Stress, Caffeine, recovery, and the immune system

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I just started writing articles for Competitor.com and the first one went up today.  In it I take a look at the negative side of taking Caffeine pre-race or workout.  Caffeine is generally thought of as only a performance enhancer, which it does well, but there are drawbacks if you chronically use it.  In the article I take a look at what happens to the CNS and the immune system when Caffeine is ingested all the time.

 Do The Performance Benefits Of Caffeine Come At A Cost?  

Secondly, Alex Hutchinson, who now has his blog Sweat Science on runnersworld.com wrote an article for Outside magazine in which I give my take on why stress is a good thing.  Alex does a good job taking us through why sometimes we want damage to accumulate.  In the article you'll also get a take from one of my athletes, Jackie Areson, who changed some of her nutrition supplement strategies based on the theory.

Stress Tested


Enjoy!

Measuring Galvanic Skin Response….say what?

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Galvanic Skin Response….say what?

If you read letsrun.com and look up anything about me I’ll be branded as some science only nut who relies on too much science and forgets the “old school” way.  If you were at my coaching presentation the Distance Summit put on at Queens University, after my “science” presentation you would probably label me as some anti-science guy, or at least anti-traditional science guy.  (Plug: If you want to watch me (and other excellent presenters) ramble on for 2+ hours you can buy the DVDs here.  I get no kickback; it was just one of the best conferences I’ve been to in terms of knowledge dropped: http://store.coachrunning.com/

The point I made at the conference is that you have to know HOW to use science.  Science isn’t evil and it isn’t a cure all.  But what it can do is provide some useful insight and data if you use it correctly.  One of the other things, you may have noticed if you read this blog, is that I’m a fan of what I call resourceful science.  Which means figuring out different ways to measure practical phenomenon. 

One of the recent things I’ve been experimenting around with is something called Galvanic skin response (GSR).  To make a long story short, GSR essentially is a way to look at sympathetic nervous system response.  It’s been used primarily in research related to arousal states and in combination with other metrics in traditional lie detector tests. In this case, I’ve been using the affective Q sensor, which is essentially a watch like device that allows us to measure GSR on the go, or in real time.
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