Showing posts from August, 2014

Are we on a Quest for Mitochondria or a Quest for Maximized Performance?

What I don’t understand is when I see teams and athletes pursuing marginal gains and ignoring the basics and fundamentals of sound training. There is no sense pursuing the last 2% until you have taken care of the first 98%. -Vern Gambett a As science advances, we identify transcription factors and map cellular signalling pathways in clinical settings to potentially maximize muscles' oxidative capacities. While mitochondrial biogenesis and angiogenesis are undoubtedly important for improving a muscle fiber's resistance to fatigue, we have to ask - should these be the target or the byproduct of training? In other words, is it practical and worthwhile for athletes to manipulate their environments and diets in search of additional stress? What effect might this have on performance? An interesting review has been published recently: Link Here The review from Baar is focused on using the available molecular knowledge to potentially maximize the activity and number of PGC-1a t

Endurance Training: Running vs. Cycling

A lot of people ask me, "What's the biggest difference between training for running and training for cycling?" The simplest answer is that an athlete should have so much more opportunity to suffer on the bike. If a runner's training not limited by time, motivation, or illness; what is it limited by? It's fatigue and the ability to recover from previous workouts. If recovery was not a limiting factor, he could go out and run 3+ hours, or complete intervals at 5K race pace day after day without the fear of injury or exhaustion. What about the cyclist? Yes, fatigue is a real thing for the cyclist; but mechanically, cycling is very different from running. During cycling an athlete experiences very few eccentric muscle contractions. Meanwhile, the runner is constantly subjecting his quadriceps, hamstrings, hip and plantar flexors to impact forces and eccentric muscle contractions. These eccentric contractions cause muscle damage, in turn causing muscle sorenes

Uncoupling Proteins, Metabolism, Economy

What if I said, overweight people have the potential to be very good endurance athletes. Or you could say; very good endurance athletes are especially susceptible to becoming overweight when they're no longer training for competition. Well, this is largely rooted in speculation, but for curiosity's sake - stay with me. The theory is based on mitochondrial efficiency, or how well the electron transport chain can create and maintain a H+ concentration gradient across the inner mitochondrial membrane. This concentration gradient is used to drive ATPsynthase to generate ATP. If you had a leaky membrane and you were losing hydrogen ions, you'd be losing that gradient you worked so hard to create. Like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in the bottom, you'd have to turn up the water (substrate) to get it to fill up. Uncoupling proteins essentially act as holes in the mitochondrial membrane, allowing protons to pass through them without harnessing their potential energy