FTP #17: Trent Stellingwerf, PhD – Nutrition and altitude training: Optimizing adaptation, performance and health

FTP #16: Melinda Manore, PhD – The female cyclist: Nutrition concerns and research challenges
December 2, 2019
FTP #18: 2019 Revisited – Yearly Digest
December 31, 2019

FTP #17: Trent Stellingwerf, PhD – Nutrition and altitude training: Optimizing adaptation, performance and health

Guest Bio

Trent is an applied sport physiologist with a specialization in the area of performance nutrition. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at Cornell University and he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Guelph in Exercise and Skeletal Muscle Physiology.

In his current role he focuses on providing his physiology and nutrition expertise to Canada’s national rowing, track and field and triathlon teams, as well as leading Canadian Sport Institute’s Innovation and Research division. Trent previously worked as the senior leading scientist in Performance Nutrition for Power Bar at the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. An experienced researcher, Trent has more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications and is currently on the editorial board for the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance and International Journal of Sports Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism. He has co-authored six book chapters focusing on the role that nutrition can play in supporting elite athlete performance, including a chapter on ‘Nutrition for the Endurance Athlete’, for the newest version of the 2013 IOC Sports Nutrition Encyclopaedia. His expertise is paired with his ability to deliver complex scientific concepts in an informative and applicable way. He co-supervises a number of master and PhD student collaborative research projects at UBC, UVIC and Guelph.

Trent has attended many World Championships and Olympic Games as part of Team Canada’s Integrated Support Team and consults several Olympic athletes from around the world, including his wife Hilary, who competed for Canada in the 1500m at the 2012 Games.

On this Episode:

  • Altitude exposure 101
  • Different physiological responses to altitude training
  • High-to-extreme altitude data VS low-to-moderate altitude
  • “Natural altitude VS “Artificial” altitude”
  • Substrate metabolism at low-to-moderate altitudes
  • Protein requirements
  • Energy availability and RMR changes
  • Hydration concerns
  • RED-S and differences in training responses
  • Iron status and supplementation
  • Antioxidant supplementation and training adaptations
  • Changes in muscle buffering capacity
  • Take home messages
  • Research ideas for the next 10 years


Articles mentioned during the episode:

Nutrition altitude review:
Stellingwerff, T., Peeling, P., Garvican-Lewis, L. A., Hall, R., Koivisto, A. E., Heikura, I. A., & Burke, L. M. (2019). Nutrition and altitude: strategies to enhance adaptation, improve performance and maintain health: a narrative reviewSports Medicine, 1-16.

Training periodization at altitude review:
Mujika, I., Sharma, A. P., & Stellingwerff, T. (2019). Contemporary periodization of altitude training for elite endurance athletes: a narrative reviewSports Medicine, 1-19.

Other relevant articles:
Sim, M., Garvican-Lewis, L. A., Cox, G. R., Govus, A., McKay, A. K., Stellingwerff, T., & Peeling, P. (2019). Iron considerations for the athlete: a narrative reviewEuropean journal of applied physiology, 1-16.

Hall, R., Peeling, P., Nemeth, E., Bergland, D., McCluskey, W. T., & Stellingwerff, T. (2019). Single versus split dose of iron optimizes hemoglobin mass gains at 2106 m altitudeMedicine & Science in Sports & Exercise51(4), 751-759.

Heikura, I. A., Burke, L. M., Bergland, D., Uusitalo, A. L., Mero, A. A., & Stellingwerff, T. (2018). Impact of Energy Availability, Health, and Sex on Hemoglobin-Mass Responses Following Live-High–Train-High Altitude Training in Elite Female and Male Distance AthletesInternational journal of sports physiology and performance13(8), 1090-1096.

Koivisto, A. E., Paulsen, G., Paur, I., Garthe, I., Tønnessen, E., Raastad, T., … & Bøhn, S. K. (2018). Antioxidant‐rich foods and response to altitude training: A randomized controlled trial in elite endurance athletesScandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports28(9), 1982-1995.

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