Pre-Race Poop: The Unexpected Key to Faster, Smarter Racing

Discover how a pre-race bowel movement can improve your cognitive function and racing performance, according to a new study. Learn more here!

Pre-Race Poop: The Unexpected Key to Faster, Smarter Racing
Photo by Giorgio Trovato / Unsplash

For many athletes, including myself, the pre-race bathroom trip is a crucial part of their pre-race routine. A recent study suggests it does more than just physical relief; it also enhances cognitive performance during the race. Here's the scoop on how a bowel movement before a race could help you race faster and smarter.

The Study Details

Researchers at the University of Taipei published their findings in Sports Medicine and Health Science, exploring the impact of pre-race bowel movements on cognitive function and performance. They discovered that defecating before a race improved decision-making speed and accuracy, as assessed through the Stroop test.

Key Points from the Study:

  • Participants: 13 elite athletes
  • Tests: Stroop test under three conditions - no defecation, defecation with magnesium oxide, and defecation without the supplement.
  • Findings: 100% improvement in Stroop test scores with magnesium oxide and defecation, and 69% improvement with defecation alone.

How It Works

The theory behind this improvement is that constipation hampers blood flow needed for high-intensity exercise. By relieving themselves, athletes free up more blood for their brain, enhancing cognitive function and allowing better muscle command.

Results and Implications

  • Improvements: All participants showed cognitive improvements post-defecation. PET scans indicated that both the brain and buttocks regions were highly active during cognitive tasks.
  • Practical Advice: For athletes, scheduling a bowel movement 60-90 minutes before a race could optimize cognitive performance and overall race results.

What's Next?

While this study opens up interesting insights into the gut-brain connection, further research is needed. For now, athletes might consider a magnesium supplement to help with pre-race bowel movements, potentially enhancing both their mental sharpness and physical performance.

Takeaway for Athletes

Incorporating a strategic bathroom break into your pre-race routine might be more beneficial than you think. Not only does it help physically, but it also sharpens your mental game, giving you an edge on the course.