Endurance Innovation 56 – Paralympian Erica Gavel

Endurance Innovation 56 – Paralympian Erica Gavel

Paralympic basketball player and sports science graduate student Erica Gavel speaks on the startling effects of a menthol mouse rinse on time trial performance, the challenges of thermal regulation in para athletics, and the joy of doing what you love.

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  • 9:15 Erica’s study on the effect of using a menthol mouth rinse on cycling time trial performance in female athletes
    • One prior study in males suggested efficacy, but there were no studies on females in the literature
    • Study aimed to simulated women’s road TT (30k) in hot and humid conditions expected in the Tokyo Olympics
    • Participants rinsed their mouths with 30mL of menthol solution every 5k of the TT
    • Average decrease in time to completion of the TT was 2.5%
  • 13:30 the mechanism of action of the mouth rinse is not very well understood, but thought to be related to the perception of effort
  • 16:15 effects of the mouth rinse on other physiological metrics:
    • Average mechanical power increased compared with control
    • With power held constant, RPE was lower than the control
  • 18:45 earlier study on male cyclists saw a similar magnitude of effect
  • 21:00 use of progesterone-based IUD contraceptive devices did not appear to blunt the effects of the mouth rinse
  • 21:30 alcohol-free mouthwash is a good commercial source of menthol
  • 26:15 the central governor model of performance may explain effects of psychological ergogenic effects of mouth rinses and motivational self-talk among other techniques
  • 29:30 the role of a positive attitude in sports and life
  • 31:00 the path from a grad study to adoption at the Olympic level of competition
  • 34:00 thermal regulation for wheelchair rugby
  • 36:36 para athletes do not sweat below the site of the spinal lesion, making thermal regulation much more difficult
  • 42:00 there are many opportunities to make a real difference in the paralympic space
  • 46:45 para athletes are like every other athlete: it’s all about performance within your unique limitations

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