Posts

Benefits of transcending all metabolic systems

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Have you tried to run immediately after a tough weight lifting session? Or, have you tried to lift heavy after a long run? It's pretty tough when you do it for the first time, whether you are a runner or a weight lifter or just a fitness pal. There is more to it than just being a difficult workout and there is a reason why weight lifters do not enjoy "cardio" workouts or why runners do not enjoy spending much time in the weight room. This is because our muscles utilize different metabolic systems to produce energy during an activity depending on the duration and the intensity of the activity. Jumping from one system to another is not a smooth transition. During a workout, our muscles utilize a various avenues to seek energy and do the job we are asking them to do. Depending on how hard or how long we ask them to perform, they tap into the following three energy paths: ATP-phosphocreatine (ATP-PC), glycolysis and aerobic metabolism or a combination of those. Typically, for

Redefining winning

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  “Is there anything in life so disenchanting as attainment?” Robert Luis Stevenson - British author Sports and modern society have made us believe that winning promises to give more than it can actually deliver. And this is because we are probably focusing on the wrong aspect of winning. We view winning as an end-result but fail to take a deeper look at the process. Does winning medals alone bring success, recognition, admiration, fame, money, and personal happiness?  How do we feel when an Olympic athlete fails to make the finals? And how does it even compare when one loses a gold medal by a few hundreds of a second?  Does falling short by a lot or by a tiny bit make some athletes losers and less worthy of our admiration?  I am not trying to take away the crowns from Olympic gold medal glory or from achieving a challenging goal. And because I believe that "winning is everything", I will never be at ease with giving away participation medals to everyone completing an event a

The physiology and human performance across sports

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The human body has unlimited potential. We are lucky enough to live in an era where sports physiology has been studied and applied for a long time and has demonstrated with scientific rigor how exercise duration, intensity and frequency can affect muscle composition, capacity, efficiency, energetics and ultimately, human performance. Kayaking shares many aspects with swimming because they are both highly technical sports and require a vast cardiovascular capacity and engagement across all types of muscle fiber no matter the distance or duration of the event. In terms of performance, there is always a fine balance between technique , muscle development (and proper engagement) and cardiovascular ability . The holy triad of any sport as I call it, gives us the opportunity to continue to grow as athletes in any and all of those three aspects continuously. All three are tightly interconnected and while during specific training periods we may focus more on one or another, they all deserve at

Into Big Changes and Breaking Stereotypes

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I grew up in Greece, in one of the older and more traditional societies in Europe. Exactly where big changes rarely happen in people's lives. In Greece, you grow up in a house or apartment with your parents and siblings, and with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins around and on top of each other. You finish school, go to a technical or academic college nearby, specialize in an area, get a job, get married and live with spouse and kids in the same town you were born or maybe in a town a few miles away. And although this is a lovely way to lead a life, offer to the society, feel secured and beloved and maybe do great things, it is very limiting and can be truly unbearable for the more curious, adventurous and rebellious mindsets.  At the age of 23, although full of passion and restlessness, I didn't want to start a revolution but at the same time, I felt I couldn't quite fit in such a culture: I was constantly judged and rejected within my family, my schoolmates, my coll

2018 ETU European Championships - adapting to changes and the art of tapering

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Following the ITU long course World Championships in July, Dave and I made a last minute change to our plans and decided to extend my season just a couple of months to race the ETU middle distance European Championships in October. It was my first time to extend the racing season outside the initial plans and go through another mini-training cycle, which meant: rest, build and peak again within two and a half months. It actually went pretty well. The tapering weeks were a touch more dramatic in terms of the intensity build-up and volume reduction but, to my surprise, my body reacted well. I never like my tapering weeks. I have no idea why everybody gets so excited about it. I personally, really start feeling better only 1-2 days before the race. The remaining of the time, I feel out of whack, usually sleepy, flat and not with much speed. Our tapering typically lasts 1-3 weeks before the race day. The timing depends on the race distance and the amount of training I have done in

2018 ITU long course World Championships thoughts and the fear of failure in modern amateur sports

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I have been a triathlete for 7 years now. Along these years of training and racing, I have found that many of my fellow athletes fail to set a goal and go after it. This is because a goal that is achievable and challenging enough requires a lot more work than one may think and more importantly, it involves a high probability of failing. I think a lot of athletes nowadays are afraid to fail. This is one of the reasons why they often use the excuse of "I just want to have fun" to justify their lack of focusing, their races where they "had a bad day" and their multi-distance/multi-disciplinary plans: "I want to race an Ironman, a SUP race, a tough mudder, a 6hr endurance MTB and win the National Road bike and time trial races this year". Having fun is paramount and trying out different sports and distances is definitely a lot of fun. However, a lot of these athletes that "just want to have fun" are highly competitive. Despite being highly c

The mid-season hump and how to get over it

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I am not sure if this happens to all age-grouper triathletes but it certainly makes its appearance the more systematic, the more senior, and the more endurance-focused you are in the sport. Mid-season hump is that training phase right in the middle of the season, where you are still putting long, base miles, you have not started your overload phase and you have not started racing yet. The initial enthusiasm of the new season has worn off, you feel a bit bored and tired and you are just so ready for a change! The way I am trying to get out of these mid-season blues is not always the same but what usually works for me are just the simple things: 1. Once in a while, I break up a very long workout into two chunks: one with the sport I am supposed to do and another with a different sport of equivalent aerobic value. For example: I have a long run. I then do 80% of it and replace the other 20% with a very long hike. Or, I have a long bike ride. Then, I do most of it and replace the re