Bloomington / Normal, IL

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Clockwork Precision in Athletics Part 7—Metabolic Monitoring

  January 02, 2017

By Alexander Germanis

Following a recipe is more than simply having the right ingredients and the proper amount of each one. Knowing how to add them together and even in what order to combine them can be as crucial as what temperature at which to set the oven or for how long the food should be cooked. All these parameters must be met in order to produce the best possible edible delight.

Achieving the best possible physical workout must also follow a certain set of parameters. Just as how each oven heats differently, each person’s workout differs based on their individual metabolic fingerprint.

As described earlier in this series, an individual’s metabolic fingerprint is arrived at through a correlation of the heart rate and lactate ranges; it is then determined what heart rate that person needs to maintain in order to burn the proper fuels at optimal efficiency.

Dr. Joseph Norris, founder of Method Sports Performance in Bloomington and a surgeon at McLean County Orthopedics, believes in order to make that metabolic fingerprint work best for the individual athlete — whether pro or amateur, young or old — metabolic monitoring plays an important role.

The monitoring, as Dr. Norris describes, starts with cellular respiration analytics (CRA) testing. “An athlete can get periodic lab tests that involve normal, medically based evaluations to find out where they are in their training — if they’re overtraining or under-training — with scientific data pointing to it.”

Just as with overbaking, overtraining can certainly ruin a good thing. “People who overtrain end up with anemia,” the doctor explains, “and you can identify that very early with metabolic monitoring. The best thing for them to optimize their time is to actually stop the amount of training they’re doing and recover back metabolically to a level they can handle.”

“You take a test, train as prescribed, then come back and take another test,” the doctor continues. “Your output or heart rate to get to your lactate threshold changes. So, over time you have to test more than once because, if you really train well, your physiologic status changes.”

One’s physiologic status can change through an increase in mitochondrial density. Within the cells, the organelles known as mitochondria act as a sort of power company. Cellular respiration is carried out in the mitochondria, ultimately generating the fuel for the cell to carry out its functions. Dr. Norris explains what can happen to the mitochondria through proper training: “By constantly flooding the cell with oxygen or stressing it, you build and create more mitochondria, which then creates a gigantic powerhouse for more energy, which then allows you to have a greater output.”

Although the metabolic science of it was initially geared toward the anaerobic athlete or straight training, Dr. Norris points out the same science can also be applied to aerobic athletes as well. For aerobic athletes, namely cyclists and long distance runners, the metabolic goal is to drive the lactate threshold as far as possible. “Your lactate threshold is what makes men and women mortals,” the doctor says. “That’s when you cannot go any further; you start failing. By always training right up to that threshold, you can affect change, and you can base that on heart rate.”

By monitoring that lactate threshold and how it changes over time, metabolic monitoring is like following a recipe to the letter. It allows athletes to optimize their performance, whether the overall physical goals are to become a national champion triathlete or simply to become healthier in order to live a better life.

To learn about the how metabolic monitoring is being used to help the individual in the long term, please read “Clockwork Precision in Athletics, Part 8” in next month’s issue of Healthy Cells Magazine. If you missed the previous articles in this series, you may read them online at or contact Cheryl at 309-664-2524.

Method Sports Performance, developed by Dr. Norris and Dr. Newcomer, is now open as part of the Integrated Center for Wellness, located at 1111 Trinity Lane in Bloomington. Method Sports Performance offers a science-based approach to improving the performance of athletes of all ages. For more information, you may visit their website, call 309-433-9355, or contact Dr. Norris at     

Back to Top

January 02, 2017

Add A Comment


Allowed HTML: <b>, <i>, <u>, <a>



Copyright © Agility Inc. 2022