1. Are you fueling adequately to maintain health and performance?
Anyone who has observed the damage that a typical group of endurance athletes can inflict on an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet could be forgiven for thinking that underfueling won't be much of an issue for this particular subset of the population.
However, the issue of athletes not consuming enough calories and nutrients to support the demands of their training and competitions is a common and very serious problem. It has become a key area of study within the sports nutrition and medicine community in recent years and led to the development of a syndrome known as ‘RED-S’...
What is RED-S?
The concept of RED-S stands for ‘Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport’ and the issue hit the mainstream press in 2019 when record-breaking American track star Mary Cain opened up about her experiences of being encouraged to dramatically “underfuel” during her time with the Nike Oregon Project and coach Alberto Salazar.
Mary’s coach pressured her to get “thinner, thinner and thinner”, which resulted in her failing to eat enough to fuel her demanding lifestyle as an athlete. The caloric deficit she was living in triggered a cascade of physical and psychological issues that made her extremely unwell and ultimately saw her walk away from the sport in a desperate bid to regain her mental and physical health.
More...from Precision Hydration.
2. Researchers Have Pinpointed One Type of Exercise That Makes People Live Longer—It’s Not What You May Think:
According to the longest happiness study in history, we all need to be strengthening our relationships.
If you’re looking to reboot your health this year, you might sign up for your first triathlon, kickstart a meditation habit, or cut down on ultra-processed foods. But the latest science suggests the best way to improve long-term health isn’t physical, it’s social: connection.
Strengthening relationship ties by exercising what experts call “social fitness” is the most influential brain and body hack. Like weight training staves off bone density loss as you age, social fitness counters the downstream effects of chronic stress.
“Not exercising your social fitness is hazardous to your health,” says Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
More...from Outside Online.
3. Altra Via Olympus hits the mark:
If you want well-cushioned running footwear, this shoe ticks the box and provides a great ride
The new Via Olympus from Altra is the brand’s most cushioned road shoe to date. With a balanced midsole of 33mm deep running the length of the shoe, the ride is smooth and engaging.
The EGO MAX midsole material has a soft-on-impact feel with a responsive toe-off that’s enhanced by the prominent rocker shape of the forefoot.
Having the deep cushioning running evenly throughout the length of the shoe gives it that balanced feel, with the entire foot sitting evenly above the ground. This encourages a more midfoot impact when landing and actually reduces the overall impact a little.
All that said, such is the depth of the cushioning and welcoming feel that even heel strikers won’t be too averse to this model.
At just 312g for such a well-cushioned shoe, it feels light on the foot and the fit is soft and welcoming with neat padding around the heel collar and the midfoot feeling secure.
More...from Athletics Weekly.
4. Saunas Are Filling Up, but Are They Actually Good for You?
Sweating in small hot rooms has been a wellness staple for centuries. But don’t believe everything you hear.
These days, the 120 lockers at the Russian and Turkish Baths in the East Village fill up fast on weekends and holidays. On New Year’s Day, each of the five sauna and steam rooms were clogged with damp 20- and 30-somethings, some stepping over each other to dump buckets of water on their heads in 190-degree heat.
After a pandemic lull, it’s boom time again for the 131-year-old institution: In 2022, business at the Russian and Turkish Baths was up by about 20 percent from its best years, in the 2010s, said Dmitry Shapiro, a general manager at the bathhouse.
Bathhouse, a spa in Williamsburg, saw admissions rise by 50 percent in 2022, compared to 2021, a representative said.
More...from the New York Times.
5. People are already using ChatGPT to create workout plans:
Fitness advice from OpenAI’s large language model is impressively presented—but don’t take it too seriously.
When I opened the email telling me I’d been accepted to run the London Marathon, I felt elated. And then terrified. Barely six months on from my last marathon, I knew how dedicated I’d have to be to keep running day after day, week after week, month after month, through rain, cold, tiredness, grumpiness, and hangovers.
What no one warns you is that the marathon is the easy part. It’s the constant grind of the training that kills you—and finding ways to keep it fresh and interesting is part of the challenge.
Some exercise nuts think they’ve found a way to do that: by using the AI chatbot ChatGPT as a sort of proxy personal trainer. Created by OpenAI, it can be coaxed to churn out everything from love poems to legal documents. Now these athletes are using it to make all the relentless running more fun. Some entrepreneurs are even packaging up ChatGPT fitness plans and selling them.
Its appeal is obvious. ChatGPT answers questions in seconds, saving the need to sift through tons of information. You can ask follow-up questions, too, to get a more detailed and personalized answer. Its chatty tone is ideal for dispensing fitness advice, and the information is presented clearly. OpenAI is tight-lipped about the details, but we know ChatGPT was trained on data drawn from crawling websites, Wikipedia entries, and archived books so it can seem to be pretty good at answering general questions (although there’s no guarantee that those answers are correct.)
More...from MIT Technology Review.
6. Saucony Endorphin Elite Review: The Caged Bird Sings:
What You Need To Know
Weighs 7.2 oz. (205g) for a US M9, 6.5 oz (185g) for a US W8
Stack height of 39.5 mm (heel), 31.5 mm forefoot (8 mm drop)
Features all-new PWRRUN HG midsole, Saucony’s lightest and bounciest foam to date
Slotted carbon-fiber plate pairs with Speedroll rocker for snappy toe-off
Lightweight and breathable, cage-like upper
Available February 21 for $275 (pre-order available now)
MEAGHAN: Not only did Saucony win the “Brand of the Year” award for us in 2022, but the Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 was our top pick for race day shoes. Needless to say, we had pretty high hopes for the Endorphin Elite, an all-new shoe created in concert with Saucony’s 125th anniversary. According to Saucony, the shoe starts a new chapter in the brand’s legacy, as “the lightest, fastest, and most energy efficient shoe the brand has ever made.”
We like foam more than a freshman tapping a keg for the first time, and this one has a new one– PWRRUN HG, Saucony’s highest rebound foam yet. Still have no idea what HG stands for, though we’ve heard everything from “hydrogen” to “holy grail.”
More...from Belive in the Run.
7. Desperate to get fit but hate doing it in public? Here are seven ways to beat gymtimidation:
Some things in life – swimming, public speaking, taking a radiator off the wall – are terrifying the first time you do them, but so fundamental to a better quality of existence that they’re well worth the effort. And so it is with the gym: though those first shaky reps come easier for some people than others, everyone is a beginner at some point.
Here, then, is your seven-step plan to overcoming gymtimidation – from crossing the threshold for the first time to becoming a squat-rack regular.
1 Sign up somewhere that suits you
One of the most common pieces of advice for the gymtimidated is that nobody else cares what you’re doing – but while that’s true in many places, not all gyms are created equal. “The first time I went to a gym in my 20s, men would routinely hit on me, watch me and generally make me feel uncomfortable,” says the writer Emilie Lavinia.
More...from The Guardian.
8. How Long Does It Take to Get Fit Again?
We all stray from exercise sometimes. Here’s how your body will bounce back
When it comes to cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, the adage is true: Use it or lose it. While regular exercise can improve heart health and increase strength and mobility, taking weeks or months off can reverse many of those benefits.
That’s not to say that rest days are not important. In general, short breaks can help you physically and mentally recharge, but whenever possible, you should avoid extending your time off for too long so that hopping back on the wagon doesn’t feel too daunting or miserable.
“Your body adapts to the stimulus you provide,” said Dr. Kevin Stone, an orthopedic surgeon and the author of the book “Play Forever: How to Recover From Injury and Thrive.” “Your muscles become used to the stress and the testosterone, the adrenaline and endorphins — all the wonderful things that circulate from exercise. When you take that away, the body initiates a muscle loss program.
More...from the New York Times.
9. At the Gym, High Intensity Is Out, ‘Sculpt’ Is In:
rainers see a move toward gentler workouts, strength-training and mobility exercises over quick calorie burning and weight loss.
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, workouts are falling out of favor.
Fewer people are resuming high-intensity exercises as they go back to in-person fitness classes, according to trainers, instructors and other fitness professionals. Instead, more are doing gentler exercise such as yoga or walking, and giving priority to strength-training and mobility over quick calorie-burning and weight loss.
“You see fewer people trying to go all out, like level 10, and asking ‘where’s the bucket?’ afterward,” says Jt Netterville, New York-based trainer at Life Time, a national fitness club chain.
HIIT took off in the mid-2010s as a way for busy people to burn a high number of calories in short periods. These workouts, which can also be done at home, remained popular in the early days of the pandemic. HIIT workouts generally comprise short bouts of hard-as-you-can exercise that raise the heart rate to 80% and 95% of its maximum, interspersed with periods of rest.
More...from the Wall Street Journal.
10. Female Athlete Mystery: should she train with respect to her menstrual cycle?
I recognise the irony in what I’m going to write about. I’m a male coach. But I’m also a post-graduate researcher investigating factors influencing substrate utilisation in women that take part in endurance-type events. And the women I coach often ask me: should I be training more in line with the obvious fluctuations in physiology that appear to happen across my menstrual cycle?
At present, there is no simple answer to this question. The menstrual cycle (MC) and associated hormonal fluctuations vary from woman to woman. And with that, so does its impact. It is this variability in terms of hormonal concentrations across the cycle, variability in terms of the length of the cycle and variability of the impact of MC on women in sports (McNulty et al., 2020) that makes this question so difficult to answer at the individual level. So often, as with other things, the answer is, it depends.
Most of us reading this blog will be aware that historically, research in the field of exercise and nutrition sciences are male-dominated in terms of the participants. Females are rarely recruited due to the variability of MC and our inability to account for it. Encouragingly, the male dominance in mixed-sex, human physiology studies appears to have reduced in more recent years. However, only as little as 8% of studies published between 2017 and 2019 in the prestigious Journal of Physiology included exclusively female participants and were mostly investigating the aspects of the female reproductive system (O’Halloran, 2020). Therefore, exercise and nutrition recommendations for female athletes are largely based on the existing literature attained in males. The uncertainties this leaves us with are obvious.
11. There’s New Evidence That Collagen Might Help Your Tendons:
A new study tests the idea that, with the right building blocks, connective tissue can repair itself after all.
“We can mold the muscles, you see,” says Bruce Denton, the wizened 1970s guru in John L. Parker Jr.’s Once a Runner. “We can strengthen the mind, temper the spirit, make the heart a goddamn turbine. But then a strand of gristle goes pop and presto you’re a pedestrian.” It was true then and it’s still true now: tendons and ligaments are the athlete’s Achilles heel, crucial to movement but vulnerable to overuse and (unlike muscles) mostly inert in response to attempts to strengthen them.
Back in 2019, I wrote about a new-ish idea that was circulating among elite athletes and their trainers, the brainchild of UC Davis molecular biologist Keith Baar. Tendons and ligaments are mostly made of up collagen. Lab experiments with engineered ligaments suggested that the availability of certain key components of collagen, like the amino acid proline, could ramp up the repair and synthesis of new collagen in connective tissue. Collagen supplements have been around for a long time, but Baar had specific ideas about the type of exercise that tendons and ligaments respond to and the form of collagen that would be best to supplement with. He used gelatin, the same stuff found in Jell-O.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
12. The Sporting Heart:
From sudden death in exercise to risk factors, screening and heart health in sports, the team talk to Dr Jonathan Dresner, Director of the University of Washington's Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology and co-Chair of the UW Medicine Cardiovascular Wellness and Prevention Programme. He is Editor-in-Chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine and serves as a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks, OL Reign, and UW Huskies
Listen to the The Real Science of Sport Podcast.
13. Gender, Sex, and Powerlifting:
With a biologically male athlete poised to break a Canadian women’s record, it’s time for the sport’s leaders to acknowledge the reality of sexual dimorphism
One benefit of working at Quillette is that we are permitted—indeed, encouraged—to take deep editorial dives into subjects that other publications might regard as obscure. My recent article, “Disc Golf’s Lia Thomas Moment,” offered a case in point. While I may be passionate about disc golf, I freely concede that it isn’t what some might call a high-profile or prestigious sport. (One of my friends uncharitably refers to it on Facebook as “dork discus.”) Yet humble though the sport may be, it offered Quillette readers a detailed case study in a thorny issue now affecting pretty much every sport on the planet: What to do with trans-identified biological men who seek to compete in women’s sports categories? On one hand, we all want to be humane and “inclusive.” Sport should be for everyone. On the other hand, permitting larger, faster, stronger, male bodies into protected female spaces can destroy the integrity of women’s sports.
I am pleased to report that shortly after my Quillette article appeared, the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA), which formerly had taken an extremely permissive attitude toward biologically male players, announced a much stricter policy that, at the highest levels, forbids bio-men from competing with women unless the player in question “began medical transition (for example, by taking puberty-suppressing medication) during Tanner Stage 2 or before age 12, whichever is later.” In other words, no one who went through male puberty is eligible.
14. ‘Watch this creep’: the women exposing gym harassment on TikTok:
The hashtag ‘gym weirdos’ has received nearly 2m views as women covertly record their experiences
Women have long been hyper-vigilant about unwanted male attention at the gym. But before smartphones, the sense they were being stared at was more of a feeling than a certainty.
Now catching perceived offenders in action has become its own sport on TikTok, with women covertly leaving their phones on record and then watching the resulting video to see who was staring at their behind while they were doing squats.
On the app, the pitiless hashtag “gym weirdos” has over 1.9m views, with videos showing men attempting to flirt with or pick up women who just want to get through their sets unbothered.
Gina Love is one such TikTok detective. She goes to the gym at least four times a week, because the endorphin boost that comes from a good deadlift counteracts the daily stress of life.
More...from The Guardian.
15. Cycling and exercise addiction: how much is too much?
What does it mean to get hooked on riding your bike? CW investigates exercise addiction and comes face-to-face with its devastating consequences.
Mark Bentley thought he was like any committed cyclist. Riding his bike wasn’t only a hobby, it also gave him a sense of purpose. A good training session made him feel alive and satisfied. But there was a problem: it could become allconsuming. Squeezing in training around his social life and work as a business journalist based in Frankfurt, Germany, sometimes caused friction. When we spoke by phone in early September, Bentley confided that he was thankful to have a “very understanding” girlfriend, but admitted that he frequently prioritised training over social events and household chores.
“A few weeks ago there was a party, my girlfriend Su wanted to go to but we didn’t go because I had an early morning club ride the following day,” the 54-year-old told me. “Su sometimes complains that I neglect things in the house because of my cycling. I was put on part-time hours during Covid, which halved my salary, and my girlfriend felt I should look for another job, whereas I thought, ‘Bugger that, it means more time to train’.”
More...from Cycling Weekly.