Prof. Louise M. BurkeGiven your expertise in carbohydrate and fat metabolism, what is your take on the “train low, race high” approach that suggests endurance athletes should train with low carbohydrate availability but replenish their glycogen stores for competition? Should they plan this type of strategy within their training and nutritional programmes or will something like this be achieved “by chance” anyway?

There is good hypothetical and research support for the idea that training with low glycogen stores increases the “strength” of the exercise stimulus —in other words the signalling response to a given exercise load is increased when it is done with low glycogen concentrations, producing a greater increase in the synthesis of many of the proteins associated with adaptation to exercise. We can measure greater increases in markers of the signalling, transcription and translation processes of protein synthesis, as well as an increased abundance of the proteins —especially, enzymes and transporter proteins that are involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism in the muscle. This has been dubbed “training smarter” —or an attempt to get more “bang” for your training “buck”. Another model of “train low” is to do your workout in an overnight fasted state and without the intake of carbohydrate during the session.

Read and comment Interviews with the elite – Louise M. Burke: “I am always suspicious when new dietary crazes hit”

A humble tribute to the greatest of men

By Iñigo Mujika on June 12th 2013

Long walk to freedomBack in 1997, a little more than a year after returning from Saint-Étienne, where I got my first Ph.D., I was lecturing on sports physiology at the Basque Institute of Physical Education. Months before the schoolyear ended, I decided that I wanted to spend the summer doing research in one of the world’s reference centers: the Sports Science Institute of South Africa. I sent a letter to Prof. Tim Noakes and he kindly accepted my application. Besides getting a couple of publications (Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. and J. Appl. Physiol), cycling many 100-km laboratory time trials, giving away four muscle biopsies in my left vastus lateralis, and suffering the theft of a car and a bike, my time in South Africa gave me the opportunity to meet great people, discover a fabulous country and further my admiration for the country’s president of the time, Nelson Mandela.

It was not until January 2012 that I had another opportunity to visit South Africa, as a physiologist for the Spanish swimming team preparing for the London 2012 Olympic Games. During that trip, I bought the memoirs of Nelson Mandela, the greatest moral and political leader of our time. The book is called Long Walk to Freedom, and it is one of the most impressive books I have ever read. I consider it indispensable reading, full of experience, hope, dignity and greatness.

I know this is a long blogpost, the longest I’ve ever put together, but I would encourage every reader to take the time to read it. There are so many lessons for all of us to learn in the life and words of Nelson Mandela…

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Louise M. Burke

Louise M. Burke (Photo: Australian Institute of Sport)

As you all know, one of the keys to elite sports performance is proper nutrition. Without it, there is no way to achieve the desired body mass and composition, and no way to support the demands of training and competition. Adequate nutrition, on the other hand, ensures that an athlete’s energy requierements are satisfied, it promotes training adaptations and it contributes to short-, medium- and long-term recovery.

That is why I have asked my friend Prof. Louise M. Burke to be our next guest in the section “Interviews with the elite”.

Read and comment Interviews with the elite: Louise M. Burke, sports nutritionist

Irreparable damage to sport

By Iñigo Mujika on April 6th 2013
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In the past few weeks you have heard me say again and again that doping has no place in the new cycling, that sport without doping is not a utopia, etc.

Unfortunately, there are still some who do not seem to understand that that game is over, that it is not possible to continue to play with the credibility of sport, athletes and those of us who try in a clean and honest way to help them give the best of themselves in training and competition.

It hurts me to be in the need to inform you that one of the riders hired by the Euskaltel Euskadi team this season is one of these characters who don’t understand what we are talking about. While he had the dignity to admit that the decision to dope was exclusively his own the damage inflicted on those of us who are part of this team (riders, technical and support staff, sponsors, etc.) is irreparable.

Press release from the team.

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Interview on Euskal Telebista (Basque TV)

By Iñigo Mujika on March 29th 2013

Interview on  Euskal Telebista (Basque TV), on March 27, 2013 (in Spanish):

New book: “Recovery for Performance in Sport”

By Iñigo Mujika on March 5th 2013

Recovery for Performance in Sport

I am happy to announce the publication of a new book, “Recovery for Performance in Sport”, that I have edited alongside my colleague and good friend Christophe Hausswirth, Senior Physiologist at the French Institut National du Sport, de l’Expertise et de la Performance (INSEP) since 1995.

The book contains 17 chapters written by more than 30 international experts and provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date scientific and practical information about recovery in sport. In addition, readers can find case studies describing recovery strategies that have been used successfully by world-class sport scientists, coaches and athletes. These case studies complement nicely the scientific information contained in the book and bring such information to the context of real life training and competition situations.

You can find additional information on Recovery for Performance in Sport here.

A new time for cycling

By Iñigo Mujika on February 20th 2013
The sun, making its way through the clouds (Photo: Inigo Mujika)

The sun, making its way through the clouds (Photo: Inigo Mujika)

I guess many of you are as tired as I am of hearing about doping in sport, but it is the reality that we live these days and we cannot put our heads under the ground and pretend such issue does not exist. Here is part of an interview I did recently for a German publication. With this interview, and especially with my work, I hope to make my contribution towards a new time for cycling and sport in general.

Read and comment A new time for cycling