Since December 2018, The TriDoc podcast has been a resource for triathletes in need of evidence to help them sort out reality from the hype that manufacturers and advertisers will use to market their wares to unsuspecting consumers.
The TriDoc is quite simply a physician on a mission, to help triathletes understand what it means when a product claims to be ‘scientifically proven’ to improve their ability to swim, bike, run or even recover better than their competitors.
While IronmanHacks is all about finding the quickest and best tips to a faster race, none of them includes miracle products that promise unreal gains overnight. You still have to put in the hard training over weeks, months, and years.
A note from Dr. Sankoff to the casual user: All of the reviews listed here are based on the best available evidence in the scientific literature. In some cases that evidence is robust and in some it is not.
The summary below is intended only as a start point. If you want to learn more about the product and especially about the science that was used to come up with the determination of benefit, please listen to the associated podcast episode.
One last thing; if a product that you use and have found to be beneficial is listed as not having benefit this does not mean that you should stop using it.
My conclusions are made based on population evidence but the experiences of any one individual can be different than for the population as a whole.
So just because my conclusion differs from yours does not mean that you should stop using something that you like.
I would just remind you that one person’s experience (anecdote) is not evidence of effects for a population (evidence).
|Acetaminophen / NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)||Mixed||Acetaminophen does not confer any benefits but is not harmful. NSAIDS need to be used with caution as they can impair benefits of training. NSAIDS are useful for acute injury.||Episode 1|
|CBD||No benefit||Very little evidence. Theoretical benefits but nothing yet proven.||Episode 2|
|Pneumatic compression garments||No benefit||Psychological benefits but no physiological benefits.||Episode 3|
|Inside Tracker||No benefit||Potentially detrimental.||Episode 4|
|Intermittent fasting||Some benefit||VERY difficult to do well and requires significant modification to lifestyle and training but may result in some benefits including weight loss.||Episode 5|
|Creatine supplementation||No benefit||Lots of hype but really very little evidence unless you want to build mass as a weight lifter.||Episode 11|
|Beta-alanine supplementation||No benefit||Theoretical benefits don’t translate in to real world effects.||Episode 12|
|IV hydration||No benefit||Only benefit is when hydration cannot be accomplished by oral means.||Episode 13|
|Training with HRV||Unclear||This is evolving. Not the revolution that it is claimed to be by many but likely does have some utility just not clear how much and how best to use it.||Episode 19|
|Dry needling||No benefit||Lots of pain without the gain. PT’s continue to love this but no proof it does anything.||Episode 21|
|Cold water therapy||Likely detrimental||Psychological benefits sometimes. Some evidence it harms performance.||Episode 22|
|Airofit||No benefit||Save your money.||Episode 24|
|GO2||No benefit||Complete rubbish.||Episode 25|
|Branched chain amino acid supplementation||No benefit||Doesn’t do much.||Episode 26|
|Alcohol||No benefit||Likely harmful.||Episode 27|
|Compression clothing||No benefit||Psychological benefits but zero performance gains.||Episode 28|
|Stamina Pro||No benefit||COMPLETE rubbish.||Episode 29|
|Halo Sport||Unclear||If any true benefit likely not worth the cost of the device.||Episode 30|
|TENS (transdermal electrical neurostimulation devices)||No benefit||So much hype, so little evidence.||Episode 31|
|Red light therapy||No benefit||The latest high tech pseudoscience.||Episode 32|
|Beetroot juice||Small benefits||Benefits are small but real but do require following a protocol.||Episode 33|
|Liquid I.V. Hydration brand products||No benefit||COMPLETE rubbish. VERY expensive for no benefit.||Episode 34|
|Hot Shots for cramps||It’s complicated||Works for some.||Episode 39|
|AMP Human||No benefit||Great advertising. That’s what you are paying for.||Episode 42|
|Epsom salts||No benefit||Psychological benefits. No harm.||Episode 46|
|Kinesiotape||No benefit||Just don’t do it.||Episode 47|
|Vitamin D||No benefit unless you have deficiency||Can be toxic if you take too much.||Episode 52|
|Lumen||Questionable||Difficult to validate.||Episode 53|
|Bicarbonate supplementation||No benefit||Theoretical benefit but does not get reflected in any real world benefit.||Episode 58|
|Continuous glucose monitoring||No benefit||DEFINITE benefit to diabetics. No proof of benefit to anyone else.||Episode 59|
|Caffeine||Benefit||Around 2% performance benefit. No evidence of tolerance nor addiction.||Episode 60|
|Keto diet||No benefit||Harmful to performance for high performing endurance athletes. No health benefits.||Episode 61|
|Gluten free diet||No benefit||Gluten ‘intolerance’ has no basis in science or medicine. Potentially harmful for women.||Episode 65|
|Massage therapy||Mixed||No physical benefit but definite psychological benefits. Potentially detrimental if done close to events.||Episode 66|
|Massage guns||Mixed||No physical benefit but definite psychological benefits.||Episode 70|
|Steroid injections for injury||Harmful||For the most part should be avoided because of the potential for long term harm. Some exceptions.||Episode 71|
|Platelet Rich Plasma||No benefit||May be useful for tennis elbow. Possible value for plantar fasciitis but unclear. No benefit for anything else.||Episode 72|
|Low level laser therapy||No benefit||Possibly useful for chronic Achilles injury but not useful for anything else.||Episode 74|
|Blood flow restriction||No benefit||May be a role in injury rehabilitation.||Episode 77|
|Anti-gravity running||Mixed||Expense of Lever/AlterG far above what can be expected in return. Water running just as good and free.||Episode 78|
|Genetic testing||No benefit||A complete waste of money.||Episode 82|