BSXinsight-lactate-threshold-wearable-real-time-monitor1

At Interbike, BSX Athletics introduced the BSXinsight, a wearable, fully external lactate threshold monitor that measures your threshold using LED light and sending the readings to your smartphone via Bluetooth. You hop on the trainer, start the workout on your phone and proceed to crush yourself for 30 minutes. The result, as originally planned, was that you’d then know your anaerobic threshold.

But, in the months since the show, it’s learned a new trick.

“One of the things we learned since introducing it at Interbike is that not only did we have the ability to measure anaerobic threshold (lactate threshold), but also the aerobic threshold,” Dustin Freckleton, co-founder and president, told us. “That makes the zone determination a lot more accurate, letting you tune your workout to improve the specific type of performance you want to target.”

There’s a lot of different terminology out there, so let’s clarify what the two mean. Aerobic Threshold is commonly called LT1, and Anaerobic Threshold is LT2, with the numbers basically corresponding to the order in which they occur in your body. LT1 is just a small bump, when you first see lactic acid levels go above baseline. LT2 is when the graph really starts pointing upward and you start producing more than you can clear. For all practical purposes, everything before LT1 is purely aerobic, everything after LT2 is purely anaerobic. In between the two is a blend.

So, what’s the benefit of knowing your aerobic threshold?

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If you can keep inside your aerobic capacity, then you’re operating at the most efficient level, which means you can go farther without bonking. By testing it, you correlate your heart rate and/or power output to your LT1, and then you know where you need to stay during longer races to avoid blowing up before the finish.

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Without a device that produces a specific LT1 number, you’re left guessing what that level is. There are some percentage-based estimates, but this gives you a number specific to you and you alone.

They’ve updated the firmware that includes the new dual measurement into the first units that will ship by end of March.

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The cycling edition retails for $369. They also offer a $299 running version, and a $419 multisport model that’ll do both.

BSXinsight.com

31 COMMENTS

  1. +1 on Tan lines, would this work on the Quad?

    Also, what’s the difference between versions? the all seem to have the same stuff in the box.

    Finally, if you’re reading this, you have bad URLs in the”pick your passion section”

    😛

  2. “when you first see lactic acid levels go above baseline.” Report to a sciencetician because you’re making medical history. Lactic acid is a myth.

  3. I don’t want to buy one, but if a coach offered this as a service to help you fine tune your zones that would be interesting. Perhaps get a reading three times a season.

  4. If you find a coach that offers this you’ll know to steer clear of them. Of the things that smart clothing can do, this is possibly the least useful from a training perspective. You’re better to take the risk of being an early adopter of the 4iiis powermeter which is a similar price.

  5. @Sam, can you please explain to us, readers of BR, how Lactic Acid is a Myth? And then tell me where I can find one of these Sceinticians so we can have a basic discussion on Lactic Acid.

  6. One statement I am wondering about is, the mention of correlation of heart rate with power output to LT1. Open to gain some education about this, but it is my understanding that heart rate will rarely correlate with power (from a mid to long term perspective). This is because your fitness is ever changing. For any random day, your heart rate and time in zones may or may not correlate with power zones. This tool seems to provide an ability to gain a snap shot of current fitness. So, maybe I am seeing an argument for wearing this thing for all training rides.

    I think the general population would benefit from just a consistent riding program to get faster. Maybe pro athletes can benefit from this high level of feedback.

    Does this company have a data set showing precision/accuracy, and dare I say repeatability? Not sure the third is even possible.

  7. @Sean P – I’m a scientician (PhD candidate exercise physiology) and Sam is correct, if a little pedantic – the pKa of Lactic acid/lactate mean that in physiological environment it will exist entirely as lactate. Many people think the “acid” part of lactic acid is what causes muscle burn and fatigue, but it’s not the case.

  8. Why the difference in price for the running and cycling versions and forgive my ignorance but wouldn’t your lactic threshold heart rate be the same?

  9. Oh for heavens sake do we need yet another sensor/monitor to suck the joy out of riding your bike? Just ride hard, listen to your body, and have fun.

  10. @ cody, I’m not PhD candidate so I hope I’m not going above my pay grade. I realize that the term lactic acid doesn’t actually mean there is “acid” in the lactate. I also realize that this is an ever changing and somewhat “debatable” issue on the workings of Lacate (as you well know it’s pretty complicated). Lactate has long been misunderstood in the athletic community and there are so many myths associated with it. However, the term is still widely used for good or bad. I think at the end of the day this may be a good tool for some and I’d be interested to get your take on it?

  11. They’ve updated the firmware that includes the new dual measurement into the first units that will ship by END OF MARCH.

    Great ! Rings a Bell ?

  12. @codyish I’ve been called many things in my life, a pedant is definitely one of them. I just hate glucose molecules getting such a bad rap no matter what form they’re in, be it complete, lactate or toast.

    @greydog DCR’s experience showed it to correlate well with a traditional lactate threshold test, if not beat it http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2014/09/bloodless-lactate-threshold.html

    @edge your LTHR will be different for each sport, but generally quite close http://www.trainingbible.com/joesblog/2010/03/physiological-fitness-lactate-threshold.html

    @Rico I’d imagine it would hurt their sales quite considerably.

    @Andy if you find tech takes the fun out of YOUR riding, don’t buy it. Those of use who compete and don’t enjoy being stabbed in the ear while trying to fall off an ERG would quite like this, hence why I’m buying one.

  13. Following a certain (nameless) physician/cyclist who helped write an important power training book on Facebook and he’s been experimenting with sensors like this (as well as others). His results indicate that the levels of “lactic acid” (I’m not sure that’s the term he used but bear with me here) vary by muscle AND by location on said muscle – big surprise right. His posts seemed to question the reliability of a non-intrusive device mounted on the calf.

    He’s smarter than me so take that for whatever you want.

  14. Great questions and points by everyone! We will slowly start to pick through them and provide accurate data and feedback that will hopefully help to resolve them.

    @randall
    “Also, what’s the difference between versions? the all seem to have the same stuff in the box.”

    BSXinsight comes in three different editions depending on your sport.

    · Running Edition: measures running lactate threshold to determine your training zones based on pace and heart rate (ANT+)

    · Cycling Edition: measures cycling lactate threshold to determine your training zones based on power (ANT+) and heart rate (ANT+)

    · Multisport Edition: measures lactate threshold and training zones for both running and cycling

    Does that help answer your question?

  15. @david
    “If you find a coach that offers this you’ll know to steer clear of them. Of the things that smart clothing can do, this is possibly the least useful from a training perspective. You’re better to take the risk of being an early adopter of the 4iiis powermeter which is a similar price.”

    Perhaps there is a slight misunderstanding of what the device is and what it tells you.

    It is a device about the size of a car key that slides into a calf sleeve so technically it is wearble tech, but not smart clothing.

    Here is a little background and details on what it is and how it works.

    BSXinsight is the first ever wearable lactate threshold sensor. It uses the gold standard performance measurement technique – lactate threshold – to identify both your current fitness capacity, and to automatically determine your personalized training zones.

    BSXinsight is worn on the lower leg by a customized calf compression sleeve and uses LED lights to “look” into the calf muscle. As the light array passes through your muscle tissue, it’s reshaped by chromatophores (or marker characteristics) of your tissue that are unique to you. This creates a biosignal that’s captured and processed by BSX algorithms to generate your unique profile. Analyzing the signal features in action generates a real-time curve that identifies the two most important events happening inside your body – aerobic threshold (LT1) and anaerobic threshold (LT2).

    We look forward to further questions and discussions! Thanks for the comment!

  16. @greydog
    “For any random day, your heart rate and time in zones may or may not correlate with power zones. This tool seems to provide an ability to gain a snap shot of current fitness. So, maybe I am seeing an argument for wearing this thing for all training rides.”

    This is a great statement and is also something that we are looking into. It provides a snapshot of current fitness via a very highly accurate test that takes what the body is telling it instead of a mathematical “guess” of what you should be able to do for 60 minutes.

    There are two use cases. One is for the 6-8 week testing and the other (still in development stages) is a daily use case. More to come on that later.

    “I think the general population would benefit from just a consistent riding program to get faster. Maybe pro athletes can benefit from this high level of feedback.”

    While we agree that people do need to maintain a consistent training program to see results, our device allows them to train smarter when they are logging those miles. Instead of guessing what “easy” feels like, they have a zone in place for that which comes from their testing data. Same thing for a tempo effort or a vo2 max effort. We take the markers and indicators their body shows during the test and put that into easy to use and understand zones to maximize their time training.

    “Does this company have a data set showing precision/accuracy, and dare I say repeatability? Not sure the third is even possible.”

    We have conducted just over 800 test that were simultaneous blood lactate (with a lactate pro analyzer) and the BSXinsight device. We have 97% accuracy in predicting LT1 and LT2 within that data set.
    The test data and results are confidential and will remain in house for the time being.

    Great questions! We appreciate your thoughts and comments!

  17. @edge
    “Why the difference in price for the running and cycling versions”
    The short answer is hardware and technology within the device itself.

    Running Edition: measures running lactate threshold to determine your training zones based on pace and heart rate (ANT+)

    Cycling Edition: measures cycling lactate threshold to determine your training zones based on power (ANT+) and heart rate (ANT+)

    Multisport Edition: measures lactate threshold and training zones for both running and cycling

    “wouldn’t your lactic threshold heart rate be the same?”

    They will be different in almost all athletes. There are many variables that play into this and it becomes a very lengthy discussion but you would want to know both cycling and running to really maximize your training time and efforts.

    Great questions! Thank you!

  18. @dat
    “I use this. It’s necessary to revise. Software is crude. But it very useful and promissing tool!”

    Thank you for your compliment! As everyone knows we are a new company and are under development nearly everyday that we login to our computers but we can assure you we are working towards better, faster and prettier 🙂

  19. When you say 97% accuracy, what exactly does that mean?

    97% of the tests were spot on and 3% were just wrong, or all the results were within 97% of the blood lactate testing results? If the latter, why not just say the results are +/- 3%? Most power meters list +/- 1.5-2% as their accuracy.

    Was the 97% an overall figure combining both running and cycling or would that accuracy value differ if you looked at running vs cycling separately?

  20. Is the use of the terms anaerobic and aerobic threshold misnomers for the parameters LT1 and LT2? And I thought the work load at LT2 was commonly used as the lactate or “anaerobic threshold” which is beneficial to know because it is the maximal lactate steady state.

  21. @john

    Here is a little deeper explanation for you.

    BSXinsight is over 95% accurate at identifying lactate threshold. It uses novel algorithms and proprietary machine learning techniques built from literally hundreds (n=800+) of individual athlete tests to achieve this industry standard level of accuracy.

    This means that across all athletes whom we’ve tested at BSX Laboratories we were able to identify lactate threshold using BSXinsight with 5% or less deviation from what independent professional assessment determined it to be using traditional blood sampling methods. In other words, those error measurements represent the percent deviation from what the blood tests determined lactate threshold to be using blood draws, and what BSXinsight determined it to be.

    This approach is far superior to the basic regression techniques that have been published to date, because it eliminates the need for the identification of a ‘break-point’, which is especially susceptible to bias. In addition, our machine learning techniques are data driven, which allow the system to improve its predictive power over time, as more data is collected with each new athlete that trains with BSXinsight.

    Our research team at BSX Laboratories is currently investigating how much of this error is due to true inaccuracies in BSXinsight’s data collection and/or technique vs. how much is due to the increased resolution that our approach has over traditional measurements and therefore represents an overall improvement in accuracy.

    In other words, traditional blood sampling is taken every 2-3 minutes. BSXinsight on the other hand records thousands of data points every minute. This gives us much greater resolution and theoretically will allow BSXinsight to be more accurate than the old finger-stick method. We believe any discrepancy between the blood and needless method can eventually be explained by the limitations of the old method. These are things we’re still investigating however.

  22. I´m upset because looks like there was a problem between Garmin and the BSX Insight one year ago and they don´t want to work together to have the real time lactate data. Any with news about this?

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