The first time I heard about lactic acid I was a kid, watching speed skating on the Winter Olympics. The commentators spoke of it like an arch enemy to the distance skater, a nemesis to endurance and success. I remember thinking that the skaters’ thighs were just enormous, and my knowledge of anatomy and physiology at that point had me picturing them full of tar-y black goo getting thicker and thicker in their legs.
If you’ve ever asked me about about post-workout soreness and lactic acid, you’ve likely heard my story that begins, “Actually, a Canadian study showed that massage may not increase the flow of fluid through the muscles and we’re just starting to learn that lactic acid is a fuel, not a waste product.” (Then I would rant a little bit about how the studies are being led by physical therapists and there is concern that PT moves are much different from a massage therapists moves, so we aren’t sure how much street cred to give that study.)
Well, we’re starting to get more info on the lactic acid debate. This piece in the New York Times does a great job of expressing the quandary in real-people terms. I hope you check it out!