What you actually gain from core training, when portion size and calorie counting may not matter, and nonalcoholic beer as a recovery drink?
“A phrase I’ve heard at conferences when people talk about great athletes is that there’s probably some degree of benign masochism that the people who love to go out and run 100 miles a week are not just physically capable but mentally capable.”
- Alex Hutchinson has a doctorate in physics, competed for the Canadian national team as a runner, and is currently an author and fitness journalist. He recently traveled to labs all over the world and spoke to scientists and athletes about “the mystery of endurance.”
- Initially, physiologist A.V. Hill had the idea that the human body is the engine for endurance, introducing the concept of V02 max. The premise of this being that if we can understand the body physiologically, we can understand its limits.
- During the 20th century, Tim Noakes introduce another angle to understanding limits by stating that the brain is what determines human performance.
- An experiment on the effects the mind can have on performance: A study by Samuele Marcora tested cyclists riding to exhaustion. During the test, he flashed frowning faces or smiling faces, so quickly that often the athletes weren’t even aware they were seeing them.
- “The ones who saw smiling faces lasted 12% longer on the ride than those who saw frowning faces.”
- Currently, there are two concepts on how the brain controls endurance:
- One is that your brain is trying to anticipate what is going to happen so it tries to protect you.
- The other is that “there is no prediction of the future, there’s no subconscious protective circuitry.”
Non-alcoholic (NA) beer as a recovery drink? Some German Olympians think so. NA beer has a lower sugar content than many sports drinks. One study showed runners who drank NA beer post-exercise had less inflammation than those who didn’t.
- Simon Schempp, a German Olympic athlete who just earned a silver medal in PyeongChang, is a habitual drinker of nonalcoholic beer post competition or training.
- The doctor for the German Olympic ski team, Johannes Scherr, stated that “nearly all of his athletes drink nonalcoholic beer.”
- Scherr conducted a double blind study in which he gave runners nonalcoholic beer everyday for three weeks before and two weeks after the race. “These runners suffered significantly less inflammation and fewer respiratory infections after the race than runners who had been given a placebo.”
- It should be noted that this experiment was financed by a brewing company.
- However, a study by Chilean researchers also found positive effects from consumption of nonalcoholic beer. They found that nonalcoholic beer before a workout “helped soccer players stay hydrated compared to regular beer and water.”
Life advice: Surf the waves of the day, take a break when needed, embrace the holistic experience; “a happy ending with a few sprinkles of sadness can make that ending richer and more meaningful” -Daniel Pink
- Daniel H. Pink is the author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. He offers some insight and advice in an article in Behavioral Scientist, titled Everything Is Timing.
- “Evidence shows that we’re better off doing certain kinds of work at certain stages of the day.”- Some people work better at cognitive tasks in the morning, some in the evening. Find your flow of the day.
- “Breaks are restorative. The best breaks are fully detached, taken with someone we choose, and involve movement and nature.” Many people think they will be judged if they take 20 minutes to step away from their desk or 10 minutes to speak to a colleague about life outside of work. These acts can be restorative.
- “One common effect of endings seems to be that they trigger a search for meaning. What’s more, many of the most meaningful endings aren’t happy in the sunny, smiley sense.” Happy endings aren’t always the best outcome. Hardships or sadness can really enhance an experience and the trials one goes through to grow.
Thoughts on how Olympic athletes can teach us about leadership, from Dr. Heidi Brooks: Work smarter, not harder. Take time to reflect post presentation, day, week, etc. Hold yourself ruthlessly accountable to excellence.
- Dr. Heidi Brooks broke down her thoughts on what Olympics athletes can teach us about leadership.
- Leadership and management can resonate with athletics due to some of the enduring lessons learned during sport. Lessons such as a learning mindset, focus on winning and coping with loss, and moving thru the field or life with a calm mindset and powerful team dynamics.
- Business leaders can learn these abilities from athletes:
- “Your health and well being is fundamental to your ability to do anything else.”
- “Cultivate an environment and attitude of constant development.”
- “Keep playing no matter what.”
- “Know when to stretch yourself and take risks, and when to play it safe.”
- “Play your game.”
What do you actually gain from core training? Breathing better and for longer, stability that aides performance, and preventing back pain. Advice from this study? Core Endurance is more important than strength.
- Craig Abrams, founder of CADC Chiropractic in California, is working with a team from the University of New England to explore the performance and health benefits of core training.
- Could V02 max be improved by core strength? “It has something to do with breathing.” Abrams believes.
- A study in 2077 found that runners who did not have core strength succumbed to fatigue quicker because they had a harder time breathing and it was more labored. “Heavy breathing can weaken the core.”
- Abrams states, “if you can breathe better and you can breathe better for longer, I’d say it’s like Viagra for your lungs.”
- Core stability/strength allows riders to not isolate the quad muscles during riding, but use all the muscle in the body. It can also help with low back pain.
Time to ditch the bagels, white bread, refined flour and sugar? A new study shows those who did lost a significant amount of weight over the course of a year, regardless of portion size or calorie counting.
- When it comes to weight loss, most people adhere to the common thought of eating fewer calories than you burn throughout a day.
- A new study found those those who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while not worrying about portion size or calories, actually lost a significant amount of weight.
- “This research lends strong support to the notion that diet quality, not quantity, is what helps people lose and manage their weight most easily in the long run.”
A study by O’Donnell et al., showed that sleep hygiene education can improve sleep in elite female athletes. Sleep hygiene is defined as “a variety of different practices and habits that are necessary to have good nighttime sleep quality.”
- According to a study by Halson et al. “Sleep quality and quantity is reported to be the single best psychological and physiological recovery strategy available to elite athletes.”
- “Sleep hygiene includes the provision of advice based on various aspects of lifestyle and behavior, as well as environmental factors that influence sleep such as light, noise and temperature.”
- Athletes benefit from the education of better sleep practices because it can help maximize sleep quality and amount of sleep each night.
- In this study, 26 elite female netball athletes underwent one week of baseline sleep monitoring followed by a sleep education session, then another week of sleep monitoring.
- The study took place during their preseason and showed “that a sleep hygiene education may be used to improve sleep in elite athletes.”