Last week, we attended the UK SEM, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, held in the massive Excel Centre in East London. The opening address was by the Princess Royal, herself an Olympic equestrian back in the day (after her speech, she sat just in front of me, and it was the best I could do to refrain from trying to sell her an ithlete receiver!).

It was my first visit, and I went partly out of curiosity, and partly to get to meet some top performance coaches & researchers. There were presentations on the opening day from veteran researchers such as Prof Bengt Saltin who knows a huge amount about muscle fibre type, energy system usage, and how reality is somewhat more complex (and interesting) than the Type 1, 11 and 11X associations that many of us have with Slow twitch & Fast twitch & fat burning & carb burning. Humans really are superb endurance athletes!

Also interesting was the association of testosterone in both men and women with performance improvement (and I don’t mean supplement abuse), and in the view of Dr Al Smith, power athletes exhibit mood dependent adaptation, with testosterone as a key enabler / marker. Knowing also that HRV and mood are related makes me all the more keen to make HRV an objective mood capture tool in the future.

A very knowledgeable talk was given by Prof Neil Armstrong on ‘How hard can we train children?’ – a subject he has studied for many years & developed solid recommendations for. He estimates that up to 30% are affected by overtraining, so there is clearly room for improvement in the deployment of safe practices.

Two presentations in the afternoon on player monitoring mentioned ithlete, with the Liverpool FC Head of Strength & conditioning showing ithlete data for a period of time when a player was on loan to another team, allowing him to monitor that player’s fatigue & recovery remotely.

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