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#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 12

By Thea Lee

#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 12

The history of marathon fueling, why an MLB team is focussing on stress management, and how forgetfulness can be a good thing.

Monday, July 24

Forgot Where You Parked? Good

  • Forgetting can help us gain expertise, and when we relearn something we couldn’t recall, we often develop a richer understanding. In his research, German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus found that when people relearn information, they’re more likely to recall that information in the future.
  • A forgotten memory is a lot like an old file on your computer. While the document exists, you don’t have a quick way of getting to it. The brain’s approach to filing away memories helps keep top of mind only ideas that you need at the ready.
  • When we extract a detail from the brain’s long-term storage, the detail becomes easier to recall in the future. To remember something important, you have to keep experiencing it.
  • Researchers argue that many of the brain cells associated with memory actively foster memory loss. The growth of new neurons, they say, effectively overwrites memories and erases them.
  • Forgetting can be a crucial driver of learning. Creative cognition may rely not only on one’s ability to remember but also on one’s ability to forget.

Tuesday, July 25

The cognitive trick the elite athletes use to achieve seemingly impossible goals

  • Self-transcendence is the ability to face a threat or challenge by focusing on a purpose greater than themselves.
  • A study published published in The Academy of Management Review found that hospital janitors who cleaned bedpans and mopped floors derived more meaning from their work when it was framed as helping patients heal.

Summary of our VP of Performance Science and Optimization, Kristen Holmes-Winn’s research:

  • A high performance mindset can be achieved, in part, by creating a pathway for self-reflection to explore one’s Purpose.
  • Aligning your time with your personal values makes work/training meaningful and sustains motivation.
  • Control is the recognition that happiness is internal. Limit social comparison and the reliance on your external environment to determine your happiness.
  • Efficacy is the act of building one’s competency such that the appraisal of a task is met with the mindset that it is a puzzle or challenge.

Wednesday, July 26

The Surprising Reason You Need to Take a Recovery Day

Researchers from Brock University in Canada analyzed blood samples from 15 elite female heavyweight rowers during their most intense training weeks and compared them to ones taken during recovery weeks.

  • They found that rowers had significantly lower levels of osteoprotegerin (OPG) – a protein that protects against bone loss – during high volume, high intensity training. This is because high intensity training leads to higher levels inflammation.
  • Strength training generally speaking isn’t wrecking your bones, but if you’re lifting heavy nearly every day, you might be doing damage.
  • That’s because when you lift weights, you cause micro tears in your muscle tissues. Taking a rest day gives your muscles time to repair any damage you’ve done.

Thursday, July 27

Moneyball for Mindfulness: Mets Try More Coaches for Stress Management

  • General manager of the Mets, Sandy Alderson, is building one of the biggest mental skills coaching staffs in baseball. In the past two years the team has nearly tripped in staff.
  • The mental skills coaches travel with teams and sit on the bench during games with the medical trainers. The staff occupy a space somewhere between therapist and coach, each with a master’s degree in sports psychology.
  • At the minor league level, the coaches are focused on basic life skills, as many of the players are teenagers and adjusting to life on the road. In the majors, the mental coaches are focused on performance.
  • From a Mets player: “I have learned to use my mind as a muscle and a resource to help propel me forward instead of holding me back.”

Friday, July 28

A History of Marathon Fueling

It wasn’t until the 1960s that the importance of staying hydrated while covering long distances began to take hold amongst runners.

  • The first major change came with the invention of Gatorade in 1965, where, after several clinical trials with runners, the drink began to be adopted by the community.
  • In 1983 Brian Maxwell, an Olympic marathoner, invented the PowerBar to combat low blood sugar during endurance racing.
  • Gu, founded in 1994, sought to provide concentrated energy in a gel so athletes could replenish without stopping.
  • The Nike Breaking2 Project seems to have beckoned a new wave of fueling technology, with a focus on individualized nutrition plans.