In the last article on sports diagnostics we explained why it’s so important to have your Physical Profile established through testing. In short, you will get to know your strengths and weaknesses and from there a training schedule can be made to improve the weaknesses while maintaining or even improving your strengths. Last month I went to Berlin to undergo some tests at Diagnose Berlin to get to know my metabolic profile.
Text: Brian Megens
Header Image: Juliane Bötel
Diagnose Berlin is founded by Raphael Jung, a sports scientist with a MSc is in “Exercise Science and Coaching”, a former bike messenger, and current member of messpack berlin. On a Monday around midnight I arrive in Berlin and as Raphael and his wife just got a baby, he arranged me to stay with Hagen, a good friend and contributor to FGC, to make sure I will get some proper sleep. On the same evening, I get a text with instructions for the next day: “eat latest at 11am and then head to the office”. The next day I wake up, and I feel a big need for some decent coffee. After the best Flat White I ever had, I quickly eat something and jump on the tram to meet Raphael at the office. I arrive at 1pm and after my introduction I am quiet for the next 2 hours and listen to Raphael who passionately tells me about his path towards starting Diagnose Berlin, his view on sports science, and training methods. Throughout my years in cycling I worked with several trainers but I am blown away by his passion, but above all knowledge. Raphael explains me into detail how the metabolism works while exercising, which numbers are important and what they mean in fixed gear crit racing, and how from the tests we can make a training plan to get me ‘back in shape’.
3 hours later, and 5 hours after my small breakfast, we are ready to start. First I need to weigh myself, 79.3kg which is already 3 kilo’s less than the weight I had during last season. After this I am connected to an oxygen machine to measure my metabolism. We spread 3 tests over 2 days. Today, I will only do the incremental step test, in this test the resistance is very slowly increased to examine my energy system and get an estimation of my functional threshold. The first 20 minutes are fairly easy but from 30 minutes onwards it gets tougher. Luckily for me, Raphael stops the test just above my threshold as that’s the main thing he is interested in, so after 40 minutes I am done with day I.
Day 2 promises to be tougher with a 30 sec max sprint to find out roughly what my max power is and my 30sec. Raphael holds the trainer when I go full gas, 30 seconds rarely felt so long and I feel that after 15 seconds I am struggling to keep the pedals go round. After the 30 seconds test I have 20 minutes to recover and through easy pedalling my legs feel quite good after 15 minutes.
The last test is the ramp test, like the day before, the test starts low in resistance and increases over time. However, unlike the day before, the resistance increases a lot quicker and today I am also expected to go all out. With a pretty good incremental step test, Raphael expects some quite impressive numbers to be achieved today. I ask Raphael to play some music to distract me, Yellow Claw – Insanity of Bass should boost me enough and give me the focus I need to go deep in the pain zone.
Up to 400 watts I am able to kind of enjoy it but I know that from there it will be pain only. Raphael realises this and he starts motivating me. My aim is to at least hit the 500 watts. When I see 470 I feel my legs are really running empty, but I am determined to get over 500 watts, when I see 511 on the screen I call it a day. Exhausted I hang my head over the handlebars and I have to wait as Raphael needs to measure my lactate.
My work is done, now it is up to Raphael to interpret the data. From the 3 tests my physiological profile can be determined. This, together with my goals for the next season, determine my training schedule.
In the next article in the series I will go more in-depth on the first weeks of training under supervision of Raphael Jung.