Female Leadership and Representation in the Sports Performance Field

Back when I was speed skating in Salt Lake City, Utah, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by Charlie Francis (one of the all-time great sprint coaches).  At that seminar I would make friends with Derek Hansen, Charlie’s #2, a friendship that I maintain to this day.   He actually brought me up to Canadia to present on nutrition to some of his incoming athletes and it was that presentation that morphed into my Applied Nutrition for Mixed Sports.  But this isn’t supposed to be about me.

An accomplished athlete and coach himself, Derek seems to know absolutely everybody of importance in the field (somehow I qualify for this group).  Coaches, physiotherapists, researchers, etc. he knows them.  Somehow I qualify for inclusion in this group but I think he just needs someone on hand to make jokes about Canada.

And about 4 or 5 weeks ago, Derek decided to try an experiment, to host a roundtable with all of these folks on various topics related to sports.  Each lasts about 90 minutes every Sunday with 4 experts on a given topic providing their experiences or knowledge before the rest of us argue, debate or ask questions.   We’ve looked at issues such as single-leg vs. double-leg work, how close to maximal an athlete should be going in training and others.   One day we talked about the issue of recovery from training and I talked about the role of nutrition.   The amazing thing about this is the absolute breadth of expertise from the presenters and this allows a tremendous number of different perspectives to be given.  So far there have been no outright major disagreements and most of us realize that all of this is really context specific.

Basically, we solve the world’s problems, well sports problems, for 90 minutes every Sunday. I’ve suggested we work on politics and economics next since, let’s face it, there’s work to be done.

Anyhow, this past Sunday, Derek hosted a roundtable on a topic that I don’t think gets very much traction or press.  Specifically it was on the topic of female representation in the sports performance field.   This wasn’t about women’s involvement in sports in a general sense (thought I had just finished writing a chapter on the history of women’s sports involvement) but rather women’s presence (or absence) in coaching, supervisory or other positions such as as strength and conditioning.

Towards that goal, all 6 of the primary presenters on the roundtable were women in the field.  They spanned a range of age, experience and expertise and were able to share their personal experience, whether historical or current, in this regards.  Those experiences varied and they all brought up issues that, frankly, it’s easy for men to never consider since we rarely experience them.  For a short look at this, I’d point you to a post made by one of the presenters, Ironmaven (she used to do the slow motion Dartfish analysis of Olympic lifting and I had reviewed one of their DVDs previously).

Titled More Women in Coaching: Some Thoughts on How to Get There, it gives a great overview of some of the issue that exist.

But there is much more that is brought up within the presentation itself in terms of what boundaries (real or perceived) or issues still exist which may be preventing there from being more female leadership and representation in sports.   For women either in the field or who are thinking of entering it, it might make you aware of some things that you may run into.  For men in the field, it might make you aware of some of the problems that exist that you are probably blind to simply due to never personally experiencing them.

The video can be seen on Vimeo and I’ve embedded it below as well.

Cut the S#it Get Fit Podcast Interview

So about two weeks ago I did another epic podcast with Rafal Matuszewski of the Cut the S#it Get Fit Podcast.

We talked about an epic number of topics including but not limited to women’s health, nutrition, video games, virtual reality, plagiarism, writing books, research, weight loss, doctors, and more.  They are audio only so you don’t get to see my epic facial hair this time.

Since I am incapable of giving short answers, the total 2.5+ hours was cut into two parts.

Part 1 is below.


Revive Stronger Podcast: Refeeds Revisited

Back in 2004, I wrote a little book called A Guide to Flexible Dieting, basically arguing that being less extreme with a diet would work better.  Of course, nobody was ready to listen then although, in the last few years you can’t swing a dead cat without seeing a post or ebook about flexible dieting.  Sometimes folks even cite my work (in one case it was blatantly plagiarized but that’s a different story).  At least I’m not bitter.  I still don’t know why anybody would be swinging a dead cat around but that’s a topic I’ll have to look into at a later date.

In any case, among other concepts (and make no mistake, I did not invent these concepts for the most part, I think I was simply the first to really formalize them) I discussed what I call a refeed.  This refers to a period of deliberate high-carbohydrate intake that has several goals including refilling muscle glycogen stores to support high-intensity training, allow a psychological break from the diet (as certain usually off diet foods are allow) and, more hopefully, to reset some of the hormonal and metabolic adaptations that occur in response to dieting.

In the original book, I described refeeds lasting 5 hours, 1 day and 2 days in duration with recommendations for each being given based on such factors as initial body fat percentage, size of calorie deficit and the amount of training being done.   I also recommended them more or less across the board for all dieters.

Well it’s 13 years later and, as one would hope, some of my thoughts on the topic have changed to at least some degree.  More research is available, I’ve gotten more experience and feedback with people, at least some of my research for the women’s book (currently being edited) ties into this.  And this was the topic of the podcast with Steve Hall.

For just over an hour (this was short for me since I actually stayed on topic), we discuss any and all topics related to refeeds. How long, how often, for whom, what and how much to eat, etc.  This represents my most current thoughts on the topic.

The podcast can be heard on Itunes here.


And Yet Even More Podcasts

So after depressing everybody with the realities of calorie surpluses for muscle gains, I once again revert to linking to current podcasts to avoid having to write any actual content.  Seriously, folks, cut me some slack.   Fifteen years and 500 articles later, I’m running out of topics.  Anyhow.  I’m going to link out to three podcasts today.

The first was on the topic of PCOS with Jason Leenarts of the Revolutionary You podcast. The second was on injury recovery (to talk about the book I just released) with Vicky Merceta and Broderick Chavez of Evil Sports Genius sitting in.   Finally, is my most recent podcast with Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition where we talk about the issue of nutrient partitioning.

Jason Leenarts of Revolutionary You Podcast

While I have talked about general women’s issues in many recent podcasts, Jason wanted to focus on Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS.  This is a common endocrine disorder in women which is marked by at least two of the following diagnoses: the presence of multiple cysts on the ovaries, hyperandrogenism (elevated testosterone, etc.) and an irregular menstrual cycle (oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea).  Since it is such a common condition, we focused only on that in terms of what PCOS is, how it is diagnosed, and what implications it might have for diet, training or supplements.

You can listen to the podcast here:
Jason Leenarts Revolutionary You Podcast on PCOS

Vicky Merceta of Don’t Fear the Weight Podcast

I did a podcast with Vicky a while back on women’s issues (it took two parts) and she asked me to do another one with Evil Genius Broderick Chavez (who I have done multiple podcasts with) on the topic of injury recovery.  I had just released my new book (c’mon, at $9.95 it’s a steal) and I focused on nutrition and supplements while he covered the pharmaceutical angle.


Epic Podcast with Abbey Orr of First Base Fitness

So while I have an exciting announcement (hint: new book, no not THAT book) in a week or two I want to make people aware of yet another podcast I did recently with Abbey Orr of First Base Fitness for her podcast I Am Worth It.  As usual, I talked way too long and I think we went about 2.5 hours in total.  I do love hearing myself talk.

In Part 1, we mainly talked about women’s issues including an overview of the menstrual cycle, birth control, why women often have a harder time losing fat than men, how cravings and food intake changes, etc.

You can listen to Part 1 in Itunes here.

In Part 2, we switched gears a bit and talked about some of the differences between the general population and athletes in terms of training and nutrition.  I think this is something that is often overlooked and it’s come up in a lot of my recent interviews.  We also took a look at IIFYM and other aspects of flexible dieting and what happens when someone breaks the plan and finished up with the importance of sleep.

You can listen to Part 2 in Itunes here.

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