1. High intensity exercise training – too much of a good thing?
Exercise training will help health and performance. But will too much exercise do the opposite? This was the topic of debate in the media and amongst scientists after a publication by Flockhart recently. This blog will discuss a counterpoint made by Hawley and Bishop who critically counter the conclusions by Flockhart.
Exercise training is a powerful stimulus for improving the function of mitochondria, enhancing both health and exercise performance. However, a recent study by Flockart et al., (1) suggested that training too hard could have negative effects. This provoked responses from a number of researchers including John Hawley and David Bishop. They criticised the study and its conclusions in a commentary. Here we will look at this commentary and draw our own conclusions.
In their paper Flockhart et al suggested that there might be an upper limit to how much training can be performed before markers of health and performance begin to stagnate or deteriorate (read the summary: ‘Excessive exercise training affects performance, mitochondrial function & glucose tolerance: A summary of Flockhart et al., (2021)’). These findings received a lot of attention in the media and researchers Hawley and Bishop responded with a commentary (2). Below is the summary of this commentary before we wrap up and draw our own conclusions from these publications at the end of this blog.
2. Does eccentric exercise stimulate sarcomerogenesis?
Eccentric exercise has been associated with an increase in serial sarcomere number in some studies,1 but not in others.2 Similarly, increasing excursion of muscles resulted in sarcomerogenesis in some studies using growing animals,3 but not in others using skeletally mature animals.4 However, chronic elongation and chronic shortening appears to be a strong regulator of sarcomere number increase5,6 and decrease,5,7 respectively, in animal models. Despite an abundance of research on the regulation of sarcomerogenesis under a variety of conditions, the mechanisms underlying in series sarcomere number adaptations in skeletal muscles remain a puzzle, especially in non-invasive human studies where measurements of sarcomerogenesis following interventions have not been possible to date.
3. Women losing their periods because of restrictive diets and excessive exercise:
UK eating disorder charity Beat says problem, fuelled by social media, increasing even among those who are not underweight.
An increasing number of women are losing their monthly periods because they are following a social media trend for restrictive diets and excessive exercise, experts say.
Charity heads and nutritionists have raised the alarm about the increase in hypothalamic amenorrhea, a condition where the body enters survival mode because it is under-fuelled, causing menstruation to stop. It is a reversible disorder caused by stress related to weight loss, excessive exercise and trauma.
Martha Williams, a clinical advice coordinator at the leading eating disorder charity Beat, said the condition was becoming more widespread, and was often seen in people who were not underweight and did not have a low body-mass index.
More...from The Guardian.
4. "Cis" Coined by "Pedosexual" Physician:
Sexologist who came up with "cis" also claimed "there's nothing wrong with pedophilia."
The term "cis gender" has gained widespread popularity in recent years, largely due to a push from trans activists who define the word as the opposite of “transgender." However, few users of the term are aware it originated with a German sexologist who also believes pedophilia is a sexuality.
A 1991 publication by Volkmar Sigusch, titled Transsexuals and our Nosomorphic View, is credited as the first published instance of the term “cisgender” as an antonym to transgender.
Sigusch is a German sexologist, physician, and sociologist who served as the director of the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexual Science) at the clinic of Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, from 1973 - 2006.
5. ASICS GEL-Nimbus 24: A Whole New Nimbus:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 10.2 oz. (289 g) for a US M9 / 8.7 oz. (246 g) for a US W8
Features an all-new, soft and bouncy Flytefoam Blast+ midsole
Soft and stretch tongue, possible our favorite tongue ever
Hands-down, this is the best Nimbus yet
Available now for $150
ROBBE: I honestly feel like every time a new Nimbus comes out, it seems like yesterday we were reviewing the last version.
In some civilizations, time is kept by the annual renewal of the ASICS GEL-Nimbus. As surely as the leaves change, winter falls, spring springs, and summer blooms, the Nimbus carries along, year after year. It shares the same circle as death and taxes in its certainty.
For many runners, it is the shoe they find and never move on from. One day, they walked into a running store to start a new hobby; fifteen years later, they still wear the same Nimbus or a variation thereof. Call it the running equivalent of the Zuckerberg hoodie. And for years, the GEL-Nimbus subsisted on this runner, to a fault– the shoe labored in mediocrity, a bloated lesson in unnecessary excess rivaled only by the federal government. While it provided enough nutritional value for the hobby jogger to subsist on, the palette of more seasoned running enthusiasts was left with an aftertaste of stale sawdust.
More...from Belive in the Run.
6. The Link Between Zone 2 Training, Fat Burning, and Performance:
How do easy Zone 2 rides actually better your performance? Here’s a peek into the physiology of aerobic training and fat burning.
At face value, riding steadily at a relatively easy pace would not seem to help your racing. How does riding for hours on end in Zone 2 replicate shredding the field on the finishing climb in a road race or making the winning break in a criterium? While it may not seem like it, endurance rides are a requirement for successful training. One of the most important adaptations that you get from endurance rides is the ability to use fat more efficiently.
Why Fat Burning Matters in Cycling Races
Apart from explosive one-off events such as track racing, short time trials, and 5 ks, efficient fat burning is a major key that sets great racers apart from the rest of the pack. In professional cycling, there are lots of riders who can do a 5-minute or 20-minute power test on par with Grand Tour contenders; however, in real races, these riders are often pack-finishers and domestiques. Why? Racing tactics and skills play a large part, but another major key is the ability to burn fat.
At lower intensities, you burn mostly fat and some carbohydrates. The harder you ride, you begin burning an increasingly higher percentage of carbs and a decreasing percentage of fat. At around your lactate threshold and beyond, you burn almost entirely carbohydrates. If there are not enough carbs in your system (i.e., glycogen), you simply won’t be able to reach these intensities. You have surely felt this at the end of a long ride. It’s unlikely you would be able to do a 5-minute best after four hours of hard riding because there’s just not enough left in the legs.
Thus, it’s not just the riders with the highest FTP or VO2-max that end up winning a lot of races, but also those who can efficiently utilize fat as a fuel source and therefore better preserve their glycogen stores. Research has shown a correlation between the intensity at which the aerobic threshold occurs and performance in competitive cyclists. In other words, the riders who could burn fat the most efficiently perform better. You, too, can teach your body to burn fat more efficiently so that you can spare glycogen for when it matters most.
More...from Training Peaks.
7. Exercise-induced adaptations to white and brown adipose tissue:
The beneficial effects of exercise on skeletal muscle and the cardiovascular system have long been known. Recent studies have focused on investigating the effects of exercise on adipose tissue and the effects that these exercise-induced adaptations have on overall metabolic health. Examination of exercise-induced adaptations in both white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT) has revealed marked differences in each tissue with exercise. In WAT, there are changes to both subcutaneous WAT (scWAT) and visceral WAT (vWAT), including decreased adipocyte size and lipid content, increased expression of metabolic genes, altered secretion of adipokines and increased mitochondrial activity. Adaptations specific to scWAT include lipidomic remodeling of phospholipids and, in rodents, the beiging of scWAT. The changes to BAT are less clear: studies evaluating the effect of exercise on the BAT of humans and rodents have revealed contradictory data, making this an important area of current investigation. In this Review, we discuss the exercise-induced changes to WAT and BAT that have been reported by different studies and highlight the current questions in this field.
More...from the Journal of Experimental Biology.
8. Apple's Fitness+ to Target Goal-Oriented Runners by Launching 'Time to Run' and 'Collections':
Fitness+, Apple’s fitness service tailored to the company’s Apple Watch product, is introducing two new features to users Jan. 10: “Time to Run’’ and “Collections.’’ The service’s newest update will also include new Artist Spotlight workouts with Ed Sheeran, Shakira, Pharell Williams and The Beatles.
Time to Run, a spin-off of the company’s Time to Walk feature which debuted in January of 2021, will release popular running routes every Monday for users in specific cities, with the goal of helping participants “become more consistent and better runners.’’ This Monday’s locations are Miami Beach, Brooklyn and London. Users will have access to notable sights and landmarks from those three cities throughout their run, including a music playlist specific to each locale.
More...from Sport Techie.
9. USask prof says extreme cold can be ideal for exercise:
Dr. Phil Chilibeck practises what he teaches — in this case, enjoying a late afternoon of snowshoeing for exercise in a wind chill of -24 C.
Chilibeck is a professor of kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan who teaches courses in exercise physiology. His classes cover cold-weather topics and he says the science supports the theory that some exercise in the extreme cold has health benefits.
While doing some research on cold weather and the body, Chilibeck said researchers had people sit in a chamber where they slowly lowered the room temperature.
“Your muscles actually start to vibrate at a moderately cold temperature, so before you start to shiver, your muscles start to vibrate and that might lead to increased energy expenditure,” Chilibeck said.
If a person gets to the point where they are cold enough to shiver, that can increase their energy expenditure as well, because muscles are contracting. Chilibeck said that means people are going to be using more energy when they’re exercising in the cold.
10. Exercise may protect your brain even if you have signs of dementia, study finds:
Exercise is good for you. Breaking a sweat has been shown to improve nearly every organ in the body, fight nearly every disease doctors diagnose and improve nearly every health condition that you might live with on a daily basis.
It gets even better. A new study finds exercise boosts levels of a protein known to strengthen communication between brain cells via synapses, which may be a key factor in keeping dementia at bay.
The protective effect was even found in active older people whose brains showed signs of plaques, tangles and other hallmarks of Alzheimer's and other cognitive diseases.
11. So You Think You’re “Elite”
A new way of classifying athletes aims to quantify the thresholds that distinguish recreational athletes from their trained, highly trained, and elite brethren.
“Like monkeys,” a review of the neural and psychological foundations of social hierarchy explains, “we tend to use certain cues, like physical strength, to make status judgments.” This is presumably why running messageboards like Letsrun feature seemingly never–ending debates about the precise thresholds that distinguish “serious,” “sub-elite,” and “elite” runners from the unwashed masses. “Elite,” according to one typical if slightly hyperbolic poster, is “the time that sets a world record and/or wins. Everything else is hobby jogging.”
But figuring out these thresholds isn’t just about pissing contests. As a new paper in the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance puts it, “the term ‘elite subjects’ might be one of the more overused and ill-defined terms in the exercise science literature.” That matters, because the results of a training study on semi-fit college students may not apply to Olympic athletes, and vice versa. Beet juice, for example, reliably boosts performance in recreational athletes, but doesn’t seem to help elite athletes to the same degree. The same appears to be true of training with deliberately depleted carbohydrate levels. To interpret the results of an exercise study, you need to know who the subjects were and have a consistent way of classifying them.
More...from (Science of Sport on Outside Online.
12. Breaking the taboo on menopause:
When it comes to training and the menopause, it can be a struggle for women to find the answers they want and need. But this trend is starting to change
The menopause has long been a taboo subject, with many women left feeling embarrassed to discuss it. Unsure where to turn, they find themselves in the dark as to how to adjust their training accordingly. Luckily, the times are changing and discussions around this topic are becoming much more commonplace.
For Baz Moffatt, founder of The Well HQ, the menopause, the changes it brings and how to adapt to them, is a subject around which she is hugely knowledgeable and passionate. We spoke to her about what can be done to reap the rewards and avoid injury while training during this stage of life.
More...from Athletics Weekly.
13. Debunking the Science of Stretching:
How poor selection of scientific data and the misinterpretation of that data has lead to many myths, misconceptions, and false statements about stretching.
There’s one article that I’ve received more email, more Facebook comments and more inquires about than any other.
People are always throwing this article in my face, telling me that it proves stretching has no value. The article in question is titled Quite a Stretch: Stretching Hype Debunked, by Paul Ingraham.
For years I’ve politely explained my position and my beliefs about how stretching and flexibility training helps people of all ages and from all walks of life. But recently I’ve been challenged to “put my money where my mouth is” and address the claims made in the article.
The following is a logical, left brain, analytical assessment of the statements made within the article, and I’ll do my best to keep emotion out of my writing and simply focus on the facts at hand. If however, you feel I have “over-stepped the mark” in any of my comments below I invite you to contact me via the link above and point out where you feel I have erred.
14. Less is more: Programming interval training for endurance performance:
More isn’t always better. This couldn’t be truer than when it comes to designing an interval training program geared to maximize endurance sport performance. At least that’s the conclusion of our most recent meta-analysis.
This blog discusses findings from our recently published meta-analysis, which describes the effect of manipulating various interval training program characteristics (such as intensity, duration, frequency and interval type).
What is interval training?
Interval training is a form of endurance exercise consisting of repeated work bouts of high-intensity exercise, lasting from seconds to minutes, followed by a recovery period. The work is divided into a set of work-recovery repetitions because exercise at such intensities can only be sustained for short periods of time.
Interval training has been shown to produce greater improvements in maximal oxygen consumption than continuous training, and in a relatively short period of time (Milanovic et al., 2015). In other words, interval training can improve an individual’s physiology (maximal aerobic potential) to a greater degree than performing long duration (more than 60 minutes), low or moderate intensity exercise. (For better readability, maximal oxygen consumption is abbreviated in this blog as VO2 max, rather than VO2 max).
15. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport: What Coaches Need to Know:
The evolution of relative energy deficiency in sport
While not realizing it at the time, Cain, who had lost her period, experienced five bone stress fractures, and whose performance was suffering, was experiencing relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S). Introduced in 2014 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) consensus group, RED-S is a syndrome that impairs various physiological functions, including metabolic rate, menstrual function, bone health, immunity, protein synthesis, and cardiovascular health (Mountjoy et al., 2014). The underlying cause of RED-S is low energy availability – this occurs when calorie intake is insufficient to meet the calories expended through exercise, leaving inadequate energy for normal bodily function (Loucks & Heath, 1994).
While the terminology of RED-S was not introduced until 2014, the negative impact of low energy availability on athlete health was not a new finding. Studies in the 1980’s demonstrated that amenorrhea – the absence of menses or irregular menstrual cycles – had implications not only for reproduction, but was also detrimental to bone health (Drinkwater et al., 1984, 1986). Building on this foundational research, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published a position statement on the “female athlete triad” in 1997 – an interrelated syndrome of disordered eating, absence of menses or irregular menstrual cycles, and poor bone health (Otis et al., 1997).