1. What Lia Thomas Could Mean for Women’s Elite Sports:
Although the number of top transgender athletes is small, the disagreements are profound, cutting to the core of the debate around gender identity and biological sex.
The women on the Princeton University swim team spoke of collective frustration edging into anger. They had watched Lia Thomas, a transgender woman who swam for the University of Pennsylvania, win meet after meet, beating Olympians and breaking records.
On Jan. 9, the team met with Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League athletic conference.
The swimmers, several of whom described the private meeting on condition of anonymity, detailed the biological advantages possessed by transgender female athletes. To ignore these, they said, “was to undermine a half-century fight for female equality in sport.”
Ms. Harris had already declared her support for transgender athletes and denounced transphobia. In an interview, she said that she had replied that she would not change rules in midseason. “Somehow,” a swimmer recalled, “the question of women in sport has become a culture war.”
More...from New York Times Archive.
2. Smartwatches Have Measured Blood Oxygen for Years. But Is This Useful?
Having access to more health data from home is helpful, but smartwatches still have limitations to overcome.
Smartwatches can measure everything from heart rate to sleep quality, but one health metric has become particularly relevant over the past two years: blood oxygen saturation. Two of the world's biggest smartwatch makers, Apple and Samsung, added blood oxygen monitoring to their wearables in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic also made measuring vitals from home more desirable.
But the arrival of blood oxygen monitoring in smartwatches also raised questions about how useful this information is without the context of a medical professional. In CNET's review of the Apple Watch Series 6, Vanessa Hand Orellana said she wished the Apple Watch could provide more guidance to accompany blood oxygen readings. (When her levels dropped to 92% overnight, she didn't know whether to be concerned.) Most smartwatches also aren't cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for blood oxygen measurements and can't be used for medical purposes, making it difficult to understand how these metrics should be interpreted.
3. Study: The Real Reason You’re Not Hungry After an Intense Workout:
Shorter, higher-octane sessions could help you take advantage of an appetite suppressant called "lac-phe"
According to a new study published in Nature, ratcheting up the intensity in your weekly workouts could actually curb your post-exercise appetite, instead of sending you down a Grubhub wormhole.
Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, Baylor University, the University of Copenhagen and others identified a molecule that makes a special guest appearance in the bloodstream after a workout when the body has released high levels of lactate. The scientists hypothesized that this molecule, which they named “lac-phe” (it’s a mix of lactate and the amino acid phenylalanine) directly impacts appetite. They tested the concept out with mice, then horses, then humans.
As The New York Times explains, in the rodents, they discovered that when obese mice are given lac-phe, they elected to eat 30% less kibble. Also, when breeding mice purposely without lac-phe, all the running in the world can’t fend off weight gain; despite five “treadmill” sessions a week, these mice ate to their hearts’ content and “[gained] about 25 percent more weight than the control group.”
4. Saucony Endorphin Pro 3: First Thoughts | A Dazzling Gem:
What You Need To Know
Huge update for the Saucony Endorphin Pro line
More PWRRUN PB cushion for a softer and bouncier ride
Great pop off the toe with the car
Breathable, fishnet style with scale-like color prism makes us feel like mermaidens/mermens (and we love it)
Releases 8/16 for $225
It’s super shoe season and that means saying “f*ck you” to inflation (and your 401k) and going all-in on the latest and greatest in race day drip.
And while we’ve already seen the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 3, Asics Metaspeed Sky+ and Edge+, and the Nike Alphafly Next% 2, none of them quite bedazzle the way the all-new Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 does.
Part fishnet stocking, part actual fish (scales, eyes, and all), this is a shoe that can go toe-to-toe with Sha’Carri on the race day runway. But looks aren’t everything, of course. Lipstick looks good on a pig, but if that pig don’t squeal (especially at $225), then it’s a no-deal.
Luckily, the Endorphin Pro 3 is authentically badass and is worth its weight (even at a mere 7.2 oz/204g) in sequined, sparkly gold.
More...from Believe in the Run.
5. Dehydration symptoms to look out for when training and running in the heat:
How to make sure you're staying hydrated as the mercury rises...
Whoa, it's hot out there! If you're one of the many runners who will be training and running in the heat over the next few days, it's more important than ever to ensure you're drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Here's why drinking water is so important – particularly for runners. Plus, the main dehydration symptoms to look out for when exercising in the heat and how to ensure you're drinking enough...
Why is water so important?
Water delivers vital nutrients to our cells. It regulates body temperature, moistens tissues, protects our organs and carries oxygen to our cells. Up to 60 per cent of the human body is water.
More...from Runner's World.
6. Macrocycles, Mesocycles and Microcycles: Understanding the Three Cycles of Periodization:
Understanding the three cycles of periodized training will allow you to prepare for your events more efficiently and reach your peak performance in the best way possible.
Periodized Training works on the concept of overload and adaptation; by stressing the body over time, allowing it to recover, and then stressing it again, athletes can gradually build fitness.
Periodization consists of three types of cycles:
A macrocycle refers to your season as a whole.
A mesocycle refers to a particular training block within that season; e.g. the endurance phase.
A microcycle refers to the smallest unit within a mesocycle; usually a week of training.
By structuring your season with these cycles in mind, you can ensure that you’re building and recovering adequately for optimal adaptation.
Read on to learn the theory behind periodization and how you can apply it to your annual training plan.
Periodized Training 101
Periodization is the process of dividing an annual training plan into specific time blocks, where each block has a particular goal and provides your body with different types of stress. This allows you to create some hard training periods and some easier periods to facilitate recovery. Periodization also helps you develop different physiological abilities during various phases of training. For instance, during base training you focus on the development of aerobic and muscular endurance. During the intensity phase, this focus switches to lactate threshold and aerobic capacity (i.e., VO2 max), and as you enter the competition phase, greater emphasis is placed on boosting anaerobic capacity and neuromuscular power.
More...from Training Peaks.
7. Major Scientific Breakthrough Toward the Benefits of Exercise in a Pill:
The benefits of exercise in a pill? Science is now closer to that goal.
Researchers have identified a molecule in the blood that is produced during exercise and can effectively reduce food intake and obesity in mice. The discovery improves our understanding of the physiological processes that underlie the interplay between exercise and hunger. Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine and collaborating institutions reported the findings on June 15 in the journal Nature.
“Regular exercise has been proven to help weight loss, regulate appetite, and improve the metabolic profile, especially for people who are overweight and obese,” said co-corresponding author Dr. Yong Xu, professor of pediatrics – nutrition and molecular and cellular biology at Baylor. “If we can understand the mechanism by which exercise triggers these benefits, then we are closer to helping many people improve their health.”
8. What’s New About the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2:
The Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 is designed to push the boundaries of performance in the marathon and long-distance road racing.
The system includes a full-length Nike ZoomX foam midsole, a curved carbon plate, an Atomknit 2.0 upper, a thin rubber outsole and a wide heel.
The Alphafly NEXT% 2 builds on learnings from the original Alphafly, marking another chapter in Nike’s relentless focus on designing for runners.
Marking the next chapter of Nike’s relentless focus on designing for runners, the all-new Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% 2 is built for peak performance for the marathon and long-distance road racing. An innovative design built on learnings from the first iteration of Nike’s pinnacle racing shoe, the Alphafly NEXT% 2 now serves the future of runners at all levels.
9. Are You Exercising Too Much?
Overexercising can do damage when you don’t allow enough time to rest. More research is assessing the risks.
When it comes to exercise, conventional wisdom holds that more is better. But that isn’t necessarily true.
Scientists are increasingly evaluating the possible damage that too much exercise can do if you don’t allow enough time to rest. Recent research from Sweden suggests that too much high-intensity exercise might impair cell functioning. In addition, other scientists are looking at why overexercising can lead to stress fractures, poor sleep and other problems.
“Exercise can be detrimental at super high volumes,” says Mark Pataky, an exercise physiologist and assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic.
More...from the Wall Street Jornal.
10. Here's how to start working out again after a break:
ere’s a little secret of mine about being a personal trainer: Despite fitness being at the centre of my world, I’m a fairly unimpressive physical specimen. I’m not particularly strong, not exceptionally fast, not genetically gifted in any way. In fact, I’m not even that hard of a worker in the gym.
One thing I am, though, is consistent. In two decades, I’ve rarely gone more than a couple of days without breaking a sweat.
That is until recently, when a series of nagging injuries conspired with a case of COVID-19 to put me on the shelf for just under a month. Even though my COVID symptoms were nearly non-existent, I listened to my doctor and took a break from training.
It turns out that some time off was exactly what my body needed (imagine that!); I recovered from the infection quickly, and all of those lingering injury-related aches and pains are, for the most part, gone. Not long after, I even managed to complete a workout, my first in a month.
More...from Globe and Mail.
11. Why You Should Jog the Recovery in Interval Workouts:
A new study compares active and passive interval recoveries, but physiology isn’t the only factor to consider .
I used to train with a group that spanned the spectrum from milers to marathoners, all at a similar competitive level. For large stretches of autumn and winter, we could all train together in some approximation of harmony. But during track sessions, tensions would sometimes mount. The milers would start gapping the marathoners during shorter intervals—and in retaliation, the marathoners would push the recovery jogs to prevent the milers from catching their breath before the next rep. It was a nice illustration of different methods and mindsets about recovery.
A new study from researchers in Spain delves into this culture clash, comparing active (jogging) and passive (standing around) recovery between repeats during interval workouts. It’s the latest in a long line of such studies, which have on the whole produced a confusing and contradictory body of research. This one doesn’t offer any final answers, but it may help clarify which questions are worth asking.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
12. It’s Never Too Late to Become a Runner. Here’s How:
Looking to get off the couch but no idea where to begin? We've got you.
I’ve had an odd running life, which means I’ve had a normal one.
The sport’s brought me equal parts pain and wonder. I’ve used it as a refuge, as a coping mechanism and as a launching pad for adventures — in Montauk, in Death Valley, in the Scottish Highlands, you name it.
At one point in my life, I hated running so much I swore I would never take it up again. Today, I can’t imagine my life without it. On days where I do run, the last few minutes of the final mile are my favorite of the entire day.
Coming to grips with running — and learning to welcome it in its healthiest form — took me a long time. I’m lucky to have the relationship to the sport that I do now, but I’ve made so many mistakes along the way. Often, when I’m asked how to get into running, I’m so excited they’ve approached me on the topic that I’ll start planning their first month of workouts. By the end of my monologue, I can see that I’ve ruined it. Fat chance they’re still interested after they’ve heard me extolling the joys of “fartleks.” If they somehow are, they’ll be abandoning the program by Week Two, regardless.
13. Why Does a Hard Workout Make You Less Hungry?
In a study done with mice, horses and people, researchers found clues as to which types of exercise suppress appetite and why.
Why are we so peckish after some workouts but uninterested in eating after others?
In a new study published on Wednesday in Nature, an international team of scientists suggest the answer lies in part in the actions of a single molecule produced after exercise that blunts hunger. The molecule — found in the bloodstreams of mice, humans and racehorses — turned up in much greater profusion after strenuous workouts than easy ones, suggesting that exercising hard could be a key to controlling how much we eat afterward.
The relationship between fitness and eating is famously prickly. Studies have shown that people who start working out without also managing their caloric intake typically drop few if any pounds over time, and may gain weight. Plenty of factors play into that outcome, including someone’s current fitness, body mass, diet, gender, genetics, metabolic rate and even the timing of exercise. Some experiments — although not all — suggest morning sessions may burn more fat than the same exertions later in the day.
More...from the New York Times.
14. Wobbly on one leg? Ability to balance is linked to a longer life, study finds:
An inability to stand on one leg for 10 seconds in later life is linked to nearly double the risk of death from any cause within the next decade, according to a new study.
The simple balance test may be useful to include in routine physical exams for people in middle and old age, the research, which was published Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggested.
While aging leads to a decline in physical fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, balance tends to be reasonably well-preserved until a person's 50s, when it starts to wane relatively rapidly, the research noted. Previous research has linked the inability to stand on one leg to a greater risk of falls and to cognitive decline.
The study involved 1,702 people ages 51 to 75 living in Brazil, who were asked to balance unsupported on one leg during an initial check. Researchers told the participants to place the front of the free foot behind the standing leg, keep their arms by their sides and eyes fixed straight ahead. Up to three attempts on either foot were permitted.
15. Women-Specific Strategies to Train and Compete in the Heat:
Race day temperatures are rising. Here’s what active women need to know.
As I write this, race season is underway in the Northern Hemisphere and temperatures are climbing as much as 20 degrees above average across a large swath of the U.S. As sweltering weather becomes the norm, it’s increasingly important for women to learn how to work with their physiology to keep their cool, stay safe, and perform their best in the heat.
It won’t surprise anyone reading this that women have different needs than men when it comes to training and competing in the heat. For one, research suggests that though both sexes see their core body temperature rise when they get dehydrated during exercise, women’s cores may get hotter at a lower level of dehydration because they start out with a lower volume of body water than men do; and have a more rapid rise of core temperature in the early stages of exercise.
Men also have a higher overall sweating capacity, which appears to be an advantage in hot and dry conditions, where sweat evaporates and helps keep you cool quickly, but a disadvantage in hot and humid conditions, where they end up with what’s called “wasted sweating,” where you’re pouring sweat, but it’s not evaporating or cooling you. Women, who have and use more sweat glands, but generally sweat less and “waste” less sweat, are better equipped to tolerate hot and humid conditions.
More...from Dr. Stacey Sims