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#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 29 & 30

By Allison Isham

#WHOOPEd Weekly Digest, Vol. 29 & 30

Triathlon training habits, how to monitor fatigue, the value of napping at work and how lack of sleep can make you catch a cold.

Monday, November 27th

Sidelined with an injury? Along with rehab, try higher protein intake and omega-3 fatty acids to help with healing

  • Injuries present differently between individuals and often depend on the injury type and severity.
  • When injured, we tend to slow down and allow the healing response to occur. High protein intake (2-2.5g/kg/day) can be beneficial for down time of injury.
  • The injury response is an inflammatory response, which is very important.
  • If one is immobilized from an injury for a significant amount of time, muscle loss can occur. Some studies show that the use of omega-3 fatty acids and creatine can counter muscle loss and enhance hypertrophy.
  • Overall, the importance with diet, as with everything, is ever-changing. As you rehab and come back from an injury, make sure to adjust to ensure you are getting the balanced diets and appropriate nutrients you need.

Tuesday, November 28th

Sleep loss influences your performance by suppressing growth hormone from an inability to enter deep sleep, an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system and poor cognitive performance

  • Sleep is an incredibly important component to overall health.
  • During deep sleep, growth hormone is released. Growth hormone is crucial to tissue regeneration and growth.
  • An average of 8 hours of sleep is recommended for adults. Note that this isn’t 8 hours in bed, but 8 hours of sleep. When sleep is less than 7 hours, studies have shown there is a lack in performance, alertness, reaction time, decision making and memory.
  • Consider keeping the phone, tv and tablet out of your hands an hour prior to bed as exposure to light can suppress melatonin by about 22%, thus affecting the ability to fall asleep.
  • Athletes who don’t sleep at least 8 hours a night have a 70% greater risk for injury.

Wednesday, November 29th

6 good triathlon training habits to develop

  • Training is about volume, intensity and duration. The mantra of successful training is everything in due time, don’t try to tackle everything at once.
  • The first suggested habit of triathlon training is to develop a 3:1 ratio. Your body works in 4-week blocks; use the first 3 weeks to train intensely and use the 4th week for reduction to allow your body to adapt.
  • Try to write down your training sessions and how they went. In order to adapt and change due to successes or failure, it is helpful to have notes from previous trainings to outline what will allow you to train best.
  • Do weekly, mini triathlons. Head to your local gym and practice what you will need to take to race day, spending time in the pool, on the bike and running. See URL for practice gym sample.

Thursday, November 30th

Ever tried and failed with a behavior change? Good news: Penn researchers have created a new project called Behavior Change for Good which will help people commit to positive changes for a better life

  • Penn researchers Angela Duckworth and Katherine Milkman launched a project called the Behavior Change for Good (BCFG) initiative. “They and two dozen scientist across the country have hope this program will help people turn life modifications into life long habits.”
  • The team is working on two projects; one is related to school performance while the other focuses on gym attendance.
  • Duckworth and her colleagues will provides questionnaires, videos, educational materials and incentive payments for 28 gym sessions.
  • Different incentives motivate different people. Often coaching someone else on a skill actually helps the mentor grow as much, if not more, than the mentee.

Friday, December 1st

Staff at NASA, Google and Samsung have one thing in common: they can nap at work. Napping improves a particular cognitive function, “working memory”

  • At places like NASA, Google and Samsung, employees can go into pods and take 20-minute naps. Within the pod, soothing sleep music plays while the outside world is shut out by a visor.
  • It is well known that lack of sleep can cause various health problems. Companies are now starting to recognize sleep deprivation and facilitate aide to help employees function optimally.
  • A study by neuroscientists and psychiatrists at various universities examined how the brain behaves under sleep deprivation. It was found that “losing one night of sleep stops our brain from working properly.” Neurons fire slower than usual, meaning our cognitive functions can be delayed.
  • A number of benefits that stem from napping can be found in literature. Dr. Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, states that napping “increases alertness, boosts creativity, reduces stress, improves perception, stamina, motor skills and accuracy, enhancing your sex life, helps you make better decisions, keeps your looking younger, aids in weight loss, reduces the risk of heart attack, elevates your mood and strengthens memory.”
  • Ideal duration of naps: 20-26 mins

Monday, December 4th

Training: One size programming does not fit all. Genetics, personal predispositions and traits, prior training and injury history, and current stress status (i.e. cognitive and emotional state) ALL go into the equation

  • Periodization is a science that cites two ideas as its theoretical founding platform: homeostasis and General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).
  • Evidence in literature supports a strong association between general life stress and sports-related injury.
  • Various other components related to stress that contribute to injury for student athletes include high-academic stress, perfectionism, self-blame and pre-season anxiety.
  • “Periodization teachings continually reinforce this assertion, ‘the overall homeostatic stress of an exercise bout is determined by the interaction of factors such as exercise intensity and duration.”
  • It is crucial to remember that the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is an indicator of current stress, and heart rate variability is objective measurement of the ANS. Looking at the the athlete holistically, rather than reps and sets, and understanding physical and emotional states can be beneficial in optimizing training.

Tuesday, December 5th

Poor running mechanics, chronic injuries and muscles imbalances tend to have one thing in common: a weak core. Here are a couple exercises to help build and strengthen your abs

  • One of the single most important things runners can to to be successful and avoid poor running mechanics or muscle imbalances is to strengthen the core.
  • Running, for time or distance, usually ends with fatigue in the last mile or minute. Having a strong core to support the body can help runners finish strong and potentially avoid injury.
  • View URL for examples of core workouts.

Wednesday, December 6th

What is fatigue? Why should you monitor fatigue? How can you monitor fatigue?

  • Various techniques are used to monitor physiological and psychological fatigue.
  • These techniques can range from subjective questionnaires, objective methods such as blood lactate measures, and performance testing.
  • “Fatigue is any exercise or non-exercise induced loss in total performance due to various physiological factors, athlete reported psychological factors or a combination of the two.”
  • Why is monitoring fatigue important? Since a coach is the one prescribing the training periodization, it is crucial that he or she understand the dose-response of the intended stress.
  • Take home point: There are various ways to assess stress (see article), but it is imperative to have solid baseline measures. You need to have a starting point to better understand the desired outcomes.

Thursday, December 7th

Another reason to increase your hours of sleep at night: people who sleep less than 5 hours a night are 4.5 times more likely to have a cold than those who sleep 7 hours

  • There are a number of health issues associated with lack of sleep (less than 6-7 hours a night), such as chronic illnesses, susceptibility to acute infections and premature death.
  • In a study by Prather et al., data was collected from 2007 and 2011 and including 94 men and 70 women. The participants were assessed on their emotions and kept a sleep diary. Their blood was also assessed.
  • The participants were exposed to the rhinovirus and monitored over 5 days. The study found that those who were sleeping 5-6 hours a night were at a greater risk to the common cold compared to those sleeping 7+ hours.

Friday, December 8th

Running more or running faster. Your HRV can tell you how you respond to various training stimuli

  • In a study by Vesterinen et al., trained runners were placed in two groups: a volume group and an intensity group.
  • HRV was measured at baseline and 8 weeks of training took place.
  • The study found that for high-volume training, low HRV measures responded best, while high-intensity training responded best to high HRV.
  • The study shows that HRV can be used to individualize training in order to optimize training for greater endurance performance.


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