Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 29 - Todd Buckingham - UPGRADE YOUR PERFORMANCE - Part 1 of 3

One of the issues with sports drinks in particular, like getting enough sodium in is that a lot of sports drinks like your Gatorade and Powerade don't really have a lot of sodium in them. And the average person sweats about 1,000 milligrams of sodium per liter, but most sports drinks only have about 300 milligrams per liter.
Smart Athlete Podcast Ep. 29 - Todd Buckingham - UPGRADE YOUR PERFORMANCE - Part 1 of 3

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“One of the issues with sports drinks in particular, like getting enough sodium in is that a lot of sports drinks like your Gatorade and Powerade don't really have a lot of sodium in them. And the average person sweats about 1,000 milligrams of sodium per liter, but most sports drinks only have about 300 milligrams per liter. And so if you're sweating 1,000 milligrams per liter, but only taking in 300, you're losing out on 700 milligrams per liter.” This episode of the Smart Athlete Podcast is brought to you by Solpri, Skincare for Athletes. Whether you're in the gym, on the mats, on the road or in the pool, we protect your skin so you're more comfortable in your own body. To learn more, go to JESSE: Welcome to the Smart Athlete Podcast. I'm your host, Jesse Funk. My guest today you may have seen before back in Episode Three, he has a very familiar face. I won't go through all of his credentials again, but you know he is a well qualified triathlete. He has a national championship and a world championship title under his belt, hopefully, more coming in the future. He has his Ph.D. in exercise science and he is the lead exercise physiologist in the sports performance lab at Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation. The most important thing to know about my guest today is that he loves cinnamon rolls and he always has well coiffed hair. Welcome to the show Tom Buckingham. TODD: Thanks for having me, Jesse. JESSE: Well, you said you were going to get your haircut so I had to include that to make sure for anybody watching on YouTube, not just listening to the audio version, you can see Todd's well done hair. TODD: Yes, sponsored by Every Man Jack, the hater. JESSE: ?? 1:56> with you. So, everybody knows Todd and I are actually friends, he's not just a random guest. He is courageous enough to come on and well qualified. But I saw on Facebook, you'd gone to Kona. I thought you were racing Kona additionally, but it seemed like you did not. What were you actually doing at Kona with the EMJ team? TODD: Yeah, not a chance of my racing Kona. I've done a few 70.3s and four hours is long enough for me. I can't imagine being out there for nine or 10. But yeah, I went out, I went out with the Every Man Jack triathlon team, just this kind of like, support crew, cheering crew but I also was out there for work. And so part of my job as the lead exercise physiologist of the performance lab is to do performance testing on the athletes, and that includes things like VO2 max testing, lactate threshold testing, body composition, but we also have a really unique service where we test athletes’ sweat composition. So, we test how salty their sweat is, and that's largely medically pre-determined. And so I went out there and I tested out about a dozen of the guys on the team. And then after we do the testing, we can then personalize the hydration plan for them based on how salty their sweat is. So, the testing is really cool. It's through a company called Precision Hydration and it's a non-exercise tests. So, they don't have to work out for an hour in the Kona sun to get a sweat composition but all they have to do is sit down in a chair, we placed two electrodes on the forearm that stimulate the sweat glands. And then we placed a sweat collector over top of those where the electrodes were. After about five minutes, we take the electrodes off and put the sweat collector on. It scoops up the sweat, we inject the sweat into the analyzer and it gives us an equivalent reading of sodium per liter. So, based on that, then we can prescribe how much sodium they should take in during a race. And so along with the actual measurement of sodium concentration, we also go through about a dozen questions with them, asking them what sport are you doing because they have a range from whether it's triathlon or running to team sports like football or soccer. You know, we ask how much they train a week, where they train like what kinds of environments, and that just helps personalize the hydration plan for them. And so they'll get a hydration plan for before, during, and after a race and also training. So, one of the issues with sports drinks in particular, like getting enough sodium in is that a lot of sports drinks like your Gatorade and Powerade don't really have a lot of sodium in them. And the average person sweats about 1,000 milligrams of sodium per liter, but most sports drinks only have about 300 milligrams per liter. And so if you're sweating 1,000 milligrams per liter, but only taking in 300, you're losing out on 700 milligrams per liter. And no, that's not an issue with sports that might only last an hour or two. But when you're doing an Ironman the last nine to 10 hours, and let's say you're sweating, just one liter per hour, you're going to sweat 10 liters. If you're missing out on 700 milligrams, you're missing out, then over the course of the race, you're missing out on 7,000 milligrams of sodium. And so I mean, that can lead to a host of issues on its own. But the key is maintaining those sodium levels as close as you can because just like nutrition, you're never going to be able to take in as much as you're losing. Because just like with calories, you're burning 10s of thousands of calories during an Ironman. You're never going to be able to take that in but the goal is to mitigate the losses. And so that's really what we're trying to do is mitigate those losses. And Precision Hydration actually makes some really strong concentrated sodium products. So, they have a product that's up to 1,500 milligrams of sodium per liter. And so it's much better at replenishing the athlete in terms of sodium loss as compared to say a Gatorade that even the endurance formula only has 600 milligrams, a normal Gatorade just has about three. JESSE: Is there a maximum uptake in terms of I’ll say like sodium uptake per hour that a body can handle? I just did a video for my other segment, Runner's High on how to calculate your sweat rate and for people to go through that. I sweat a lot per hour. I figured out my sweat rate’s roughly 49-50 fluid ounces an hour so I sweat a lot. TODD: Yes, almost two liters. Yeah. JESSE: Right. I can't drink that much. There's a limit on how much liquid I can replace. So, is it similar with the sodium or can we just like, eat salt and then hit whatever we're losing it? TODD: That's a good question. I don't know the answer. As far as like, is there a maximum uptake kind of like we know like carbohydrates is about 90 grams per hour, that's about the maximum. But even that is kind of like well, if you really train your gut, you can take in even more. So, I mean 1,500 milligrams per liter seems like quite a bit and I don't think many people have an issue with taking that much. But it's just like with anything, you have to train your body to kind of handle it. So, I wouldn't recommend somebody go out and do this like ?? 7:56> And I didn't with the guys that I tested. I told them here's how much you need, use whatever product you're using but maybe up the dosage. And in the days leading up to the race maybe try the Precision Hydration the really strong concentrated stuff, just because you're losing so much sweat in Kona just walking around because it's so hot and humid. And taking in that extra sodium is just going to help keep you more hydrated, it’s going to help your body retain more water. JESSE: I think you kind of touched on this and I've spoken to like I was talking about earlier Christie with her book, Good to Go. And then a couple of different registered dietitians talking about sodium intake for I'll say the average athlete who's not going for very long, you mentioned like one to two hours it may not matter. So, is this kind of product only really relevant for say us that are going to go do two plus our events? If we're just gonna go do pickup basketball for an hour, does it matter whether we have a sports drink or not? TODD: Yeah, probably not. I mean, for an hour, it's just like with calories, you don't need calories if you're just exercising for an hour. But for like a basketball game, I know Precision Hydration, the company who makes the sweat testing kit, they work with a lot of professional soccer teams, professional basketball teams, and even some professional baseball teams. So, it really is for any athlete because every athlete sweats, right. But it's going to be probably more important for the athlete who is losing like you close to two liters per hour and were out there for four to 10 hours or whatever it is. So, it's just going to be the level of importance, I guess. JESSE: See, I kind of want to really like if you have any recommendations for me because I've been through going about this where it's like, I know in especially hot races, that I just wilt. Even into our situation sometimes my run ends up getting really neutered because I just can't move anymore. I think it's because of the lack of water or how much water I'm losing. And that 49 fluid ounces was like in the pool in a 79-80 degree pool, so not terribly hot. I mean, it's a little warmer than competition temperature. But it's not like-- A good example is my triathlon in Joplin, where I'm trying to remember how warm it was, but high 80s low 90s and very humid. And it was just, I was pretty much wasted by the end of it. And my 10K was something like in the 40s when I should be in like 35s. So, I'm like is there anything I could do to mitigate that since I can only uptake so much water and I seem to lose it so easily? TODD: I think the biggest thing for you would be to make sure that you're starting the race really well hydrated. And that's one of the recommendations that we make in the lab is that because just like with calories, and carbohydrates, you can carb load. Well, you can do the same thing with electrolytes. You can preload with electrolytes take in the 1,500 milligrams per liter the night before and the morning of the race, and it'll just help your body hold on to more water, and it makes your blood volume increase. And so what happens when your blood volume increases, and actually it's the plasma volume. So, we know our blood is split up into red blood cells and blood plasma and a little bit of other stuff, but most of the blood is that. And so when your body holds on to more water from the electrolyte loading, holding more sodium, your plasma volume goes up, so that makes your blood more watery. And when this happens, it makes the heart not have to work as hard. So, because the blood is thinner, it can be pumped out through the body more easily. Another thing that happens because you have more total blood volume, so imagine your heart with a normal beat, your heart is expanding a little bit and contracting, expanding a little bit, contracting. But when you have more total blood volume, your heart has to expand more. And the greater expansion leads to a more forceful contraction and more blood is actually pumped out of your heart with each beat. So, think of it like a rubber band. So, I actually have a real band right here. So, with normal amount of blood, if you didn't preload with electrolytes, your heart expands and contracts back. Not very I mean, it snaps back pretty quickly, but not to the extent if you preload with electrolytes, and then it snaps. It's going to snap much more forcefully and it's going to pump more blood out with each beat. So, it just becomes more efficient. So, really loading yourself up and making sure that you start the race hydrated, it might not prevent it from happening to you, but it will prolong it from happening. JESSE: See, that's why I say it's always good to ask because I’m like, in my head I was thinking about okay, what can I do in terms of like, body cool because your body’s trying to cool itself down in all this sweat. And I'm like, what kind of-- I mean, I do heat training, try to acclimate to the heat, ?? 13:37> oh, my gosh, can I carry like, an extra water bottle that's just full of ice and use that as like a sweet alternative? Not even like doing the almost common sense thing of like, make sure you're hydrated when you start the race. Not that I'm dehydrated, but doing those extras like simple prep things that's like, yeah, that makes perfect sense once you actually get it out? TODD: Yeah, absolutely. And so those are the things that I kind of help with in the lab is like, yeah, you might know this intuitively, but really being able to have a set schedule and say, okay, well on three days before the race, start doing this, and then kind of leading up to the race. And then even in training and different workouts, we give the personalized hydration plan so that you can perform your workouts optimally so that you're getting the most benefit out of that. And again yeah, if you're doing an hour workout, you probably-- it doesn't really matter, just like with your calories. But I mean, if you're on a five hour weekend ride yeah, it's going to be important. JESSE: So, tell me about the lab because last time we talked, you'd either just started or were getting ready to start. Where did the lab come from? Did they build it just for you? What's going on and why are you in charge? TODD: Well, that's a good question. So, yeah, it's pretty cool. It kind of did get built for me which is kind of flattering. I feel like the prettiest girl at the ball. But it was really interesting because it was last July that I met my now boss at a triathlon and I had just graduated from Michigan State with my Ph.D., and I had been the exercise physiology lab coordinator at Michigan State. And he was looking to kind of build something like that but didn't really know how or what equipment to get. And so we talked and he hired me on and so I essentially built the lab from the ground up. I ordered all the equipment, I picked what equipment to order, and what kind of testing we're going to be offering. And so it's really cool because like this is honestly a dream for me, and I think for a lot of athletes in the area because nothing really like this lab exists anywhere in Michigan or even in the Midwest region. So, we have Woodway treadmill that it goes up to 15 miles an hour and 23% incline, and it also goes down to negative 3%. So, we can do VO2 max testing, lactate threshold testing, metabolic efficiency testing on that. We have the Cortex Metalyzer, which it's like the bane face mask that you put on and we collect all the oxygen inspired and carbon dioxide expired so that we can really see your view VO2 max, get how many and what type of calories you're burning from either carbs or fat. We also have a DXA scanner. So, the DXA is Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. It's a really fancy way of saying this thing takes an x-ray of your body and gives you body composition. So, it gives you very accurate body fat percentage, muscle mass, and bone mineral density. And it's accurate within about 2%. And so a lot of the measurement devices out there like skin folds or the bioelectrical impedance where you step on the scale and it's got the footpads; those can be anywhere from five to 10% inaccurate. So, if it reads you’re of 20% fat, well, that means you could be anywhere from 10 to 30. But with the DXA, the DXA says maximum of 2%. So, if it reads 20, well, you're 18 to 22. And so it's just much more accurate. It's really simple. You lie down on the table and essentially this arm scans over your body taking an x-ray of your body, and it takes about five to 10 minutes and that's it like-- JESSE: Do you have to flip over or you just-- TODD: Nope. And it's not like you know the Bod Pod where you have to strip down essentially into spandex and wear a little swim cap and go into the pod. It's not like underwater weighing where you have to get in your swimsuit and then breathe out all your air and then dunk yourself underwater. It's really painless. It's the most accurate method to assess body composition. I should say the most feasible because the most accurate is autopsy and I don't think anybody wants to go through that. JESSE: ...really dedicated to knowing what that body percentage is. TODD: Super dedicated. Yeah, so the DXA is really one of our big ones. Like I mentioned the sweat testing, we do that. We also have a kicker in the lab with the climb and the headwind so that we can do bike VO2 max testing, bike lactate threshold testing, and bike metabolic efficiency testing ff somebody wants to bring their own bike in. We've also got a Velotron, which is a stationary cycle, it's an electronically braked cycle, and it's produced by Quarq, Quarq makes it. And it's basically a clinical research grade cycle ergometer, which essentially we can do the same thing that we could on somebody's own personal bike; the VO2 max, lactate threshold, and metabolic efficiency. So, lots of really cool stuff that I get to do on a daily basis, and I get to work with lots of different athletes; runners, triathletes, cyclists, basketball players, football players, you name it, and really anybody. Any athlete can benefit from what we offer. Go to Part 2 Go to Part 3

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