The following interview was conducted with Kamil Celoch: High Performance Coach.
In an article you wrote on central fatigue you asserted “Central fatigue, when defined as a decrease in the CNS motor cortex ability to activate muscle to the required level, might not be as much of an issue as we previously thought.” Can you briefly expand on this statement?
Ahh, the much dreaded central fatigue, the bogeyman of performance, the ultimate athlete’s kryptonite… Sorry, I missed the ‘briefly’ part, so brace yourself!
More to the point: It has been postulated that central fatigue, true to its name, arises at the level of the Central Nervous system, proximal to the neuromuscular junction (which is, roughly speaking, where nerve signals get converted into actual muscular contraction). This type of fatigue is characterized by reduction in our ability to voluntarily activate a muscle to required degree. Classically, it is thought to occur when excitation supplied by the motor cortex and/or motoneuron activity decreases.
However, the literature is rather clear that during fatiguing tasks, 80-90 % the observed changes are attributable to peripheral factors (mediated by muscle damage, inflammatory cytokines and afferent feedback), with little loss in terms of voluntary drive (5-10%).
Surprisingly, intensity doesn’t seem to be a good proxy for reduction in central neural output. Barnes et. al (2017) have shown that in a group of trained powerlifters, heavy-duty training (8 sets of 2 reps at 95% 1RM, deadlift and squat with 5 minute rest intervals) only resulted in a marginal reduction in central neural output (5-10%).
Then of course one can argue that it is not obvious whether reduction of our ability to voluntarily activate muscle drive is the best indicator of central fatigue. Corticospinal excitability measures motor evoked potential- the signal sent by the motor cortex to the exercised muscle.
It’s hard to delineate just how much of this signalling is affected by peripheral muscular fatigue.
There was some interesting research coming out of New Zealand which suggested that the oculomotor system was a good fit for measuring central fatigue. This is because the eye muscles are very robust, which greatly reduces any potential interference from the periphery.
We also know that central fatigue is accompanied by perturbation in synthesis of certain neurotransmitters, most notably dopamine and its metabolites (termed collectively as catecholamines). Fatigue-induced impairments in the control of eye movements caused by neural fatigue within the oculomotor system can be prevented by upregulation of central catecholamines.
Did I say I missed the ‘briefly’ part?
Tell readers about the course- How to get the most out of your Enchanted Experience- offered on your site.
Enchanted Wave is an EEG-based, brainwave sensing headband. Its primary use is to monitor sleep, but due its non-invasiveness it can be used in any other setting that requires the monitoring of brain activity (for example, e-gaming research etc.). The course offers a step-by-step guide to first time users who wish to maximize their experience and explore every nook and cranny the technology has to offer.
Prior to my involvement with the company, I was a self-declared wearable minimalist and rather conservative with my use of the latest technology. However, I have been on a lookout for a reliable way of tracking sleep for myself and my clients as I was aware of the shortcomings of wrist-based devices. We have just submitted a manuscript, which uses a machine learning protocol to investigate how our sleep staging algorithm fares against the gold standard of sleep medicine, polysomnography- the results are very encouraging!
Do you have a recommended list of readings for those interesting in basic exercise and nutrition?
Exercise: I like ‘Supertraining’ by Verkoshansky
(the in-the-trenches kind): every article published on T-nation.com between 1998 and 2012 – Nutrition: I rarely read anything other than research papers these days, with JISSN and Nutrients being my two go-to’s!
Who can benefit from using KC-Performance (Consulting Services)?
Anyone who puts a premium on their cognitive and physical performance. ‘Sharp Mind and Strong Body’ link consulting services tend to attract clientele as diverse as athletes, CEOs, lawyers, managers and EU officials. The overarching commonality is the pursuit of excellence and willingness to go that extra mile. I found that by addressing the ‘big rocks’, i.e. training, nutrition, sleep and recovery most of my clients regain a sense of agency over their performance rather quickly, at which point they are good candidates for more sophisticated ‘fine tuning’. In order to ensure top quality, I only work with a relatively small number of clients/institutions. A bulk of my work is done remotely these days. Subject to free time and eligibility, I also offer free consultations as my way to give back to the community. If you are injured or out of contract athlete, a student enrolled in a university program or come from disadvantaged background, you can contact me here
Whilst I have done a decent job at not shouting about it from the rooftops so far, I also offer digital media services aimed at disseminating research and evidence-based information.
You have been involved in the launch of the Society for NeuroSports and one the first people to pass their official sports neuroscience certification- do you have any prep recommendations?
We have an official CSNS study guide available here think this is a great starting point to assess how much studying you might require to pass. The certification covers a nice variety of topics ranging from exercise science to neuroscience, and everything in between!
Successful candidates will have shown demonstrable knowledge of neurobiological processes involved in athletic performance, neurophysiology of skeletal muscle development and movement and effects of mental imagery and cognitive training on sports performance.
As such, it’s a perfect fit for anyone who is serious about understanding the bidirectional relationship between sports performance and the brain. Our certification attracts practitioners, including coaches, and academics alike- I was actually surprised by how real-world oriented most of the questions were (that is to not to say easy, though!)
Describe a typical day in the life of Kamil Celoch.
Easy- a meticulously planned, free-flowing regimen with elements of entropy that reach statistical significance. Joking aside, I think this is a rather atypical time in most people’s lives, but here’s a list of my daily non-negotiables: 3-4 work blocks (no longer than 3 hours in duration each)
CPD (1 hour minimum): podcasts, books, courses, study review etc,
Training (typically strength training 4-6 times per week, 1 HIIT session per week)
Walk or bike 30+ minutes
Fast 2-3 times per week (just a convenient way of staying in a calorie deficit that happens to free up a lot of free time)
I do my best to follow what I’d call the NeuroSports prescription (inspired by Dr Jaime Tartar)- you can find more here
I try to mediate and work on mindfulness at least several times per week. Also, I have developed a bit of a taste for a certain type of dreaming we’ve been prototyping at Enchanted Wave, but as I am right at the end of my last daily work block, I’m afraid I will need to leave you with a cliffhanger!
Kamil Celoch, MS MA CSNS CISSN CPPS
Kamil Celoch is the founder of KC-performance: Sharp Mind & Strong Body Solutions. Based in the heart of Europe (Brussels, Belgium), Kamil is sought-after by high-performing individuals for his unique ability to optimize mental and physical performance using evidence-based nutrition, training and lifestyle interventions. Kamil serves as a peer-reviewer of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. In 2019, he was appointed the brand ambassador for the Society for NeuroSports. You can find his bio here