The word "science" seems to be a word that has been tossed around lightly in the supplement industry the past few years. I frequently wonder how many brands truly understand what science is and isn't. More often than not I assume they use the term as a fancy marketing gimmick to get you to buy more of their products. In fact, I highly doubt they have a scientist on staff to help them develop research based formulas.
We're going to discuss the above more in depth in this rant...err...I mean blog post and really help you understand what true science is and how EndurElite has been using it since day one to help you become a better athlete.
Before I get off on more tangents let me take a moment to introduce myself. For those of you who don't know me I'm Matt Mosman, the Chief Science Officer at EndurElite and a real live research scientist (yes, we actually do exist).
EndurElite was founded in 2017 with the goal of making the most scientifically validated supplements for endurance athletes. To this day we have stayed true to this mission and will never waiver from it.
Read on to find out how science is THE STANDARD at EndurElite.
The Biggest Misconception About Science
Let's start with the biggest misconception about science. SCIENCE DOESN"T PROVE ANYTHING! Shocked? In disbelief? I don't blame you. We're led to believe that when some brand shows you a fancy graph or result that it's concrete PROOF that their supplement or ingredient works.
It might but it might not. Why's that you ask?
Well, science serves to demonstrate, not prove. And one study doesn't prove anything. It leads us closer to an answer.
Meaning that studies need to be replicated and a respectable body of research should exist before we come to any sort of conclusions.
It's not unusual to see a supplement coming to market claiming to be the best thing since sliced bread. The problem is these products really don't have the evidence to back its use (conducting one study doesn't count). Again, I'm not saying it doesn't work but if you're anything like me you might want more information on a product or ingredient before putting it in your body or making a dent in your wallet.
Here's my point. Most supplement brands throw together a bunch of ingredients into a product that looks good on paper and call it "science". It's a willy nilly bunch of hogwash that's a slap in the face to proper science. And proper science starts with a thing called the scientific method.
Keep reading and I'll explain why the scientific method is at the heart of every EndurElite product we formulate and why we're one of the few brands that use it.
Science Starts With The Scientific Method
Using the scientific method is difficult, time consuming, and expensive. That's why few brands use it when making supplements. IMHO that's a big mistake! How can you know if something works before doing the necessary research and testing?
At the heart of the scientific method is six steps. These are:
- Ask a question
- Do background research
- Construct a hypothesis
- Test hypothesis by doing an experiment
- Analyze data
- Draw a conclusion
Using the scientific method I'll walk you through how our PerformElite product (and every other EndurElite supplement) was formulated.
Step 1 - Ask A Question
When developing PerformElite I asked myself these questions:
- What type of product could dramatically improve the performance of endurance athletes?
- What aspects of endurance performance should it focus on improving?
- What ingredients could I use to improve those variables?
- Does a product like this already exist? Is it innovative?
Step 2 - Do Background Research
With my questions established I was ready to do my favorite part of the scientific method....research. Here is what I discovered.
At the time most endurance supplements revolved around carbohydrate based sports drinks, gels, and chews. These products have their place in sports nutrition but I wanted to create something innovative and new that had a meaningful impact on performance.
After more research I discovered no one really made a pre-workout for endurance athletes. Right then I had the "ah ha" moment that answered my first question and PerformElite was born.
Next I needed to figure out what endurance variables the product should focus on improving. After pouring through hundred of scientific journals I discovered that VO2 max, lactate threshold, delaying fatigue, and improving mental toughness would be my main focus when formulating.
Moving on I needed to decide what ingredients I would use to improve the endurance performance variables listed above. My criteria for any ingredient used included:
- Only using ingredients with 10 or more studies that had significant findings (meaning the ingredient probably worked).
- An agreed upon effective dose.
- Research done on humans and no rodent studies.
- Research that involved runners, cyclists, triathletes, or other endurance athletes.
- Synergy with other ingredients that would be used in the product.
- No harmful side effects or weird interactions.
Over 200 hours was spent on this part of the process but when I was done I was ready for the next step which is....
Step 3 - Construct A Hypothesis
With my formula in place I felt confident that I could hypothesize that based on all the ingredients and dosages in PerformElite that it could significantly improve the performance of endurance athletes during training and racing.
With that being said my exact hypothesis was this....."Will runners who take PerformElite be able to push harder and longer before reaching fatigue and exhaustion?"
Which leads us to the next step.
Step 4 - Test Hypothesis
For this step I collaborated with my alma mater, Creighton University Exercise Science Lab. Seeing as I didn't have a lab in my house this was the only way to test my hypothesis.
Here's how the test went down.
The researchers from Creighton University used 11 NCAA Division I (D1) cross-country athletes – six men and five women (all of which were around the age of 20). The study was conducted over a total of seven days. All participants needed to be on the cross-country team in order to be eligible to participate in the study.
Any individual who was known for having a cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic disease was excluded from the study.
Additionally, the researchers ensured that all participants were at a similar training status and peak fitness for the previous 16 weeks, as well as getting confirmation that all the athletes had not used any pre-workouts or other performance-enhancing supplements for a minimum of six weeks prior to conducting this study.
To keep things fair and consistent, the participants were asked to maintain their normal nutrition plan and continue to refrain from using any other supplements while taking part in the study to ensure the results are based strictly on the use of PerformElite and nothing else.
Also, the athletes were asked not to exercise for 24 hours before the commencement of the study and prior to each training session.
Participants were split into two groups, one group of participants was given the pre-workout while the other was given a placebo that would have no effect on performance.
Each dose of PerformElite was mixed with 10 ounces of water which is what EndurElite recommends. The participants were not told which they were given, and both products had the same coloring and flavor to help disguise which product was which.
It is also worth noting that this research was a double-blind study where neither the researchers nor the participants knew who was receiving PerformElite and who was receiving the placebo while the study was being conducted.
The purpose of implementing a double-blind study is so that there is no bias that can influence the results and data of the research.
30 minutes after consuming PerformElite or the placebo, the athletes were asked to run on a treadmill until completely fatigued.
They were directed to run at an easy warm-up pace for a total of 20 minutes, then transition over to a marathon pace for a total of five minutes, and then complete the remaining five minutes at 80-90% of their VO2max(the higher the percentage, the higher the intensity of running).
To ensure further consistency with the study, blood lactate samples were collected using a simple finger-stick. Lactate levels were checked 10 minutes after relaxing and sitting quietly, then immediately following their run test, again five minutes post-run, and then again 10-minutes post-run completion.
This test will help determine if PerformElite was capable of improving its performance by checking the amount of lactate in the blood.
The athletes’ heart rate was monitored using a Polar H10 heart rate monitor with a heart rate sensor across their chest. Researchers checked the participants’ heart rate and perceived exertion just before starting their run test, every three minutes of the run, and then again upon stopping the run test on the treadmill.
Upon the completion of the study it was time for the next step
Step 5 - Analyze The Data
Without going into too much details and to avoid the statistical geek speak, the results gave me some answers to my hypothesis. More specifically, the data collected in the study showed that PerformElite had the ability to help improve time to failure in runners by allowing them to push harder and longer before reaching fatigue and exhaustion.
In fact if you were to compare the time to exhaustion between the placebo group and the PerformElite group, the data showed that the athletes who used PerformElite improved their time to exhaustion by as much as 2.5 minutes! That's what we call statistically significant in science.
If you want to read the full study go here.
And now for the final step....
Step 6 - Draw A Conclusion
From all the research I did on individual ingredients to the study conducted on PerformElite, I felt confident that it could dramatically improve the performance of endurance athletes. We released the results of the study to the public, brought the product to market, and the rest is history.
By following the scientific method we were able to formulate a supplement based on real science....not some pseudo science mumbo jumbo.
Science Is Super!
As you can see, science is a serious business at EndurElite. We don't use the word because it sounds trendy, we use it because we believe in and practice it with every product we make. When you're training and racing you can rest assured knowing that each EndurElite product you're using to fuel your fast is the best science has to offer.
About the Author:
Matt Mosman (MS, CISSN, CSCS) is a research scientist, endurance athlete, and the founder and Chief Endurance Officer at EndurElite. Matt holds his B.S. in Exercise Science from Creighton University and his M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of California. Matt and his family reside in Spearfish South Dakota, where they enjoy running, mountain biking, camping, and all the outdoor adventures Spearfish has to offer.