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13 January 2011 | PR 11/03

Innovative training support programme attracts world’s leading athletes


Dr Vern Neville with Team GB High Jumper and Loughborough University Sports Scholar, Stephanie Pywell.

Innovative software based on the expertise of a Loughborough University Sports Scientist that tells athletes if they are training too hard or not hard enough is receiving excellent reviews from many of the world’s leading athletes.  To date 38 world championships have been won by athletes using or endorsing the web-based tool founded on Dr Vern Neville’s research into the science of recovery.

Vern is a professional America's Cup sailor and Sports Scientist and has been involved in elite sport for over 15 years. Having spent several years studying the physiological markers of stress and fatigue, he has partnered a team of scientists, coaches and IT experts to develop Restwise to help athletes reach and maintain peak fitness. 

“Recovery isn’t just important, it’s a biological necessity,” says Vern, who advises clients in Formula 1, America's Cup sailing, professional rugby, soccer, and Olympic sports.  “Too little recovery and you slowly grind yourself down, risking both impaired performance and immune function.  Too much recovery and you don’t introduce enough stress to trigger physiological adaptation.  You never get fitter, stronger and faster.”

He continues:  “Without a way to consistently and easily monitor recovery, even the most thoughtful training plan can result in an athlete over-reaching or in extreme cases over-training.  The closer you are to your peak fitness, the more fragile you may be.  Like thoroughbred racing horses, a race-ready athlete is only a few hard training sessions away from catastrophe.”

Restwise is a coherent, intuitive way for athletes to evaluate the relationship between exercise and recovery.  The athlete inputs an online daily log consisting of 11 markers, signs or symptoms of fatigue or stress, including their resting heart rate, weight, sleep, energy levels, mood, hydration, appetite, illness, muscle soreness and training performance.  Vern’s research at Loughborough University has helped determine the relative importance of these variables whilst a patent pending algorithm combines the data to generate a daily recovery score (percentage) that tells an athlete how prepared their body is for hard training.

Since launching earlier this year, Restwise has won the respect of a growing number of world class athletes including six times Ironman triathlon World Champion Dave Scott and five times Mountain Bike World Champion Rebecca Rusch.  It is also being used by number of international rugby teams and professional soccer, hockey and ice hockey.

Professor Myra Nimmo, Head of Loughborough University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences where Vern undertook his PhD comments:  “This is an excellent example of enterprise.  It illustrates how our world leading scientific research can be translated to deliver real impact in optimising sport performance.”


For all media enquiries contact:

Anna Seddon
Marketing Manager (Enterprise)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223445
E: A..J.Seddon@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

1. High resolution photos are available from Anna Seddon.

2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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