Mikkipedia is an exploration in all things health, well being, fitness, food and nutrition. I sit down with scientists, doctors, professors, practitioners and people who have a wealth of experience and have a conversation that takes a deep dive into their area of expertise. I love translating science into a language that people understand, so while some of the conversations will be pretty in-depth, you will come away with some practical tips that can be instigated into your everyday life. I hope you enjoy the show!
Transcript generated using AI transcription services; errors may occur. Contact Mikki for clarification
Welcome, hi, I'm Mikki and this is Mikkipedia, where I sit down and chat to doctors, professors, athletes, practitioners, and experts in their fields related to health, nutrition, fitness, and wellbeing, and I'm delighted that you're here.
Hey everyone, it's Mikki here, you're listening to Mikkipedia and this week on the podcast I speak to Dr Jonathan Weakley from ACU University about training. So we discuss resistance training and if heavy or light load resistance training is superior for gains. We also discuss the importance of sleep for the athlete and the role of exercise at mitigating some of the risks of sleep deprivation.
And we discuss over training and Jonathan's own experience as a young athlete which spurred him into researching and writing on the topic. This was a really fun conversation with Jonathan who is Kiwi, working in Australia but has had a ton of experience working with professional teams and also in the research realm. So Dr Jonathan Weakley is a lecturer at ACU and an associate
Beckett University in the UK. He completed a PhD and post-doctorate position working alongside the Rugby Football Union and his primary area of research is in the topics of strength and power development, youth and team sports and has over 50 peer-reviewed publications on the topics of strength and conditioning and sports science. He currently supervises several PhD students and consults for professional sports teams and technology.
companies. This was such a great conversation, I really enjoyed it. I will put links to both Jonathan's bio from ACU University and also his research gate where you can catch the papers that we discuss in today's interview which is wide reaching and has common themes but are on different topics which I think will be of interest to many people out there.
Before we crack on into the interview though, I would just like to remind you that the best way to support the podcast is to hit the subscribe button on your favourite podcast listening platform. This increases the visibility of the podcast out there and it makes the literally thousands of other podcasts, so more people get the opportunity to learn from guests that I have on the show, like Dr Jonathan Weakley. So please enjoy our conversation.
And I think the cool, the great thing is that, you know, you are performance-based, but lots of, you know, your, obviously your field extends beyond performance. Aren't we all just athletes, Jonathan? Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think having the dietetics background was a big thing for me as well. Oh yes. Yeah, yeah. Because I remember my sister's a dietician too and studying to need it. And she's now up in, you know, at Fomery. And so she's up there and doing all the colour.
It's rural. It is deemed rural there. And I love the indigenous and Pacifica health, which is really cool. And then so they have kind of that relationship with my sister doing the dietetic stuff relationship with you, kind of nutrition sort of stuff. And then but then that's something that I've seen muscle physiology guys kind of forget about often that nutrition is a big part of it. So yeah, totally. Totally. Hey, Jono, so can we then kick off with you telling me, give me a little bit of your
background. So we were just chatting before I hit record that you studied in Dunedin, you're from Christchurch. So how did you end up in Brizzy, which by the way, I love Brisbane and you're in a t-shirt. And so I'm imagining it's a lot warmer than what it is. Yeah, well, it's probably one of the coldest days of the year and I'm still in a t-shirt. So I'm pretty lucky. Stop it. Yeah, yeah. I am from Christchurch as I said, and I was a passionate athlete.
which is why I kind of ended up doing some over-training, you sort of research later on. And, but I was given, not through the lack of care from my parents, but probably not the best advice to the young athlete. I wasn't kind of nurtured in a way, because it's easy to utilize passion and enthusiasm overly as a young guy. And- Were you rugby? Rugby, yeah, like everyone else in New Zealand. And-
But then, yes, I really am very, very conscientious and diligent on my training. And then I wanted to do sports and exercise nutrition down in Dunedin. So I did that. And then I thought, oh, great. I'll go do dietetics over in Wollongong because New Zealand has had some issues with the dietetics courses as of late. I'm sure you'll be aware of that. It's gone rid of a target course. I think there's only messy now. Are you serious? I had no idea that. How old are you?
32, I just had birthday cake for tomorrow. Amazing, so it's your birthday tomorrow? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hey, happy birthday, amazing. Yeah, I was actually thinking when you said it, you could see I've stumbled. I felt like I was lying. No, 32. And I ended up...
Then going to the Gong, and that's a tremendous difference coming from Otago to the Gong, to Wodongong, which is south of Sydney. Oh, serious. Yeah, it was such a life-changing event. But I also felt like I could, so I was doing my masters in nutrition and dietetics, and then I also thought I could extend myself a little bit further, so I enrolled in a second masters over in Perth. Nice. Yeah, and that was muscle exercise physiology and strip conditioning.
And my whole life, I kind of felt like I wanted to be a dietician and I saw my sister become a dietician and I grew up with a large Pacifica and Māori influence and I knew that the benefits of nutrition for our communities. And then I was pretty good at dietetics. I was kind of like upper-pack, but like middle-upper-pack. And then I was doing this other degree at the same time.
And I was crushing it and I was loving it. And I was sitting around there going, my goodness, my whole life has been a lie. I'm an okay dietician, but I really love exercise. So, and then I kind of had a, I'd say midlife crisis, I reckon around that point, depending how long I live. And I decided that, hey, exercise was a really good place for me to be. And I'm gonna probably put.
lot of my expertise into that bucket, but I'm still going to keep that nutrition side of things, which is really important. And then I picked up my, picked up a role with England Rugby Union and Leeds Beckett University, who I'm forever grateful for. They took a huge gamble on a funny sounding lad out from the South of, from South Pacific, and they gave me a scholarship to work with them, doing my PhD on exercise and training for rugby players, particularly in the adolescent space. And then my postdoc.
And then my partner who's from Sweden, she's a real scientist. She just graduated and finished, so congrats to her. But she took a role at the University of Queensland. And so I thought, right.
Probably five or six years in the North of England, enough for me. And I'm going to come back to ACU up North on North Brisbane, right just below the South Sunshine Coast. And I don't think there's many other places I'd prefer to be. It's lovely.
Yeah, oh, that sounds good. And I have to say, Don, let's hope that your midlife crisis is actually just a crisis, which we all go through. And I'm sure that is that is the case. So what was your so now you're a professor, a lecturer, what is your primary interest at? Senior lecturer and I work within the Sprint Research Centre. So Sprint is acronym for Sports Performance Recovery Injuries and New Technologies. And I'm very, very much in the
New technology sort of space, but performance can encompass a whole lot of things. So that's really cool for me. And I'm seeing your lecture here. There's not many, I don't think there's many people, many academics who sound like me. So I'm kind of representing a rare breed over here. So it's a real privilege to do what I do. And I genuinely couldn't picture a better job in the world. It's the best thing. You know, not, yeah.
That is great. That is great. I was a lecturer for many, many years. And what I loved about it was that it felt like I was just still a student and didn't actually have a job, like a real job, you know? Like you got all the perks of.
being a student, but you didn't have to sit assessments and you got paid. Yeah, I'm getting older and everyone stays the same age, that's kind of cool. Yeah, totally, totally. So John, I really wanted to chat to you and your name popped up on my, I think it was Twitter originally, then I went delving into some of the papers with which you're an author on.
And you've said to me multiple times, Mickey, I do not profess to be, you know, I'm performance, but yes, I do have some interest in this non sort of performance realm. But I think just a general chat about some of like the sleep and circadian biology would be awesome. And of course, we're going to touch on your overtraining and the athlete paper, which you mentioned as being a bit of a passion area for you, which is cool. But now, like one of the, I really enjoyed looking at your
low versus high load for the benefits of resistance training. I talked to so many people who have this fear around, or they know the benefits of resistance training, but they have a fear as to what it's gonna take to actually get the benefits from them. So, you know, your paper sort of looked at, as I understand, sort of some of those, you know, what it actually takes for the health benefits of resistance training. What do you actually need to do either in a gym or sort of outside that gym?
arena. Can we sort of start by helping our listeners understand the difference between lower load resistance training and that traditional higher load training? And how do the benefits compare? Like how do we even, yeah, how do we even determine that? Yeah, I might even say some controversial things here. Well, I like it, Jono. I thought when you first approached me, I thought I'd write down some notes and I thought, forget these, I'm going to say something controversial here. So I think...
So first of all, the first question was, you know, what's um, how would you kind of define them or describe them? And when we talk about low load training or lower load training, we're talking about loads beneath 50% of your maximum. So if I can lift 100 kilograms, we'd be talking about, you know, 49 kilograms or below. Now higher load training often refers to loads above 70%. And it's just going by ACSM guidelines. And
Historically, we've often thought that high loads have been required to induce changes in strength and muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth. And I'm particularly passionate about resistance training in my career. The reason for that is because we know that resistance training is exceptionally important. We know it is like the fountain of youth. It is exceptionally important to have muscle strength.
and muscle mass as we grow older is particularly important for females. And now I'm doing a serious amount of resistance training research into females at the moment. So I'm really cool about training research into training across the menstrual cycle, which is going to be absolutely game changing and groundbreaking for adjusting the results that come in. And we know and we also know that
resistance training is really important for attenuating risk of things like metabolic disease, cardiovascular risk, and so all these sorts of things like that. Now this is the controversial part. I actually think that resistance training, and I've got good information, good data to support this, is so essential as we grow older that we need to start not necessarily completely removing aerobic training, but reducing some of that aerobic training that often occurs.
because aerobic training often causes transfer from type II strong muscle fibers to weaker, more aerobic fibers. And we also know that that can cause also losses in lean mass, where resistance training does quite the opposite. We need to increase, at least to increase, type II muscle fibers. It helps gait and function.
It increases the overall size of the muscle, increases the strength of our muscle. And these are all things that we lose as we age. Yeah. Yeah. And I've heard people talk about that. That's the type. So you're saying type two fibers are the thing that we really need to be cognizant of, even if we don't really know it. Well, we don't need to. I mean, the general population doesn't need to know that. They just need to know that resistance training isn't important. But.
from that sort of physiological perspective, we lose those type two fibers. And more so if we focus on aerobic training. So it's almost putting us on more of a back foot if we're not cognizant of that from the early on. If you really want to hear a buzzword which is going to land me at log trouble, I reckon aerobic training as we get older is almost psychogenic.
it leads to greater losses in muscle mass and strength. Yeah, interesting. And we know that there's changes in concurrent and strength in muscle fiber size when we do the much aerobic training. So the thing is that as we age, resistance training can help increase our strength, the amount of force we can.
produced, which then directly leads to changes in power production, which is essential for activities of daily living. And then we also have greater muscle mass. So this form of training is so essential. So essential. Not even talking about bone mineral density and all these sorts of things, particularly in older females after menopause. So the thing is, we really, really need to start emphasizing resistance training.
And there's probably been some societal constructs which have mitigated uptake of resistance training, because there's guys that look like me walking around in gyms, rather than people that look like my mum. You know, she's the one who needs it most. You know what I mean? So it's how can we improve access uptake, you know, and, you know, confidence with people in the gyms and
Unfortunately, it's also been the domain of young, teenage men rather than young, teenage females as well. So how we can provide greater acceptance or uptake, or maybe just how can we get people motivated to do resistance training, which is really, really essential for our long-term health. So Jono, a couple of things with that. So I had a conversation with Dr. Brendan Egan from
like Moore's University and he was exactly saying the same thing as you, you know, in terms of the, you know, needing to do more sort of resistance-based training, particularly as we age. And it's interesting what you say because I'm just, as you were talking, I was thinking about the public health guidelines around exercise and how, you know, we're told we need to do 150 minutes a week. This hasn't changed. Like, you know, I studied 15 years before you did and I think our curriculums would have been the same. And
there now these sort of ACE, it is noted in there that, you know, if you can do strength training, you know, you sort of do it, but it's almost like this added extra bonus rather than that's the essential thing. Yeah. And the World Health guidelines, sorry, World Health Organization guidelines have started to include resistance training into their recommendations, ACSM, but for many, many years up until quite recently, resistance training was a byproduct. It was
wasn't even considered. You're right, you know, 150 minutes of aerobic exercise. Oh, well, wonderful. But what about all the resistance training? The things that keep your bones strong, the muscles strong, function. Yeah. You know, so, yeah. So, no, you did right. It's been it's been overlooked for many, many years. And people like Brad Schoenfeld and Stu Phillips, Stu would be wonderful on this podcast because he's the real expert. But well, I have chatted to him. So, yeah, yeah, yeah, he is a superstar. He is the person I am.
probably the academic who really got me excited about doing this area in my career, but he, they're showing it's so essential. He called it the fountain of youth. It's not me, I took it from him. So the thing is, it's a really, really cool thing and important thing to have.
inside of your exercise routine, particularly SPH. What are you reckon about that 150 minutes? I mean, really, I just think, like I like, I just think given what our lifestyles are like these days, it is hard to be, like you have to be deliberate to get in 10,000 steps, you know, like, and then you may.
go for a run for example, or even like do your gym work and do a little bit of cardio or whatever on top of your resistance training. You might come out with four or 5,000, but then you might only accrue about another 2,000 across the day if you have a job where you're just sitting down like, what are your thoughts on the actual recommendations? Cause you can tell probably that I think they're a little bit lame. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I think it's really, really hard to provide population-based recommendations and really encompass everyone. If I did 150 minutes, I think I'd.
my hair, I'd be going crazy. Yeah, two and a half hours. So like for me, I'm, I probably started being obsessive about exercise throughout my history, during my postdoc and PhD, maybe less so. But then I, I love exercise so much that I might exercise for two and a half hours in a day. So yeah, so but I can do that because I've got 20 years of training experience. So for someone with very little training experience who hasn't done it much exercise for 30 years.
150 minutes might be quite a lot. And yeah, so I think it's horses to courses. And I think it's really, really hard to provide clear recommendations and, you know, I think it's case by case. Although there's been a lot of blowback for this term, this acute and chronic training ratios, you might have come across that. If you've got a really big chronic training base, it's okay to do a lot of exercise because you're used to it. But if you go from zero to 100,
Yeah, you're probably going to break. So the thing is we need to take it into context, but broad guidelines, geez, one another 151 minutes, I don't know. I know, I hear you. And you know what, it is a little bit like the five plus a day or seven plus a day in Australia, you know, like, to my mind, people need like, people should.
like set higher expectations. You know, like I like, you don't, nothing mediocre, you know, like what five plus a day is like nothing in terms of what we know the potential health benefit of vegetables and fruit, which I know is not the topic of that conversation, but it's just, but you're right, you're right. Sometimes actually if you try to set, and this is actually one of the things I say about the guidelines is that the, you know, if you were to, if you tried to set things which were well out of reach of most people, then.
people aren't gonna bother. And maybe this is the same with the physical activity guidelines, maybe having something set at where it's at gives someone an achievable goal and maybe they'll just love it and wanna do more anyway. And I think that, as you were saying, I was thinking about the psychology of it, things that I don't really think about, and I think realistically as well, when I went into professional coaching, doing my PhD and all those sorts of things, I used to be kind of frustrated at my athletes, my younger athletes for not.
being able to do the things I expected of them. And then I realized that it's so individualized. It's so, you know, it's all well and good that I've been training for 16, 15, 14 years by that point, pretty consistently every single day. So why would I expect someone who doesn't have that training experience to be able to do those things? And so, yeah, and I think it's horses for courses and yeah, it's just trying to understand the individual and trying not to make it too intimidating.
Totally. And Jono, so are you still playing rugby now? Like how do you spend your two and a half hours in a gym? And I would have to say, I have to say, like, I know, I know how you can cause you're an academic. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Don't tell anyone we don't do too much. I've actually spent my whole career trying to outwork people because I'm not smart. So yeah, if I'm not going to outthink them, I'm going to outwork them. But so I'm looking pretty prone to long hours in my career, but
I realize my partner is from Sweden, as I mentioned before, and she is a lovely baker. And that's why I'm spending so much time in the gym recently. But I've also noticed that to counteract that. And there's also no excuses for me to be not doing world class kind of practices, because I am a, you know, someone trained in nutrition and someone who's trained in exercise physiology, so I should be leading the pack. Also, I look at my
ethnicity, my male as well and I'm in my 30s, I've got to start taking and thinking about my health really seriously and I've also got to be thinking about my whanau, my family, my hapu, my wider community around me and how I can continue giving back to them for the long term because if I don't I will.
unfortunately, I will be a midlife crisis. So I've got to be thinking about long term for and also while I don't have kids yet, if I ever do have kids, I need to be thinking about how my health impacts them. So yeah, so it's a real, it's in New Zealand, you know, we've got
But a large part of it is dating a Swede. And if you ever know that Swedish people, they have a thing called fika, and fika is cakes and coffee. Oh, lovely. Yeah, what a delightful little part-time they have. For us, it's playing footy, but they go for cakes and coffee. So, too much fika for me. Yeah. No, no, that makes total sense. So, okay then, Jono, can we, so if I go back then to the paper that we sort of initially started talking about, low versus high low for the benefits of resistance training. So,
You're essentially saying that we don't need to go in and do the super high load, sort of three to six, for example. And even as a woman, I don't need to, there is no reason for me to focus much more on the heavy load. Because I have to say, Jono, is that I've been going to the gym for 30 years, you know, as well. So I'm like, you're my lifelong sort of trainer. And I'm sort of.
I'm an endurance athlete, but I love the gym as well. And I love the strength training, but I've always really struggled because I'm very uncoordinated. I can run it in one direction and that is basically my skillset. And so everything else has been, it's been learning and it's a constant work on. So when it comes in the gym, I get quite intimidated if I have a program that tells me to do these really heavy loads. And actually I can't work hard if I do that. And even though I might do like,
it'll say this is how you should feel. You should feel that you have like one RIR, you know, rep and reserve or whatever, or two or three. I know that I'm leaving a lot on the bench if I train like that because it intimidates me and I'm scared to do that load. Yeah, yeah, it's really funny that you say that because this paper was under review for over a year. It got rejected several times from reviewers because it talks about, and this is my thought.
it talks about a controversial thing. They don't have to lift heavier loads. You don't have to do that. You know, uber intense alpha in the gym, hey, it's okay to lift lighter loads. And, and I think we had a torrid time in review, particularly about things like that. Heavy loads can be intimidating. And reviewers would come back and say, it's just who? You just ask anyone in the community, I'm intimidated by heavy loads, you know? Yeah, so no, I agree. And
Resistance training first and foremost. If you're resistance trained to begin with, congratulations, you're over halfway. You know, that's the most important thing. So we need people to understand that resistance training isn't for the elite athlete, it's for everyone and it can be a great thing. Now there's a difference between getting the benefits and optimizing the benefits because I can definitely optimize the benefits with low load training and I can have very similar adaptations to high load training.
Low load training not optimal, I can still get a lot of benefits. Now, if I want to optimize low load training to have strength and hypertrophic adaptations, so strength and changes in my muscle size, you really do need to take it close to failure. What we'd call is, you know, you mentioned to RIR or reps and reserve. That means if I'm going to do if I could maximally do 30 reps, maybe I need to do 28 or 29.
or a zero RIR would be taking it to failure and they'll be doing 30. Now the thing about that is that it's exceptionally hard. It's exceptionally taxing, exceptionally fatiguing. And I actually think this is one of the limitations of low, low training. If you want to optimize those outcomes, you really need to take them to failure, to failure. And that's actually really hard for a lot of people. It's quite time consuming. It's a lot of volume or kilograms lifted across the entire set.
And it's also can be painful, you know what I mean? And I'm not talking about in the joints, I'm talking about muscle that burn, ouch, you know, run a 400 meter race and tell me how your legs feel after it. Well, that's kind of same on your arms or your shoulders or wherever you're working. So the thing is, is that ideally to optimize strength at a patient's and I say strength because you can get just as strong, there's low load and high load, which is a complete divergence from what we used to be able to what we used to prescribe.
It's just that it's not necessarily specific strength. So if I do low load training with The extensions I'm not gonna be as strong in the back squat as if I did high load training with a back squat Which makes sense because that's a skill a back squat is a skill that allows you to train to produce force Which is important strength And you can also maximize
hypertrophic adaptation, so changes in your muscle size. And the reason for this is because as you exercise, as you pick up a heavy load, you're immediately starting to recruit those fibers in the muscles. But when you pick up a low load, so let's say 40% of your max, you're only recruiting a portion of those muscles, so the smaller, weaker or less forceful muscle fibers. And as you get closer to failure, those...
smaller, weaker fibers that are helping you lift the weight load originally start to go, hey, I'm tired. I need to get my other muscle fibers, my buddies to help support and they help recruit those muscle fibers so that you can continue exercising until you reach a point where you can't lift anymore. And that's the whole muscle fiber, the whole muscle being recruited. And if you're recruiting those muscle fibers and putting strain on those muscles, guess what? You're going to have
hypertrophic adaptations or changes in body mass. Okay, so basically what you're saying is that regardless of whether you're high load or low load, you want to have that failure and that stimulus to get to the point where it's that hard. Yeah, so for low load, yes. For high load, you don't need to. But then you've got to lift the heavy loads. Yeah. Yes.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. So because with a high load, you're already recruiting those muscle fibers pretty much from the get-go. With the low load, you have to, you end up recruiting some of them, and then as you get more and more tired, you recruit a few more, then a few more, and a few more, until you're recruiting the whole muscle. And that's why you can have adaptations that are similar to high load resistance training, because at the end, you're still recruiting the entire muscle.
Nice. So Jono, how does, because I also think of techniques that people use like slowing down the tempo, using a smaller weight but slowing down the tempo to get that sort of time under tension. Like is that going to change? Does that sort of play into what you're talking about? Is that something different? Yeah, I think time under tension historically has been something which was very, very heavily emphasized.
But as I think as the research goes on, we're starting to realize that time and attention probably is less important. Now I'm not... Ah, it's a bro science. Yeah, bro science. And there's a lot of it in there. But in saying that, a lot of bro science is also ahead of the research. So you got... you won't let me lose some. And I think what we see with time and attention is that we don't necessarily optimally recruit all the muscle fiber, because you're kind of slowing everything down and you can't get as much volume. And the volume is really what is important.
with that low, low training. So yeah, so low, low training is completely, you can absolutely get just as strong as with high, low training. You can develop just as much muscle. And to be fair to the bros in the gym, they have been doing that for years. You know, you often see those heavy-hits, they come and do some arms and all those sorts of things. That's what they're doing. They're doing sets of 15 and 20. They're burning up those muscles. And that's why those bodybuilders still get those massive big muscles, even though the weights are quite low. Drop sets and supersets, the same sort of concept.
Yes. So that's one thing we can start to do. But the thing is that low loads are completely feasible. It is completely acceptable. And you can absolutely get great adaptations and strength in lean body mass. However, to optimize it, you do need to go into the hurt locker a little bit. You do need to get close to failure. But does my mom need to have optimal?
optimal protein synthetic responses and all those sorts of things. No, she's my mum, she doesn't need to be an elite level athlete. She's just focusing on her health and her life liquid in the community. She's not going out for the All Blacks. Okay, no, that's cool. So if we're thinking then about someone who wants to get maybe... Would it be...
fair to say, okay, get 80% of the benefits, which is what we're after, rather than 100%. Let's say 100% is the elite and 80% is like your mum or me or something like that. What would that look like structurally? Like how would I train for that? Like reps and sets and muscles to, maybe not muscles to target, but maybe exercises or something like, do you have that sort of information? Yeah, and there's like many paths forward. And I think with lower load training,
People are so quick to dichotomize, they are so quick to say it's them or us. It's not the optimal, sorry, it's not us collectively trying to have a positive outcome. It's just a tool in the toolkit. You know, so if you don't feel comfortable lifting heavy loads, completely fine. Let's still get in the gym and still get some exercise under our belts and let's still put our muscles under some strain so we can get some of the benefits.
So 80% of the way, in my opinion, is just getting in there and doing something, feeling comfortable, getting the exercise underway. And I think, I think if you were to use lower load training, you've got to understand that it doesn't have to be lower load training all the time. It can be some heavier loads and then some lighter loads. I'd definitely do the heavier loads first, because if you're going to lift a heavy load, you want to make sure you're fresh and you're not having to put yourself under too much strain. And then.
doing the lighter loads on more isolated muscles, so isolate exercises. So let's say, you know, a bicep curl, which is working around one joint, the elbow, or a leg extension. And it's much easier to take those exercises to failure or close to failure than say a heavy squat, which we are. So yeah. Freaks me out. Yeah, totally freaks me out. Totally, man. And I think it's really important to understand too.
heavy and light are relative to you and me. You might squat 200 kilograms, I might squat 100 kilograms, and that's okay. And I think we just really, really need to understand that you might be lifting, you know, 100 kilogram bench press, your equivalent of 100 kilogram bench press might be 30 kilograms. Hey, and that's still fine. That's actually, that's wonderful if it's still what you need, if it's what you need.
Yeah, and if you're still getting the adaptation. Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. Hey, and if like even for me, I use a lot of lower load training because after 20 years of training in the gym, I'm getting some niggles in my body and that's completely normal and that's fine. I do a lot of lower load training. I know that to keep my muscle mass and keep my strength, I need to take it close to failure and that's okay. But the thing is is on the bench press I could bench 140, 150 kilograms, but the thing is I put
60 kilograms on the bar. And I do heaps of repetitions with that. I get my volume like that. And yeah, because it's not a competition with you right now. If it's a competition with you, hey, I'm trying to think about longevity here. So yeah, and there might be certain exercises that you are unable to work really heavy with. So for example, I, because of my lower back, I can't do heaps of heavy squats. So that's okay. I'm going to put 60, 70, 80
you know, 100 kilograms on the bar and do five reps, but then go to the leg extension or leg press and do a lot more repetitions. So it's a combination of what I need and working around my little niggles and aches and pains too. Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. And like currently I'm following a program that has a lot of volume actually. Oh, wow. And so much that I can't actually do it. And I...
I can't do it all. I mean, she's 23 and a CrossFit athlete, the programmer, and I think she's quite new to programming, but I can look at it and go, okay, well, if I can do two thirds of this, and I feel like I'm actually getting the, you know, exactly what you described, then I'm gonna be all right with that. And really digress here, for the endurance athletes, this is the really hard thing, is that the last thing you probably wanna do is low, low training. You don't want the volume for an endurance athlete. You've gotta be doing those higher loads because we're thinking about economy.
Because if you think about endurance performance, yeah, you know, you get a lot of volume already. So those higher loads are so important for endurance athletes. So yeah, I gave a presentation on this recently. You kind of want to get as strong as possible for endurance athlete, which is the opposite of traditionally what we think. You think, oh, I'll do three sets of 15 because of lots of volume. That really you want to be doing threes and fours.
Oh, damn it. Oh, well. Sorry. I like how, oh, but this is good. This is good to know. This is the way we're talking. Hey, Jono, you mentioned that, obviously, like I didn't know this, but you're currently sort of conducting a study looking at training the menstrual cycle. So I've talked to Lauren Kilenza Semple here before, and she's doing her PhD looking at the parameters with which you sort of, you know, like what is the basis behind training with the menstrual cycle? What is your...
I guess what is your research in that area? Because you mentioned it, so people would just be annoyed if I didn't actually ask you about it. It is some of the most world-leading research. Amazing. It's amazing, and people often forget the sort of stuff that's going on behind the scenes. And there's a lot of world leaders in there, and we thought, wow, what an exciting opportunity to put some of our PhD students who are excellent in this space. So historically across the menstrual cycle,
there's been a lot of reported subjective evidence that females don't perform as well. They say, hey, different phases of my cycle, I perform better or worse, I'm less inclined to exercise, I don't wanna do this, or I do wanna do this, and it's often around the follicular versus luteal phase. Now the objective evidence, well, there is none. It's really, really hard to do, because it's so hard to do. We see, well, we've seen a lack of
funding for it to be frank. It's exceptionally hard because you need to find the females who fit the normal menstrual cycle, whatever that means. But traditionally in research, we're talking about 21 to 35 days, which for a lot of females is kind of like quite limiting.
you know, because some females have a longer short cycle than a shorter cycle and it changes to cycle to cycle, which makes it really tricky. And then on top of that, you can't be having any hormonal contraceptives, contraceptives, which knocked out about probably 15, 50% of females immediately. Then you've got to find the people who are willing to give their bodies to science and exercise and all those sorts of things. So it actually probably leaves us, I've estimated about
Who to 3% of the population to recruit into our studies. So what we're going to do, what we've got is two students, one named Madison Pearson, who's looking at changes in physical performance across the menstrual cycle. And we're doing it with proper hormonal verification because a large limitation in the literature to date is that we've just been guessing. We've been saying, oh, you're in the luteal phase or you're in the follicular phase or whatever, but there's no actual hormonal verification.
Or alternatively, the studies are so incredibly underpowered that you can't find anything. So they say, oh, there are no differences. No, you just didn't have enough people. So then with Madison's work, where a testing changes across in recovery, performance, and sleep, across the menstrual cycle. And then we have Gabby Mantiano, who's looking at training across the menstrual cycle. This is the reason I'm getting out of bed at the moment. It's great stuff. What she's doing is she's got three groups. She's got a traditional.
program, which is percentage based training. Here's your program three times a week, you're in the gym doing this program and she's in there like supporting them and everything's super controlled and we're looking at every single repetition. We've got linear position transducer or a thing that monitors velocity and power output across every single rep. We've got world-class body compositions, strength, power, changes in, you know,
pretty much every physical quality and parameter pre, mid and post. And then we've got sleep across the entire study. And we've got, so we've got the first group, which is percentage based. We've got another group, which is menstrual cycle phase based training. And we've got.
So they might do more training sessions in the follicular phase and then less training sessions in the lute-peel phase. And then we've got the auto regulatory group, which is, hey, here's your training. You're allowed to modify it and adapt it as you see fit. And this work is going to be unbelievable because we know that there's some there's some subjective evidence and we also know that there is some speculation around anabolic or
metabolic changes in the hormonal mellow across the menstrual cycle. And we're saying there's been a lot of chat about it. It's incredibly hard, but we're going to go for it and we're going to do it. And Gabby is doing a phenomenal job in this space. It's yeah, it's so wonderful to see. It's getting the attention it deserves. And we're doing it with proper hormonal verification, with large sample sets of females, everything being monitored so we can quantify everything and every change. And we've really thrown ourselves into it. And it's so exciting.
Jono, when are those results going to be sort of ready to be talked about? Well, it depends on how many people want to participate at the moment. They'd be really wonderful if there's anyone listening who lives in Brisbane, who wants to reach out. I would just love that so much because it would make a phenomenal difference, not only to Gabby or me as an academic, but also to females who exercise.
And we need to make exercise more inclusive rather than exclusive, right? So, yes. So though we're starting to see some of the results trickling in now. Now, the thing is, is that every single, you know, you can't just go into a study and just start training. It's like two, two menstrual cycles or verification first. And then, you know, OK, you've got to come in, you've got to, you know, got to have normal form, sorry, menstrual cycle length. And if you're, if you're.
menstrual cycle for whatever reason, and that's completely fine. Goes over 35 days. Oh, sorry, we've got to find a new participant. It's really difficult to get participants. So we need more participants. But if I was to speculate and guess, I'd probably say an 18 months will have a really good grasp. And then because of peer review, it might be another year after that, which is so sad. But honestly, we'll be trying to share these results as soon as possible.
Amazing. That sounds great, Jon. I like it was really great to talk to Lauren about her, about the research she's doing in that, in exactly what you're sort of describing, like actually being really detailed on how do we even know what's actually going on. I think this will really complement some of the stuff that she's doing. She's working under Stu Phillips too, actually. Yeah, no, absolutely. I had a chat with Stu very, very briefly over an email about her and her work. And it was actually a lot of crossover between her work and Kelly McNulty as well. I'm sure you've seen it. Yeah, nice. It's...
The papers actually had a lot of similarities. Probably echoed a lot of take-home things, but we really need to be ringing that bell that, hey, you see on the social media nowadays, oh, you know, train to your menstrual cycle, and well, we don't have any evidence, but no evidence doesn't mean that there's no effect, and we need to differentiate those two things. Yeah, yeah, I do love that auto-regulatory piece, because that's a lot of practitioners in the space, that's actually what, you know, not on the basis of,
evidence for or against, but actually just their knowledge and coaching. Oh my goodness. And if you know anything about my career, auto-regulatory training is a big part of what I do. And we've actually got right now, the meeting I had before catching you up was with one of my PhD students who is comparing a whole of auto-regulatory responses and training in this. Such a fortunate space and such exciting to see this auto-regulatory stuff going on. And I will just note,
It's all well and good that we can measure hormones and change hormones based on menstrual cycle phases. But for a lot of females, that's not real life. That's not feasible. We can't be taking, um, you know, urine samples and blood samples and all the time. I don't think, I don't think many females would be willing to, uh, do that every day for their whole life, just so that they can lift a couple more kilograms. So maybe we need to say, Hey, is your perception of how you're feeling very, very valuable, because it's efficacy versus effectiveness.
Yeah, total. Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. Jono, another couple of papers actually, and I am wary of, I don't want to take up, like we're already 40 minutes in and we've only gotten sort of like one of the papers, but it's super interesting stuff, right? Sleep and circadian biology. And I know that this is that, you know, it's an interest, but it's not your sort of expertise area. But I mean, when I looked at the sort of paper, I just thought that just a few things I thought it would be great to just have.
your take on it, I suppose, based on the papers. So firstly, and for the listeners, I'll pop links in the show notes to these papers that we are sort of discussing. So your research discusses the negative effects of disturbed sleep patterns on numerous cells and tissues and organs. So can you describe these effects in more detail, actually, and sort of set the scene for what we're actually talking about with sleep and circadian biology? Yeah, so we,
Within the Sprint Research Center, we're really fortunate to have Professor Shona Halston here, who is genuinely a world leader in this space. And she's got a huge passion and we've also got a great group of PhD students. So I'll just acknowledge that Matthew Morrison has been, led that paper in particular. And I'm very much on the muscle physiology side where Shona has kind of got the sleep stuff and Matt then kind of has a really good grasp of both of them. He's kind of been able to learn from us both.
Realistically, we're starting to see that sleep is hugely impactful in our health lives. It's so important for longevity and being able to mitigate the risks of even things like cardiovascular disease or metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. So briefly insufficient or...
Fragmented sleep is a common cause of disruption to daily biological rhythms and metabolic homeostasis, which is quite worrying when I say it because I'm a terrible sleeper and there's so many people, for whatever reason, have terrible sleeps too, so yeah, hey, I can empathise. But disrupted biological rhythms then negatively impact several physiological processes, and these include things like muscle protein synthesis and disturbance to normal
um, cellular, uh, you know, physiology, so things like normal mitochondrial function. And when these, we have these changes in the, in our homeostasis, um, we can exacerbate, uh, metabolic conditions and changes in, uh, you know, muscle physiology. So it's actually really worrying when we start to think about the, um, the 24-7 lifestyles that we often live and how these
changes, how these changes in our sleep or fragmented sleep or insufficient sleep can impact our health and our lives. Yeah, and you know, John, I often think about just over the last few years with the pandemic and how that's really shifted people's work patterns as well, you know, when there is a lot more sort of remote working now where they work from home and there's not that...
disassociation between work and home. And it's very easy to get caught, to get caught sort of working late at night in careers or in jobs where you wouldn't otherwise sort of have that. Yeah, and I mean, I know as an academic, like there's very, you know, because of the more flexible hours potentially during the day, and you've just got stuff that you need to do, like I think academics can be particularly bad. It's like working late into the evening as well. And obviously that has implications for the ability to sleep too. Absolutely.
Yeah, absolutely. And I'm the worst at it. And like, like, so rich for me to be preaching about these sorts of things, because I've been called into like, supervisors office, I can't sleep here. You know, you're sleeping in the car park, because I'm an academic, and I've got to pump out more research so I can support my family. You know what I mean? So how rich is that? That I'm now doing sleep research. So I can fully understand it's hugely important. And when I think about
what the lack of sleep can be doing to my body. Yeah, it's alarming actually. Yeah, so Jono, can we talk about like, how does disturbed sleep shift those hormones toward the catabolic state? And how does that then result in that reduced rate of skeletal muscle protein synthesis? Yes, I think you could have a podcast on this alone.
Maybe that's what we need to do. Yeah, yeah, yeah, please do. We can tear it up. But the thing is, I think, first and foremost, you know, sleep has an intricate and bi-directional relationship with the endocrine system and homeostasis. When sleep affects the secretion of hormones and in turn sleep, sorry, sleep can affect hormones and hormones can affect sleep.
if you know what I mean, so it's bidirectional. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And this is common and really normal, talked about anabolic hormones such as cortisol, testosterone, insulin like growth factor, growth hormone, and sleep helps regulate these changes and the normal rhythms of these hormones. So yeah, so when we have disrupted sleep, we kind of throw our rhythms out and we change the secretions of these hormones.
While we've seen a lot of this sort of stuff in mice, because it's a lot more ethical to keep mice up than find humans who want to stay up for days on end. But for actual changes in human protein synthesis, it's been proposed that due to the changes in these hormones, specifically reductions in testosterone increases in corticosterone, we see less favorable changes in protein synthesis rates.
And probably one of the things for me, I find really interesting is it seems particularly impactful on glycolytic fibers, so fast-tip fibers. And these are the fibers that are most impacted by changes in sleep or fragmented sleep or insufficient sleep. Yeah. And when we're talking about insufficient sleep, what are we actually talking about there? Like what is, is it less than that 70, sorry, seven hours?
a day? Is it an acute sort of thing? Or is it over time? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Even acute sleep deprivation can cause this. But seven to nine hours is probably what we tend to recommend. I'm on the upper end of that. But, you know, when you look at my partner and she, I don't know how she does it, she's baking it.
you know, 6am every morning and I'm just like, jeez, keep me in bed man. But the thing is that we're all different as well. And so I think we first of all just need to acknowledge our differences and understand that we are different and some people might need more or less. And but 7 to 9 is normally what's recommended for healthy adults. Yeah, super interesting. You know, I've got lots of nutrition and health colleagues. And I wonder where the sleep is somewhat tied up to that sort of type A overstimulated.
you know, just constantly, they know, like your brain just is excited by new information and you tend to get that, it makes it difficult to unwind, I suppose. And with that in mind, well, you know, yes, 79 hours is the recommended, and that's what we should be getting. Like, what is the role that exercise can play here? Because this is the bit that I thought was super interesting. So how can, so one can exercise mitigate some of these negative effects of that sort of reduced sleep? Yeah. So we're...
When we have insufficient sleep or fragmented sleep, we see reductions in protein synthesis. And we know that there are methods to attenuate those reductions in protein synthesis. So what are they? And this is based around exercise, and it's based around things like having protein-rich sources of nutrition. So for example, higher.
protein sources which have high leucine which is an amino acid which helps stimulate something called mammalian target of rapamycin or mTOR which was probably a bit too much detail. No, no, it's all good. We've heard of mTOR. Great. Yeah, mTOR is definitely a pretty key regulator of muscle growth and protein synthesis. But so previous research and there is limited research in it, but we can also speculate as a previous research and humans.
have shown that high-intensity interval training on a bike can be an effective method of substantially enhancing the protein synthesis response in humans. And this is, so for example, what they showed was that if you normally sleep eight hours and move strict at four hours, you're going to have reduced protein synthesis. And then if we can do exercise, particularly high-intensity interval training, because that increases the forces on the muscle, we can actually offset
those reductions in protein synthesis so we can kind of return it to where it should be. The hard thing is that we need more evidence in humans to fully elucidate the fit principles, the frequency, intensity, time, and type. It could be speculated, and I think it would be very, very justified. It would make a lot of sense that resistance training would be beneficial because if you think about high-intensity interval on a bike as resistance training, you've got a resistance of the bike. So it wouldn't be any different
lifting a weight, it'd be the same, they're still forces. But it's also really, really difficult when you're super tired to be exercising, isn't it? Well, it can be, you know, and I think that's an individual thing. You know, like I know some people who are absolutely no problem at all, getting like, they've had a really rubbish night's sleep, but they're like, yeah, they're just gonna get to the gym anyway, because it makes them actually feel better, and it gives them a little bit of a boost. Like maybe it's that the...
sort of hormone response to exercise that high intensity stuff actually helps lift them and sort of carry them through across and they might be you know a bit buggered by the end of the day but aren't too bad. Yeah. I don't know like what are you what do you reckon? I'll go do it because it's because you know I know yeah and I'm also very aware that there are different types of humans and motivating factors and I exercise because I'm an exerciser you know I mean it's but people on their journey.
I don't exercise, I know I should exercise. I'm exercising because it is something I should do. And as you kind of go along that spectrum, I exercise because this is who I am. And I exercise because this is who I am, but tell you what, those order regulatory workouts are taking a beating on that day. I have to really kind of make sure I keep the volume high, the intensity high and all those sorts of things, because it's really hard. We know that perceptually, that when you are tired, exercise feels harder.
Yeah, and that's why things like caffeine can be really good for offsetting, offsetting, you know, the detrimental effects of lack of sleep on excited performance, you know. And yeah, so yeah, and we've done some really great research on the effects of caffeine on sleep recently. The big meta analysis, I'm not sure if you've seen it, it's led by Carissa Gardner.
Yes, I think I did. It sort of gave some really quite clear recommendations around caffeine, around exercise and... On sleep, so yeah, like, paros. Yeah, that's right. When do you have your pre-workout and stuff like that? 13 hours, I think it was. Yeah, totally, right? Yeah, which is awesome, actually.
And I think, you know, we'll just clarify that you're not saying that, hey, go sleep four hours, you're sweet as, because you just do a high intensity training, you'll be sweet. That's not what you're saying. But yeah, but in that acute phase, if, for example, you do, like maybe it's like, I mean, I've just gotten back from a trip, whereas I had like a whole week of terrible jet lag over there, and I was sleeping, you know, between three and five hours was all I was managing. So if you are in this situation, you've got that short term sleep.
reduction or restriction, then exercise may help mitigate some of those changes, notwithstanding the impact it will have on your insulin and glucose as well, which tends to be disrupted as part of that sleep restriction. Yeah, totally. I think what we're saying, sorry, what the research is saying is that you can offset some of the detrimental effects. But I'll tell you what, if you're chronically under sleep and you're chronically tired, it's really, really hard to offset that because that's just a snapshot in time.
And on top of that, the quality of your workouts will decrease as well. So the thing is, it's really nice that we can do it acutely, but try and deprive yourself of sleep for a prolonged period of time and look at your body mass and changes in your muscle morphology and architecture. While we don't have the research for it, you can probably see from it. You can see it. Yeah. It's interesting, like when I, because obviously I spend a lot of my time talking to people about.
improving their body composition, dropping body fat, and people very quickly jump on a diet plan and follow exercise recommendations. But it's really difficult to get them to buy into the idea that they need sleep, or stress management, you know? Like these are the two real, because it changes how you have to interact with so many other things. It's not just you, like you have to sort of then think about your environment and stuff like that. It's a, yeah. And there's so many times in our lives when we have sleep restriction.
You know, it might be how parents are going to be the big one I'm thinking of too. It's, um, you know, young parents, you know, and you're just busy. You're just busy and we just need to find times when we can exercise. And this is why they're low load resistance training. So it's so important because a lower load might be a can of big beans. You know what I mean? Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. And, um, it might be a seven kilogram dumbbell that you've got at home that you can kind of just get some, um,
Yeah, and a quick arm pump on or something like that. It's just, it could be, hell, it could just be some body weight squats. And these forms, these are resistance training. These are resistance training. And just because you're not doing an Olympic weightlifting class or whatever it may be, or a CrossFit or a powerlifting session, you're still doing resistance training. It's so essential for your health and wellbeing and this form of exercise may be able to mitigate some of those changes in sleep.
maybe offset some of the detrimental effects it can have. But first and foremost, if I was thinking about trying to improve my health and my performance, I'd be thinking about my sleep too. Yeah, no, that's awesome. Jono, do we still have time just to quickly think about your overtraining? Brilliant, because I definitely want to talk to you about this. Now, you mentioned that you sort of dug a bit of a hole for yourself when you were younger. Is that right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I remember someone asking me when I was 14 and they said, you look tired. And I remember thinking,
Yeah, I am really tired and they said, oh, you're doing a bit sport at the moment. I counted I had 15 training sessions. Well, wait, so was it just rugby? No, it was water polo and rugby and athletics. And the thing is, there's water polo. They start you before school. And I remember having to wake up at 3.30 or something for a 13 year old. It's not good for your social. Well, for social.
physical, mental well-being to be a girl at that time and go into a training session. So interesting, John, if I think about the way that kids are really pushed in their sports. And so most kids sound a little bit like you that I also work with. It's not just one sport, as you said, you know, it's multiple sports plus the academics. And some of the sport regimes haven't really changed. I've talked to parents now and they're like, the kids still swim.
you know, five mornings a week getting up for that sort of 90 minutes before school, 90 minutes after school. Like so much has changed in training methodology in other sports. Like, yeah, I find it interesting that swimming, for example, for adolescents hasn't changed much. And we also know that during teenage years, sleep cycles kind of tend to shift. So, you know, you wake up a little bit later and want to stay up a little bit longer. And that's not because teenagers are lazy, it's because of their biology. And so the thing is that adolescents are
particularly vulnerable age because they're capable, but they're also very reliant on people around them. And the thing is, is that, you know, the collisions are hard, the training is hard, and the volume is high. So the thing is, is that, you know, they do a lot of exercise. And that can be, and if it's not handled correctly, it can be very, very detrimental to their, not only to them then, but also to their long term health. And yeah, it was something that I became very passionate about.
And I didn't necessarily want to make a difference. I don't know if I've got that much of an ego. Don't think I'm that powerful. But I think I'd really like the idea of maybe trying to help awareness of these sorts of things and improve exercise for adolescents. Now as I've developed my career, I've probably just gone, I just like performance. I just like helping people and lift things and run faster, but my PhD was.
under Ben Jones, who was my primary but also Professor Kevin Till, and Kevin Till was the world leader in AdLess and in Youth Development and Exercise. So I had this really great support as a PhD student. And just I look at him and the work he does and so so wonderful. And he, he helps he helps kind of kind of steady the ship a little bit in the exercise, and the exercise area. So yeah.
Yeah, so, um, do you want to know with, with this, obviously you, um, you know, recovered at the time and then gone on, you, we've developed this passion. So what is it about overtraining syndrome that, that is missed, you know, like these vague terminology and it seems to be difficult for people maybe around the athlete and the athlete themselves to actually recognize what's going on. So you know, how, how.
Do we need to refine sort of how we think about this in order to facilitate a better understanding and then progress and prognosis? Yeah, wow. Yeah, there's a lot going on there. And I think realistically, we need to be thinking about how do you define it? Overtraining syndrome is defined as a long-term change in performance that is an also psychological health.
So is that three to six months? Is that four months to 12? We're talking months to years. So and the only way to do that is you need a baseline performance. And then you need to go at the first onset of change in performance. You need to go, oh, hey, they're not performing like they used to. And it needs to be outside the normal biological variation. So let's say I normally run a five kilometer time trial. Let's just make up numbers. 20 minutes. And the normal biological variation is
one minute to say and then so I will hey maybe I'm running at 23 minutes and then you've got to test them again a month or two later now and then you've got to have psychological assessment so that they've actually been a very psychological issue here so the thing is is it's really hard to have that baseline evidence and then on top of that when someone's feeling terrible with over training
and they've got psychological issues, to then test them and then wait a couple of months and then test them again, it's just not ethical. So the thing is- No, and also, often when you're underperforming as an athlete and you don't recognize in yourself that you're tired and you have a rubbish time, the natural thing to do is to try and train a bit harder. Oh, totally. Because obviously you're not training hard enough, right? It's a self-fulfilling cycle, isn't it? And we see that a lot in elite athletes and youth. So, you know, all people will say that they're lazy.
So, you know, hey, you're not working as hard as you used to. It's not because they don't want to, trust me, they do. It's just that they can't. But the thing is, is they're actually defining it and actually saying, Mickey, you have overtraining syndrome. It's impossible. It's near impossible. And it's also exceedingly severe. I spoke with an individual overseas recently who contacted me and said, I suspect I've got overtraining. And...
I gave him some advice and it was just very general. This is what it is. And I read the paper so which was surprising that anyone had read my work. But the thing is, is that she I mean, I saw also like, a couple of weeks later that she was saying, Oh, I've run a mile every single day, or, you know, three years or something, I'm going you're not overtrained. You're not overtrained. You can't be overtrained if that's if that's how you're functioning.
I remember I spoke to someone very very senior at the Australian Institute of Sport and they said they've never seen overtraining. Maybe one person 20 years. Oh what do you think and is this just their lack of understanding about what it is? Oh it's just so severe. It's people often think that they are overtrained when they are not. You know what I mean? So people it's often bandied around the term.
Okay, so we think that there's this over-training sort of thing going on, but most people aren't over-training. So if they're not over-training, then what are they doing? Yeah, so they might be over-reached, you know what I mean? And they might just be, and with proper, you know, or they might have an illness, a disease, which is obviously unfortunate because you've got to also remove that from the case too. So over-training is exceptionally severe.
exceptionally severe and it's very very rare. I'm not saying it doesn't exist and this is where we need to be careful because people do get over trained. It's not to say it doesn't exist, it's just it's very hard to prove if that's not possible and on top of that it's exceptionally tough to do. You would need to almost be training like an elite level athlete over 20 hours a week and all those sorts of things. Okay. Yeah. So the term then unexplained under performance syndrome.
Yes. Talk to us about that. Well, it could be a feasible way to, it could be a feasible way to, how do I say, summarise it, but whether it would change anything, I'm not sure. And if anything, it could make people just say, oh, I've got unexplained under-performance syndrome, and they might just keep on rolling. Is it a bit like, you know, when I spoke to Dr Brendan Egan, he...
wasn't a big fan of the term psychopenia because it was almost diagnostic and then suddenly it labeled people and then. So is that a little bit the same here? Is that, you know, are we all just looking for a diagnosis, which I don't know. That's exactly what I was kind of, I, I, I wasn't articulate enough to say it. Um, so the thing is, is that, um, it's kind of, yeah, it could be, make people start saying, Oh, I've got, I'm underperforming. Oh well. Yeah, geez. I've been underperforming for 30 years, you know, so maybe I've got it. Uh, but the thing is, is that, um,
It might undersell the true severity of the syndrome as well, and also mitigates, maybe reduces the emphasis on the psychological elements and also on the severity of it. Okay, because your reviews have looked at how it's looked at in the literature, you know, like the methodology and the lack of rigor with sort of describing it all. Totally. Yeah, so how did we get about how...
How does the field sort of move forward with some of these limitations? Like what are the things that need to be addressed there? Yeah, it's really difficult. And I think the first place to start is having more objective data to actually quantify these changes in performance, to be able to quantify changes in psychological well-being. And...
there's been a lot of limit limitations in the literature to date because individuals are sat sitting there and saying, ah, retrospectively hours underperforming and they go, you know, you, you're you're a you do a sport like wrestling, how do you underperform and risk wrestling, you might just be against a better opposition. Yeah, you know, factors. So we need rigorous kind of objective data that is being tested, not retrospectively just going, I'm underperforming.
as I yeah, because that's that's just your perception. On top of that, it's really, really difficult to then have people assessed over multiple time points when they feel very poorly. So, you know, it's immensely difficult to test them down then also to have psychological, accurate psychological evaluations. So
In our paper we talked about probably the one and only feasible way to monitor overtraining syndrome in athletes is probably in large government institutes or organizations. So again, Australia Institute of Sports is probably a really...
probably the best place we can do it in Australia. Obviously there's been a lot of changes in how the AIS now works. So it used to be a thriving hub of excitement and buzzing, but we've now kind of gone out to the individual regions. So it's still feasible, but we'd need very, very rigorous assessments through those academies or institutes of sport.
So and and standardized standardized and we should also should note that standardized for a cyclist standardized for a runner is different because
If you put me, I do a lot of cycling now. And the thing is, if I did a running test, I'd be all over the place. I might run 10 minutes and then I might run 12 minutes the next day. But for a cycling, I'm probably quite consistent. I know how to do the exercise. I'm trained in the exercise. But for a rugby player, that's really difficult, isn't it? So then we might need to have a test that's relevant for them and all those sorts of things. Yeah, so it's incredibly, incredibly hard. And the most feasible way is probably working alongside.
Institutes or academies of sport because we've got huge number of huge populations in these institutes and programs. Obviously, you cannot ethically induce overtraining syndrome in people. So you need to watch it in the wild and then to watch something in the wild, but also intervene by testing them sporadically and then to be forcing testing them on them, potentially unethical as well. So the thing is, we just,
realistically, if we will ever see it, you know, to the definition, I'm unsure. But there is some really cool research that has gone on, which hasn't gone by the definition, but has done as well as it could. Someone called Catiani in Brazil. And they did really, really large kind of advertisements to a large group of CrossFit athletes. And they kind of almost
themselves quite rigorously. It was very, very thorough. And then they had to go in and be objectively assessed by the research team. And they published something like 14 or 16 papers using the population. So they sliced it every single way. So that's quite enjoyable trying to put that puzzle. But and also there was some there was a there was a cross country scare in Norway, who the
multifaceted team is around this cross-country skier and she is I think the most successful winter sport athlete ever and she clearly was experiencing some form of over training and they talk about how they brought her back from the brink of that back to performance and she is a phenomenal athlete you know she's my goodness but they they while they couldn't
prove it, they could pretty much say, well, her performances were here, her performances were here, this is how we've done it and brought her back. And there are strategies which we can use, which I would be very confident would help reduce overtraining syndrome. Yeah. But in the small percentage of people that have it. In the small percentage or even mitigate or mitigate the risk of it as well. Because I think...
It's kind of like, overtraining syndrome would be like a ball of different strings, you know? Yeah, totally. It could mean different things for different... Yeah, I think so. Or it could come from a different place. It could be exacerbated. So if I pull one string, the other strings will be pulled with it. And then if I pull another string, yeah, but we kind of untangle that is really important. And they work by Kajiani, they had things like really low hours of sleep, you know?
exceedingly high training volumes. Exceptionally low carbohydrate intake for the amount of exercise that they were doing. And yeah, paleo, those sorts of things. And that's all well, yeah, I'm gonna leave that to Louise Burke, the true expert and that sort of stuff, who is such a phenomenal expert in sports nutrition world. But she, um, that, you know, she even she would say, Hey, you know, carbohydrates are really important for the high intensity exercise set.
Yeah, and are we not just talking about like relative energy deficiency? Like there's so much crossover between all of these things. That's the thing. Maybe, you know, is, and then you, yeah, are you just suffering from relative energy deficiency as well? Though you're such a hard one to define. As I said, it's like a ball of strings. You kind of like kind of unwind it and then you're going, oh, it's this, it's this, it's this. So overtraining syndrome.
and you use the word, um, was unexplained under performance syndrome. It really is unexplained. You know, it means so why did my performance drop all of a sudden? I'm training hard. I'm eating, I'm sleeping, all those sorts of things, but my performance is down. I've got psychological issues. I can't perform anymore. Yeah. So it's a, it's a really, it's a really tough one. And OTS is such a minefield. Um, it's not to say, and again, I really must emphasize it's not to say that it doesn't exist.
It's just that the evidence is so hard, if not impossible, due to the definitions. Okay, so where are we at then with this? With over training? Yeah, so what are the next, so, you know, like on the basis of the challenge and defining it, and then even like potentially the low sort of prevalence, like what's the, what is the practical implication of, I suppose your paper and stuff like that? The practical implications is that we need to do better.
We need to do better, we need to be better as in our monitoring and surveillance of it. We need to be working alongside major governing body institutes to mitigate any risk and if we do see it, at least we can document it. On top of that, we also need people to be aware of the severity of it. As I was saying, you know, if you're running a few miles every single day and
saying you got overtrained. No, you don't, unfortunately. That's not something else is going on. Something's going on. Yeah, it's not to say it's not to mitigate, sorry, yeah, to reduce the experience that you're having, but it might be different. And then also, it's really, really hard to completely remove it from a disease or a virus, you've seen bar or something like that, those sorts of illnesses. So we just need to be really conscious that it's really unexplained. And it's really, it's just so hard to monitor.
Oh, total. Well, Jono, we've covered like three quite different topics here today, which is great, which is why I really wanted to chat to you because you're involved in so many different projects and you can speak on a lot of different topics, which is awesome. And obviously you work with a really experienced and very high performing team as well at ACU and all your interests.
I'm super excited for the research that you mentioned that's coming out. Where is the best place for one, people to find out more, any of our Brizzy peeps to find out more about that study that you're looking for participants, but then also best place to sort of catch you in your research? Yeah, so I think probably the easiest place to get me is Twitter. So, Jonathan Weekly dropped the Y at the end and put a one there for some reason. And, Oh yeah. And then,
I've finally kind of gone on the train of Instagram, which is Jonathan underscore weekly underscore PhD. And it's one of those things which I'm not happy enough to be on TikTok, but I know just enough about technology to be able to do Instagram. Oh, brilliant. Oh, look at Bill Campbell. He was in the same boat and now he's like amazing. Well, it's, yeah, I appreciate that. It's the wealth themed people to be around compared to, but I think.
If there's anyone in Brisbane who would be willing to participate, um, mums, sisters, girlfriends, cousins, oh wow, bring them on because we're trying to make a difference to...
50% of the population. And it's so much more important than that rugby player who just wants to jump a little bit higher that I probably worked with for so many years. And that's wonderful. It's really, really good to see. So any help would be great. Nah, that's awesome, Joano. Really appreciate your time this afternoon. And we'll pop links to your Instagram, your Twitter, your Sprint Research Center, and of course the papers that we talked about. So thanks so much. We really appreciate it.
Alright team, hopefully you enjoyed that conversation. And it was really great to get the insight from people researching in the field into these topics, which I think are broadly applicable to many of us out there. Next week on the podcast, I have returning guest Marti Kendall, and we discuss satiety, sort of carrying on from my interview with Dr. Ted Naiman.
This is an area which Marti knows so much about so I was really happy to be able to speak to him again on the topic. Until then though, you can catch me over on Facebook @mikkiwillidennutrition, over on Instagram, threads and Twitter @mikkiwilliden, or head to my website mikkiwilliden.com and book a one-on-one call with me or sign up to one of my meal plans. Alright guys, you have a great week. See you next week.