ATC 318: The Link Between Libido and Intensity, ‘Mistakes’ That Could Sabotage Runs, and More

August 28, 2020


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  • Our heart goes out to all the communities impacted by the forest fires in California.
  • A quick follow-up to ATC’s 317: The 3-Minute Burpee Test (discussed after the rapid fire questions)

Rapid Fire Questions for Lucho:

  • What are your top book recommendations and/or best books you’ve recently read? (Does not have to be about sport)
  • What time do you go to bed? (And do you still have insomnia, if not what has helped?)
    • Lucho goes to bed around 8-8:30 pm. His routine might be considered abnormal to most, but he enjoys it. He does recognize that his hard workouts might affect his ability to sleep, but it doesn’t seem to negatively affect him.

Mike asks:

Intensity work and sex drive: Is there a correlation?

Good day. Thank you again for the podcast and the willingness to answer our questions.  I did my high intensity work today and even though it didn’t go as well as planned I felt pretty good about myself and my sex drive was elevated.  I had noticed this in the past: higher intensity work equates to feeling better and higher drive.  I tend to have the opposite feeling with long runs as they tend to drain and take away from me.  Is this a normal feeling?  Does it have to do with hormones? Is it neurotyping?

What the coaches say:

  • Testosterone isn’t a part of the neurotyping
    • Although, Neurotype 1’s may have higher testosterone because they naturally lean towards powerlifting, weight lifting, sprinting, etc.
  • Check out where you can sign up for free to access Tawnee’s articles, no strings attached and see this article we mention, focusing on natural ways and workouts to boost T: 
  • Harvard Health on Testosterone
    • More than a third of men over age 45 may have reduced levels of testosterone than might be considered normal (though, as mentioned, defining optimal levels of testosterone is tricky and somewhat controversial)
    • Symptoms of testosterone deficiency in adult men include:
      • Reduced body and facial hair
      • Loss of muscle mass
      • Low libido, impotence, small testicles, reduced sperm count and infertility
      • Increased breast size
      • Hot flashes
      • Irritability, poor concentration, and depression
      • Loss of body hair
      • Brittle bones and an increased risk of fracture
    • High-intensity exercise will have an acute (and potentially long-term) benefit to testosterone levels and sex drive
    • Strength training, power, speed, and HIIT exercises release more growth hormones and anabolic hormones (I.e., testosterone)
      • Too much cardio/endurance training may deplete these hormones (but the “how much” obviously depends)
    • Endurance training releases higher amounts of cortisol and catabolic hormones
  • Multiple studies have shown that you can boost your testosterone levels by sprinting or HIIT
    • Physiological and performance changes from the addition of a sprint interval program to wrestling training
      • The SIT consisted of 6 x 35-m sprints at maximum effort with a 10-second recovery between each sprint
      • The SIT protocol was performed in 2 sessions per week, for the 4 weeks of the study
      • Testosterone levels remained high even after those people had fully recovered from the sprint workout
    • Testosterone responses to intensive interval versus steady-state endurance exercise
      • Steady-state endurance (SSE) session consisted of a continuous 45-min run at 60-65% VO2max
      • HIIT session was repeated periods of 90-sec treadmill running at 100-110% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and 90-sec active recovery at 40% VO2max for 42-47 min.
      • The sprints boosted testosterone significantly more than the relatively easy jog. Both increased free T, it’s just that the sprints did a better job
      • HIIT might produce a more pronounced turnover of FT by androgen-sensitive tissue than the SSE form of exercise
  • Ryan Hall: On Rebuilding Health, How to be a Wiser and More Intuitive Athlete, His Top 4 Strength Exercises for Runners, and Much More
  • What’s the main difference between HIIT vs chronic cardio (hard to find a definitive answer)
  • Reproductive hormonal profiles of endurance-trained and untrained males. 
    • The findings indicate that chronic endurance training lowers testosterone and free testosterone in males possibly by impairing testicular function.
    • The endurance-trained men in the study were training about 6.6 days a week on average, 68 minutes per session on average with a ~34min 10k PR and 167min marathon PR, and had been training this way for at least the past 12 months
  • Resistance training too, of course
    • For the biggest testosterone benefit: Weight training @ 80-95% 1RM with longer rest, also focus on lower body
    • Don’t skip leg day!

Bob asks:

I did everything wrong, but what was the worst thing?

I live in the desert at 4,300 feet and regularly run trails up to 10,000 feet — and occasionally up to 14,000. I’ve run the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim twice. So I’m no stranger to the conditions that led to the following incident.

I drove to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to run the Rim Trail out and back to see the sunset — 6.8 miles each way. The temperature was below 80 degrees, which seemed perfect. Maybe that’s why I didn’t prepare or even do the run intelligently. The night before, I had a couple of beers. The day of, I had a pint of ice cream and some potato chips for lunch. Then there was a 30-minute nap.

I began at 5pm. I ran to Hermit’s Rest without drinking any water or eating anything. At Hermit’s Rest, I drank a liter of water and ate an F-Bomb, then started back. That’s when the shit hit the fan. About a mile in, my calves started feeling fatigued. I switched to walking/running/walking/running. The calves got worse. The muscles felt so depleted that I walked more and more slowly. When I would stop to stretch them, they would cramp. By then it was dark, and I worried that I might be sleeping outside that night. The pain in my calves and up into the backs of my knees was intense — never felt that before.

Now, the post-mortem: I admit that my pre-run diet was shitty. But the run was less than 14 miles at a fairly constant 7,000-foot elevation — no big deal. One thing I’m wondering about is this: I almost always wear compression tights when I run, in part so I don’t have to smear sunblock on my legs. This time, however, I wore non-compression shorts and plastered SPF 100 on my lower legs and the backs of my knees.

Could there be something in the sunblock that was absorbed through my skin?
Was it just lack of water and electrolytes?
Was it a combination of stupid decisions?

Love the show — even if you say I’m an idiot!

What the coaches say:

  • Here’s a link to a few articles on sunscreen written by The Sock Doc
  • What? Homemade sunscreen! Here’s a recipe:
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • 1 cup coconut oil
    • 1/4 cup beeswax
    • 4 TBS shea butter
    • 6 TBS non-nano zinc oxide
    • Few drops of lavender essential oil (optional)Recipe source: MommyInMaine
  • The blood sugar crash from the ice cream and potato chips could have lead to the nap
    • Athletes want to be careful not to have a spike in blood sugar 30-60 minutes before a race because it could lead to a huge drop in blood sugar
  • A previous episode with Paul Laursen; no more than 800 ml of water per hour.
  • Compression is better for a recovery aspect than a performance aspect
    • Compression leggings are good for proprioception (it helps with running economy)
  • Andy Potts podcasts
  • May have pushed calves too hard!
  • May want to look at magnesium levels and electrolytes.
  • Previous episode on cramp killers

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