Episode #173 – Full Transcript

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Podcast # 173 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2011/12/tim-noakes/

Introduction:           In this podcast, while Ben is away the sidekick will play you a couple of the most popular interviews from the archives featuring Dr. Tim Noakes.

Brock:            Hey there folks, Brock here.  Today we bring you to the most popular interviews from the BenGreenfieldFitness archives, both of them are with Dr. Tim Noakes and we’re doing this because Ben is still off in Thailand or he’s somewhere between Thailand and the USA trying to make his way home from the Asia-Pacific 70.3 World Championships Race and for those of you who haven’t heard yet, Ben had a bit of an interesting time while he was in Thailand.  Not exactly what he had in mind but he’s kept it interesting.  Here’s an excerpt from his race report that he put up on his website the other day, he says “two weeks prior to the race, I had a nasty fall on the ice during a cold weather run and tweaked my IT band.  Within just a few days I was back training but not about to go and do any hard, 40-50-mile bike rides to see if the knee would be good enough for Phuket.  I just had to have faith that the knee would handle the load on race day.  Then just two days prior to the race, in one of the multitude of restaurants I dined at, I got a bad batch of food and it left me sleepless and pooing my guts until race morning.” So yeah, I don’t think that’s exactly what Ben had in mind but he made the best of it.  It sounds like he had a pretty good time anyway and he’ll be back next week to do the show as normal.  So yeah, I’m just going to cover a few special announcements.

Special Announcements:

Brock:            Awesome!  Okay, special announcements.  There’s some cool new articles I’ve put at BenGreenfieldFitness.com this week, the first one is “How To Get Legs Like Lance Armstrong” and everybody wants to have legs like Lance right?  So that’s a great article to take a look at, and the second one is “The fou Fat-Burning Functional Exercise Circuits To Do Next Time You Need A Fast, Fresh, New Workout” and once again, who doesn’t need a fast, fresh, new workout?  I know I do, and also, don’t forget Ben’s book “Weight Training for Triathlon: The Ultimate Guide”.  It’s taking Apple, iTunes, Barnes & Noble Nook and Amazon Kindle by storm and it’s a top seller in each of them so if you haven’t grabbed a copy yet, head over to the show notes and you can find the link to find this essential off-training tool.  So now on to the news flashes.

News Flashes:

Brock:            Okay!  Lots of stuff going on in the news flashes today and if you want to get news flashes right from Ben, right when they’re fresh off the press, just follow BenGreenfield on Twitter @ www.Twitter.com/BenGreenfield.  Now if you want to just get a taste of what he’s been talking about lately, some of the recent articles Ben has tweeted about include “Exercise Kills more Fire Fighters than Fires”, “A Reason to Introduce Good Nutrition to Fire Houses”.  Another one was “Cigarettes can Improve Running Performance” and “Caffeine Gives You Cancer”.  Now there’s a little smiley face at the end of that one so I think you need to go and check that one out.  There’s an interesting study that compression socks help during recovery phases of an interval workout and there is one more, it said “Protein-rich meals are better than sugar-rich meals at improving wakefulness”.  So those are all awesome.  If you go over to Twitter and follow Ben, you’ll find all the links to all of those studies and I’m sure he’ll be really happy to talk about those next week when he’s back on the show.  So now, on to the featured topic.

Featured Topic:

Brock:            Okay!  So like I said, we’re featuring a couple of interviews from the BenGreenfieldFitness archives.  Both of them are with Dr. Tim Noakes, who is an amazing fellow.  The first one is “How can You Use The Central Governor to Tap Into Your Muscles Hidden Potential” and the second one is “The Death of Gatorade: Should You Stop Using Electrolytes During Exercise?”  I’ve listened to both of these and I think they’re fantastic, the one about electrolytes especially.  I think it was pretty groundbreaking, pretty interesting stuff.  So let’s get right into it, in this first interview with Dr. Tim Noakes.  He’s, again, an amazing guy.  He’s written a multitude of books on Physiology including the “Ubiquitous Lore of Running” and in this interview, Ben talks to Dr. Noakes about Central Governor Theory and asks him to describe the central governor model, ask him what the examples of the model are in sports today and in consideration of this model, how can athletes advantageously modify their training and racing protocols and also what type of research are you doing now on this subject.  This is an awesome interview for anyone who wants to learn how to exercise harder, longer, faster and using the principles of the central governor theory, so here it is.

Ben:                Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield and as promised, I am here with Dr. Timothy Noakes who is, in South Africa, Professor of Exercise and Sports science at the University of Cape Town.  The man himself has multiple studies and multiple books to his name, the most popular being the running book called “The Lore of Running” which is one of the most comprehensive guides to that particular sport that you will ever find and he himself has run more than 70 marathons and ultra-marathons.  He’s a very accomplished author and athlete, Dr. Noakes, thank you for coming on the call today.

Dr. Noakes:   My pleasure, thanks for having me Ben.

Ben:                One of the things that you are most well-known for or that seems to be popping up more and more in the news these days is something called the Central Governor Model.  Can you describe what the central governor model actually is?

Dr. Noakes:   Yes Ben.  The basic philosophy behind the central governor model is that the body’s function in performance during exercise is a regulated process.  This concentrates to a traditional explanation which is that the body has its limitations and then when you exceed those limitations, the system fails and you get tired as a consequence, you stop running.  Now the reality is that the human body could not be designed in that way.  We couldn’t run to the point where catastrophe occurs and then we stop because in evolution, we wouldn’t have gone to where we are today.  There has to be a control ligaments that over a period of about 20 years research, it slowly donned on me that the old limitations model simply didn’t work, the humans run to the point of failure.  That envy brand anticipates what’s going to happen in the future and sits up a pacing strategy that allows you to get to the finish of whatever you’re doing, be at the training session or race.  Full in perfect health and in perfect, good condition.  Now essentially about the central governor model, it says is that the brain make the legs woe performances, ensure that you get to the finish line in only a pace of that means the bodily existence would be balanced and before there’s a catastrophic failure, that contrudes  absolutely the traditional explanation.  It’s a brainless model with this that you exercise to the point where the system breaks down and then you stop and that, as of indication, is a brainless model.

Ben:                So this brainless model, if I could interrupt briefly, why does the brainless model propose that people become fatigued during exercise?  How would that model propose that fatigue occurs?

Dr. Noakes:   Well what that model says is that there’s some limiting condition or limiting factor in exercise.  So for example, if we put you on a treadmill and make you run faster and faster and faster or for example, we have you run 400 meters or 800 meters, the reason why you stop is because you run out of oxygen supply to the muscles and the muscles become anaerobic and as a consequence, you produce lactic acid.  The lactic acid then impairs the function of the muscles causing fatigue and so you stop, or conversely when you’re running a marathon, you hit the wall when you run out of glycogen.  The system has no anticipatory control and it allows you to run as hard as you can until the system fails.  So what physiologists have spent the last 50 or 80 years doing is trying to define what’s the limiting facto under all conditions and they’ve never included the brain or buried solvent into the brain so there’s always some other biological process in the body which doesn’t include the function of the brain.

Ben:                Now to me, it does seem to make a little bit of sense what you’re proposing because in other situations, it does seem like the body will protect the brain with something like say hypoglycemia, the way that I understand is the body will kind of shove glucose over to the brain with the brain being the preferential organ.  How does the body actually work in the sense of regulating exercise when it comes the brain, I mean, what goes on, on the neural level, to actually hold you back from complete fatigue during exercise?

Dr. Noakes:   Great question.  I would frame its slightly different.  The brain is there to protect itself and at the same time it protects the body because if the body breaks down, the brain breaks down.  So the brain is incredibly self-centered to protect itself but now let’s take the examples that when you’re exercising and you were at risk of running out of oxygen to the muscles at the same time the brain is getting the blood supply and it’s also getting oxygen anytime and the brain will make sure that itself doesn’t run out of oxygen.  Now we think that perhaps during maximum exercise, what the brain is actually sensing is its own blood and oxygen supply and it protects that absolutely.  Now how does it protect it?  While it protects, the mind is only recruiting what activating a certain mass of muscle.  Now what no one ever tells you is that to run faster, the first thing that happens is the brain must activate a large muscles mass.  In the heart comes along and pumps more oxygen to the muscles, but no one ever tells you that the reason why Haile Gebrselassie is such a good runner is because he recruits better muscles and perhaps more muscle than anyone else in the world.  They say all because he transferred more oxygen, of course he does but that’s not the cause, that’s the consequence and the cause is the brain activates the muscles.  Everyone knows that if you want to lift a heavy weight, you must activate more muscle and eventually the brain says “Hold on! You can’t activate more muscle because if you do, you’re going to rupture a muscle or you’re going to break the bones” and it says “No, you can’t recruit more muscle”.  That’d be the same in running.  To run faster, you recruit more muscle at your point at which recruiting more muscle will threaten the brain and the rest of the body that will cause damage.  The brain says halt.  I’ll just finish the answer what the brain says is “Hold on!  If you activate this much muscle for this long, something’s going to go wrong” so we won’t allow that to happen and that’s the way the brain protects itself and the rest of the body from damage.

Ben:                Now I know that many people believe that heart is kind of the big important part of the body.  It sounds like you’re kind of saying that the brain predominates but I believe that many people think that the idea of fatigue occurs with the heart rate getting very high and then being unable to deliver oxygen to the muscles.  How does that philosophy jive with the central governor model that you’ve described?

Dr. Noakes:   Well absolutely, you have to protect the heart and the heart is a great risk and in fact, it’s one of the best ways of discarding the other model that if the heart ever were to reach the limit, in other words it can’t pump anymore blood right across the legs and the muscles, the first muscles to be affected would be the heart itself and the heart cannot ever reach a maximum output or else the heart would suffer and you will die as a consequence and we see that every few weeks.  A patient with heart disease exercises to the points where that overstress the heart, there’s not enough blood getting into the heart and they die as a consequence.  They don’t die because there’s not enough blood getting into the muscles.  They die because there’s not enough blood getting to the heart.  So the brain would never ever allow to reach its maximum otherwise you would die.  So that’s one of the protective mechanisms but of course everyone knows that when you run a marathon, you not run at a maximum cardiac heartwood and you don’t run at a maximum heart rate.  You run at sub-maximum heart rates.  How can anyone say that the heart limits performance during core endurance types of exercise?  What we believe, we believe that the sensations of fatigue are utterly, completely, unrelated to what’s going on in the rest of the body.  Over there tells you how close you are to the finish, that’s clear.  Your sensations of discomfort and fatigue lies as a linear function of how close you are to the finish and it starts right from the start of exercise and that in the sense tells us that the brain really knows when it’s going to stop you almost as it stops and if there’s something that occurs during the activity that is going to make it more difficult for you to finish, the fatigue sensation will rise and you will slow down as a consequence.  So we don’t see fatigues as a physical phenomenon, we see it purely as an emotion and that’s one of the great benefits of this pot on because it tells you however bad you feel, its actually just your brain playing a trick on you and try to make sure that you don’t damage yourself.  Once you understand that, it becomes so much easier to exercise in my view.  Certainly in my view for today should you become a good runner but certainly I find it much easier to try and to compete knowing that the sensations are actually generating that sensations to try to fool myself and I should perhaps try to control them and then I will be able to run faster.

Ben:                So when we look at this from a training perspective, obviously we don’t want to completely neglect doing things like training our body to have more muscular endurance because I don’t think you’re saying that you don’t need to train but would training based on this model only involve some type of mental or emotional training or do you actually also try to train to help your body to recruit more muscles so that the brain fatigues less quickly or both?

Dr. Noakes:   Absolutely!  I think that the great coaches have always known that they’re really training the brain, not the body but maybe that had them put it that way.  And so they use all these techniques that will make you believe you can a little bit more than you can when you started.  So if someone described coaching as merely putting someone in another design of effort that they didn’t believe like but that’s what you do, you keep pushing harder and harder and you slowly tell the brain that ask you “can you use it?” so that’s the focus of training and we do it a little bit of time that which I think from now we slowly reach the distance.  I totally believe we can do it.  Once you got yourself to believe that you can do it then it happens.

Ben:                Do you believe that a greater amount of intensity or a greater amount of volume is best for helping to reduce this central governor fatigue that you’ve described?

Dr. Noakes:   I think intensity is the key and if you look back and go out running, I think the great runners are the ones who trend up the highest intensity.  It wasn’t the ones who did the most volume.

Ben:                And why is that?

Dr. Noakes:   Because I think they teaches themselves, they teach the brain that it can’t cope with the extra efforts and they slowly get this sensations of fatigue like your legs.  I have a lovely story from one of the good things of the government is that if you have a riding race or any particular race and this stands between the first and the second runners is inches or a few feet, then it’s clear that the second runner chose to lose.  He chose to come second.  He said “how do you know that?” and it’s simple, that I think it didn’t die.  Our model tells us that he had reserves so why couldn’t he activate that reserve and by telling him to stop and all because the brain said no but why does the brain say no and the brain says no because for them, under those circumstances, an athlete couldn’t convince himself that it was important to do even more to be.  They’ve produced more discomfort than that actually they need and they accept coming second.

Ben:                Interesting.

Dr. Noakes:   The winner does the opposite.  Now what we used to say is that the guy who comes second hasn’t trained hard enough and there goes too much lactic acid in this high sub without oxygen sounds so good, so what do you do that train the guy harder when you can understand why did that guy accept coming second.  What was it in his make-up that came from his childhood and his training and how he sees himself that caused him to come second and that’s the real question plus he’s not training and it’s not physiology that makes you come second under those circumstances.  It’s a mental choice you make, probably the subconscious level.  I’ve had many ideas where the moment of truth, that’s the key in the sporting event, the moment of truth.  What is the guy thinking when he quits or he wins?  And the difference is the guy who does it says “I can’t do it” and in the cont do it.  Whether he says “I can do it” and then they do it and what to tell us then is the key to a superior performance.

Ben:                When it comes to recruiting these motor units and teaching your body how to neurally activate more muscles in training so that perhaps you may be able to go a little bit harder, a little bit longer during the race, do you think that athletes who are training in a fatigued state or say, an endurance athlete would be a perfect example, who’s pushing themselves everyday is actually holding themselves back in terms of allowing their body to be in a state to actually recruit as many muscles as possible during the training session for the day?

Dr. Noakes:   Absolutely, so that the intensity comes down and the intensity is the key in my view because that teaches the brain that it can go by far harder and so, I’m not suggesting that you can never do away resistance training but as I said, the great runners are the ones who did the high intensity training and they did enough endurance training but not too much and I think that the average runner, on the guess example of the average runner in my career, I also thought that you did away with just endurance training because I think a lot of athletes trying to try that actually don’t try to race, right? And there are very few athletes who’re really trying to race.  Most of us love racing but it gives us an excuse to try it.  We try and try and try and it’s much easier to try it with your friends and talk to them and chat themselves with it.  It’s fun to do intense training but if you want to change how your brain functions, I think you have to do a good proportion muscular high intensity and when we say the best South African runners, the black runners in South Africa, they were training at a much higher intensity at a sort of second run of athletes.

Ben:                Interesting!

Dr. Noakes:   If you look at the Kenyans, it’s the same.  They have a different attitude and they push the high intensity.

Ben:                In a moment I want to ask you about good mental tricks that you can use during the race to take advantage of something like this but just on a personal note and on a coaching note, one of the things that I found to really help my running that I literally changed this year was I switched to two, kind of longer  one hour runs that I went on during the week to a 10-by-10 treadmill sprints for 20-30 seconds and I actually gained speed and gained endurance and it seems the athletes who I coach who limit their volume and when they get more time, they go harder instead of going longer seem to do better.  So it’s interesting, a lot of it seems to jive with what you’re saying.  Now during the race, once you get to the race and you are in the “pain cave”, are there things that you can do to actually get your central governor to shut down a little less quickly?

Dr. Noakes:   Well, two weeks ago I was with Rowan Lawson who has won the spartathlon three times and he ran across America for example, so he’s a Swedish ultra marathoner and in effect was right across the Atlantic.  When people say that “tell me, why did he do it?”  He said to them he’s a 2-18 marathoner.  There are many 2-18 marathoners who haven’t achieved what he’s achieved.  I say this because he’s brain’s different and his brain sees things slightly differently than the rest of us and I’m not sure quite what those differences are but when they get discomfort, I don’t think they see a pain and discomfort in the same way that others might.  They see it as a challenge.  This is a feature of the sport.  You can get sore but you carry on so that’s what I think you have to see.  The pain, it’s kind of absolutely individual.  No one has ever really studied how do I feel pain and how do you feel pain when we run three quarters a marathon.  These are the same, you re-conceptualize it equally.  What the central governor says is that its your unique brain which is producing unique symptoms in you and you need to learn how to cope with those symptoms and your brain will do it slightly differently than my brain would do it, and I suspect that the best runners have gone a different way of handling that discomfort and so I don’t know what the answers are but all I can say is that if you realize it’s your brain playing a trick on you and you saw talking to yourself in those contexts, I think it gets easier to handle and better because now you can understand what’s actually going on.  Like if you’re feeling fatigued is because your brain’s trying to make sure you don’t damage yourself.  Probably then I’m at the wall and I’m limited and my muscle’s going to break down the next seconds if I carry on.  No!  No, the answer is you can still go faster but you can only go faster if you control your four thinking process and I mean, the beauty of running is that it’s all about emotion control and mental control, that’s why we know it.

Ben:                Interesting.

Dr. Noakes:   I think it’s about, if I mentioned, emotion control.

Ben:                Okay, I’ve got you.  I’ve got just a couple more questions for you, the first is kind of interesting.  Do you actually do anything like lifting weights or resistance training to improve neural activation or recruitment of more of your motor units for endurance training?

Dr. Noakes:   Okay, I don’t personally but I absolutely believe it should so let’s not get back to what makes a great runner.  So what makes a great runner is having curvy powerful calf and loads of muscles.  If you don’t have powerful muscles, you can’t run fast but no one has ever said that, I’m sure, on your show.  I always say you have to have a high cardiac calf but nonsense.  It is curvy powerful muscles that can drive you off the ground because the limiting factor in running is your contact time the foot’s on the ground.  So to be a great runner, your foot must never ever be on the ground, it must be on the ground for a millisecond and then it must shoot you off the ground and propel you through space.  Though the great runners, their feet are never on the ground and when they’re on the ground, they’re on the ground for instance and so your peak speed is the turn in by how you can reduce your contact time.  To have a short contact time you have to have curvy powerful muscles but in addition, if you have curvy powerful muscles but the system doesn’t work so that when you activate too much muscle, it’s written on the homeostasis of your heart or your lungs or whatever or your muscles, you’re not going to run fast so that’s not going to help.  Though you have to have everything in sync but ultimately, you got to have very strong muscles and so you must also develop the strength of the muscles and my colleagues Dr. Ninella and Dr. Pavlovanam from Finland, have done many studies showing that weight training and specific eccentric training from below them do does improve your running performance.  Yes you have to have a great cardiovascular system but if you don’t have the muscles to power you to run through space, you’re not going to run fast.

Ben:                Interesting!

Dr. Noakes:   And people make a mistake because they look at the Kenyans from there and they see it’s so smaller, it’s so lean and thus they can’t be powerful.  Those muscles are and they can produce enormous forces and without them, you can’t run fast.

Ben:                What type or research is going on right now in this area?  Is there anything that’s cutting edge or new or anything that you’re involved in that you want to tell people about?

Dr. Noakes:   Yeah!  We were doing brain-imaging and these were very difficult to do for a number of reasons and firstly, the equipment’s expensive and so on.  So what we do is we have to check if how the brain moves so the head moves and then you got to stop the head movement to get the imaging of what structures in the brain are affected.  And so we spent the last year developing a system where we can get people to cycle to their maximum while keeping their heads still but then you know, that sounds silly but in the equipment that we used, its really difficult.  So we’re about to embark on that study and we have to show is which parts of the brain become active and we have to show that the sensory parts become active and then they’ve become more active, he harder you exercise.  And if these sensory parts that are inhibiting the motor parts so if the parts people have looked at are in the motor compounds as you run faster, you’re recruiting more muscle because the motor compound possibly have been active.  Ben, try to look at which parts of the sensory control mechanisms.

Ben:                Well, I’m looking forward to seeing what actually goes on with that.  This is a fascinating topic, fascinating area of research.  Dr. Noakes, I know you have a lecture to head off to so I’d like to thank your for coming on the call and sharing some of this research and this central governor model with us.

Dr. Noakes:   It’s been a great pleasure Ben and I must tell you, I was going to speak to one of the local State rugby teams.  Rugby is of course our brand, another name for football.  By the way, we just prioritize American football.  To me, it’s the greatest and most complex sport in the world, greatest coaches, greatest athletes and we just study everything you guys do and try to apply to our game, but anyway the point is I’m going to speak to these guys myself.  Self-belief is so critical in determining the outcome.

Ben:                Self-belief is so critical in determining the what?

Dr. Noakes:   In determining the outcome even in process on stand up but we can’t load the Kenyans of South Africa but that’s the message in that and that’s what I’ve come to believe from looking how the brain regulates exercise performance.

Ben:                So big transfer over from your research into not just endurance sports but also some of these team sports.

Dr. Noakes:   Absolutely, and the video clips I have are Michael Phelps swimming and Jason Lee’s swimming 4×100 and Rupert swimming part of his socks under 1 particular day and you can’t explain how he does it but if performance wins out much about 5%, you’re going to find more 100 meters and its just astonishing and it has to be in its reign than nowhere else.

Ben:                Wow!  Well Dr. Noakes, thank you for your time today.

Dr. Noakes:   My pleasure to be on your show.

Ben:                Alright, goodbye.

Dr. Noakes:   Buhbye!

Brock:            And now in the second interview, Ben talks to Dr. Noakes about hydration and electrolytes.  What you’re going to find out in this interview is Dr. Noakes might shock you unless of course you’ve heard this interview before, then it’ll just serve as a reminder that what we’ve been told for years about electrolytes may not be entirely based in science, so here we go.

Ben:                Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield and for those of you who have listened to the podcast for a little while, you may remember back to podcast episode number 138 in which you learned a ton of valuable information about how to really tap into your body’s muscle potential while training and while racing by using the concept of something called the central governor and the individual we interviewed in that post was Dr. Tim Noakes who is a South African professor of Exercise And Sports Science over at University of Cape Town.  He himself has done a ton of marathons and ultra marathons, he wrote one of the best books out there on running called “The Lore of Running” which, if this type of stuff interests you, you really should check out and he’s really considered one of the top sports science researchers on the phase of the planet so we’re very privileged to have him here with us today and today, we are going to be discussing electrolytes and hydration and how what you think you know, right now, about electrolytes and hydration may actually be wrong.  So Dr. Noakes, thank you for coming on the call today.

Dr. Noakes:   Thanks Ben, great to be with you again.

Ben:                So there is a lot of information floating around out there about how much you should drink during exercise and how many salts or electrolytes you should consume during exercise and you being kind of at the forefront of exercise physiology research, have formed some definite opinions on the way that people should be using water and electrolytes during exercise.  So can you kind of go into what type of research and studies you seen on this and where you stand right now?

Dr. Noakes:   Sure Ben!  I started running in 1969 and we were told at that time that it was very dangerous to drink during exercise and we were further told that any week people drank.  So if you saw someone drinking during a marathon, it was because he was weakening and the idea was that that was when you should attack and you should run away from the athlete who was drinking because they were in distress, so that was the idea.  Then in 1969, two South Africans came out with a publication which suggests that if you didn’t drink enough that your body temperature would be elevated and they published a paper in the South African medical journal saying there were the dangers of an inadequate water intake during marathon running and I started my medical career in 1969 and I happen to cross this article in 1970 and Gevus completely convinced me that you need to drink a lot more.  They said you should be drinking about a liter of fluid every hour that you run.  And then I ran my first marathon in 1972 and again, we were restricted in how much water you could take in.  There was usually one seconding station during the race, it was usually at about 20 miles and then if you wanted more in that, you have to provide that people would have to help you provide it.  And the next year I ran the comrades marathon which is a 90-kilometer race in South Africa and to run that race, there was no fluid available, you have to provide all your own fluids so for 90 kilometers you somehow have to find fluids and we use to have what were called “seconds” and the seconds were driving in the car but because there were a couple of a thousand people running in the race and it stretched over 90 kilometers, you were very lucky if you got a drink every 10 or 15 kilometers.  So that was the drinking plan and it struck me that this was wrong and so I started promoting the idea that you needed to drink much more and I made presentations, in fact, read articles and wrote two chapters and books which were published by Runners World in the 1970s.  And I can recall fully in 1981 writing the same column saying that the most important component of your performance was what you drank during the race and you could never drink enough etc. so that was the last time I ever said that, it was in May 1981.  And then in June 1981, I received a letter from a lady who described how she collapsed during the 90-kilometer comrades’ marathon.  Now 1981 was the first year where they had drinking stations every mile in the race, so they had 56 drinking stations in the 56-mile race and she told me that at 40 miles, she did not recognize her husband, he was watching on the side of the road and he decided she wasn’t in good shape and so he took her off the course, he put her in the car and drive her to the finish and there she arrived at the finish and the doctors examined her and they said “well of course she’s dehydrated” so they gave her two of drinking these fluids and she said “whatever makes you feel better made me feel worse” and she got back in the car and her husband said “well, maybe I should take you to the hospital”.  So he drove her back down the course towards the start which was in Durbin, 56 miles away and halfway there, she had an epileptic seizure and went unconscious and she was unconscious for four days and when she was examined in hospital, they found that her blood sodium concentration was very low so they diagnosed hypernatrimia and they treated her as best as they could at the time and fortunately they didn’t make any major errors and she survived.  She then wrote to me and she said “what happened?” I said “I’ve no idea because this never happens, it’s never been reported” and as a consequence, I decided that I better look into this because it’s clearly something that’s not ever been described before.  It’s my responsibility to find out and I was at school over the next three years to find another three cases like that and we described them, published them in the American journal Maximum Science in Sports and Exercise and we call the condition water intoxication because we worked out by then that you couldn’t lose enough sodium to develop the problem.  It has to be water intoxication and in fact, one of the key was one of the ladies who developed the condition I knew very well and she had anorexia and she measure itself all the time and she told me that she put on four kilograms during those particular race in which she developed hypernatrimia and I knew that she was a good witness and if she said she put on 4 kilograms, she put on four kilograms.  And of course at the time, people would say that’s impossible to put on weight during a marathon or ultra marathon, you have to lose weight and become dehydrated.  So we rated that and described it and that was the first case and then I began to say “hold on, maybe it’s possible to drink too much”.

Ben:                Interesting!  So isn’t there still a huge risk of dehydration now?  I mean, what do you see when you’re looking at studies because I know they’ve done hydration studies in people running marathons or doing iron man triathlons.  What do you see in terms of what the fast people are doing, what the people who end up in the medical tent are doing, I mean, is there some type of happy medium?

Dr. Noakes:   Well I’m glad that you asked that question because I think we have to continue the story a little bit further and then you’ll see what happens.  So what happened in 1985 was that Quaker oats bought the product Gatorade and at that time it was a very small product selling, I think, about 100 million dollars a year and it was clear to me that someone at the industry decided that they needed to make this product unique.  And over the next, not too much, 2004, the product rose from selling 100 million dollars a year of sales to over four billion dollars a year.  Now when you think that Gatorade contains sugar, with sugar or some constituents, salt and water, for that product itself, four billion dollars a year is quite an achievement.  For a product that contains stuff that you find in the kitchen and you could make up yourself for it to become such an iconic product, something happens and I don’t want to make too many contentious that makes me go to jail but in my view, what happened was that they developed a thing called “The Science of Hydration”, industry that developed the science of hydration and one of the components of the science of hydration is that there’s this medical disease called “Dehydration” and if you don’t drink enough during exercise, you’ll develop dehydration.  Now as a biologist, dehydration means to me that there’s less water in the body than the body needs at its homeostatic regulated point and what happens is you become dehydrated, your blood sodium concentration rises that stimulates your brain and it tells you “don’t drink” and that is the only single symptom of dehydration.  So if I go out and drink and I reverse my thirst, I am not, by definition, dehydrated.  So the only people who can never be dehydrated are those who have incredible thirst and if you’ve ever become thirsty, then you’ll know what thirst really is.  Go and get lost in the dessert for two days and then you’ll understand what thirst is.  It is an all-encompassing symptom that drives you to find water and will actually stop you exercising.  That’s what dehydration is in real terms.  Now what the industry had to do was convince people running a marathon whether there’s more fluid available than in any other place in the entire planet, more free fluid available, they had to convince people that athletes were finishing races dehydrated.  In other words, they were not drinking enough despite the fact that there were tens of thousands of gallons of fluid available and that’s what they managed to convince the United States athletic population, it was a major achievement.  So then they said that whenever you collapse, you’re dehydrated but that is nonsense.  We’ve shown for a long time that people who collapse at the end of races are no more dehydrated than with the race winner and in fact, they’re usually a lot less dehydrated.  Dehydration has actually no part to play in causing people to collapse at the finish of races and we know that because 85% of people that collapsed in marathons collapsed after they’ve finished and therefore, it can’t be dehydration because if they were dehydrated and their heart was strained, they would collapse before the finish when their heart is working hard, they don’t.  They collapse afterwards and that’s because they stop and it’s the stopping that is the cause of the collapse, nothing else and we showed years ago that if you lift that guy’s legs and the pelvis above the level of the heart.  Within 30 seconds they are completely normal and fully recovered.  Either they’re still continue standup because the sooner as they stand, they get the same problem and that is called “Exercise in Jews Posture Hypertension” and that is what is supposedly called dehydration.

Ben:                Carry on.

Dr. Noakes:   And in the next point is, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that drinking during exercise influences your risk of developing heat stroke or so called heat armors, none whatsoever.  So anyone who tells you one is developed to avoid heat stroke by drinking fluids, there’s utterly no evidence for that.  And the other point I would make is that key to illness is a broad term which is largely wrong because most of it is this Exercise in Jews Posture Hypertension which isn’t due to dehydration.  So when heatstroke occurs, it has absolutely nothing to do with fluid balance and we know that most cases of heatstroke occur within one hour of the first hour of exercise and you can’t be dehydrated under those conditions.

Ben:                So are you saying that people should not be drinking during exercise or are you saying that the current recommendations are too high or what exactly are you getting at when it comes to hydration?

Dr. Noakes:   Okay!  So if we move forward then, I remember I said that was 1985 when we showed that some people are going to have a drink, none of the 87 American countries sports medicine came up with new drinking guidelines which will for the first time, gave actual volumes that you should drink.  They say that you needed to drink between I think 100 and 300 ml every 10 or 15 minutes or every three kilometers I think it was.  And it worked up that they meant there for you to drink between 600 and 1.8 liters per hour, so this was the first time that there was a number put to it.  Then what happened was that in 1996, American college of sports medicine revised that guidelines and said “you must drink as much as tolerable” and that should be up to 1.2 liters per hour.  So then this value of 1.2 liters per hour came along and that was a real problem because that is when excess or what most people can safely drink.  And thereafter, this condition of hypernatrimia became epidemic throughout the north America and Europe and the only countries where it didn’t happen were in South Africa and New Zealand where we had

Ben:                For those of you who are American listeners by the way, who are listening in, that’s right around like 40 ounces.

Dr. Noakes:   Correct, absolutely correct.  And so that guideline then caused major problems because then the incidents of those hypernatrimia due to water intoxication increased dramatically and I’ve traced one, 700 cases in the medical literature.  Now that’s the number of cases reported in a medical literature.  Can you imagine how many cases occurred outside of the medical literature and people say there’s not an epidemic of this condition, there actually was and there’ve been 12 days from overdrinking. No!  Again, of course, all are avoidable.  Now what happened in 2003 was that a medical organization, a marathon medical organization came to me and said “we’re not happy with the guidelines, please would you draw up your guidelines” and I gave much of the story that I’m telling you now and I said “people should drink to thirst” that’s all you have to know, just drink to thirst.  And if you lose a lot of weight by drinking to thirst its completely safe.  Those guidelines have within accepted by the Untied States track and field so all races held by them and through a limited extent by some marathons in North America.  And then finally in 2007, the American College of Sports Medicine revised their guidelines and said you should drink to thirst but you shouldn’t lose more than 2% of your body weight.  Now that’s a confusing message because it still suggests you must go way over yourself and workout, how much should you drink?  But the reality is that humans evolve in a very hot environment, a hot arid environment and we have all the evolution controls develop through are over the last three million years to make sure we drink when we need to drink and we always drink exactly the amount we need to.  And what the sports drink did every effectively was to say “you can’t believe your subconscious control, you have to do it consciously” and that is absolute nonsense.  If that was true no mammal would be surviving, there would be no living animals because all of the undead because they don’t have a conscious to tell them when to drink.  Our first is all you need to know is drink to thirst.

Ben:                You hear a lot of the time and I’ve read this in multiple books and I believe even in some sports nutrition manuals that if you wait until you’re thirsty to drink that you’re probably already risking dehydration.

Dr. Noakes:   That was the benefit of the sports drink industry as a selling product, a selling option for their product.  It’s got no biological bases whatsoever.  If you’ll ask any thirst expert, any person standing first they will tell you that is nonsense.  Provided the picture says, you’re fine because that’s how we’re designed.  We don’t have to think about drinking.  If your mind tells you to drink, just go and drink.  And if it doesn’t, then don’t drink.  That’s how we’re designed.  Being facetious, you’re going to tell your dog when to drink or your cat when to drink.  No.   So, how did they survive?  Because they’ve got exactly the same controls that we have.  And that’s all you need.

Ben:                Do you find that from a practical perspective, like say during an ironman triathlon, that simply following thirst is something that puts an athlete at risk of dehydration because they’re so focused on other aspects of the race versus drinking based on a timer or something of that nature?

Dr. Noakes:   Okay.  Firstly, there is a report now in the British Journal of Sports and Medicine in which they analyzed all the studies that are currently done in a laboratory.  It showed that if you drink either ahead of thirst or no thirst, you perform self optimum.  So, if you’re drinking ahead of thirst, you are impairing your performance.  And I’ve just reviewed another paper from a group in Switzerland showing that if you drink ahead of thirst you develop an edema of your legs.  Now, anyone who is doing an ironman and once have edema of their legs, they carry extra weight that they don’t need.  At the end of that ironman, they should have realized that’s exactly what they’re doing if they’re drinking ahead of thirst.  So, the people who are telling us to drink ahead of thirst unfortunately have got a lot to answer for because it’s completely unnecessary.  Now, we’ve also looked at ironman finishers.  And it’s also been shown that there’s an inverse relationship between how much weight you lose and how fast you finish.  Those who lose the most weight are usually the winners or run the fastest which is the opposite of those who claim that you’ve got to drink a lot to win the race.  The reality is that the very best athletes in an ironman lose between six and 12 percent of their body weight at the finish.  Now, in the past, you’d say well you’re going to die if you lose that.  Well, you don’t.  They happen to win the races.  And again, the argument is that that is what humans evolve to do.  We evolve to hunt in the heat and drinking very little.  And the best ironman triathletes, the best marathon runners, are those who contain those jeans which force them or encourage them not to drink very much when they’re running.  And consequence is they have a biological advantage because they’re not carrying much weight.  So, that’s what people have to get into their head.  That if you drink to thirst, you optimize your performance.  If you drink ahead of thirst, you’re just retaining water which you don’t need.  If you drink less in thirst, your performance will be impaired.  But in my view, it’s because of the symptoms that you develop.  You don’t feel well if you’re thirsty.  And that’s what impairs your performance rather than the fact that the body has got a little bit less weight.

Ben:                Okay.  Now, so people who drink according to thirst, if you take say like whether a pro triathlete doing an iron man triathlon or say one of the subjects in one of these studies, there’s got to be a range that you see.  Like for human being in terms of ounces per hour or liters per hour, when people do drink according to thirst because I’m sure the listeners listening in.  If you go out and drink according to thirst, they probably want to know approximately, you go out for a two hour bike ride, how much water do you take with you approximately if you are going to drink according to thirst.

Dr. Noakes:   We showed already I think in 1988.  We went and looked at people doing lots of different events in South Africa.  And it turned out that most people drink about 400 to 500 mL per hour.  And you’ll have to convert that.  It’s about 18 ounces an hour.  That rounded up there I think.

Ben:                And what type of conditions were those in?

Dr. Noakes:  That was in any condition.  It’s remarkable how common that is.  Okay, so I will make some other comments.  Firstly, we have studied also Haile Gebre Selassie when he set the world record.  And he finished when he ran a 203 marathon, he lost ten percent of his body weight at the finish.  So, again just to confirm, and that’s historically the same way it’s always been, the fastest runners lose enormous amounts of weight.

Ben:                Will you say that there is a value to self experimentation though?  And the reason that I ask that Dr. Noakes is in anticipation of our call over the weekend, I went for a bike ride in about 90 degrees.  And I rode for three hours.  And I drank according to thirst.

Dr. Noakes:  Yeah.

Ben:                And by drinking according to thirst, I consumed approximately 28 ounces per hour of water.

Dr. Noakes:  Okay.  So, it’s just correct that 28×28.  Okay.  So, it’s a little bit ahead of but it was hot that day.  It’s less than 40 ounces.  That’s less than 1.2 liters.

Ben:                Yes.  It’s significantly less.

Dr. Noakes:   That would be entirely appropriate.  We have in fact just published an article where we looked at military personnel exercising, and listen to this, at 43 degrees centigrade.  That’s 112 degrees Fahrenheit.  In South Africa, they were fully kitted up.  They were in battle dress carrying a rifle and a 25-kilogram pack.  And they had to race over 25 kilometers.  That’s about 40 miles or so.  And they did it perfectly and comfortably in just under four hours most of them without any problems.  And they drank substantially even more.  They drank up to 40 ounces per hour.  But they needed it.  That was the key.  They needed the fluids and they drank to thirst.  And they drank that amount.

Ben:                So, it’s possible say someone racing Ironman Hawaii may actually get close to that?

Dr. Noakes:  It would.  It’s possible.  Yes.  But again, you have to listen to thirst.

Ben:                Well, this is very interesting because I think I saw this study on these military individuals who went on this race. I thought most interesting was the electrolyte issue which I would do want to make sure that we cover.  And I know we spent a lot of time on water.  So, maybe this is a good sedge way into that.  How much salt did they consume?

Dr. Noakes:   Nothing.  And they didn’t need to because your body is so well designed to regulate its body sodium concentration.  But the only thing that can affect your body sodium concentration is if you drink too much water.  So, this is another myth that has been developed by the industry unfortunately.  And it’s called the salty sweat myth.  And this myth holds that if you have a lot of salt in your sweat, you are losing so much that you are going to become deficient.  Now, that contradicts completely everything we know about the biology of salt metabolism in the human body.  So, what is astonishing is that the industry managed to confuse an entire nation or an entire population of athletes.  What happens if you take in a lot of salt is your body has to get rid of it.  And it gets rid of it in urine and in sweat.  And what you find in sweat is the excess that your body is trying to get rid of.  So, if you have salty sweat, it’s because your diet is already too much salt in it.  Now, an American, Doctor Jerome Conn in the Second World War, he was asked when America entered the Second World War.  They knew they were going to fight in the pacific and they knew it was hot.  And the military people came to him and said please study our acclimatization and what we need to do.  And he chose to measure the salt balance.  So, he took a bunch of consciencous object and he made them exercise for six hours a day.  And he gave them different salt intakes.  And they went down to two grams of salt a day which is about a fifth of what any of all your listeners will be using.  If you are taking two grams a day, your diet will be so bland, you will hate it.  He got them down to exercising for six hours a day in the heat and taking two grams a day.  And they’re body was slim balance.  So, you can get your salt, the salt concentration of your sweat, almost down to nothing.  And the salt concentration will be almost down to nothing if you have to.  And so, that’s why you can conserve salt even on a very low salt diet.  Now, there is no ironman triathlete who is either drinking or eating two grams of salt a day.  So, my point is that it’s impossible to become salt deficient in society.  There’s just too much salt.

Ben:                So, what about people who are on like and this is very popular, it’s getting more popular in endurance athletes is this paleo diet?  Or another one is doing a vegan diet.  Those diets are fairly low in sodium.  Would you think that those types of people would have low storage sodium levels and maybe need actually take in more salt during exercise?

Dr. Noakes:   That’s great because if they need to, they’re body will tell them.  The desire for salt is very high.  You’ll never allow yourself to become salt deficient on a normal diet.  They we’re studies also in the 1930s where they tried to produce salt deficiency.  And they found out that it was impossible.  The only way they could do was to put people in a laboratory obviously.  And they feed them.  And they would feed them that food that was of zero salt content.  Anyone who lives freely will never develop salt deficiency because you’ve got such salt drive that you will always find extra salt.  So, salt deficiency as I’ve said is that you have to be in an experiment where you are given no salt.  And that’ll never happen.

Ben:                So, let’s say you put somebody in an Ironman triathlon.  Let’s say, I know that you’d agree that maybe a rate of sweat loss or sodium loss might be at one and a half grams per hour, something along that nature.  Now, if you look on like the Gatorade sports science institute website or if you go look at the amount of sodium people have available storage wise to burn through during something triathlon of that length.  It’s somewhere in of 8000 to 10,000 milligrams or eight to ten grams.  So, wouldn’t you just run out of salt at about five or six hours?

Dr. Noakes:   No.  I’ve laughed at that because I’ve looked at that Gatorade model.  And what Gatorade did was they got some scientist to put together a model that would produce what they wanted which is exactly what you’ve told me.   And therefore, they could justify taking lots of salt.  But just let me remind you the models that they use.  A model is made to describe what already is known to happen.  We had already shown in 1988 and it was published in 1991.  We studied 8 athletes who developed serious hyponutremia.  Three of them were unconscious and close to death.  And we showed that their sodium deficit was no greater than people who finished the race without developing hyponutremia.  So we proved in 1991 published it in the Scientific literature that hyponutremia has got nothing to do with sodium loss.  And it was written part of the literature because it was inconvenient.  It was inconvenient because sports drinks were trying to say they were better than water because they contained salt.  And the magic ingredient that made them better was salt.  And they didn’t want someone in South Africa coming along and saying you actually don’t need the salt to prevent hyponutremia.  So that’s when they developed this whole salty sweat story.  And that’s when they came along with this model developed by the United States Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine which said that you could lose so much salt during a marathon or an ultra marathon that you become hyponutremic.  If that was the case, humans would not be humans.  We would’ve died on the Savana two million years ago.  The reality is that we have incredible capacity to conserve sodium.  And they never bulk that into their model.  They didn’t put into their model the fact that if you were to become sodium deficient, you would secrete a hormone called albosteran which would cut down sodium excretion in your sweat and in your urine to zero.  And that hasn’t happened.  So if you are losing 1.2 grams of salt every hour that you’re exercising, it’s because your diet has too much salt in it. And that’s where it’s coming from.  And you would try to excrete the previous day’s excess.  That’s what you’re doing in an Ironman.  You’re excreting the excess that you’ve accumulated the day before.  And if you understand that then you’ll understand that you are not developing a deficit.  You’re trying to get rid of this excess that you’ve got the day before.  It goes even further because David Coslin in 1976 showed that the sodium you take in your drink comes out in your urine.  And it has to because you already got an excess of sodium.  If you take in more salt in your drink, it has to go out in the urine.  So the reality is that there could be people doing the iron man who are losing 0.0001 gram of sodium every hour in their sweat.  And those are the people who might be at risk of developing sodium deficiency.  Not the ones who are losing 1.2 or 1.5 grams an hour.  That’s the paradox.

Ben:                So can people store more than what you’ll see on the Gatorade website in terms of storage sodium levels.  I would think that that would have to be the case.

Dr. Noakes:   Absolutely.  And there’s in hot days an internal sodium store which again the Gatorade scientists have tried to suggest doesn’t exist.  It doesn’t exist because we’ve spoken about it.  And I’ve said that that doesn’t exist.  But that’s not true.  In the 1950’s, there were studies with radio labeled sodium.  And they showed that the space in which sodium is distributed is much bigger than just the volume that is normally in the blood stream.  There’s an intracellular sodium store which is probably larger than the rest of the body’s sodium.  So when you for example take a cadaver and measure their sodium, they have much more sodium in the body that is accounted for by our usual calculations.  And the calculation you’re giving me underestimates the total sodium content substantially.  And the sodium is sought to be stored in bone and cartilage in a different form.  It’s tied in with other proteins.  And what seems to happen is that when you need the sodium, it’s released from that store and becomes available.  Conversely, we are convinced that some people who develop hyponutremia do the opposite.  They take sodium which is circulating in the blood stream.  And for some reason they drive it into their cells.  And as a consequence, their blood sodium drops dramatically.  And in the past, people said that they have lost it into their sweat and into their urine.  But it happens so quickly that they will have disappeared into their cells.  And this has been noticed for a long time.  If you give people a lot of sodium, you can’t account for where it all goes to.  And it must going into the cells in a compartment that isn’t readily measurable.  So to summarize, there’s much more sodium in the body than it’s ever calculated in the Gatorade website.  And there are mechanisms to retain sodium in your body if you were to become deficient.  The only people at risk of being sodium deficient are those who have got no sodium in their urine or in their sweat.  If you have vast amount of sodium in your urine and in your sweat, it’s the excess from the day before that you’re still trying to get rid of.

Ben:                Now, to my knowledge there are zero professional triathletes racing something like iron man Hawaii who aren’t using electrolytes whether in capsule or in some type of beverage form during the race.  If they were to stop taking those electrolytes, what would happen?

Dr. Noakes:   That’s a great question because if you force the body beyond its normal physiology, it develops abnormal adaptations.  And you have to adapt slowly back to before you can do that.  Now for example, you’re quite right because there’s a hundred mile race in California.  Well, clearly some people are developing low sodium even though their taking a lot of sodium.   And it doesn’t make sense to us and they’re not becoming over hydrated.  And I think if you stuff your body with even more sodium, it will try to get rid of it.  And if you suddenly withdraw it, you may become sodium deficient acutely over a day or two.  So I think that if you’re taking additional sodium, you are stressing the system.  And it could make mal-adaptations which could be detrimental.  For short time whilst you withdraw the sodium.  So my advice is that there’s absolutely no evidence that these athletes need sodium.  There’s no scientific evidence that they need the sodium.  If they are taking it and I would not advise them to stop it immediately and continue to race without it.  You have to do it slowly because we don’t know what the body will do in turn.  The sodium may work in a different way.  For example, if you take vitamin C in high doses, it no longer acts as vitamin C.  It acts as a different chemical.  Maybe if you take sodium at high doses during an iron man, it has some rove that we haven’t yet described or understood.  But on the basic scientific evidence published to date, there’s absolutely no scientific reason why you should take that extra sodium.

Ben:                Are there any studies or research planned or in the work to look at something like a marathon or iron man triathlon without sodium or electrolyte intake?

Dr. Noakes:   That’s been done since 1900.  When they started running marathons, no one took sodium and nothing happened.  So that has always been found.  And you mentioned our study in the military where we had these guys exercise in 112 degrees Fahrenheit.  And they didn’t take any sodium.  Their blood sodium concentrations were absolutely normal.  And they were absolutely normal because their water content was normal.  They weren’t over hydrated.  They weren’t severely dehydrated.  And if you let the brain control it, it’ll do a fantastic job.

Ben:                Now for the people who are listening in who are depending on electrolyte capsules or have used them for a very long time.  And they are using them frequently during something like a half Ironman or an Ironman triathlon.  If we were to try to wing ourselves off them, and I’m sure that any electrolyte manufacturer is going to cringe when they hear me say that.  Is there a certain period of time that you think we should allow before our body gets used to less sodium intake during exercise?  Or is there no way to really put a time in it?

Dr, Noakes:   In the studies by Jerome Con, it was about three days.  Within three days you’ll be conserving sodium.  In other words, your excretion of sodium in sweat and urine will go down.  And it will stabilize it at the new level.  So within three days you will perfectly normal again.  So let’s talk about placebos.  You see the problem is, if you believe that the sodium is going to make a difference, it’ll make a 2% difference.  And so the fact that you have used it, you may believe it helps.  And if you have that belief, it will help.  And therefore I will be reluctant to tell you to stop taking it because of the placebo effect which is massive.  But looking for a biological explanation, if we give it to people without them knowing what it is, then we don’t find a reason why we should give it.  So it has to understand that it maybe acting as a placebo in which case they’ll continue using it.  But biologically, the body is too clever.  And we’ve got too many sodium in our diets if you need sodium.

Ben:                Now, another question is that a lot of these gels have sodium and electrolytes in them so that even if someone were to stop taking electrolyte capsules, they’re still getting salts coming in from other sources.  Is there any evidence that suggests that there would be a deleterious effect from taking in 150 milligrams of sodium in a gel that you’re consuming every 20 minutes or 30 minutes?

Dr. Noakes:   The reality is that the amount of sodium present even in a sports drink is homeopathic.  I mean it’s really irrelevant.  So absolutely carry on.  It makes no difference at all.  And it’s only if you are hypertensive or at risk of high blood pressure that a high sodium intake is probably not good for you.  But very few athletes will be on that state.  So that little amount is really going to make no difference whatsoever.

Ben:                If people want more resources on this or want to go research it themselves, do you have anything you can point them towards in terms of literature?

Dr. Noakes:   Yes.  Well I’ve written a book about this whole story about the fluids and the sodium.  And it’ll be coming out in June next year hopefully.  And I don’t want to mention names or titles or anything like that.  But just to let you know, I’ve spent 30 years studying this problem.  And I have written the definitive on the issues involved and what you should be doing.  If people can look by accessing my name on Google or Google scholar, and typing in hyponotremia, and then they’ll the full story on studies we’ve done on sodium or not in preventing hyponutremia.  And there’s a lot of very powerful stuff I’ve written there which have been highly critical of the sports drink industry.  That would be helpful.  The definitive chapter on the sodium story will be written and publish in this book which will come out next year.  And then people can see where the salty sweat mythology developed.  And they’ll see that humans are incredible sodium conservers.  So, gain to make the point that as we’re going back to the Paleolithic diet which I’m a very strong advocate of.  I’m really enjoying my Paleolithic diet.  It has really helped my athletics.  I’m really enjoying running again.  I’m much lighter.  And I feel much better using this diet.  My running times are back to what they were 20 years ago.  So I’m 62 now and I’m running as fast as I was when I was 42 years old.  And I feel fantastic.  And I’m only training 42 kilometers a week.  So, the Paleolithic diet for me works.  But the other point of the Paleolithic theory is that humans evolve in a dry arid salt free environment.  And we’ve evolved as runners under those conditions.  And if we had were able to run without drinking very much water and without access to salt we wouldn’t be humans.  We won’t be around today.  And we learned to survive on the fringe with little access to water and little access to salt yet we survived.  Now we live in an environment where there’s too much water and there’s too much salt.  And my advice is that if you want to be a real Paleolith, listen to your body.  And it’ll tell you how much you need to drink.  And it’ll tell you how much salt you need.

Ben:                Well, I’m sure that people will have questions and comments about this.  And folks, you know that you can go to the show notes for this podcast episode with Dr. Nooks.  And you can leave you comments, questions, and feedbacks there.  And you can generate discussions because I know that this stuff is new and probably a little bit different than what you’ve heard in the past.  So Dr. Noakes, I want to thank you for taking the time today to come on and talk to us about this.

Dr. Noakes:   It is my pleasure.  And I do apologize to everyone because I know there are many upset people out there.  And I do apologize.  But it wasn’t me who said you must drink a lot.  And it wasn’t me who said you must drink a lot of salt.  But I think what you have to do is when you look at the real science, you’ll find that there’s just isn’t anything to support this advice.  And I’ve looked at the science for 30 years.  And I’ve researched it intensively.  And these are the conclusions I’ve come to.  As I’ve indicated I’ve written the book which is utterly evidence based.  There’s nothing there that’s not evidence based.  And what I’m telling you today are evidence based.  And unfortunately, it may upset a lot of people.  But at the end of the day, we just have to do what’s good for the body.  And I hope I’m telling you what is good for the body because at this moment what I’ve told you is what science tells us.

Ben:                 Alright, thanks Doctor Noakes.

Brock:            Awesome.  So the podcast that we will have next week with the one and only Ben Greenfield back at the podium here.  And there will be tons of your Q and A’s just to make up for the lack of them this week.  So, until then, have a great week.  Make sure to pop by BenGreenfieldFitness.com to leave any comments or ask any questions you have about either of the topics and Doctor Noakes covered in the interviews.  And have a great week preparing for the holiday season.  This is Brock signing out.

For personal nutrition, fitness  or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net

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