Home Page
cover of Fast Fitness - The Athlete's Heart
Fast Fitness - The Athlete's Heart

Fast Fitness - The Athlete's Heart


A short podcast describing the Athlete's Heart, a condition caused by strenuous cardio. Sponsored by SADBOYLIFTS and DRAG.



This podcast episode discusses the concept of the athlete's heart, which is the adaptation of the heart due to strenuous exercise. It is different from cardiomyopathy, a more serious condition that can cause sudden cardiac death. The athlete's heart allows for better cardio performance and a higher VO2 max. It only affects around 2% of athletes. The episode also mentions two sponsors: a pre-workout drink called Messages From Your Ex and a sports drink called DRAG. The importance of cardio and the benefits of the athlete's heart are highlighted. The episode ends with three main takeaways: the body is adaptable, cardio strengthens the heart, and some people may have a physiological advantage in anaerobic exercise. Welcome to my podcast on fast fitness. We discuss niche and educational fitness topics in under 15 minutes. I'm Vin Ho, a cadet current attendant at the United States Military Academy. Today on the show, we'll be talking about the athlete's heart in which the listeners of the show have voted for in a survey we published earlier this month. As student athletes at the United States Military Academy, this topic will be important for certain students that have a genuine concern regarding their physicality and overall heart health. We had expected Dr. Michael Douglas-Milson, an associate professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, to be with us here today. He's an expert with a background in kinesiology, more specifically cardiovascular and integrative physiology. I've had the opportunity to work with him on research during my high school years as a part of the Upward Bound Math and Science program. But before we get into discussing the athlete's heart, we have a message from our sponsors. Creators of Disappointed Parents, Sad Boy Lifts is introducing the new state-of-the-art pre-workout that has exceeded every standard metric, Messages From Your Ex. Comes in three different flavors, rage, fruit punch, psychotic orange, and venom grape. With Messages From Your Ex, you can take your gym experience to the next level. Clinically dosed with enough caffeine to kill an elephant, your daily intake of creatine, 5,000 milligrams of beta alanine, 6,000 milligrams of L-citrulline, and our proprietary blend of other natural ingredients such as 400 milligrams of test, 500 milligrams of Anivar, and enough Tremblone to share with your entire family and possibly even re-spark your parents' marriage. It's perfect to fuel your next workout and to make your ex regret leaving you. Disclaimer, Messages From Your Ex is not for everyone. Side effects may include fluid retention causing swelling in your lower legs, high blood pressure, mood swings, insomnia, nausea, headaches, anxiety, and jitteriness, high chance of increased depression, hospitalization, and insecurity. The athlete's heart. Well, what is it? The athlete's heart is an adaptation of your body by changing the morphology of your heart due to the repetitive, strenuous nature of the exercise a person might put their body through. Researcher Robert Baggard states that often these strenuous exercises connect to the exercises that are more dynamic in nature, such as long-distance running, rather than more static exercises that would more so correlate with power or strength training. These changes can vary depending on the athlete. For some, the changes are minimal and insignificant, but for others, it might be similar in structure to that of cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy, broken down into its medical terminology roots and suffixes, is cardio for heart, neo for muscle, and pathy for being diseased. This condition is very much different from the athlete's heart, in which it can cause sudden cardiac death in the athlete, despite showing some similar symptoms, such as a thicker left ventricle wall. However, it decreases the total amount of volume of blood that can be available in the heart. To help visualize this concept, I would like our listeners to, for a moment, close their eyes and envision a square divided into four quadrants, resembling something like the face of a 2x2 Rubik's cube. Now, imagine that this is the heart. The borders of your square resemble the lining and the muscles of your heart, and the area within the borders, the volume that can be held or used by the atrium and ventricles. Although simplified, for the sake of creating a visualization of the differences between a regular heart, the athlete's heart, and cardiomyopathy, they will have to do. Now, imagine the borders of your box expanding and getting thicker at the same time, but the area within the quadrants remaining the same. This resembles the athlete's heart. It reflects how the heart has grown to help facilitate the anaerobic needs of the athlete by building thicker heart musculature. Now, let's go back to our original square. For cardiomyopathy, just imagine only the borders getting thicker. What do we see? The area inside the heart should now be significantly less than what it was. Though it might be an extreme scenario of cardiomyopathy, it gets across the point that the volume of blood that can be held has decreased substantially, resulting in a more serious and potentially harmful condition for the athlete. So how and why is the athlete able to develop such a condition? The heart is a muscle, just like how your biceps and quads are. Most individuals, by partaking in running and other cardio-related exercises, such as swimming or cycling, break down the muscle fibers of their heart, and the musculature is rebuilt stronger, which then correlates to a better cardio performance. However, in the case of the athlete's heart, the change is a bit more drastic than your casual participant of cardio, and the athlete's heart actually only really affects around 2% of athletes. We should take this number with a grain of salt, because most athletes, this includes athletes of all ages, middle school, high school, college, professional, are not regularly put through electrocardiograms, or better recognized as EKGs. But the portion of competitive athletes that are put through, disproportionately, have a higher chance of having an abnormal EKG reading. That would indicate the possibility of the athlete's heart. Those that have the athlete's heart often show symptoms of a heart murmur, extra heartbeat sounds, slower heart rate, and lower blood pressure. However, the only surefire way to determine whether or not you have the condition is to either get an echocardiogram, which is pretty similar to that of an ultrasound of your heart, or a heart MRI, which I got to explore with Dr. Nelson. So why is this important? The competitive advantage that presents itself with this condition is rather interesting. It allows for those at the top of the leaderboard, with the best of the best genetics and field economies, to separate themselves from their competition. We'll take a look at our prime example, Ellwood Kinchogue, after another word from our other sponsor, DRAG. You need the new anti-hoist, DRAG. DRAG is a new product in the sports drink industry that has taken the marketplace by storm. DRAG was developed to take away electrolytes and carbohydrates and is scientifically formulated to deplete athletes who have normally unhealthy levels, keeping you performing at your lowest level possible. Made specifically for the high speed that are looking for a challenge and a new way to approach training. It helps military personnel train in the worst conditions possible in order to stimulate and prepare for the struggles of the battlefield. Because how well prepared for the situation when you have consumed all three liters of your CamelBak, two miles into your 25-mile movement with no available water source for refuel. DRAG. Why hydrate when you can dehydrate? When discussing the athlete's heart, endurance athletes are the primary focus because of the strenuous nature of their anaerobic exercise on the heart, and thus is why Ellwood Kinchogue is a great example for discussing the athlete's heart. Kinchogue, if our listeners do not know, is the greatest marathon runner of all time. His performance at the 2019 INEOS 159 Challenge was nothing short of remarkable as he ran a sub-two-hour marathon. In order to do so, he maintained around a four-minute pace for a little over 26 miles. It is honestly astonishing and amazing that the human body is capable of such feats. I could hardly hold a four-minute pace for a quarter mile, let alone 26. Now, why was he able to maintain such a pace? Well, we can give credit to his running economy. Now, what does a running economy entail? A running economy is a complex of various systems that a runner utilizes while running. Characterized by their metabolic, cardiorespiratory, biomechanical, and neuromuscular systems, it measures the volume of oxygen, or more specifically, VO2 consumed per kilogram of body weight. Now, we haven't yet discussed this concept yet, but another implication of the athlete's heart is that it allows for the body to reach a higher VO2 max. Now, you must be saying, Finn, why are you throwing around all these new abbreviations and terms at us? What does this mean? VO2 max is the measure of the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. In the case of Eluiki Choge, he is able to procure a VO2 max of around 78 milliliters per minute per kilogram of body weight. This is almost double the max of the average male, who would have an approximated VO2 max of about 42. Because of the athlete's heart condition, the heart itself is stronger and can thus transport blood more efficiently. This results in an increase in efficiency at which oxygen is transported within the body. So, if you are to have a greater VO2 max comparative to that of your peers, your ability to outperform them are much higher. It also implies that because you have higher levels of oxygen in your system, your lactic acid threshold is also higher as well, because your body would not need to break down as many carbohydrates to use for energy when oxygen levels are low. This results in superhuman athletes, such as the one found in Kid Choge. Well, thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed the podcast about the athlete's heart and were able to learn something new. If there are three main takeaways about the athlete's heart, I would say that understand that your body is an ever-adapting machine and that this condition can only benefit you as a student athlete at West Point. Two, make sure to do your cardio. This is because although the development of the athlete's heart is not guaranteed, cardio does in fact strengthen your heart, which has positive health implications. Three, if your friend, namely Sebastian Witteveld, is outperforming you in any form of anaerobic exercise, blame it on the fact that he might just simply have a physiological advantage on you. Once again, thank you for listening to Fast Fitness. Now, for a blooper. Disclaimer. Messages from your ex is not for everyone. Side effects may include fluid retention causing swelling in your lower legs, high blood pressure, mood swings, insomnia, nausea, headaches.

Featured in

Other Creators