Critical Power and Anaerobic Capacity of Grand Cycling Tour Winners

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Link to full article: Critical Power & Anaerobic Capacity of Grand Tour Winners

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Protein ingestion before sleep improves postexercise overnight recovery.



The role of nutrition in modulating postexercise overnight recovery remains to be elucidated. We assessed the effect of protein ingestion immediately before sleep on digestion and absorption kinetics and protein metabolism during overnight recovery from a single bout of resistance-type exercise.

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Sixteen healthy young males performed a single bout of resistance-type exercise in the evening (2000 h) after a full day of dietary standardization. All subjects were provided with appropriate recovery nutrition (20 g of protein, 60 g of CHO) immediately after exercise (2100 h). Thereafter, 30 min before sleep (2330 h), subjects ingested a beverage with (PRO) or without (PLA) 40 g of specifically produced intrinsically [1-C]phenylalanine-labeled casein protein. Continuous intravenous infusions with [ring-H5]phenylalanine and [ring-H2]tyrosine were applied with blood and muscle samples collected to assess protein digestion and absorption kinetics, whole-body protein balance and mixed muscle protein synthesis rates throughout the night (7.5 h).


During sleep, casein protein was effectively digested and absorbed resulting in a rapid rise in circulating amino acid levels, which were sustained throughout the remainder of the night. Protein ingestion before sleep increased whole-body protein synthesis rates (311 ± 8 vs 246 ± 9 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) and improved net protein balance (61 ± 5 vs -11 ± 6 μmol·kg per 7.5 h) in the PRO vs the PLA experiment (P < 0.01). Mixed muscle protein synthesis rates were ∼22% higher in the PRO vs the PLA experiment, which reached borderline significance (0.059%·h ± 0.005%·h vs 0.048%·h ± 0.004%·h, P = 0.05).


This is the first study to show that protein ingested immediately before sleep is effectively digested and absorbed, thereby stimulating muscle protein synthesis and improving whole-body protein balance during postexercise overnight recovery.

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Milk ingestion stimulates net muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise.



Previous studies have examined the response of muscle protein to resistance exercise and nutrient ingestion. Net muscle protein synthesis results from the combination of resistance exercise and amino acid intake. No study has examined the response of muscle protein to ingestion of protein in the context of a food. This study was designed to determine the response of net muscle protein balance following resistance exercise to ingestion of nutrients as components of milk.

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Three groups of volunteers ingested one of three milk drinks each: 237 g of fat-free milk (FM), 237 g of whole milk (WM), and 393 g of fat-free milk isocaloric with the WM (IM). Milk was ingested 1 h following a leg resistance exercise routine. Net muscle protein balance was determined by measuring amino acid balance across the leg.


Arterial concentrations of representative amino acids increased in response to milk ingestion. Threonine balance and phenylalanine balance were both > 0 following milk ingestion. Net amino acid uptake for threonine was 2.8-fold greater (P < 0.05) for WM than for FM. Mean uptake of phenylalanine was 80 and 85% greater for WM and IM, respectively, than for FM, but not statistically different. Threonine uptake relative to ingested was significantly (P < 0.05) higher for WM (21 +/- 6%) than FM (11 +/- 5%), but not IM (12 +/- 3%). Mean phenylalanine uptake/ingested also was greatest for WM, but not significantly.


Ingestion of milk following resistance exercise results in phenylalanine and threonine uptake, representative of net muscle protein synthesis. These results suggest that whole milk may have increased utilization of available amino acids for protein synthesis.

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Feed your genes: How our genes respond to the foods we eat?

How our genes respond to the foods we eat?

What if you could answer this question at a molecular level — what if you could find out how our genes respond to the foods we eat, and what this does to the cellular processes that make us healthy — or not?

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When we eat foods our genes are “up-regulated” or “down-regulated”. The other term for this is called “knowing up” or “knocking down” a gene. The fact that a gene is switched on or off is due to what our parents give us. I saying that our genes function at different levels. One might have a gene working at 15% and another individual have the same gene working at 90%. In trying to understand how to “up-regulate” or “down-regulate” i.e. increase a gene from 15% efficiency to 50% efficiency or decrease from 90% to 60% researchers at The Norwegian University of Science & technology (NTNU) researched the effects of food on this process.

If you could ask your genes to say what kinds of foods are best for your health, they would have a simple answer: one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydrates. That’s what recent genetic research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) shows is the best recipe to limit your risk of most lifestyle-related diseases.

Food affects gene expression

NTNU researchers Ingerid Arbo and Hans-Richard Brattbakk have fed slightly overweight people different diets, and studied the effect of this on gene expression. Gene expression refers to the process where information from a gene’s DNA sequence is translated into a substance, like a protein, that is used in a cell’s structure or function.

“We have found that a diet with 65% carbohydrates, which often is what the average Norwegian eats in some meals, causes a number of classes of genes to work overtime,” says Berit Johansen, a professor of biology at NTNU. She supervises the project’s doctoral students and has conducted research on gene expression since the 1990s.

“This affects not only the genes that cause inflammation in the body, which was what we originally wanted to study, but also genes associated with development of cardiovascular disease, some cancers, dementia, and type 2 diabetes — all the major lifestyle-related diseases,” she says.

Common dietary advice and chronic disease

These findings undercut most of the underpinnings for the diets you’ve heard will save you. Dietary advice abounds, and there is a great deal of variation as to how scientifically justified it is. But it is only now that researchers are figuring out the relationship between diet, digestion and the effect on one’s health and immune system — so they can now say not only what kinds of foods are healthiest, but why.

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“Both low-carb and high-carb diets are wrong,” says Johansen. “But a low-carb diet is closer to the right diet. A healthy diet shouldn’t be made up of more than one-third carbohydrates (up to 40 per cent of calories) in each meal, otherwise we stimulate our genes to initiate the activity that creates inflammation in the body.”

This is not the kind of inflammation that you would experience as pain or an illness, but instead it is as if you are battling a chronic light flu-like condition. Your skin is slightly redder, your body stores more water, you feel warmer, and you’re not on top mentally. Scientists call this metabolic inflammation.

A powdered diet

Johansen and her colleagues conducted two studies. The first was to determine what type of research methods they would use to answer the questions they had. In the pilot study (28 days) five obese men ate real food, while in the second study, 32 slightly overweight men and women (mainly students) ate specially made powdered food.

Participants in the latter study were randomly assigned to go six days on a diet with 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates, with the rest of the calories from protein (15 percent) and fat (20 percent), then a week with no diet. Then came the six days on a diet with half the carbs and twice as much protein and fat as in the first diet. There were blood tests before and after each dieting period.

The amount of food each person ate was calculated so that their weight would remain stable and so that equal portions were consumed evenly over six meals throughout the day.

The researchers had help developing diets from Fedon Lindberg, a medical doctor who specializes in internal medicine and who promotes low-glycaemic diets, Inge Lindseth, an Oslo dietician who specializes in diabetes, and Ann-Kristin de Soysa, a dietician who works with obese patients at St. Olavs Hospital in Trondheim.

“We wanted to know exactly what the subjects were getting in terms of both macro- and micronutrients,” says Johansen, -”A tomato doesn’t contain a consistent amount of nutrients, or antioxidants, for example. So make sure we had a handle on the health effects, we had to have accurate accounting of nutrients. That’s why we chose the powdered diets for the main study.”

Solving the control problem

Diet studies that compare different diets with different amounts of fat are often criticized with the argument that it is difference in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids that causes the health effects, not the rest of the food intake.

The researchers addressed this problem by having the same amount of omega-3 and omega-6 in both diets, although the amount of fat in general was different in the diets that were tested. The researchers also avoided another common problem: the natural variation in gene expression between humans.

“Each of our study subjects was able to be his or her own control person, ” Johansen says “Every subject was allowed to go on both diets, with a one-week break in between the diets, and half began with one diet, while the rest started with the other diet.”

Blood tests were conducted before and after each diet period. All of the measurements of changes in gene expression were done so that each individual’s difference in gene expression was compared with that person alone. The results were then compiled.

Johnson says the studies resulted in two important findings. One is the positive effect of many meals throughout the day, and the details about the quality and composition of components in an optimal diet, including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. The second is that a carbohydrate-rich diet, regardless of whether or not a person overeats, has consequences for genes that affect the lifestyle diseases, she says.

A way to measure genetic temperature

Throughout the study, researchers surveyed the extent to which various genes were working normally or overtime. An aggregate measure of the results of all of this genetic activity is called gene expression. It can almost be considered a measurement of the genetic temperature of the body’s state of health.

“We are talking about collecting a huge amount of information,” says Johansen.

“And it’s not like there is a gene for inflammation, for example. So what we look for is whether there are any groups of genes that work overtime. In this study we saw that an entire group of genes that are involved in the development of inflammatory reactions in the body work overtime as a group.”

It was not only inflammatory genes that were putting in overtime, as it would turn out. Some clusters of genes that stood out as overactive are linked to the most common lifestyle diseases.

“Genes that are involved in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and some forms of cancer respond to diet, and are up-regulated, or activated, by a carbohydrate-rich diet,” says Johansen.

Johansen is not a cancer researcher, and is not claiming that it is possible to eliminate your risk of a cancer diagnosis by eating. But she thinks it is worth noting that the genes that we associate with disease risk can be influenced by diet.

“We’re not saying that you can prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s if you eat right, but it seems sensible to reduce the carbohydrates in our diets,” she suggests.

“We need more research on this,” Johansen adds. “It seems clear that the composition and quantity of our diets can be key in influencing the symptoms of chronic disease. It is important to distinguish between diet quality and quantity, both clearly have very specific effects.”

The body’s arms race

Johansen argues that diet is the key to controlling our personal genetic susceptibility to disease. In choosing what we eat, we choose whether we will provide our genes the weapons that cause disease. The immune system operates as if it is the body’s surveillance authority and police. When we consume too many carbohydrates and the body is triggered to react, the immune system mobilizes its strength, as if the body were being invaded by bacteria or viruses.

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“Genes respond immediately to what they have to work with. It is likely that insulin controls this arms race,” Johansen says. “But it’s not as simple as the regulation of blood sugar, as many believe. The key lies in insulin’s secondary role in a number of other mechanisms. A healthy diet is about eating specific kinds of foods so that that we minimize the body’s need to secrete insulin. The secretion of insulin is a defense mechanism in response to too much glucose in the blood, and whether that glucose comes from sugar or from non-sweet carbohydrates such as starches (potatoes, white bread, rice, etc.), doesn’t really matter.”

Avoid the fat trap!

The professor warns against being caught up in the fat trap. It’s simply not good to cut out carbs completely, she says. “The fat/protein trap is just as bad as the carbohydrate trap. It’s about the right balance, as always.”

She says we must also make sure to eat carbohydrates, proteins and fats in five to six smaller meals, not just for the main meal, at dinner.

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“Eating several small and medium-sized meals throughout the day is important. Don’t skip breakfast and don’t skip dinner. One-third of every meal should be carbohydrates, one-third protein and one-third fat. That’s the recipe for keeping inflammatory and other disease-enhancing genes in check,” Johansen explains.

Change is quick

Johansen has some encouraging words, however, for those of us who have been eating a high carbohydrate diet. “It took just six days to change the gene expression of each of the volunteers,” she says, “so it’s easy to get started. But if you want to reduce your likelihood of lifestyle disease, this new diet will have to be a permanent change.”

Johansen stressed that researchers obviously do not have all the answers to the relationship between diet and food yet. But the trends in the findings, along with recent scientific literature, make it clear that the recommendation should be for people to change their dietary habits.

Otherwise, an increasing number of people will be afflicted with chronic lifestyle diseases.

The new food balance sheet

Most of us think it is fine to have foods that you can either eat or not eat, whether it comes to carbohydrates or fats. So how will we know what to put on our plates?

Do we have to both count calories and weigh our food now?

“Of course you can be that careful,” says Johansen. “But you will come a long way just by making some basic choices. If you cut down on boiled root vegetables such as potatoes and carrots, and replace the white bread with a few whole meal slices, such as rye bread, or bake your own crispbread, you will reduce the amount of bad carbohydrates in your diet quite significantly. Furthermore, remember to eat protein and fat at every meal, including breakfast!”

Salad also contains carbohydrates

Johansen explains that many of us do not realize that all the fruits and vegetables we eat also count as carbohydrates — and that it’s not just sweet carbohydrates that we should watch out for.

“Salad is made up of carbohydrates,” says Johansen. “But you have to eat a lot of greens to get a lot of calories. Steamed broccoli is a great alternative to boiled potatoes. Fruit is good, but you have to be careful not to eat large quantities of the high-glycemic fruits at one time. Variety is important.”

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The best is to cut down on potatoes, rice and pasta, and to allow ourselves some of the good stuff that has long been in the doghouse in the refrigerator.

“Instead of light products, we should eat real mayonnaise and sour cream,” Johansen says, “and have real cream in your sauce, and eat oily fish. That said, we should still remember not to eat too much food, either at each meal or during the day. Fat is twice as calorie-rich as carbohydrates and proteins, so we have to keep that in mind when planning the sizes of our portions. Fat is also different. We shouldn’t eat too much saturated animal fat, but monounsaturated vegetable fats and polyunsaturated marine fats are good.”

Fountain-of-youth genes

Johansen’s research also shows that some genes are not up-regulated, but rather the opposite — they calm down rather than speed up.

“It was interesting to see the reduction in genetic activity, but we were really happy to see which genes were involved. One set of genes is linked to cardiovascular disease. They were down-regulated in response to a balanced diet, as opposed to a carbohydrate-rich diet,” she says. Another gene that was significantly differently expressed by the diets that were tested was one that is commonly called “the youth gene” in the international research literature.

“We haven’t actually stumbled on the fountain of youth here,” Johansen laughs, “but we should take these results seriously. The important thing for us is, little by little, we are uncovering the mechanisms of disease progression for many of our major lifestyle-related disorders.”

Johansen’s research has been supported by NTNU and Central Norway Regional Health Authority. Other key partners have been Mette Langaas, a statistician and associate professor of mathematics at NTNU, Dr. Bard Kulseng of the Regional Center for Morbid Obesity at St Olavs Hospital, and Martin Kuiper, a professor of systems biology at NTNU.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Norwegian University of Science & technology (NTNU) & Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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2014 Goals and Beyond.

“Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail”

We here this old saying every year. How many of you plan everything out to the last. The plan is so extensive and detailed it becomes no fun, it dictates life, it starts to annoy you, you become tired, loose motivation and eventually the plan goes in the bin.

Sound familiar?

At Sports & exercise Engineering we take all that planning out of your goals and manage you and your training in an effective and efficient manor. We use the latest of technology that is available today. We apply the highest standards used in the coaching world today. We get you to your peak. Remember “A Goal is only a wish until you have a Plan” All our plans are specific, progressive and applicable to the athlete or individual in question. Generic is not a term we are familiar with.

Wether your a high performance athlete or someone looking to get fit and back into the groove why not give us a call to discuss your options for 2014. Contact form is HERE or you can call in using the directions HERE

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Hypoxic Training Improves TT Performance and Power Output

Originally posted on Sports and Exercise Engineering Blog:

Elite cyclists endurance performance following Intermittent Hypoxic Training (IHT)


We welcome your opinion on all the papers we post. Add your comments, thoughts or your own articles below.

Summary of the paper:

Well controlled and applied endurance sport research. 20 male elite cyclists randomly divided into a hypoxic or normoxic group trained at 95% (hypoxic) or 100% (normoxic) of individual lactate threshold, 3 times a week for 3 weeks. After a rest week the hypoxic group managed a significantly improved 30km time trial with a 5.6% increased in average power and 2.6% improvement in time trial performance. The normoxic group did not see any significant differences post training.

The study highlights that haematological adaptations may not occur when only using IHT. However when combined with an adequate training stimulus muscular adaptation (increase mitochondrial density, cappilary length…

View original 213 more words

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Athlete Testing at

A rider being put through his paces in our testing suite today.

Pedal Stroke Analysis and Lactate profiling to Power & Heart Rate has allowed this ride to produce the same power output at a lower input aas he was doing during his peak racing time this year without any work over Zone 3.

Measurable outcomes are the only way to improve and be sure your work is correct.

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January Turbo Sessions with Strength & Conditioning Classes




Sports & Exercise Engineering are presenting Turbo Trainer Sessions at their clinic in Galway. We are located just off the Tuam Road at 25 Glenrock Business Park, Ballybane Industrial Estate or by clicking Here. Classes schedule for the month of January is:

  • Tuesday class A 18:00 – 19:00 & class B 19:15 – 20:15
  • Thursday class C 18:00 – 19:00 & class D 19:15 – 20:15

Included in the session will be some Cycling Specific Strength & Conditioning. The sessions will build over the month and be structured for progression. We have one turbo and a Watt Bike for rent which we use in our Testing Suite if you would like to have a Pedal Stroke Efficiency Analysis as part of your session at a additional cost. It is advised that all riders bring a towel, bike, turbo trainer and fluids. You can avail of some professional advice along with your turbo training which will benefit your training and progression.


Cost of the 4 week block is €30 per class for the month or €10 pay as you go per class. The classes are restricted to 10 people and a first come first served basis will be used. Please that you do not have to be a professional to do these classes and your session will be tailored to your own ability.

Bookings & Gift Cards can be got from calling 087 2453114 or by mailing us at

Merry Christmas to you all from us at Sports & Exercise Engineering.

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Pre Season Training Camp in Maspalomas

Pre-Season Training Camp.

With the success of our pre-christmas training camp we are delighted to offer in conjunction with Neenan Travel our pre-season training camp from the 4th of February 2014. Places are limited so we advise booking early.

The Camp will be lead by Coach Jonathan Gibson with advice offered during the camp on training, nutrition, racing and your current and future development as a rider. The camp is suitable for very very strong A3 riders along with A2, A1 and A+ riders. Along the rolling coast the group will be averaging 34-40kpm depending on the particular day and session being carried out. Climbing will be at the riders own pace for the particular workout that will be prescribed on the day. Advise will be given on Heart Rate or Power zones should it be required. Please note that this is not a cycling holiday but a pre-season training camp where you will improve your fitness and prepare your body for the 2014 racing season. Climbs can range from 6-7% for 8-10km to 15% for 3-4km and for the particular workouts we will be completing on the camp we recommend a 39 x 28 to 53 11/12. The duration of the training day will range from 5 to 8 hours with either 1 or 2 food stops included in this time depending on duration. As water runs short we will stop as required. Pedal time is usually 4 to 6.5 hrs.  A typical ride structure will consist of a warm up, specific work on bike, recovery riding, food/water stop, easy riding, specific work on bike and return to hotel. On the longer days the group will stop for food/water instead of returning to the hotel then ride easy do some more specific work and then return to the hotel. If you would like any further information on the content of the camp please contact us at 087 2453114 or for booking go straight to Neenan Travel at +353 1 6079900 and ask for Susanne. See options 1 to 3 below complete with costings.

Option 1  (7 Nights)
Departing Dublin Tuesday 4th February
Depart 14:10 arrive Las Palmas 18:40
Private Transfer to VISTA FLOR BUNGALOWS
7 nights self catering
Return Tuesday 11th February
Depart 19:30 arrive Dublin 23:59
Price per person
1 bedroom – 2 sharing €523.00
1 bedroom – 3 sharing €472.00
Optional extras -
Check in bag on Aer Lingus flights €40 return
Bike on Aer Lingus flights €80 return
Travel insurance €23 (1 Week)
Option 2  (14 Nights)
Departing Dublin Tuesday 4th February
Depart 14:10 arrive Las Palmas 18:40
Private Transfer to VISTA FLOR BUNGALOWS
14 nights self catering
Return Tuesday 18th February
Depart 19:30 arrive Dublin 23:59
Price per person
1 bedroom – 2 sharing €731.00
1 bedroom – 3 sharing €629.00
Optional extras -
Check in bag on Aer Lingus flights €40 return
Bike on Aer Lingus flights €80 return
Travel insurance €25 (1 Weeks)
Option 3  (9  Nights)
Departing Dublin Tuesday 4th February
Depart 14:10 arrive Las Palmas 18:40
Private Transfer to VISTA FLOR BUNGALOWS
9 nights self catering
Return Thursday 13th February
Depart 19:30 arrive Dublin 23:59
Price per person
1 bedroom – 2 sharing €612.00
1 bedroom – 3 sharing €547.00
Optional extras -
Check in bag on Aer Lingus flights €40 return
Bike on Aer Lingus flights €80 return
Travel insurance €25 (9night/10days)

Please be advised that bike box numbers are limited on flights so first come first served. We do recommend local rental companies Free-Motion who rent Cannondales & Cyclo Canaria who rent Specialized on the island. Prices are correct today the 6th of December but are subject to change. Please call Neenan Travel at +353 1 6079900 and ask for Susanne for booking.

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Ramp Testing (LT + Hr + Pwr), Pedal Stroke Efficiency Analysis & Body Fat Analysis

Measuring your Improvements

What is a “Measurable outcome” pertaining to Athletes? It is when you pre-measure a parameter be it Lactate Levels at a particular Power Output or Heart Rate or Pace. Then you complete a training prescription and post-measure again. The difference between the pre-measure and the post-measure is your measurable outcome. The measuring needs to be consistent and mirrored as to not have an effect on the results for comparison.

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At Sports & Exercise Engineering we bring these measurable outcome practices to the athlete be the athlete an Elite or Beginner. We standardize and regulate our testing so as to eliminate influenced results. This ensures a true and transparent result from testing and a true value of your positive or negative outcome. Once you have your results you can evaluate the effectiveness of your Training Prescription. We in house can advise on your prescription or one can discuss with your own coach.


Sports & Exercise Engineering use the most up to date tools and practices to measure that athletes can avail of a standardize protocol with accurate results each and every time.

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We can’t emphasis enough that the results obtained from training in your correctly tested zones, your improved pedal stroke efficiency from analysis and technique correction along with weight reduction in a correct manor can bring to your results.

You can contact us Here for an appointment or even to discuss your options regarding  what our Team can do to improve your performance. Our Clinic is based just 2mins from the Galway end of the M6.

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