Keeping current on fitness research


As of September 2017, new Sweat Science columns are being published at Check out my bestselling new book on the science of endurance, ENDURE: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance, published in February 2018 with a foreword by Malcolm Gladwell.

- Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience)


You could describe the primary motivation for this blog as “evidence-based exercise” — the idea that it’s worth trying to verify whether the things we do in the gym actually produce the results we expect when they’re tested under controlled conditions. There’s a huge amount of exercise research coming out of research labs around the world on a regular basis. The problem is that very little of it reaches the general public (or even many fitness professionals). I spend time flipping through the contents of at least half a dozen journals where this research appears on a regular basis, but it’s hard to keep up with it all.

So it’s always nice to see other people pushing the same agenda. A friend recently tipped me off about Research Review Service – Fitness, which is run by Shawn Thistle, a Toronto-area chiropractor and trainer. The idea is that he and a team of other fitness professionals comb the literature and pick out important papers, then summarize and critique them. The main target audience, it seems, is personal trainers, coaches and health/rehab professionals (it’s a subscription service that costs $99). The papers they review focus on nutrition, rehabilitation, sport-specific training, sports injuries and strength & conditioning. Some sample reviews are here.

Anyway, if I were going to see a trainer or a physiotherapist or someone like that, it would make me very happy to think they were interested in using a service like this to stay current on the relevant literature — so I figured I’d share it for anyone out there who may be interested.