EP. 47: The Pseudoscience of Sport, Health & Fitness w/Nick B. Tiller Ph.D


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Nick B. Tiller Ph.D. is a senior researcher in exercise physiology at Harbor-UCLA and author of The Skeptic's Guide to Sports Science which was named one of Book Authority's "Best sports science books of all time". Tiller is a columnist at Skeptical Inquirer magazine, a columnist at Ultra-Running Magazine, and associate editor at the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. For over a decade, Tiller has been scrutinizing the commercial health and wellness industry through the critical lens of scientific skepticism.
Nick is a renowned authority on the physiology and pathophysiology of ultra-endurance exercise. Nick ran his first marathon in 2001 at the age of 18 years and contested Ironman triathlon (Frankfurt; European Championships) in 2009. In 2010, he ran his first ultramarathon. Since then, Nick has contested some of the world's toughest endurance races including the Marathon Des Sables (Sahara Desert) and several 100-mile trail races. In recent years, Nick has unified his personal passion for ultra with his professional work in physiology, contributing numerous original research and review papers to premier exercise science journals. In addition to peer-reviewed research, Tiller contributes articles to mainstream outlets, and writes a monthly column in Ultra-Running Magazine.
We have a conversation about his many of the topics that’s in his book The Skeptic’s Guide to Sports Science, Confronting Myths of the Health and Fitness Industry.
Professor Tiller discusses the placebo effect and breaks it down for the listener. We discuss the common “placebo effect is still an effect so what’s the big deal” response. We also talk about the potential downsides to placebo effect particularly with unproven methods.
We have a conversation about acupuncture, cupping and dry needling, and why we’ve seen motivation of such alternative medicine among athletes and whether or not there is any demonstrated efficacy of such methods beyond placebo.
We talk about nutrition and in particular fad diets and supplements driven by heuristics and biases that have led populations to seek quick fixes for weight loss under an increasing obesity epidemic.
We discuss the efficacy of a myriad of athlete recovery protocols including, cold immersion, cryotherapy, massage or robot massage, compression garments and whether or not there is anything that has been scientifically demonstrated to meaningfully expedite performance or recovery.
Finally, we talk about logical fallacies that are typically made by people and Professor Tiller discusses his response to such fallacies.
About Nick Tiller Ph.D
Nick Tiller Ph.D
Link to Professor Tiller’s book The Skeptic’s Guide to Sports Science, Confronting Myths of the Health and Fitness Industry by Nick Tiller Ph.D
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