Testosterone Spikes: Predictor of Performance?

For a long time, I’d never really considered the hormonal aspects of training as being very important. It seems like a lot of wanking over what is, at best, a transient hormonal spike in response to a stimulus (in this case, exercise).

We’re talking brief here, like 45-60 minutes of increased testosterone which is, at best, a slight elevation off baseline. Steroid cycles have to magnify this level many times over to see drastic results.

However, there has been some correlation between testosterone and cortisol levels with the condition of the athlete. The first group I’m aware of that really investigated it were Lon Kilgore and Glenn Pendlay, who determined that the ratio of testosterone to cortisol was an accurate predictor of the state of the athlete — a marker of overtraining and overreaching, in other words.

Pendlay, G. and L. Kilgore (2001). Hormonal fluctuation: A new method for the programming of training. Weightlifting USA 19(2): 15.

Other (apparently unpublished) thesis research from Glenn Pendlay and Michael Hartmann has more or less confirmed that the test:cortisol ratio is depressed during hard training, but when unloading occurs it will sharply increase above baseline after adequate rest has occurred.

It seems like there’s definitely a correlation between testosterone levels and the athlete’s condition, even if it’s not responsible.

Is there anything more to it? There just might be.

Read moreTestosterone Spikes: Predictor of Performance?

Ephedra and Caffeine: No good for strength?

The Effect of Ephedra and Caffeine on Maximal Strength and Power in Resistance-Trained Athletes Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research:Volume 22(2)March 2008pp 464-470 Caffeine and ephedrine-related alkaloids recently have been removed from International Olympic Committee banned substances lists, whereas ephedrine itself is now permissible at urinary concentrations less than 10 μg·mL-1. The changes to the … Read more

Functional or Not?

What does the word “functional” mean to you?

If you’ve had any sampling of the modern fitness industry, “functional” will probably mean doing exercises that have a high carryover to the motions and actions found in most team sports.

It could just as easily mean standing on a wobble board doing one-handed dumbbell presses, in order to improve “core stability”.

Have you ever stopped to think what “functional” really means, though?

The word itself should give you a hint. A more appropriate definition of functionality would be “the way the body’s systems work in order to create motor output”, to paraphrase the late Mel Siff.

In other words, functional training is a formal way of saying “training to improve how the body works in order to perform in specific ways”.

When somebody says that something is “functional”, the response should be “functional for what?”. Functional training is not just a discrete thing you can point to. It’s not a style of training, as much as people like to quantify training in this way.

Read moreFunctional or Not?

Adrenal Fatigue: A Quack Disease for the New Millennium

Adrenal fatigue is the new fad for all the quack doctors and fitness trainers of the modern day. Just don’t ask anybody with medical training.

Why, you may ask? Well, when this first started cropping up as the Next Big Thing, I did a little checking around on Google, and the top results were from a doctor yes, but not in the way you might think. The results belonged to one Dr. James Wilson. More accurately, his website designed will all the standard Inner Circle Marketing cliches.

For obvious reasons this set off my bullshit alarms at once; if you Google search any real disease, you’ll find that actual, you know, information pops up, not some doctor using his MD as an appeal to authority while he tries to sell you things.

I didn’t give up, though. I went over to Pubmed, which is a repository of health and medical research that contains an index of virtually every medical-related publication. Again, if this were a valid thing you’d expect a good number of results.

The search string “adrenal fatigue” returned zero (0) matches.

By now I’m 95% convinced this is garbage. But, just to be fair and to prove to myself that it’s the case, I dig around a little more.

Read moreAdrenal Fatigue: A Quack Disease for the New Millennium