Today I’d like to talk about Lactate. . . often referred to as ‘lactic acid,’.

If you are a fairly serious athlete, you’ve heard about Lactate or Lactic Acid buildup and Lactate Threshold Training so you can adapt and buildup your Lactate threshold.

This is why Lactate is the classic marker for fatigue and entire strategies are built around ‘Lactate Threshold Training’ (LTT) . . . . while increasing Fat Oxidation actually happens to play a big underlying part of LTT, the other aspects have to do with increasing adaptations for Lactate tolerance and clearance. 

So, my question for you to ponder in today’s vlog is this: ‘Why all this training and adaptation to increase Lactate tolerance & clearance when it would be a LOT better to minimize Lactate from accumulating in the first place? . . .in other words, wouldn’t it be a whole lot better to eliminate most of the lactate beforehand instead of ‘training’ our body getting better at tolerating and clearing it?

Nature / Evolution shaped us over millions of years to be robust and perform at the highest levels BECAUSE our lives depended upon it….we evolved to metabolize fat as our aerobic energy source. As the FASTER Study demonstrated by making this fundamental shift to fat as your fuel we can dramatically reduce lactate load and accumulation.

Our modern focus on carbohydrate based energy has actually created the challenge of Lactate clearance. Once again by not looking to Nature to guide us our short cuts have led to ‘unintended consequences. We are not being efficient here…..But let’s not blame it on Lactate.  Lactate is a proxy for sugar burning. That is the REAL problem. 

Now Oxidative stress occurs all the time but our bodies have pathways to deal with ‘normal’ levels of oxidative stress, even during exercise. The oxidation of glucose is one of the biggest contributors of oxidative stress, especially in carbohydrate dependent athletes. And poor old Lactate gets the blame. Lactate is a by-product of breaking glucose down into acetyl-CoA to feed into the Krebs/Citric Acid Cycle to create energy. When glucose is cleaved  into Pyruvic Acid and Lactic Acid both are immediately buffered into Pyruvate and Lactate.

The Pyruvate is converted into Acetyl-CoA and fed into the Krebs/Citric Acid Cycle to produce energy while Lactate is shipped out of the cell into the bloodstream to be recycled or used. The proxy, Lactate, tells us how much sugar we are burning, and, the more sugar we burn, the more oxidative stress we are creating…….so, on top of having to recycle lactate, the body has to deal with a lot of oxidative stress! 

On the other hand, Long chain fatty acids are inherently stable, full of energy and create the least amount of oxidative stress as they are cleaved off into carbon units and converted to Acetyl CoA  through beta-oxidation. Our mitochondria love them!  So, not only are you tapping into a sustainable supply of energy but the one that is most efficient and does the least amount of damage!

So what I am positing here is the best way to increase your Lactate Threshold would be to focus on optimizing your fat metabolism because you can dramatically lower your lactate production at any given aerobic level! . . . think about it! …..this is another reason why both VESPA and OFM are a true paradigm-shift in health & performance. 

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