1. Female-specific nutrition strategies: how to adjust your fuelling at each stage of the menstrual cycle:
Your carbohydrate and protein demands vary greatly throughout the month - here’s how to make sure you’re giving your body what it needs.
For the 2023 pro racing season, there were 15 registered UCI Women’s WorldTour teams; the Men’s World Tour teams numbered 18.
There is still a gap between the number of women versus men represented at the highest level of the sport - but that gap is much, much smaller than the gap in sport science for cycling, where the overwhelming majority of sports science literature focuses primarily on male cyclists.¹
Cycling nutrition, for example, is covered by a large body of studies and gives a good foundation for how many carbs should be consumed at a given intensity - for male cyclists. There will be variances due to stress levels, training status or injury but, on the whole, the recommendations remain fairly consistent.
But for women, the requirements are far more variable because, during the menstrual cycle, the hormone levels within the body fluctuate significantly, which in turn has a large impact on how women utilise different macronutrients and how their metabolism works.²
More...from Cycling Weekly.
2. Thanks to Enterprising Runners, Sports Bras Don’t Suck As Much As They Used To:
A look at the history of this essential piece of equipment. It’s come so far, but is still not adequate for a high percentage of women.
For many women, physical activity was fun–until puberty. Newly developed breasts meant experiencing a novel pain with the sports we long loved. Playtime was over.
A 2016 survey of more than 2,000 adolescent girls in the UK found 46 percent reported that their breasts affected their participation in sports. In the same survey, 73 percent reported at least one breast-specific concern, relating to the sports they played.
It’s not uncommon for women to feel pain while running due to improper support of their breasts. A review, published in Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews, notes that a woman who runs at a cadence of 160 strides per minute, experiences her breasts bouncing approximately 9,600 times in an hour-long run.
A supportive bra may not only reduce pain, but research shows that it could also improve a person’s biomechanics, improve their running economy, and positively affect their stride.
This paramount piece of equipment hasn’t been around nearly as long as, say, running shoes. That late 19th century invention has benefited from more than 150 years of tweaking and perfecting to the point that the highest level of products have become known as “super shoes.” Let’s take a look at where sports bra innovation has been and where it still needs to go.
More...from Women's Running.
3. Everything You Need to Know About the 10 Most Popular Marathon Training Plans:
Committing to running a marathon is a big. deal. Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro, training for 26.2 miles takes a minimum of four months of physical and mental prep. And finding the right training plan? Well, that can be just as overwhelming as making that initial commitment to run.
Not only do you need a plan that gets you to the finish line, you need one that’s going to get you to the starting line feeling strong, healthy, and confident. That will look different to every single runner. Some people respond well to logging high mileage six days a week; others prefer lower-intensity plans that allow for more cross-training.
No matter what any other runner tells you about the plan they swear by, the best marathon training program is one that works for you. That’s why we’re breaking down everything you need to know about the most popular marathon training plans—including insider details from real people who’ve used these plans to cross the finish line.
More...from Runner's World.
4. Most People Get Slower with Age. But Is That Inevitable?
Age may be just a number—but so is your weekly mileage.
Recently, while sifting through some of the excruciatingly detailed performance data he’d collected over decades as a Colorado-based triathlon coach, Alan Couzens noticed a pleasing symmetry. All else being equal, the amount of aerobic fitness his athletes lost by getting a year older was almost identical to the amount they gained by adding an hour per month of training time. Want to freeze the biological clock from one birthday to the next? Find a spare 15 minutes per week and fill it with running.
The long-haul practicality of this approach is debatable: after a decade, that additional training time would total 2.5 hours a week. But the underlying premise of what we might call the Couzens Immortality Quotient taps into a fertile area of debate. How much of the aging process is an inevitable slide into decrepitude, and how much is a result of not getting enough exercise?
That’s the question Johannes Burtscher of the University of Lausanne, along with colleagues in Switzerland and Austria, posed recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. By pooling the results of more than a dozen studies, the group reached an encouraging, quantifiable conclusion: only about half of the fitness losses suffered by endurance athletes as they get older are attributable to the passage of time. The other half can be chalked up to reduced training.
More...from Sweat Science on Outside Online.
5. Nike ZoomX Invincible 3 Review: What The Heel:
ROBBE: “Everybody Loves ZoomX” was a failed sitcom that nobody watched or even noticed. Released in 2019, the show only lasted for a single pilot on local access television, which we’re not even sure exists anymore. Critics said the show was judged by its title alone; audiences simply assumed it was a pitch for an already-existent Elon Musk pet project. In reality, it was just a documentary about shoe nerds talking about a midsole foam. This explains its failure to resonate with the general public.
Nevertheless, its title doesn’t lie: everybody really does love ZoomX. Despite its micro cult status within the world at large, ZoomX changed the game when it first landed a starring role in the first version of the Vaporfly 4%. Since then, it’s been used in various forms, some to resounding affectation (Pegasus Turbo 2), some to booing and hissing (the garbage recycled version found in the Zoom Fly 5).
But only one shoe fully encapsulated ZoomX in all its bouncy, gooey goodness– the Nike Invincible. Full transparency, we weren’t huge fans of the original Invincible. It was more of a personal preference on our end, but we get why a lot of people absolutely loved it. The upper was extremely comfortable, the midsole was thick and bouncy, the stack height provided protection for long miles on the road. For whatever reason, we just didn’t get along with it. If you did– well, that’s awesome.
More...from Believe in the Run.
6. Can carbon-plated running shoes cause injury?
Carbon-plated running shoes may have some performance benefits, but overusing them could lead to injuries, research suggests.
Ever since long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge first attempted a (opens in new tab) in 2017 in a pair of carbon-plated running shoes, the world of racing has been dominated by the "super shoe."
Carbon-plated running shoes contain a combination of Pebax foam and a carbon fiber plate. Pebax is a highly resilient, super-light foam that returns a significant proportion of energy, giving a bouncing feeling as someone runs. The plate also has a spring function, which was initially thought to be what caused the performance benefits of these shoes. However, a 2022 study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science (opens in new tab) concluded that the carbon plate alone has a negligible impact. Instead, the authors suggested that the combination of the plate and foam might be the key.
Research (opens in new tab) has shown that the Nike Vaporfly, the original carbon-plated shoe, lowers running energy costs by 4% on average, which can knock several minutes off a marathon time. A 2022 small-scale study in the journal Footwear Science (opens in new tab) looked at a number of different carbon-plated shoes and found similar gains in terms of performance compared with non carbon-plated running shoes,
7. There May Be Something to Cycle Syncing, but Should You Do It?
Experts weigh in on whether your period ought to have a say in your workouts.
Life rarely goes as planned—and your workouts are no exception. Whether a day of poor weather spurs you to hit the treadmill instead of the open road, or a bout of illness makes you opt for a restorative yoga class over a challenging lifting session, you have to roll with the punches. And recently, people have started syncing their exercise routines to a different piece of personal data: their menstrual cycles.
The concept of cycle syncing, or adjusting how you eat and exercise based on the phases of your menstrual cycle, was introduced by integrative nutritionist Alisa Vitti in 2014. More recently, it gained traction on TikTok as a method for optimizing your training. Users shared that they felt more energized when they scheduled trying workouts during ovulation and restorative-based movements when menstruation began.
More...from Outside Online.
8. ‘I’m A Personal Trainer, And These Myths About Lifting Heavy Weights Need To Die’:
"I was strong, and I could lift a lot more—and a lot heavier—than I thought possible."
If lifting really heavy weights has always been the one gym activity that seemed too scary, intimidating, or intense for you, you’re not alone. I used to be a hardcore cardio person who was obsessed with running. It was all I knew how to do. But when I started my job as a certified personal trainer, I began to learn more about the benefits of strength training. My life hasn't been the same since.
Heavy lifting was intimidating to me at the beginning of my career. At the time, I was working as a personal trainer at Equinox, a luxury gym. There were several trainers who organized an employee workout group. During the sessions, they did basic barbell lifts: bench presses, dead lifts, squats. I was afraid to try any of it. I focused my workouts around cardio, and was genuinely afraid I would hurt myself with heavy weights.
More...from Women's Health.
9. Should you use caffeine as part of your fueling strategy?
Caffeine is the world’s most-used drug, with around 90% of adults consuming caffeine daily. Whether it’s in your mug of coffee first thing in the morning, or your afternoon soda, the majority of us consume and (maybe even) rely on caffeine to get through the day.
Athletes are particularly enthusiastic users of caffeine as evidence suggests that it can enhance endurance, anaerobic, strength and skill-based performance.
A four year investigation conducted between 2004 and 2008 found that ~74% of elite athletes had used caffeine prior to, or during, a sporting event and that endurance athletes were the most prevalent users. Ten years later, this prevalence increased to ~76%.
Clearly, a large majority of endurance athletes use caffeine as part of their fueling strategy for training and racing, but should all athletes be using it?
The simple answer is ‘no’, because everyone responds differently to caffeine.
So, before you start considering how to use caffeine before and during your training and races, let’s look at how you respond to caffeine to determine whether you should be using it as part of your strategy…
More...from Precision Hydration.
10. Access to Female Athletes’ Locker Rooms Should Be Restricted to Female Athletes:
Girls’ and women’s locker rooms have been designed exclusively for people who have female bodies, and for good reasons. Those reasons include biological differences between women and men; women’s right to privacy; and protection from male violence against women in such forms as sexual harassment, assault, and rape. These reasons remain valid. Therefore, access to female athletes’ locker rooms should be restricted to female athletes.
The goal of including those with transgender identities must not be accomplished at the expense of female athletes’ rights to safety, privacy, and dignity.
This position statement is respectfully based on the fact that people who were born with male bodies, but believe themselves to be women, are not biologically female. Males have a right to identify as women, present as women, and ask others to refer to them as women. Males can modify their bodies via puberty blockers, estrogen, and “gender-affirming” surgeries. Still, transwomen cannot transform themselves into females.
Therefore, a male’s gender identity should be irrelevant when it comes to separate women’s spaces; the only relevant factor must be biological sex. The inclusion of males who want to shower, change clothes, and use the toilet in girls’ and women’s athletic spaces would have an extremely negative impact on girls and women in these spaces. The definition of women – the sorts of people who are eligible to use these separate women’s spaces – should remain based on common sense, longstanding tradition, and biological reality, not belief or identity.
More...from Champion Women.
11. Sabrina Pace-Humphreys: 'It's my medication' - how running saved a life"
"Why don't you try jogging?"
Sabrina Pace-Humphreys wasn't sure about those five words when she first heard them. Now, she says they saved her life.
In 2009, Pace-Humphreys suffered extreme post-natal depression after the birth of her fourth child.
"I went to really dark places but I didn't know just how bad it was," she tells Women's Sport Matters - a Sports Desk podcast special produced with the Open University.
"I had thoughts about my own life, why I was here, why I shouldn't be here."
Thankfully, at a three-month post-natal appointment, Pace-Humphreys' GP recognised something was wrong.
"One of the things she said to me was to do something for myself that takes me out of the house," Pace-Humphreys, 45, explains.
More...from the BBC.
12. The BMI Is Junk Science:
This diagnostic tool promotes fatphobia, which can cause more health problems than extra weight, and is rooted in racism. It's time to throw it away.
I showed up to my last doctor’s appointment with trepidation. I’m 46 years old and generally healthy. I don’t have diabetes or high-blood pressure; my cholesterol is fine, and I’m active. But I am overweight—obese, actually, according to the Body Mass Index (BMI), a mathematical formula that divides a person’s weight in kilograms by their height in square meters.
Doctors have been relying on the BMI to judge individual health for more than a century. At my recent appointment, which was with a doctor I’d never seen before, my BMI was front and center in our consultation. My physician told me I was obese, and then zeroed in on my risk of becoming pre-diabetic. Doctors have been telling me I’m essentially pre-pre-diabetic for the past 15 years, but I have yet to experience any complications from this nebulous diagnosis. Next the doctor noted that my cholesterol has increased slightly, neglecting to mention—perhaps neglecting to even think—that this likely has more to do with my age and family history than my current weight.
More...from Outside Online.
13. From one mom to another: Tips for being active after welcoming a new baby:
Becoming a mother is an exciting milestone in a woman’s life. Once you welcome home a baby, nothing is ever the same again. While the transition to motherhood comes with many ups and downs, engaging in physical activity is a great way for new moms to protect their physical and mental health. For more information, see Moving women forward Opens in a new window, a blog post about becoming active after childbirth.
As a research team, we’ve been exploring postpartum women’s perspectives of physical activity engagement. To fully understand the challenges that new mothers face, we went to the experts: mothers. We asked moms, who were 6 to 12 months postpartum, for advice they would give to other new moms about being physically active.
In this blog, we outline key considerations for new moms based on the advice of the postpartum women in our research. We also offer tips for returning to movement with the aim of optimizing physical and mental health during the postpartum period.
14. A 19-Minute HIIT Workout for Beginners:
Done correctly, high-intensity interval training is one of the most efficient forms of exercise. Here’s how to do it.
Workout trends come and go, but when it comes to the biggest bang for your buck, high intensity interval training, or HIIT, has staying power.
HIIT’s specific origins are uncertain; some say it dates back to at least the early 1900s and Finnish Olympic runners who would use alternating short bursts of intensity with brief bouts of recovery to bolster their overall speed. Today, it remains one of the “Top 20 Worldwide Fitness Trends” according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
But ask 10 people what a HIIT workout is, and odds are, you’ll get 10 different answers. The fitness industry has created a wide variety of iterations that aren’t actually HIIT.
More...from the New York Times.
15. Kara Goucher on Owning Her Own Story:
Sally Bergesen interviews Kara Goucher about the release of her new book, ‘The Longest Race,’ and on finding her voice in a system that dehumanized female athletes.
Editor’s note: This interview includes references to sexual assault.
Kara Goucher is a two-time Olympian, who competed in the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon, and is a World Champion Silver Medalist at the 10,000m. In 2015, Goucher went public with accusations that her former coach Alberto Salazar avoided antidoping rules with elite competitors in the Nike Oregon Project. Salazar served a four-year suspension for doping violations, and is now serving a lifetime ban for sexual misconduct.
In her new memoir, The Longest Race: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike’s Elite Running Team, Goucher sheds light on her journey through the Nike Oregon Project and reveals what it was truly like to be part of this highly funded, professional running team.
Sally Bergesen, CEO and founder of apparel company Oiselle, sat down with Goucher (who joined Oiselle’s athlete team in 2014, and currently works on the Oiselle Advisory Group) to discuss her decision to speak out, how she has moved on, and what we should all learn from abuses of power.
More...from Outside Online.