182 episodes

The Fast Talk podcast is your source for the science of cycling performance, offering the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Co-hosted by science journalist Chris Case and Fast Talk Labs' resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, each episode takes a deep dive on a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more. The show's guest list includes some of the most prominent names in cycling and sport science, including Dr. Stephen Seiler, Joe Friel, Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, Sebastian Weber, Jim Miller, Sepp Kuss, Brent Bookwalter, Kate Courtney, and many more.

Fast Talk Fast Talk Labs

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.6 • 158 Ratings

The Fast Talk podcast is your source for the science of cycling performance, offering the best training advice and most compelling insight on what it takes to become a better cyclist. Co-hosted by science journalist Chris Case and Fast Talk Labs' resident physiologist and coach, Trevor Connor, each episode takes a deep dive on a range of topics, including sport science, training, physiology, technology, nutrition, and more. The show's guest list includes some of the most prominent names in cycling and sport science, including Dr. Stephen Seiler, Joe Friel, Dr. Asker Jeukendrup, Sebastian Weber, Jim Miller, Sepp Kuss, Brent Bookwalter, Kate Courtney, and many more.

    Q&A on Travel and Training, CTL, Race Prep, and Big Gear LSD, with Kendra Wenzel

    Q&A on Travel and Training, CTL, Race Prep, and Big Gear LSD, with Kendra Wenzel

    With the help of Kendra Wenzel, co-founder and head coach at Wenzel Coaching, we field questions on how to manage training when you have a busy travel schedule, when to get intensity during the week before a race, incorporating big gear work into your LSD rides, and knowing when to push through or when to pull the plug on a workout.
    Travel and trainingThis first question comes from Steve Herman in Dayton, Ohio. He writes:
    “I recently took a new job that requires a significant travel schedule. Typically, about once or twice per month, I’ll have a two- to three-day trip, but sometimes more. I can control when I travel to some extent, but not completely. So far, I’ve been planning my workouts around my trips and vice versa, i.e., digging an ATL “hole” and using the time off the bike while away from home to recover. This can’t be optimal. Now that I’m in the off-season, I’ve been thinking about incorporating running to eventually build up my ability to do high-intensity and/or long-duration workouts while traveling. What are your thoughts on that idea? Is there some way to translate work done while running to work done on the bike? Is there a better way to deal with this?”
    Training camp before a big raceOur next question on travel comes from Susan Squam in Buffalo, New York. She writes:
    “I have my target race coming up towards the end of August. It’s a three-day stage race. I want to do a big training camp before the race, but I was wondering how much rest I need between the end of the camp and the race? The race starts on a Friday and I’m flying there on the Wednesday night. Does finishing my camp on the Sunday before give me enough time?”
    HIT work in final race prepThis question comes from Lasse in Lillehammer, Norway. He writes:
    “I am planning to run a 14-mile [running] race on Saturday. How many days before the race should I refrain from doing a HIT workout? Can I do one Thursday and then have Friday to recover or is two days out too close? If two days is too close, can I focus the HIT workout on upper body on Thursday? Will that leave my legs fresh for the race on Saturday?”
    When to push through or pull the plugThis question comes from David Sutter in Carbondale, Colorado. He writes:
    “Should I suspend training if I am feeling exhausted or push through with a shorter zone 2 workout? Am I negating gains that could be realized by not allowing for adequate recovery? When I see CTL drop on TrainingPeaks, it makes me think I'm losing fitness, but I think that is a maybe a flaw with CTL?”
    Effective use of training racesThis question comes from Amos Kirkpatrick in Burbank, California. He writes:
    “I’m not a big interval guy. I love to get my intensity through training races. Most weeks, I’ll do the group ride on the weekend, a training race on Tuesdays, and another training race on Thursdays when work allows. Is this an effective approach to keep me strong throughout the season and to prepare for my target event?”
    Big gear work on your LSD rides?Our final question comes from Scott in Greensboro, North Carolina. He writes:
    “Is there any benefit to doing the long, slow rides at a slow grinding cadence? I do mine indoors on rollers. My thought process would be that the low cadence (60 rpm or lower) would fatigue the slow-twitch muscles quicker, thus, recruiting the fast-twitch muscles to work sooner.”
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    • 36 min
    Is Weight Management as Simple as Calories In, Calories Out? With Dr. Timothy Noakes

    Is Weight Management as Simple as Calories In, Calories Out? With Dr. Timothy Noakes

    For a long time, weight loss and weight management strategies have focused on counting calories. The question we ask in today’s episode is: Does that work? That is, if you count accurately, will it predict your weight loss or gain? 
     
    To answer these questions, we pit two theories against each other. On one side, there is the argument that you can’t break the laws of thermodynamics, and therefore a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, and you just need to know what goes in your body and how it gets used to understand which direction your weight will go. 
     
    On the other side, there is the carbohydrate-insulin model, based on the fact that insulin promotes energy storage and, as a result, the belief is that low energy availability then promotes intake. 
     
    We’ll discuss the evidence for and against the viability of each of these theories, then turn our attention to what is arguably a more important question: Do we over-equate weight loss with improved health? And what are the most healthy ways to lose weight? 
     
    We’re excited to be joined today by a leading voice in the world of exercise physiology, Dr. Timothy Noakes, whose work has had a significant impact on nutrition as well as many other aspects of sport science. 
     
    Let's make you fast! 
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    • 1 hr 26 min
    Sprinting, Overtraining Your Cells, Durability: Rob Pickels & Trevor Connor Nerd Out on Recent Research

    Sprinting, Overtraining Your Cells, Durability: Rob Pickels & Trevor Connor Nerd Out on Recent Research

    Rob Pickels is the Advanced Development Project Manager at PEARL iZUMi, but more importantly, he can out-nerd Trevor as you'll hear in today's deep-dive into some new scientific research in sports physiology. Even though the findings of one of these studies may not appear to directly apply to your weekly training plan, understanding the questions that have been asked by scientists can hopefully give you context into what is known and knowable by science as it relates to human performance. Trevor gives a brief overview of each study and then he and Rob point out key components of each study and translate the scientific jargon.
    In case you missed it and enjoy this depth of conversation about research, we did a "Nerd-Lab" episode a while back, Fast Talk 155: Recent Research on Interval Types, Timing Effects on Performance, Health Benefits of Endurance, and Pacing Strategies.
    Aerobic vs Anaerobic Contribution in Sprints
    First up is "The Aerobic and Anaerobic Contribution During Repeated 30-s Sprints in Elite Cyclists" by researchers Nicki Winfield Almquist, Øyvind Sandbakk, Bent R. Rønnestad, and Dionne Noordhof. Sometimes, because of the way a study is conducted, the findings are not very well applied to real-world training. Trevor points out some of these methods used which a training athlete would never use in their own workouts. It could be argued that science sometimes needs to ask and answer questions for itself that simply show the bounds of human potential.
    Mitochondrial Impairment
    Next, we try to understand more about mitochondrial impairment in a study titled "Excessive exercise training causes mitochondrial functional impairment and decreases glucose tolerance in healthy volunteers."
    Durability in Endurance Athletes
    The final review of the day leaves Rob asking for more from scientists and friends of the podcast, Stephen Seiler and Ed Maunder in their Review article, "The Importance of ‘Durability’ in the Physiological Profiling of Endurance Athletes." Rob asks the questions he wants answers to and looks for more valuable information.
    Let's make you fast!
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    • 1 hr 16 min
    Environmental Pollution, Health, and Performance, with Dr. Michael Koehle

    Environmental Pollution, Health, and Performance, with Dr. Michael Koehle

    sources, it’s time to ask the question: Should we modify how, where, and when we train based on our potential exposure to pollutants? Furthermore, are certain pollutants worse than others? Finally, can we, and if so, should we try to “adapt” to certain pollutants? 
     
    We’re joined by a leading expert in the field of environmental pollution and its effects on exercise performance and health, Dr. Michael Koehle, from the University of British Columbia. With his help, we’ll address the different risks associated with pollution exposure, and how those effects change based on the concentration and duration of our exposure, as well as how we breathe. 
     
    Finally, Dr. Koehle, as well as environmental physiologist Dr. Stephen Cheung and pro cyclist Shayna Powless, share their recommendations for training in a polluted world. Ultimately, exercise is good, pollution is bad, and there are things we can do to lessen the impact based on the conditions that day.  
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    • 1 hr 11 min
    Q&A on Returning from Injury, Weight Management, and Fast-Twitch Fibers, with Renee Eastman

    Q&A on Returning from Injury, Weight Management, and Fast-Twitch Fibers, with Renee Eastman

    We start today’s Q&A with a discussion on returning from injury. Why? Well, Renee Eastman, our guest coach on this episode, just suffered a nasty crash. She's also come back from many injuries and bone breaks: “I've broken just about every bone in my body, including back (L1-3 fusion), elbow (with reconstructive surgery), clavicle (2x), hand, foot, kneecap, and now ribs.”
    So, we start with some big questions:

    What are the best practices when returning from injury?

    How do you prepare your body to reduce the risk of injury from what can be an injury-prone sport?

    How do you deal with the long-term side effects or manage pain from past injuries?

    The importance of consistency
    The next question comes from Amanda Johnson in Middlebury, Vermont. She writes:
    “As a working mother of two kids, I struggle to find the time to train at the level I want—I'm not trying to be a pro, I just love being active and racing at a decent level. Given my work and life schedule, I seem to ride a rollercoaster when it comes to training, which leads to big swings in my motivation, nutrition, and even sleep. Do you have any tips on how I can bring more consistency to my training? Also, what should I expect of myself if I can find that consistency? Big gains or simply less of a rollercoaster ride?”
    Weight versus performance
    The next question comes from Dom Porzak in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He writes:
    “As someone who is naturally built more like a linebacker than a cyclist, I know that I’m at a disadvantage when it comes to power-to-weight ratios. I don’t lift, I’m just muscular. I eat well—lots of fruits and vegetables and no grains—but I’m not lean. So, my question is, is there anything I can do to better manage my weight so that my performance on the bike naturally increases?”
    Fast-twitch muscle fibers
    This series of questions, all about fast-twitch muscle fibers, comes from Velibor Dokic in Norway. He writes:
    “There is so much talk about slow- and fast-twitch muscles, and how it's genetically pre-decided how many fast-twitch fibers we have and how little we can do to change that. How are fast-twitch muscle fibers distributed? And where do we have most of our fast-twitch muscles? (Not taking into account our upper body.) Are fast-twitch fibers more collected in a group of fibers or randomly placed? Or since one fiber can be as long as 40mm, are both types of fibers in one length? If I do a fasted ride and go totally empty of glycogen, will the fast-twitch muscles burn fat the rest of the ride?"
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    • 56 min
    Should We Race by Numbers? With Dirk Friel

    Should We Race by Numbers? With Dirk Friel

    When Chris Froome first came to prominence on the WorldTour and started dominating grand tours, all the talk was about how he was constantly looking at his stem. Was he staring at his power meter to gauge his effort? Entire websites were devoted to catching Froome in the act of looking at his head unit while racing his bike. https://chrisfroomelookingatstems.tumblr.com/  
     
    While Froome now claims he isn’t staring at his power and it has to do with breathing, the point deserves attention given the metronomic nature of some pro racing. If you did look at your numbers the whole time, would you be faster? 
     
    Today, we’re sitting down with TrainingPeaks co-founder Dirk Friel to discuss what numbers, if any, you should use to gauge your racing efforts. Of course, any discussion of how to race a bike naturally evolves into a broader conversation about strategy, tactics, psychology, and even equipment. So, today you’ll gain plenty of insights into general race craft. 
     
    Most of the discussion will be about the numbers: which numbers can help you, and in which race setting they’re most appropriate, and just as importantly which numbers can hurt your racing or at least your mindset. We’ll also discuss how you can use numbers to prepare for specific races, and even to plan out your race. 
     
    In addition to Dirk Friel, today we’ll also hear from sports psychologist Simon Marshall, former WorldTour rider Svein Tuft, pro racer Shayna Powless, and athlete and coach Jen Sharp. 
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    • 1 hr 22 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
158 Ratings

158 Ratings

Cowens49 ,

Very Informative

These guys know their stuff and do a good job of sharing that Info.

WSJ everyday ,

Love the science-based discussions

Other than not always being able to hear the episodes (big gear with Neal Henderson) sounded like it would be super interesting, but so many time throughout the podcast, at the highest volume, I could not hear or decipher what was being said.

Opus Uno ,

As repetitive as a chain spinning round

Guests are really great - sometimes. Sometimes the audio is as if they are out on a ride phoning it in. But really, my bigest criticism is there's no new ideas. I've listened from the beginning but I can't take Trevor Conner talking about himself anymore. It's become boring and pretty Boulder-centric. Might start listening again if they profiling athletes that make up 99% of their listening audience. Or people with names (not the coaches generic athlete) on local teams across this country, etc. I mean I love Sepp Kuss, but I really don't give a crap how he or any othet elite trains. I want to know how a middle aged Sally a small business owner with 3 kids keeps fast. Or Joe Schmo prepping to finish DK. Colin Stricland and Ted King are great... but seriously... also way beyond most listeners category.

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