ATC 316: Do Vasectomies Affect Performance? (Lucho Shares His Experience) Plus: Coffee Talk and Programming Effective Recovery

July 31, 2020


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Lucho Rapid Fires:

  • Where did you get the nickname Lucho?
    • Last name used to be Luchinski. Somewhere around 2004, a cycling training partner started calling him “Lucho” instead of Luchinski, and it stuck. (He since changes his last name, but “Lucho” still sticks).
  • Coffee or no coffee before a workout?
    • Yes! But Lucho warns against becoming addicted or using it to mask extreme fatigue.
    • If you’re new to coffee, don’t overdo it.
    • Decaf is a great way to feel some of the psychological benefits of coffee without a big caffeine spike.
    • Buy fresh (preferably organic) beans
    • Considering weaning off coffee two weeks before an A race. Then you can have coffee on race day and really feel it!
  • Lucho’s favorite post-workout meal?
    • 60 grams of organic whey protein isolate after the workout with walnuts, almonds, peanuts, and raisins at lunch later. If the workout is super long and intense, he’ll add 60 grams of carbs to his bottle during the workout.
    • Mt. Capra mention for non-cow whey protein (comes from goats and their Deep 30 protein includes electrolytes and probiotic).
  • Dissect this quote: “I have a saying ‘train, don’t strain.’ The Americans have the saying ‘no pain, no gain’ and that’s why they have no distance running champions. They get down to the track with a stopwatch and flog their guts out thinking that it’ll make them a champion, but they’ll never make a champion that way.”— Arthur Lydiard
    • The American system is premised on brutalizing yourself from the age of 13 past college to the pro level. Instead, Lucho thinks you need to spend all that time building your base and becoming durable at high volume. Then, when you’re “bulletproof” you can go hard.
    • Lucho also thinks there’s a sociological component. In Kenya/Ethiopia, every athletic hero is a runner. In the US, 10-year-olds are idolizing NFL players. Running isn’t encouraged in this country.

Anonymous asks:

Do vasectomies negatively affect athletic performance?

Good morning,

Big fan of the show and long time listener. Not sure if this fits in with ATC or more in HPN?
Basically my wife and I have been discussing me getting a vasectomy as we don’t want children. I appreciate that it’s not the same as when you neuter a racehorse, but I guess I’m still concerned about how it may affect my sports performance.
I’m a competitive AG athlete (31 years old) and was trying to get an elite ticket in the world of XTERRA/ cross triathlon until COVID happened, so fingers crossed 2021 goes a bit more to plan. My concerns are that having this surgery may jeopardise my performance in my athletic journey, but I am also interested to get your thoughts on wider health/ exercise longevity impact in the long term?

What the Coaches say:

  • No, there is no performance drop-off (because you’re not being castrated). There will be no change in testosterone or any other hormonal change.
  • Lucho recommends not getting the vas deferens clip in the procedure. Just do cauterization.
  • In his experience, the anxiety of going into the procedure was way worse than the procedure itself. It only takes about 4 minutes and is totally painless.
  • Take the recovery seriously (two weeks totally off!).
  • Research studies
  • Mark Sisson article
    • “Evidence strongly suggests that your facilities will remain fully operational, your sex life will improve (or at least stay the same), and your testosterone levels will be unaffected. All they’re doing is capping the vas deferens – the tubes that deliver sperm during ejaculation. You can still ejaculate, and the ‘body’ is none the wiser. You’re just ‘inactive.’”
  • Note that vasectomies can fail (like a <10% chance but it’s possible so just fyi).
  • Mention: Dr Jolene Brighten’s book: Beyond The Pill

Vicky asks:

Comparing bike training to run training and negotiating days off?

Hi Tawnee and Lucho!
I hope you are both doing well – listening to your podcast, it would seem that you are.  I’m one of the few athletes to be relieved to have my races cancelled, as I wasn’t doing too well recovering from a skydiving injury.  All is good now, but I’m in the phase of clawing my way back to being in good running shape.
My questions are simple, so I’ll ask them first, then give you more background than you probably need, but I often hear you wondering things about people who have asked questions, and hopefully I’ll cover anything you might want to know.
1)  When I train on my bike, should I use the same training philosophy that I do when I run?  Hard days/easy days, long rides, short rides with hard intervals, tempo rides, etc? (Please talk about how a hard bike affects running and vice versa if you would as well.)
2)  Do I need a complete day off if I take two relatively easy days in a row?
Here’s my background:
I’m a 61 year old female, and I’ve been racing and training most of my life.  High School swimmer, then not much till I joined the Army at 23 years old.  Then I got into running and triathlon (I’m almost a pioneer in that one!), completing my first marathon at age 25 without much guidance except run a lot!  (Time was 4:19, and I slept around the clock afterwards!)
I took a few years off from racing to have children, then started back again in my late thirties.  Got really serious about training in my late 40’s, and hit most of my PRs from 5K to Marathon in mid-fifties.  After that, I suffered a lot of injuries and surgeries for various things (including a broken foot running into the ocean for a triathlon).  I realize now some were injuries due to increasing mileage too rapidly.  That was the year I got all my PRs!
Currently I’m recovered from the sky diving thing (a hard landing that my knee took the brunt of) except for a large lump that remains below my kneecap.  I’ve had some foot issues that I now realize was from wearing stability shoes and switching to zero drop Altras without a good transition period.  Feet are finally adjusting, and I’m up to 20 to 25 miles a week running.
I am currently signed up for an Olympic Triathlon set for October.  I’m training on the assumption that it will happen, but I’m fine if it doesn’t.  Like Lucho, I just enjoy the process of training.
In an effort to heal my feet, as well as prevent a hip issue (piriformis?) that I’ve had in the past, I have limited my running to 4 times a week.  But I have a very hard time taking a day off, so I bike on the other days.  Here’s what my week looks like:
Monday – run 5 miles very easy, sometimes on a treadmill
Tuesday – bike inside on my trainer for an hour, doing mostly very short intervals (20 to 35 seconds) with the same recovery for an hour
Wednesday  – run 6 miles, in a progression run, gradually getting a bit faster. The last mile includes 6 very short hill sprints.  I’m working up to a full blown interval workout, but taking it slow getting there.
Thursday – bike outside 20 miles, average pace around 18 mph
Friday – run 5 miles in the rolling crests (can’t call them hills) around my house, easy pace
Saturday – long run of 8 to 10 miles, using run 2 min, walk 30 seconds, fairly easy pace
Sunday – Long bike, 30 miles (that’s long for me at this point!) at pretty much the same pace as the Thursday bike
One interesting note from my many years of training, is that the last few years I’ve gotten much slower at running, but my biking and swimming haven’t changed much, and may actually be a bit better.  I know the swimming is due to my extensive study of good technique, which is why I also want to apply better technique to my biking.  I’m not swimming at the moment, but will add that in later as swimming comes very easy to me.
Thanks for your help.  I hope I covered everything important!

What the Coaches say:

  • The basic physiology is the same between bike and run, but the main difference is that cycling isn’t load bearing so you can do more volume.
  • A hard run is going to affect the bike more than a hard bike will affect the run (because running beats you up more).
  • The majority of triathletes hire a coach because it’s hard to blend the two!
  • Doubling up is essential in tri training.
  • Check out Cherie Gruenfeld as bad ass master athlete:
  • Lucho thinks your 5 mile “easy” runs are too challenging, given your long run is 8 to 10.
  • Instead of running easy on Friday, double up and do your run after the bike on Thursday. Take Friday off. Total days off are essential.
  • You could swim 1K max on recovery days.
  • Switching to time versus miles can help ensure you don’t overdo it.

One Comment

  • Janine says:

    Hey guys!! Just a little FYI – failure rate for vasectomies is way lower than 10%, more like <1% (1 in 10,000) – much lower than the failure for tubal ligations (1 in 200). Another reason for the guy to step up on this one! 😉

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