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Huberman Lab

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May 10, 2021

This episode I explain the science of heating and cooling the body, a process called thermoregulation-- and how to apply that knowledge to significantly improve physical performance. I describe the three areas of our body that can remove heat (or bring heat into the body) faster than anywhere else, why that is so, and how proper cooling of these areas with specific protocols can allow people to perform 200-600% more volume and repetitions of resistance exercises at the same weight loads, or to run, cycle or swim significantly further. I also describe how to use directed cooling of so-called glabrous skin: the bottoms of feet, palms and face, to significantly enhance recovery times from exercise. Also, why the common practices of trying to heat up or cool the body via the torso or whole-body submersion in cold can be inefficient and/or dangerous-- and the better alternatives. Finally, I discuss the temperature-effects of caffeine, alcohol and anti-inflammatory compounds. The information in this episode is focused on mechanisms and tools for increasing athletic or exercise performance.


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  • 00:00:00 Introduction
  • 00:05:08 Physical Performance & Skill Learning
  • 00:06:40 Optimal Learning Protocol (Recap): 4 Steps
  • 00:08:31 Variables Impacting Physical Performance
  • 00:10:00 Temperature Is the Dominant Variable
  • 00:12:08 Understanding Mechanism Is Key
  • 00:13:42 Heat: The Enemy of All Performance (& Why)
  • 00:16:30 Blood Flow & Sweating & Piloerection
  • 00:22:35 Heat Is What Limits Effort: Even If You Feel Fine/Motivated
  • 00:25:29 Proper Cooling Can Double, Triple, Quadruple (Or More) Your Ability
  • 00:26:42 Heat Induced Confusion & Death
  • 00:30:02 The Three Body Parts Best For Heating & Cooling Your Whole Body
  • 00:31:38 Face, Palms, Bottoms of Feet; Glabrous Skin
  • 00:33:00 Arterio-Venous Anastamoses (AVAs) Are Super Cool(ing)!
  • 00:37:15 Palmar Cooling Can Supercharge Your Athletic Performance
  • 00:38:35 ATP, Pyruvate Kinase & Heat
  • 00:40:55 Palmer Cooling Outperforms Anabolic Steroids Several-Fold
  • 00:43:45 Increasing Endurance, Willpower & Persistence
  • 00:46:33 Cardiac Drift, & Moving the ”I Quit” Point
  • 00:50:44 Deliberate Heating: Myths and Better Protocols
  • 00:53:20 Protocols For Self-Directed Cooling To Vastly Improve Performance
  • 00:59:23 How To Use Cold To Recover Faster & More Thoroughly
  • 01:02:05 Ice Baths & Cold Showers Can Prevent Training Progress: mTOR, etc.
  • 01:06:29 Alcohol, Caffeine, NSAIDs: Their Temperature Effects Matter
  • 01:09:44 Are Stimulants Counter Productive For Performance? It Depends.
  • 01:12:00 The Caffeine Rule & “Caffeine Adaptation”
  • 01:14:20 NSAIDs for Training: Performance Enhancements & Risks
  • 01:17:00 The Best Way to Explore Your Own “Parameter Space”
  • 01:18:35 Tools: How To Try
  • 01:21:35 Cost-Free Support, & Additional Support & Resources


Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman's teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac -