Learning to Trust the Science, with Dr. Jim Peterman

You might keep up with the latest sport science, but do you know how to interpret it? Can you tell when it’s good research that draws useful conclusions?

Fast Talk Data

Here on Fast Talk, we’ve been known to periodically quote a study or two. While in the past, athletes mostly figured out their training by trial and error or what felt right, nowadays, in this era of marginal gains, no coach or serious athlete can get away without some understanding of physiology. Winning at the highest level requires digging through the science to find those little nuggets that translate to real gains.

The problem is, while many of us read the science, a lot of us don’t know how to interpret it, or when it’s good research that draws useful conclusions or bad research that will lead you astray. That’s made particularly complicated by the fact that there are many well-conducted studies that, because of the nature of their methods, outcome goals, or the size of their study group, may lead you to draw conclusions you shouldn’t. So today we’re going to dive into the physiology research itself and give you some tips on how to both read and interpret the science. We’ll discuss:

  • First, the basic structure of a research study.
  • Next, some basic concepts you need to understand in order to read research.
  • We’ll then dive deeper into the methods—the section people love to skip over—and why they are so important.
  • Next, we’ll talk about some preferences among researchers, such as their tendency to test in the lab and not on the road, and why they love VO2max tests, despite the fact that they don’t actually correlate well with performance.
  • We’ll discuss a study’s endpoints—what they are measuring and why that is so important.
  • Next, we’ll learn about the concept of the false null hypothesis and things that can influence it, such as study length and the number of participants.
  • Finally, we’ll talk about how the data revolution in cycling is allowing for some truly unique studies.

Our primary guests today are Dr. Jim Peterman, a professor of exercise physiology at Ball State University who got his Ph.D. while balancing a professional cycling career, and Nate Wilson, a former elite U23 racer and head coach at Catalyst Coaching. Along with our primary guests, we talked with cyclocross legend and longtime coach Katie Compton, and also Dr. Ciaran O’Grady, a physiologist with Team Dimension Data. As high-level coaches, both need to keep up on the research. They each shared thoughts on what they look for to know they can trust a study. Finally, we touched base with Grant Holicky, a top coach at Forever Endurance, and one of his athletes, Maxx Chance, who had a unique take on the research.

Let’s make you fast!

Primary Guests Dr. Jim Peterman: Professor of exercise physiology at Ball State University Nate Wilson: A former elite U23 racer and head coach at Catalyst Coaching Secondary Guests Katie Compton: 15-time U.S. national cyclocross champion Dr. Ciaran O’Grady: Physiologist with Team Dimension Data Grant Holicky: Coach with Forever Endurance

Episode Transcript


Welcome to Fast Talk, developer news podcast and everything you need to know to write.


Chris Case  00:09

Hello, and welcome to Fast Talk. I’m your host Chris case, joined by the mad scientist himself, the beating heart of the show Coach Trevor Connor. Here on fast Doc, we’ve been known to periodically quote a study or two. While in the past, athletes mostly figured out their training by trial and error, or what felt right. Nowadays, in this era of marginal gains. No coach or serious athlete can get away without some understanding of physiology. Winning at the highest level requires digging through the science to find those little nuggets that translate to real gains. The problem is, while many of us read the science, a lot of us don’t know how to interpret it, or when it’s good research that draws useful conclusions or bad research that lead us astray. That’s made particularly complicated by the fact that there are many well conducted studies that because of the nature of their methods, outcome goals, or the size of their study group may lead you to draw conclusions you shouldn’t. So today, we’re going to take a deep dive in the physiology research itself and give you some tips on how to both read and interpret the science. We’ll discuss. First, the basic structure of research study. Next, some basic concepts you need to understand in order to read research. Third, we’ll then dive deeper into the Methods section. That’s the section everybody loves to skip over. But we’re going to talk about why it’s so important. Next, we’ll talk about some preferences among researchers, such as their tendency to test in the lab and not on the road, and why they love vo to max tests, despite the fact that they don’t actually correlate well with performance. Next, we’ll discuss a study’s endpoints, what they’re measuring and why that is so important. Then we’ll learn about the concept of the false no hypothesis and things that can influence it, such as study length, and the number of participants. Finally, we’ll talk about how the data revolution in cycling is allowing for some truly unique studies. Our primary guest today are Dr. Jim Peterman, a professor of exercises geology at Ball State University, who got his PhD while balancing a professional cycling career. And Nate Wilson, a former elite u 23. racer, and head coach at catalyst coaching. Along with our primary guests, we talked with cyclocross legend and longtime coach Katie Compton, and also Dr. Karen O’Grady physiologist with Team Dimension Data. As high level coaches both need to keep up on the research that you shared thoughts on what they look forward to know they can trust the study. Finally, we touched base with grant hockey top coach add forever endurance in one of his athletes, Max chance had a unique take on the research. Now, are you ready to be blinded by science? Let’s make you fast.


Chris Case  03:06

This episode of fast Talk is brought to you by whoop. Well, it wasn’t long ago that a couple regular guests that we’ve had on the program, Koli, Pierce and Frank Overton, were sitting in our podcast room. Trevor was also here, of course, the three of them all wearing bootstraps, all big aficionados, if you will of the bootstrap. Here I was, well, I lend my bootstrap to Trevor. So that was mine that he was wearing. But I was I was naked, I was without my bootstrap. And you guys were just nerding out about how cool it was. And I was feeling left


Trevor Connor  03:40

out honestly. Oh, admitted you were taking extraordinary pride and you’re like,


Chris Case  03:46

yeah, you’re probably right. You’re probably right. I know. I don’t want to be bionic. Honestly, I just want to be all natural. Yeah,


Trevor Connor  03:53

so who’s getting bootstrap next week and who actually requested it?


Chris Case  03:57

Yeah, you know, you you’ve brought me over to the dark side, the data side. I guess I’m one of you guys. Now. I need my I need my data to know how fast I can be a recovered I am what my sleep quality is. All these things. I miss it.


Trevor Connor  04:10

Well, you know, we’re getting there. But as your coach, do you know my feeling about this. It’s not just about going out and blindly doing the training. This is something that’s going to give you an idea of where you’re at, how you’re recovering what’s going on with heart rate variability, all these things are going to tell you here’s what I should be doing with my


Chris Case  04:27

training. Whoop is the performance tool that is changing the way people optimize their training and recovery will provide a wrist worn heart rate monitor that features detailed app based analytics and insights on recovery strain and sleep, whoop tracks sleep quality and heart rate variability 100 times per second 24 hours per day to help you know when your body is recovered, or when it needs rest. You can also use the strap to track workouts and get strain scores that let you know how strenuous The training was on your body move helps you optimize your sleep based on how fatiguing your day was and tracks sleep performance with insights. into your sleep quality stages of sleep and consistency. To make things better, we’ve just released the new whoop strap 3.0, which includes a suite of new hardware and app features. bootstrap 3.0 now has five day battery life and improve strap and live heart rate monitoring a handful of new inap features including the new strain coach, improve the way you track and plan the retraining and recovery. Oop is provided an offer for fast dock listeners to get 15% off their purchase with the code. Fast talk. That’s FA S T. Ta lk, just go to whoop.com that’s w h o p calm and use code Fast Talk at checkout to save 15% off and optimize the way you train.


Chris Case  05:47

We’re excited to have aftershocks as a sponsor of this show, because these things are essentially made for cyclists. You go out on a ride and you don’t want to have something shoved in your ear so that you can pay attention to traffic or the people you’re riding with or other sounds that help you understand and be safe out on your ride. And these aftershocks headphones use bone conduction to transmit sound is through your bones to your yours rather than through the ear canal itself. So you can pay attention to your surroundings at the same time you’re listening to your favorite podcast or music. But at the same time, these things lasts a really long time. The new arrow packs model lasts up to eight hours. So even the longest Trevor rides that’s about half half of a Trevor ride or or half of dirty Kansa for for the average person. You’ll have your arrow packs in your ears or sorry, not in your ears and be listening to your favorite music. And finally, as you all know, cyclists ride in the rain they ride in the mud and they sweat a lot. And the aftershocks Aero packs in particular is ip 67 rated for waterproofness to withstand any element. This episode was sponsored by aftershocks the award winning headphone brand best known for its open ear listening experience. Powered by patented best in class bone conduction technology aftershocks headphones sit outside your ear so you can hear your music and your surroundings. aftershocks is a must have headphone for cyclists providing the ultimate level of safety and comfort without compromising sound quality. To learn more and save 50 bucks on aftershocks bundles visit aftershocks.com that’s a ftershokz.com and use code Fast Talk.


Chris Case  07:44

All right, we are sitting down in the coach Connor studio. boulder colorado knee Wilson coach at callus coaching owner catalyst, owner of catalyst coaching sitting here with us also a member of the USA cycling development staff.



Yeah, title at the moment, I believe performance director for the road track programs so a little bit more overarching, but two years with the 23 development program.


Chris Case  08:14

And we’ve got Jim Peterman Dr. Jim Peterman sitting in his lab coat in Muncie Indiana Ball State University’s a research associate there and he’s looking out his window at the david letterman Memorial. What what kind of build it what’s in that building?



I don’t know if it’s a memorial that makes it sound like


Chris Case  08:36

I guess that’s okay. Letterman still alive. He’s so what’s in the Letterman building not to get too far off track.



Oh, man now you’re hitting pretty hard question.



Is it like the the film The film production? Yeah, the communications department something like that. And media



building I guess. Along those lines.


Chris Case  08:54

Cool. So there’s no lab rats in that building? So what you’re telling



us Oh, labra they’re all snakes.


Chris Case  09:03

show business. No show business joy.



That’s a good one. I was thinking of other animals.


Chris Case  09:12

Gotcha. Gotcha.



Well, anyways, we’re


Chris Case  09:14

sitting down with some. I’m gonna say it. We’re sitting down with three nerds and me today. Oh, boy.


Trevor Connor  09:21

I’ve been excited about this one. I know this is a whole episode of me discussing all these cool studies.


Chris Case  09:27

Exactly. Exactly. So you guys out there you listeners of fast dock know that Trevor is a kind of sewer an aficionado of research literature. He loves to sit down by the Fireside with his snifter of cognac and read the latest in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The British Journal of metabolism, whatever it might be so close. Well, I know there’s others but I was trying to make up one that sounded a little goofy. Anyways, he likes to cite from these sources. And you might ask yourself, why does he come up with this stuff? How does he know how good this research is? How does he understand it all with all of that dense language in the Methods section in the this literature that he likes to quote from, and for the most part, Fast Talk episodes are based off of a lot of hard science. So today, we want to talk about that type of research, how it’s revolutionized training, but also some of the misconceptions that can be brought into our world as lay people from that science. So, Trevor, what’s your preface to this episode?


Trevor Connor  10:41

Well, this is the point where Jim cuts and goes, Well, actually, he’s completely reticent.



Tell you only the conclusion, man, only the conclusion.


Trevor Connor  10:50

I’ve been excited about this one. And I got completely overwhelmed last night, because I was just going through all these old studies, Oh, she talked about this one, we should talk about that one and built this whole list. And I’m like, wait a minute, we only got an hour, hour and a half. So I think my preface to this one is I’m ultimately going to be disappointed, because we’re gonna we’re gonna hit the stop and the record button.



I want to talk about though,


Chris Case  11:11

there’s always a part two.


Trevor Connor  11:13

That is fair. Jim, do you want to give us the we don’t want to do a full lecture on how to read research. But do you want to give the the basics what a research study is? What are some of the things to know about in a research study? That that’s relevant to the rest of the conversation



it gets, when we’re talking about studies, what we’re really talking about is the papers. And we can actually leave, that’s what consumers are researchers, that’s what we end up seeing as the end product. paper is going to have really going to start off with an abstract, abstract, kind of like the kind of like a movie trailer, I get,



usually way more boring. But I gotta say,


Trevor Connor  11:54

the abstract is also known as the part that most people read, and then they don’t go into



the summary, the troublemaker, yeah.



Yeah. So it gives you a quick summary, depending on what what journal you’re reading from, it’s, you know, anywhere from 100 to 300 words law, that’s a real short summary rate for current attention spans, you really need to read the rest of the paper, get a real true understanding of what’s in that that rest paper starts off with an intro kind of giving you the background, setting up the reasons why the study occurred. And you’ve got the method for taking a negative look at things and being methods is probably what everyone’s good. But that’s, that’s really important. And we’ve got the results, the results are going to really just tell you what you saw, there’s no interpretation of those results, just says this caused that. And then probably everyone’s favorite is the discussion section discussion, really is going to take those results and tell you what they mean, or what the authors think they need, how that applies to real life.


Trevor Connor  13:02

So it’s kind of that we’re going to tell you what we’re going to talk about, and we’re going to explain how we’re going to research it, then we’re going to tell you what our results are, then we’re going to discuss our results. And by the way, I love that a few journals have so accepted the fact that nobody reads the methodology, they’ve now moved the methodology to the end and like an eight point font that you need a magnifying glass to write. But it’s important. It’s amazing how many studies where people just trust the results, trust the discussion, don’t go into the methods and there’s actually can be some real issues are.


Chris Case  13:37

I guess that brings up a point in my mind about if a study is published in a reputable journal, you would think that the journal would vet how well the study was done to begin with, and they would have looked into those methods and think, oh, we approve of this?


Trevor Connor  13:54

Well, you bring up a good point there that a proper scientific study, a proper journal is supposed to be peer reviewed, where there are every journal has a list of reviewers. And when a study is submitted, they will have two or three reviewers who will go through it and question the methodology question the discussions and those reviewers need to approve it before it can be published. So that is technically what should be the vetting process. Right. Yeah,



I think the other important thing to keep in mind is that they’re really different levels of journal. We have the highest impact journals, the ones that get the most attention, those are going to be the hardest to get into. So if you have to have really strong method, people really check those over for the lower journal. You know, incorrect methods are not going to be British Journal of



British Journal, British Journal of rabbit metabolism and expectoration. Yeah.



If we were to add something to that, you know, maybe there’s been a few things But you might have to justify why, why your methods were not as good as it could have been.



I guess the other thing I’d interject on methods is like on the, I think on the coach perspective, you can read an abstract, and the results and discussion and feel pretty good about what came out of it. And it might be that the methods were well done, and it’s integrate journal. But I think reading the methods is also where you really understand the context in which those results occurred, like the testing procedure. And I think as far as like, then when we’re trying to take it from novel research to real world application, having a good idea of what context those results occurred in is huge in terms of like, should we actually be applying this? Or does it not really make sense to the context we want to apply it to? Right,


Trevor Connor  15:48

right, which is some of the things we’re going to get into, and I can’t wait for that part of the conversation, because there is there is one study where the methods are actually very good. They just didn’t, you see this actually, somewhat frequently, they don’t apply at all to any sort of real world scenario. So before we start talking about these particular issues, Jim, what are some of the other things that we just need to have some background on? So there’s that that n number or letter, there’s the P, z, so all the letters, we could talk about the bell shaped curve, but what are some of these a few of these things that are helpful to know about,



and it’s one of them. So an replot refers to the sample size, how many people were in the study, you have a flaw. And that can lead to a lot of different problems, like getting a large and a large number of people to participate in a study can also be really difficult to do. But just knowing the end is an important thing to know, that’s usually in the abstract, or you find that in the methods are for results. P the p value. That’s everyone’s favorite. That’s kind of a big, Hot Topic thing. Nowadays, the p value is let’s see if I can do this, right. The P value refers to the chance of the difference you saw occurring due to just random chance. If you have a p value of less than point O five, you would say the difference your observed occurs less than 5% of the time, randomly. Yeah, that’s randomly correct. Right? So a scientist, usually what we say is we’re looking for a p value of less than point O five. So if something happens 4% of the time randomly, that’s something we’re willing to live with, because that’s such a small ball chain.


Trevor Connor  17:37

Right? And so a really important thing to point out there is the standard is a p value of 0.05. So as you said, That’s five times out of 100. You’re gonna have a false null, null hypothesis, correct? I get that, right. Correct. The issue of going too tight with that saying, you know, we want to have one out of 200 is, then you’re you run the risk of actually having a true correlation, a true result, that because you’re being so tight on the on the p value, you don’t see it. So you have to find that balance.



Right, right. And there’s also a reliance on the p value, PCs nificant p value, the difference you’re actually observed. If you went from one to 1.1, does that actually make a difference in terms of performance? Is it worthwhile to do this intervention.


Trevor Connor  18:28

So the one I wanted to bring up is just because this is one that I really care about is the law of the bell shaped curve, it’s remembering that even when you find a real result in a study, so for example, the classic example is height, you can say the average height of a male is five foot 11, I actually don’t know what it is, I’m making this up completely. That doesn’t mean that all males are five foot 11 means that you have this bell shaped curve, or you see most males being somewhere right around five foot 11. So you can see a lot that are five foot 10, five foot nine, six feet, six feet one, as you get further and further away from five foot 11, you’re going to see very few people’s you might even see somebody who’s over seven feet tall, but that’s a rarity, just like it’s rare, you’re going to see somebody who’s under five feet tall. This is true with almost any results, there’s always some form of a bell shaped curve. And that’s important to remember, because when you have a big study that finds a result and says, here’s the conclusion we drew, you don’t know if you’re that five foot 11 person or you’re the seven foot four person, so they might find a trend that’s true of almost everybody, but you could be that big outlier. And that might not apply to you. So always remember that when you study these results that you know, I’m a believer that every one of us has somewhere where we’re an outlier on that bell shaped curve.


Chris Case  19:53

Some more than others, Trevor some more than others. Why are you looking at You I have a separate repeatability I know is one of the one of the key things, science likes to be able to repeat results.



Yeah, that has come up in the news, maybe in the last year two study should not be able to be repeated. But doing the exact same methods and finding different results. Because that’s one of the important things we want to keep in mind, when thinking about the studies we’re going to talk about is a few got another 10 folks participating intervention, you’re going to see the same results as this original study. And that’s not something that’s always done very well. And


Trevor Connor  20:45

it’s hard for a scientist to go and get funding and say I want to repeat a study that’s already been done, which needs to happen. So what they’ll do is they’ll say, I mostly want to reproduce this. And sorry, I put repeatability in the outline, but we really should be using the word reproducible. So let’s just say we want to try to reproduce the this past it. But here’s our little twist on it to expand on the knowledge.



Right? Right, you add something a little bit different. You can reproduce the results, but also be looking a little bit novel.


Trevor Connor  21:16

And this can be really important. And if one of the samples ever remember from my graduate work is we talked about all the vitamin C research of Linus Pauling that had been so big in the 70s and 80s, and 90s. They’ve never been able to reproduce it. And there’s now is a belief that he might not have had real results.



Yeah, unfortunately, there’s a lot of pressure, especially now, to get this funding. Can you think of any other good examples?


Trevor Connor  21:46

As it been any in the that you can think of in the Sportsworld



terms of reproducibility?


Trevor Connor  21:51

Were they they couldn’t reproduce it? And we look back on and say those might not have been? Those might have been fabricated?



Yeah, I’m not sure if it’s necessarily a little bit different, maybe, but in terms of application come with a different type of fabrication? Looking at how efficiency might change with, with training, they’re somewhat famous study on professional athletes, professional cyclists, who want a handful of tours. Oh, I know, this one. Disease still,



still considered?



I don’t know. But anyway, this, uh, this individual was tested a number of times throughout his career. And they found that efficiency improved. But as we know, now, there was some


Trevor Connor  22:44

other factors.



Yeah, some other factors, some other improvements that did that what you’re doing that may have influenced that dial? So if we were to try and repeat or reproduce those results, it’d be really difficult to do. It’s gonna be different


Chris Case  23:02




Different environment?


Trevor Connor  23:07

Yes. Well, there was a very recent study about a another current or recently current, I want to say a tour winner, who had also very interesting improvements in both vo two, Max and efficiency, which is very, very, very, very, very, very rare. Yeah. And again, no idea who the recent tour winner, we don’t know who it was.



It helps with a lot of it. Cycling science research in the 90s and early 2000s. A lot of that, on elite athletes. We call now the world tour. Right. But they were taking something else. Do we want to believe that that research or not? That’s kind of a tough thing to know.


Chris Case  23:53

Well, let’s move on to some of the issues that can be a part of research. Good and bad research. And why don’t we start with you, Jim, let’s go back to that method section and why it’s so important.



Yeah, so I think we talked about, everyone kind of wants to trust the method. But you can’t just trust the message that people did. Got to know what they did. Who was included in this study? How many people were included in the study? One of the big things is whether or not the methods are actually confounding the finding. But one of the things I think most people are probably familiar with is the evil effect. If you are given a pill, just a sugar pill, with all you told it’s going to make you faster, you’re going to go faster. There’s a placebo effect that sometimes hard to control for within a research study. If we wanted to study altitude training pretty hard to hide The fact that you’re taking someone up to altitude yet to do that for Kibo effect, when you are looking at the results, and one knows that going to our police are going to help you will help them maintain an altitude or


Trevor Connor  25:16

one that they actually had a really hard time studying for a while was fish oil supplements because they taste fishy. So it was very hard for people to, to hide when somebody had the placebo versus the actual supplement,



right? There’s a lot of unique ways you can kind of get around it, some of those companies are difficult to learn not


Trevor Connor  25:38

take it a step further, there are times where you actually have very good methodology. But the methodology might not actually give you the results that you are looking for. So an example I love to give. And I spent a while last night looking for this study, because somebody showed it to me as evidence that you should never ride more than an hour, and always just do high intensity work. And I wish I had gone right home and downloaded that study, kick myself for never doing that. But he showed me the study. And the title of his study was something along the lines of h i t work has greater gains than moderate, steady writing something along those lines. And they were very clear about that in the conclusions. But when you look at the methodology, they did exactly what researchers should do. And they controlled as many variables as possible. And one of those variables that researchers in this field love to control his work. So they wanted it. So simplify here think of they wanted everybody when they did a workout to burn about the same number of calories. So the group that was doing intervals, their workout was about 20 to 25 minutes, as I remember, but the group doing the quote, long, slow distance was doing about 44 minutes. So very well controlled, good study, in terms of the methodology is just when they controlled for work like that they couldn’t draw the conclusion that they drew, it would have been very, okay for them to said, Yeah, high intensity work is far more effective at producing gains than recovery ruts. Nobody read that in the methodology. And the guy who pointed it out to me and said, you never need to do a ride over an hour. He had never read through the methods. And I showed that to him. I can’t can’t draw that conclusion. Sorry.



Yeah, results totally valid for what they did, but not how it would work in practice, like someone’s going to try longer aerobic training, it’s going to be a much greater difference.


Trevor Connor  27:44

Right? So it particularly in the cycling world, or in the endurance sport world, what are some other things to look for in the methodology? You guys can think of? Kind of going off?



forever? people you’ve recruited actual participants themselves? What? What level? Are they? Are they your average, Joe? Are they sedentary? Are they world class athletes, that can all make a really big difference?


Trevor Connor  28:09

Which is a really good point. And not something that a lot of people look at. But there there’s an expression that you take a couch potato off the couch and have them do anything, they’re gonna get fitter.


Chris Case  28:19

Yeah, I don’t know that every scientist that’s doing research, generally speaking, knows what an elite athlete is. Sometimes they’ll describe them as such, but you and I would look at that person and say they ride six hours a week that doesn’t, you know, they’re not an elite athlete relative to the population we know. Right? So what they define is trains or sun train, right? Yeah,



that’s definitely all reason to read the methods.



I remember doing my my research in Boulder. A lot of the studies I did wrong sedentary folk, kind of the joke was we had folder settings. That’s a unique population. Yes. They’re not that into like the rest of the country. I think one of the other issues is that there’s just not well defined terminology for, for athletes. What, what Nate may call average, I might call a V, you also have to look at in the methods how they define that. A lot of the times it’s how much the training, what their rate times are, what their the ranking is within the world, there’s number different way to look at that going and find that. And the method, abstract introduction or discussion might say, elite athletes improve when they do that. But you need to look at the method to see what they define as Leah.


Trevor Connor  29:45

So I can tell you whenever I read a study, the first two things they look at in the methods, if it’s any sort of cycling study with the physiological test is one who are the subjects. So you always want to read and they’ll give you some background. You know, these are just regularly college students who exercise a little bit or these were people who participated in the world, we’re in the Tour de France and you know, you got a very different population. The other thing I’d like to look at is if they did a via to max test or a ramp test, or any sort of physiological test, what was their protocol? Because there are, as nearly as many protocols as there are studies, sometimes feels a lot of different ways you can do those tests, and you can get very different results depending on on how they they run that vo two max or lactate test.



And Jim, correct me if I’m wrong, but especially with protocols, I remember, I remember you saying, There’s certain ways researchers like to lean for what protocols they use that are based much more on where they’re going to find a significant difference, rather than where they’re going to show like a new applicable finding thing a little more lean towards a time to exhaustion testing, compared to something that’s maybe more field replicated, or something



I’ve exhausted Casper proposal know, basically what to say we’re gonna have the cyclists edit the OT map power, hour that have responded to find that, and you’re just going to pedal for as long as you can go until you’re exhausted. That’s when we hit off on the stopwatch. Those kinds of tests can help researchers find a difference more than, let’s say a time trial, out out on actual road. But there’s a lot of other factors that can come into play.


Trevor Connor  31:39

So I did an interview with Jared Berg over at CU sports and I’ll throw this in. But I think he was one who went on the rant about time to exhaustion test, because he made the point When’s the last time you did a race that was to exhaustion, where it was every rider go until you can’t go anymore, and whoever’s still going wins. So you guys are getting into the well, the study might be very well designed, again, is the The end result is whatever metric they’re using, really applicable to racing. And that’s a great example. There’s been a lot of studies where they showed, hey, we saw improvements in time to exhaustion. But that’s not the right way racing works. It’s not a time to exhaustion thing,



right? And it just researchers like to make a jump that if you see an improvement and found exhaustion, that’s probably not a racing situation. And whether or not that actually happens. That’s up for debate, I guess.



Maybe we’re all racing the wrong way. Holding too much back and holding too much back. Exactly. Why aren’t we all collapsing off of our bikes when we’re finished?



But I think it is interesting, because there’s, I think there’s room for a lot of interpretation, because on one hand, time to exhaustion isn’t directly replicated or applicable to most the races we’re doing. So it’s easy to say, Okay, well, the context in which we saw this result maybe doesn’t really apply. But then the devil’s advocate interpretation is Yeah, like we just said a minute ago, I think, if we’re seeing an improved time to exhaustion at a power that is applicable to our racing, like, I don’t know, on a simple level, wouldn’t that be good? Like, we can do this power for longer? So I feel like it’s always a gray area.


Trevor Connor  33:23

Right, which is probably why they’re they still use it, but you do just have to take it with a bit of a grain of salt. So example I’ll give you where it was probably misapplied was some early research that I read a massage that said, well, massage has no gains whatsoever. So I dug into the study. And what they did is they had the these group of athletes train, then they got a massage, then the next day, the one of the studies, I think did a time to exhaustion test. The other study did a vo two max test and saw no change in either of those variables and said they’re for massage doesn’t do anything for you. I would argue that that’s not really a test of what massage is trying to produce for you.



Right? An alternative way would be looking at, I don’t know, a pretty high training load for a sustained period between two groups and seeing if thicker, getting daily massage somehow recover better or something, you know, maybe that’s the application we’re looking for.


Trevor Connor  34:18

Well, so what they’ve done with the massage research and this is these are some of the studies that I dug up last night, really excited to talk about night I can really dig into this one because I actually did this interview with Dr. Titus who wrote a whole review on massage and the conclusion he had to draw on the review was we aren’t really seeing any gains to massage but when I talked to him, he started ranting on all this is like a they’re they’re measuring the wrong things they’re measuring vo two max etc etc. And that’s ridiculous. B he got into so we are talking about the the end value of the power of the study how many people are in the studies and he said the many of these studies the end value was so low that you didn’t There might have been an effect there, but you just couldn’t prove that it was more than chance. So going back to what you’re talking about with that end value, the way I like to think of it is, think of it like flipping a coin, you flip the coin three times, you might flip heads three times in a row and say, well, 100% of the times it was heads, but that’s still chance. You flip it 1000 times, and every time it comes up heads, that’s not chance. So you have the same thing, if you do a study of massage with five, six people, there might actually be an effect there. But you can’t say it’s, it’s more than chance. What ultimately happened, I did this interview with him a bunch of years ago. And since then, there’s been some really cool new research on massage. That said, Really, what we’re looking at is the inflammatory process in the body. So they started instead of saying, Let’s do a vo two max test, they said, let’s start measuring inflammatory markers like il six and TNF alpha in the body, and lo and behold, they saw some pretty dramatic and fun changes in inflammatory profile. So then they could start saying, yep, so I was just doing something. When we interviewed multi time, US National Champion Katie Compton a few episodes ago, we asked her if she reads research for a coaching business. Her answer is short. But a fantastic summary of everything we just discussed. Yeah,



I try I try my best I try to look at the researchers, I try to look at the what population they used to do the testing how many people they use for it, if it’s men, if it’s woman, like if it actually pertains to an audience I’m going to work with, I try to look at all this variable, and then just see what kind of tests they did, just to see if it’s legitimate. But yeah, a lot of it is just looking at scores and looking at what journal it came from, to see if it’s something you can you can trust, you can follow. But yeah, I do, definitely try to pay attention to that stuff.


Trevor Connor  36:53

All right, let’s get back to the show.


Chris Case  36:56

So we’ve mentioned it a couple times about how hard it is to study some things in the lab versus in the real world. But there is still a bias towards lab testing. So let’s explore that topic a little bit.



And, Jim, you want to tell us a little bit of the history here, the history or just kind of the reason why people are doing in the lab?


Trevor Connor  37:16

Well, it’s both Yeah, the why we’re doing it in the lab. And also the there is a bit of an interesting history that because of the certain factors, Cycling is really now turned into the default endurance sport.



Get started with cycling as a default is the invention of the power meter. But power meter, you’re able to measure workload really well. Right. For other sports, it’s harder to measure workload, well, the power meter, you get a number, scientists, researchers obviously love numbers, that’s something we can plug in to some stats on LFO, they’re not there’s been a change in kinetic chain cycling today for that. And we also have people doing a lot of stuff in the labs just because it’s so much easier to control things you don’t have to worry about when you don’t have to worry about rain, so anything like that, you can tell people to ride at 200 watts, you can set or domitor at 200 watts. Now the ride next 200 watts, whereas you’re out on the road, after going uphill downhill, that wattage can change quite a bit. Oh, allowed lodging control for a lot of other things. And one of the big things is, it’s basically, for research to occur, if you’ve got to have a group five, called Institutional Review Board, they want to make sure people who are participating are not going to get injured. If you take people out on the road, now there’s traffic, there’s a chance they could get injured there. A lot of these Review Boards don’t like that. The default I guess is just to go into a lab setting. its limitations like we talked about. But But you keep it simple paper and you’re able to really control quite a bit.


Trevor Connor  39:01

So one of the one of my wild moments when I worked in a biomechanics lab is when you are running on a treadmill, you are doing zero work. And let me let me quickly explain so the definition of work is moving a mass over a certain distance. So if you push a big block, 10 feet, you’ve done X amount of X amount of work when you put a so also know that there’s internal work and external work. So external work is moving that block over the distance. The internal work is all the work that your muscles are doing inside your body. We can measure external work, it’s very hard to measure internal work and when you put a runner on a treadmill, because they are not actually moving. There is no external work to measure. So it does make it hard to do a lot of this research with with runners on a treadmill. And Jim has got silence So either I got horribly wrong without them blaming my biomechanics. Next teacher or



you’re talking about here, you’re totally right. That you put that really eloquently. I’m not sure if I could explain that concept lightly. Thank you. We’d like to say yes, of course, like,



my toenails prove that


Trevor Connor  40:16

Chris’s toenails are falling off because he just did some phalion Ross’s



leaving them behind and covers living room. Yes.



James Ellis James Jones.


Trevor Connor  40:29

So, so you brought up this point that there are real benefits to testing in the lab? And that’s kind of the default for research. But are there any issues with that? Nate, you had a point that you really wanted to bring up? Yeah,



I mean, I think that the broad trend is that someone can be a great lab performer. And then that’s not going to correlate to the or real world performance. I mean, even if the lab protocol was designed such that it is very replicative the competition they’re trying to perform, which is probably unlikely, but let’s just say it is, um, you still have so many outside variables, like technical elements like bike handling, navigating the field. So on one level, there’s an issue there is I think a lot of it’s just what protocols we end up using the most in the lab. So yeah, byo t Max is a big one. Um, it is a number we talked about a lot that is probably important, but also leaves a big gap again, to sort of to like the applicable context in which athletes are competing. Maybe someone has a really great deal to max but sort of their ability to perform under fatigue is super low, probably not going to be the athlete we expect them to be and maybe misleading in terms of how much importance should be placed upon them.


Trevor Connor  41:51

Jim, you brought this up in your notes, there’s a lot of research that that uses vo two max test as a benchmark, but where you can see in untrained vo two max will improve once a an athlete is of a certain level really the vo two max levels off, right?



Those are the same. We used to have one I was like something like 80 max Q and A game. decide the winner. Right? Well, I



think that’s a good point too. Like once you get over a certain level to to max is probably not your Right, right. So



if we looked at all the guys in the tour right now, they’re all going to have really high view masses, but the one with the highest views Matt. Nanos, the one that’s going to win. The VLT masses is great for differentiating between maybe the recreational or couchpotato, to a more elite athlete. But once you start to limit the group, you’re looking at looking at that CMS is not going to be great. And kind of said, Trevor, to get back to your point. These elite athletes, once you’re at a really high VG Max, really hard to find a way to improve that got to look at other ways to improve performance at LACMA kind of a feeling of like, Oh, hi, go.


Trevor Connor  43:10

So this gets back to kind of a theme we’ve been talking about or touching on multiple multiple times, which is, you might have a very well conducted study, but what is the endpoint, because that endpoint might not really relate to what you are doing out on the road. So if you might find a study that says there’s no benefits to x, but they were measuring vo two Max and elite athletes, so that might not have been the best metric. Like I gave that example at the beginning. They were literally doing massage studies and then giving them a vo two max test and saying their view to max is not improving. So massage doesn’t do anything, which, again, completely valid study, completely irrelevant to the real. That’s not why you get a massage.



I think the other thing is that like touch on, I think we’re all focusing on no more road racing. High Intensity stuff, but you know, there’s other events, the gravel grinders and all that where it’s more of a prolonged I’ll call it a moderate intensity event. Where vo t Max, you’re not really doing effort as it’s not doing them. Any Long, long enduring files to connect is not gonna matter as much. Maybe there’s some other measures, that’s gonna matter more. You got to make sure you’re matching your, your laboratory outcomes with what you want to be actually improving performance.



Yeah, I think that’s perfect. And also big on like, how you want to interpret it, because if they’re saying, you know, this bad adaptive training approach, maybe it’s even a performance detriment, like maybe we saw a drop in V max, or maybe we saw a drop in this high intensity time to exhaustion. But you’re actually thinking of it from more of like st ultra marathon type event, a takeaway, then maybe it’s super useful. Maybe they need to Looking at something like substrate utilization at a lower intensity or economy.


Trevor Connor  45:06

So this brings me back to here’s a really good example of what we’re talking about here. And I’m gonna pull up a couple more studies I, I was so stressed yet so happy last night when I was going through all this research, just Oh, I remember this study that’s so cool, but there’s so many to go through. So here I’m going to butcher a name to start with this is Dr. Ron stad, who around 2013 through 2015, did a bunch of research on weight training that really flipped the the common belief on its head, because earlier research had said, weight training doesn’t help cycling. And there were a bunch of studies that showed no benefits. So they said cyclists really shouldn’t, you know, maybe do a little in the offseason, but it’s just not going to benefit you. Well, all that research, just like we were talking about was looking at, they would do have cyclists do weight training, and then they would test their vo two Max and they were seen no change. So weight training doesn’t benefit you. There were a couple issues. One is what type of weight training whether doing, and a lot of these studies, it was very lightweight, because they didn’t want to the cycles, were concerned about putting on too much mass. Ron said, flip that around or Dr. Ron stead and said, No, we’re gonna have to do some real heavy lifting here. And then his theory, which really came out in his research is we’re looking at the wrong things. his belief is you’re going to strengthen your slow twitch muscle fibers, which is going to improve your fatigue ability, and it’s going to improve your efficiency. And that’s what he tested. And that’s where actually the those test to exhaustion come in. And he found pretty big gains. And so you’re talking about event like a gravel grinder. If I was doing a big long, 1013 hour event, I would do a lot of strength training because you want that resistance to fatigue ability. You want that higher efficiency for an event like that. But if you did a vo to max test, completely valid study, but it’s going to show no no benefits.



Yeah, I think when anything about just Big Macs and efficiencies. The other one I like to think about is one of the examples my one of my advisors like to give was the Ferrari versus the diesel truck, you got a high VG Max, you’re probably like a Ferrari, you go really fast. But you’re not going to have that that amount. You have to go to the gas quite a bit. Right. You have to refuel, you don’t have a good efficiency, or the diesel. A lot of good efficiency has a hard time going really fast. There’s different athletes as well. We’ve got analogy. You get different athletes. And the way to go about


Trevor Connor  47:54

whoop is the performance tool that is changing the way people optimize their training recovery. Luke provides a wrist worn heartrate monitor that features detailed app based analytics and insights on recovery strain and sleep. Loop track sleep quality and heart rate variability 100 times per second. 24 hours per day can help you know when your body is recovered or when it needs rest. You could also use the strap to track workouts and get strain score so that you know how strenuous The training was on your body. Whoop helps you optimize your sleep based on how fatiguing your day was and track sleep performance was insights into sleep quality, stages of sleep and consistency. To make things better, we’ve just released a new bootstrap 3.0, which includes a suite of new hardware and app features. bootstrap 3.0 now has five day battery life and improve strap and light heart rate monitor. A handful of new in app features including the new strain coach improve the way you track and plan your training and recovery. loop is provided an offer Fast Talk listeners to get 15% off their purchase with the code Fast Talk. That’s FA s t ta lk. So two T’s no space, just go to whoop.com that’s w h o o p comm and use the code Fast Talk at checkout save 15% off and optimize the way you train.


Trevor Connor  49:21

Dr. Serna Grady is a performance coach and physiologist with Team Dimension Data. So he has to read a lot of research. We asked him how he knows what to trust and if there any limits to the research.



So when when we’re looking at research, a lot of the times will you know, do the standard comparison how has this research group produced anything before let’s let’s have a look, backtrack there. They’re sort of credible academic credibility. Then what I do is I go to the results and just give myself as give them a sanity check. Are these are these ridiculous? You know, do they match the the population that they have? They’ve said that they they are supposed to be referring to, then if I’m looking at the sort of, you know, the believability of the research, you might look at the funding, see whether they’ve been funded by a specific product, if they’re a nutrition, if it’s a nutrition paper, have they been funded by the nutrition provider itself, and sort of sometimes that that declaration is supposed to be a sort of hands held up, this has been funded by x company, but you might always need to take results with a little pinch of salt. But then just, I generally read research with quite an open mind, and I’m not overly critical, but it’s very, it takes a lot to convince me to to actually make some sort of an ad aware this. I’m not overly critical, but it does take a lot to convince me.


Trevor Connor  50:50

No, that’s a good way to look at it or good at skeptical is good. Does the nature of the research and the level of funding, which isn’t great in the research, build any biases into Endurance Sports research?



So yeah, I would, you know, the probably the one that’s most obvious to me in my current situation would be the lack of the lack of research done into even elite cyclists and professional cyclists, because the, because they, because they form such a small percentage of the populace, it’s very difficult to get sufficient sample sizes, and to be published in a lot of academic journals. Unless you’ve you’ve you’re doing more of a case study. So I would say that having more links between professional teams and elite teams, you know, even even sort of non professional, elite athletes, working with universities and research centers that can produce articles about the physiological demands about the racing demands of these these athletes that aren’t just your normal, trained participants, they’re they’re your elite athletes. They’re the guys that are winning races and sort of performing at a high level.


Trevor Connor  52:03

Let’s get back to the show and talk about a little more complex topic, the false null hypothesis.


Chris Case  52:10

So it sounds like you’re talking about false no hypotheses. Jim. Could you fill us in a little bit more about what that means? Some examples?



Yeah. Oh, no, I positive, where you essentially say that there’s no difference or no effect of a treatment. Even though there is your your statistic. For your P value. The P value would be above what we said point O five values. You say there’s no, no no effect. But there actually is one. Say you go out, you have everyone do a training study, do a training intervention. And then you have everyone do a race? Well, that race on the second day turns out to be a lot windier, you’re looking at time. Now with that when times are actually gonna be similar, even though people are fitter. They’re gonna say you’re gonna have a false positive there.


Trevor Connor  53:10

So I would say one of the biggest causes and I was just talking about this with massage studies of the getting false null hypothesis in the endurance sports world is the lack of power, just not having enough people in the study. And there’s a lot of reasons for that one in particular, Jim, as I know, you know, is funding. Another one is finding people. Amazingly, when you put out there, hey, we want somebody to come in and suffer through for vo two max test and we’re gonna take some muscle biopsies. It’s surprisingly hard to get people to volunteer. So sometimes you have a study, that’s a really well designed study. But in the end of the day, Jim, I think you you had this where, you know, after months, you’d only had five people participate in the study. And that’s not enough to find any sort of trend,



right? It can be really hard to find people even even for simple things like just a voc rack test. When I was in school, we had a study where we were just having people do too much in access for we had a really hard time finding athletes to participate. So boulder problem, yeah.



plethora of athletes, none want to be involved.


Trevor Connor  54:17

But that doesn’t fit into training mode. So I have some friends up in Toronto who are trying to do some studies in looking at atrial fibrillation and endurance athletes. Because right now all as Chris can tell you after writing a book on this, almost all of the research on atrial fibrillation is not with athlete populations. So these people really want to take a look at it is atrial fibrillation different in a highly fit population, and they had to find endurance athletes who had a fit and I know they’ve been working for nine months now and still haven’t found enough people to have sufficient power in their study. And it’s getting to be a real concern.



I realize everyone’s always busy. It’s hard to find time to participate in a research study. But honestly, as a researcher, I always thought it was fun. You learn about yourself, you learn about your own physiology. And unlike guards, especially the studies we did, would you believe cyclists? You’re an incredible cyclist study. That should be an honor. For a lot of people.


Chris Case  55:21

It sounds like this is a call out for all Fast Talk listeners to go volunteer at your local university or Performance Center and learn a little something about the science and and yourself the same time.



Yeah, you might learn something useful.



Right, and a lot of stuff that you can get out of it. VO t math test, or a lot of the research that we did are doing involve body composition. It’s really accurate body composition. Everyone wants to know what’s the body fat percentages. The standard thing are a couple hundred bucks. If you were to walk into a local clinic here, you just get them for free. And not only that, you’re going to help somebody graduate on time.


Chris Case  55:59

And some some studies even pay you.


Trevor Connor  56:02

Yeah. All this being said, if you see a call for a sweat analysis study, run for the hills. And fast run was sweat


Chris Case  56:11

researchers out there are going to write you nasty letters for that one. Trevor,


Trevor Connor  56:16

I signed up for a sweat analysis study. And I have a great picture of me with bags on my arms to catch the sweat. I had to do 40 k time trials in a heat tent.



You mean like your living room right now? Yeah,


Trevor Connor  56:30

basically like my living room right now. And when I got there, they handed me this really long wire with a little Yeah, at the end. And I asked them, What am I supposed to do with that? And they just kind of looked at me and



to hear it out? What


Trevor Connor  56:44

do you think you’re supposed to do with this? Think of the worst possible place, you could put that. And that was exactly what I was supposed to


Chris Case  56:51

  1. The only really well for that one


Trevor Connor  56:54

only thing worse than what I went through was there was another guy doing it the same time as me. And this wire is what he put it down on it. It was far worse than that. This wire was like but five feet long. He goes to the bathroom, he comes back. Like, where’s the other end of the wire, he’s had to connect to the machine. And he’s like, I thought I was supposed to put the whole thing and



Oh, so bad.



Oh my god, anybody if you didn’t participate, you would have a great story. That’s another good point. But doesn’t matter what the study is you got to get out there and participate?



Yeah, it’s gonna be worth, it’s always fun.


Trevor Connor  57:35

That one aside, you can get some really good information about yourself out of these studies. So it really is actually quite worth participating. You can certainly a lot of universities, you can check your local university and they’ll post all their upcoming studies and calls for volunteers. So it’s worth looking into. So Jim, another one that can affect this produce a false null hypothesis is the length of the study. Correct?



Correct. You did, I might mess this up. But let’s say you did altitude wanted to look at the effects of altitude training. If you only did not do the training, if you only did altitude training for a week, you’re not going to see a benefit for your left, like much less likely to see a benefit. If you had people up there for three weeks, that’s when you’re gonna see more likely to see a benefit. Some of that comes down to funding and just trying to get people to dissipate, it’s really hard to make these settings as long as they can.


Trevor Connor  58:32

And it seems like the standard length for both endurance sport, or any sort of sports study. And also nutrition studies is going to six weeks to about three months, some of the really well funded ones might get out to six months, but you rarely see longer than that.



It is hard to do that to get people to commit hard to get people to do what you want them to do for that whole lifestyle. Things happen to people, you know, they get a job, they have to move somewhere something changes, again, they develop an injury, they can’t fit fit anymore. You’re trying to minimize all these things. So you can actually get a study completed and make some conclusions.


Trevor Connor  59:09

So I think one of my favorite reviews is this review by Dr. Larson. He wrote in 2010, where he talked about this and he was really trying to show there is benefits to the long endurance ride. He was really challenging the the popular notion at the time, that should be all high intensity all the time. And so he went through all these the research on Yep, all the researches shows high intensity works. And endurance rides don’t work, but then says But the interesting thing here is all the pros do lots and lots of long endurance rides. So why is the research showing one thing and the pros are doing another thing? That’s where He dived into this. The issue is the the length of the research that you don’t see the benefits of this endurance work. It’s over Yours in most of the studies were six months or less, and brought up one of my favorite points, which is it’s really hard to get people to sign up for a study when your protocol is we want you to come in and do six hour training rides on our trainer in the lab for the next two years. Who wants to sign up? So the issue is, you know that that’s a case where there’s this really important side to training that is almost completely just a word unresearched. Because it’s next to impossible to get the funding and get the people to conduct that research. Right.



I imagine, one of the things we haven’t really talked about is the research that we’re talking about. It’s a research published, right. This is a research that we know about, I would imagine that there are some cycling Federation that do a lot of research in house and just don’t publish it. Or we can publish it for a while, they’ll work it out. They’re fine. But there might be some research that’s happening with that. But we just don’t think something



sometimes with that. It’s something to where maybe someone’s researched it on a level enough that they think they know something about and think they know something enough about it, that they want to consistently put it into practice. But they also haven’t technically researched it in a manner that’s really publishable up to like true scientific expectations. And that’s probably a federation type stance, I guess.



Right? Yeah, I think you’re right on that.


Chris Case  1:01:34

I mean, you as a coach. And having just written a piece about your work with a particular writer, you were you were able to look at a lot of data from a population of writers, you 23 athletes, and you were able to see trends there. And you were able to draw some conclusions there. But you could never take that information and get it published, because it was just not done in a way that a reputable journal would would publish such a thing. But you, you were able to draw very significant conclusions from that information.



Yeah. And I think trends is the good point. Because I think you can look at stuff or look at practices in the field, in a manner that you can, in your own confidence, improve your educated guess. But you also maybe can’t do it in a way that you can prove you’re right. Like, all you can say is, I feel better about what I did. The results were seeming to get support that. But you can’t really say it in a way that you can actually stand behind it too heavily.


Trevor Connor  1:02:36

You bring up a really good point that some of the best research on on performance is done by some national federations that a they’re not trying to be published. So they’re willing to break a few of the rules and be they don’t want to share their results. Because this is how they outperform the other nations. I actually am not going to mention his name because this was an offline conversation but had a talk with somebody who worked at one of the the National Olympic centers and they kid you not on trainers, basically did a simulated three week grand tour with a bunch of riders, and sounds fun to the riders. Well, so I asked him what was the the biggest takeaway he had from this? And he was like, how incredibly grouchy they were, by the third week. It’s like, they weren’t calling me every name in the book when I walked in.


Chris Case  1:03:28

Did they have any, were there any five foot long wires in this system?



I hope it was a big compensation. That’s serious.


Trevor Connor  1:03:37

Well, this was these were their top some of their top athletes who were trying to get to the Olympic level to the tour. So it was kind of more or less compensation, or you want us to take you get younger teams as this is what you got to do. So So put up with it. I think another great example that I love of this length of study issue that a lot of people don’t consider is all the research on age. So we did a podcast on this a year ago now, Chris, the one with the


Chris Case  1:04:07

Yeah, net


Trevor Connor  1:04:08

with net. There’s a lot of very recent research that’s pointing out all the issues with the past research. And it’s that past research that we really used to say, here’s a defect. And it’s really simple. When you think about it, it’s nobody out there could get the funding to say I need to take a 20 year old and watch this 20 year old until they get to 80 and then I’ll publish my results. So even though these studies were drawing conclusions of here’s what happens as you age, they were taking a current 40 year old, a current 50 year old a current 60 year old, comparing them to current 20 year olds and not factoring in training science has advanced a lot the way the current 20 year old his training is very different from how that 60 year old trained when they were 20. So you can’t compare them and say here’s agent effect for you. And so there’s now been said Much more sophisticated studies. And they have been able to actually take some older athletes now and who have been racing their whole lives and look at their trends over time. And what they’re discovering is this age effect is horrible, you are just going to fall apart as you get old age effect. Really isn’t true. It was more a result of mean that yes, there is an age effect or not, don’t don’t get me wrong. But a lot of what they were seeing and attributing to age was actually due to advances in training science.



Yeah, I think we didn’t really talk about study design. But if I’m interpreting this, right, sounds like the old research was really kind of cross sectional design. Right? You don’t have the same people, you’re not following them over multiple years. But the people who are even the people who are older might be different than everyone else. It’s hard to study the effects of Asia, turning into Jim’s real big push to get people. Like, you know, if you if you’re young, and you start doing testing now, Jim needs to pay his rent, please come. See, again. There’s that right. Now we’re not we’re not really recruiting a bunch of people right now. I’m just thinking of all the other, all the other grad students out there just really trying to find people. Yeah, I mean, if you’re, if you get tested, while you’re in college, or younger, or whatnot, you can keep doing testing throughout your life, get an idea of what happens with aging, you can publish your own results. That’s something that’s happened a handful of times now, you might have to be a big name, athletic, to publish just your own results. Sorry, true. But it’s something that would really help help science, didn’t it idea of what the actual effect is on any chain and a variety of other health related factors.


Trevor Connor  1:06:56

It wasn’t something that you could publish. But we kind of did that with Ned, because he’s somebody who’s been at the highest level throughout his life. And talk to him about the effects that he saw. And what was interesting is what he described as here’s what’s happened to me, as I’ve aged, was very, very consistent with the the newer research what he said, turns my endurance that is that has stayed as good as it’s ever been my threshold power is still pretty much the same as it was when I was young. So the thing that I lost is that big one two minute jump



on that had been in a research study before and has the test results.


Chris Case  1:07:37

We have test results that Neil Henderson did in 19. He was 50 at the time, so we do actually he shared this with us,


Trevor Connor  1:07:46

there is now some unique ways to do research that weren’t available before. Now we record everything we do, we have these computers on our bike that record every heartbeat, every push of the pedal. And now in a way we can do longitudinal studies, where we just ask riders, give us the last 10 years of your data, and we’re gonna go look at it, we’re gonna go look at some trends. And I actually have a was gonna bring this up a little later. But I have a great study from 2011, where they got the permission to analyze all the data in Strava, for a year, of all the athletes that were on Strava at the time, which was a huge number, and they had some top level cyclists, they had some inexperienced cyclists, and they really just wanted to see how are the elite level cyclists training differently from from lower level cyclists. And some of the conclusions were actually really interesting that I hadn’t seen in any other research. One was the highest level cyclists were very consistent. Meaning if they went out for an easy ride, it was easy. They didn’t break 200 watts or whatever it is that they were doing. When they went out to do intervals, it was really hard. But there was within each ride a lot of consistency. The other thing that came out, was they did a ton of strength work, both off the bike, but also lots and lots of big gear work, go hit a climate 50 RPM at threshold and just grind up that climb. And these are the sorts of things that you if you said come into the lab for six weeks, you might not even think to test.



This is another way you can look at that, that effective. Six hours of writing, you wanted to look at the benefits of endurance, you just get a bunch of data from Strava and you’re probably gonna have to throw a lot of that data out. There’s a lot of data on there.


Trevor Connor  1:09:43

You know, that’s we’ve had him on the show a few times is Dr. Steven Siler who’s a big proponent of this polarized approach and going out and doing these long slow rides. And not just you know, he studied all endurance sport so also the getting lots of time running slow rowing slow, whatever your sport It is. And that all came from his first couple studies where he went to all these athletes and said, Please give me the last year of your data.



Oh, yes, it’s all good. I’d be interested to hear what what are they doing with it? ain’t doing anything with your data. Tell us your drivers need.



You can tell us I wish I had some secrets. No, I mean, I think it kind of weaves back into the same idea of like, there’s so much that we do in training application, that there’s just not real science backing up. Because the studies are like the, the applied practice we’re doing is not something that realistically they’re going to get the same population to come into the lab and reproduce. I think like the big ear training is a perfect example. There’s definitely research out there on cadence, optimal cadence. But I don’t know if there’s even a whole bunch of research on Yeah, super low cadence, high torque work over time, maybe over a year. And, like, sort of chronic adaptation in response to that, but yet a ton of people do it, which is kind of two sides. The one side is okay, maybe it’s not that researchable. But it’s still beneficial. So we’re just doing it, but the other side kind of feeds into that also rule of taking stuff that isn’t research based, but it’s like, this is what fast people do. So I’m gonna do it. So I think that argument can kind of go both ways. But generally, I don’t know, if there’s a pretty common thread, it’s usually a reliable is something you might try.



Yeah, hey, I think that that brings up another point relates to the Charlotte study. And kind of what you were thinking about, I guess, is causation versus Association. Test, because a lot of elite cyclists are doing cloaking for the necessarily mean that that’s why there are these typos. And we didn’t bring


Trevor Connor  1:11:52

that up when we were talking about things to know about and studies, right, that’s a really important one correlation is not cause


Chris Case  1:11:59

explain that a little bit deeper, because that is very important. There’s the making a distinction between those two things is critical, really, to what we’re talking about.


Trevor Connor  1:12:09

Good. So I will use an example. There was a study that showed that cars that had security systems on them were stolen a lot more than cars that did not have security systems. So if you believe that correlation is cars, it means that actually putting a security system on your car is going to get your car stolen, which is ridiculous. The real explanation here is if you own a $400 piece of junk, it’s not going to have an alarm on it. And who cares, because that’s the sort of car somebody leaves in your driveway to annoy you. They don’t steal it. If you have a and this, this study was back, I think in the 80s, back then, if you had a security system on your car, it was because your car was a Mercedes and people wanted to steal it. So that was the real reason. But you still had that correlation. And there are all these specially see this in the nutrition world. There are all sorts of studies that come out, where they say, here’s a correlation. And then the media jumps on it and says, Well, this causes this, for example, they find a correlation between if you eat one more egg per week than other people, this is going to happen to you or that’s going to happen to you. And they make a causal, yes, there’s a correlation there. But no, it’s not. You that doesn’t make it a cause effect.



You got that right. And I’m just here thinking I need to come up with a better example. Here’s an example. All over, every


Trevor Connor  1:13:39

will fine. Shoot me down.



That was That was perfect.


Trevor Connor  1:13:45

The correlation of my examples and the quality of the show. Actually, the show is exceptionally good example. So it doesn’t work out at all. Sorry, Jim. Right. I



mean, I think with aerodynamics, its massive. There’s a lot of people buying stuff that they think is gonna make them more Aero, without having any way of knowing that it is until except for someone telling them. These schools are more air, they’re 30 bucks, they’re Aero gloves are getting, obviously they’re gonna make me more air. But they haven’t tested them and test them on them. And that’s a tough one, because that’s a tough one in the sense of like to test it an isolated is time and money and control that most people don’t have. But yeah, I think that’s a big one.


Trevor Connor  1:14:31

So this is another good example of research. You look at all the aerodynamic research, you have to be really careful about interpreting that I read some of those original studies like there’s the good old, if you wear an arrow helmet, that’s going to save you 30 seconds. Well, that was actually so Yon Oelrich was used in that study. It was done on a track in perfect conditions. They used his custom made probably $10,000 Aero helmet and compared it to a nine 1970s brick where he probably couldn’t even hold up his head,



right? Yes, probably didn’t move his head, like if he right with his head in the wrong position the whole time.


Trevor Connor  1:15:09

So there you had these optimal, optimal optimal condition kovarian, the best helmet to the worst helmet. And they found that 30 seconds, but then everybody’s hears about this and they go, sorry, I have to have arrow how much because this is, I lost that time trial last week, by 20 seconds, this gave me 30 seconds, I’m gonna win it and then they get disappointed. So you do have to be careful. And that aerodynamic researches is particularly prone to that where, again, you’re not really simulating real world conditions.



And real world conditions can vary. You can go someone can test it on the track, pretty much no wind, y’all. And then we’re talking about outdoor time trials, maybe 15 to 20 degrees a yard, depending on what’s going on. Maybe it’s not a difference in that environment.


Trevor Connor  1:15:55

They have all sorts of research and disk wheels. And yeah, in optimal conditions, they’re really beneficial. You have one heck of a crosswind, you’re not going to enjoy that time.



Yeah, even if it’s more aerodynamic, if it means it’s throwing you all over the road, you’re probably going to go slower.


Trevor Connor  1:16:11

At a time travel first time ever I used an aide on the front, I had a disc in the back, we had strong winds. And at one point, I just went right off the road into the dirt. The wind just hit me from the side took me over and this was a five minute prologue that made a big difference.



Yeah, asphalt is almost always the faster line over dirt.


Chris Case  1:16:32

Almost always. So now that we’ve talked a lot about some of the research things that people have looked into and have studied extensively. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the surprising things that are really hard to measure a need. I know you want to jump in there about spontaneous cramping. You get that question a lot. Well, what the heck’s going on? Yeah,



I think cramping is super interesting. I mean, interesting in that it’s something that almost all athletes deal with, on some level. It’s a huge performance impairment if it happens. There’s a lot of people out there saying different things about why it happens. But it seems that despite probably thinking about it for 30 to 40 plus years, no one really has anything that they would really lean on with a high level of confidence, or at one point, if they did, they probably wouldn’t, as today.


Trevor Connor  1:17:24

altered neuromuscular control theory. Yeah, I believe in it.



Yeah, you did a episode of a Mythbusters episode.


Trevor Connor  1:17:31

I think at one point, Trevor, we actually had prior to my time wellness on the show, who’s the person who came up with that theory? Yeah. So in the short version, the, for a long time, everybody believed it was electrolyte imbalances. But the the ultra neuromuscular control theory says way another Nirvana is an imbalance between your your propria receptors and your goby tendons? Yeah, that’s caused actually by muscle damage.



Yeah, and I mean, I don’t know, in practice, it seems reasonable. I’ve had quite a few athletes that don’t train with caffeine. And then they’ll take a bit caffeine hit on race day, and almost always experienced cramps. That’s not something they’re used to. And my feeling would be that allows them to do more muscular damage than they would usually. And that kind of feeds into it. Or transitioning from a long training period without racing to then jumping into racing and doing a bunch of more like ultra fiber recruitments than they might do just riding along steady. And like they go in thinking they’re really fit. Maybe they’ve been doing good sustained numbers on the meter, but all of a sudden, with just a huge or a huge volume of little effort changes that all feel easy to them. At the time, they cramp out of nowhere. So I’m


Trevor Connor  1:18:53

look sense, but here’s the issue. cramping is one of these extraordinarily hard things to research. I was actually on a ride with a friend who listened to that episode and got really annoyed with things like, well, they just did a study of x, they could prove this right or wrong. And I actually looked at him and said, okay, when you do something right now, because what? Have a cramp? So I can’t do that spontaneous. I went, right. That’s the problem. Yeah, they want to do this cramping research, but you can’t bring somebody into a lab and just say, okay, we want you to spontaneously cramp. Now,



let me just because even if you were to take a step further and say, well, we’re going to create a scenario that elicits cramps. Like you can’t do that. Sometimes. Sometimes they might cramp sometimes they might not. So much probably has to do with it that Yeah, you’re not going to create a context where you’re going to likely get what you want to see. And a lot of the old research on cramping, they actually artificially produced cramps, which that has its limits. Yeah.


Chris Case  1:19:51

All right, guys. What are some other ones? How about rough fatigue? That’s something that is pretty hard to study and there’s a lot of different things. He’s out there as to what it actually is.



Fatigue is a really interesting one. One of the things I, I experienced when I was younger was overtraining. And really, people just don’t seem to have a good idea of what causes overtraining, how to measure it, what to do about it. I think that’s one of the really interesting one. Time hasn’t had a chance to really talk.


Trevor Connor  1:20:27

Yeah, and I would add to that, one of the issues is, when you talk about fatigue or failure in a race, there are a lot of different things that can cause fatigue or failure. It’s not just one thing,



right. And that’s harder to analyze in a laboratory setting where you want to just find one different, you don’t want to have a lot of different variables that are changing, if you won’t be able to explain what


Chris Case  1:20:54

it’s like the word fatigue is this umbrella under which there are several causes. So it’s just not specific enough, and you can research x or y or z. And collectively you might consider those fatigue, but in a science setting, they’re completely different things.



Yeah. So with with fatigue, it’s one of those things where it’s hard to elicit in a laboratory setting. But even if you can listen in a laboratory setting, does that reflect what actually occurred in the real world in your outracing are arriving at another, another complication with with studying and saying what you found in the lab, to the real world?


Trevor Connor  1:21:33

And then that leads to another one is what’s your metric for recovery? If you’re fatigued, and you’re beat up from a race? And you want to do a study on does massage helping? covery does compression help recovery? What’s your metric? And I will say a lot of the old research looked at the effects of recovery on Dom’s delayed onset muscle soreness, which is something that you don’t really have in cycling. So a lot of people were applying that research to cycling when it’s not really that relevant.



I think the metric for Recovery One is interesting, because on some level, I mean, there’s things like measuring inflammatory cytokines, that’s something like you could do in a lab, and maybe say something about with a bit of confidence. But like, are people gonna do that in practice? No, I mean, I guess you would try and use it as a, like a backdrop for saying the practice worked. But then a lot of it is also, I don’t know, a bit subjective, maybe, or leaves room for a lot of confounding variables, like heart rate as a big one, where maybe heart rate is springing up, but uh, you’re just super dehydrated or something. And you’re actually now more fatigued? Yeah. So I think it’s interesting. It’s a tough one to measure.


Trevor Connor  1:22:53

So Jim, you brought up overtraining, which is also a really tough one to measure, especially because there’s actually ethical concerns with putting people into an over a burnout state. Right?



Right. You’ve got to get the study approved, and you’re not doing research. So you’re not harming individuals. overtraining is kind of harming people. That’s something that’s hard to get approved. Because it’s hard to get approved, or the hardest studying. Quite frankly, there’s like nothing. Yeah, I think one of the things I wanted to talk about, or kind of loop back on was recovery. So with, with recovery, one of the interesting things is people see these studies about anti inflammatory supplements or whatnot, and how that comes with recovery. One of the things I think about is hard cherry juice or something like that, I can help with recovery. You take all these antioxidants. And now you’re not as blamed as you were before. However, to get a training boost, you really need to be having some of the damage take place. I think that’s something that gets lost sometimes with research for people translating research, once it’s been published, is you got a time and place where you want to have optimal recovery. finding a place where you want to have some damage to get improvement.


Trevor Connor  1:24:17

No, that’s a really good point. You gotta have something to recover from, right?



You need a you need a signal telling the body to recover, and to get stronger. If you’re taking away that signal from the body. Now, it’s not gonna recover. It’s gonna recover, but it’s not going to realize that improve and get stronger. You’re not going to get


Trevor Connor  1:24:40

lucky and Max chance on the show. We asked them their thoughts on the scientific research. Max had a point on





Trevor Connor  1:24:50

But grant brought up a great point that we didn’t even discuss the value of the meta analysis. So my question for you and Max Do Do you read the research? And if you do, how do you know when you have a good study and one that you can trust versus one not to trust?



Fake studies? Is that the name of this episode?



I don’t read the research a lot, but I did do a very unscientific heat adaptation study. Oh, great.



Myself hear about it



before road nationals because I as as a Colorado, I was born raised in Boulder do not do



well. And this explains a lot.



It does explain most most things. I and I’ve read I haven’t read every lived outside of this. I have never lived outside of that. It’s also you went to school






I’m trying to I’m trying to get my I know this thing in here. But where was I? Right? I haven’t read the research. But I’ve heard that saunas help. I don’t have a sauna and made a sauna.



No, no,



I’m trying. This is why we can interrupt Chris.



Last year



at Nationals is there saran wrap involved and there’s more garbage oil saran wrap is bad for the planet protected land.



Anyway, life experience,



life experience. I had a horrible time at nationals in Knoxville, Tennessee, because of the heat and humidity and he’s missing an ISOC and waterbottle one lap. So as the mature 23 year old that I am, I’m going to prepare well for this. But the study say I should use a sauna. I don’t have a sauna. But my apartment does have a hot tub. And that’s really warm. So if I just go sit in the hut, I asked grant about it. And he said it’s not a bad idea.


Grant Hollicky  1:26:37

I didn’t say it was a good one. He



didn’t say



anything regrets. Yeah.



So I would get home. And I would change I’d go sit in the hot tub for like five ish minutes, because it’s really hot. And I would almost pass out. And then I was really tempted to jump in the pool right after But well, I just wasted 10 minutes in a hot tub. I probably shouldn’t immediately cool down right after.



I don’t know that it worked. But it didn’t maybe not help. This is like if you were to design a study, you would listen to what max just said and do the exam.



Much, pretty much.



Pretty much



I only took a couple statistics classes in college


Trevor Connor  1:27:12

and a friend that I’m going to give him is he got no one


Grant Hollicky  1:27:17

Yes, he did get one that was pretty good


Trevor Connor  1:27:18

statistics was again no benefit.



Garbage waste is bullshit the best you what you think might be


Grant Hollicky  1:27:29

the best part of this is that we now have a quote from Trevor that says


Trevor Connor  1:27:33

this was of no value is


Grant Hollicky  1:27:35

fine, he can put that in anytime anyplace, you just have to save that. So moving on from Max, something useful to you. I can’t make any guarantees. But it’s more useful than when max chance just that I it is hard to tell which which of the studies that are funded by something specifically, which are the studies are truly, you know, just just for the sake of science, but one of the things that’s starting to be done a lot more now is these meta analysis of all the studies that are out there and drawing conclusions from that. So that’s that’s a nice place to go and start to get an overview of five of these studies, six of these studies all coming from different authors in different origins. And I think that’s a nice way to be able to get a broader context and maybe both sides of an issue both sides of a story. But yeah, I do spend a lot of time reading the research that’s out there and then traveling down the next two to three places to see what somebody else has said, What are the other conclusions? I think the biggest draw is don’t rely on one study to tell you anything. Bring multiple in don’t rely on Max’s hot tub study. Rely on peer review all the theories you’d buy rely on anybody else to



study? Or, or have



someone in your corner like Grant hawky? Who will read all the studies? And then I don’t have to do it. This is true. Higher Self images are



valuable. Turns out turns out they do stuff and rest has been



crazy. What if



you don’t want to read the research? hire someone to read it for you, robot?


Grant Hollicky  1:29:15

Yeah, that Okay, that’s what I do. Next question. Why don’t we get a throw max out?



Good question.



This is This is good stuff.



This is gold baby.


Trevor Connor  1:29:27

Well, nothing’s gonna beat Max’s study. Let’s return to the show. We’ll give our favorite examples of both really good and really bad research.


Chris Case  1:29:34

Let’s wrap up this discussion today with just some great examples of research whether that’s great because it’s terrible, which is a little bit of an oxymoron or great because it’s actually great, elegant, elegant in a way. So Nate, why don’t you start us off and tell us about a particular piece of research that piques your interest? Yeah,



I’ll keep it a little broad because I’m not as sharp as a gym and Trevor so broad is safer. But I think in the field of nutrition and fueling in sport, we’ve just learned a lot from research, especially over the past 2030 years, especially with how much carbohydrate intake we can handle during exercise, to perform our best, and then starting to define the gap. I think a lot of athletes and coaches look at it as having enough carbohydrate intake that it’s not a limiter. But then now starting to look at how much you can use it as a tool to actually perform at your optimal. And then how much of a moving target that is of what variables go into it in the sense that you don’t just have this optimal plan of this is what I do on race day. And you show up and take, say, 80 grams of carbs an hour for a four hour event, and it goes awesome. But that just like any training we do on the bike, training, the gut is a really important thing. And the gut, and the glycolytic pathways in the muscle and ability to use and benefit card from the most is something that we need to practice in training, because our body is going to change our ability to use it. And then there’s other factors with he and electrolyte depletion that are going to influence that as well. But I think on a simple level, just the research that’s been put forward of how we need to use carbs, and train the gut is really important.


Chris Case  1:31:26

Jim, what’s your example?



Like, Nicole, I wanted to do another nutrition one. But like I said, I get along so well into life. But my nipples honestly, good researcher batteries are just kind of almost a tale of my own experience of missteps with interpreting, I guess. My example is to see Bluetooth. So if you don’t remember beetroot juice study, be frank, it was like a leader of the group Juice Plus to improve performance cycling performance. And there’s a handful of studies that came out that showed that it really started to build up getting publicity, I ventured into Whole Foods in Boulder nightmare, picked up my beetroot juice, and and used it a few times and races thinking that it would improve my performance. And it’s really sold on the research. Now, at some point, a study came out on a little bit more elite athletes, and showed that it did not improve performance. And this is one of those times where I was lucky to be a grad student, we could actually test myself with and without fever, too. So we did a few trials in the lab and found that my performance also did not change with that was one of those cases where basically I read, I read the whole paper, but I didn’t even read the method section. But sometimes you get it in your head that can improve things for you ignore these little mistakes that are these. I don’t call them. little subtle things that in the message section is choices or



Yeah, it’s like the rule of the more we agree with the general idea of the study, the less flaws we see in it. And the less we do it, the more we read it 10 times to find every little detail wrong. Yeah.



Yeah, yeah, I want to do reduce the work.


Chris Case  1:33:35

So simple.



Starting I was going to work and it did. But I will say, you know, that doesn’t mean people just did not work just did not work. For me. It does not work for some populations. But for a lot of folks, it does work. That tape where as simple as drinking a liter beetroot juice. Okay, take an hour before time trial or something, and help improve performance. That’s a really cool thing. Trevor, what’s



your example, you have? How many 47 to bring to the table today.


Trevor Connor  1:34:06

There’s one I’ve been I’ve been itching to cover because this is an example of a researcher who actually really tried to put together extraordinarily creative study tried to address a lot of these issues we talked about like the veil to apply it to a real world setting. And in the process of being creative and trying to do something different, made almost every single mistake that we have talked about, and drew a horrifically wrong conclusion. And it got published and it got published. And we were so annoyed by that I actually wrote a response for velonews that we put up on the website because this was a doping study. He was looking at the effects of EPO and concluded from his study that EPO has no benefits and then went to the press and stated that it was unfortunate. They Took away Lance Armstrong’s wins. Because EPO, as a study proves EPO has no benefits. So right there a you need reproducibility. This was one study. You can’t make a claim like that until it’s been reproduced a few times. But his study, he took subjects and again, when he went to the press, he didn’t talk about his subjects. Here’s an issue. Finding subjects we talked about that. Nobody who races is going to volunteer for a study where they go on EPO, because then they can’t race anymore. So all of the subjects in his study were highly recreational cyclists, none of them raced. So this was an entirely different population. But he did a bunch of lab testing. But he knew that lab testing doesn’t apply to the real world settings. So he also had a real world test. And I will say, again, when he went to the press, he didn’t point out that in the lab with the lab test, and you did see benefits from the EPO, in these groups of athletes that train, on average, four to six hours a week, the real world test, he wanted to see if this would help elite athletes at the Tour de France. So he took these amateurs who didn’t race and trained on average four to six hours per week, and had them race, the hardest stage of the tour. So they did 100 kilometers of rollers to the base of Mount Vaughn to and then they raced up Mount Vaughn to it took them about six hours to complete this race, which was more than most of them ride in a week. And what he found at the top was there was no correlation the dope subjects did about equal with the non dope subject. And actually the race was won by a non dope subject. At this point, I’m going to say this comes down to pure grit. Because this was a longer harder ride than probably any of these cyclists had ever done in their life. And doping had nothing to do with it. It was just who was the most willing to survive to the end. But He then took this which had all these issues, couldn’t be applied from this population to a elite cyclist population and said, Well, you know, they shouldn’t be banning EPO, because it doesn’t help elite cyclists. First,



you have one?


Chris Case  1:37:28

Well, the most elegant research that I’ve seen is the research you and I did with Sep coos, and our climbing study. Right here in Boulder, and Anna, three, all have totally different types of riders from different ages, different backgrounds, different abilities, one one trial, each of two different clients,



non blinded, blinded.


Chris Case  1:37:53

And yeah, that was probably the most elegant research I’ve ever seen done. And it got published in the Journal of professional No, in Velen is what Jim, what’s the impact factor of velonews?





Trevor Connor  1:38:08

I was expecting you to give us a negative.



I don’t know what


Chris Case  1:38:12

our P value was 47? No, I was I can’t think of I can’t think of a good example right now, unfortunately,


Trevor Connor  1:38:22

we’ll leave it with our wonderful climate, which was horrible research, because sepka was beat me. So there had to be something wrong with



him. I feel like he had to appreciate it.


Chris Case  1:38:33

All right, you guys are new to this program. But your competitors, we give every guest 60 seconds to encapsulate everything that we’ve talked about in the last four hours of recording today in this sauna, that is Trevor’s living room. And if you ever read our methodology, you will discover that we actually don’t have a watch or anything to time anybody with. So we’re guessing



we’re doing just fine.


Chris Case  1:38:59

I’m going to start with Nate Wilson. 60 seconds, you’re on the clock. What are your biggest takeaways from this episode from what people should learn about research, how to interpret it, how to get the most out of



  1. Read the Methods section, think about the testing protocol and how that might apply in the context that you want to apply it in. Think about time think about populations. I don’t have that much more to say, maybe I’m too simple.



That’s fine. Yeah, I



did it in 20. Sweet.


Trevor Connor  1:39:35

We want an under 60 you were even faster.


Trevor Connor  1:39:37

That’s a good man in our world. So


Chris Case  1:39:41

Jim, you’ve got a minute and 40 seconds because we’ll Nate just donated all of that extra time to you. So take it away.



What do I win if I go under 20? Well,


Chris Case  1:39:53

yeah, but let’s get let’s get something good out of you too. Because I’m gonna beat all of you by not talking Yeah.



All right, well, I think I’m going to start off with everyone should participate in research. It’s very valuable to everyone involved, to participate in research if you get a chance. But other than that, if you’re reading the research and trying to understand how it can apply to your training or racing, I’ve given Nate, you’ve got to read the message. Look at the population, does it apply to the people you want to know about? So is it elite athletes? Is it recreational hospitals, that type of thing? Does the testing used? Does that relate to what you’re trying to improve as well? Did they do do to match the trenches in doing ultra marathon? That wouldn’t necessarily apply. I think also, the other important thing is looking at how big of a difference you saw, that’s not something we really touched on too much. But if you see a p value that’s significant. But you only saw, you know, half a percent of a change, is that important? To actually invest all this time effort to change, you’re changing your routine to get this approval. So look at the p value, but also look at the actual difference that was observed. In orange, I’ll finish off kind of repeating my first point, participate in the research, everyone will love you for it.


Trevor Connor  1:41:20

So when Jim was getting his PhD, and we were both living here in Boulder, we would regularly get together in the morning for coffee. And I would always ask Jim, so how’s it going, getting subjects for your study? At which point, Jim would just let out a big sigh and take a sip of coffee? And that would say at all?



Yeah, yeah, that’s just me. That’s all kinds of people struggling to find participants for all kinds of different studies. So even if people listening are our athletes, still, so fun stuff?


Chris Case  1:41:54

I hope if you’re listening to Fast Talk, if you’re listening to hours of talk about research studies, that you ride a bike or some kind of an athlete, otherwise, go do something better with your lives.



Is that your one minute,


Chris Case  1:42:09

no actually have something, Trevor, I’m going to give you 59 seconds, take it away.


Trevor Connor  1:42:16

So I mentioned at the very beginning of this the law, the bell shaped curve, which is a really big thing in research for me, because every one of us has areas where we are an outlier. So while we talked about the importance in research of having big n values, at the end of the day, it’s an N of one that matters to you. What I’m getting at is read the research, make sure you look at the methodology, make sure you you understand what the research is saying and whether it really applies. But at the end of all, that you then need to go and take whatever you learned, and experiment on yourself, because well, it might apply to most cyclists, or athletes, it might not apply to you. And that’s all you care about. Well,


Chris Case  1:43:03

the thing I would say is, not everybody that’s listening to this show is going to go out immediately and start reading research papers. So what I would like to leave people with is a bit of a cautionary tale about not necessarily relying on popular media to do the interpretation of research studies for them, just because you see a headline that says, you know, like EPO doesn’t improve performance, and it’s in the New York Times or wherever you might see it. And that reputable media site gives it some sense of validity. They might not know what the heck they’re talking about. And you see that a lot. You see that a ton in the nutrition world where but eating butter gives you 20 extra years on your life or whatever the case might be. And then the next week, you see the opposite of that. Because popular media and journalists don’t necessarily know how to interpret this very well either sometimes. So that would be my caution to readers out there is not to rely sorry listeners out there is not to rely on popular media to always be making the right interpretations and conclusions from a lot of the studies.



You get better at interpreting the research the more you read it. Read a variety of research and you’ll get better at understanding the false positives of research.


Chris Case  1:44:28

That was another episode of fast doc. As always, we love your feedback. Email us at our new email address. Fast talk at Fast Talk Labs.com that’s f a s t ta lk at Fast Talk Labs.com Subscribe to Fast Talk on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud and Google Play. Be sure to leave us a rating and a comment. Fast doc is a joint production between velonews and Fast Talk Labs. The thoughts and opinions expressed on Fast Talk are those of the individual for Dr. Jim Peterman. Nate Wilson, Katie Compton, Dr. Karen O’Grady Grant halki max chance and Trevor Connor I’m Chris case. Thanks for listening