Home Health and Nutrition Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance

Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance
Read in 13 min.
Listen in 16 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Marc Bubbs

Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance

How science can help improve our athletic performance

In Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance That Is Revolutionizing Sports, Marc Bubbs explores the many different aspects involved in a professional athlete’s training. He underlines the fundamental importance of sleep, nutrition, and stress management, and of maintaining a diverse microbiome and a strong immune system. He explains that an athlete’s success also relies heavily on their recovery process, and focuses on the psychological aspects of sports competitions, in which the coach plays a major role.

Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance
Read in 13 min.
Listen in 16 min.

The quantity and quality of our sleep are among the most important factors for successful athletic performance

We have all probably experienced the effects of a bad night’s sleep, and have felt tired, exhausted, and irritable the next day. This happens because our body does not have enough energy, and is therefore unable to function effectively during the day. Sleep is a basic human necessity, and it strongly influences our performance. Forgoing sleep, in order to do other things, leads to a vicious circle whereby we try to do more with the extra time we do not spend sleeping, but actually end up performing less effectively.

Sleep is crucial for optimal performance, and especially for professional athletes. People who practise sport at a competitive level are often required to exert so much effort, that it sometimes negatively affects the quality and duration of their sleep. Swimmers, for instance, often train early in the morning, which means that they sleep less and badly, so they feel tired even before their training begins.

Over time, a lack of sleep, or sleeping badly, can lead to various problems, such as increased response time to stimuli, sudden mood swings, excessive tiredness, depression, confusion, and premature ageing. It is not just about how many hours we sleep, but also the quality of our sleep. Poor sleep can also make us more vulnerable to injury and to contracting diseases and infections, because it suppresses our immune system.

There are many ways to improve our sleep, such as eliminating or drastically reducing our consumption of caffeine and alcohol, avoiding screen time before bed, and seeking treatment for disorders like sleep apnoea, which reduces the amount of oxygen in our body and prevents deep sleep. It also helps to avoid sleeping in an unfamiliar environment.

So, we should focus on three main aspects of our sleep habits: how much we sleep, how well we sleep, and our sleep routine. We must sleep at least 7 hours per night, and professional athletes should increase this amount by about 30 minutes per week until they are getting 8-10 hours of sleep every day. We should also try to sleep at night, rather than resorting to afternoon naps. In order to improve the quality of our sleep, it is important to avoid screens, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and refined fats before going to bed. We also need to make sure our bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark, and to exercise every day. Finally, it is important to wake up and fall asleep at the same time every day, to only take naps between one and four in the afternoon if we really feel we have to, and to get some sun in the mornings, especially in winter.


The key ideas of "Peak: The New Science of Athletic Performance"

The quantity and quality of our sleep are among the most important factors for successful athletic performance
Bacteria are not always the enemy: they can often become important allies, especially for athletes
Our health depends on what we eat, and nutrition has a huge impact on our everyday life and activities
Daily training is essential for all athletes who practise sport at a competitive level, but rest and recovery are just as important
Recovery also relies on how we take care of our body, and we should try to avoid contracting diseases by strengthening our immune system
Feelings and emotions are a natural part of who we are, but in order to improve our athletic performance, we need to control them effectively, while also developing new mindsets
Coaches guide athletes to achieve their sporting goals with empathy and trust
Take-home message
4books preview

Try 4books Premium for free!