The Off Switch

It’s not you it’s me, said the muscles to the brain because you throw in the towel during a race or training session because your muscles just give out, right? Well, that’s what we tell ourselves because it’s beyond your control, but the truth is far more devastating. A paper in the German journal >Arbeitsphysiologie got cyclists to pedal to exhaustion, but what they found was the exercise tolerance, even in highly motivated athletes, was ultimately limited by their perception of effort. So, if you think you’re going all out and can’t give any more, then that’s what your muscles will believe because your brain is actually the one fatigued, but there is still a lot more in the tank. It’s your brain that waves the white flag, not your muscles. Keep flexing the limits because you’re just training your mind to cope with more, not your muscles – they’ve always got your back.


Randomized Controlled Trial

Research level 4/6



The amount of a nutritional beetroot-based gel eaten by combat sports athletes who after two hours had increased isometric hand grip strength.

14 males took part

15 hours or more per week of training were done by each of them.

Source: Biology of Sport

Randomized Controlled Trial

Research level 4/6


Warm-up Woes

Warm-ups are a must and when done the right way will give you the best results, but what if they don’t? A paper in the >International Journal of Sports Physiology Performance tested the following protocols before a cross-country skiing sprint test.


Easy Warm-up

35 minutes of easy skiing

5 minutes of moderate intensity

3 minutes of high intensity effort




Intense Warm-up

8 x 100m sprints at 60-95% effort

1 minute rest between sets


The Results

The skiers then did a 1.3km time trial with continuous measurements of speed and heart rate but this was repeated with a 1 hour and 40-minute cool down between bouts. There was no difference in blood lactate or ratings of perceived exertion between the intense and easy warm-ups. It doesn’t matter how you warm-up, just as long as you get the blood flowing.


Isolated Gains

Shayne McGowan is a mental game coaching professional and the founder of

As an athlete, it would be easy, and even understandable, to be upset over

things you have lost due to the suspension or cancellation of your athletic season. But there are things you can focus on while sidelined from your sport that will make good use of your time, keep your head in the game and allow you to work on skills that you may have neglected due to your busy schedule.  One strategy to keep you motivated, confident and make best use of your time is to set small goals each day. Small goals will give you direction and focus.  Each time you complete a task or make use of your time in a purposeful way, you will feel a sense of accomplishment. Ask yourself, “What technical skills can I work to improve?” “How can I maintain my level of fitness?” “What are the mental skills I can develop to advance my performance in the future?” Every step forward, every improvement in training and technique helps you maintain a high level of confidence. Every advancement mentally and physically gives you the confidence to push forward despite any obstacles you may face. Create three small goals to work on each day. Take into consideration mental, physical and technical skills. What do I want to work on in terms of my technical skills? What mental skill do I want to develop? How will I work on my fitness while at home? If you focus on goal-getting each day, you will make the most of your opportunities, actively engage your body and strengthen your mental game as well.