Court: Female Athlete With Male Hormone Levels Has a Right to Compete

The final appeals court for global sports further blurred the line separating male and female athletes on Monday, ruling that a common factor in distinguishing the sexes — the level of natural testosterone in an athlete’s body — is insufficient to bar some women from competing against females.

Source: Dutee Chand, Female Sprinter With High Testosterone Level, Wins Right to Compete

Yesterday that I posted news about people with special genetic conditions

I like that the findings present that gender is not as “black & white” as we generally perceive it to be.  Consider transgender, which is quickly becoming an issue in other competitive sports.  Particularly male-to-female (M2F) competing as the gender they identify as.  Female crossfit competitors were contesting against M2F competitors being allowed in their category, as M2F would have a physiological advantage for muscle.  There’s been some news about M2F MMA competitors who hit/etc harder/different than female competitors – to this, I’ve understood it to be a matter of technique rather than physical strength.

Competing against peers has always been the primary goal.  Otherwise, if there was no gender distinction – some events, no female would ever win.  Which wouldn’t encourage women to compete…  There are also para-olympic games, for those with physical disability.  And I know a few who’ve represented my country in the transplant games, where competitors are transplant recipients.  With enough community support, I could see transgender games in the same fashion as para or transplant.  Or maybe we’ll see a leveling of the field via the testosterone/etc testing to determine which category a competitor falls into?

Another issue to consider is that the Olympics are motivated by business – viewership determines what coverage will occur, and what events will happen at all.  The winter Olympics including curling had a tremendous impact on people coming out for curling, so it’s important for advertising ones sport.

DIY Prosthetics: The Extreme Athlete Who Built a New Knee

Brian Bartlett lost his leg at 24. Rose Eveleth hears how a man who just wanted to ski again invented a new kind of knee.

Source: DIY prosthetics: the extreme athlete who built a new knee

Necessity is the mother of invention!  I’m not surprised that amputees are driving the innovation of prosthetics, but am impressed with the results.

Canadian Athletes Who Battle Depression

Mental illness has become a trending topic. In the last decade, the self-inflicted deaths of many hockey players exposed the darker side of professional sport. Nevertheless, many Canadian athletes managed to win their battle against depression, even though it often involved having to quit their sport.

Source: Canadian athletes who battled depression

Clara Hughes is a seriously impressive athlete.  As the slide show demonstrates, depression can take it’s toll on anyone.

What Elites Drink Midrun

It’s hot, it’s humid, you’re thirsty. While water is good for runs shorter than 60 minutes, you’ll likely need something more for longer runs, says Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D.N., assistant professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. If you’re training for a distance race, it’s important to get used to whatever drink will be served on the course. But elites can choose whatever they want. (Yes, sometimes they’re sponsored, and we’ve made note of that.) Which got us wondering, what do they sip on the run? We checked in with some of the top runners to get their picks.

Source: What Elites Drink Midrun

The article is basically a rundown of all the brand names in the market, attached to what I expect are sponsored marathoners.

I’ve heard different perspectives.  One was “train with water, race with sugar”.  The idea was to leverage the boost from the sugar.  I think that really depends on what you’re doing, for how long, and weather conditions.  Water doesn’t have potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron…  The last two can be particularly important in endurance events, moreso that sugar/carbs.

Another perspective is that if you are training for a race, you should use what the race will provide.  I do not think this is particularly prudent.  In the past year, I’ve never noticed or been informed what a race provider will make available.  You can infer a little from the event sponsors, but some sponsors have a variety of products.  Hammer Nutrition for example provides Heed and Perpetuem, suggesting the latter for activities 2+ hours long.  It can get costly switching between products if you race that often, but more importantly – what if you have a reaction?  It’d be good to know going into an event, but sticking to water if you are not able to pack your own is the safe choice.

The perspective that I agree with the most was to find out what works for you.  Just as there’s variety in our shape, size, and various athletic abilities – there’s variety in our physiology.  We’re not all lactose intolerant, have food allergies, or even eat the same food.  It’d be nice if someone could tell us, and maybe in the future through a DNA/etc scan that could be possible.  Keep in mind that there’s nothing to say what works now, might not in the future.  A couple of years back I could really notice when a Gu gel kicked in – these days, I don’t notice and haven’t been using them for a while now.

It can be costly to train using what you would in a race.  But it’s prudent if you want to account for as many variables as you can when it comes time to do the actual event.  Failing to prepare is preparation for failure…  While I might show up earlier than most to a triathlon, I spend a lot of time thinking about and visualizing T1 (swim to bike transition) and T2 (bike to run transition).  It can be very costly if things aren’t setup for refueling, I go the wrong way, or run afoul of the bike mount/dismount lines.

I’ve used Heed in the past.  It worked for me, and it’s nice to see they have more flavour options now.  But my initial takeaway was how much carbs were present based on dose.  One time, while I felt great I noticed I was consuming a lot more than I usually did.  When I ran dry, I was licking my lips because of all the carbs/etc present.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I use Nuun tablets.  These are very easy to use – just add water.  There’s no sugar, and you can cut the tablet up if you want to tweak the dose though it’s not as convenient as Heed powder.  Some types of Nuun tablets have caffeine – it’s clearly marked on the tube, as caffeine can be an issue for people.  Caffeine is a diuretic – it will make you pee.  Nuun has various flavours.  If you find one you don’t like, I’ll swap you for some of mine.

Once you find what works for you, find an online retailer and stock up 😉 😀

The Genetics of Being Injury-Prone

Injury is a fact of life for most athletes, but some professionals—and some weekend warriors, for that matter—just seem more injury-prone than others. But what is it about their bodies that makes the bones, tendons, and ligaments so much more likely to tear or strain—bad luck, or just poor preparation?

A growing body of research suggests another answer: that genetic makeup may play an important role in injury risk.

…the largest market for sports-injury genetic testing may be the general public. A growing number of companies like 23andMe, Pathway Genomics, DNAFit, and Stanford Sports Genetics offer genetic tests that can tell the average consumer about his or her risk for sports injuries, including ACL ruptures, stress fractures, osteoarthritis, and spinal-disc degeneration.

Source: The Genetics of Being Injury-Prone

On some levels, it’s no different than testing your VO2 max.  But there’s also the potential that genetic testing can be used against, like medical/health insurance.

At the end of the day, should the knowledge that your ligaments and tendons are more susceptible to injury than others?  I think not.

Vitamin C helps the body produce and repair collagen.  Oranges are high in vitamin C, and low in vitamin K.  Grapefruit is not recommended for medications in general – the “grapefruit effect” is well known.

Can a Vegan Diet Work for Athletes?

More and more of us are questioning the long-held notion that a meal is not a meal unless it is based around a piece of meat. Awareness is also continuing to grow of the health, environmental and welfare issues that are consequences of chowing down on many of the animal food sources we take for granted.

Source: Can a vegan diet work for cyclists?

The article addresses “where’s the protein?”, but nothing about iron or vitamin B12.  There are a couple of spots where they say “vegan” but mean “vegetarian”.  It makes up for being cursory by suggesting investigating what suits you.

It can be really good to make a dietary change but:

  1. Start it in the off season
  2. Be gradual to get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t