Showing posts from December, 2014

Phosphatidylserine: Where's the Research?

Seeking the truth? Do not strive to prove, but to disprove. From my perspective, the increasing popularity of phosphatidylserine (PS) as an ergogenic aid is entertaining. When a new supplement hits the market with claims of improved performance, increased this, decreased that... The "gurus" want a piece of the action - they jump on the bandwagon; like they've known all along. Now they're giving dosing protocols, touting the supposed benefits of "the next big thing." PS is not a new supplement - you can find research on PS and exercise dating back to the 80's. It used to be obtained from bovine cortex (cow brains), but after the mad cow disease scare, it has more recently has been extracted from soy (Jager et al., 2007). If you rely on the gurus' supplement reviews or forums for your nutrition information, you may be on your way to the nearest supplement shop. But before we get carried away, I have a few thoughts and questions about PS:

Altitude Acclimation: Potential Application for Improved Exercise Economy

The "big three" determinants of endurance exercise performance are VO2max, pH threshold (sustainable pace) & exercise economy. We could also include anaerobic capacity and maximal speed/power as components that could determine the outcome of a sprint finish. The importance of running economy has been documented many times, and is often regarded as a strong predictor of performance, especially between individuals with similar VO2max values (Saunders et al. 2004; Daniels 1985). I've written on training for economy in the past. Training strategies such as hill sprints, resistance training, plyometrics or high intensity intervals have all shown improvements in economy.  In two studies, Saunders et al. (2004, 2009)  have also shown improvements in running economy following altitude acclimation. A study by Czuba et al. (2014) produced similar results in elite level biathletes and Latshang et al. in mountaineers (2013). Potential mechanisms? Stays at altitude are

Training for Endurance: Progressive Recruitment

I read  an article on VeloNews  a while back describing how many cycling races are won and lost in the final hour or minutes of racing. And this is generally true, it often comes down to who can sustain the highest power output in the final push to the finish after three, four, or five+ hours in the saddle. Rationally, it makes sense that being able to delay fatigue and enter that last hour of racing with a greater capacity for work will enable an athlete to finish faster. Many of this spring's one day classics have served prime examples - those that produce the greatest amount of power in the end will prevail. Take this years's  Milan-San Remo  for example: after 6 hours of riding, the race hits a series of small climbs before a sprint to the line. This year, it was Alexander Kristoff in the final sprint (after nearly 7 hours on the bike) who took the win - out-sprinting the likes of Mark Cavendish and Fabian Cancellara. When asked about the finish, Kristoff acknowledged that