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How to Use Science in Endurance Coaching | #28 ft. Michelle Simmons

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In this episode of the Critical Oxygen podcast, I am joined by coach Michelle Simmons to discuss the intersection of science in coaching! We cover topics such as understanding thresholds and energy systems, the evolution of training and coaching, the role of lactate in training, fueling for performance, the myth of fasted training, carbohydrate and fat oxidation, the importance of being a hybrid athlete, and the role of mitochondria in energy production. The discussion covers fatigue resistance and the role of mitochondrial function in staving off fatigue. We explore the benefits of easy training and high-intensity interval training. The conversation touches on lactate production and consumption, as well as the use of lactate as a fuel source. The importance of carbohydrate intake and its impact on performance is discussed, along with the need for individualization in training and nutrition.

More about Michelle in her words:

Personally: I did my first triathlon in 1995! Fell in love with it immediately. I continued to race for ~25 years. I rarely race anymore but I still train bc I enjoy it and want to be healthy and fit enough to train with my athletes at times. In my time, I did 18x Ironmans, including 4x in Kona.

Professionally: I started coaching a few friends in 2008. I took every opportunity to learn (still do!) and my coaching business grew to the point where I’ve been doing it full time for the last 15 years. I am the founder and Head Coach at TeamBSC Triathlon. I work with amateurs of all ages and abilities- some beginners and others who ultimately qualify for the World Champs! I’m actively involved in supporting endurance sports on Oahu. I coach Kailua Masters Swim team, lead a local monthly Girls Ride, and am a board member for Aloha State Bike Racing Association. Sometimes I present educational workshops for local athletes.


1) Understanding thresholds and energy systems is crucial for optimizing training and performance.

2) Coaching and training have evolved over the years, with a greater emphasis on individualization and understanding the underlying physiology.

3) Fueling properly before, during, and after workouts is essential for performance and recovery.

4) Mitochondria play a key role in energy production. Mitochondrial function plays a crucial role in fatigue resistance.

5) Easy training and high-intensity interval training both offer unique benefits for endurance athletes.

6) Lactate production and consumption are complex processes that contribute to energy production.

7) Carbohydrate intake should be individualized based on an athlete's specific needs and goals.

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00:00 Introduction and Background

03:00 Learning from Experience and Coaching

08:00 Understanding Thresholds and Energy Systems

13:00 The Evolution of Training and Coaching

19:00 The Role of Lactate in Training

25:00 Fueling for Performance

32:00 The Myth of Fasted Training

38:00 Carbohydrate and Fat Oxidation

45:00 The Importance of Being a Hybrid Athlete

46:00 The Role of Mitochondria in Energy Production

47:01 Fatigue Resistance and Mitochondrial Function

49:00 Benefits of Easy Training and High-Intensity Interval Training

51:52 Lactate Production and Consumption

53:13 Cytomax and Lactate as a Fuel Source

55:44 Carbohydrate Intake and Performance

57:09 Debating Carbohydrate Intake

59:29 The Importance of Individualization

01:04:27 Simplifying Training and Nutrition

01:06:17 Practicality and Optimal Performance

01:09:29 The Role of Happiness in Performance

01:12:45 The Secret to Longevity in the Sport

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