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The Real Science of Sport Podcast

Corona Comeback: How Sport Is Leading The Way / Do Spectators Matter?

Season 2, Ep. 6

With soccer matches already under way and many professional sports looking at innovative plans to get back in action, Prof. Ross Tucker and host Mike Finch explore the various models being used and what sports' recovery could mean for the rest of society. We also talk about the effect of spectator-less games on performance and do crowds really matter


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  • 16. The Real Science Of Hydration During Exercise

    Dr Tamara Hew-Butler is the Queen of Hyponatremia (@hyponaqueen on X). What's hyponatremia, you may be wondering? It is a condition that is far more dangerous than dehydration, and which can develop when we drink too much fluid during exercise, with potentially lethal and often tragic consequences. We have been conditioned to fear the health and performance risks of dehydration during exercise, to believe that we cannot afford to lose fluid, and that by the time we are thirsty, it's too late. But Hew Butler, a world authority on fluid requirements during exercise, is here to set the record straight, to explain how exquisitely our bodies regulate our sodium and fluid levels, and why we can and should trust our physiology instead of the marketing messages of sports drinks and water companies. This is an episode that will challenge beliefs, and set the record straight on exercise hydration.Show notesBecome a Patron and join the Discourse communityLinks to articles on the subject matter of the podcastTami is lead author on a series of consensus statements on Exercise Associated Hyponatremia. This is the most recent version of that consensusThe Men's Health article mentioned on the show, discussing overhydration and quoting TamiA review article by Tami, published in 2017, with details on the physiology, treatment and prevention of hyponatremiaA 2022 paper by Tami, on the Physiology, Psychology and pathophysiology of overhydrationA study Tami was involved in looking at soldiers doing a 40km march, showing that drinking to thirst avoided the dangers of both hyponatremia and dehydrationIn the show, we spoke about research we did at the Comrades Ultramarathon. Here is one of the papers from those studies in the medical tentTwo papers on what typically happens during ultra-endurance exercise, first in Ironman athletes, by Sharwood et alA second paper describing over 2000 endurance athletes and the changes in body weight, sodium levels and hydration statusThe first case series of hyponatremic athlete in the Comrades, going all the way back to the 1980sTami's X handle: @hyponaqueen
  • Science of Sport Spotlight 2: Kenya's doping induced credibility crisis

    Kenyan athletes are being banned, literally, by the hundreds. The country that produces many of the world's outstanding distance performers has a huge credibility crisis. It is clear that doping is widespread, but frustratingly, despite dozens of athletes being caught and banned every month, we are no closer to identifying how what have been described as "sophisticated doping regimes" are being managed and delivered to many of the best Kenyan athletes. In this Spotlight, the second episode of the Series, Ross and Gareth talk about the extent of the problem, the challenges faced by authorities who are casting their own spotlight on Kenyan running, and the shadow that sadly looms over Kenyan medals and records.Show notesSign up to become a Patron of the show and join the conversationThe latest AIU list of banned Kenyan runners, as at 1 June 2024. This list has since grown by about 30 namesA year ago, Kenyan government pledged to fight the doping problem with a significant investment. The bans now may be the result, but is it the solution?Rhonex Kipruto is one of the biggest Kenyan names banned to date. Here is the AIU Reasoned Decision describing the ban, including the results and graphs discussed by Ross and Gareth on the showOlympic surveys:Here is the survey we have created for you to rate every Olympic sport's "athleticism" and attributesHere is the "bracket", where you choose your favourite Olympic sport in a series of Head-to-Head battles. We are now in Round 2
  • 15. The Science and Art of Good Running

    Dr Geoff Burns lives and breaths running. From his own accomplishments as an elite-level ultra racer, Burns has spent years researching the biomechanics of running, the science behind what makes great runners and the impact of the new super shoes in this new age of running. Burns has a PhD in Sports Science, is a physiologist with the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and is a researcher and engineer with a special interest in running.SHOW NOTESFollow Geoff on TwitterThe paper that describes the relationship between calf circumference and running economy The Japanese study comparing the tendon function of Kenyans to Japanese runnersA paper that looked at cerebral oxygenation in Kenyan runners, another where the effect of being a good runner is hard to tease out from being a Kenyan effectGeoff and ROSS collaborated on this paper, as discussed on the show, looking at barefoot vs shod running in elite vs recreational
  • Science of Sport Spotlight 1: Lia Thomas loses case against World Aquatics

    Today we introduce the Science of Sport Spotlight, a category of podcast that we intend to use to round up all the big sports stories with a sports science angle, and then share those insights with you. Today, we discuss the news that transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has lost a case brought against World Aquatics' transgender guidelines at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. But it's not entirely as it seems - the case was dismissed because Thomas is not eligible to bring the case as Thomas is no longer a member of US Swimming. In this Spotlight episode, Professor Ross Tucker explains why that is frustrating for World Aquatics and other sports, and why the Thomas case would have made an interesting test in the court.Notes:Sean ingle's article on the decisionThe research paper by Senefeld that analysis Thomas' performance changes with testosterone suppression, alluded to in the showAnother research paper, on which I am a co-author, which explains why the IOC Guideline on the trans issue is so misguidedPatrons only: The discourse thread that mentions the Ultra cycling race won by a trans woman this past weekendYou can join the ongoing sports science conversation, and support our work, by becoming a Patron member at this link.That Patron membership gives you access to our Discourse channels, where like-minded enthusiasts discuss sports science and news
  • 14. 50 Days to Go: Let the (build up to the) Games begin

    With 50 days to go to the Paris Olympics, it's all systems go for athletes, coaches, and media. Sean Ingle will be covering his 7th Olympic Games, and he joins us from Rome's European Track and Field Championships to talk about some of the themes we expect to make the news at these Paris Games. They include tech's pervasive and unavoidable influence on performance, a simmering feud in the world of anti-doping, and the evolution and relevance of the Olympic Games in the face of both external and internal pressures. We also present The Official Science of Sport surveys in which you get to vote for your favourite event of the Games, and our ambitious consensus project to classify the Olympic Sports by their physiological and psychological demands. A busy period of great sport starts here!Show notes:Here is where you sign up to become a Patron and get access to our awesome and informative Discourse communityThe Discourse page, for those who are already Patrons of the pod (you sign in with your Patron log-ins)If you want to join our survey to rate the Olympic sports for their athletic components, here is the link to the once-off surveyOur 'bracket' challenge to pick your most engaging, popular specific eventWe spoke of tech in cycling on the show, and here's an announcement from Team GB/Lotus about their track bikes for their Paris campaignHere's the paper with Kenenisa Bekele has a co-author, that recognizes that the new era performances, powered by super shoes, and aided by wavelights, need an asterisk alongside themFollow Sean Ingle on Twitter/X
  • The Habits of Good Sleep

    Join host Mike Finch, co-host Prof. Jill Warner and Dr Dale Rae, Director at Sleep Science and a Senior Lecturer in the Division of Physiological Sciences at the University of Cape Town, as they discuss what good sleeping habits look like, what constitutes a good sleep routine, catching up on sleep, the effects of sleep deprivation and why sleep dictates mood regulation, body health and even weight gain.
  • 13. The Sceptics Guide To Sports Science with Dr Nick Tiller

    Dr Nick Tiller literally wrote the book on it, The Skeptics Guide to Sports Science (available from Amazon HERE). As an exercise scientist at Harbour-UCLA in the US, columnist, writer and author, Tiller challenges many of the claims made by marketers and others, in the name of sport science. With the team Tiller delves into the details of questionable sports science, how to spot the good from the bad and the areas where sports science is most vulnerable.Follow Nick: Web: Instagram: @nb.tiller X: @NBTiller
  • 12. The Science of Weight Training

    The team is joined by Professor Stuart Phillips from the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University and one of the leading experts on resistance training. Phillips is the Director of the Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE), the McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Health Research and Lab Lead for the Exercise Metabolism Research Group. In this episode Phillips explains the amazing benefits of weight training, why even a little can reap big benefits for everyone and what sort of training suits best depending on your age, sport and goals.SHOW NOTES:Join us on Patreon for more content including access to our Science of Sport Discourse platform, and join the conversation!Follow our guest Prof Stuart Phillips on XStuart's recent paper on the coming of age of resistance training as a primary form of exercise for healthA previous article on Stuart's resistance training research from his universityA few of the specific papers on strength training that were discussed on the show:Resistance exercise load does not determine training-mediated hypertrophic gains in young menTraining for strength and hypertrophy: an evidence-based approachLow-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates muscle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young menEffects of once- versus twice-weekly eccentric resistance training on muscular function and structure in older adults: a randomised controlled trialInstagram handle for Avery Faigenbaum, Professor of Pediatric Exercise Science, who Stuart mentioned as a good source of information
  • 11. DISCOURSE: China's Swimming Doping Controversy / Marathon Season Latest / Should Olympic Medallists Get Prize Money?

    A wrap-up of the best stories on our Discourse channel: Spring marathon season: The top performers / Should Eliud Kipchoge go to the Paris Olympics? / Why track and field athletes are earning prize money in Paris for the first time / Is the UCI doing enough to ensure the safety of pro cyclists? / China's doping controversy sparks division in the anti-doping world. SHOW NOTES: The Guardian story on prize money in athletics at the Paris Olympics The Guardian story on the 23 Chinese swimmers who won Olympic golds after testing positive for banned drugWADA statement on the case of the 23 swimmers Travis Tygart from USADA releases a statement about WADA statement WADA statement following comments by Tygart