Entries by Craig Pickering

Does Nurture Impact Your Nature?

Towards the end of World War II, as the Allied forces began their advance through Europe following the Normandy landings, the Nazi forces managed to maintain a foothold in the Netherlands. Here, their troops staunchly defended the bridge across the Rhine, halting the British and American advance. As part of this extended battle, the controlling German administration placed an embargo on all food transportation to the western Netherlands, sowing the seeds for a severe famine known as the Dutch Hunger Winter. By November 1944, the region’s inhabitants were surviving on less than 1,000 calories per day, which dropped as low as 500 daily calories by February 1945. As many as 22,000 people are thought to have died, with a total of 4.5 million people affected.

What Doesn’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger

Please excuse the well-worn metaphor I’ve used for the title, but I want to use this article to bring together a few threads of things I have been thinking about recently. Last month on the HMMR Podcast I discussed a few topics that I need a bit more attention. The first of these was stimulated by a discussion on carbohydrate periodisation, which I’ve written about a few times in my sports science monthly articles; in the podcast, this spurred on a bit of a discussion about how sometimes you need to stress the body in new ways to allow for adaption to occur. The second thing is something I feel like I’ve been saying a lot of recently, which is that you can’t view the athlete as a system of individual systems that adapts to individual training; for example, when working on sprint biomechanics there will be both muscular and mental adaptations that occur, and the training session will create both skill-based and physiological changes that are good for the athlete. Everything within the athlete is interlinked, and we need to extend our thinking to take this into account.

Sports Science Monthly – November 2016

Welcome back to another monthly round up of all that is sports science. In this edition, we take an extended look at vitamin D, which for the last few years has been getting a lot of attention for it’s effects on muscular performance. We also have a conceptual piece on the reproducibility of training improvements, Kenyan runners, recovery methods, coaching stress, and jumping as a monitoring tool.

Illusions of Causality

In 2007, I ran my fastest ever wind-legal 100-meter time. I also recorded what was, at that point, my lowest ever body fat score. It would seem, therefore, that the two are linked; my 100m time improved because my body fat had reduced. Right?

Sports Science Monthly – October 2016

Welcome back to another edition of this column. We have plenty of things to look at this month, including a few hot topics in sports nutrition – gluten, beetroot juice, carbohydrates, and vegetarians – as well as a look at a bit of research that examines how subconscious cues can affect exercise performance. We also have a stab at answering other questions like “just how bad are injuries?”

Sports Science Monthly – September 2016

This month, we look at a wide range of disciplines, with studies coming from sports psychology, sports nutrition, strength and conditioning, and biomechanics – and, as always, we finish off with a quick fire round up. The first overview will be free for everyone, but to read the complete September edition you must be a HMMR Plus Member. HMMR Plus is a new offering we have that gives users access to exclusive content like our article archive, webinars, online meet ups, and of course Sports Science Monthly. Therefore sign up now to gain access to Sports Science Monthly and more. To see what Sports Science Monthly is about, our April and May editions are available for free. With that said, let’s dive in!

The Flaw of Averages

How many of you use averages in order to inform your decisions? I know I do; as an athlete I focused on finding out what the average performance was at major championships to achieve certain placings, so that I could use that information in order to create my own individual goals. As a sports scientist, I use averages a lot – typically I tend to compare the average improvement in one group with the average improvement of another. But is the average actually a useful metric, or is it overused?

Survivorship Bias

How often do we focus our analysis on winners? They could be winners in any aspect of life; sport, business, medicine, but the case is clear – we tend to look towards those who are successful for clues and lessons on how to be more successful ourselves. But is this actually the right way to do things?