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Frustrations Over Lactic Acid Myth

Old 07-28-17, 01:54 PM
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work4bike
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Frustrations Over Lactic Acid Myth

It's been known for decades now that Lactic acid is not the cause of muscle burn, actually it seems like lactic acid isn't produced by the body, but if it is it's short-lived; rather what is produced is lactate. Yet, I keep hearing/reading how bad lactate (more commonly referred as Lactic Acid) is, when actually it's a very good source of fuel, including the brain and heart.

So when are people going to stop mindlessly parroting this lactic acid myth and start looking at the latest studies?

I just got a book on nutrition and fitness and saw it perpetuated the lactic acid myth...sent me on a rant.....

Rant off...
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Old 07-28-17, 02:13 PM
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Your maximum heart rate is 220 - your age.
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Old 07-28-17, 02:25 PM
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Habit. Parroting what people see "experts" write or say. Misinterpreting words that seem to mean one thing but actually mean another. Same reason people write less than when they mean fewer, which instead of that, and don't understand that neoliberalism is an economic philosophy promoting free market capitalism, not a socialistic anti-market political philosophy, or that catalogs aren't made of cats.
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Old 07-28-17, 02:28 PM
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however you want to look at it, blood lactate measurements indicate going beyond your threshold aerobic capacity and you can no longer clear waste products in parallel with blood lactate
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Old 07-28-17, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
however you want to look at it, blood lactate measurements indicate going beyond your threshold aerobic capacity and you can no longer clear waste products in parallel with blood lactate
And that increased lactate production is why it's looked at as a bad thing, which leads to other myths, such as lactate being a waste product. Another example of how we must always remind ourselves that correlation is not necessarily causation.

There's a lot of history to this lactic acid myth that goes way back, which makes it even more incredible that it still persists to this day. The below link is a good synopsis of the history.

https://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Articl...r/lactate.html
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Old 07-28-17, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Habit. Parroting what people see "experts" write or say. Misinterpreting words that seem to mean one thing but actually mean another. Same reason people write less than when they mean fewer, which instead of that, and don't understand that neoliberalism is an economic philosophy promoting free market capitalism, not a socialistic anti-market political philosophy, or that catalogs aren't made of cats.
Yes they are! That's why one hardware chain here now publishes a dogalogue. For petist equality and all that.

Entirely off topic. Sorry.

(The dogalogue part is true, by the way).
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Old 07-28-17, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
It's been known for decades now that Lactic acid is not the cause of muscle burn, actually it seems like lactic acid isn't produced by the body, but if it is it's short-lived; rather what is produced is lactate. Yet, I keep hearing/reading how bad lactate (more commonly referred as Lactic Acid) is, when actually it's a very good source of fuel, including the brain and heart.

So when are people going to stop mindlessly parroting this lactic acid myth and start looking at the latest studies?

I just got a book on nutrition and fitness and saw it perpetuated the lactic acid myth...sent me on a rant.....

Rant off...
Regardless of whether lactic acid or lactate is the cause of muscle burn, it's directly correlated so I'm not sure what harm this little misinterpretation causes.
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Old 07-29-17, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Regardless of whether lactic acid or lactate is the cause of muscle burn, it's directly correlated so I'm not sure what harm this little misinterpretation causes.
As I said in the OP, it's been proven decades ago that the link between lactate and muscle burn was shown to not be the cause of muscle burn; furthermore, it's not the villain everyone makes it out to be, it's a fuel source, not a waste product.

I'm currently reading a book by Dr. Philip Maffetone and in it he perpetuates the myth of Lactic Acid. If he has that wrong, what else is wrong in his book? It's not just a “little misinterpretation”, he makes claims such as:

“...you may not be aware of lactic acid's effect on the mental state. For a long time scientists have known that increased lactic acid from anaerobic muscles converts to lactate in the blood, which may provide depression, anxiety, and phobias.”


Another one of the problems with this “little misinterpretation” is that it leads people to think that intensive exercise is bad and I believe that's exactly the message Dr Maffetone is trying to say in his book. That's absolutely wrong. I guess I'll still read the book, but I just don't know what to trust...That's what I'm ranting about...
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Old 07-29-17, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
As I said in the OP, it's been proven decades ago that the link between lactate and muscle burn was shown to not be the cause of muscle burn; furthermore, it's not the villain everyone makes it out to be, it's a fuel source, not a waste product.
Yes, we know that. So what? With high intensity comes an increase in lactate as well as muscle burn and fatigue. There is useful training information that can be had by measuring lactate during exercise. Just because it's a fuel source doesn't mean that people are going to suddenly enjoy training at high lactate levels. It doesn't work that way.

I'm currently reading a book by Dr. Philip Maffetone and in it he perpetuates the myth of Lactic Acid. If he has that wrong, what else is wrong in his book? It's not just a “little misinterpretation”, he makes claims such as:

“...you may not be aware of lactic acid's effect on the mental state. For a long time scientists have known that increased lactic acid from anaerobic muscles converts to lactate in the blood, which may provide depression, anxiety, and phobias.”


Another one of the problems with this “little misinterpretation” is that it leads people to think that intensive exercise is bad and I believe that's exactly the message Dr Maffetone is trying to say in his book. That's absolutely wrong. I guess I'll still read the book, but I just don't know what to trust...That's what I'm ranting about...
So your real beef is with Maffetone's approach to training? I haven't read his book but it doesn't sound like he's perpetrating any myths here: https://philmaffetone.com/lactate-update/
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Old 07-29-17, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
Yes, we know that. So what? With high intensity comes an increase in lactate as well as muscle burn and fatigue. There is useful training information that can be had by measuring lactate during exercise. Just because it's a fuel source doesn't mean that people are going to suddenly enjoy training at high lactate levels. It doesn't work that way.
I'm not even sure what you're addressing here, since I never said anything about measuring lactate during exercise; I know there's some use to it. And I don't care what people enjoy or don't enjoy, that was never my concern. Many people think that exercise should always be enjoyable and never exceed 70% of maximum heart rate. They're absolutely wrong, but I don't care.

So your real beef is with Maffetone's approach to training? I haven't read his book but it doesn't sound like he's perpetrating any myths here: https://philmaffetone.com/lactate-update/
As I said, my beef was with very out-dated information on lactate (which I hear over and over again...which leads to frustration), not with Maffetone's approach to training, simply because I'm not sure what his training method is, since I just started reading the book. That website seems to be in direct contradiction to what I've started reading, so at least it looks like he's getting up to date with the science. Albeit he makes a few minor mistakes, but I'll say it's a big improvement over what I'm reading.
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Old 07-29-17, 02:19 PM
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I ride with a Phd research physiologist who spent some time looking into this. He says it's probably true that lactate is not the cause of muscle burn. OTOH, no one is sure what is the causative factor. He has his theories, but so far they are unproven by research. While we wait for someone to figure it out, it is true that blood lactate levels are closely associated with muscle burn, so that's what people use in common speech. People will say "lactate burn" instead of "that unknown thing or chemical which causes the burn."

If the OP wants to do the research and can figure out a one-word name for the causative factor, he could try to publicize it on BF.
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Old 07-29-17, 05:20 PM
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Here are two very quick videos that explain the burn:







And they reference the research conducted by this man, professor George Brooks, pioneer of the lactate shuttle theory. This is a much longer video than the two above:
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Old 07-29-17, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by work4bike View Post
As I said, my beef was with very out-dated information on lactate (which I hear over and over again...which leads to frustration)
As far as I can see knowing that lactate is not the cause of muscle soreness provides no special insight and results in no changes to anyone's behaviour so I think the notion that there is some myth being perpetrated is a red herring.

Most athletes continue to spend time at high intensities where they 'feel the burn'. That they don't understand what's causing the burn makes no difference.
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Old 07-30-17, 06:55 AM
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OP, do you race or train in any systematic way?

Sure lactate is used as a fuel but a huge point of training is for the athlete to improve his/her ability to process lactate and to use it as a fuel. Untrained individuals have lesser ability to use lactate as a fuel. And when lactate goes unprocessed it begins to accumulate in the blood, when it passes a steady-state and you're riding/racing at an intensity at which your body produces lactate faster than you can use it as a fuel, then you are on the road to being cooked.

The athlete, during an effort, can read their own body to understand where they are physiologically- whether lactate is accumulating too fast for their state of training- they learn to recognize the burn/sensation in the legs, and to a lesser extent their resp rate/quality, and to a lesser extent heart rate, and to a still lesser extent RPE. It doesn't really matter if the burn is the legs is caused by lactate or not, it's still your primary subjective marker of lactate accumulation when you're out racing or training, since most of us are not continually measuring blood lactate levels.

So don't be frustrated when people talk about lactate and the burn, or about lactate threshold. People who train effectively know they have to take their body there to improve. People who race effectively know how to spend time at or above lactate threshold and to read their own physiology. And definitely the continued accumulation of lactate in
the blood once an athlete passes their lactate threshold is a limiter for performance.
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Old 08-13-17, 07:32 PM
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What about when someone claims that second day soreness (DOMS) is left over lactic acid and they need to stretch to get it out of the system? That must drive you nuts. I know it drives me nuts.
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Old 08-13-17, 08:02 PM
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Livestrong--

You'll hear "lactic acid" and "lactate" used interchangeably by trainers, coaches and other sports experts. Colloquially, people assume you mean the same thing when you use either term, but they are technically different. Lactate is produced by your body in response to aerobic exercise and serves as a fuel for the muscles, delays fatigue and prevents injury. Lactic acid contains one additional proton and is not produced by the body at all during exercise.
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Old 07-31-22, 08:30 AM
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So what does cause muscle burn? Haven't they figured it out by now?
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Old 07-31-22, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by MrJames67 View Post
So what does cause muscle burn? Haven't they figured it out by now?
I am baffled myself.

Lately, I have advanced enough in training to maintain a heart rate of over 200 bpm for 15 minutes. At my age of 40, that's clearly zone 5 territory.

To do that I'm pedaling out of the saddle continuously for 15 minutes. I'll be breathing like a madman, I'd feel like I'm suffocating. It's really hard.....BUT, I'd feel no pain, no soreness in any of my muscles. No "burn". I don't take any pain-relieving meds. In fact, I don't take any meds. Only Vitamin-C and nothing else.

When I used to experience muscle burn. I'm beginning to think I'm simply not used to a certain posture or certain exertion per leg angles. But when I get used to those positions or adopted a posture or position I can tolerate better or more comfortable with, I push harder until I can barely breath and still not feel pain on my muscles.
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Old 07-31-22, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
I am baffled myself.

Lately, I have advanced enough in training to maintain a heart rate of over 200 bpm for 15 minutes. At my age of 40, that's clearly zone 5 territory.

To do that I'm pedaling out of the saddle continuously for 15 minutes. I'll be breathing like a madman, I'd feel like I'm suffocating. It's really hard.....BUT, I'd feel no pain, no soreness in any of my muscles. No "burn". I don't take any pain-relieving meds. In fact, I don't take any meds. Only Vitamin-C and nothing else.

When I used to experience muscle burn. I'm beginning to think I'm simply not used to a certain posture or certain exertion per leg angles. But when I get used to those positions or adopted a posture or position I can tolerate better or more comfortable with, I push harder until I can barely breath and still not feel pain on my muscles.
200 bpm? 15 minutes? To me that is amazing. Like Dean Karnazes in a way. He has a body that scientists have found does not have lactate buildup; it clears before it can build up. So he can run hundreds of miles without stopping.

I'm going to try your suggestion about different positions on different bikes on my training road here, all uphill. At 77 and not well-trained, I'm not out of breath or breathing that hard, just bad muscle burn after about a hundred feet up the hill. Working on it twice a day usually for 30 minutes and low gears, high gears, sitting or standing, high or low cadence. I break down at the same point at the top of hill. It's frustrating although I can do it in higher gears than a month ago. I do figure eights at the top, on the level for recovery, and zoom back down after two minutes by the clock, and do it again. And again. I just started working on shortening that recovery time. Calorie intake seems to make little difference in these results and my nutritional and biannual blood draw readouts are perfect. I just don't build up endurance easily. But I will try it on my other bikes andI am persistent.
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Old 07-31-22, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
Lately, I have advanced enough in training to maintain a heart rate of over 200 bpm for 15 minutes. At my age of 40, that's clearly zone 5 territory.
If you’re able to maintain that pace for 15 minutes, it’s not zone 5. Clearly.
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Old 07-31-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by koala logs View Post
I am baffled myself.

Lately, I have advanced enough in training to maintain a heart rate of over 200 bpm for 15 minutes. At my age of 40, that's clearly zone 5 territory.
That's some pretty impressive trolling performance.
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Old 07-31-22, 04:19 PM
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Really, of all the dogma and things misrepresented on the internet, this is the one that bothers you ?
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Old 07-31-22, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
If you’re able to maintain that pace for 15 minutes, it’s not zone 5. Clearly.
I can only do it once or twice a week, the day after recovery / rest day. It's hard for me to believe my MHR would be significantly higher than 200 bpm at my age.

It's probably borderline z4. The lowest end range of z5. But everything has to be right. My legs must be fresh and my back not sore and fully recovered and doing it after a short afternoon nap helps a lot.
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Old 07-31-22, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by MrJames67 View Post
200 bpm? 15 minutes? To me that is amazing. Like Dean Karnazes in a way. He has a body that scientists have found does not have lactate buildup; it clears before it can build up. So he can run hundreds of miles without stopping.

I'm going to try your suggestion about different positions on different bikes on my training road here, all uphill. At 77 and not well-trained, I'm not out of breath or breathing that hard, just bad muscle burn after about a hundred feet up the hill. Working on it twice a day usually for 30 minutes and low gears, high gears, sitting or standing, high or low cadence. I break down at the same point at the top of hill. It's frustrating although I can do it in higher gears than a month ago. I do figure eights at the top, on the level for recovery, and zoom back down after two minutes by the clock, and do it again. And again. I just started working on shortening that recovery time. Calorie intake seems to make little difference in these results and my nutritional and biannual blood draw readouts are perfect. I just don't build up endurance easily. But I will try it on my other bikes andI am persistent.
For positions, the #1 consideration is comfort and at the effort level you're attempting, you must be in a comfortable position / posture at the effort level.

If your muscles are still very sore from yesterday's workouts it might be a good idea to take one day rest or even more. Hard sessions are even harder if muscles are still very sore and performance is likely to deteriorate.

Bike fit for climbing maybe different from the flats especially if you deal with lots of climbs and few flats. Typically, the saddle is moved all the way forward, tilted down a little bit and raised a little bit. It may give you additional power and due to improved comfort on climbs but the adjustment may be uncomfortable in the flats. It's a compromise. Make sure you mark the current saddle position if you're planning on making those adjustments so you can put it back to where it was if it causes problems.
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Old 08-01-22, 09:54 AM
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Why do some muscles get the burn and the lactic acid but others don't?

Quads get the burn when you do leg extensions. I've had my calf go stiff after a long swim. My side delts get the burn when I'm on my last few reps of drop-sets with light weights.

But when I'm doing dumbbell presses and working to failure on my last few reps and light weights, I struggle to finish but can't feel that same burn in my pecs although the next day, there is muscle soreness.
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