Welcome to the Science of Sport, where we bring you the second, third, and fourth level of analysis you will not find anywhere else.

Be it doping in sport, hot topics like Caster Semenya or Oscar Pistorius, or the dehydration myth, we try to translate the science behind sports and sports performance.

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We published The Runner's Body in May 2009. With an average 4.4/5 stars on Amazon.com, it has been receiving positive reviews from runners and non-runners alike.

Available for the Kindle and also in the traditional paper back. It will make a great gift for the runners you know, and helps support our work here on The Science of Sport.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

About us: Who are we?

Who are we?

Ross Tucker, Ph.D.

I obtained my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Cape Town in 2006.

My thesis, which was supervised by Professor Tim Noakes, investigated the role of the brain in determining endurance performance. It focused on the pacing strategy during exercise performance, and how the brain regulated the degree of muscle activation (and hence running speed or power output) in order to protect the body from potential harm. Therefore, rather than fatigue occurring because the body reaches some limit (temperature, lack of oxygen or glycogen, etc.), fatigue occurs because the brain is regulating exercise specifically to prevent this limit from being reached.

While completing my PhD, I also obtained a Post-Graduate degree in Sports Management from the University of Cape Town's Faculty of Commerce.

My biggest interests lie in the application of science to performance, in the management of elite athletes and sporting systems, and in bridging the gap between science and commerce. Too often, there's a huge discord (a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon is a more apt description of it!) between the science in the lab and its implementation and application to every athlete. My goal is to bridge that gap, be it through news articles, coaching or explaining the science, and this site will hopefully contribute to all three.

I live in Cape Town, South Africa, where I spend most of my time as a senior lecturer with the University of Cape Town's Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Department.  I am also on the management of the Springbok Sevens team, as a sports scientist and strategist.   Most recently, I'm working with two Olympic kayakers, Shaun Rubenstein and Mike Arthur, in preparation for their medal assault in London 2012.

I am also currently the Scientific Editor of Runners World SA magazine, consultant technical expert and physiologist with Adidas South Africa,  contributor and editor to Health24, South Africa's largest fitness and health related website, and I consult to Discovery Health, Powerade, Sports Illustrated and a few other clients.

I am a qualified middle and long distance running coach, and coach a few athletes in various distances and at various levels. Time prevents more commitment to coaching than this, but hopefully, in the future, I can expand my "stable".

My own personal sports involvement lies in running 10km and half-marathons. I also mountain-bike, play tennis and the occasional social game of soccer.

Jonathan Dugas, Ph.D.
I also obtained my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Cape Town in 2006.

My thesis, supervised by Professor Tim Noakes, was titled "Temperature responses to exercise and performance", and looked at fluid replacement, body temperature and performance during exercise in both the lab setting and in competitions, such as the Two Oceans 56 km Ultra-marathon and the Cape Argus/Pick 'n Pay 109 km Cycle Tour.

I showed that the key factor determining body temperature during exercise is the metabolic rate, and not environmental temperature or fluid intake. So what people are traditionally told by the "experts" is that they must drink to help keep their temperature down - this is not correct and the current fluid replacement guidelines are not necessarily relevant to people taking part in marathons and other endurance activities outdoors.

After spending over four years in academia, in March 2011 I became the Director of Clinical Development at The Vitality Group, in Chicago, IL.  In that role I contribute to translating the science of exercise to large populations as we try to encourage exercise and healthy lifestyle choices.  Also, we attempt to ask the right questions that will allow us to uncover the winning combination of factors that will reduce risk and encourage a sustainable healthy lifestyle in both active and inactive individuals.  This keeps me busy, but Ross and I share a passion for applying science to the everyday athlete, and this blog is the result of that.

My sporting background is mixed, starting with soccer through university, then moving to running (Two Oceans twice with a 2:48 marathon PB) and finally cycling. I am a qualified USA Cycling Level II coach, and ride semi-competitively (Category 3) with the xXx Racing-Athletico cycling team here in Chicago.