A gluten-free diet has no impact on performance for athletes who do not have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. Unfortunately many athletes and their coaches are self-diagnosing gluten sensitivities and avoiding foods with gluten unnecessarily, which can lead to inadequate nutrition or hide symptoms of other gastrointestinal issues that should be addressed.
Although not the first book about sleep, “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, presents some new concepts, such as “sleep pressure” and the caffeine-adenosine link. The book also looks at sleep from an evolutionary perspective and considers our modern requirements.
The monitoring of athlete wellness, load, and performance is a worthwhile addition to the training process, potentially protecting against overtraining syndrome, illness, and injury, and allowing for on-the-fly modifications to the training program.
Hamstring injuries are very common in sports that require running. In professional soccer, hamstring injuries account for roughly one in five of all injuries. In high-level sprinters, this rate is higher. The IAAF reports that 48% of all injuries within the 2011 World Athletics Championships were hamstring injuries. Even more concerning is the re-injury rate for hamstrings, which in professional soccer is up to 30%, and in sprinters is 38%. What this essentially means is that if you injure your hamstring once, you are at an increased risk of injuring it again. One study found in their sprinter subjects that hamstring injuries occurred roughly 0.87 times per 1000 training and competition hours. This means that a sprinter training two hours a day, five times per week, will likely have a hamstring injury once every two years.
Why does such a large variation in adaptation exist among athletes that undergo the exact same training program? Why do some improve more than others? Coach Craig Pickering explores this age-old question, focusing primarily on the variation’s biological causes.
Testosterone mediates long-term adaptations to exercise, affects mood and motivation, and–when training is designed to maximize an athlete’s testosterone response–leads to greater improvements in strength. We can help our athletes achieve appropriate testosterone levels with dietary interventions.
The ability to correctly identify talent at a young age is an attractive one, as it would allow for the correct allocation of money, time, and resources on those athletes most likely to benefit from them. But is there any way to successfully test for talent?
Do dehydration and a lack of electrolytes cause cramps? Probably not. Muscle cramps are more likely caused by neuromuscular fatigue. With this in mind, we can take steps to avoid cramping by stopping fatigue from occurring.
Caffeine remains one of the most widely used performance-enhancing drugs in the world. Although its ability to improve some human functioning has been known for more than 100 years, researchers are still discovering new aspects of the way it influences and affects sports performance. Coach Craig Pickering looks at seven of them.
The recommended daily allowance for protein is insufficient for athletes in all sports. Endurance athletes, as well as strength and power athletes, require more than “normal” humans to perform their best. More protein also helps maintain muscle mass for those trying to lose weight to “lean out” and improve their power to weight ratio.