Fact, Fringe, or Freaky? Taking on “Out There” Topics in Exercise Science

We dive into blood flow restriction, anti-aging supplements, post-activation potentiation, and the potential fringe training benefits you may never have even heard of.

FT EP 291 Halloween episode

Mention the term “fringe science” and for many people, some rather negative connotations come to mind: it’s fake, there’s nothing to back it, maybe even that it’s dangerous. The truth is fringe science just refers to things that are outside of the mainstream of what’s researched. It could be new and cutting edge, or it could just be something that’s not studied very often. 

And sometimes, it proves to be exactly what people think—just bad science. But some of the most important advances in exercise science today started as seemingly fringe concepts. When Dr. George Brooks proposed the lactate shuttle, it was tossed aside as a fringe concept. Now it’s a critical part of exercise science.  

RELATED: The Training Science Podcast—The Dirty Secret of How Sugar Is Destroying Your Endurance Gains, with Trevor Connor and Paul Laursen 

In this special Halloween episode, we take on a few of these fringe topics. These specific topics were originally considered as potential full episodes, but either due to not enough research, or not enough relevance, we couldn’t justify a dedicated hour. So instead, we touch on each and give our thoughts on whether these training techniques will ever become mainstream.  

We start our conversation with blood flow restriction, or BFR. It’s becoming increasingly popular among strength athletes and finding its way into endurance sports. Athletes put cuffs on their arms or legs, clamp down the pressure to reduce blood flow, and then proceed through their training sessions. Does it increase the training stimulus or just your risk of an aneurism?

Next up, Coach Pickels asks about anti-aging supplements like metformin and rapamycin and if there is any truth to their claimed anti-aging properties. Here there actually is a surprising amount of research and the answers being found in that research are equally surprising—with a catch! 

Finally, we talk about post-activation potentiation, or PAP, which is the idea that we can’t produce maximal efforts like sprints until we’ve first attempted a few hard efforts. Strength athletes understand this effect well and use it as a critical part of their warm-ups to perform at their best, but the question is whether there’s any benefit for endurance athletes.  

So, get ready for a spooky conversation, and let’s make you fast! 

Episode Transcript

Trevor Connor  00:01

Well welcome everybody. This is a new type of episode Rob is calling this our fringe episode our Halloween episode, we’re going to kind of take our Nerd lab and combine it with a potluck and end up with something that our editor is going to hate. And just to prepare, we spent 50 minutes getting ready to hit the record button, which is probably longer than the episodes are going to go.

Rob Pickels  00:26

Yeah, that’s definitely true. And what’s funny You call this a combination of a nerd lab and a potluck and I think it’s a little pot lucky because I don’t know how prepared we are to have this conversation

Trevor Connor  00:37

but so it goes somebody here did their homework somebody one of us it’s Trevor

Rob Pickels  00:42

without question.

Grant Holicky  00:44

What a shock No, no

Rob Pickels  00:45

go figure.

Griffin McMath  00:46

I feel attacked.

Rob Pickels  00:47

We we have had on the board just I don’t know some ideas that I think that we believe in some things that we’ve wanted to talk about, but have just never really come to the forefront of topics that we’re going to put a full episode behind and so it’s kind of what we’re doing today

Trevor Connor  01:04

probably don’t deserve their own episode even though at one point we are planning a whole episode on each one of these

Rob Pickels  01:10

in Episode You don’t deserve an episode.

Trevor Connor  01:14

So we do have our side interviews recorded and we’ll probably use a few of those with these so you’re gonna hear more from our sides and those will hopefully be professional. Okay. Are we ready for this?

Grant Holicky  01:25

I’m totally ready.

Trevor Connor  01:26

Let’s get spooky Trapper let the fringe episode begin. Nearly two years fast doc Laboratories has brought you the craft of coaching with Joe Friel the ultimate resource to become a better, more successful and happier coach. We’ve bundled some of the most popular pieces of content from all 14 craft to coaching modules to reshare and what we’re calling the craft of coaching with Joe Friel coaches pics, which includes the star power panel featured experts like Dr. Stacey Sims, Dr. Andy Kirkland, Jim Miller, Victoria Brumfield and Jim Rutberg. This incredible library will provide a lasting legacy and guiding light for endurance coaches for many years to come. Check out the craft of coaching with Joe Farrell coach’s choice at fast talk labs.com. So first off, we’re going to talk about blood flow restriction training, more VFR? Ah, because it’s spooky.

Rob Pickels  02:25

First off, for the people who aren’t creeped out by this, what is blood flow restriction grant

Trevor Connor  02:31

is the one person who’s done it.

Grant Holicky  02:33

So basically, what happens is you put on a cuff above the extremity in which you are trying to train and that cough is inflated. And it cuts off some of the blood flow to that area that you are training. It is a wildly interesting feeling. And leave it at that it is one of the more painful things I’ve ever done in my life. And I’ve done some painful

Rob Pickels  03:02

things. I mean, but the purpose is in

Grant Holicky  03:05

pain. No, it isn’t pain, I will say this, it is a really beneficial byproduct. Because you’re in a place. Yeah, the pain is because you’re in a place when you’re doing BFR that you’re trying to do it for an a period of time. And very, very quickly into that period of time you really want to be done. It is that uncomfortable. And so there’s a bit of mental training to get through that period of time because you know, you’re not getting you’re not hurting hurting, you’re not actually injuring yourself, but it is very, very uncomfortable.

Griffin McMath  03:38

Well, how do you know when to stop there

Grant Holicky  03:39

are protocols on how long you do it, how long you’re off, on, off on off. And this is one of the places with BFR that there’s still a lot of scientific debate is just exactly what the protocol should be five ON to OFF something along those lines. So different people that do this, do it in different capacities for different lengths of time. But usually you’re going to have a prescription of what you’re doing very much like a workout. And it’s kind of a truncated workout.

Griffin McMath  04:05

So it sounds like a great moment for a disclaimer that all the fringe were the things that we’re talking about. Please don’t just go home, grab a blood pressure cough to lamb and you know, Blackout. Yeah,

Grant Holicky  04:15

yeah, probably not the best thing to do with like a pomade tourniquet. Yeah, just give it a go. Which is

Trevor Connor  04:21

important. Because first of all, here’s the technical definition it is basically using a cuff similar to a blood pressure cuff. And then I’m just reading here at a pressure occluding Bennis returned from the limb while only partially restricting arterial inflow. What sounds horrible, yeah, yes,

Rob Pickels  04:39

flowing into the limb but not necessarily out right because the pressure going in is higher than the pressure coming out,

Trevor Connor  04:46

which is an issue and when they talked about the prescription, they brought up exactly what you brought up, which is there is no standard right now and it is difficult because everybody’s different. Somebody some people have a really big leg. Some people have a small leg so people have high blood pressure, some people have low blood pressure. So just saying let’s get it to a particular pressure is going to have different effects on everybody. So, right now the recommendation is never 100% occlusion, so use percentage, and they say somewhere in the range of 40% to 80%, of whatever pressure is needed to completely block blood flow.

Rob Pickels  05:21

So, Trevor, you’re obviously the person who did their research on this. What is the mechanism behind blood flow restriction?

Trevor Connor  05:29

Wow, that look. Was that a no, no,

Trevor Connor  05:37

no good to test you. Because I don’t believe you did. You know, that

Grant Holicky  05:41

was a look of smugness, because he teed you up beautifully. He was very proud of

Grant Holicky  05:49

transition. That’s what he was proud of.

Trevor Connor  05:51

There we go. So if anybody is interested, I’m actually gonna say for each of these, I read a review for each and I’ll give you the names that were actually really good reads. So the first one is aerobic training with blood flow restriction for endurance athletes, potential benefits and considerations of implementation, it was a good review. And basically, they went through the three potential aerobic adaptations that you’re going for, which is raising your VO to max raising your your threshold power, and economy. And basically said, there hasn’t been a ton of research, blood flow restriction training is new. And it’s much more applied in strength sports. So going into the weight room and lifting using BFR. So less research and endurance athletes, but they basically said, there’s some evidence that even in elite athletes, you’ll see some improvement in vo to max, there’s probably the most evidence that you’re going to see improvements in threshold. And they particularly focused on OB LA, so onset of blood lactate accumulation. And that said, no research on economy. But there’s indirect evidence that it can improve economy. And some of the mechanisms that they looked at, were a, when you do this to the your blood flow, your heart goes, I don’t like that. And it forces your heart to beat harder. So you can actually train at a lower intensity, but get some of that stimulation of central conditioning that you would get for much higher intensity work. So they do constantly say, actually, there could be benefits to just doing this in the offseason at low intensities, and get some of the benefits that you’d potentially get from from high intensity training. The other thing you’re going to see, because you’re basically taking the whole way the body’s supposed to work and blowing it up essentially, is because there’s less blood flow less oxygen to the muscles. Even at lower intensities, you’re now going to start recruiting fast twitch muscle fibers, you’re now going to have more buildup of metabolites from anaerobic metabolism that the body can’t clear and the body can’t deal with. So again, at lower intensities, you’re going to see the sort of effects and adaptive signals that you would normally get from very high intensity work. Let’s hear a little more about the potential mechanisms of BFR from Dr. Stacey Sims

Dr. Stacy Sims  08:10

is causing a cascade of stress signals. So if you’re looking at occlusion and reducing oxygen to a particular amount of tissue, then it’s going to upregulate. And try to create an environment where if it encounters that stress, again, it has the ability to overcome it. So it is used often for more vascularization induces heat shock protein, which people think is just for heat shock, but it’s not, it’s for any kind of stress. So there is some value in it. But when we look at some of the data, the training should be nailed first. And then this can come as a kind of the icing on the training. Right. So

Trevor Connor  08:49

this is a marginal gain, not a primary thing.

Grant Holicky  08:53

So a couple of things that this has led to is rehab being in a place where somebody is limited in what they’re able to do because of an injury or something along those lines, you’re getting more from less, you can spend a really low amount of time and hopefully, according to the research, get a little bit of a nice return in terms of effort in terms of training. The other thing is this is what we’re talking about the inability to clear because of the very limited vein of return. That’s where the pain comes in. And this is another kind of untested thing that multiple people that I’ve talked to that use BFR or prescribe BFR are in a place that is kind of going to that, yeah, your heart rate comes up because your body doesn’t quite know how to deal with it. But the response of the body to that type of uncomfortableness is very similar to so why is the heart rate coming up partially because of the lack of data flow partially because of the pain? There’s a bunch of things so I’ve tried this and I’ve had success with it. I feel like it’s definitely helped me and I’ve done it in a Couple of different capacities when I had the broken collarbone, this was something we tried in terms of a rehab piece. And then just on the bike,

Rob Pickels  10:08

yeah, and that’s when I’ve seen this put into practice. And there’s at least one local rehab facility here that is big into BFR. You can use it both in a strength training modality. But then also in an aerobic modality as well, right riding your bike on the trainer with a BFR cuff on your leg, you know, maybe makes that vo two Max workout a little bit more intense. And so there’s multiple ways to use this tool. Well, and

Grant Holicky  10:32

in fact, what you’re doing is you’re essentially doing a low intensity workout and getting a vo to max or threshold response, which is what they’re trying to do with us. So

Rob Pickels  10:44

you’re writing a 70% FTP, but it’s akin to 95 or 100%.

Grant Holicky  10:50

If that, yeah.

Rob Pickels  10:52

Good luck with that. Yeah,

Grant Holicky  10:53

you’re pushing, you’re pushing a small number. Let’s just say that

Griffin McMath  10:57

how often were you using this in rehab? Like what was the frequency

Grant Holicky  11:01

when, when it was collarbone and we were looking for rotator cuff help and things like that, because my shoulders are pretty screwed up to begin with. And when you break your collarbone, it gets worse. That was two to three times a week. So every time I was going to do typical strength work, I was finishing with some shoulder work with BFR. For how many weeks? I did it for four to six. Wow. But like I said, my shoulders are in pretty bad shape. So that you know there was a there was a good deal of not just rehab, but like just prophylactic strength work in there that we’re trying to get done. In terms of BFR for endurance training, that was something I was doing about once a week. And just coming in. And typically during the offseason,

Rob Pickels  11:43

when you’re doing that, are you doing both legs? Because oftentimes a rehab is going to be just VFR on the injured the affected limb. When you were doing endurance training. It’s on both legs. Yeah.

Grant Holicky  11:53

And you can do it as one and then switch to the other. Or you can do it on both. Some of the limitation is how many units are available, right? Because it’s not the most convenient thing in the world to do you got a hose hanging off the cuff and unit next year.

Rob Pickels  12:08

Can I put my Norma tech boots on and then get on the bike?

Trevor Connor  12:11

I would like to see you pedaling. Do anything. Little cleats on the bottom of the norm effects.

Grant Holicky  12:22

Amazing. It’d be fun.

Griffin McMath  12:25

Sounds like one of those viral videos that people are running on the treadmill that just eat it. Yeah.

Grant Holicky  12:31

I think it could be part of Rob’s Halloween costume to just pair NormaTec. And just walk I don’t know, like like a half mission. What

Trevor Connor  12:39

is this somebody in the full NormaTec like the arms and the legs? Like walking around going look at the gains I’m getting?

Trevor Connor  12:47

Huge. I am huge.

Trevor Connor  12:50

So I would say research is pointing in a pretty good direction that yes, there are benefits to this. I think there’s enough evidence for that. It just comes with a giant Asterix or caution because a you overdo this, it’s dangerously we’re talking give you an aneurysm dangerous. So you really want to be careful with it. That’s why they say so they talked about AOP, which is arterial occlusion pressure, the pressure at which there is no blood flow, right? And they’re saying never

Grant Holicky  13:21

do that. Right. And a lot of these machines will calibrate for you now you put it on? Yeah, it does a calibration to see how much it can squeeze you basically based on musculature and fat and things like that. But yeah, this is something that, yeah, I wouldn’t be trying this at home. This is go to somebody who knows what they’re doing.

Trevor Connor  13:40

Right. And so the recommendations, as I said, it’s a real broad recommendation is 40 to 80% of AOP, which is a big range 20 minutes, two to three times a week. So don’t go out and try to do a five hour ride with this are on your trainer with us. And a real important point that they make is more pressure is not necessarily better. And they showed in a couple studies that having too much pressure actually reduces gains as opposed to improves gains. So their recommendation is keep it out of pressure where you can complete whatever the protocol is. If you can’t complete the protocol, it’s too much pressure. And they generally said lower pressure, you’re still gonna get benefits, you’re still gonna get gains. That’s probably the way to go and ultimately, their recommendation This is a great thing to use it he said when you are having an injury or in the offseason, you want to do some easy training and just get some gains without having to do some high intensity intervals.

Grant Holicky  14:36

Yeah, I and it’s it’s bang for the buck. It really is. Um, and you’re you’re talking about short sessions with seemingly pretty solid return.

Rob Pickels  14:47

So the fast talk podcast is now all about fringy marginal gains.

Grant Holicky  14:54

I don’t know. I mean, if we’re talking about recovery from injury, this isn’t marginal. This can really be a Maximum,

Trevor Connor  15:00

let’s get the final word and BFR to physiologist Adam St. Pierre who talks about where he’s seen it used.

Adam St. Pierre  15:07

I am familiar with BFR. I’ve experimented with it a little bit on myself, Though admittedly not enough to see effects positive or negative. I know anecdotally, you know, a lot of athletes who travel a lot, really like BFR training for performance, because you’re able to generate the physiological stimulus for improvement without lugging around hundreds of pounds of weights to lift. So I know anecdotally, a lot of athletes have used it. And talking to PTS, I think, post surgically, it’s pretty widely accepted as a valued method of rebuilding strength, again, because you don’t need huge loads. So it’s a pretty safe way to rebuild after surgery. Again, this is sort of anecdotal. And what I’ve heard, I haven’t utilized it with with the team at MSU. Just because we have we have a strength coach, and I sort of defer to them. To that, that gentleman on issues related to strength training, I have a set of bands, and I’ve been thinking about using them for my my own strength training for some time now as I get higher into my 40s and trying to keep up with the youngsters.

Trevor Connor  16:14

Okay, shall we move on to our next? We probably kind of got a zombie theme do it. Alright, yeah, I see where you go. Okay. Yeah. How to prevent death here.

Rob Pickels  16:28

Are you talking about anti aging supplements? Yes. And

Trevor Connor  16:30

this was the one you were excited about. So Rob, take it away.

Rob Pickels  16:33

I was excited about this one. I don’t know if I’m excited about it. Now, here’s the thing, people, I

Grant Holicky  16:39

do tell, pre tell.

Rob Pickels  16:42

I listen to podcasts as you should, because you’re listening to a podcast right now. And oftentimes, I listen to podcasts about things that I’m not like intimately familiar with, right, it’s just expands my knowledge a little bit. And so I don’t really listen to a lot of podcasts kind of in the health and performance space. But I do listen to like Peter etea, and some things like that, mostly because they’re three hours long. And it’s great fodder for when you’re out on a long, long bass ride, you don’t have to be switching music or whatever. Anyway, you know, there’s a group of people out there, and it’s probably a relatively small faction of people don’t get me wrong,

Grant Holicky  17:18

who would you say fringe?

Rob Pickels  17:21

I would say a fringe who are operating on the fringe. In that they are very focused on longevity on anti aging, right. And there’s a lot of research and a lot of science out there. As much as I love and hate that word. In a lot of these individuals are utilizing supplements, some even medications that are purported to decrease your aging to increase your longevity to increase your lifespan through a variety of mechanisms. And I don’t necessarily want to talk about whether or not the supplements do that. That’s not the point of this, right? If you’re interested in that, then go listen to some of these other people out there. What I want to do is I want to talk about three specific ones, rapamycin, Metformin, and statins, which are pretty widely described in this area. And I just want to bring balance to the conversation to say, hey, if you’re into doing stuff like this, that’s fine. Maybe there are long term benefits to be had. But I want to discuss some of the short term ramifications. Because everybody that listen to this podcast is an athlete and endurance athlete at that. And these medicines and supplements, they probably have an effect on what’s happening tomorrow in your workout. And I just want to make sure that people don’t think that everything’s rainbows and unicorns as they take their fringe, supplements and medications. Thank you for that. I give a positive effect.

Griffin McMath  18:51

I gave Rob a look just now I think in talking about things that are fringe worthy On this episode, I think it’s worth pointing out what qualifies as fringe, and what could be cutting edge, right? Because fringe actually carries a really intense stigma. It’s kind of you know, I come from an integrative health and medicine background. And that word, along with a slew of other words gets tossed at that part of the industry where yes, supplements or a variety of medications are used that aren’t maybe used yet and conventional medicine. And then sure enough, five years later, conventional medicine is, you know, saying, Oh, look at this brand new innovative thing that’s happening and a whole other industry has been talking about it forever, but they were shamed, or told they were crazy, or that they were trying to profit from something. So I think while we’re talking about that, especially because depending if you just drop the word supplements, it could cannonball into a pool of thoughts. You know, it could be people who are really excited about it, who are really happy with how the industry has improved standards and education and the quality and then others who, you know, think it’s pseudoscience So what are you qualifying as fringe versus cutting edge?

Trevor Connor  20:04

Could I just quickly add to that? First of all, I am using fringe in this episode in the context of I want some creepy music, and no other particular reason.

Griffin McMath  20:13

There’s a very official definition for today.

Trevor Connor  20:16

I just gotta add to that, yes, I think that’s a good definition. And there are a lot of things that are considered fringe science. And it’s important understand they’re fringe science, because they haven’t been fully researched. They haven’t been fully evaluated, as you pointed out, some of them become mainstream as they get further research and go there’s actually something to that. Other things they the research or further and go no, that’s that doesn’t pan out, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad or good. It means it’s an idea that just hasn’t been fully researched yet.

Rob Pickels  20:45

Yeah. And for me, I think that there is a progression, right, that occurs here, and something may begin as fringe and then become cutting edge and then become mainstream. I love I love the position you’re taking over there. And I guess my point in my thought with bringing up these three in particular is we might understand in some aspects, well, these medicines for other ones, we don’t understand them very well. But the application at this point, potentially has a lot of ramifications that we don’t know, and we don’t understand yet. So we’re still in the fringe realm for me, because there isn’t enough information. But then also things are being looked at in a very myopic manner. And I’m not saying anything, as I said before, about the anti aging properties of this that could be the world’s greatest thing for anti aging. My concern is for people to think about the bigger picture, though, right? Hey, man, lighting that hornet’s nest on fire, probably gets rid of your Hornet problem probably burns your house down to right. That’s kind of the thing that I’m talking about here.

Trevor Connor  21:52

Before we dive into the topic, let’s hear from master coaches, Joe Friel, and Neil Henderson, who like Rob, give their big picture perspective and raise serious concerns about the ramifications.

Joe Friel  22:04

If we go back in history, and look at all the things that we’ve been told, we’re going to improve our health, that turned out to be just exactly the opposite, that made us sicker. This is just another example of that. I don’t know who this fellow is, I don’t know what he’s talking about. And maybe great stuff, maybe he’s got the answer that nobody else has ever figured out. But I can go back to the early 1950s. And they were telling us that, you know, the problem was saturated fat. That was why we were dying of heart disease. So they came up with a different kind of fat, a man made fat. And this would be the key to resolving our our heart problems, all the cardiovascular problems we were having back then, which are still with us today. What we found out something like I don’t know, 1520 25 years later forgotten the timing on this was that the things they came up with in the early 50s actually made our heart disease worse. Guess what is still on the market and are still people buy it because they’ve learned from their parents from their parents and their parents. But this is the stuff that’s going to prevent heart disease, and actually it causes heart disease. So whenever somebody says this is the thing you should be taking, I tell them the thing, you should be taking our exercise, and natural foods, that’s the things you should be taking, you know, note, don’t take any pills, I don’t take any aspirin, I don’t take any B vitamins, I don’t take any pill whatsoever, I just take good exercise, and a good diet. And that, by the way, take care of probably about 99% of all the problems you have in your life. Physically, health wise, just by doing those two things, those are like the keys to health, the key to health is not taking a pill, that’s not the key to health. So I would vehemently disagree with what he has to say. He may turn out to be right. But I would highly doubt it.

Neal Henderson  23:49

I mean ultimately, there’s certain things and sleep and stress management are probably in terms of impact on longevity health markers, by way more potent and you know, doesn’t really cost anything in some ways to do that prioritizing and making changes in behavior for that to occur probably gonna have the biggest impact on performance, a super low dose resveratrol you know, wine I think the amount that you need that actually drink to get the appropriate dose that they’ve seen and whatever the studies are, it’s like 700 bottles worth which again, I could maybe do that in the course of a lifetime but not like daily so you know I’m not sure if going down these like extreme substance manipulation is really going to do anything that can be you know, extraordinary.

Trevor Connor  24:39

One of the things I’ve got to point out before we say anything actually serious about this girl has been serious. We were going to do a whole episode on anti aging supplements was Rob was very excited about We then asked like seven guests their opinion on anti aging for site interviews and everyone’s like, don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. Nobody would touch this with a 10 foot. So Rob, was I I guess this could be a primary episode. I also want to point out, I think we do have some sites for BFR. But the reason we have sites for BFR is because we wanted to do an episode on something else that had an acronym that started with B and three letters. And because I’m horrible with an acronyms, I kept asking our guests about BFR. And finally, after a while Rob’s like you realize you’re asking about the wrong thing. What was that?

Griffin McMath  25:23

Wild? Grant, I flipped to each other, like listing off the ones,

Trevor Connor  25:29

which I actually can’t remember because I’m horrible with an acronym. But so I’m gonna say Rob started this by saying we don’t want to go into the mechanisms of these, but I hate to say it. The review, I read on Metformin, not because of its coverage of metformin, but its coverage of the physiology of aging was amazing. So before we move on, I am going to be given you a nerve bomb here. So Rob, let me know in your read, I

Rob Pickels  25:59

think that we need to Trevor and I think that you know, we can go from Metformin into rapamycin because they’re relatively similar in terms of mechanism. But yeah, take it away with metformin. Let’s, let’s educate some people on how this stuff works. Because I think that that brings it full circle to why I’m concerned about the athletic ramifications here.

Trevor Connor  26:17

So I’m going to start with kind of a wow, like I went into this go on, I’m sure there is nothing behind Metformin, in terms of its anti aging properties. And when I read this review, and all the mechanism legs, amazing review, great. Coverage is something that is you know, I’ve been researching a lot lately. So I loved reading it, and kind of went, Wow, I’m going to start by saying Metformin actually has some real benefits here. And it’s been demonstrated, there’s a ton of research on it, Metformin has been around since 1958. So they have been studying it for a long time. But as you suspect, I’m going to first tell you the benefits. But there’s going to be a giant qualifier here, which the review gave the same qualifier. So we have talked previously on the show, and we’re going to do a whole episode on this on the impacts of a MP K and the P 53. pathway, and how that affects whole cell cycle. So your cells need to go through proliferation, then cell cycle arrest, and then apoptosis. So these are important stages in the cell, when a cell doesn’t go through these stages, you start having problems. So if you’re stuck in cell cycle arrest or Sena sense, that speeds up aging, but if you’re stuck in proliferation, you see an increase in cancer rates. So you need to the cell needs to go through these cycles. A MP k and p 53. Play a really key role in making sure these pathways happen. There’s other things that you’re gonna get to this with the wrap myosin, there’s a pathway that the mTOR pathway which is impacted by rapa myosin, and as shown if that is constantly activated, you see inflammation, you see issues, you see cancer, you see a lot of different disease states. So you don’t want to always be activating the that pathway. Same thing with there’s what’s called insulin like growth factor, one that can also lead to inflammation leads to all sorts of issues, you want it some of the times you don’t want it all the time. So what they pretty systematically do in this review is go through these different disease states. And in this review, when they talk about the let me give the name of the review, sorry, very quickly, because it is a great read. A critical review of the evidence that met form is a putative anti aging drug that enhances healthspan and extends lifespan. And I’m going to point out, they actually talk more about healthspan. They don’t talk about lengthening, they talk about more, how long you can go before you have diseases and just show med forms. In fact, it was originally developed as a diabetes drug, but it has impacts on cancer. It has impacts and cardiovascular disease. It has impacts on neurodegeneration, and they they pretty clearly show it has benefits for all those, particularly people who are already in a disease state. And what you’re seeing is improvements in healthspan, and lifespan and people that are taking these drugs for those disease. So the question they’re asking is, if somebody’s not in a disease state, does it also improve their health span and their lifespan? And the evidence seems to be pretty much yes. That what it’s doing is it’s activating a NPK, which is really important. And I said, cover that briefly in a previous episode. Actually, I talked for this about this longer with Dr. Larson on his podcast, if anybody wants to go check this out, but we’re going to do a whole episode on this. One other impact that it has is on the Vascular Endothelial so vascular system, your veins, arteries, that sort of thing. The cells that line your arteries and veins, they make up what’s called your endothelium. It is a protective layer that that makes sure that what’s in your vasculature stays in your vascular and you only transport out what you want to transport out. And it has been shown again and again and again, that damage to the vasculature leads to heart disease. So basically, what causes most heart attacks is a buildup of these acids sclerotic plaques. And the way they form is damage to that endothelium that allows macrophages a particular type of immune cell to get into the endothelial. And then they turn into what are called spongy macrophages. And they just accumulate and it creates this plaque. And then at some point that plaque breaks, releases all these inflammatory chemicals and that’s what causes a heart attack.

Trevor Connor  30:39

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Rob Pickels  31:04

So funny, maybe aside here, we’re gonna bring this into the spooky realm because it’s a fringe episode. I taught in a cadaver anatomy lab for a long time. And when you’re talking about arteries and veins, the easiest way for people to identify which is which is to squeeze them and an artery for people who don’t know feels like an El dente de like rigatoni. Right it bounces back a little bit it has a little bit of a firmness to it. That’s because of the musculature within the artery. And a vein feels like a well overcooked piece of pasta, right? It just sort of squishes it doesn’t bounce back. It doesn’t do anything. But in atherosclerotic coronary artery feels like in undercooked pasta, in that when you squeeze it, it has a little bit of give, but it kind of crinkles and crunches to it. Yeah, it will it so it’s amazing. Sorry, I’ve taken us totally off topic here. It’s amazing to actually feel these plaques within the cardiovascular system. It is the real deal without question, dead bodies.

Griffin McMath  32:13

I was a TA also in the same class at in med school. And I remember touching those and you can hear the crunch. And it just I mean, talk about sorry, that could be an episode. Oh my goodness.

Trevor Connor  32:27

So here’s a quote that they have from a book from 1954 by Dr. Rudolph out shul, I hope I pronounced it. He’s Canadian. So it must be a great book. But this I’m correct, just literally fell off his chair. But here’s this is a great quote, even

Grant Holicky  32:43

though old and super polite, whole paper. It’s a book. It’s a whole book out longer.

Trevor Connor  32:54

This still applies. And this is a great quote says because the majority of heart disease is caused by coronary thrombosis, which is a lesion of the vessel supplying the heart proper. We may as well cancel the first word in cardiovascular and conclude that in North America, most people who die a natural death succumb to a vascular disease. And so going back to Metformin, Metformin, acting through a NPK seems to be very protective of the Vascular Endothelial. So just a ton of evidence of the benefit of metformin.

Rob Pickels  33:26

Wow, fanboy over here.

Grant Holicky  33:28

So where’s the big ol but yeah, I

Trevor Connor  33:31

was gonna ask you what the button now,

Rob Pickels  33:33

I would love a big old but

Trevor Connor  33:37

so they even have this in the paper. And I’ll read a couple quotes out of here. But here’s my thing. And this is something I always say in nutrition, which is and I’m gonna give you an analogy, and I know nothing about cars. So anybody who really knows about cars might go That’s the dumbest analogy.

Rob Pickels  33:53

You don’t you don’t make analogies in areas that you’re not

Trevor Connor  33:57

well I am so I’m gonna go with this what two wheels because I couldn’t think of a good bike analogy unfortunately. So I’m going to give you cars so here’s my theory. Cars are designed to work with a particular type of motor oil my guess not being an expert rubs give me a look so just go with me cars are designed to work with a particular motor or Malian man, okay. i My guess is you could operate your car pulling vegetable oil in there instead of the proper cars motor oil that you borrowed by the car store. But my guess is also well, that will function. It’s going to damage the car. It’s going to affect the longevity of the car. It’s going to cause all sorts of issues. So let’s say you then keep using vegetable oil and you find this great mechanic who can start adding other chemicals to this vegetable oil to be more protective of that engine is great at repairing the damage to the edge and you go oh my god, what a miracle worker. What wonderful times that we can do all this repair to this car and keep the car working longer than I thought it was going to work. My point to that is, why not just use motor oil?

Grant Holicky  35:06

So why do we need an analogy to this? Just just say to people, this is really beneficial if you’re screwing up your health beforehand. So just don’t screw up your health beforehand. Isn’t that what you’re trying to say?

Trevor Connor  35:18

You’re just angry with me.

Grant Holicky  35:20

It’s just, it’s just very, it’s just get to the point, man. Right. But isn’t that what we’re

Grant Holicky  35:27

mostly just giving you a hard time? But yeah,

Griffin McMath  35:29

and maybe, you know, because there are so many uses for Metformin.

Grant Holicky  35:34

You’re gonna say vegetables?

Griffin McMath  35:36

Honestly, I was just thinking about how I took care of my car in my early 20s. So that entire now and maybe currently right now, oil

Grant Holicky  35:45

is just painful. No, I

Griffin McMath  35:46

you know, I think, though, yes, prevention is best, right? You live, you learn. There’s also a variety of conditions that Metformin is used for whether temporary or not so temporary, that if any of these athletes happen to be on anyway, then maybe this information is beneficial for them to know. Okay, it has more of an impact than just what I’ve been prescribed for

Grant Holicky  36:09

sure. And I do think one thing that’s really important in this is not to be in a place where we say just being athletic is preventative. It hardly is we’ve gone over this over and over again on this podcast that you can be incredibly, quote unquote, healthy in terms of athletic performance and be a terribly unhealthy individual. But let me

Trevor Connor  36:28

give you a few quotes, right out a review where they go. And they look at the combination of exercise and metformin. And they say first, although both metformin and lifestyle changes, so they’re referring to both diet and exercise, which I think is what you’re getting at, were effective in reducing the risk of developing diabetes, lifestyle intervention was more effective. They then look at the combination of metformin and exercise, and they point out, the results indicated that although both metformin and exercise improved skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity by 55, and 90%, respectively, so more improvement from exercise, the combination resulted in only a 30% enhancement. So when you combined exercise and metformin, it was worse than either one individually. So then they say the data suggests that exercise and not Metformin is the ideal drug. So what I would point out is when you’re talking about longevity with metformin, huge indicators of benefits, but it’s people who are in a disease, they people who are not living a healthy lifestyle, and that’s ultimately what this review concluded is that lifestyle, exercise and diet is the better conscription that’s going to do more for both healthspan and lifespan. And you actually have to be careful because Metformin combined with exercise actually hurts the benefits of both.

Rob Pickels  37:54

Wow, that is out face afterwards.

Rob Pickels  37:56

That was a real under all these attacks. I’m like, yeah, it wasn’t an attack. That was a

Rob Pickels  38:01

really long lead into what I wanted to talk about perfect. So I’ll just have Kelly cut out all the past conversation.

Trevor Connor  38:09

I didn’t get to my point. It took forever. This is a good place to hear from physiologist Dr. Brendan Egan about the impact of these supplements on training.

Dr. Brendan Egan  38:18

I’m not aware of anything that suggests a an acute negative performance effect of something like metformin and rapamycin, you know, the way I’ve thought about those in the couple of studies trickly in relation to Metformin have seemed to suggest that there might be a blunting of the adaptive response to exercise. And that could be problematic in the sense that, you know, the reason we train is to ultimately enhance fatigue resistance and improve components of fitness that will contribute to performance. So if you’re taking an anti aging drug, let’s call it with the view primarily focused on anti aging, but ultimately, it’s negatively impacting the adaptive response to exercise, then your ultimately performance is going to be affected in the long run as well. So I do wonder about the logic there. And my exercise science bias would be that, you know, a large component of the benefits of exercise, you know, are the anti aging effects. Maybe it’s my age that’s beginning to think like this, but you know, outside of the performance domain, exercise is going to have benefits, and I don’t want to do anything that is going to impact on the potential benefits of exercise. So whether it’s performance we’re talking about, or whether it’s the adaptive response to exercise, I think we need to be careful about how we use those types of compounds and combined with exercise.

Rob Pickels  39:35

The thing that I want to really latch on to here, Trevor is the last thing that you said right, that there is a blunting of the benefits of exercise by taking something like Metformin, right. And and potentially a reason for this and I don’t know that we fully understand it at this point. We you talked about mechanisms of action with metformin by activating a NPK amtk is going to affect the mTOR system, like you had mentioned in their mTOR. what that stands for is mammalian target of rapamycin. Interestingly, they discovered the drug first rapamycin, and then they injected it in people and they found the target later, right? Yep. Now, rapamycin is interesting. Its name that because it is found on the island of Rapanui. Right? All the big heads stuck in the ground, right?

Grant Holicky  40:28

You saying this to us? Like, you have no clue what I’m talking. I know what the big heads are. I just didn’t know what the island was called. And

Trevor Connor  40:35

I actually thought he said ratatouille and I was thinking of the Pixar movie.

Grant Holicky  40:41

I love it when Rob makes me feel like it wasn’t

Rob Pickels  40:43

a rat in somebody’s hat. Anyway, let’s see, let’s talk about why all this stuff matters, right? That was never talked about before. mTOR is going to inhibit things like protein synthesis, right. And so as we are messing with these cell cycles, the most important thing in the world is that we want times of growth, we want times of repair. And when we are taking medicines like this, they are up regulating certain aspects of that, and downregulating others, they’re upregulating aspects that improve our longevity, but they don’t necessarily allow the processes that make us better athletes, right that cause protein synthesis that cause us to recover and repair from exercise. And I’m lumping both metformin and rapamycin into this because they’re both ultimately working on the mTOR pathway. And when we have other things that are going to work on the mTOR pathway, and longevity, the first one that comes to mind for me is decreased caloric intake, right? If somebody is in a constant state of being under fed, we see very, very similar results to what these drugs are doing. Metformin even decreases gluconeogenesis in the liver, it lowers your blood sugar, just like being under Fed does. And I think that we do know from years and years of research, and Trevor, you might know more than I do on this one, that sure in a chronically lower caloric I don’t want to say truly underfed, but lower caloric intake tends to increase your lifespan. But everyone in this room and everybody listening knows that there are detrimental effects to performance, right? And so if we can understand that concept of if I’m not eating enough, my workouts don’t go well. I’m not recovering well. And then we’re taking drugs that are mimicking this in our body. I get it might have benefits for longevity, and without going too deep. I’m making very big generalizations by tying this to being underfed. But I think that we can also understand that in the short term, there’s going to be deleterious effects on the fringe to my performance.

Griffin McMath  42:55

Yep. And a variety of these medications may cause various nutrient deficiencies, right, metformin and B 12. Yes, exactly. You know, B 12 deficiency, you’re looking at anemia, fatigue, certain things that you really can’t risk having when you’re a pro athlete are really

Grant Holicky  43:13

no fun things when you’re trying to perform. Yeah, in any regard, not even as an athlete as a parent that like you’re lacking b 12, you’re not going to do very well, with a lot of things.

Trevor Connor  43:24

So I think let me summarize my message. I think we’re all saying the same message here, which is, yes, there. There are proven benefits to this. But when you look at the mechanisms, which they detail really well, basically, it’s impacting things that both healthy diet and healthy exercise act on. So basically, it’s trying to mimic the effects of a healthy diet and exercise. And it’s not as good as the real thing. So that goes back to my analogy, which is

Trevor Connor  43:54

I just had to say like, they want to see the look that I get. Really just use the proper oil. Yeah. Exercise and proper diet. I do

Grant Holicky  44:04

think all this is super interesting. And you’re leading I really enjoyed because I, it did take you 20 minutes to get to your point, but it was very educational. So that’s better than 20 minutes of completely wasting my life. But I do think there was a

Grant Holicky  44:20

jump is it. Is it really though? No, no, it

Grant Holicky  44:23

was but there’s one thing that that in all seriousness, I think is really, really amazing, is that when we talk about diabetes exercise has a 90% reduction 90% That is amazing. And it just kind of comes back to I hate to get this way but it comes back to just move movement is medicine. There’s so much to do with that. And just as a little side note, that’s just mind blowing that it’s that beneficial. And we all know it is but it’s still really awesome to hear that

Griffin McMath  44:54

none of these are the magic bullet cure. If they’re not going to you know do anything overnight. That’s going to drastically, you know, impact you and not only that there could be some drawbacks and now things that you’d have to monitor in addition to the use of the medication. Yeah, the cell

Trevor Connor  45:09

cycle and its impact on disease is key area of research for master coach and physiologist Dr. Sol, Milan, let’s listen to him share some in depth thoughts and anti aging supplements and their impacts.

Rob Pickels  45:21

Dr. San Milan, there’s a lot of research involving supplements and medications that people can take from an anti aging standpoint. And on that list are metformin and statins. And I’m wondering, from your perspective, what considerations do athletes have to have when they take a medication like Metformin or a statin, when it comes to their athletic performance?

Dr. Inigo San Millan  45:44

So that’s a great question. And it’s something that is becoming more and more popular. So Metformin is widely used, it’s been, you know, like nobody really quite understand the exact mechanisms of its work and the in the multiple multi multi facetted mechanisms as well, at the mitochondrial level, mainly, it’s been used for pre diabetic patients for a long time. And some people might argue or might say that it’s great anti aging medication. We don’t know the mechanisms yet, especially with populations without any chronic disease regarding to start in. I mean, it’s we know very well that they’ve saved millions of lives, because they are key to lower LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, and improve cholesterol overall, and decrease cardio vascular disease, especially coronary artery disease, right. So, but again, it’s just taking those in Healthy People for anti aging purposes. We don’t know by the mechanisms, and we know the status and the independency. They’re like a high dose of statins are like lower potency of statins, they inhibit complex one in mitochondria. So you don’t want to inhibit complex one. We know that many, many studies down the road, they significantly increase the risks of diabetes, because there are more diabetogenic. Right, especially when it’s called the highest the high intensity statins, and probably could be because they inhibit mitochondrial function down the road. So it’s a little bit of a counterintuitive, or you know, desire to live longer, when you might down the road inhibit your mitochondrial function, which is a key process of aging, then you have other supplements that people are taking, like rapamycin, which inhibits mTOR. And this is something that we still don’t know. We know that I’m Tor pathway is key for life. And do is don’t mess up with nature. If you don’t need to write it entropy pathways. It’s overexpressed in many forms of cancer, and it’s part of the proliferation and growth of cancer cells. And rapamycin might improve that condition. What people are seeing right now the SuperS glycolysis, and proliferation, not alone, not alone, but significantly through rapamycin. And it’s a big, big deal right now, there also. But again, it’s just like, you know, like, if you’re entered pathway functions, well, don’t mess up with that just you might overexpress other pathways, which might cause situations a year or one and knowing that one of the principles are for pharmacology is that every single drug has side effects. And then lastly, last a supplement that is, is very big out there now is the NR nicotinamide, right beside, which is the precursor of NAD plus, right? So as we age, it’s been shown that the mitochondrial chiller levels of NAD are decreased. And therefore people say, Okay, let’s let’s supplement and try to get more NAD. There are no studies on longevity. The studies on longevity are done with mice, which they only like two years. So it’s difficult to extrapolate that and they’re very conflictive results. But from a metabolic standpoint, NAD, it’s key for the continuation of glycolysis. And in fact, in cancer, it’s overexpressed, NAD is overexpressed in many forms of cancer, which are key for the continuation of glycolysis. So I raised the question about three years ago about release, and we did a site experiment in the laboratory where we transfected tumors to mice, and for 21 days, we supplemented them with an R. And we were made versus placebo, right versus just water. And we were measuring the size of the tumor. And we saw about 15% increase in size of the tumor in the NR group with NAD supplementation with a precursor of NAD. And we haven’t published that. So it was just for ourselves. But recently, there’s a study that has been published showing that NAD increases metastasis when there’s a tumor. So again, the Don’t play with Mother Nature. Because what if, and obviously, we still don’t have the science? That’s what I want to be cautious about all this right? But what if someone has some tumor that is not diagnosed and destroyed piling up in any DNA DNA D? Can that grow the tumor faster, or elicit a faster metastasis? We don’t have the answers. But I think that we need to be cautious about all these anti aging supplements. The science out there is not very developed. It’s more pseudoscience at this point, or science or with mice, which the only two years you know, like in this kind of like, remember, resveratrol, you know, like 20 years ago was like the big deal, right? It’s because studies with my show that increase extra month of weeks to their life or so and therefore extrapolate to humans could it’s going to be able to reverse the fountain of life, right? Resveratrol, remember those days, right? And it’s in the red wine, and therefore you need to evolve red light is good for you. Yeah. But then someone said, Oh, no, no, no, you need to drink four or five bottles of red wine a day to get the same amount of resveratrol, it was no good for you. Exactly. Therefore, I’m going to give you a pill of resveratrol, and some will make a lot of money. And other companies as well. But hey, 20 something years have passed. And we know very well that resveratrol doesn’t make any difference in terms of like people, you know, to live way longer, right? So are we now with the supplements in front of the new version of resveratrol or so or, but these ones are more sophisticated because they really interact with different specific pathways. They’re a key for for life and mitochondrial function also. So I think I’ll be cautious about this. I don’t take those myself, I will not recommend taking those to others. At this point. When they’re healthy. That’s turned like two cents. I don’t know if they are worth it. But you’re there.

Trevor Connor  51:54

Shall we move on?

Rob Pickels  51:56

What’s the next one?

Grant Holicky  51:58

Yeah, what is next?

Trevor Connor  51:59

Friend? Post activation potentiation. This is something I have had on the list to cover for three years. And we have never gotten to it. So thank God, we’re finally here. It is not worth the full episode.

Rob Pickels  52:16

We have asked a lot of people about this.

Trevor Connor  52:19

Well, I think we have like nine sides for this Oh, do we I am going to be picking and choosing for this episode. Nice. Now this is interesting, because again, the review that I read, that’s a recent review, it’s post activation potentiation in endurance sports a review from a 2018. So relatively new. What I’m going to do here is I’m going to give you the definition of post activation potentiation I was given in college. And I gotta tell you what’s in this review. And the review throws out what I was taught, and what you generally read in the past. So the idea here, here’s what I was taught in college, and what you see in most textbooks is that your body has a protective mechanism. So if you are cold, you haven’t done any work. And then you try to do a maximal exercise. So, post activation potentiation has some application to endurance sports, it’s important to point out, you talk to any athlete in an explosive strength sport like track and field or weightlifting, and Mencia, post activation potentiation they’re gonna go well, like it is critical to them. And most of the research is there not in endurance sports, that’s really important. But basically, the idea is if you try to do a very hard effort, your muscles are going to say I’m not ready, I’m not going to allow you to recruit all your muscle fibers. So you can’t do as hard an effort as you could, if you do a couple near or maximal efforts, and then try to go and race or whatever. Then your body says now you’ve potentiate at me or the muscle say you potentiate at me. Now I’m going to allow you to recruit a lot more muscle fibers and you can do a stronger lift. So no weightlifter feel, let’s say you’re doing bench pressing can hop on the bench cold and do their best lift. They have to do a few efforts then rest a little bit because the balance between fatigue and post activation potentiation is really important. And then they can do their best

Rob Pickels  54:15

left not with that attitude.

Grant Holicky  54:17

Just standing here watching Trevor talk about bench press. Like keep notes and

Trevor Connor  54:24

you should have met me in my college days.

Grant Holicky  54:26

No neck and some of their neck days.

Trevor Connor  54:29

I used to be 230 pounds. Yeah, that’s

Grant Holicky  54:31

good. No neck period. That’s not me.

Griffin McMath  54:36

Never question this.

Rob Pickels  54:39

Question that twice.

Trevor Connor  54:40

I love that she’s wearing a shirt and a jacket so we can see nothing. I’ll take it outside. So here’s what’s interesting, this review, throws all that out. says there’s actually very little evidence of the neuromuscular recruitment, which is what I read on I textbooks whatsoever I read in every other study, and they said in endurance sports and I’m not going to get heavy in the science here. It’s RLC phosphorylation on myosin.

Rob Pickels  55:11

No, that’s true. Yeah, I had some of that for dinner last night.

Trevor Connor  55:14

So let me explain this

Trevor Connor  55:24

so let me give a very simple explanation in our muscles, there are actin, myosin, and they’re, they’re basically the Think of it as a little hook that grab one another and pull each other closer, and that’s how your muscle contracts. So myosin, the way this whole process starts is calcium binds to the myosin. And then it says, Okay, now let’s start acting and contract the muscles. So this Roc actually sensitized myosin to calcium. And so it allows it to contract harder. And they are saying that is actually what is responsible for the post activation potentiation effect, not neuromuscular. Yeah, and I don’t know where I stand on that, because this is the first time I’ve ever heard this. But this is a recent review.

Rob Pickels  56:09

I think that something that we can be sure of, though, Trevor, is that doing a pre movement? And oftentimes, I think that it’s heavy weightlifting, right. There’s there’s a study here, you know, from in our review from Silva at all from 2014, where they added four sets of a five rep max leg press. That’s very heavy lifting, and a lot of lifting. Yeah, right. You would think that that would make you tired, and improved 20 Kilometer cycling performance? Yeah.

Grant Holicky  56:42

And fairly substantial. Right? What was it around 6%?

Rob Pickels  56:46

I don’t remember offhand. But,

Trevor Connor  56:48

well, here’s what’s important about this review, because going with the standard definition of pap, here’s why it’s important and why it’s mostly in strength sports, that effect doesn’t last long. It lasts 12 minutes. So if you use pap use all this potentiation for a five hour road race, who cares, right? Right, it’s all going to be wiped out pretty quickly. But by their definition, they’re actually showing potentiation by lower intensity sustained efforts, and what they propose. And so they actually show this in marathons in long bike races. And what they’re proposing is there is this initial potentiation as a warm up that strength athletes use. But there’s another type of post activation potentiation you see in endurance athletes, where it’s basically countering fatigue, your muscles start to fatigue. So to try to enable you to continue to go hard, you see this potentiation, so the fibers can that you can actually see a stronger contraction in the fiber,

Grant Holicky  57:55

and they still contract powerfully later, and exercise, which is

Trevor Connor  57:59

very interesting, they’ll throw the last few of the signs, and then you guys can tear all this apart. But my interpretation of all this, I still kind of like the original definition, the neuromuscular recruitment. For anybody in endurance sports, that only really matters if you’re doing something really hard off the gun. So if you’re a track athlete, you need to do this swimmer. If you’re a swimmer, if you’re across rider, and that start is critical, you need to do this. And that’s where ahead of the event, just do some short, maximal sprints, and then give yourself a good 10 minutes of recovery. So not 20 minutes, but it’s about eight to 10 minutes, and you’ll have that effect. And you’ll have cleared out the fatigue. Let’s quickly hear for national coach Lindsay Golich talking about how important pap is for track cyclists.

Lindsay Golich  58:51

potentiation it is something for the track cycling group that we actually do focus on. So you know, we have a very specific warmup, and then even our sprinters, they have some specific bounding and plyometrics to really tap into that potentiation prior to their competition to be really activated. And I guess just switched on and ready to go. There’s quite a bit of research, you know, in the strength and conditioning world on this potentiation on doing it correctly, and being able to, you know, effectively move more weight, or move a weight faster, depending on what your outcome is. And so what we found and what we’re really trying to work at, look at the sprinting aspect of it. Now, you know, we’re trying to move our weight, the body weight and the bike as fast as possible so that potentiation does become beneficial and impactful in really our overall performance. There’s a few things though, that I found over the years is that we have to figure out what works for each athlete. Obviously, you know, when we’re doing strength training and that crossover to cycling, there’s a little bit of a gray area there are just under loads of, of that we’re seeing. So I think it has to be more muscle specific for our athletes for cycling, for it to really be beneficial. And then also, you know, there’s a fine line of not doing too much, because then that actually just becomes overly fatiguing.

Rob Pickels  1:00:19

You Yeah, I think that we’re seeing, you know, maybe up to a half hours worth of work. So like across races is maybe a little bit long overall, but you get a lot of benefit in the beginning here. I’m just going back to this 20 Kilometer cycling trial, you are right. 6% improvement, great job grant, proud of you for doing your homework. You know, and that’s a 2020 kilometers cycling time trial. Do you remember how long it took them? Because I’m gonna guess about a half hour?

Grant Holicky  1:00:44

I don’t remember. But that’s usually about right. So about a half

Rob Pickels  1:00:47

hour there. And so there is a pretty big range of benefit, right? We can use this with people who are sprinting 100 meters, you know, on up to high intensity efforts, maybe up to a half hour. But Trevor, I think you’re right, we’re talking a five hour long race where nothing important happens until hours in pap isn’t for you.

Grant Holicky  1:01:05

Right? Well, plus, there could be a I mean, are we talking about a fatigue piece and those but I do think just in general, it speaks to the concept of warmup in general, that we come across over and over again, and you get this in a lot of, I don’t want to say beginner, if you get an athlete’s across the spectrum where it’s, I don’t want to waste my energy on that, because then I won’t have it for this. And for years, when I was coaching, swimming, that was something that to me was, oh, it’s an education piece. If somebody comes farther along in the sport, it becomes very obvious you need to put the energy in early, you get that later. But I’ve been blown away as levels go up. There’s still that mindset and levels as we go up. And we go up and we go up and just across the spectrum, the benefits of warmup, whether it be purely from an action in the musculature rather than neuromuscular or its heart rate, or its mental, the benefits are through the roof.

Rob Pickels  1:02:07

I think this is interesting to grant because it’s changing what we think about warm up. Right and and I remember I was back in middle school, and I can remember being attract me, it’s like, I’m not running a step before my event. This essential energy that I can’t be using, you know, just like hanging out with my friends in the sun on the bleachers, you know, and then we all I shouldn’t say we all a lot of people learn that warmup becomes important to be beneficial for our performance. But I think that for me a long time a warm up was like a 45 minute to an hour long or deal before my hour long cyclocross race, I’m warming up just as long as I’m racing. Sure. And I think that there is now a more modern prescription that is significantly shorter. You don’t have to be out there for 45 minutes of varying intensities, and high and low. And you know, but we can do this in 10 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, we can include some of these really hard efforts. It’s changing what warm ups are.

Grant Holicky  1:03:02

Yeah, yeah. And there’s a lot of things that kind of go along with that, you know, one of the things that I’ve started to move to in terms of a warm up with athletes is get your heart rate monitor back on, I want to see your heart responding. You know, like the day before the day of I want to see your heart rate come up as a very simplified version of this, which can be done in a lot less than an hour. But by the other side of that coin. I don’t know if Trevor will start nodding his head. But as I’ve gotten older, that

Trevor Connor  1:03:29

I’m definitely not in my head.

Grant Holicky  1:03:32

That 30 minutes of just easy writing makes things Creek a hell of a lot less makes things feel smoother. I guess it’s akin to putting vegetable oil on my joints. I feel a lot better as a coach.

Rob Pickels  1:03:50

Is that before or after you put the blood flow restriction?

Grant Holicky  1:03:54

I don’t know. That would be interesting blood flow restriction as a warm up

Trevor Connor  1:03:57

You had me at as I’m getting older. There is one last thing to point out about this, if I’m reading this review, correct. And and there there is some validity to this, which is that short, high intensity like doing those sprint efforts near maximal efforts? potentiation seems to be more in the fast twitch muscle fibers. So that is something to use if you have to be explosive off the gut, right? Sure. But what they show is this calcium sensitization that they’re talking about, occurs that potentiation actually occurs in slow twitch muscle fibers. Oh, so my takeaway from this is if you are getting ready for a much more aerobic steady event, so let’s say you’re getting ready for a 40k time trial drink a lot of milk. Sure.

Grant Holicky  1:04:49

Just go okay.

Rob Pickels  1:04:54

Well, that would be a friend. Recommendation,

Grant Holicky  1:04:58

macro solution to Micro problem come on.

Trevor Connor  1:05:01

But if you’re getting ready for a hard, steady, more aerobic effort, like a 40k time trial or a 10k, run something like that. They show that this potentiation happens with steadier heart ish effort. So around threshold. So my takeaway was getting ready for an event like that. Your warmup should include a few, like five minute efforts around threshold, and you’ll get more of that potentiation in the slow twitch muscle fibers. Yeah,

Rob Pickels  1:05:29

I like, you know, looking through the studies that they have on here, what I find interesting is that the potentiation exercise is quite varied what you can do, some of these studies looked at a 10 second maximal voluntary contraction of your triceps, I think for this particular thing. Yeah, no, right. I’m getting small, others, others for 400 meter runs, we talked about the heavy weightlifting, there are multiple ways to incorporate this. And maybe people if they’re looking to incorporate this into their training, think about something that’s relevant to the sport that you’re doing, think about something that’s relevant to how you want to improve your performance. And think about something that’s probably going to be safe and effective for what you’re doing to I don’t know that I want to be like at the start line, or at my car, unloading 1000 pounds worth of weights, because that’s how much I squat. You know,

Grant Holicky  1:06:23

just squat your car.

Rob Pickels  1:06:24

I can just squat my car.

Grant Holicky  1:06:28

Squat me, I’m

Grant Holicky  1:06:30

just gonna squat me.

Trevor Connor  1:06:33

Chris would squat you. Squat you.

Griffin McMath  1:06:38

I think one of the takeaways here that you’re, you’re talking about with that the surprising number of athletes beyond their youth have this concept of if I use it, meaning a warm up, I lose it when essential energy. Yeah, whereas we’re saying with this, if you don’t use this, you’re losing out.

Grant Holicky  1:06:56

Yeah, anecdotally, we felt it in those shorter, high intensity events. I feel like when I don’t warm up, I fall apart, and nothing works the right way. But I yeah, I there’s a lot to that. And I think

Rob Pickels  1:07:11

isn’t the beginning of the event, the warmup depends on how long the event is. The first slide for me, like first lap doesn’t count, right? It’s also my best lap. So kind of a one lap one.

Trevor Connor  1:07:23

Finally, let’s hear again, for Dr. Stacey Sims, expressing some potential concerns to be aware of if you want to try taking advantage of pap,

Dr. Stacy Sims  1:07:31

yes and no. So if you end up going too hard. If you for your event, then it can backfire. We use it a lot in training, like doing heavy resistance training, and then going and climbing a hill, because then you get better activation recruitment. So it’s a really useful training strategy. But for a warm up for a race or something, I try it out first see how your body responds. Because you have vagal nerve and a whole bunch of other confounding variables that can affect how your body responds in a race situation.

Trevor Connor  1:08:01

And so I’m very interested in asking you because in past conversations with you brought up the fact that there’s certain time points where women have a little harder time to get those muscles to activate. They feel much flattered. Do you think there is a value of getting on some harder efforts at those points in the cycle?

Dr. Stacy Sims  1:08:18

Yep, definitely. Yeah. So it’s the second half of the cycle where you’re losing that neuromuscular connection because of the change in your hormones. So it is a useful try it out strategy, but I wouldn’t blanket tell people to go do it right away. Try it out first before you start putting it into your race day situations.

Griffin McMath  1:08:39

So Trevor, what about this is actually fringe then because I can’t hear any disagreement.

Grant Holicky  1:08:46

I think what’s fringe about? This is how the potentiation works, is what you were getting out a little bit of what actually is going on. It’s it may not be neuromuscular it may be?

Trevor Connor  1:08:58

Well, so just know the important thing for you is do you want what sounds like a good answer, or do you want the real answer? I

Grant Holicky  1:09:04

want both. Yeah. Okay. You

Trevor Connor  1:09:06

just gave a good answer. The real answer is we came up with the fringe concept idea at the anti aging supplements and the BFR fit. And then we were like we need a third topic. I love it. Okay, well, like we haven’t covered pap, so let’s cover it wherever.

Rob Pickels  1:09:20

And I think that this is something Griffin going back to what you had said before, what’s fringe and what’s cutting edge and maybe it’s a little bit more blurry on this one, but for me a fringe aspect of this is what can be done prior to endurance exercise, which is what we’re primarily sure okay, I would never have thought that doing four sets. Five Rep Max would improve a half hour time trial it my mind has a hard time wrapping it so I totally believe it. But that is not a recommendation. I think that any coach would ever give to an athlete before now

Grant Holicky  1:09:55

I’m gonna do it this weekend. We’re gonna go to the World Cup this weekend and try Okay, we’re gonna just squat.

Trevor Connor  1:10:02

Are you guys ready? Oh wait, we have a fringe Halloween bonus.

Rob Pickels  1:10:11

We have a Halloween bonus,

Trevor Connor  1:10:12

we have a bonus slide.

Trevor Connor  1:10:13

This is our zombie study.

Grant Holicky  1:10:16

I’m getting a bonus.

Trevor Connor  1:10:18

This is our zombie study because you thought blood flow restriction was dead. But it’s coming back to life. Are you ready for this? I found a study. Here’s the title of it. Can blood flow restriction training? Benefit? Post activation? potentiation

Grant Holicky  1:10:37

oh my god, mind blowing, mind blowing. I brought up BFR for I

Rob Pickels  1:10:42

said it. You brought it up? Because you want to talk about vegetable oil?

Grant Holicky  1:10:45


Trevor Connor  1:10:46

And are you ready for the answer? Yes. And the answer is yes. Well, remember how we said that the effects of post activation potentiation. When you do the high intensity only lasts like 1215 seconds? Yes. It comes on quicker with BFR goes, lasts much shorter period of time lasts like six to eight minutes.

Grant Holicky  1:11:06

No. So you’d have to be like on the start line doing a little BFR. Squat? Yes. And then take off and go

Rob Pickels  1:11:14

please, for the love

Trevor Connor  1:11:15

of God. I want to see grant do this. God,

Rob Pickels  1:11:18

it would it would make my year grant my year. Amen. I’ll be I’ll be there for anywhere you want to do it? I’ll be there for you.

Griffin McMath  1:11:27

I was really hoping someone would sing on this episode. So here’s a question for you, Trevor. We’re looking at these three fringe worthy, different areas here. If these were to take off, or become more mainstream, what does that say about endurance sports and the future of endurance sports medications restricting blood flow, squatting at the start line?

Trevor Connor  1:11:52

This is Yeah, I just had this image of a person on a train or at the start line hooked up to blood flow restriction, doing spreads will pop and metaphor. And my answer to you is let’s go in a real dark awful place.

Grant Holicky  1:12:07

Well, I mean, it’s this is what happens at a certain point, when you go down all the obvious rabbit holes, you start to have to try to go down these other ones. I mean, and unfortunately for endurance sports, I think this is where we start to get into that really big gray area between performance enhancement and performance enhancement like which one’s legal on which ones not?

Griffin McMath  1:12:30

I think that’s my point is Doesn’t this seem like the biggest slippery slope? Yes. Or how has not been already there?

Grant Holicky  1:12:38

It is already there, Trevor? Yes. Maybe I think for something, you know, we look at some of these things. And listen long ago, I remember saying about the bow core, the juiced homerun era in baseball, and when we talked about Barry Bonds, and Mark McGwire and they were taking something that wasn’t officially banned, or wasn’t officially a steroid, you put the athlete in a place where they go, is this legal? And the person they’re with goes, it’s not illegal. You know, you hit these realms a lot in endurance sports, and I don’t know that any of these three are in that realm. But it doesn’t take much to go to that place. Yeah,

Trevor Connor  1:13:19

yeah, I would say it’s putting them in their place. So just going through the BFR, reading all that research about the benefits of it, am I going to go out and buy the device and be using this in my basement? No. But what do you use it for? You were injured, and it helped you with your recovery? I think that’s great, right? And they talk about that in the review. Metformin? Am I ever going to take it despite the fact that I know it benefits all these things that I’m researching and trying to figure out a benefit? No. Never gonna take it. Somebody has diabetes has a one of the serious diseases would I potentially recommend this? Yes. Potentially. Pap is probably to me the least fringy of all.

Grant Holicky  1:14:02

I mean, that’s what Griffin Astra Yeah,

Trevor Connor  1:14:04

I will tell you crits starting is critical. If you end up at the back of the field in a crit. At the start, you’re in trouble. And I don’t start well, so before every credit, I do 566 Second Sprint’s get that pap effect so I can start better and I time it. Like I said, I watch my watch, and go make sure I’m finishing my sprints about eight to 10 minutes before the start of the credit. Then I go to the start line. Then something screws up. They make a stand on the start line for 20 minutes and I don’t see any of the benefits anyway.

Rob Pickels  1:14:36

You’re doing the sprints on the bike. You’re not running the sprints, right?

Trevor Connor  1:14:40

I’m doing on the bike. Okay.

Griffin McMath  1:14:41

I just want to call to attention that before we started recording, I said my visual of BFR is in a dark room and Trevor just talked about doing and I feel like Hello, this is what I was talking about. It gets weird. It gets dark real quick.

Grant Holicky  1:14:58

Listen, you’re gonna try BF Are you? Okay? And in the basement of this building? Well, that’s the creepiest thing ever all by yourself. And we’re gonna lock

Griffin McMath  1:15:11

the excitement in your eyes right now. Oh,

Grant Holicky  1:15:14

yeah, no, we’re gonna lock the door and we’re not going to use vegetable oil on the hinges so it’s gonna

Rob Pickels  1:15:19

record her and like one of those black and white security cams.

Grant Holicky  1:15:23

Perfect, perfect. And it’s gonna move the whole Could I

Trevor Connor  1:15:25

just say with the people in the building gave us the tour of the building. We were telling them we needed a video studio. We were like, Oh, we think you can use the basement. And Rob and I walked down there and looked at the basement and we’re like, you realize we’re not making slash

Grant Holicky  1:15:43

to perfect. That is the creepiest basement and I can’t wait to see it. I’m very excited.

Rob Pickels  1:15:50

That was another episode of fast talk subscribe to fast talk wherever prefer to find your favorite podcast. Be sure to leave us a rating and a review. The thoughts and opinions expressed on fast talker are those of the individual. As always we love your feedback tweeted us at fast talk labs or join the conversation at forums dot fast talk labs.com We’ll learn from our experts at fast talk labs or help keep us independent by supporting us on Patreon for grant Holika Griffin McMath and Trevor Connor. I’m Rob pickles. Thanks for listening.

Grant Holicky  1:16:22

It always feels like somebody’s watching me.

Rob Pickels  1:16:27

It’s about as high as I can go. Boy, somebody’s watching me.

Trevor Connor  1:16:37

That’s where we’re ending it.