something great that causes the dopamine uptick.
 

 
This is what drives and reinforces our behavior.

But what happens when we don’t get what we’re anticipating? When what actually happens falls short of our expectations?

Each time our brain incorrectly predicts the level of reward from an action, it adjusts its prediction up or down—and your motivation to take that action again adjusts along with it.

What does this mean for your fitness?

When you first start training, your brain sees very rapid progress, i.e. a big reward from the work. Your body fat quickly drops, strength grows, aerobic fitness improves, etc.

Your brain becomes conditioned to expect a big payoff from all the work. This predicted reward leads to a large dopamine spike before each workout, which strongly motivates you to work out.

The big problem is that progress is never linear.

Those initially rapid gains inevitably slow down, usually within a matter of weeks.

As soon as the reward diminishes, your brain starts to realize that its prediction was wrong—the work isn’t leading to the same level of reward.
 

 
When your brain sees fewer results than it expected, your dopamine levels nosedive and your motivation to train goes along with them.

If your goals are tied to things that don’t always improve quickly, it’s only a matter of time before you stop working toward them.

So, what kind of goals should you set?

There are two kinds of goals, and both of them are important.

The first is an outcome goal, and this is what you ultimately want to achieve. This might be “Lose 20 lbs” or “Increase my bench press by 20 lbs,” or “Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.”

The other kind of goal is a process goal, and this focuses on the behaviors required to reach an outcome goal.

For example, if your outcome goal is to lose 20 lbs, then there are a series of steps around being active, eating, training, and recovering that will ultimately determine whether you reach that goal.

In the last lesson, you identified your biggest recovery roadblocks.

This is your outcome goal, what you’re ultimately trying to change or improve.

The way to steadily make progress toward your goal without losing motivation is to shift your focus away from your long-term outcome goal—like sleeping better, eating healthier, or losing weight—and toward the process of achieving them.
 

 
Whether it’s getting in enough steps, doing the workout you planned, avoiding caffeine after a certain time, or anything else, you can stay motivated simply by concentrating on achieving these very short-term goals.

The power of progress

Set a goal you can achieve each day and make it small and practical.

Take advantage of the dopamine reward system and give yourself the gratification of accomplishing something each day.

This will keep your motivation strong and your focus trained on what you can control.

Nothing will dampen your drive to change more than failing to meet your expectations.

Action step:

Write out your outcome goal—the single area of your recovery you want to improve.

Then detail the steps you need to take each day to reach that goal.

Once you’ve identified 2-3 key process goals to help you reach your outcome goal, answer the following questions:

  • What are you going to measure to track your process goals?
  • How will you track them? (Excel, daily checklist, etc.)
  • How often will you track them?
  • What will you look for to identify progress or setbacks?

Now that we’re nearing the end of the recovery challenge, you have an arsenal of tools and strategies to boost your recovery.

It’s time to start thinking of your recovery as a trait you can program and train for, just like fitness.

And the foundation of any good program is a thoughtful assessment: The Morpheus Recovery Screen, in this case.

You need to know the answer to “What is the biggest thing limiting my recovery?

This will help you develop a clear recovery goal that you can build a well-planned recovery program around—which we’ll talk more about in the final lessons.

How to assess & identify your recovery roadblocks

As you know by now, there are many factors influencing your recovery. That’s why the Morpheus Recovery Screen assesses each of the core lifestyle contributors to recovery:

  • Movement/activity
  • Training
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Regeneration

You can probably guess what your recovery roadblocks are already. But it’s still helpful to have an objective scoring system so you can track your progress over time.

Take a few minutes to answer the questions below and write down your scores for each section.

Any section with a total score that’s less than 8 is an area that can use improvement.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Which recovery roadblocks should you fix first?

You may have multiple sections with scores less than 8. That’s ok.

Remember that when it comes to changing behavior, it’s hugely important to work on just one goal or habit at a time.

Choose what you want to change by identifying what will require the least amount of effort and lead to the greatest fitness benefit.

It’s helpful to revisit the chart from the lesson on habits as you do this:
 

 
Once you’ve identified the single recovery area you want to work on, we’ll help you develop a plan to achieve it in the final lessons.

The best way to think of the cardiovascular system is that it’s the body’s aerobic engine. Its job is primarily to pump blood and deliver oxygen throughout your entire body. Without it, you wouldn’t be alive.

At the center of this engine is the heart itself.

Although the heart is composed of a slightly different type of muscle tissue than that of your skeletal muscles, it’s still a muscle nonetheless and capable of becoming bigger, stronger, and more efficient.

In many ways, it’s the most important muscle in your body when it comes to improving fitness, health, performance, and everything in between.

Just as with other muscles, the type of training that you do dictates the changes that happen within the heart as a result. The heart of a marathon runner looks and performs very differently than the heart of a powerlifter.
 

 
The marathon runner’s heart has to be capable of delivering a lot of blood with each beat. It has to be extremely efficient.

The heart of a powerlifter, on the other hand, has to be able to support the tremendously high blood pressures, up to 345/245, and force on the body during maximum lifting.

This requires the walls and tissues of the heart to be strong. Efficiency is much less important when you’re training for heavy lifts that only last a few seconds.

How red power intervals work

The reason all this is important to understand is because red max intervals are specifically designed to cause changes in the heart that can up the horsepower of your entire cardiovascular system.

This horsepower is typically measured in terms of how much oxygen your body can use during high level exercise. This number is known as your VO2 max and it’s a very good gauge of your overall aerobic fitness.

The primary goal of red max intervals is to help train the heart to be able to deliver more oxygen by driving it towards the highest intensities. This is where it’s forced to work the hardest, sort of like the equivalent of pushing your heart to its 1-rep max.

By pushing the heart up to the limits of its oxygen pumping potential, it causes changes that improve VO2 max and overall aerobic fitness. The result is that you develop a stronger heart that can power a bigger aerobic engine.
 

 
How to do red max intervals

Let me start by saying that red max intervals are not fun. They are extremely demanding because the single most important thing you have to do is drive your heart rate up to its max, or as close to it as you can get it.

You also don’t want to hit your max and then immediately slow back down. The goal is to keep it up towards the top for up to 30 seconds, or more, to really drive the maximum results from this type of interval.

Before you do this, there are two important considerations:

  • Red max intervals are not for beginners. Just as it’s not a good idea to take someone that’s new to lifting weights or coming off a long layoff and start by doing heavy 1-rep max sets, the same applies to heart rate training.  
    You should not include red max intervals in your program until you already have a relatively high level of aerobic fitness. This generally means an HRV in the 80’s and a resting heart rate in the low to mid 50’s.
  • Exercise selection is extremely important. To get up to your max heart rate means only total body exercises will work. Exercises that are seated like rowing or biking will not be as effective because you will not be able to get your heart rate as well. 
    It’s also important to avoid trying to incorporate heavy strength-based exercises or circuit training. These may drive heart rate up, but they will also drive blood pressure much higher as well and this can change the impact on the heart as well.

Each rep of red max intervals should be somewhere between 90-120s depending on how long it takes you to get your heart rate to max, or close to it. Your goal should be to hit the top of the red zone and keep it there for up to 30 seconds or more.

Rest periods should be 4-5 minutes, or until you feel fully ready to drive your heart rate up to max again.

Active rest around the middle of the blue zone is more effective than passive rest, though you may feel the need to sit down or take a complete break for the first minute or two.
 

 
It goes without saying that you should be thoroughly warmed up before you do your first rep. It’s incredibly important to focus on maintaining good technique, even as you start to become fatigued.

How to incorporate red max intervals into your program

This type of high intensity training is best reserved for short periods of time, only a few weeks at most. They are particularly effective when peaking for a competition that requires a high level of aerobic fitness.

When you’re first starting out, as little as 1-2 reps is all that’s necessary. As you progress, work up to 3-4 reps per workout. Because the intensity is so high, there is generally no need or benefit to doing higher reps than that.

As with other high intensity methods, red max intervals should be incorporated into your program a maximum of 1-2 times per week, with at least 2 days between them.

When these guidelines are followed, they may not be fun, but they are an incredibly powerful way to increase the horsepower of your aerobic engine and boost your performance in a short period of time.

To understand the benefits of threshold training, we have to take a minute for a mini-lesson on how our body turns glucose (blood sugar) into ATP – the energy currency all our cells run on.

Don’t worry, it’ll be a short lesson and there’s no quiz at the end.

The first step of this process is known as glycolysis. Because there are only a few chemical steps and it doesn’t require oxygen, it’s a relatively fast process.

The downside, however, is that it also doesn’t produce very much ATP.

Along with the ATP, the other main end product of glycolysis is another molecule called pyruvate.

The next step is where things get interesting.

When your body has enough oxygen being delivered to your muscles, pyruvate is transported into your mitochondria (the energy power plants in your cells) and sent through a much longer series of chemical steps.

These steps are relatively slow, but they produce a lot of ATP.

When there is not enough oxygen available, pyruvate instead ends up as a different molecule called lactate—often used interchangeably with lactic acidemd .

Though there is some debate within the scientific community as to whether or not lactic acid ever technically forms in cells, it’s universally agreed upon that lactate is not what makes you tired or sore.

Instead, lactate is transported from the muscle cells that don’t have enough oxygen into other muscle fibers and even places like the heart, where oxygen is much more abundant.

With oxygen, lactate is then used to create more ATP.

So to recap:

  • When your body breaks down glucose aerobically (with oxygen) you end up with a lot of ATP, but it’s a slow process because there are a lot of chemical steps that have to happen.
  •  

  • When your body breaks down glucose anaerobically (without oxygen), it’s a much faster process, but it only produces a relatively small amount of ATP. At the same time, this process also leads to the formation of lactate.

What is the anaerobic threshold, anyway?

Hopefully you followed along with my little chemistry lesson, because it makes the concept of the anaerobic threshold much easier to understand.

The main thing to know is that at relatively low to moderate intensities, the body is able to generate all, or at least most, of the energy it needs aerobically because it has enough oxygen available to turn both fat and glucose into ATP.
 

 
As intensity and the demand for energy increases, at some point, the body has to start to tap into the anaerobic side.

As an example, let’s say your body can produce enough oxygen to allow you to run at 8mph purely through aerobic metabolism.

When you have to run 9, 10, or 11 mph, your body has to get the extra energy from the anaerobic side through glycolysis.

When this happens, the amount of lactate in the blood starts to increase.

All this really means is that more and more glucose is being broken down anaerobically and the aerobic system can’t keep up.

The faster you run, the more anaerobic energy you’ll need and the faster lactate will start to accumulate in the blood.

The point at which there is a rapid increase in lactate above a certain level is what is known as the anaerobic threshold. Because it’s based on lactate levels, it’s also often referred to as the lactate threshold.

Regardless of what it’s called, the simplest way to think about the threshold is that it’s the tipping point where lactate accumulates because the aerobic system isn’t able to produce as much energy as you need by itself.

As you hit the threshold and above, your body is producing an ever increasing amount of energy from the anaerobic side of the equation.

This is important because the simple and unavoidable rule of our biology is that the more we have to rely on anaerobically-driven energy, the faster we fatigue.
 

 
The anaerobic threshold and performance

All things being equal, if you have a higher anaerobic threshold, it means you have better aerobic fitness and you’ll be able to sustain higher speeds and generate more power for longer.

A person with an anaerobic threshold of 180bpm will generally be able to hold a higher pace than someone with a threshold of only 150bpm, for example.

This is why how fast someone can run at their anaerobic threshold is one of the best predictors of performance in endurance sports. Far better than another common aerobic marker, VO2 max.

An important thing to note, however, is that even though a single heart rate or speed is commonly used to denote the threshold, this is a bit of a misnomer that’s based on older research.

There is not one single heart rate where all of a sudden your energy production shifts dramatically. Instead, it’s more accurate to think of a heart rate range where this occurs rather than at a single point.

Where is your threshold?

The goal of the threshold method is to help improve your aerobic fitness to the point that it requires less energy from the anaerobic energy pathway to produce the same speed or power.

If you start out being able to run 9mph at your threshold for example, you’ll quickly fatigue after a few minutes there. Even faster if you go up to 10mph, 11mph or more.
 

 
If you are able to improve your aerobic fitness and increase your speed at your threshold up to 11mph, then you’d be able to sustain that same 9mph for much longer than before.

One of the most effective ways to train to develop this ability is to train within the range of your anaerobic threshold.

The main challenge with this, however, is that trying to determine exactly where this is requires getting tested in a lab and even then, it’s not as much of an exact science as many people make it out to be.

Your threshold also changes dramatically depending on the exercise that you’re doing.

Fortunately, unless you’re a competitive endurance athlete, it’s not really necessary to get an exact threshold anyway. The Morpheus heart rate zones were designed to help you train at intensities around your threshold without the need for specific testing.

To do this, make sure you’ve selected the right fitness level and either input your max heart rate, or let Morpheus do this for you. In the same settings, you can enter your threshold if you do know what it is, but if not, simply leave it blank.

From there, you can do two levels of threshold training: green and red.

For most people, as long as their recovery score is somewhere between about 85-95% recovery, then training around the top of the green zone will put them just below or at their threshold.

This should be a pace that’s challenging, but one that’s sustainable for up to 10-15 minutes without significant fatigue.

Moving up to the bottom of the red zone should then be just above their threshold. This should be a pace that’s generally sustainable for much less time, more like 3-5 minutes, before fatigue starts to set in and forces you to slow down.

How to incorporate threshold training into your program

As with other higher intensity methods, this type of training is best suited for people that already have a foundation of fitness to begin with. Very generally speaking, this means an HRV in the mid-70s or above in Morpheus.

If you’re below that, just starting out, or coming back from a layoff, lower intensity methods should be used first.
 

 
Threshold training is effective when it’s done 1-2 times per week. This is often the right frequency to stimulate the body to improve, without pushing it to the point that it can’t recover.

When doing green thresholds, a good total range within a workout is typically between 10-30 total minutes. This can be broken up into intervals of anywhere from 5-10 minutes at a time, with 2-3 minutes of active recovery in between.

Because red thresholds are higher intensity, you’ll want to shoot for less total time. Anywhere from about 5-12 total minutes per workout is all you need.

You’ll want to break these up into shorter intervals as well. Alternating 2-3 minutes of work with 1-2 minutes of active recovery is a good guideline to start with.

To understand power-endurance, we need to look at the legendary Usain Bolt.

Most people think of him as the fastest human of all time, which he undoubtedly is.

But what people don’t realize is that it’s not just his top speed that makes him so incredibly unique. Instead, it’s his ability to slow down just slightly less than everyone else.

In the 100m race, athletes hit their top speed well before the finish line. Usually around 7 seconds in or so. After that, it’s a matter of who can slow down the least.
 

 
He wasn’t just incredibly fast. He was also incredibly good at slowing down slower than everyone else. This is what truly set Usain Bolt apart and it’s what defines power-endurance.

It’s not just in sprinting that the difference between winning and losing can come down to the thinnest of margins. The ability to generate that last bit of extra performance when you need it most is what often separates the very best from all the rest.

From a fitness standpoint, the quality that’s often the most important to be able to do this is power-endurance.

This is the ability to maintain your explosive power as long as possible before fatigue sets in and you slow down.

Although there are limits to how much power you can sustain over time due to the nature of producing energy anaerobically (without oxygen), it can still be noticeably improved through training.

One of the best ways to do this is through power-endurance intervals.

Why we can’t be like Superman

Being able to stay in your high gear just a few seconds longer primarily comes down to how well your body can handle the stress that comes with producing a lot of energy anaerobically.

As we talked about in yesterday’s lesson, the body can produce energy aerobically, with oxygen, or anaerobically, without oxygen.

The aerobic system is always producing energy 24/7, from the moment you’re born throughout your entire life. It is incredibly efficient and it can turn proteins, carbs, and fat all into energy.

When it needs to generate more power than the aerobic system is capable of, that’s when it turns to the anaerobic side of things.
 

 
This is what makes the body capable of lifting hundreds of pounds of weight and sprinting at 20 miles an hour or more.

The cost of this, however, is fatigue.

If you think about it, there’s a good reason our bodies work like this.

Imagine if you could run an entire mile at the same speed you can hit in a 10 second sprint. Or if you could squat 100 reps with your 1 rep squat max.

Even if this were possible, the amount of stress you’d put on all your tissues and joints would be immense. The real world isn’t a superhero movie and ultimately, it wouldn’t take long before things would break.

Fortunately, we have a built in safety mechanism that prevents this from happening.

The more we use the anaerobic energy systems and the faster we generate energy, the more rapidly we fatigue and become forced to slow down.

The way power-intervals work is to train the body to slow down that fatigue just enough for us to squeeze out a few extra seconds of performance.

They can’t override how our body fundamentally works, but they can help us generate as much power as possible before we slow down.
 

 
How to do red and green power-endurance intervals

Both types of power-endurance intervals are extremely similar to the power intervals we covered in the previous lesson. The only real difference is in the times that are used for both the work and the rest periods:

  • Green power-endurance intervals: 10-15s work @100% : 60-90s rest at the top of the blue zone.
  • Red power-endurance intervals: 30-45s work @100% : 90-180s rest at the top of the blue zone.

The overall work to active rest ratio is shifted towards relatively longer work and shorter rest periods. You’ll also notice that the active recovery is at the top of the blue instead of the middle.
This is to focus on training those extra few seconds of power and help the body get used to handling the stress of relying more on the anaerobic energy systems.

Unlike with the power intervals covered in the previous lesson, you should start to feel more and more fatigued with each rep. Pushing yourself towards the edge of your endurance is the most effective way to improve it.

When it comes to choosing exercises, the same guidelines covered in the green and red power intervals apply. You want total body exercises that are capable of driving your heart rate up.

It’s also best to try to avoid exercises that put too much stress on your joints or that are highly technical in nature. Choosing the right exercises will help you avoid developing bad habits as you fatigue and reduce your risk of injury.
 

 
How often should you do them?

An important thing to note is that this type of interval is high intensity, very demanding, and best suited for someone that already has a good base of fitness and movement capacity.

If you’re just starting out or you haven’t done any conditioning for some length of time, power-endurance intervals are not the place to start.

WIth that in mind, you can start off incorporating power-endurance intervals into your workout as little as one day a week, but generally two, spread a few days apart, will be the most effective.

They should only be done as part of your green or red workouts.

They can be done with weights in the same workout, but in that case, it’s best to do the intervals first if your goal is to improve your conditioning.

Doing them after you’re already fatigued from lifting will potentially make them less effective and likely slow down your recovery.

A good number of sets is anywhere from as little as 2 and as many as 5-6 depending on your fitness level.

When you’re first getting started, stick with the lower end of the work times and the higher end of the rest guidelines. Each week, add a few more seconds of work in each rep until you get to the higher end.

From there, start to reduce the rest intervals by a few seconds at a time until you’re on the lower end.

A good amount of time to include power-endurance intervals in your program is typically between 4-6 weeks. Just as with the power intervals, it’s normal to see your HRV decrease a bit when you first start incorporating them.

Look for your HRV rebound back up in the following weeks as your power-endurance improves.