Dr. Greg Wells

Perform Better

Perform Better

Canadian Running Magazine: Five pieces of recovery wisdom to allow runners over-40 to bounce back faster

July, 12th 2017

This article originally appeared in Canadian Running Magazine at www.runningmagazine.ca.

The way you manage day-to-day stress impacts your recovery…

July 10, 2017 | By Sinead Mulhern

When the weather is nice, many runners are motivated to kick it into high gear. There’s no shortage of physical activities to enjoy in the summer sunshine (think trail running, hiking, kayaking, swimming…). Beautiful days beg for runners to lace up and run their city or town’s best routes. But keeping a schedule full of vigorous activity only works if runners give equal thought to active recovery. If you’re somewhere in the 40-plus age group, recovery is even more important. If those aches and pains– or perhaps even an injury– have been getting you down, we have a wise guide that’ll have you bouncing back in no time. Take this advice from our experts and age will no longer be a limiting factor.

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Canadian Running Magazine: Tips to nail your training even if you think your fastest days are history

July, 12th 2017

This article originally appeared in Canadian Running Magazine at www.runningmagazine.ca.

This summer, follow these four key concepts from experts to increase your chances at reaching your goals

June 13, 2017 | By Tim Huebsch

If you listen to your body and take the right approach, you can certainly run fast over 40. Whether that means hitting new paces in your next race or just getting to the next fitness point, that’s up to your own discretion.

We spoke with Megan Kuikman, a registered dietitian, sports nutritionist and a 2:47 marathon runner to get some ideas for over-40 athletes on how to enhance the benefits of your next training block. We paired her advice with that of Dr. Greg Wells–scientist, broadcaster, author, coach and athlete. Kevin O’Connor, one of Canada’s top masters runners, also chats about how he resets after a big race in the story’s featured video below. Need some advice? We walk you through it.

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #70: All about Olympic swimming and helping the next generation with Martha McCabe

July, 11th 2017

We’re going back into the sports world this week with Olympian Martha McCabe!

Martha grew up in an athletic family who paved the way to competitive sport for her. After high school, she moved to Vancouver to study kinesiology at UBC, and train with Hungarian breaststroke coach Jozsef Nagy. Martha claimed her first international medal at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, and in 2012, she placed fifth in the Olympic final. In 2015, she won silver in her home city at the Pan Am Games in Toronto and went on to captain the 2016 Rio Canadian Olympic swim team.  After hanging up her goggles for the final time, Martha drove across Canada in “Martha’s Canadian Drive” conducting 45 speaking and coaching sessions to over 3000 participants in 59 days to share her Olympic experiences, and inspire the next generation. Martha sits on the Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission where she is passionately trying to improve the landscape for Olympians and youth in Canada.

Her new project is Head to Head . With Martha’s deep rooted passion for healthy living from the inside out she created Head to Head. She believes that by connecting youth with Olympians and National Team Athletes, we can save lives by increasing confidence and improving mindset – all the while, powering athletes.

You can connect with Martha on twitter: https://twitter.com/MarthMcC, on instagram @marthmcc or on her website: http://www.marthamccabe.ca/.

Enjoy the conversation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

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's Blog: How Healthy Is Your Thought Life?

June, 28th 2017

It’s really hard to live a high-performance life when high stress is a daily reality. Chronic stress damages your body, threatens your mental health, puts strain on relationships, and takes the joy out of life.

Your thoughts have strong influence over stress levels. What you choose to think about, or not think about, dictates how your body and mind react to everyday life.

So how can we reduce the ongoing flow of damaging stress—and even find peace in our thought life? The key is to break up stressful times with periods of rest, recovery, and regeneration. The good news is that anyone can learn techniques that can counter the damage of the stress response.

Make sure that each day you take some time to break the stress cycle and rest, recover, and regenerate. Doing this not only helps you find peace in the moment but also recharges your body and brain to stay healthy over the long term.

Here are 7 proven techniques that can help you have a healthy thought life and recover from chronic stress:

1. Move your body
Rhythmic, repeated motion is particularly soothing to the mind and body. A long walk, cycling, swimming, or running will all work, but any kind of movement will relieve tension, improve circulation, and clear your mind.

2. Get into nature
Go outside! Head to the garden, the park, or the woods to lower your blood pressure, strengthen your immune system, reduce tension and depression, and boost your mood. It’s stunning how good it is for your health to be in nature. Leave the cell phone and earbuds at home.

3. Practice yoga or Tai Chi
Like nature therapy, yoga and Tai Chi decrease stress and anxiety, increase energy, and boost the immune system. They also give you more stamina—needed in stressful times—and improve the quality of your sleep.

4. Have perspective
Don’t be so quick to conclude that you “can’t handle” a stressful situation. This is truly a mind-over-matter opportunity. Believing that you are strong and resourceful actually makes you stronger and more resourceful. Don’t give in to negative self-talk about not having what it takes to manage life.

5. Change the nature of your response
Research indicates that taking an active, problem-solving approach to life’s challenges relieves stress and can transform it into something positive. If you withdraw, deny the problem, or spend all your time venting, you’ll feel helpless. Instead, be determined to make a change, put effort into it, and plan for better results.

6. Practice slow, deep breathing
Start applying the power of deep breathing each day. It will make a huge difference. Start small by taking three deep breaths each time you sit down at your desk—in the morning, after breaks, after lunch, and so on. It will help you become more patient, calm, and relaxed.

7. Block time for single-tasking.
Each day this week, schedule time in your calendar for focusing exclusively on one task. This task should be something that is very important to you. Doing several things at once might make it seem as if you are working hard, but it’s an illusion. Your body and mind are not designed to work that way and it causes extra stress.

I hope this article was helpful!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

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 my podcast in iTunes!

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Dr. Greg Wells Podcast #68: All about leadership communication with Bart Egnal

June, 27th 2017

Hi everyone, welcome back! This week I talked to my friend and colleague Bart Egnal. Bart is an expert on leadership communication and recently published his new book Leading Through Language. Bart and I chat all about how to communicate better and to lead with your words. If you are into public speaking or simply want to get your point across better anytime, anywhere this episode is for you. Here’s a little more about Bart.

Bart is the president and Chief Executive Officer at The Humphrey Group, which teaches leadership communication skills through executive coaching, group training and consulting. As an executive coach and communications instructor, Bart specializes in teaching clients how to inspire action every time they speak. By helping clients communicate as inspiring leaders, Bart has developed strong partnerships with companies such as RBC, Bell, Goldcorp, Enbridge, TAQA, and Cenovus.

Follow Bart on twitter ‪@THG_Bart and LinkedIn

Enjoy the conversation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

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 #67: Health and Fitness Legend Paul Chek

June, 20th 2017

Welcome back podcast universe! This week I had the chance to chat with one of my greatest influences Paul Chek. Paul is a legend in the health and fitness space and we went really deep in this conversation. We talked about healthy nutrition, fitness and the pillars of living a great life. Here’s a little more about Paul.

Paul is a holistic health practitioner who has transformed the lives of countless individuals by developing practical and effective methods for addressing all aspects of well-being. His approach to treatment and education is driven by his “system of systems” philosophy: that the body is a fully integrated unit of physical, hormonal, emotional and spiritual components.

He is the founder of Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology (C.H.E.K) Institute, which helps healthcare professionals advance their careers through a holistic approach to health, fitness and well-being. He is also the creator of the PPS Success Mastery Program. This self-mastery program teaches individuals to reach their true potential by transforming their destructive habits and learning to take control of their personal, professional and spiritual life.

Check out Paul’s blog http://www.paulcheksblog.com and follow him on twitter @PaulChek

Enjoy the conversation!

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my new book The Ripple Effect you can get it here!

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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How to Feel More Alert

June, 15th 2017

Decreased alertness is a huge hindrance to thinking and, ultimately, performing at a high level. There are many factors that can help you feel more (or less) alert. These six ways to feel more alert are changes you can easily make to your life, starting today!

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Canadian Running: Six training hacks for masters athletes to crush spring workouts

May, 30th 2017

This article originally appeared in Canadian Running Magazine

Don’t let your age work against you. Here are some tips for the over-40 runner.

May 26, 2017 | By Sinead Mulhern

Kevin Smith remembers the moment when he realized that his training needed to change. His story is similar to many. He’s a lifelong runner, but right around his fortieth birthday, he realized that the nagging injuries he had been experiencing more and more into his late thirties weren’t going to go away if he didn’t adjust his training. “I used to be a high level runner in my twenties,” Smith explains. “Once in my thirties and through my thirties, the injuries came more often and they were more severe.” He had an epiphany. Smith realized he needed to be strategic not just about the window spent training, but also during the hours away from workouts.

Currently, Smith is the head coach of Marathon Dynamics running club in Toronto. As such, he regularly works with masters athletes. We consulted with him and well-respected physiologist Dr. Greg Wells to find out how runners over 40 can make real improvements during their sweat sessions. If you’re in this age category, take any of these tips to make a real break-through in your training.

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The Globe and Mail: Greg Wells on how ‘microchanges’ can make a major difference

April, 4th 2017

Toronto physiologist Greg Wells’s new book, The Ripple Effect, makes lofty promises, pledging that we can Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better. A superachiever himself (Ironman, PhD, researcher at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Kids and professor at the University of Toronto), Wells nevertheless tempers those assertions by sticking to a simple message in the book, in stores April 4. It’s okay to dream big, but start small. Peppered with “1 per cent tips,” Wells advocates staying focused on micro-improvements (using spices, not sauces, to cut calories; walking 15 minutes a day to potentially lower risk of breast and colon cancer 24 to 40 per cent). “Microchanges are sustainable forever,” he says. “When they add up over time, it’s like compound interest for your body and mind.”

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CTV The Social: How simple lifestyle changes can transform your health for life

April, 4th 2017

You know those days when you don’t get enough sleep, so you decide to skip the gym and then you end up eating nothing but garbage for the rest of the day? We’ve all been there. Greg Wells, author of The Ripple Effect, says there are ways we can make small changes to our sleeping, eating, exercising and thinking habits that can transform our health for life.

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CBC.ca: What you should know about the drug that cost Usain Bolt an Olympic gold

January, 28th 2017

This article originally appeared at CBC.ca. Click here to access the article.

Jamaican teammate Nesta Carter tested positive for methylhexaneamine

By Wendy-Ann Clarke, CBC Sports Posted: Jan 26, 2017 1:19 PM ET

Jamaican sprinter Nesta Carter tested positive for a banned substance, but Usain Bolt is taking the biggest hit.

News broke Wednesday that the Jamaican 4×100-metre relay team that won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics is being stripped of its medal after a re-analysis of Carter’s sample turned up the banned stimulant methylhexaneamine.

The failed test by Carter, who ran the opening leg of the relay, spoiled Bolt’s perfect “triple-triple” record — he won gold in each of his three events at three consecutive Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the ruling by the International Olympic Committee has raised several questions, including: What is methylhexaneamine? How much might Carter’s use of the drug have affected the results of the race? And is there a chance for a successful appeal?

We went to the experts for some answers.

How does methylhexaneamine work?

Blue Jays star Marcus Stroman, former Jay Chris Colabello, boxer Brandon Rios and South African discus thrower Victor Hogan are among the athletes who have been disciplined for methylhexaneamine use in recent years.

According to Dr. Greg Wells, a kinesiology professor at the University of Toronto, the stimulant is similar in composition to drugs like ephedrine which can be found in a number of over-the-counter medications, as well as in athletic supplements that don’t always list every ingredient on their packaging.

The physiological effects of the drug can be compared to those of a non-drowsy cold formula.

“It feels like you have a bit of adrenaline surging through your body,” says Wells. “The effects of that type of stimulant become especially significant in a sport like track and field where hundredths of a second can make a difference.”

While not to be confused with an anabolic steroid, which causes significant structural changes inside the body, Wells says the stimulant can be dangerous, and can put athletes at an advantage because of its ability to:

open airways in the lungs, making it easier to take in oxygen
narrow blood vessels, which increases blood pressure, helping push oxygen to body tissue cause water to be expelled from the body, which can lead to weight loss

Although stimulants like methylhexaneamine can cause an instantaneous boost, Wells says if the drug was in a supplement Carter was using on a regular basis, “he would incur a consistent advantage in training, meaning he could work harder, more often, more easily, which may be a significant benefit.”

Why did it take so long to catch Carter?

Methylhexaneamine was not specifically named on the banned substance list back in 2008, but being caught using it is still considered a doping infraction because the properties are associated with other substances in the stimulant class.

Paul Melia, president and CEO of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, says the creators of designer drugs are always one step ahead of drug detection labs, making the ability to test athletes retroactively very important.

“Designer drugs are created in clandestine labs that have the ability to make changes to the molecular makeup of a drug,” Melia says. “The drug-test laboratories need to know the molecular structure of a banned substance in order to detect it.

“Fortunately, now the IOC is storing samples for up to 10 years, giving we in the lab time to identify these new substances that are coming onto the market. Since 2008, the lab has identified this stimulant, giving us the analytical techniques to detect it.”

Can Carter appeal?

Carter could face a ban of at least two years, which may be a crushing blow to the career of the 31-year-old sprinter.

Melia says that if it can be proven that a drug was deliberately and intentionally used to enhance performance, the sanction can increase to as much as four years. But if Carter can demonstrate that he took the drug unknowingly, his punishment can be argued down to as little as a warning.

As far as Carter’s (and Bolt’s) relay medal goes, Melia says that although Carter will have the opportunity for a hearing to presumably try to reduce his sentencing, it won’t have any impact on the decision to strip the gold from his relay team.

“I think it’s a really powerful deterrent for athletes who might be thinking about using designer drugs that can’t be detected today,” Melia says. “It’s not going to give them much comfort when they hear a story like this that goes right back to 2008.”

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Entrepreneur.com: Are You Single-Tasking Yet?

October, 31st 2016

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

You sure should be. Focusing on one, important item at a time will make you more competent and productive.

What are you doing while you read this? Are you dipping into your email while texting, reading tweets and partly listening at a meeting? Do you have your mobile phone, a desk phone, a tablet and a laptop all on the go at once?

Probably. We all tend to do it, some more often than others. After all, multitasking is the sign of a highly effective and efficient mind — right?


It’s time for a reminder about the power of singletasking.

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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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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”.


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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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Entrepreneur.com: 6 Ways to Curb Jet Lag and Travel Fatigue

January, 14th 2016

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

As an entrepreneur, you likely travel a lot, and you already know that jet lag (which science geeks call “flight dysrhythmia”) can cause all kinds of unpleasant symptoms: insomnia, loss of appetite, depressed mood, upset stomach, fatigue and mental fuzziness, to name a few.

And the farther you travel, the worse your jet lag will likely be. Why? Because crossing time zones throws your internal rhythms out of sync with your external environment. It’s like your body stays back in New York as you head off to your first meeting in London!


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Toronto Star: Cross-country running on uneven ground

November, 23rd 2015

What happens to girls and women when their feet touch grass?

That’s the question increasingly being asked in cross country running circles where old biases about what female athletes are capable of persist.

On the track and on the road, male and female athletes run the same distances, whether it’s the 100-metre sprint or the 42.2-km marathon. When they step on the softer, undulating ground of a cross-country course, that equality vanishes.


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Entrepreneur.com: 7 Mind-Body Fitness Strategies that Crush Stress

July, 18th 2015

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

If, in response to a life event, you’ve ever felt heat in the face, tightness in the chest, deep fatigue, an upset stomach or a craving for junk food, you know what stress feels like in your body. Chances are you’re well aware that stress can lead to elevated blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and weight gain.

But did you know that stress also contributes to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression or an overall sense of defeatism? In order to stay mentally fit at work and at home, we need to protect ourselves against harm.


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