Tim Noakes: Sports Scientist Extraordinaire, Redefining the Limits of Human Performance (Re-broadcast)


From Ironman triathletes, marathon runners, Tour de France cyclists to rowing, rugby and football – Tim Noakes’ research shakes up the consensus and opens the path to new, higher performance horizons.

We cover dehydration and water intoxication, optimal training methods, and what coaches need to know about the connections between the brain and the body. There’s even some information about how to swim nearly naked at the North Pole. The show is hosted by sports psychologist Glenn Whitney.

“It would be easy to train athletes if they were just bodies without brains.” – Tim Noakes

Tim is the author of The Lore of Running, considered by many to be one of the definitive works on the subject, plus he has written and co-written about a dozen other books and over 100 scientific papers.

His latest book is called Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports. It’s an impressively comprehensive examination of the subject and one that is making many executives in the sports drink industry squirm.

Tim also practices what he preaches, having competed in over 70 endurance and ultra-endurance running races and he’s still highly active now that he’s passed his 60th birthday.

His ideas and research shake up the conventional wisdom and break open new, more creative and effective ways of thinking about human performance.

Tim co-founded the Exercise Science and Sports Medicine group at the University of Cape Town, and he is currently the Discovery Health Chair of the department.

Topics covered

How Tim uses in his coaching and advisory work the ground-breaking principles he has developed – particularly the Central Governor Model and hydration strategies.

How the modern, elite professional coach can benefit from a better understanding of Tim’s work?

What points of resistance to Tim’s work are typical among professional coaches, and how are they best overcome?

How has the human brain evolved to prevent catastrophic outcomes of intense exercise.

Differences between dehydration and hyponatremia and ultimately the very serious business of what causes people to die during endurance competitions.

From Tim’s brilliant TEDx Talk on June 12, 2012 in Cape Town:

“Leadership is really about coaching. The best leaders are the great coaches. I learnt this with Lewis Pugh. He asked me if I thought he could swim around the Cape Peninsula; everyone else had said no, and I said yes. After he had done it, he phoned me and said, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’ I asked him why and he said, ‘Because you believed in me.’ That was when I became a coach.”

From the interview:

“It’s the brain that decides what the performance is going to be. The great coaches have always known that.” – Tim Noakes