5. Should you be heat training?
Athletes and coaches are always on the look out for ways to increase the Return on Investment (ROI) they get from the long hours they put in to training. They want an edge over competitors and improvement in the face of diminishing returns from their existing training methodologies. As a result, there’s been a lot of talk recently about heat training.
Heat acclimatisation - where you go and train in a genuinely hot environment - and heat acclimation - training in a simulated hot environment - have long been accepted as a proven way to improve subsequent performance in the heat. However it’s only relatively recently that people have started to look at heat training as a way to improve performance in temperate conditions too. That’s despite the fact that there’s research going back to 2010 that seems to demonstrate a clear link between heat stress training and improved exercise performance in cool conditions.
How does heat training work?
Heat training is very likely to boost performance in temperate conditions because, as you train in the heat, your body adapts, increasing blood volume by expanding the plasma (watery bit) of the blood to make it flow more easily to the skin and working muscles. This helps with heat dissipation and provides a larger reservoir of fluid to lose in sweat before cardiovascular performance is compromised. This is something that’s also closely linked to hydration status and body sodium levels as it happens and that probably rings a bell if you’ve been a reader for a while or have chatted to one of our Precision Fuel & Hydration team in the flesh.
More...from Precision Hydration.
6. Jitters and Java: Your Genes May Affect Your Response to Caffeine:
Your DNA has a say in your caffeine buzz, but it’s still not clear how genes affect gut sensitivity to caffeine.
For most people, ingesting small or moderate amounts of caffeine (say 2-6 mg per kg of body mass) improves physical performance and can also lessen mental fatigue, especially when someone is short on shut-eye. Some people seem to think that more is always better, including when it comes to caffeine use, but the truth is that crushing caffeine is often a recipe for problems. Still, there is wide variation in how people respond to caffeine. One person might be able to down lattes all day long with no ill effects, while another may be stricken with jitters and stomach distress with a single energy drink.
While there are undoubtedly several reasons behind this variability in the response to caffeine, genetics appear to be one of the key factors. This isn’t really a surprise, as people’s genes affect practically every behavior or physiological response they have, from their fondness for cruciferous vegetables to their preference for different types of humor. (Personally, I’m a broccoli lover who appreciates the cringe-type comedy of The Office.) If you can figure out a way to reliably measure a human trait or behavior, it’s basically guaranteed that there is going to be some amount of genetic contribution to that characteristic.
More...from Women's Running.
7. Is Overhydration More Dangerous than Dehydration?
Here's why you need to monitor your water intake.
Being human is all about balance. We strive to find an ever-elusive equilibrium between work and life. We go to yoga classes in hopes of improving our physical steadiness. We eat an assortment of fruits and vegetables, but we also munch on chips and dip. And, from a physiological standpoint, our blood cells need balance, too.
As athletes—especially ones who spend time outdoors during a heat wave—the ethos we usually hear is “hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.” However, a 2020 research article from Stanford University School of Medicine offers a different perspective. In the piece, the study’s lead author notes that overhydrating is actually more dangerous than being dehydrated.
How Much Water is Too Much?
One of the most important things to maintain balance in our blood cells is the sodium-to-water ratio, says Tamara Hew-Butler, associate professor of exercise and sport science at Wayne State University School of Medicine. When you’re dehydrated, you contain less water, causing your blood cells to shrink. However, when you drink some H2O, your cells recover quickly.
More...from Outside Online.
8. PUMA Is Using Nitrogen Gas to Improve Your Stride:
One thing is true when it comes to picking an everyday running shoe: it’s an incredibly personal choice. With so many options out there, upgrading your footwear can be a daunting task. So let’s simplify things. If you want lightweight, responsive, and durable shoes to support your daily mileage goals, PUMA has the perfect match. Here’s why the ForeverRUN with NITRO™ technology is your next everyday running shoe.
Regardless of your mileage or pace, having the right technology underfoot is key to maximizing the time you spend running. Every running shoe in the PUMA performance lineup is equipped with innovative NITROFOAM™ technology, which is designed to deliver responsiveness, durability, and comfort.
PUMA created its NITROFOAM™ technology through an innovative process that infuses the shoe’s foam with nitrogen gas. This technology allows PUMA to provide the support all runners require without tacking on additional weight.
More...from Outside Online.
9. Exercise under heat stress: thermoregulation, hydration, performance implications, and mitigation strategies:
A rise in body core temperature and loss of body water via sweating are natural consequences of prolonged exercise in the heat. This review provides a comprehensive and integrative overview of how the human body responds to exercise under heat stress and the countermeasures that can be adopted to enhance aerobic performance under such environmental conditions. The fundamental concepts and physiological processes associated with thermoregulation and fluid balance are initially described, followed by a summary of methods to determine thermal strain and hydration status. An outline is provided on how exercise-heat stress disrupts these homeostatic processes, leading to hyperthermia, hypohydration, sodium disturbances, and in some cases exertional heat illness. The impact of heat stress on human performance is also examined, including the underlying physiological mechanisms that mediate the impairment of exercise performance. Similarly, the influence of hydration status on performance in the heat and how systemic and peripheral hemodynamic adjustments contribute to fatigue development is elucidated. This review also discusses strategies to mitigate the effects of hyperthermia and hypohydration on exercise performance in the heat by examining the benefits of heat acclimation, cooling strategies, and hyperhydration. Finally, contemporary controversies are summarized and future research directions are provided.
More...from American Physiological Society>
10. ‘Tracking your period should be your superpower’:
The latest Telegraph Women’s Sport Podcast focuses on how the menstrual cycle can impact athletes and the importance of more knowledge .
It was not until her second year of university that Bobby Clay learnt how to insert a tampon – via a YouTube video. “I was a 19-year-old woman. I felt pathetic,” she says now. Yet Clay had never had the need to learn before.
A former middle-distance runner who won the 1,500m at the Junior European Championships in 2015, Clay had been tipped to reach the very top in athletics, but her promising career ended before it had truly begun when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis aged 18. Years of under-eating and over-training also meant she had never had a period.
“I’d never had a period, so I’d never even needed to say the word,” Clay tells the latest episode of the Telegraph Women’s Sport Podcast. “Periods stopping in sport, unfortunately, was seen as the norm, but I just never started.”
Hormone replacement therapy later kick-started her body and she has since had natural periods – hence the tampon video – and now Clay wants her story to help other women. After all, rather than being seen as the norm in sport, missing periods should be seen as a concern.
More...from The Telegraph.
11. Move over menstrual cycle: Ovulation monitoring is the new gold standard to monitor REDs in female athletes:
Am I eating enough to be healthy and perform at my best?
Researchers know now that assessing the adequacy of energy intake in athletes is not as straightforward as crunching the numbers for calories-in (the energy we consume through the food we eat) minus calories-out (the energy we use to function, from basic processes such as breathing and blood circulation to the complex processes we use to work or exercise). Be wary of what the latest calorie tracking app is promoting as one’s daily energy budget, as the cost of all the human body processes that are involved in energy consumption and expenditure is incredibly complex (Burke et coll., 2018).
What researchers, athletes, coaches and health practitioners are really after is an understanding of an athlete’s energy availability status. Energy availability (EA) refers to the amount of energy left over and available for your body’s functions after the energy expended for training is accounted for from the energy you consume from food (Loucks et coll., 2011). Inadequate energy availability, or low energy availability (LEA), arises when there simply is not enough energy (calories) consumed to support critical body functions as well as extra physical activity, such as training. If this goes on long enough, athletes can face serious health implications. Typically, physiological functions of the body get neglected and only receive the energy that is available after the needs of physical activity are taken care of. The prevalence of low energy availability is assumed to be high in female athletes, and if persistent may pose a significant health risk (Melin et coll., 2014).
12. From the Women’s World Cup to Wimbledon, a Victory Everyone Can Share:
Across sports, female athletes are fighting a battle over what they put on their bodies and how much of those bodies they display.
We are in the quarterfinals of that global sporting phenomenon known as the Women’s World Cup. There have been, as usual, shocks and surprises. There have been, less usual, record-breaking crowds.
What there hasn’t been, at least compared to any other WWC, is a lot of white shorts.
No white shorts as part of the England team uniform. No white shorts for New Zealand. No white shorts for Canada, France or Nigeria — all countries that wore white four years ago. No white shorts as part of the home kit for the United States for the first time since the WWC began in 1991.
“It’s period justice,” said Dr. Akilah Carter-Francique, the dean of the School of Education, Health and Human Services at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C., and the former president of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.
More...from the New York Times
13. 3 signs you may be running too much:
Pay attention if you notice one of these signs–you may be overtraining.
Feeling sluggish and worn out, even after a great night’s sleep and some nutritious food? Overtraining may be the culprit, and while it can be challenging to pinpoint, there are a few red flags to look out for. Defined as a condition that can occur when a runner pushes their training beyond what their body can adequately recover from, overtraining can lead to a decline in performance and potential health issues.
While some fatigue is normal in a tough training block, over time the effects of training too hard add up and can lead to burnout or other running-related ailments. Here’s how to know whether you are overdoing it.
Performance plateau or decline
Performance decline is one of the most noticeable signs of overtraining. Take note if you suddenly have a tough time hitting paces that used to be easy for you, or if your performance plateaus or starts to decline despite consistent training efforts. Your body may be struggling to recover adequately if you’re getting slower even when you’re putting in more effort.
More...from Canadian Running Magazine.
14. Fast Talk Femmes Podcast: Exploring Continuous Glucose Monitors with Dr. Jamie Whitfield and Dr. Dana Lis:
Dr. Jamie Whitfield and Dr. Dana Lis discuss the body's ability to regulate blood sugar and practical applications of continuous glucose monitors in elite sport.
Dr. Jamie Whitfield is an Australian-based exercise physiologist and postdoctoral research fellow with his Ph.D. in skeletal muscle metabolism and physiology. He is the co-author of a 2023 study, “The Use of Continuous Glucose Monitors in Sport: Possible Applications and Considerations,” and has recently been putting his research into practice with high-performance sports.
In this episode, we discuss with Dr. Whitfield the body’s remarkable ability to maintain glucose homeostasis, even in the face of starvation. We also take a deep dive into the dynamics and complexities of blood glucose and the relevance of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in a range of topics:
Why and how are athletes using CGMs? Do most athletes know how to interpret the massive amounts of data to inform fueling strategies?
Do CGMs help or hurt athlete fueling practices? What is the expert consensus on their value?
Are there potential applications for CGMs to improve athlete health and well-being?
Can CGMs help female athletes individualize their fueling strategies and training?
Should the UCI ban continuous glucose monitors from competition?
More...from Fast Talk Laboratories.
15. Does Altitude Training Really Work?
From pro cyclists to runners and cross-country skiers, altitude training is a popular preparation method for a major event. But is it as simple as training high? The team break down the benefits, the science and the reasons why it may not work for everyone.
Listen to the podcast om The Real Science of Sport.