Thursday, May 15, 2014


You don't know this but I have tried to write "Links Round-Up" posts many times in the past. My undoing, as it turns out, was adding a bit of commentary to each link; as you know if you've read many of my race reports or srsbzns posts, brevity is not my strong suit, & inevitably the commentary on some or other link round-up would become so long-winded that it ended up becoming its own post, & by the time I finished that & got back to the other links, they were hopelessly outdated.

Not this time! I present to you Cool Stuff From the Internet, with 100 200 250 words or less of commentary per link from me.

1) Honest Health and Fitness Advertising. I have only recently discovered Kat Whitfield of "Pinterest Modifications" fame, and she is totally my new favorite. In this post, she muses on what health and fitness advertising might look like if marketers had to be honest. Hilarity ensues. (Via Fit & Feminist)

2), which makes a good "no but seriously" follow up to Kat's post. Examine is an independent organization that presents un-biased research on supplements and nutrition, with over 30000 references to real, actual, honest-to-god scientific papers. (Read: not sponsored by anyone looking to make a buck.) I seriously lost half an hour on this site today just clicking around on topics ranging from "How Important Is Sleep?" to "What's the Deal With Fish Oil?" Fascinating and super informative! (Via LifeHacker: Why There's So Much Confusion Over Health and Nutrition)

3) Belief Effects and Post-Exercise Recovery. In recent years more and more scientific evidence has been amassing to suggest that there is no physiological reason why ice baths should improve either either performance or recovery. A recent study went so far as to show that although ice baths beat lukewarm baths (the control condition) as measured by performance in a high intensity interval test, they provided about the same benefit as adding a new "recovery oil" to the lukewarm bath. The upshot? The fancy "recovery oil" was just bath soap. A soapy bath literally provides the exact same benefit as an ice bath, which is pretty much the last nail in the coffin in terms of showing once and for all that any benefit from ice baths is most likely placebo.

In this article, though, Alex Hutchinson at Sweat Science discusses how we shouldn't necessarily give up things like ice baths just because the effect they have is known to be placebo. "In the past, placebo effects were thought of as a ‘fake’ effect, but today, the powerful performance-related outcomes associated with improved belief in a training program or novel intervention are seen as real effects that need to be harnessed...It's an important point to keep in mind. The ultimate goal of sports science is to make the athlete better, and that involves harnessing both body and mind." (Via Sweat Science)

Neat stuff! Any ice bath devotees out there? I did them occasionally while training for my first marathon & definitely found that they made me feel better after long / hard runs (which is something), but I don't have any evidence one way or the other that they improved my performance.

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