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In recent years, a significant amount of research has come to light about the importance of gut health and its impact on our physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing. In The Athlete’s Gut, Dr. Patrick Wilson does a deep dive on all things gut-related and its relevance for us as athletes. It becomes incredibly easy to see how tightly our gut health is tied to our immune system, moods, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and digestive health.
In part one of the book, Dr. Wilson explains the anatomy of the gut and the origins of gut-related symptoms. Although it would be easy to get into the technical minutiae of anatomy and physiology here, Dr. Wilson does a great job of keeping things simple yet informative and relatable. Part two is more specific to the gut health of athletes and looks at different macros and their impact on the gut, as well as how to train the gut. In the third and final part of the book, he dissects the link between psychology and gut health, including stress and anxiety and how best to manage this. He helps uncover some of the triggers to the dreaded GI (gastrointestinal) issues that can plague so many triathletes and offers useful, practical tips on how appropriate diet, hydration and stress management can all help reduce the risk of issues like bloating and nausea. He also highlights the perils of overloading the gut with gels and sports drinks and the impact this can have.
Dr. Wilson is an assistant professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University, specializing in the relationship between GI issues, diet, nutrition, and exercise. He is also the director of the ODU Human Performance Lab, a fitness testing and exercise science research facility. He also contributed to this recent article, Gut Check: What You Need to Know About Gut Health.