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Jun 22, 2019

Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That is Revolutionizing Sports is a new book, by my fellow C-ISSN and CSCS Dr. Marc Bubbs. It was one of my best reads of the year for all things sports science.

A few of my big takeaways include:

– Endurance athletes seem to need more sleep than strength athletes, and both seriously suffer when sleep is anything less than 6 hours.

– A temperature change in your fingertips is likely the first circadian cue you get at the beginning of the day (I could totally see a potential jet lag device that warms the fingers – I’ll take the royalty for that, please. ;) ).

– Aerobic training for strength athletes could assist with their immune system strength.

– Loading with probiotics for 2 weeks leading up to competition could give you an ergogenic edge.

– Elite athletes on a subpar diet show the same blood biomarkers as those with pre-diabetes and a fructosamine blood test can be one of the best ways to measure this.

– Top supplements proven to work in exercise science, with the strongest track history, are creatine, caffeine, nitrate precursors (e.g. beet), whey protein, beta-alanine, and sodium bicarbonate.

– Athletes with the CC genotype of the CYP1A2 gene are actually hampered in performance in response to caffeine intake.

– Eating carbs too far from a performance event (e.g. 60-75 minutes) results in hypoglycemia before the event vs. consuming them closer to the event (e.g. 20-45 minutes)

– Fish oil can stimulate muscle building by stimulating mTOR pathways. Vitamin D and creatine are also very good for recovery, not just performance. Creatine can even be helpful for TBI/concussions.

– High sugar intake is associated with lower heart rate variability (HRV).

– Cold water immersion (CWI) beats cryotherapy for recovery, hands down.

You can get this brand new book here.

But I also decided to get author Dr. Marc Bubbs on this podcast to take a deeper dive into he concepts above, and many others. He is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Performance Nutrition Lead for Canada Basketball Team, Speaker, and former Strength Coach.

Marc also hosts the Dr. Bubbs Performance Podcast, connecting listeners with world-leading experts in human performance and health.

Dr. Bubbs regularly presents at health, fitness and medical conferences across North America, UK and Europe and consults with professional teams in the NBA, NHL, and MLB teams. He practices in both Toronto, Canada and London, England.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-How Marc gathers, curates and assimilates new information for his practice...8:45

  • Struggled as a young athlete with disease, etc. and discovered naturopathic medicine
  • He realized that there wasn't much of a market for it (circa 2000) but he embraced it and became the best at it
  • The more personal contact with the source of info, the better (there's nuance in conversation that doesn't make it into an academic paper)
  • Vast resources available on the Internet (and they're all true, of course)

-Current research on caffeine as an ergogenic aid...15:00

  • Study conducted by Nanci Guest, University of Toronto:
    • Cycling time trial under 3 different conditions:
      • 0 caffeine
      • 2 mg caffeine
      • 4 mg per kg of caffeine
    • AC gene variants had no benefit
    • AA gene variants had benefit at both 2 mg and 4 mg levels
    • Athletes with the CC genotype of the CYP1A2 gene are actually hampered in performance in response to caffeine intake
  • The sweet spot: 3-6 mg of caffeine per kg per day
  • 23 and Me test will identify CYP 1A2 gene

-How endurance and strength athletes differ regarding sleep needs...21:18

  • Endurance athletes fare better on the upper end of the sleep suggested amounts (8-10 hrs)
    • They also suffer more on lack of sleep
    • Greater volume of training
    • More early morning sessions
  • Sleep is #1 recovery tool some docs recommend
  • It's one thing to acknowledge the need, quite another to actually get more sleep

-The relationship between finger temperature and circadian rhythm...31:25

  • Fingertips are the first to sense changes in environment
  • Possibility of warming hands to help body adjust its circadian rhythm while traveling
  • ChiliPad Ben sleeps on

-How aerobic training can help the immune system of endurance athletes...

  • "Elite performance is incompatible with frequent illness." --Dr. Michael Gleason
  • Maintaining an aerobic base supports innate immunity
  • Aerobic training in the protocol of a strength athlete will improve immune system
  • Consider incorporating aerobics if red flags of sickness or fatigue occur
  • Could be a means of recovery
  • Simply being well enough to train is a big part of the picture
  • Don't forget fundamentals like washing hands
    • Fingertips, webs and backs of hands are often missed

-Probiotics as an ergogenic and performance enhancing tool...42:10

  • Study on Olympic athletes in 2008:
    • 2/3 of those studied showed benefit in 2 key areas:
      • Preventing upper respiratory tract infection
      • Reversing upper respiratory tract infection
  • Start 2 weeks before event
  • Colostrum can be efficacious while performing in the heat
  • Gut is a "black box" of the body; a key indicator in assessing overall health

-Up and coming supplement research and diet strategies Marc is following...50:45

  • "Food first" approach
  • Creatine, whey protein, caffeine are major players
  • Nitrate precursors: beet root, arugula
  • Endurance sports, struggle to lose weight: have the wrong approach
  • Nicotinamide riboside
  • Ketones for concussion recovery
    • High rate of head trauma among teens
    • Women's ice hockey is the highest risk
  • Peptides

-Why athletes on a subpar diet show the same blood biomarkers as those with pre-diabetes...56:10

  • Endurance athletes are more concerned with hypoglycemia, not hyperglycemia
  • Study: 4 of 10 participants spend 70% of the time with blood glucose in pre-diabetic range
  • Exercise is a stressor; contributes to raising blood glucose
  • Over fueling more of a problem than we think
  • Case study in Japan on two ultra-marathoners: one elite, the other sub-elite on a 100 mile race
    • At wake-up: elite has glucose level of 90; sub-elite is 110
    • Sub-elite glucose level rises, then crashes around mile 70
    • Elite runner came through just fine
  • Fructosamine measurements for blood glucose levels
    • HA1c skews to more recent fueling in its readings
    • 2-3 week window vs. 3 month on HA1c
    • Measuring glycated albumin rather than glycated hemoglobin
    • More expensive; used for a more acute picture

-The best time to consume carbs before training...1:07:45

  • Dr. Mark Russell: Half-Time Strategies to Enhance Second-Half Performance in Team-Sports Players
    • Biggest drops in glucose came from those who had drinks 75 minutes before the game
  • Emma Stevenson of Newcastle University did a study on maltodextrin vs. honey
    • Maltodextrin had blood sugar drop of 19%
    • Honey had blood sugar drop of 4%
  • Time carb intake so that blood glucose spike takes place during the event
  • Optimal overall carb intake for strength vs. endurance athletes:
    • Strength: 4-7 g per kg per day
    • Endurance: 6-10 g per kg
    • "Training low" in team sports: low carb availability

-Comparing the effectiveness of cold water immersion (CWI) to cryotherapy...1:22:40

-And much more...

Resources from this episode:

-Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That is Revolutionizing Sports

-Examine Research Digest

-Alan Aragon's Research Review

-Chilipad Ben sleeps on

-The combo of ATP and HMB Ben mentions

-Dr. Mark Russell: Half-Time Strategies to Enhance Second-Half Performance in Team-Sports Players

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Dr. Bubbs or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!