Fleischer sacrifices body for science
He rides “circuits,” consisting of pedaling three minutes as hard as he can, followed by a zero-resistance spin for a minute. During the “circuits,” his team of physical therapists and doctors prick his finger, measuring the presence of lactate in his blood. This gives them an idea of how his body is reacting to aerobic exercise, especially when combined with pulse rate and blood pressure.
After each circuit, the resistance is increased. He repeats until muscle failure.
“You go and go until you fall off the bike and start screaming,” Fleischer said. “But it has a purpose. From the sports science point, it tells me exactly where I’m at. Anybody can have it done.”
After failure, the doctors and Fleischer look at the data and figure out averages. For instance, at some point an increasing heart rate will intersect with a decreasing strength in the leg muscles, signifying what is ideal and what is unhealthy. It demonstrates the when and where of the professional athlete’s limits. If you follow the patterns, Fleischer said, the ideal workout will appear out of the numbers.
For the average athlete, the maximum pulse rate can be figured out as follows: subtract your age from 220, which is the maximum heart rate at birth. It decreases every year you live. Take that number, and multiply it by 75 percent. For example, a 58-year-old will have a maximum pulse rate of 122.