Episode 30 – Is Triathlon actually healthy, and How To REALLY read a research article

The strong savvy cyclist & triathlete podcast


Speaker 1:

Human Vortex Training and Menachem Brodie present The Strong Savvy Cyclist and Triathlete Podcast where we talk strength training, physiology, psychology, tech, and much more to help you get fitter, faster, and stronger in and out of your sport. Giving you expert insights, talking with other leading experts. Now, your host, world leading strength coach for cyclists and triathletes, Menachem Brodie.

Menachem Brodie:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this episode of The Strong Savvy Cyclists and Triathlete Podcast. I’m your host, Menachem Brodie. We are going to be releasing this on Monday. I believe it’s December 23rd, 2019, because Tuesday night and Wednesday are Christmas. First and foremost, I would like to wish you, your family, your friends a happy holiday season. This year Christmas and Hanukkah fall together. I believe Kwanzaa as well or maybe you celebrate the winter solstice or nothing at all, but you just spent time with friends and family, either way I wish you that it’s a healthy happy and festive occasion filled with laughter, smiles, and good times.

I hope you’ve had a wonderful 2019. This last episode for 2019 is going to be very special. We’re going to talk about what you need to do for 2020 and beyond to be able to continue to build yourself into a fitter, faster, and stronger athlete, triathlete, cyclist, runner, whatever sport you do, these principles are going to apply. But before we get into our episode today, you might hear the kids running around in the background because we are filming on the weekend or recording on the weekend I should say, because we wanted to be sure that this got to you on time.

That’s one of the changes we’re going to have for 2020 is over the course of the holidays, I’m going to be recording a bunch of vault episodes, which will mean that there won’t be as many drops in weekly episodes for 2020. Now, I’d like to ask you to help me out and one of the great things about doing a podcast, having a YouTube channel, and putting out this content is that the emails we get from you, the listener, that I get from you, the listener, are fantastic.

Time and again, I keep on getting… I just had somebody on the YouTube channel yesterday say your channel is so underrated. I can’t believe more people aren’t on it. I’ve gotten a number of emails probably two or three a week that say, “How do you not have more listeners?” Well, it’s because I’m awful at asking, because I feel a little awkward and I’m shifting in my chair right now if you can hear that, but I’m going to ask you to do me a favor to help us get more high quality information out there to cyclists and triathletes just like you and the ones that you know.

Please, go over to iTunes or wherever you download this podcast from and subscribe to it. Rate us 5 stars, and then like and share each of the episodes as you go through your Facebook, your Instagram, your YouTube, your email list, whatever it may be, that is a huge help to me and the same thing goes for YouTube.

In 2020, we’re going to also be aiming to release one video at least every two weeks, and when that video goes up, please subscribe to the channel or subscribe now, hit the little bell icon, and then like the video and share it. Those likes within the first 36 to 48 hours really helped me to be able to get that information out to more cyclists and triathletes more efficiently. That’s how the algorithm works.

The only reason I’m asking you this at the beginning here is because I have a goal here for 2020 to be able to have 15,000 listeners here on the podcast. That’s a very small number in the world of podcasts. 15,000 listeners here to have 10,000 people on YouTube as subscribers, and then to build my newsletter list up to 15 to 20,000.

These numbers are important to me for the only reason, or the reason is only that there is a ton of content that I’ve been working on for the last couple of years that it’s now ready to go out. I really want to get this information out to as many people as possible, because we are going to blow up myths and misconceptions and help people actually train to get better instead of following bad advice.

I hope that you found that this information on the podcast, and I know a lot of you have based off of your emails. You found this information to be really game changing. The number of people who’ve written to me or sent me messages and said, “Hey, you know what? I started following that five stages of strength thing and I’ve already increased my power. I’m down seven pounds. I never thought I could get leaner. I’m down seven pounds. I’m riding stronger than I ever have, and when I call people to ask them to go on group rides or weekend rides with me outside of the group, they’re like, ‘I can’t ride with you, you’re too fast.’ I’ve never thought I would be that person. Thank you.”

That’s how impactful this is. I really need your help to get it out. So, please, go over to wherever you download this, iTunes, subscribe, rate us five stars, leave a little bit of a review, and help us grow this podcast. That would be a fantastic present from you to me and a small token of appreciation to you would go a long way for me. I really would appreciate that.

Now, we have that out of the way. It is morning here. We are recording. Again, if you hear the kids running around the background, that’s why, but make sure you’re picking up your glass of Chemex coffee, because we have a lot to cover today. I literally just poured a glass of Chemex. That worked out way better than I thought it would.

As we go through today’s episode, we’re going to focus on the three keys that you need to be able to get fitter, faster, stronger from 2020 and beyond that many people don’t talk about. We’re also going to target at the end a little bit more the triathletes. I’m going to share with you.

I actually commented or I rather posted and got a couple comments on an article on my Facebook page, the HV Training, Human Vortex Training Facebook page has got a couple of interactions already. It was an article about an ultra-marathon runner who’s 250 pounds from Women’s Health. I shared this article for the reason that I have had more than I’d like people have looked at me up and down and after I have had a kind of conversation with them and they’re like, “Wow, that’s really interesting, or wow, that’s really helpful.”

Then, they look me up and down and say, “You’re not a cyclist. You’re not a triathlete. What are you talking about? You don’t look like one.” They just walk away. The first couple times that happened to me when I first started coaching, I don’t know, a decade and a half ago. My jaw hit the floor. Like, “What?”

Yeah. Okay. I don’t look like the professional triathlete you see on the covers. I don’t have that morphotype. That’s okay. That doesn’t mean that I’m not able to do these sports. It doesn’t mean that I can’t kick your butt in certain principles, and that certainly doesn’t mean that I don’t have the information to help you. That just kind of puts me in the category with other fantastic coaches.

Eric Cressey, never played baseball. He played soccer. But he is the leading strength and conditioning specialist for baseball players. Lauren Landau, speed and agility expert for American football players, basketball players. [Missy 00:07:04] Franklin, he hasn’t… Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Sorry, not Brazilian jiu-jitsu. MMA. He hasn’t done those sports, but he’s dabbled in them as a hobbyist, so that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It just means that Lauren, Eric, and myself have all had to work way harder and looked at the sport differently than someone who’s played it.

Now, that gives us a little bit of a drawback when it comes to understanding the skills and how to execute them, but guess what? That’s not what we’re here for. We’re here to help make you stronger, fitter, faster, and better, and more injury resilient and we’re going to teach you the ways to do that.

Now, this ultra-marathon runner, I really love this story. I pulled out an important point and this goes for all people, but especially triathletes. It goes like this. In the article about a, I don’t know, first quarter she says, as she talks about her beginning running. “Over the next few months that minimal distance became a 5k, then a 10k, and then a half marathon and within two years’ time, she had signed up for her first full marathon with a friend.”

In my post on the Facebook page, I say, “Triathletes, take heed. She built up over two years to a marathon. Two years.” While I targeted this towards triathletes, after posting it, I’ve actually gotten a couple of personal messages from cyclists saying, “Well, what about us?” Same rule applies.

So, if you go over to the HV Training YouTube channel and you look up exercise science. There is a video, it’s about 20 minutes long and it talks about how your fitness actually progresses. Now, this video is actually a response to someone else who meant well and didn’t really know. Put up a 15-minute video about how their fitness got better over time. Actually, it was not correct.

They’re not a coach. They meant well. They have a big following, but that’s also one of the reasons why I started this podcast and definitely why I started that YouTube channel, because there are a lot of well-meaning people who don’t really know. They’re just sharing their own experiences.

Now, there is totally value in someone sharing their own experiences, but when it comes to understanding and teaching training principles. The number of strength training for cyclist videos that I see up, that are out there with beautiful women or ripped guys or guys who are very accomplished cyclists and they put their power numbers up there. They’re showing you the same myths and fallacies that people have done years before.

We’re going to come back to this in a minute, but really this is the main point is so many triathletes and cyclist get into our sport and we think, “Well…” Especially cyclists, it’s a low impact sport. “I’m just starting to ride a bike. It feels good. Now, I’m going to start riding four, five, six hours on the weekend.”

What happens is we wind up railing ourselves into the ground. Why do I say we? Because yours truly was totally guilty of it, totally, totally, totally, totally. I got my first road bike… I actually started riding the road on a mountain bike. I had a Mongoose hardtail mountain bike that my mom bought for me, because I had gotten a job as a lifeguard over the summer, and the lifeguard job was actually going to help me be able to live my life, because I had been working as a barista at Starbucks.

I studied abroad, came back, and I just didn’t have any money because I used it up while I was abroad. She bought it for me on the deal that I pay her back. It was a very low end mountain bike. I think we paid 300 bucks for… Well, she paid, and then I paid her back 300 bucks for it.

It was a hardtail. I was riding on knobby tires, and my friend, Samson, who became one of my first athletes. He and his brother, Nemo, had actually got me in with this group that rode every Saturday and Sunday morning. I think it was Sunday morning actually. They started from Carl’s house. Carl’s house wasn’t that far. I rode over. Total, total Fred. If you know that terminology.

Fred is just what some cyclists call someone who’s new in a loving adoring way. That’s why I use that terminology is because it’s not vulgar. It’s not disrespectful. It’s just being like, “They’re Fred. They don’t know any better. They’re any Fred that comes on a ride who’s just starting.” It’s a loving way, not mocking them.

That was me. Loose jersey, I had just the cycling shorts, not the bibs. I actually abhorred the bibs for the first year until I tried my first pair on a ride. Then, I was like, “Oh, my gosh. I can actually breathe and my stomach doesn’t do knots.” But I was going out with that group and I was always the last person up the hill, not just because I had a mountain bike, but also I was coming from a background of basketball.

I really didn’t have the muscular endurance to be able to go through it. As I went through, I understood the consistency is how you get to better cyclist triathlon or any sport really. Consistency, and that’s our first point of today is consistency. I cannot drive home how important this consistency is. That’s what I called out in this article is it took her two years to build up to her first marathon.

I want to pull this out because this is possibly the most important thing that most of us violate. I actually understood this from a early age in my cycling career, and so when I had labral surgery, on my shoulder labrum to repair it back in 2005. I wasn’t able to play basketball. It was my shooting arm. You’re not allowed to run. You’re not allowed to do anything like that, but I wanted to stay in shape.

I also drove a stick shift at the time, so that created a whole other bevy of issues that I had to deal with as far as getting to and from the gym campus and to work, but what I wound up doing is I was that guy… Think about this, this isn’t a university like University of Pittsburgh weight room where I work and I was that guy who had a… Who went on to the regular exercise bike wearing cycling shorts.

I still feel the stares on me to this day for walking around the gym. I had the skinny legs, the whole nine yards. I did not look like a cyclist. I wasn’t one of those people that are like, “Oh, yeah. Cool.” I was that weirdo walking around the University of Pittsburgh Baierl Fitness Center. I dropped my stuff off behind the counter where I worked.

I’d come in early and I would take off my pants, and people would be like, “Dude, you need to put on shorts.” I’m like, “No. These are shorts.” Then, I’d walk away and you’d see the pad. But I understood that consistency was important. A lot of that came from what I was studying at Pitt at the time, the exercise physiology.

It just so happened to work out perfectly that we had just learned that I had the surgery, and then I wound up going through and practicing that. But here in 2019, I actually broke my fibula and I was not able to maintain that consistency. Now, some people will judge me and say, “Well, you’re a cycling coach and triathlon coach, it’s your job to stay consistent.”

Well, actually, sure. Yeah. But it’s also my job to make sure that I’m healthy and capable of taking care of my athletes. That’s my number one thing. My health is definitely paramount and it needs to be taken care of. That’s why I changed my diet completely. That was where that side of the consistency was, was to be able to get you into the point where you understand it’s that consistency.

It’s not these home runs day after day, week after week, year after year that you need. It’s actually the consistency of a recovery day or a stimulation day or a development day. So, if you follow me over on Instagram, I actually posted a video of two athletes doing bird dogs.

Michael is a professional basketball player here. He plays the one, two, and guy is a developmental basketball player. He plays the one. They were both doing the bird dogs, different levels. Guy was on a recovery day. You can actually see his motor unit patterns were a little bit messed up. He was a little bit sore, a little bit beat up, whereas Michael was fresh. You can actually see that in the video, but guy still came in.

He’s still working and by the end of that recovery session, we still moved weight, but throughout the energy levels went up. He moved better. You can see the look on his face. He felt better. He left, and then he was like, “Hey, can I do more?” No. That’s the power of consistency or if you remember the early ’90s advertisements, “Behold the power of cheese.”

That’s what we’re after and that’s what I wanted to highlight with that specific article. It’s not just don’t judge somebody by their body type, because it doesn’t tell you what they’re actually capable of. We do know there are certain morphotypes that we need to be at the top levels of our sport, but even within that, you have some cyclists at the professional level from Colombia who are like 5’2, 120 pounds at best, wet, as they say.

You have guys like Chris Froome, who are just giant. They’re 6’3, 6’5 and 150, 175 pounds. You have a whole bevy of body types. I was told this in my basketball career is that I need to learn how to dribble better. Well, I didn’t want to do that consistently because it was boring. I didn’t really find it to be fun. So, instead I worked on my jumping and my ability to shoot from the outside, but I never really worked on the things I needed to.

We see the same thing here in cycling and triathlon. What we need is consistency. I’ve broken that. When I get back on the bike, finally, my fitness is going to be next to zero. I actually kind of have done a little bit of a circle here in that when I got injured, that was a purposeful and very carefully thought out decision that I made.

I’m going to do the strength training exercises that I need to in order to maintain my lean body mass. I’m going to drop down my calorie intake, because I’m going from being on my feet working with real athletes just like you, 8 to 12 hours a day, and being up on my feet and doing my own training to literally being on my back, on the sofa, in bed watching TV.

Actually, I didn’t really watch TV outside the first two weeks. Once I had the ability to not fall asleep at a moment’s notice. I read I think 28 or 29 books. I have three notebooks that I filled with notes from those books. Half were non-sport related, and actually a little bit more than half were non-sport related, about two-thirds and the other third were support related.

These are thick big textbooks that I’m going through, because the consistency that I chose to go with was to be consistent with my learning and growing for my athletes, expanding my knowledge, expanding my skill set. We did a number of interviews for the podcast. Also, just called up some of the previous guests and just some friends and we just talked shop. That consistency is how you’re going to get better. It’s a matter of use it or lose it.

The consistency to pull out from that article, she talks about how she built up over two years, two years to a marathon. I know many triathletes, Half Ironmen, who build up over six months, and they’ve gone from being completely sedentary up to 100 miles an hour. You cannot do that. This is one of the reasons why, in my opinion, when I went to sign up for life insurance. When the doctor came to the house to do the physical, which was really nice, and I understand now that that’s the common practice, because the first thing I said to them when they said you needed to come in for a physical. I was like, “I don’t have the time and I don’t have the mobility to get out.” They’re like, “Oh, don’t worry about it. We’ll come to you.”

Well, the first thing that I noticed was pretty simple. It was very nice. It was a very pleasant experience. I understand why people are so hesitant to do it, but it’s really easy and they make it simple for you, at least, this company did. I don’t know what your experiences are, so if you’ve had them please share and let us know.

They came. We did the general paperwork and before we even started the physical part, one of the things that struck me as I was going through is on the paperwork for risk factors. So, hobbies that were high risk. So a couple that I expected were on there. Bouldering outside, rock climbing outside, paragliding, bungee jumping, parachuting, like all of skydiving, all of these were on there. I’m like, “Totally make sense.”

Another one was on there that surprised me, aviation. I actually stopped at aviation. I asked her because I kind of have an interest to fly. I’d like to learn how to fly a helicopter one of these days, if not an airplane. I just turned to her, the doctor, and I said, “Aviation is a high risk?” She’s like, “I don’t know. Yeah. I guess it is. It’s on there. Why? Do you fly?”

I was like, “No, not yet, but I’d like to at some point.” Okay. Well, it just kind of went on. Guess what else was on there? Triathlon and Ironman. She looked at me. She’s like, “What?” I literally sighed just like that. She’s like, “What?” I was like, “No. I get it. I see these are on here. I coach triathletes. I get it.”

We have a problem in our sport, maybe it’s in our society, but definitely in our sport that we go from zero to 100. The number of triathletes who have major issues, and I’m not talking about the deaths in the swim. These are very sad cases and I can’t say or express the sorrow that I have because you don’t want anybody to throw their leg over the top tube of their bike or to get ready for an open water swim and experience that.

I really feel for those people, and you can hear. I get very emotional with this stuff, but that’s not something that I want anybody to ever experience, but it does happen, unfortunately. As we go through in our sport, the number of triathletes who get into this and they think they’re getting healthier, they’re not.

They go to this home run mindset of needing to do a home run every single time and push themselves 100%. I get it. I understand why life insurance companies or at least this one are looking at Ironman and triathlon as high risk, because we completely throw caution to the wind and thinking, “Well, I’m getting healthy. I’m riding this much. I’m doing this much.”

That’s not how it works. If you actually want to get into the sport and be healthy, there needs to be a long-term development spectrum. I talk about this in all of my courses, strength training for cycling success, strength training for traveling success, strength training for cycling certification. There’s two or three slides in each one and we spend a good amount of time, about 10 to 15 minutes going over these slides, because it takes time to develop as an athlete.

The tissue adaptations take time. We heard that from a previous guest or a number of guests, actually. The one that comes to mind, first and foremost, is Dr. McGill spoke about how the tissue adaptations need to occur and that’s how and why most cyclists get injured in the weight room is because the tissue adaptations are not there.

Now, the thing about the adaptations is that in order to get there, we actually need to do the stress consistently. This doesn’t just apply to strength training. It’s especially true for strength training, because that is a area where we as endurance athletes are at high risk for injury, because we are doing a very low load highly repetitive movements, which means the tendons, ligaments, muscles are not going to be built or prepared to be able to handle these high stresses of high load.

As we go through, the same thing applies to our in sport training. In order to be able to handle the amount of stress that you need to be able to finish an Olympic distance triathlon, especially for that run. For most people coming to triathlon, the bike is the easy part. The swim is really hard because their technique isn’t very good, the positioning of the water isn’t very good. They haven’t really run that much.

The occurrence of shin splints and lower leg issues seems to be extremely high in new triathletes. I blame this a lot on to the coaches as well as the programs that are out there. I do not exclude myself from those coaches, by the way. This isn’t me pointing a finger and being thrice guilty as they say. You point one finger at somebody, you have to three pointing back at you.

I’ve totally been guilty of this. This is part of my progression as a coach is we’ll do much lower load running volume whenever we have a beginner. We’ll focus much more on technique, teaching them how to engage and interact with the floor.

I have a triathlete right now. He’s out in California. We’re actually working on building him up to his first 70.3. He contacted me. He’s like, “Look, I listened to you on that triathlon show. I really found it interesting. I’m looking for a coach who can help me build not just the in-sport side of things, but also the strength training.” He has taken to it like a fish and water.

Now, his training schedule’s been a little bit inconsistent because of his travel schedule with his work, but he’s still putting in just enough work to maintain those tissue adaptations over time. Any time he gets out of line, I’m like, “Hey, dude, this week you need to make sure you’re getting at least two of these body weight workouts in and you need to make sure the intensity hits it on point.”

These small little consistent things are what build up to massive, massive positives. We got him to a half marathon, which he ran with his dad and he actually did really well. He’s like, “It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.” Now granted his father runs at a slower pace than he’s used to or wants to, that actually takes a bigger toll on the body because instead of using the spring force, you’re actually using the muscles a lot more to be able to move yourself along because you’re absorbing more of the force instead of using the fascial system and that golgi tendon organ to kind of spring you along the road if you will.

It’s actually harder to run slower than it is to run faster, and some of my triathletes have noticed in the past. “Well, what about the strength training aspect of the running? Why aren’t we doing any of that?” I take a long pause for effect. “Well, do you see those really slow runs that you feel like you’re barely doing anything and you come back and I tell you, ‘Hey, you hit it out of the park because your heart was in, the heart rate was in the endurance zone the whole time?'”

“Yeah. What does that have to do with anything?” “That’s strength training for running because you’re absorbing the ground and you’re teaching the muscles how to deal with those forces with more strength than spring.” “Huh? I don’t get it.”

So not only do these runs that we’re doing at slower pace, you have to dial back the intensity and I actually just finished Dr. Stacy Sims’ Women are Not Small Men’s certification course. I actually went through and loved the fact that when it came to the application, she was talking about a couple case studies, which by the way, you should totally sign up for her course, her certification course. You have access for a year.

This is a small plug. I don’t get any money, but it was that good of a course. It’s a small course. You get access for a year, and here’s what I like about why you get access for a year, because she’s updating it. Because the science is going to change, so the course now is not going to be what it is in two years or a year from now, because we’re going to have more science come out.

Dr. Sims, huge kudos for the course, to you and the team, as well as for understanding not to have a stagnant course. That’s also why the strength training for cycling certification course that I do, you get lifetime access and you’re going to get updates. I’ve actually already updated it since we released it back in November. I’m sorry, in December, for Black Friday. No. It was November 2019, because I had realized there were a couple things that I was doing in my practice that should be in that course, that because it took me two years to develop and refine that and work to get that out, that I added.

You are constantly getting updated in both of those. That to me is a sign of a leading certification course. Now, that’s a little bit off track, but we’re going to come back here. I apologize for that. Just a thought that popped my head off script, but as you go through, it’s that consistency in the strength training. The leading coaches are doing this.

Dr. Sims is talking about that in her course for perimenopause of, “Hey, you don’t need to be doing this high intensity.” I think the example was a rower who was getting ready for Head Of The Charles, if I’m not mistaken. Then, I think a Olympic triathlon, an age group something like that. So pretty much what we are going to be looking at is the fact that Dr. Sims is recommending, “Hey, you need to slow down. These runs need to be low intensity strictly at endurance where you feel like people are passing you by, but you’re hitting the specific heart rate thresholds or paces that you need to.”

This is where the stride running power meter can come into play, but usually when we’re doing the endurance pace stuff, I don’t even have people look at the power from their stride. I tell them go based off your heart rate, go based off of your feel. Because then we’re focusing a little bit more on interacting with the ground and how your body feels. That is strength training for triathletes is running at a slower pace, because it’s much more muscular, but we also have to be very careful, because the consistency again that’s our main point here is consistency in your training for most triathletes is not going to be where it needs to be for their strength training, because they “don’t have time.”

In fact, I have actually had three triathletes in the last six months fall off from the personalized strength training because it’s a minimum three months for me to be able to get to learn you and be able to refine things. Their response to me was at the end of the second month, I just don’t have the time to be able to do this.

I say to them, “Look, you need to make the time, because you can see in your assessment videos, you really need this. You feel that. That’s why you came. Let’s dial down and make it a 20-minute routine that you can just do after a swim or before a swim.” They started to see results in their movements, but push came to shove, at the end of the three obligatory three months, they say, “You know what? This is my last month. I’m not going to be able to continue it. I’m just going to swim, bike, run.”

I’m not saying this just because I’m a strength and conditioning coach. I am a triathlon coach, first and foremost, strength and conditioning. Second, they need this strength and that’s a mistake, because in your mind, and this is where you’re sharing this podcast and liking it and subscribing it and giving it a five-star rating, all helps me to get this information out there, because many coaches don’t even realize this.

I remember being in a certification weekend for one of the major governing bodies and part of our case studies were athletes who… One of them was given that had numerous musculoskeletal issues, not because of falls, but because of overuse. Part of the question was, “Would you or would you not give this athlete strength training? Please explain why.”

I was just appalled, appalled and pissed off and I went off a little bit on the coaches. I’m like, “We’re supposed to be the best in the nation and you’re saying that this athlete has overuse injuries and you’re not going to have them dial out time for strength training?” Now granted this is eight years ago, so hopefully that’s changed.

I really let into them. I was not nice, not nice. But they needed to hear this. Musculoskeletal overuse injuries are because the athlete is not strong enough to deal with the forces in their sport. You are doing that athlete a disservice by not having them seek out a strength and conditioning specialist to help them build a program around their needs.

The same thing goes for these triathletes. I actually let them each go. I did a little bit more than I’m contracted to. I said, “Hey, I understand you don’t have time for it. Here’s a 15 minute home kettlebell routine that you need to be doing two to three days a week. You can continue this three, six, nine months. It’s not recommended. I’d recommend you come back in three or four months to change it, but you need to be doing this. You need the strength.”

I really hope these triathletes, if you’re listening, you know who you are. I really hope that you’re listening and that you are following… When I say listening, following that advice, because that is coming from this is really what your body needs. You have to make the time for that consistency. Run, bike, and swim are not going to do it for you. A number of triathletes I’ve had and cyclists have come back, “Hey, after two or three weeks…”

Direct quote. I just had a phone call on Tuesday this past week with a cyclist that I have been working with. “I’m down seven pounds, down seven pounds after adding the strength training. My on bike has stayed roughly the same, but I am now seeing in two to three weeks the advances in my power on the bike and my abilities on the bike in what used to take me three to six months.”

Did you hear that? In two to three weeks I am seeing the results that it used to take me three to six months. That’s legit. This is a established cyclist. This isn’t somebody who’s new. They’ve been doing a little bit of strength training in the past, but nothing like what I’m doing with him individually. Think about that, two to three weeks. This is someone who’s been riding bikes for at least nine years consistently.

Wouldn’t you love to have those results? I’m going to leave you with that thought for right now. Think about how you would be able to change your strength training or change your training approach to allow you to get in just two or three days a week of 20 to 30 minutes of strength training. This was done at home with a kettlebell, a TRX and a bench or a stability ball rather. That’s it.

I’m going to leave you with that. We’re going to take a short little break, and then we’re going to come right back.

Speaker 1:

Want to learn more? Check out humanvortextraining.com for more on this topic from Coach Brodie and today’s guest.

Menachem Brodie:

Welcome back. That break was as much for you as it was for me. Now, technically I could pause and put the microphone on mute and just drink the coffee, but it’s a little bit of dramatic effect, right? Think about that. That consistency doesn’t have to be through the roof. This is a misconception that a lot of endurance athletes have about strength training is that it needs to be this hour, hour and a half session that you do three days a week. You have to slog it out.

It’s about the consistency. That’s what it’s about. This is something that, again, I learned very early when I had that shoulder surgery as I kept up. Now, I broke that rule, because I broke my fibula. In order to maintain things and keep things going forward, I elected… It was a very, very, very thought out decision to not get on the bike and ride, because I’m looking at it long term.

Now, some of you will say that’s a mistake. It probably was. Looking back on it now, I’m like, “You know what? I probably should have been on the trainer. I could have left the shoe clipped in. I could have gotten on. It would have not felt good, but I would have been able to go through that range of motion.” But that’s the decision I made and I’m going to stick by it, because I stayed consistent with the strength training exercises and because of that… This is the fun part of it.

I don’t know when I’ll post this, but I took some videos yesterday of my workout that I’ve been doing the last couple of weeks. It’s a very simple workout, but it’s consistent. I actually had a couple people say to me, “Wow. You look like a skinny fat. Are you okay?”

I’m like, “Well, first of all, I broke my fibula so I wasn’t really doing anything. I’m actually down six kilos.” They’re like, “Oh, yeah, but it looks like you put on weight.” Here’s why it looks like I put on weight. It’s because my lean muscle mass is down. I’ve lost a lot of lean muscle mass and I’ve actually gone up in body fat percentage. While the scale number is down six kilos, since the accident.

My body fat is up. My total lean muscle mass or body mass, if you will, is down. That’s a bad thing. This is what happens to a lot of cyclists in the middle of the season. This is going to be topic number two for today and it’s something that a lot of people think is just relatable to female athletes, but it’s actually for both. That is low energy available or L-E-A, LEA, as I like to call it. The evil Princess LEA, and R-E-D-S, relative energy deficiency in sport.

This is also seen mostly as a female issue, but it is not. Again, in Dr. Sims… It totally sounds like a plug for her thing. It kind of is I guess, but her course Women are not Small Men’s certification, she does talk about this in great extent and shows you like it’s not just a women’s problem. We think of it as a women’s problem, but there are a ton of men that I’ve had come through who have had this. I have been in it myself.

Yes. Again, I’m not pointing fingers and not saying that I’m guilty of this. Back in 2009, 2010, I had had a number of people say to me, “You know what? You don’t look like a cyclist. You don’t look like a cycling coach, so I’m not going to work with you.” Literally the words.

Now, if they kind of said that to me, I’d be like, “That’s your loss man. All right. You don’t want to see great results. Cool. That’s all right. Go ahead. I’m not the coach for you. Totally fine.” That sounded mean, right? A little bit of ego in there, but really it’s a matter of if you’re going to judge me based on how I look not on what I know and how I can help you, then, cool, man. Your loss.

But it got to me. I was a young coach. I was very sensitive to this stuff, because I also was already because I wasn’t a cyclist and I hadn’t accomplished all these things. I was very sensitive to that. I took it to heart. It wasn’t a chip on the shoulder, it was more like, “Okay. All these people are saying this, they must be right.” Huge mistake. Instead of sticking my foot or putting my foot down and sticking my stake in the ground and saying, “No. It’s not what I look like it’s what I know.”

I went and I tried to drop my body fat or actually I tried to drop my body weight down from 87 kilos down to 82. Now, the problem that I had was I was already eating “clean,” very clean. I was vegan at the time. If you don’t know I was vegan for about seven years. No. About six and a half years.

I had read the China study when that came out and we’re seeing this whole cycle come around again with game changers. Now, the problem with game changers, by the way, is it’s cherry picking. It is cherry picking the research articles. It is cherry picking, and it’s not giving you a full picture. The China study, the book which is thick. It’s not an easy read was actually much more thorough. The data was much less slanted for the most part, but when you look at statistics there’s definitely a way to lie with statistics.

In fact, there was book that was written back in the ’60s or ’70s called How to Lie with Statistics. If you are a coach or an athlete who was like or is like I was when I first started, and said, “Show me the research, and then we’ll incorporate it.” You need to read this book. You must read this book. It is a requirement if you want to see progress of any kind, because research lies.

As you’ve heard me say a number of times previously on this podcast and in my videos and I think they’ve been edited out for the most part in the mass media interviews I’ve done. I’m very out there with saying if you’re following the research and just letting that guide your practices, you’re between 5 and 10 years, 5 and 10 years behind what the best coaches in the world are doing.

This is true. This isn’t just me saying it. There’s also Mike Boyle had said that a number of years ago. This is something that I think as a beginner coach, I wanted to be certain. Again, I had a… Not a fragile ego, but I was very much… I second guessed myself. I relied very heavily on that research. It was wrong, and especially when it comes to female athletes. It was completely wrong.

I’ve put this out there. If you go over to the HV training YouTube channel, actually, in my opener video, my welcome to the channel video, I actually say it. I failed miserably my first three female athletes. They got slower working with me. I failed them massively, because I was following the research, and that’s what got me started down the road of let me look at the research and, wow, we need to really break down the research and not just follow what the media are saying about what the outcomes are.

Who are the research participants? What were the parameters? What type of breakdown they do statistically? I had a good friend in Pittsburgh, who also is a statistician and she teaches statistics at WVU and Pitt. I can’t remember what the study was, but I had just got into vegan and I showed her a study. I’m like, “Look, see.” She was also vegan at the time.

She’s like, “Yeah. This is crap. They did not break it down properly.” If I’m not mistaken I think she said they used a statistical nova when they should have used a statistical a nova. Although, I could be completely misremembering that, but she just said, “I want to say that this is good research, but it’s not. They didn’t break it down properly. They found a way to deal with the numbers that was favorable to them.”

You have to be very careful about that. You have to be very careful about who is supplying the funding for the research. There is a lot of research that’s done that’s been supplied by large institutes or special interests. That’s going to be slanted because they are going to throw out information that’s not pertinent to what they want to support and vice versa. That’s where it’s very difficult to find good solid research right now.

The other side of the thing and this is Dr. Sims’s platform, which I’m very much in favor of, and a number of other researchers. She’s the one who’s gone out and written a book and been very public about it. It’s not that she’s the only one, it’s the fact that she’s the one who’s out there leading the charge, kind of as I am or exactly like I am for strength training for cyclists and triathletes of doing it properly.

It’s movement. It’s consistency. It’s not the weight on the bar. You have to understand how to set up the exercise for you and your sport, not for a bodybuilder or a general gym person. These are the things that actually matter not just getting in a gym and picking things up and putting them down. What we’re talking about here is the fact that you need to think about how you’re applying this information and breaking it down.

It’s not just going out and doing stuff and following the research that’s published in Men’s Health or Women’s Health or Shape. I’ve contributed to each of these different mass media pieces. It’s a lot of fun to contribute to them and really cool to go from 25 years ago of being new to the industry and reading them and finding people and like, “Wow. This guy really knows or this woman really knows what she’s talking about.” To finally being in the magazine. It was really cool.

Actually, as I was flying for one of my presentations here in December, I actually was in the airport and that’s when it hit me. I was like, “Holy crap.” I was looking at all the magazines that I usually buy when I fly so I can read. I do like still the print because then I can have it on the airport or the airplane in the airport. I can write on it. I can circle it. I can highlight. I find new people a lot easier than the online articles.

It just hit me. I’m like, “Holy crap. I’ve been in each one of these.” It’s really cool. Side effect, side sidebar, but on the main thing, it’s we can’t just follow the research. You have to be able to read these articles and to really look at and understand how to read a research article. That’s what I’m going to teach you now.

This is a skill that you need to learn in practice. This is very important skill. Dr. Nagel taught me this in my undergrad at Pitt for exercise physiology. Thankfully, I kept the trifold folder, because I had an inkling it would be important. I’ve gone back to this a number of times.

Here is how you need to actually read a research article. This is a skill if you’re going off of research, I ask that… Or you need, not that I ask. I’m telling you, you need to do at least the following when you’re reading the article. Let’s get into how to break down and how to properly read a research article. All right. You ready? You have your pen and paper because this is going to blow your mind.

Of course, I very vividly remember asking Dr. Nagel. I raised my hand. I’m like, “Well, why don’t they just write it in a way that we actually need to read it?” Her response was, “Well, this is just how it’s done.”

Okay. One of the first issues we’re going to have when we’re looking up research online is that most of the time for these big research that’s going to change how we do things, they only post the abstract. If you actually want to get the whole research article, you have to pay to play. That means you’re going to pay anywhere from $15 for the individual to $50 a month for the whole magazine or the whole research journal.

Now, the thing is with the journals, when we look at research, one of the first things we want to see is that, is this a peer-reviewed research article? Now, that comes with its own sets of challenges. I have spoken and learned from and had deep meaningful professional conversations with quite a few of the leading researchers in the world in a couple different areas, and each one of them on their own has said, “Well, I have this research that proves that what we’re doing is the exact opposite or very different from what the current best practices are or what’s seen, but nobody’s going to publish it because they’ll be seen as a charlatan.”

This is a big problem. There’s something called research publication bias. This is a huge problem, because when we have research come out that unequivocally, no matter how you break it down, and when you use the best possible way to mathematically break down these statistics, prove without a doubt that what we’re doing is wrong, very few publications are going to want to do that, because it’s also a matter of a mindset shift for the professionals in the field saying, “There’s no way that that’s possible.”

Think about that, that’s a human problem we’ve had. Do you remember this guy named Galileo was the first that said that the universe, the sun doesn’t revolve around the Earth, the Earth revolves around the sun? Do you have any idea how many people were burned at the stake for blasphemy? It’s crazy. That still exists. So know that just because the research says that, you need to find the best people, and that’s been my MO is go find the best people in the world at what they do, the best researchers and talk to them and find out, “Is this actually the best practice because what I was seeing was this isn’t working? It’s not working.”

Then, to hear it, “Well, actually, I have research that proves not just one, not two, but three, but five research studies that prove without a doubt that what we’re doing is wrong.” It’s crazy. That’s the first thing to know, is that you don’t want to read the abstract, the abstract is actually going to be one of the last things that you want to read. The abstract is just a paragraph, that’s the first paragraph you’re going to see and this is what you’ll be able to access most of the time.

It’s the only part of the paper that most of us will read, because the scientific part just numbers and math and I don’t understand what’s going on. Please, do not read the abstract. You’re going to want to read that at the end because that’s going to help you be able to shift and siphon through the BS or the biases that that researcher or the publication is going to have.

You’re going to begin by going to ncbi.gov, which is going to allow you to actually go through and read the research article or maybe it’s the NSCA Journal or maybe it’s the ACSM or JAMA, Journal of American Medical Association. You’re going to be able to go in, you’ll probably have to pay some type of gate keeper fee to access it, but you’re going to go in and start with the introduction of the paper first.

Then, once you read the introduction, you don’t want to ask, what is the headline of the paper? But you’re going to ask, what problem is this particular focus, these group of scientists as a whole trying to solve? You’re not looking at that specific research. You’re looking at the bigger problem.

Right now we’re finally starting to see a larger number of researchers focus on strength training for endurance athletes. They are trying to solve the problem of, is strength training appropriate for endurance athletes? That’s what they’re trying to solve. So back when I started as a young coach, a researcher that I latched on to pretty quickly was Asker Jeukendrup, who is the leading researcher in my mind, and I think in the world actually for the number of studies he’s put out on caffeine and performance for endurance athletes.

He’s trying to solve, how do we use caffeine as an ergogenic aid? Does it actually work? That’s what he’s trying to solve. That’s the big question. Don’t look at the headline, so we’re not looking at the abstract, which is the most often cited. We’re not looking at the headline, we’re reading deeper. We read the introduction and take a step back and think critically thinking, what is this group of scientists trying to solve?

Thankfully, I’m able to converse fairly regularly with Stephen, Dr. Stephen Cheung, who is actually one of the top published scientists at Brock University. He is the editor of the toolbox portion of PEZCycling News, which I have the opportunity to contribute to each month. He also has a book called Science and Cycling where he goes through. That’s a great book for you to pick up and read. It really helps you kind of understand or to be able to break down a little bit what’s going on.

Now, the book was published a number of years ago, and Dr. Cheung has a lot of pieces he has on PEZCycling News. I strongly recommend you go over and check that out, but the reason I mention that is because he’s trying to solve different problems, different questions.

Again, just to recap. Step number one, read the introduction. Step number two, take a step back after reading the introduction and look also for other research articles that are similar to this and think, what are these group of researchers, what question are they trying to answer? That’s going to guide you for the rest of what we’re going to talk about here.

So step number three is you want to try and look at what has been done in the past. This is where you can’t just read that one article, you need to actually spend a little bit of time digging a little bit deeper. You have to look, “Okay, they’re trying to solve this question. What other research articles are there online?” I’m just going to pull up in my web browser, ncbi.gov. Sorry ncbi.nlm.nih.gov or you could just do ncbi.pub, P-U-B-M-E-D, as in man E-D.

What that’s going to do is pull it up on Google and that’s where you’re going to be able to go through all of the research articles in the world in English and you may even have some Russian in there. I don’t know, but you’ll be able to go through and actually search PubMed. It’ll pull up the site. Just keep it on PubMed for right now, and then you can just type in, let’s do strength training for cyclists and see what we get.

We’re going to get a number of articles. We have 184 articles, which in the world of research is not that much. Best matches, optimizing strength training for running and cycling performance from 2014. That’s a review by Ronstadt. He’s been fairly consistent in strength training, but you also have to look at… That’s what we’re going to talk about next. The background and what they’re doing

Now, we have to identify. We talked about that. Ronstadt is trying to solve strength training for cycling. Then, we have to identify the specific questions or questions that they’re trying to answer in this research. So with Ronstadt, for example, he is trying to solve the question of, is strength training beneficial for cyclists and triathletes?

He’s been published I think since 2008 or 2009 was his first. Let’s see. We have 2014. I’m just going to talk through this, 2014, 2007. 2007, 2008, 2009, 2009, so about 2007, he’s been researching and looking into this. He has a list of about… Let’s see. He has four pages. Let’s go to the last one. He’s going to have about 65… Sorry. 75, 76 different articles that he’s been published on as the lead author or involved.

That’s another thing I want to kind of pull out here. We’re going to do a step 3a or 3b. 3a is what is the summary of the background that these researchers are trying to answer? What has been done before and what are the limitations of the work?

Now, 3b is how many research articles has this specific author been published on? Now, the way that works for research articles, the first author is the one who did all the heavy lifting or most of the work. Now, sometimes there’s a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman and I can’t remember the name of the other, Arthur… Man, that is really bad. I feel awful. I’m not going to pause and answer because I want to continue this elusive thought here.

They have a book called Thinking Fast and Slow and they’re going to go through, and those two authors both did equal work. They actually talked about who would be first who would be second, because a lot of researchers don’t want to answer mass media. They just want to research. That’s what they want to do, but look at how many times where in the order this author was. It’s not uncommon to see in their early works, let’s say Ronstadt in 2005 was published as the last author, probably because they were a graduate student or an undergraduate student who was helping do the heavy lifting in the lab. That’s how things work on the articles and just recognize that.

Now, step number four is identify the specific questions that this author in this research is trying to answer. Then, you always want to write this down. This is one of the things that I actually didn’t do well at the beginning as Dr. Nagel kept telling us, “Write it down. Write it down. Write it down.” Pen and paper long hand, because it’s going to allow you to be able to work through your thoughts and really understand this research much better.

This is where we kind of have to go next. We understand the specific question. We understand that they’re trying to answer or questions, strength training for cyclists, a 10-week approach for one of the Ronstadt articles we have here if we go back. Let’s just kind of focus on that one. Let’s go back to Ronstadt and use one specific article.

He has, where was it? 10 weeks I saw. He is… Going backwards. I could edit this out, but I’m going to be lazy and not do it, so I know you really enjoy that. Okay. Article number 11 from 2012 with Ronstadt as the lead author and there’s two other, Hanson and Ronstadt. High Volume for Endurance Training Impairs Adaptations to 12 Weeks of Strength Training in Well-Trained Endurance Athletes.

They’re trying to answer the question of does strength training reduce the adaptations to endurance athletes? There’s just an abstract here when you click on it, but guess what? Like we talked about, you cannot go off of this. I’m looking at the abstract. I’m like, “This isn’t what I want. I’m not interested in this. I need to see the whole paper.”

Now, I’m going to go up on the top left or the top left of the page and it says, “European Journal of Applied Physiology.” That’s a good journal. I’m going to take this. On the right, you’re going to see full text links, so SpringerLink. I’m going to click on that. I’m going to see if they’re going to give me access to this for free.

Yes. We have it. Awesome. False. It’s only the abstract. Now, if I want to have the full I have to pay 35 euro, 34.95 including VAT to buy a single article in a PDF or I can pay to subscribe to the journal, which is 125.21 euro. That’s going to be annual. If I’m serious about basing my training or my coaching practice off of research, am I going to pay essentially 25% for one article or am I going to pay 100, four times what I would pay for one article and have access for a year?

I’m going to pay for access for a year or not at all. I’m going to say, “You know what? This research thing not really for me. I’m going to trust what the mass media are going to tell me and I’m just going to go with that.” Please, don’t do that.

I am not going to subscribe to this, because I’m at the point where I kind of get the gist of things and I have back channels where I can email somebody or call them say, “Hey, so-and-so, do you mind sending this article? Can you just send that to me or just what are your thoughts on this?” There’s other ways to do it.

Keep that on the download. Don’t tell anybody. Okay. Then, we’re going to identify the specific approach. What are they doing? What is Ronstadt trying to do in this article to try and answer it? What were their methods to go through and answer this? When we look at this and I’m going based off the abstract. Which, again, we don’t want to do, but this is how they did it.

A group of non-strength trained individuals performed the same strength training as the strength plus endurance group, but without the added endurance training, and the number of people were seven. So N equals seven. That’s the number of people in the study, which is a very tiny, tiny little bit. Thigh muscle cross-sectional area, one rep max in leg exercises, squat jump performance and peak rate of force development were measured.

That is how they went through and did this, and then he goes on to say, “The following, the intervention period, both strength plus endurance and strength increased.” These are the results. That’s how they did it. They went through and they took two groups of individuals, strength, strengths plus endurance and they did cross-sectional muscle area, one rep max, squat jump performance and peak rate of force development.

You have to ask yourself, are these good ways to look at how they are approaching thing? That’s our sixth step is read the methods section. So go down and you have to be able to identify very clearly what they actually did. We have that these athletes went through a 12-week strength or strength plus endurance, and they went through and they went and just did these exercises. They did these things. They measured the cross-sectional muscle area, their one rep max, the squat jump performance, and peak rate of force development.

There’s a lot of questions here that as I’m reading through this, I’m like… The P may be less than 0.05. That means there’s a 95% efficacy. That means 95% of the time this is going to apply as true based on a small sample number. The total number of individuals in this, the strength alone were seven individuals. The strength plus endurance were… Sorry. The strength were seven individuals. The strength plus endurance were 11. That’s 18 people total.

First question that comes to mind for me, how many were female and where were they in their menstrual cycle? Probably weren’t included because the vast majority of research out there is done on college age males, which we’ll talk about later. Okay.

So just to recap. I know this is a little bit long, but this is how much it takes to actually go through and read the research instead of just reading something in mass media being like, “Oh…” Because what the journalists do they just read the abstract, unless you find a really, really, really, really, really, really good journalist like Alex Hutchinson, in my opinion, or Matt Fitzgerald, who actually go through and appear to read through the whole thing and do this process.

So step number one, begin by reading the introduction, not the abstract. So most of the time like we saw, you can’t get into the actual journal without paying 35 euro or 125 for the whole year. You have to decide if you want to do that. If you’re just going to read the abstract, you’re not going to be able to use this research.

Number two, what is the bigger question? What’s the number one question that this researcher and group of researchers are trying to solve? In our case, strength training for cyclists and triathlon. Then, we have to think about the background and be able to summarize it. What has been done so far in this field? Is this new?

So back in 2007 when I was starting, there was almost no research on strength training for cycling or triathlon. There was almost nothing. Just people saying, “It’s bad. It’s going to make you slower. It’s going to make you bigger, make you bulkier and you’re going to have worse results.” Then, we started to see some research come out, but it was very limited. They were doing leg extension, hamstring curl. Those are not multi-joint movements. It’s not following a good approach for strength training. I threw out all the research for strength training and started doing my own stuff.

Then, what according to the authors needs to be done next? You can find this in the results section, because they’re going to give you a wrap up and tell you what’s been done and what needs to be done to further get into it. We’ll talk about that in a second.

Then, we have to look at that specific article. Step number four, look at the specific questions that this researcher is trying to answer in this article. You have to write it down. Sometimes they tell you and sometimes if you go in and look at it, you can actually look at what the null hypothesis would be and the null hypothesis is one that the research will prove untrue.

The null hypothesis you just flip it around, you’re a contrarian, which is a big strength when reading a research article, and also for investing. If you’re going to get in the stock market being a contrarian will allow you to have some good results if you know what you’re doing and the key is if you know what you’re doing.

We’ve identified the specific questions, the approach. We know that for this specific Ronstadt research from 2011, 2012 in April that they published that they had two groups, one of 11, one of 7, strength, strength plus endurance and they had them go through muscle cross-sectional area, rate of force development, et cetera.

Next, we have to read the methods section. Now, we are going to have to go through and look at the experiment itself. What did they do? Can we understand what they did? In this thing, we don’t have the whole access. Again, I’m not paying 130 euros for access or 35 euros for just the one, but based upon the abstract and reading enough of these, I can tell you that what they did is they put the athletes, they did some type of one rep max.

My question is, what type of loading do they do? What was their warm-up like? What was the room setup like? What equipment were they using? How trained were they? Were they cued on proper form and technique? Were they trained? Were they untrained? I have a lot of questions about this.

They also looked at thigh muscle cross-sectional area so they can take a muscle biopsy, which is simple but painful to do if you’ve ever had it done. A squat jump performance, how did they do the squat jump? Were they cued as to how to do the squat jump properly? Are they trained? Are they untrained?

Peak rate of force development, how was that measured? Was it measured with some type of force plate? Which is the gold standard or was it with them looking at it with an eye and a tape measure? Was the research assistant highly trained and very well able to do this?

We see this with body fat composition with skinfold calipers. The numbers are most accurate for someone who does at least 10 to 20 skinfold measurements a day. Those are going to be the most accurate. So, if you come to me right now and say, “Hey, I want my skin fold done.” My measurements aren’t going to be that accurate, because I haven’t done it in three months. That’s a big issue with a lot of these is you have to really ask these tough questions and people don’t.

Number seven, you’re going to read the results section. So, think about that. We haven’t even looked at the abstract. We haven’t looked at the summary of what’s going on. We have read the introduction, which is just telling us about what’s going on in the field. We’ve identified the big question that was step number two. What are these researchers trying to resolve? What is the group of researchers in the world as a whole trying to resolve?

Then, we talked about the background and we were able to look at what’s been done, what according to the authors needs to be done next. We looked at that number four, the null hypothesis to flip it around. We understand the specific question that these researchers were looking for. We looked at the approaches. We identified very clearly the approaches and some research articles that are published don’t have a clear approach.

They get into, “Well, the [inaudible 01:01:01], we’re going to measure it this way and we’re going to do it…” You’re like, “Well, how did you do that? Was that… Did you have some type of gas measurement? Did you just kind of go based off of RPE or the Borg scale? How do you measure that? They don’t tell you. That’s a research article that’s garbage.

We read through the methods. What exactly did they do? Now, we’re in the results. We’re looking at it and we’re looking at the graphs. We’re looking at the verbiage they use, how they write significant, non-significant. There are tons of different things that when they use these terms and you can google research precise statistical meanings in Google.

So research articles have verbiage that they use that is very unique to the science community that have very specific statistical meanings. You cannot use these words unless you meet certain criteria. You also want to look at the graphs. Are there stars or asterisks? Which show you that there was a big outlier there.

So, if we have 18 total participants and we have a star, that’s one and a half times away from the mean or where that candlestick bar is as it’s called, where it’s a big bar, and then there’s a line and that comes out of it at either end, but there’s a star. That tells us that is a big red flag if that star is far away and we only have 18 people. That means there is an outlier out there. So how much can we actually rely on this to tell us what we need to know?

The sample size. Again, 18 people. I don’t like this. I don’t like it at all. That’s way too slow. I don’t know if they’re male or female. I’d have to buy the article to be able to look at that. These are the things that you need to look at the results section. We need to look at, did these results actually answer the question or are they reaching?

It is very common in research to reach, because you’re being paid money to put this on. There is a long… This is why research is between 5 and 10 years behind what the best coaches in the world are doing is because they have to go through an intern… They have to come up with a hypothesis. They have to have the lab to be able to do it. They have to have the lab assistants and research assistants to be able to do it. They have to get cleared by the internal review board. They have to get funding for it.

In order to test something that’s being done today, it takes at least 18 months even if you push fast. Sometimes that’s even fast. It can take two years to be able to get to the point where you’re able to actually get the research approved, and then you have to go through and actually do it. It takes time.

We have to look at whether the results answered the specific questions. Unfortunately, more often than not, you’re going to find it really didn’t answer the specific question. You can see it kind of reached and kind of answered, but not really. Then, you read the conclusions or the discussions. Those two segments are really important. The discussion is where you’re going to see what else needs to be done, so you can kind of flip through.

Then, and only then, you’re going to go to and read the abstract. You’re going to find, unfortunately, it’s a coin flip. Does the abstract actually match what the lead author and the research group found in the paper? Does it fit with how you understand the paper?

You’re going to find, again, it’s a 50/50 coin flip. That’s pretty, pretty shaky there. There are some you’re going to find like Dr. McGill’s research is fantastically done. I really appreciate him as a professional, as a researcher, because he actually goes through and they’re very strong papers. You can see that throughout… I mean he’s very thorough.

You’ll find these specific researchers as you go through and read more and more of these papers, you’re going to find, “Hey, this person does high quality work. I can generally trust.” You never want to get to the point where you fully trust, you always have to go into it with a little bit of a speculative eye. But, yeah, you’re going to find that some researchers are very, very thorough and very good and very honest with what they do.

There’s also a lot of revisions that have to happen, because like we talked about. We have publishing bias. You have to really be able to look, what isn’t being done in this field to actually tell us what’s going on? Then, you look at, the last step is look at what other researchers are saying about the paper.

This you really, really need to take with a grain of salt, because I have come across a number of times where I see a research article and I come away I’m like, “This is game changing. This is saying that there is something completely wrong or very wrong with what we’re doing right now.” Then, you look at what other researchers are saying and you’re like, “Wow. They really hate this researcher. They hate this research article.” But you have to take it with a grain of salt and look at it and use your head and say, “Does this actually make sense to me from what I’m experiencing, what I’m seeing, what other coaches or athletes are seeing, does this actually fit, and these other researchers are scaled?” Again, are scared.

Remember, Galileo, the Earth revolves around the sun not the other way around. He was right. The Earth is flat. No it’s not. Although some people argue that still in 2019. I hope this has been very beneficial for you. That is a quick rundown. There’s a lot more that goes into reading a research article, but this was a quick rundown.

This is where we get into the consistency of understanding your training and understanding what’s coming out. These are the key points for today. It’s the consistency. It’s not just taking research at its face value. You have to really dive down into it if you’re going to base your training or your coaching off of research.

That’s why I’ve gotten away from it. I do keep a close eye on what’s coming out generally. When I first started coaching, I didn’t have that many athletes so I would spend 5 to 10 hours a week reading through research articles. 5 to 10 hours a week and I’m at the point now where I kind of scan through them, I find three or four probably a month that I go through in detail, but I also have my group of researchers.

I call them my group. The group of researchers I found that I can rely upon. I really look forward to when they come out with new stuff, because it’s very dialed in. There’s so much more I could talk about with this research stuff, but we’re going to stop there for today. Again, I’m going to end the podcast as I began. If you found this to be useful and insightful, please give me a five star rating over on iTunes or wherever you download this podcast or wherever you download this podcast and iTunes. Like and share, the more people we get to be able to listen here or to subscribe to the HV Training YouTube channel, the more great information we’re going to be able to get out there and really change the level of coaching and training that is happening in our sport.

That’s what this is all about. So, if you haven’t already, head over to humanvortextraining.com, sign up for our newsletter, lots of great information coming out there. I’m really looking forward to having you guys again next week. I hope you have a fantastic holiday season. I will see you next Monday or Tuesday for our next episode.

Again, I’m going to be recording. We’re going to have vault episodes coming up. So, when I’m busy I can just pop something up so you are still able to learn and be more consistent in my own uploading of the podcast and of the YouTube channel. So stay tuned because 2020 is going to be fantastic.

Oh, last thing. January of 2020, we’re going to open up for the public the strength training for cyclist certification. Strength training for cyclist certification will be open again here in January, and really excited to open that up to a lot more people outside of the newsletter list. So, if you haven’t already, make sure you head over to humanvortextraining.com, click on courses, click sign up for the newsletter.

You’re just going to go and open when you click the strength training for cycling certification, it’ll ask you to input your name and email address as well as what you’re interested. Click that little box for strength training certification and you’ll get notified as soon as it opens. It’s only going to be open for a couple days, and then we’re going to close it until fall 2020.

That’s it for today. Remember, train smarter not harder. Be consistent in your training. Don’t try and hit home runs all the time. Take your time to build up your fitness. Check out the HV Training YouTube channel. Be very critical of how you are following research, reading those articles. Remember, it is all about you. Thanks for listening. Thank you for that five star review and sharing and have a happy holiday season. Talk to you next week.

Speaker 1:

That’s it for this episode of the Strong Savvy Cyclist and Triathlete Podcast with world leading strength coach for cyclists and triathletes, Menachem Brodie. Don’t miss an episode. Hit that subscribe button and give us a review.

For more exclusive content visit humanvortextraining.com or get the latest expert videos from Coach Brodie on the HVT YouTube channel at HV Training. Until next time, remember to train smarter not harder, because it is all about you.


Picture of Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie

Coaching since 2000, Menachem Brodie has been working with athletes in a number of settings, and a broad variety of sports.


Related Podcasts

Vern Gambetta

Episode 127- Vern Gambetta

Vern Gabetta has been coaching for over 50 years, and has penned more than 10 books on the subject. Over that time he has seen many fads and popular approaches come

Scroll to Top

Sign up for our Newsletter

And get the 12-week Core Strength Training for Endurance Athletes Program- Coaches Edition, normally $149, FOR FREE!