Skip to main content
Masters in Exercise

Masters in Exercise

By Marc Roig
In this podcast I interview leaders in the field of exercise prescription. I talk to prominent researchers who investigate how exercise can improve different aspects of quality of life in different populations and clinical groups. Our conversations cover several topics. For example, we discuss what type of exercise is the best to improve brain health and reduce age related cognitive decline or how can we use exercise to ensure an optimal development in children and mobility and quality of life in people with neurological and neurodegenerative clinical conditions.
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

RadioPublic Logo

RadioPublic

Spotify Logo

Spotify

The influence of genes on the response to exercise with Professor Claude Bouchard
In this episode, we talk with Prof. Claude Bouchard, who is a Chair in Genetics and Nutrition at Louisiana State University. His research focuses on the genetics of obesity and co-morbidities as well as on the genetics of cardiorespiratory fitness and adaptation to exercise. We speak with him about how our genetic makeup can affect the individual variability in the response to different types of exercise. We discuss the evidence that our genes can affect our response to exercise, especially in relation to cardiorespiratory fitness. We then talk about which specific groups of genes could drive the effect and to what extent exercise can change the behavior of our genes through epigenetic modifications. We also talk about using genetic information in the context of precision medicine and in the identification of athletic talent. A wonderful conversation with one of the best exercise geneticists in the world.
47:02
July 28, 2022
Exercise to strengthen the immune system with Professor Nicolette Bishop
In this episode, we talk with Professor Nicolette Bishop, who is a Professor in Exercise Immunology at Loughborough University (UK). Her research is focused on studying the effects of exercise on inflammation and the immune system.Professor Bishop is also interested in studying infection risk in elite athletes. We speak with her about the interaction between exercise, chronic inflammation, and the immune system in the context of health and disease. We start discussing how exercise impacts inflammation and the immune system and why too much exercise can increase infection risk. We also talk about some studies that suggest that having a high cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2) can reduce the risk of hospitalization due to COVID. We talk about the parameters of exercise that can help reduce chronic inflammation, whether some types of exercise could be more effective than others and how we can monitor the effects of exercise on our immune system.
32:57
June 08, 2022
Exercise to reduce body fat and metabolic risk with Dr. Robert Ross
In this episode, we talked with Dr. Robert Ross, who is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Queen’s University (Canada). His research is focused on the development and testing of lifestyle-based interventions designed to manage obesity and related health risks. We speak with him about the use of exercise to reduce body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors such as abdominal fat and insulin resistance. We start by discussing the different types of fat in our body and why they pose different risk to our health. We then discuss the evidence that supports the use of exercise alone, or in combination with caloric restriction diet, as intervention to manage overweight and obesity. We talk about the parameters of exercise that can drive a positive change and discuss whether some types of exercise could be more effective than others. We also discuss why exercise, even if it does not lead to weight loss is still beneficial. Lots of useful information in this conversation. During our talk Dr. Ross mentions a website that allows you to estimate your cardiorespiratory fitness. Give it a try: https://www.worldfitnesslevel.org/#/  
50:08
April 27, 2022
Exercise to combat addictions with Dr. Ana Abrantes
In this episode, we talk with Dr. Ana Abrantes, who is a Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University. Her research is focused on the development and testing of novel interventions for decreasing relapse risk among individuals with alcohol and other drug abuse problems. She also conducts research in the area of physical activity promotion for individuals with substance abuse and mental health disorders. We speak with her about how exercise can help in the management of different types of addictions. We start by trying to understand addictions and how we diagnose them clinically. We discuss the evidence that supports the use of exercise as an intervention to manage different addictions. We talk about what types of addictions could be more susceptible to benefit from exercise, the potential mechanisms underlying the positive effect, and whether some types of exercise could be more effective than others. You can follow Dr. Ana Abrantes on twitter at @ana_m_abrantes
42:32
March 18, 2022
Exercising in the space with Dr. Lori Ploutz-Snyder
In this episode we spoke with Dr. Lori Ploutz-snyder about how to exercise during spaceflight missions. Dr. Ploutz-snyder is a professor of Movement Science and the Dean of the University of Michigan School of Kinesiology. Previously, she was the Lead Scientist for the Exercise Physiology and Countermeasures Project at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Her research focuses on studying how to counteract the negative effects of unloading on muscle and bone physiology that occur during spaceflights and how to use this information to create countermeasures to protect the well-being of astronauts. During our conversation we talk about how and why our bodies change during spaceflights, how long these changes last after space missions and if some of these changes can be irreversible. We talk about using exercise as a countermeasure to maintain the health of crew members during these long-term missions and the main challenges that we encounter when we need to design training interventions for people while they are in the space. This and much more in a fascinating conversation that I hope you will enjoy. Dr. Ploutz-snyder's research can be followed at https://www.kines.umich.edu/directory/lori-ploutz-snyder.
40:54
January 26, 2022
Physical activity and exercise after concussion in children and adolescents with Dr. Isabelle Gagnon
In this episode, I talked to Dr. Isabelle Gagnon, who is an Associate Professor in the School of Physical and Occupation Therapy at McGill University, in Montreal, Canada. She is an expert in the study of concussion in children and adolescents and, the use of exercise as a potential intervention to reduce post-concussion symptoms. We start this episode talking about how frequent concussions are, how it is diagnosed, and the most common signs and symptoms. We also talk about why, in some cases, post-concussion symptoms are persistent and are difficult to get rid of including the psychological component of this type of event. We discuss if exercise can be used as a rehabilitation tool, how early can exercise be introduced after the concussion and if it really matters at all. This episode is interesting because it shows the bad and the good of exercise. Concussions tend to happen during exercise, symptoms post-concussion can be triggered with exercise, but we can potentially use exercise to reduce the persistent symptoms of concussion in some individuals. You can follow Isabelle's work at: https://www.mcgill.ca/spot/isabelle-gagnon
43:44
November 05, 2021
High intensity interval training with Dr. Martin Gibala
In this episode I talked to Dr. Martin Gibala, who is a Professor in the department of Kinesiology at McMaster University in Ontario (Canada). He is a world renown scientist who has done pioneering work to understand the physiological effects of interval training in general and, more specifically, high intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a very time efficient type of training that is characterized by short bouts of high intensity exercise combined with short periods of complete rest or active recovery. We start talking about how time efficient really this type of training is. We also talk about recent studies showing that, even very short sessions of HIIT involving only three bouts of exercise of 20 seconds, can trigger very strong physiological adaptations. We discuss the mechanisms behind HIIT and whether this type of exercise could be a viable alternative to more traditional types of training. Dr. Gibala is the author of the book: The one minute workout. You can follow his research at https://martingibala.com or on twitter https://twitter.com/gibalam.   
49:37
October 01, 2021
Exercise in autism spectrum disorder with David Geslak
Autism is one of the fastest-growing diagnosed developmental disabilities in the world. In this episode, I interviewed David Geslak. David is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Exercise Physiologist and the founder of Exercise Connection, a great initiative that aims to create exercise tools and programs to engage and improve the lives of those with autism. David also created the Autism Exercise Specialist Certificate (AESC), a program sponsored by the ACSM, to educate those interested in using exercise for people with autism. Our conversation is precisely about exercise in this population. We start talking about how David started to work in this field and how exercise can help these individuals. We talk about the use of different types of exercise, the importance of creating a relationship, a connection, with the person with autism, the use of visual cues, the impact of medications and many more other things. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. Learn more about David and Exercise Connection at http://www.exerciseconnection.com. 
42:08
September 01, 2021
Exercise to improve cognition and brain health in children with Dr. Charles Hillman
In this episode, we talk with Dr. Charles Hillman, a professor in the Department of Psychology at Northeastern University, in Boston (USA). Dr. Hillman has devoted most of his research career to study how physical activity affects different aspects of cognition and brain health in children. In this episode we talk, among many other things, about the importance of physical activity for the developing brain and how exercise impacts academic performance in the youth. We also discuss how where we exercise can influence the benefits that exercise has on cognition and the role of technology in the promotion of physical activity. You can follow Dr. Hillman's research on twitter at @CBHLab.
35:38
May 26, 2021
Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health in children and adolescents with Dr. Mark Tremblay
In this episode, we talk with Dr. Mark Tremblay. Dr. Tremblay is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Ottawa, in Canada. He has devoted most of his career to study how physical activity affects different aspects of health in children, childhood obesity and the factors that can increase or reduce PA in this population. In this episode we cover many topics. We first talk about the trends of PA, overweight and obesity in children. We discuss the difference between lack of physical activity and sedentary behaviour and the price that we can pay for the latter. We also discuss the association between screen time and PA, the use of active-video games to promote PA, the importance of exercising in natural environments and what can we do to ensure that our children exercise enough. The conversation is truly fascinating. You can follow Dr. Tremblay's research at https://www.haloresearch.ca/dr-mark-tremblay/.
51:01
May 12, 2021
Exercise after pregnancy with Dr. Michelle Mottola
In this episode I speak with Dr. Michelle Mottola, Professor in the School of Kinesiology at University of Western Ontario, in Canada. Dr. Mottola has spent most of her research career studying exercise prescription in pregnant and post-partum women. This is the second time that Michelle comes to the podcast. In the first episode we discussed exercise prescription during pregnancy and in this episode we talk about exercise after giving birth. We tackle many interesting questions such as for example why women tend to decrease their PA levels after giving birth and what the benefits of exercise during the post-partum period are. We also learn that exercising with their infants could be a simple strategy for women to increase their levels of PA after pregnancy. You can follow Michelle's research at https://www.uwo.ca/fhs/EPL/.
37:14
April 28, 2021
Exercise to improve sleep with Dr. Shawn Youngstedt
In this episode, I spoke with Dr. Shawn Youngstedt. Dr. Youngstedt is a Professor in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University.  We talk about the interaction between, exercise and sleep, seemingly two very different human activities. We first talk about the evidence supporting the role that exercise can have on sleep quality and sleep architecture. We also discuss which type of exercise is the best to improve sleep and how aspects such as the timing of exercise in relation to when we go to sleep can influence the effects. We also discuss how exercise can restart our circadian clock and about the disruptive effects of sleep restriction on exercise and the effects of sleep deprivation on brain plasticity and cognition. I was really looking forward to speaking with him about the fascinating interactions between sleep, exercise and cognition. You can follow Dr. Youngstedt research at https://nursingandhealth.asu.edu/content/shawn-youngstedt
43:21
April 14, 2021
Exercise after stroke with Dr. Ada Tang
In this episode I spoke with Dr. Ada Tang. Dr Tang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at McMaster University. Her research focuses on cardiovascular health in people with stroke. Before discussing exercise prescription after stroke we discuss the evidence the effect of exercise on stroke prevention. Can exercise prevent strokes? We also discuss the different types of training that we can use in these patients and what are the expected benefits. We also discuss how early we can start training after we had stroke, the barriers and facilitators of exercise in this group of patients and many more interesting things. For those not familiar with the jargon, please note that CPET is an abbreviation for cardiorespiratory exercise testing. You can follow Dr. Tang's superb research on twitter at @MacstrokeCan.
42:36
March 31, 2021
Exercise during pregnancy with Dr. Michelle Mottola
In this episode, I talked with Dr. Michelle Mottola, Professor in the School of Kinesiology at University of Western Ontario, Canada. Dr. Mottola has spent most of her research career studying exercise prescription in pregnant and post-partum women. Her research investigates the effects of maternal exercise on both the mother and the developing fetus. In this episode we talk precisely about exercise prescription in women during pregnancy. We discuss the benefits of exercise for both the mother and the child, precautions and contraindications and how exercise during pregnancy may affect the future cognitive and physical health of the offspring. The conversation was so interesting that we decided to have another episode in the near future to discuss exercise after giving birth (post-partum). You can follow her research at https://www.uwo.ca/fhs/EPL/
43:23
March 03, 2021
Exercise for people undergoing solid organ transplantation with Dr. Tania Janaudis-Ferreira
In this episode I talked with Dr. Tania Janaudis-Ferreira. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill. Her specific research interests include assessing disability in individuals with chronic lung disease and solid organ transplant candidates. She also examines the effects of different rehabilitation interventions for these patients. In this episode we talk about exercise prescription in people with solid organ transplantation. This is a new, important and exciting area of research. I learned a lot of things in this episode. You can follow Dr. Janaudis-Ferreira on twitter @JanaudisFerr or know more about her research at https://canrestore.wordpress.com.
38:16
February 17, 2021
Exercise for people living with Multiple Sclerosis with Dr. Michelle Ploughman
In this episode, I have a fascinating conversation with Dr. Michelle Ploughman. Michelle is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University. She is an expert in studying the effects of exercise on brain plasticity and her research focuses on the effects of exercise, rehabilitation and lifestyle habits on the brain challenged by injury, disease and aging. We talk about exercise prescription in multiple sclerosis (MS). We start discussing what we know about the risk factors of MS, and the gaps in knowledge in the prescription of exercise for these patients. We then talk about the importance of controlling body temperature during exercise and how essential it is to adapt training in periods where the symptoms of the disease are exacerbated. I found this episode extremely informative and educational. You can see what Michelle is working on on twitter @michploughman. 
43:28
February 03, 2021
Exercise to prevent cancer and to manage its symptoms with Dr. Kristin Campbell
In this episode I spoke with Dr. Kristin Campbell, who is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of British Columbia. Her research focuses on exercise prescription for individuals with cancer. We start discussing the evidence behind the use of different types of exercise to reduce the risk of some types of cancer. We also talk about the mechanisms that make exercise an affordable yet powerful tool to protect us from this disease. We also discuss aspects that both patients and clinicians should take into account in relation to exercise and exercise prescription at different stages of the disease. We also talk about strategies to adapt to the often variable physical and psychological status of the person with cancer. Fascinating conversation with one of the best scientist in this field. Dr. Campbell can be reached by email at Kristin.campbell@ubc.ca, twitter @KLCampbellPhD and @CEPL_UBC, or her lab website (https://cepl.rehab.med.ubc.ca).
41:56
January 20, 2021
Exercise for people with chronic pulmonary disease with Dr. Sunita Mathur
In this episode I had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Sunita Mathur, who is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Toronto. Her research focuses on improving skeletal muscle function and structure in people suffering from muscle atrophy and weakness. In this episode we talk about exercise prescription in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). We start learning about the risk factors of this respiratory disease and its most common symptoms. We then discuss exercise prescription and the importance of monitoring closely shortness of breath in these patients. We also talk about why is so crucial to train the peripheral muscles in these patients and the techniques she uses in her research to study how exercise changes muscle structure and function. Her knowledge in this area of exercise prescription is remarkable. You can find out more about her research in twitter: @SunitaMathur1 or https://canrestore.wordpress.com.
35:45
January 06, 2021
Exercise to maintain brain and cognitive health in the later stages of life with Dr. Teresa-Liu Ambrose
In this episode I had the pleasure to speak with Teresa Liu-Ambrose. Dr. Liu-Ambrose is a Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at UBC. Her research focuses on studying the effects of different types of exercise on cognition in older populations and people with chronic conditions. We start discussing the evidence behind the use of exercise to slow down age-related cognitive decline. We also talk about the effects of different types of exercise on brain and cognitive health. We also discuss genetics, biological sex and other factors that can potentially affect the cognitive response to exercise in the elderly. I find her research and her knowledge in this interdisciplinary area of cognitive neuroscience really fascinating. You can follow her research at https://cogmob.rehab.med.ubc.ca.   
49:29
December 16, 2020
Pedalling to fight Parkinson's Disease with Dr. Jay Alberts
In this first episode of the podcast, I had the pleasure to interview Dr. Jay Alberts. Dr Alberts is an Associate Staff Member within the Center for Neurological Restoration and Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. His research aims to understand how the brain controls movement and to study movement patterns produced by different patient groups. Dr Alberts has pioneered the study of assisted and voluntary cycling on motor function in people with Parkinson's Disease. In this episode of the podcast, we talk precisely about exercise prescription in these patients. We start talking about the effects of exercise on the brain on people with Parkinson's disease. We also discuss the concept of forced cycling as a training strategy for these patients and how their medication can affect their responses to exercise. For those of you not familiar with Parkinson's, DBS stands for deep brain stimulation and Levodopa is the most common medication taken by people with Parkinson's disease. 
36:48
November 29, 2020