Interview with Dr. Stacy Sims

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In this episode we speak with Dr. Stacy Sims, PhD., an Environmental Exercise Physiologist and Nutrition Scientist specializing in sex differences in endurance training.

She’s the author of the book Roar which I swear I recommend to someone at least once a week!

Dr. Sim’s research has had a big impact on my thinking, especially when it comes to strength training, and we are delighted to finally have her on the MTA podcast!

Interview with Dr. Stacy Sims

Stacy T. Sims, Ph.D., is an applied researcher, innovator, and entrepreneur in human performance, specifically sex differences in training, nutrition, and environmental conditions. She served as an exercise physiologist and nutrition scientist at Stanford University from 2007 to 2012, where she specialized in sex differences with environmental and nutritional considerations for recovery and performance, specializing in women’s health and performance.

Her contributions to the international research environment and the sports nutrition industry has established a new niche in sports nutrition; and established her reputation as the expert in sex differences in training, nutrition, and health. She is a Senior Research Associate at AUT University and resides in New Zealand with her family.

Interview Questions:

  1. You’ve got a background in endurance sports. How did you get into the world of triathlon?
  2. One of the messages that you try to get across is that women are not small men. What do you mean by that?
  3. There’s a common misconception that the more we train the more we’ll benefit. What happens for the female athlete when there is heavy physical activity combined with inadequate calorie intake?
  4. You state that women shouldn’t be concerned about bulking up from strength training and should instead be concerned with having too little muscle. Can you talk about the important of muscle mass for women?
  5. For women who are still having menstrual cycles, what can we expect when it comes to our training and performance during the different hormonal phases?
  6. You talk a lot about the importance of protein for women. What are some of the differences in the ways that men and women differ in their protein needs?
  7. What happens when women try to eat a low carb diet long term?
  8. I get asked fairly frequently whether I recommend intermittent fasting for runners. Do men and women typically respond differently?
  9. It seems that just when women get used to dealing with the menstrual cycle and how it relates to training we go into the peri-menopause stage of life. What are some of the differing needs for the athlete going through menopause?
  10. Will you be teaching a course called “Men are not big women”? (Trevor’s question)

Summary Take-a-Ways

Much of past research has only looked at a narrow demographic- college age male cyclists. Results have been applied to all runners and this often doesn’t give an accurate picture of how we’ll respond, especially as women. Thankfully, people like Dr. Sims are doing research on wider demographics which will help future generations of runners be smarter about how they train and fuel.

A woman’s hormonal cycle influences the effect of exercise, dietary choices, recovery, fueling, and much more. Having an understanding of what hormonal phase you’re in can give greater insight and allow you to work with your body and not against it.

Muscle is one of the greatest natural resources a woman has, especially as we get older (and it’s important for men as well). If you want to have strong bones, mobility, and sustained independence you need to be lifting heavy weights on a regular basis.

Dietary choices like low carb and intermittent fasting affect the female athlete differently especially when they’re in the pre-menopause period of life. Women need to be getting regular protein intake throughout the day and should avoid heavy exercise in a fasted state if they want to keep cortisol (stress hormone) levels low.

Also Mentioned in this Episode

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