Final Post

 The Human Performance and Health Research Lab is moving.original-logos_2014_Jun_3130-1235161

It is with mixed feelings that I announce this will be the last post for the Human Performance Lab at UPEI.  I have truly enjoyed my time in Charlottetown, and will always look fondly on the years my family and I have spent here. My time at UPEI has been nothing short of fantastic, and I am very upei_shield_logo_rust textproud of helping to build the new Kinesiology program and graduating the very first class. Above all, the students, community members, staff, and faculty I have had the pleasure of interacting with have made this a wonderful and memorable experience. Thank you.

The Human Performance and Health Research Lab will continue to have strong relations with UPEI, and the great team of researchers in AHS, following our relocation to the University of Guelph. Ub9h5BTaA new website is being developed (click HERE), and you are welcomed to continue to follow along with us there. Our focus at the HPL in Guelph will remain similar, with an added emphasis on human running performance as we partner with Canada’s elite long distance track and field athletes, their coaches, and the integrated support team. Full contact information is available at the new site or you can follow @Dr_Burr on twitter.

Josh defends his MSc

Congratulations to Joshua Slysz who successfully defended his Master’s work today in the graduate program of Human Biology at UPEI. Josh’s thesis examined blood flow restriction and the role that reducing blood flow to/from a limb plays in amplifying light intensity muscular work for causing alterations in strength and hypertrophy. Specifically, Josh has been working on an exciting new model combining blood flow restriction and electrical muscle stimulation, which shows great promise for applications in both health and disease. IMG_3105

We are all very proud of Josh and the his accomplishments achieved through dedication, perseverance and hard work. Congratulations!

Josh will be continuing his work in academia, having recently accepted a PhD training opportunity at the University of Guelph, in Ontario.

Well done, Josh!

The Pan Am games begin!

What an exciting month! The Pan American games have just started, the Tour de France is underway, the Stampede is on in Calgary, Wimbledon is nearing its finale, and the weather is finally nice enough to get out and be active (now that the snow is finally gone from PEI). This year, I’ll be watching the Pan Am games with an extra bit of excitement, as many of Canada’s best track athletes test themselves in an important international meet as the Olympics (Rio 2016) draw closer. I am honoured to be part of the team that supports these athletes, and as a new chapter in my family’s life (and my career) begins, I look forward to the challenges that come.

In my upcoming role (more on this to come in a future post), I’ll be working alongside some of Canada’s best and most respected physiologists, sport medicine doctors, strength and conditioning specialists, PT/Chiro/RMT, coaches and athletes. It will truly be a humbling experience, but also represents the most exciting part of applied exercise physiology, where sports and science intersect.  Here is a brief insight into the role of the people who support the athletes, and what’s in store.


Why the Exercise Prof Runs

Recently I Canadian Runningwas contacted by Canadian Running Magazine who was looking to do a story about people who “run commute”. Although running to the office certainly isn’t my only way of active transport (I often bike and occasionally XC ski when the snow is really deep), it got me thinking about the question of “why do I actively commute instead of just driving like everyone else”. I suppose the answer I finally arrived at was this: it’s complicated. There is certainly not just one reason, but a number of small and important ones. Perhaps surprisingly, the health and fitness benefits don’t necessarily top the list either.

The article Stories from the run commute: Running in Prince Edward Island can be found here.  Charlottetown

10 Things you might not know about your Professor

Recently I stumbled across the following post, which I really enjoyed, and I think contains some points worth passing on to new and returning students. I distinctly remember as an undergraduate student wondering what exactly it was that my professor did all day, and now being on the other side of the fence I think this could certainly help students get the most out of their classes and degree studies.

This article was written by Dr. Vikki Burns (@drvikkiburns) who is a Senior Lecturer (professor) of exercise and immunology in the UK. You can find the original post here

The ten things you probably don’t know.

  1. When we were students, we weren’t perfect either. I think most students believe that we must have been super-keen beans when we were students, and think that they couldn’t possibly measure up to that. Now I was a good student, but I remember at least a semester where I didn’t go to lectures if it rained. We weren’t perfect, and we don’t expect you to be perfect either. However, we do have the benefit of hindsight, and lots of experience of seeing other students succeed and fail, so when we make suggestions, we’re only trying to help.
  2. We’re often completely overwhelmed with our own workload. Working in universities is now a pretty huge job. We teach, we research, we write, we administrate, we support research students, we secure money, we manage staff, we engage with the public, we communicate with stakeholders, and sometimes, occasionally, we breathe. That doesn’t mean we don’t have time for you. You are an important part of our job. It does mean though that you’re not the only part of our job, and occasionally we will forget to reply to your email or we’ll be a little late to our meeting. You can really help us by making it easy for us to help you: give us some notice if you want feedback; update us on where we got to last time we spoke; attach any relevant information to your email so we don’t have to look it up; come prepared to our meetings so they are nice and efficient; and remind us (politely) if it’s been several days and you haven’t heard from us.   We don’t mean to be inaccessible. On the bright side, learning to manage us will be good practice for managing busy bosses in the future.
  3. Sometimes we’re bored too. There are always modules that students don’t like. We get the feedback, we know you hate it, and the honest truth is that sometimes it’s not the highlight of our life either. We really do our best to make it interesting, but sometimes it’s just not possible. But you know what? You really do need to know it. You may think it’s irrelevant, but it’s there for a reason, and usually when you get towards your more senior years, you’ll start to understand why we spent time on it. In the meantime, suck it up and do the work. We do.
  4. You’re not as subtle as you think you are. There may be 200 of you in a lecture theatre and only one of me. But I can see you texting, and I can hear you chatting, and I always notice when you fall asleep. There may be safety in numbers, but we’re not daft. Try and focus in!
  5. Sometimes we’ve forgotten what it’s like to not understand this stuff. If you find it difficult to understand your lecturer sometimes, it can feel like they’re not trying to be clear. Sometimes it just that they have assumed that you’ve done the preparatory work, and if you haven’t, it’ll be a struggle to keep up. But other times, if you’ve done all the prep, and you still can’t follow what’s said, we’re genuinely not doing it on purpose. We like nothing better than when students “get” what we’re saying. But when you’ve been doing something for years and years and years, it can be hard to put yourself in the position of people who have never come across it before. So ask the questions. If you don’t get it, read more, ask more, and keep at us until you do get it. We’re trying, I promise.
  6. Ask the stupid questions now. Following on from the point above, I LOVE to get stupid questions during term time. I might be surprised that you don’t understand, but I would always rather know now, than find out when I mark your paper that you’ve misunderstood something fundamental. We hate that sinking feeling when you read an answer that shows that the student really just didn’t get it. If you ask now, we can work it through, and the rest of the course will make so much more sense.
  7. If we tell you that there’s no “right answer”, then we’re not lying to you. Students get so used to there being an explicit mark scheme full of the exact points that you need to say to get good marks, that it can be really hard to adjust to university assessment. There are genuinely many ways you can answer an essay question or solve a problem; we’re not trying to trick you, and there’s not a magic solution in our head that we’re hoping you’ll guess. On the flip-side, there’s probably a relatively limited range of approaches that are likely to work, and so if you discuss your ideas with us and we give a “hmmmm….well I guess you possibly could do it like that… but why don’t you consider….” type answer, then you’ve either got to take the hint, or make your work absolutely outstanding and prove us wrong.
  8. We have a life outside the office. Now, going back to point 2, it’s often a life that only gets a little bit of our time and attention compared to our work life, but that means we guard it preciously. If your assignment is due on Monday, please don’t send us work for comments on Friday afternoon. Hopefully we’ll be doing something with our friends and family over the weekend. At worst, we’ll be working on something that we have wanted to finish for months, like our latest manuscript or grant proposal. Please don’t put us in the position of having to say no/ignore you/work all night to finish everything. A little bit of planning on your part, and we should all get what we need.
  9. Our life outside the office may occasionally overlap with yours. It’s possible you’ll bump into us at the gym, or in the park with our kids, or even in a bar, restaurant or nightclub with our friends. Trust me, you have two options here to avoid awkwardness. Option 1 (the brutal option). Pretend you haven’t seen me. You get on with your life, I’ll get on with mine, happy days.   Bit antisocial, but probably the best option if we teach you in a very large class and may not be sure who you are anyway. Option 2 (the polite option). Come say hi, how are you, nice to see you. Then leave. Easy. Unacceptable options, all of which I have experienced are: pointing and laughing because your “teacher” is out at a bar; sitting down and having long conversations about work; asking for an extension to your essay. Let’s have those conversations in the office. (PS moderately acceptable option – be so drunk that you call your friend from another university who has “read all your papers and will be so impressed I know you” and force me to talk to them. True story.)
  10. We love hear from you after you’ve left the university. You may think that we may not remember you or we’ll not be that fussed. But even the hardest hearted lecturer loves to hear what our alumni are up to. It’s especially nice to get an email from an old student, who is looking fondly back on their experiences at uni, and bothers to get in touch to tell us. We love to know what you end up doing, we love to know how you’re using your skills, and most of all, we love knowing that we made a difference in any small way.

Burger Loss

Last month in PEI we “celebrated” what has become an annual ritual known as Burger Love.  If you are not familiar with the concept, it is an event sponsored by various government industries and burgerlovethe PEI beef farmers to promote local meat consumption. Restaurants across the island prepare extravagant burgers, and after eating them (at $15/piece) the patrons rank them online so that a winner is crowned at the end of the month. Let me say upfront, that I don’t think this is a bad promotion overall – and for full disclosure I will admit that I tried a burger or two myself (usually shared with my wife) and they were quite tasty.

Like anything, however, Burger Love may best be enjoyed in moderation. Whether or not moderation was practiced is up for debate, but given that 145,527 burgers (65,068 lb of beef) were sold, at a rate of almost 5,000/day in a province of only 150,000 people, I find it hard to make that case. Compounding this effect, the Guinness record attempt for 24hr burger consumption saw 9,000 burgers consumed in this time. I’m not certain that this is something we ought to be particularly proud of – but my opinion may differ from the large majority.

As a health/performance physiologist, what jumped out at me was the size and relative caloric density of these burgers, many of which contain multiple meat paddies, and sugar/fat based glazes, sauces and toppings. Using the Dieticians of Canada “eaTracker” software (link) I calculated an average Burger Love meal to fall anywhere between 1500  to 2500 kcal ranging from the somewhat modest to more lavish creations. No big deal though- you can just exercise a little more than normal and burn it off….right?


Through the month of burger lovin, it occurred to me that the caloric math was probably not at the forefront of many diners’ minds nor did it play PhysicalExerciseprominently in the decision process of where or what to eat. So, for the sake of illumination, I thought it helpful to show just how much of an impact a single burger love could have on caloric balance, and how long you would need to exercise to get back to a zero-gain. For the following calculations I have made a few assumptions to represent the “average” person, which errs on the side of conservatism. Our fictitious person is a 30yr old male, of near average height (5’11”) and weight (170lb).

At a modest pace of 3mph, it would take approximately 420min (7hrs) of continuous walking. But perhaps that’s a silly comparison, because many fit 30-somethings would have no problem “upping” the intensity. If our burger-lover were to jog at a moderate pace it would only take him 280 min (>4.5hr) or if he ran at 7mph, he could cut the time of burger loss to a mere 160 min (2.7hr).  Obviously, running is not for everyone, perhaps a leisurely 3hr cycle (at 23-26km/h) is more your style. Prefer to swim? No problem, at a moderate pace you could burn off half of a burger in a mere 160 min (2.6hr).

So, does this mean you shouldn’t ever eat a hamburger? Of course not, you’ve got enjoy life and good food can certainly contribute to mental (and even physical) well-being. But understanding the idea of caloric balance (even if it’s as simple as calories in vs. calories out) might be an important consideration. But on the bright side, you’ve got a whole 11 months to burn it off before next year. Unfortunately, we might need it.

_new_Tw_gallery_img Interested in figuring out more about the energy costs of certain physical activities? Check out the American College of Sports Medicine “Compendium of Physical Activities” which can be found here in hard copy, or here as an online tool.

cbcUPDATE: It appears this post has grabbed some media attention (and maybe spurred some debate). To hear the CBC interview click here

Congratulations to the Human Performance Lab Summer Students

Great Job Brittany and Aaron!IMG_20140604_085122_edit

Brittany MacEwen (4th year Kinesiology Student) and Aaron Rainnie (2nd year Nursing student, and adopted Kin research assistant) have both been successful in competing for summer student research funding. Brittany has been awarded a SURA (Science Undergraduate Research Award) and Aaron has been awarded a CIHR Summer Studentship Award through the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis.  Both Brittany and Aaron are IMG_20141001_131200past recipients of CIHR Health Professional Student Research Award and have worked in the Human Performance Lab over the summer.

We are yet again looking forward to great things. Congrats on your continued success.


cihr-logoupei_shield_logo_rust text

UPEI to be Well Represented at APES

APESThis coming weekend UPEI Kinesiology graduate and undergraduate students will be traveling to St. Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish NS, to present their research. This year we will have a contingent of 10 excellent student presentations- an exciting accomplishment as we have watched the UPEI presence at the Atlantic Exercise Sciences Conference steadily grow over the last three years.

From the Human Performance Lab, graduate student Josh Slysz will be presenting his work on the “Recovery Effect of Ischemia and Reperfusion on Exercise Performance after Induced Muscle Soreness.” We will also have 2 undergraduate thesis presentations and an undergraduate independent research project from Brittany MacEwen, Jenny Beck and Aaron Rainnie, respectively. Their topics will be: Brittany- “The Efficacy of Standing-Desk Use for Altering Cardiometabolic Risk“,  Jenny-Effects of Habitual High Intensity Cross-Training on Measures of Resting Arterial Stiffness” and Aaron –The Effects of External Pneumatic Compression and Combined Muscle Stimulation on Thoracic Blood Volume and Cardiac Function

We are very excited for our students, and the other exercise science students from Atlantic Canada, to present. Should be a great weekend!


Interpreting and Understanding Research- common mistakes

It goes without saying the reading and understanding research is an important part of working in sports science. However, its not always as straight forward as looking at the data or reading what the authors conclude to be true. Here is a great article, from the folks at “Science 2.0”, looking at some of the common pitfalls in reading, understanding, and critically appraising research. A great reminder for graduate students and seasoned professionals alike!10_mistakes_we_all_make_when_interpreting_research Click the picture below (or HERE) to access the original content.

Curcumin Study- CBC news

Back in the news again! We were thrilled that interest remains high in the work we are doing in the Human Performance Lab, as CBC news was in once again to discuss our work. In the article (click HERE to access), my graduate student and lead researcher on this project, Matthew Boulter,  discusses his current work looking at ingesting certain compounds (Curcumin based) to affect muscular and vascular function. The results could have interesting implications for athletes looking to push themselves that extra little bit harder, with potential insight into the way the human body responds and adapts to the stresses of training.


A participant (J.Slysz) Runs downhill while lead researcher (M. Boulter) monitors his exertion. Photo: CBC news

Interested in getting involved?

Please check out our research ad and contact our team!

Curcumin Advertisement Research ad- Curcumin

Standing Desks

In the news again! Fourth year student, Brittany MacEwen is undertaking an interesting and important study for her fourth year honours project that involves replacing people’s traditional seated work stations with height adjustable sit-stand desks.  This work builds on Brittany’s recently published systematic review (in the scientific journal Preventive Medicine- click here to access), which examined the evidence for alterations in physiological health (and workplace productivity) resulting from the use of standing and walking workstations.

See the CcbcBC print news story here

For her current project, Brittany will be assigning standing deskparticipants to either a control group of normal seated desk work, or the experimental group who will have their desk swapped out for a sit-stand desk. We will be tracking peoples movement patterns (calories burned, sit vs stand time, intensity of movement), body composition changes, and a number of cardiovascular (heart disease) and metabolic (diabetes) risk factors. To see the recruitment poster, click HERE.

Want to get involved? Email the lab at



The Lemon Challenge

LemonMost people are likely aware of the ALS ice bucket challenge – a movement which swept the globe and saw people dumping buckets of ice water on their head (and challenging others to do the same) in an effort to raise money and awareness for ALS research. Riding on the success of this campaign, a new challenge has surfaced in an effort to raise awareness for diabetes- and the simple lifestyle related changes we can all make to reduce our risk or work toward better glucose control. The “Lemon Challenge – to bite and fight diabetes” sees participants eat a lemon while undertaking a feat of strength or other physical activity.  I decided to take on a physical activity that doesn’t require a trip to the gym and is easily incorporated into everyday life- in fact, my physical activity challenge (while eating a lemon) was specifically done during the commercial break of Monday Night Football. Spread the word and post your own videos…what are you going to do to take a bite out of diabetes?

Exam time and exercise

The good news is that the semester is winding to an end and the winter holidays are almost here. The bad news is that you have to get through exams first. Hopefully you have stayed on top of the material and all you need to do for the exam is review. Whether you did or not, the exam period tends to be a stressful time- and one of the best things you can do to relieve stress and keep a happy and healthy outlook is to exercise!  In fact, did you know that exercise might even help you perform better on your exams?  Check out the graphic below of a functional MRI scan of the brain before and after exercise.

Brain scan

Sometimes it feels hard to justify a study break to go run around for a while, but remember, it just might help you!

Best of luck to everyone and have a great break. See you in January.


Female SteroidsPerformance enhancing drug use is an issue in Canada….not just amongst regulated athletes, but also sub-elite athletes and (typically young) recreational exercisers looking to improve strength and aesthetics.  The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sports (who is responsible for “dope testing” in Canada) has released the following media campaign, which cuts to the point in an effort to increase awareness of the negative consequences of unregulated use. There is no doubt that steroids are physiologically effective, and they serve an important role in clinical/therapeutic care; but is the short-cut a worthwhile risk and a sustainable part of life for the “recreational” user?  Perhaps this novel campaign will help some potential users address these challenging questions. For more information on steroids and clean sport participation visit the CCES website (here). male steroids


Up-coming Webinar on the Role of Physical Activity and Exercise in Pre-Diabetes


Next week (Monday Nov. 17th, 7-9:30EST) Dr. Burr will be leading a webinar on the role of exercise in diabetes care. This particular session will focus on risk classification, diabetes prevention and exercise for persons with pre-diabetes. The content is geared toward exercise professionals working in clinical care, as well as diabetes care providers who are interested in understanding more about the physiological benefits of exercise and how to safely and effectively prescribe & monitor programs.  This session is one of a four part series organized by Dr. Jonathon Fowles through the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and the Canadian Diabetes Association. Other sessions in the series will focus  specifically on Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and are being led by Dr. Jonathan McGavock (University of Manitoba) and  Dr. Jonathon Fowles (Acadia), respectively.

Details about how to register for the live webinar (or how to purchase access to the recorded version) are here. 10 PDC credits are being offered for CSEP members.CDA_Logo_Colour_08csep


CSEP 2014 Posters

pic2pic3picLooking for some more information about our research we presented at CSEP 2014 in Newfoundland (or do you actually want to be able to read the posters)?  Click on the links below for a copy of the posters and full references (all as online PDF).

CSEP poster PWV SYS REV online CSEP poster RECOVERY CSEP Poster SYS REV(refernences-PDF) CSEP Poster SYS REV

Upcoming Research Presentations

Next week, members of the Human Performance and Health Research Laboratory will be traveling to St John’s NL for the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.   Matthew Boulter and Josh Slysz will both be presenting the results of meta-analyses they have conducted (on exercise & pulse wave velocity, and the efficacy of blood flow restrictedCSEP conference logo exercise, respectively). Josh will also be presenting some original research into the efficacy of a novel mode of exercise recovery using an ischemic/re-perfusion stimulus combined with electrical stimulation. We will post a copy of these presentations to the website soon!

Dr. Burr will also be presenting at the conference and co-chairing a symposiumCapture titled: “Examining the unique physiological demands, risks, and benefits of Oldtimer’s hockey: is Canada’s game for everyone?”  Within this symposium Dr. Burr will focus on various established and more experimental strategies to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in old-timer’s hockey players.

He will also be chairing a free communication session on human performance.


More Mitacs Funding in the Human Performance Lab

MITACSCongratulations to Matthew Boulter who received Mitacs Accelerate funding to support his MSc thesis work examining the effects of anti-inflammatory use on the arterial function of athletes following eccentric aerobic exercise. Matthew’s novel project is examining what happens to runners who push themselves really hard time after time (he wants to know if the alterations in arterial stiffening/endothelial reactivity that he observed in an earlier study occur to the same extent each time an athlete is exposed to this type of over-reaching exercise, or if the arteries adapt the same way our muscles do). Matthew is also looking at the use of Curcumin as an oral supplement to help our body deal with the inflammatory effects and muscle damage that occur with really intense exercise. The results of this research could have important implications for a range of people including endurance athletes and weight lifters all the way to people with certain chronic diseases. Want to know more about his studies, or maybe even get involved? Contact Matthew at IMG_3099

Keep up the great work Matthew. We eagerly await the results.

Take a stand on sitting

There is accumulating evidence that sitting might be bad for you….and I don’t just mean that if you are a couch potato you might gain weight. In fact, some research suggests that the amount of sitting one does throughout their day is independently associated with health risks – that is, even if you meet the recommended guidelines of 150min/wk of moderate to vigorous activity, if you work a desk job (or otherwise sit for many hours a day) you are likely less healthy than you would be if you stood and moved more. So, we got our hands on a few standing desks and its time to put this to the test. Brittany MacEwen, a fourth year kinesiology student working in the Human Performance Lab with Dr. Burr and Dr. Saunders is looking at the effects of swapping out a traditional desk with a standing desk for 3 months. She will track the effects on things like: fitness, metabolic rate (calories burned), diabetes risk, cholesterol levels, movement at work (and at home after work) and arterial health. We can’t wait to see what happens!

We are currently recruiting. If you work on or near campus, have a desk job, perhaps carry a few more pounds than you used to and are interested in learning more information on how to get involved please check out the recruitment poster and email

Welcome to UPEI Dr. Travis Saunders!


Dr. Travis Saunders

The Human Performance and Health Research Lab is thrilled to welcome Dr. Travis Saunders to UPEI. Dr. Saunders is an exercise physiologist with expertise in sedentary behavior and chronic disease. Travis comes to UPEI from eastern Ontario where he did his MSc (Queens) & PhD (Ottawa), and more recently from Halifax wherein he was completing post-doctoral work at Dalhousie. Travis brings a wealth of experience and will make a great addition to the team. We are excited to have him aboard as a colleague and close collaborator!




Varsity Athlete Fitness Combine.


This fall the UPEI Varsity Panthers and Human Performance Laboratory joined forces to launch the first ever varsity fitness testing combine. Male and female athletes from all varsity sports (Soccer, field hockey, rugby, swimming, basketball, hockey) came together for two days of combine testing in the Sports Centre gym, modeled after the pro sports combines on which our lab members have worked. Athletes were put to the test on a variety of broad fitness measures including aerobic fitness, upper and lower body power, agility, speed and endurance. Team specific fitness measures will follow with each individual team. Some impressive performances were laid down by both male and female athletes, and in time we hope to designate the wall of fame, honouring top performances across the years. Thanks to varsity athletics for their support, Human Performance Lab members for their hard work, Coaches and testers for their time & commitment and athletes for their motivated efforts and positive attitudes. We are building something great here. We are already looking forward to next year! Varsity combine

More pictures here

Pamela Arsenault receives Mitacs Accelerate Funding!


Dr. Pamela Arsenault, Mitacs Accelerate Post-Doctoral funding recipient

MITACSCongratulations to Dr. Pamela Arsenault who has successfully secured Mitacs Accelerate funding to support personnel and research for the work she is doing in the Human Performance and Health Research Laboratory. Great job Pam! Keep up the good work, and we eagerly look forward to releasing the results of this research!

We’re Recruiting!

cbcAs heard on this week’s CBC news report, we’re looking for  volunteers to help us out with a number of research studies.  Our work ranges from investigations on metabolism and health to physical activity and exercise studies. The time commitment, risks, benefits and compensation vary for each study, and we ask potential participants to consider what study best suits his or her own personal interests and lifestyle as a volunteer.

Below is a list of some ongoing and future projects. Please click on the links to learn more. You can also visit the UPEI research participant page to check out opportunities campus wide to get involved in front-line research! If you are interested in our research, please email us for more information by using the contact page (see tab on main page) or contacting any of the researchers on the team.

Capsaicinoid studies

We are examining the effects of the active ingredient in hot peppers (in pill form) to alter fat burning. This may have effects on weight loss or heart health. This study involves 2 lab visits over a period of 12 weeks. People needed: 40 (20 male, 20 female), 18-45 yr old. (Click either of the following posters: poster 1 or poster 2)

We are also investigating the potential effect on exercise performance. This study involves 3 visits to the lab to 1) determine fitness and 2) to test exercise performance (on a bike) with the performance tests occurring 2 weeks apart.  Participants needed: 15 (male and female). Participants should be motivated to exercise for testing.


Blood flow restriction studies

We are testing a novel type of “passive exercise” to affect adaptations. See the CBC news clip here. There are Capturemultiple potential applications of this research ranging from rehabilitative and post-operative applications, to body building and sports performance. The best part, is that we will take care of all the “work” in the workout.

We are currently undertaking two studies- the first is examining the ability of this new technique to cause changes in muscle strength and size. Participants will come to the lab 4 days per week, for 30 min per day, for 6 weeks. Body scans (fat vs muscle will be performed at QEH) and strength/endurance measured at UPEI. Participant spots: 12 male and 12 female.

We are also investigating the effects of this type of automated device to improve recovery from taxing exercise.  We are seeking athletes (cyclists/triathletes) capable of performing a short 30 sec all out sprint as well as a max exertion 10km time trial on a virtual cycling course. Click this advertisement (right) for details Recovery study poster


Eccentric aerobic exercise study

This study investigates the impact of an antioxidant supplement to reduce exercise induced inflammation and speed recovery after intensive exercise. This could have implications for recovery from exercise and longer term cardiovascular health.

People needed: 40 (20 male, 20 female), 18-45 yr. old. Capable of 40min run at a moderate exercise intensity  (Downhill running)



Old-timers hockey study

We are interested in mitigating the risk of a heart attack for hockey players (>45yr) through simple alterations to the game. We also want to better understand the characteristics of a typical game in regard to exercise intensity, shift length, number of shifts, recovery time etc. We are seeking old-timers hockey teams in the Charlottetown area who would be willing to let our research team instrument you with a non- invasive heart rate monitoring device during a regular game (2 times).

Contact: Dr. Jamie Burr (use contact page)

 Upcoming Projects:

Although we haven’t yet started accepting volunteers, we have two planned studies for the fall looking at the metabolic effects of using a standing desk workstation and also an investigation into the cardiovascular effects of “cross-fit” style exercise. Stay tuned!


Capsaicinoid studies


As mentioned in an earlier post, our laboratory is preparing to undertake some new research into the possible effects of capsaicin (the ingredient in hot peppers that makes them hot!) for altering metabolism and possibly affecting exercise capacity. Whether you are a fan of hot food or not, new techniques to purify ingredients and package them in a small capsule make ingestion of the active ingredients palatable. It is possible that ingesting this concentrated form of capsaicin, without eating massive amounts of spicy food, could in turn affect the way one’s body uses stored fat and affect weight loss or increase exercise performance. This is what we seek to find out!

Dr. Pamela Arsenault a post-doctoral researcher working in the Human ycoGakacEPerformance and Health Laboratory was recently on CBC radio discussing the research.  You can here the whole interview HERE.  If you are interested (and in the Atlantic region) recruitment will be taking place spring/summer of 2014.

View our full recruitment add from the Guardian here chili_peppers_research

Advice for Potential Graduate Students….

I often do a lecture about graduate school in my Kinesiology 101 class. Although I have had many students tell me how much they appreciate this lecture, I am sure there are many subtleties of the talk go unappreciated as it is an initiation to Grad-School-Yellowa new world for most. In truth, I’m not sure that you can fully understand graduate school until you’re immersed in it, and maybe even not then. Perhaps the real clarity doesn’t come until you’ve made it through to the other side and can look back contemplatively. It is precisely for this reason that I liked the following article. Although I might not be able to completely guide students toward all the best questions and answers while searching for the optimal laboratory to work in, I feel that I should at least continue to try.

-Click the link below to open the pdf of a great piece by Sönke Johnsen from Duke –

grad school