Posts by Dr. Greg Wells

Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #46: @sweatscience Alex Hutchinson on brain training, inflammation and optimizing training

September, 20th 2016

This week I talk to Alex Hutchinson. Alex has interviewed me a few times for his award winning sport science articles in Runners World and The Globe and Mail and I decided it was time to turn the tables and interview him.

Alex is an author and Journalist. His first book is is Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights? Fitness Myths, Training Truths, and Other Surprising Discoveries from the Science of Exercise. He also has a popular blog Sweat Science and writes regularly for Runners World. He was written for Canadian Running, Popular Mechanics, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Outside Magazine and The Walrus, among other publications.

Before becoming a journalist, he did his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Cambridge, then spent a few years as a postdoctoral researcher with the U.S. National Security Agency, working on quantum computing and nano-mechanics.

He is also an accomplished athlete, and represented Canada internationally between 1997 and 2008 as a track and field athlete in running events ranging in distances from 1500-10 km.

In this interview Alex and I discuss the latest information about the brain and exercise, techniques to improve brain performance and to improve brain endurance, inflammation and whether or not to try to speed recovery, and other approaches to performing at your best.

You can connect with Alex on his blog, on twitter or on Runner’s World.

I think you’ll find lots of great info in this interview.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #45: All about BMX, #TheLearningCurve and pushing the limits with Drew Bezanson

September, 13th 2016

Hi everyone! We’re changing things up a little bit this week. I recently did a super cool project with RedBull.com on some of the science of BMX and slopestyle bike riding and the featured athlete in the segments is world-class rider Drew Bezanson. Drew and I had a great conversation here that covers learning to ride, overcoming your fears, how to recover after setbacks and ultimately how to follow your passion and your dreams.

Growing up in Truro, Nova Scotia, on the east coast of Canada meant long winters and seclusion from the rest of the BMX world for Drew Bezanson, but persistence and a genuine passion for riding to the best of his ability has certainly begun to pay off.

Drew is a natural on a BMX and probably spends more time on his bike than off. Among the many crown jewels in his trophy case are the 2010 and 2012 Transworld BMX NORA Cups for Ramp Rider of the year.

Since his breakout year in 2010, Drew has become renowned as one of the top BMX park riders in the world. Since 2011 it’s been quicker to tell you when he hasn’t been Simple Session champion, and he’s won several editions of the Baltic Games in Gdansk in typical flamboyant style.

Drew is all about sharing and collaborating too; he invited his elite BMX buds to come up to Toronto for a training session at the Joyride 150 bike park for the Red Bull Air Awareness Camp. The camp combined practising crazy new tricks with a vigorous training regime to help the riders achieve peak physical condition for the year ahead.

Drew’s success has seen him steadily begin to conquer the international stage; a solid performance at the X Games in Barcelona in 2013 saw him take sixth place, just behind Daniel Dhers, and a fifth place in Munich. Drew has also claimed the gold medal at Red Bull Framed Reactions in Amsterdam. 2014 afforded him a silver medal at the Austin X Games and 2015 the Simple Session title yet again, along with plenty of acclaim for his Uncontainable project.

You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Here are the links to the #TheLearningCurve series:

Watch: Red Bull – Drew Bezanson: The Learning Curve Ep. 1

Watch: Red Bull – Drew Bezanson: The Learning Curve – Ep. 2

Watch: Red Bull – Drew Bezanson: The Learning Curve – Ep. 3

Watch: Red Bull – Drew Bezanson: The Learning Curve – Ep. 4

Watch: Red Bull – Drew Bezanson: The Learning Curve – Ep. 5

Watch: Red Bull – Drew Bezanson: The Learning Curve – Ep. 6

That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening and have a great week!

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

Also please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #44: Dr. Greg Wells on #Rio2016

August, 17th 2016

Hi everyone! Here is an interview that I did for the Globe and Mail on Facebook live. It was a cool long form interview where I talk for more than 40 minutes all about the science of the Olympic Games and some of the incredible athletes and their performances.

This is a bit different – this time it is me being interviewed rather than the other way around. I hope you like it.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Rio 2016: The Science of Michael Phelps

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Michael Phelps is obviously an incredible athlete, but the adaptations of his body may be even more amazing than his performance. His arm span is 2.03 metres wide, longer than average, giving him a greater distance per stroke. This means he has to take fewer strokes than his competitors, which increases his efficiency and saves energy during races. Height and arm length (unlike waist size) are characteristics that are largely determined by genes, but Michael’s commitment to training has had a powerful long-term effect on his body that is not genetic. Most swimmers at the international level will have a lung capacity that can be as much as two times the amount of a normal person’s lungs. No one has published lung-testing data from Michael Phelps yet, but I’d be willing to bet that his lung capacity is beyond limits even for swimmers. So is Michael a product of genetic talent or consistent training over an extended period of time?

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 2

August, 10th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

Here is part 2 of my post on the Science of Usain Bolt!

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are  two critical stages of the run itself: the acceleration phase and the speed maintenance phase and that is what we will be exploring in this post.

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Rio 2016: The Science of Usain Bolt's Speed - Part 1

August, 8th 2016

This information first appeared in my book Superbodies: Peak Performance Secrets from the World’s Best Athletes.

With the Olympics in Rio underway I thought it would be cool to explore some of the physiology of the most legendary athletes. Usain Bolt certainly fits into this category. He’s aiming for 3 gold medals in 3 consecutive Olympics. Now, while you might normally think that his performance is powered by his muscles (and it is), there is one deeper level of physiology we can explore that will help you to appreciate how incredible his performances are. Let’s take a look at the what happens to the nervous system during the 100 m dash.

Let’s look at Usain Bolt’s world record 9.58-second 100-metre dash. Exploring “the start” is fascinating when we consider the lighting storm of electrical activity involved. There are three steps to the start: the “On Your Mark,” “Get Set” and “Go” steps. Let’s take a look at each of these steps.

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Toronto Star: Ice swimmers defy death for the thrill

August, 3rd 2016

Read article at Toronto Star.com

Ryan Stramrood’s “ice mile’” in sub-zero water off Antarctica set the standard for ice swimming.

As he swam against the current in Antarctica’s Southern Ocean among leopard seals and icebergs, Ryan Stramrood’s body went numb.

He looked down, pulling his arms one stroke at a time through the -1 C water, and he thought about how clear the ocean was that day.

“You don’t want to see very far down. It can be quite eerie,” he said.

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Redbull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 3

July, 25th 2016

On this week’s episode of The Learning Curve, we find Drew Bezanson putting in time at the Joyride 150 bike park warehouse, near Toronto, in Canada. With the mercy of a foam pit, Drew hucks his way to perfection as he prepares for competitive action.

Using the foam pit is key because of how fast I have to learn this stuff. If I was going to do it the old-fashioned way, on a regular jump, we probably wouldn’t be filming right now!

Drew Bezanson

The Learning Curve 3

 

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RedBull.com: The Learning Curve Episode 1

July, 13th 2016

Check out a new web series I’m helping with called The Learning Curve.

In episode one of The Learning Curve, we catch up with Drew Bezanson a few months after his release of Uncontainable.

Still riding the high from the success of the film and his own sense of accomplishment, Drew begins looking towards the next challenge – slopestyle mountain biking – and coming to terms with the uphill battle he’ll face if he wants to shred slopestyle with the best of them.

Here’s Episode 1 “Watch Drew Bezanson’s journey to Joyride begin”.

TheLearningCurveEp1

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #43: All about negotiating with David Dingwall

June, 30th 2016

Hello everyone! Thanks for joining us again! This week I had the opportunity to have a great conversation with my friend and colleague David Dingwall. David is an amazing person. He was elected to Canada’s national parliament (the equivalent of the House of Representatives in the US) at 27 and was re-elected 4 times. He led the development and adoption of the Tobacco Act when he was serving as Canada’s Health Minister. At the time this was the toughest Tobacco legislation in the world.

Since then, he has worked as a lawyer, corporate CEO, corporate Director, and public speaker. He is a visiting Professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management where is also leads the Ryerson Negotiation Project.

His current book is called Negotiating So Everyone Wins where David explains approaches and practices that he uses and that twenty of the country’s best deal-makers shared with me through the Ryerson Negotiation Project. These experts include former TD Bank president Ed Clark, NHL Players’ Association head Donald Fehr, former leader of the Canadian Auto Workers Buzz Hargrove, former Ontario Premiers David Peterson and Bob Rae, and former CanWest Global CEO Leonard Asper. He also shares behind the scenes insights from his own experience as a politician, CEO, legal counsel and business advisor.

You can visit David’s website for more information.

I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Latest fundraising efforts for our research @SickKids

June, 29th 2016

Memorial hockey tournament raises $30,000 for Toronto SickKids in honour of 11-year-old Alex Shapiro, ‘the fighting eagle’.

The Fighting Eagle Memorial hockey tournament raised an estimated $30,000 for The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) over the June 25 and 26 weekend.

Since its inception three years ago, the organizing committee estimates the event has raised $100,000 for SickKids Foundation. The two-day tournament, which brings together players of all skill levels, is held in memory of Alex Shapiro, a son, brother, friend, and loyal teammate of the Toronto Eagle’s Hockey Association. His love of hockey persevered even after he was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Sarcoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, in the summer of 2012.

As a member of the Toronto Eagles’ Minor Peewee AA team, Alex caught the attention of The Sports Network (TSN) when he was supposed to get chemotherapy, but instead, when there wasn’t a hospital bed available, he went home, grabbed his hockey gear and joined his teammates on the ice to score the first goal of the year. It was on that day that he earned the nicknamed ‘The Fighting Eagle’ (watch the clip here: www.bit.ly/1IoP7L9).

Alex continued to play hockey throughout his treatments any chance he could. In April 2013, his cancer returned and he passed away just two weeks after he played his last hockey game at the age of 11.

Established not only to remember and honour Alex and his love of hockey, friendship and competition, the Fighting Eagle Memorial Tournament also raise funds to support research by Dr. Greg Wells, an Associate Scientist in the Physiology & Experimental Medicine at SickKids. Wells is currently focusing on the benefits of physical activity for cancer patients during and following cancer treatments.

Funds raised will help Wells hire and train researchers and other professionals, cover research operating costs, such as MRI time, exercise testing, and to purchase new research equipment.

To find out more about the tournament and how you can donate, visit www.fightingeagletournament.wordpress.com.

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Entrepreneur.com: The Power of 1 Percent Better

June, 24th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

One of the best approaches I have seen for achieving a dream is to focus on being 1 percent better.

I work with a lot of incredible athletes, but it isn’t always talent that drives achievement. What sets the best performing athletes apart is their dedication to training at a consistently high level. And among that group, there is a factor that sets even the elite athletes apart: lifestyle.

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #42: All about concussions with Dr. Katia Sinopoli

June, 23rd 2016

Hi everyone! This week I had the great privilege of interviewing Dr. Katia Sinopoli, a psychologist in the Neurology Program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Dr. Sinopoli did her post-doctoral training with me at Sick Kids and has gone on to develop a successful research and clinical practice. A component of her research has been looking at concussions, also known as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). Given how many people experience concussions and the frightening impact of those injuries (check out this page from the CDC to learn more about TBI’s) I thought that Dr. Sinopoli could provide some brilliant insights that we can all use to understand the issue better, clear up misconceptions and spread the message about how to best manage a concussion should it happen.

You can check out some of Dr. Sinopoli’s research on Research Gate.

If you’re looking for more information take a look at ThinkFirst is a national non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention of brain and spinal cord injuries. Celebrating over seventeen years in operation, ThinkFirst has been heightening public awareness through education since its inception in 1992, when it was founded by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Charles Tator.

This is an interesting article from Outside Magazine on The New Science of Concussion Recovery.

You can also check out the NY Times Health section that focuses on concussions here.

Finally – here is the link to the Zurich Consensus guidelines that Dr. Sinopoli and I talk about in the podcast.

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #41: All about fat with Dr. Richard Bazinet (Part 2)

June, 14th 2016

This week I have part 2 of my interview with Dr. Richard Bazinet. Enjoy!

In case you want to read a bit more you can check out these quotes in the media:

You can also check out his research here:

http://individual.utoronto.ca/bazinetlab/index.html

I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Entrepreneur.com: The 3-Step Process for Countering Negativity

June, 8th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

Running your own business has its fair share of nerve-wracking moments. Some people feel the most anxious and uncertain before they take the entrepreneurial plunge. Do I have a chance of succeeding?

Others come across bumps in the road well after the business is established. Perhaps the market is changing or a fierce competitor arrives on the scene.

It is natural to feel worried or nervous at different times in the life of your business. But it’s another thing to make important decisions from a position of anxiety. The problem with negative emotions is that they’re so powerful, they can dominate our thinking and actions.

20150903185615-business-girl-pen-banker-thinking-planning-thoughts

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #40: All about fat with Dr. Richard Bazinet (Part 1)

June, 7th 2016

Hi everyone! Given the ongoing and very confusing information we’re all hearing about fats and whether or not they’re good for us I thought it would be a good idea to interview one of the world’s leading experts on the topic Dr. Richard Bazinet.

Dr. Bazinet is a Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto in Canada. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario, and his PhD from the University of Toronto. He went on to do his post-doctoral training at the Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section of the National Institute on Aging at National Institutes of Health.

The  goal of his research program is to identify the mechanisms that regulate brain lipid metabolism (signaling) and to identify the role of brain lipid metabolism in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases and neuropsychiatric disorders. He is currently taking a kinetic and biochemical approach to studying the mechanisms by which dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids regulate the metabolism of arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids within brain phospholipids. He is also investigating the role of dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids in rodent models of neuroinflammation and Alzheimer’s disease.

Basically he’s an expert on fat metabolism and how to eat better to be healthier. This interview went longer than expected so I split it into 2 sections. I hope you find this interview as fascinating and insightful as I did. Check out the image below. We talk about this in the interview. Its the difference between fat extracted from grain fed vs. grass fed beef.

DSC_0116

I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #39: Dr. Mike Rucker on Positive Psychology, Workplace Wellness and Building Great Habits

May, 2nd 2016

Hi everyone! This week I’ve got a really interesting interview with Dr. Mike Rucker. Mike is a specialist in performance psychology and workplace wellness. He is also an endurance athlete and overall really interesting guy. Mike and I dive into topics related to positive psychology, his research on what makes successful workplace wellness programs impactful (or not), his own performance habits and lots of other ideas that I think can make a huge difference for all of us.

Check out Dr. Mike’s bio:

First off, since you’re taking the time to read this let me thank you for wanting to learn a little more about me (Michael Rucker). If you only have time for the single sentence version, here it is: I am a zealot of facilitating measurable positive increases in outcomes and performance. If you have a couple of minutes, allow me to share a little more…

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #38: Dr. Larry Creswell on Heart Health

April, 19th 2016

Hey everyone! This week we’re keeping to the physiology theme by talking to Dr. Lawrence Creswell about heart health. Dr. Creswell is a heart surgeon and athlete who has a wealth of knowledge that I was lucky to tap into this week on this episode. We talk about heart disease, what we all can do to improve our heart health, and also whether or not extreme exercise is good or bad for your heart. Dr. Creswell manages to balance his life as a surgeon with being an athlete – these days he’s an ultra endurance swimmer – and so I’m confident there’s a ton we can all learn from him.

Here’s a little more about Dr. Creswell:

I’m a heart surgeon, educator, and athlete.  I’m learning to be a writer.

Jackson, Mississippi is my home.

I’m a faculty member at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, where my clinical practice is devoted to adult heart surgery.  I enjoy teaching medical students and residents who are training to become surgeons.

I swim, bike, and run.  I’m best at swimming.

My goal for the Athlete’s Heart Blog is to share information about athletes and heart health.  There’s not enough quality online information that’s also easy to read.  Here at the blog–and with all of my social media outlets–the views expressed are my own and not my employer’s.

You can also catch him on Twitter at @athletesheart, on Facebook at /athletesheart, and as an occasional columnist at the Endurance Corner website.

I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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Entrepreneur.com: 6 Happiness Tips to Boost Your Health and Performance

April, 14th 2016

This article originally appeared at this link on Entrepreneur.com.

As an entrepreneur you probably know that constant, high stress levels undermine your performance. When highly stressed, you don’t sleep as well, your concentration suffers, your patience bucket shrinks to the size of a teacup, and your ability to generate strategies and solutions plummets.

So one way to become a better business owner, leader and visionary is to be happier. Why? Because happiness has been shown to lower stress, increase well-being and boost daily energy. No surprise, perhaps, that feeling good creates a better work performance.

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #37: Dr. David Behm on To Stretch or Not To Stretch

March, 28th 2016

After a bit of a break from physiology we’re back! This week I interview Dr. David Behm who is probably the world’s leading expert on stretching and the physiology of how to stretch and why. We get pretty deep into the physiology but there are loads of great takeaways in this interview for everyone.

Here’s a little more about Dr. Behm in his own words:

Prior to pursuing further academic credentials, I was drafted in the Canadian Football League (CFL) by the Ottawa RoughRiders, worked as a hockey and football coach at Bishop’s University, managed an athletic club in Dartmouth, NS, and lectured at the University of Regina.

I finished my master’s degree from McMaster University under the supervision of Dr. Digby Sale and completed my doctorate in rehabilitation science from McGill University (advisor: Dr. Diane St-Pierre) while working full-time as a physical education teacher at Dawson College.

Memorial University hired me in May 1995. In 2004, I reached the level of full professor and became associate dean of Graduate Studies and Research in 2008. I was designated as a University Research Professor in 2015.

I have published over 180 articles in peer-reviewed scientific and professional publications, provided invited presentations to audiences in North and South America, Europe and Australia and have appeared on national and local television (i.e. Discovery Channel) and radio (i.e. Quirks and Quarks).

Here is Dr. Behm’s TEDx talk on the subject of stretching:

Here’s an article on his work that appeared in Outside Magazine:

You Need to Relearn How to Run

And another article that appeared in the Globe and Mail:

Why your warm-up may be hurting your workout

That’s it for this week. I hope you enjoyed the episode. Have a great week.

If you found this information interesting and helpful please consider signing up for our monthly newsletter with health and performance tips, articles, videos and other insights.

I’m on twitter, Linked In and Facebook.

Also please subscribe to this podcast in iTunes!

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