Who are we?  //  Who are the sports scientists?

Ross Tucker, Ph.D.

RossI am an exercise physiologist and high performance sports consultant, currently employed by the University of Cape Town and Sports Science Institute of South Africa.

I also consult with teams and federations including the USA Olympic Committee, Great Britain Olympic Sports Federations, the International Rugby Board, SA Sevens Rugby and SA Kayaking.

My PhD studied the limits of human performance and fatigue.  I also obtained a Post-graduate in Sports Management while completing the PhD, and then spent three years working in sports marketing and strategy for SAIL before rejoining the University of Cape Town.

My passions are studying relevant sports science questions, and then communicating and applying knowledge to real-life situations – the marriage of science and marketing, as it were.  Current research includes barefoot running, the physiology of elite runners and kayakers, and athletes with cerebral palsy.

It’s really important that the gap between science and commerce is bridged. Too often, there’s a huge discord (a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon is a more apt description of it!) between the science in the lab and its implementation and application to every athlete. My goal is to bridge that gap, be it through news articles, coaching or explaining the science, and this site will hopefully contribute to all three.

My own personal sports involvement lies in running 10km and half-marathons. I also mountain-bike, play tennis and the occasional social game of soccer.

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Jonathan Dugas, Ph.D.

Jonathan Dugas, PhDI also obtained my Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Cape Town in 2006.

My thesis, supervised by Professor Tim Noakes, was titled “Temperature responses to exercise and performance”, and looked at fluid replacement, body temperature and performance during exercise in both the lab setting and in competitions, such as the Two Oceans 56 km Ultra-marathon and the Cape Argus/Pick ‘n Pay 109 km Cycle Tour.

I showed that the key factor determining body temperature during exercise is the metabolic rate, and not environmental temperature or fluid intake. So what people are traditionally told by the “experts” is that they must drink to help keep their temperature down – this is not correct and the current fluid replacement guidelines are not necessarily relevant to people taking part in marathons and other endurance activities outdoors.

After spending over four years in academia, in March 2011 I became the Director of Clinical Development at The Vitality Group, in Chicago, IL. In that role I contribute to translating the science of exercise to large populations as we try to encourage exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. Also, we attempt to ask the right questions that will allow us to uncover the winning combination of factors that will reduce risk and encourage a sustainable healthy lifestyle in both active and inactive inpiduals. This keeps me busy, but Ross and I share a passion for applying science to the everyday athlete, and this blog is the result of that.

My sporting background is mixed, starting with soccer through university, then moving to running (Two Oceans twice with a 2:48 marathon PB) and finally cycling. I am a qualified USA Cycling Level II coach, and ride semi-competitively (Category 3) with the xXx Racing-Athletico cycling team here in Chicago.