Science in Endurance


Having been in discussion with the human performance lab at gsk we managed to find a slot prior to our departure for some testing at their facilities in London.

I had been on a tour of the place but it is a completely different experience being involved in the research they are carrying out. The aim of the day was to do some body composition work to understand how we adapt as a result of extreme endurance challenges like our north west passage expedition.

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The facilities themselves are incredible, used by a range of athletes from the brownlie brothers to jenson button. They include all the training and testing equipment they might use so they can do the analysis of results in house whilst the physical or mental testing is taking place. And for the day team North was in the building.
We started the session with a dexa scan.

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This machine went along the length of our body taking an image of the bone, fat, muscle and other tissues to understand our composition. Next up was the body pod which is a similar test but uses air displacement rather than an imagery technique to achieve this. One of the advantages for us was that the software calculates your calories required to maintain your body weight based on the analysis.

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The final stage was in the cold chamber for our own testing and understanding of our bodies reaction in cold climates. Now although we only got down to the equivalent of a warm day for our route at -16C it did highlight how quickly we would cool down as well as leaning more about our layering system with similar equipment to what we would be using.
Overall it did show our nutrition had enabled us to reach our target weight and composition of putting on around 7kg in fat and muscle.

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Thanks to all those at the lab as well as for the nutritional advice from PND consulting and supplies of maxi nutrition.

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