Among the Outside fitness team, there is one person’s Twitter account that we turn to for nuanced, critical takes on the state of running, links to the newest cutting-edge research, and sage fitness advice. That’s Steve Magness, exercise scientist, author, head cross-country coach at the University of Houston, and occasional Outside contributor.
We thought it would be fun to reach out to Magness and see who he’s following, and then ask that person who they’re following, and so on. It was a snowballing, email chain–style process—a more coherent and insightful version of the telephone game. We figured that if we kept digging, we might reach the deepest sources of compelling running news and analysis. And it worked.
Here are a few brilliant sports scientists who the personalities you know turn to for running news and advice.
Steve Magness: Who Do You Follow?
Magness says the follows he values most on Twitter include Ross Tucker, a South African researcher who runs the blog Science of Sport, and Trent Stellingwerff, a lead researcher at the Canadian Sport Institute. But his go-to is Alex Hutchinson (@sweatscience), who writes the Sweat Science column for Runner’s World, in which he dives into the latest research on the science of fitness. “Alex has a gift for taking the complex and breaking it down into simple, actionable takeaways,” Magness says. “For all things sports science, Alex is the best.”
Alex Hutchinson: Who Do You Follow?
When we reached out to Hutchinson about his favorite Twitter follow, he replied, “I guess it won’t work to say Steve Magness.” Instead, he told us, “I tend to follow a lot of scientists, athletes, and coaches, but I get particularly psyched about people who straddle both those worlds.” Hutchinson says no one is better at that than Asker Jeukendrup (@jeukendrup), a Dutch Ironman triathlete, sports nutritionist, and adjunct professor at several European universities. “He’s one of the most influential sports nutrition researchers of the last few decades,” Hutchinson says. “He played a key role in the development of concepts like multiple transportable carbohydrates.”
Asker Jeukendrup: Who Do You Follow?
Asker says that one of his favorite sources of fitness science is the International Olympic Committee Diploma in Sports Nutrition (@iocdipspnut), an online course taught by leading researchers in the field. Its Twitter account frequently discusses how high-powered athletes fuel for their sports. But Jeukendrup’s most-valued follows are two women at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS): Louise Burke (@LouiseMBurke), head of sports nutrition at AIS, and Shona Halson (@ShonaHalson), the head of recovery, who studies (and tweets about) how hydrotherapy, overtraining, and sleep monitoring affect athletes.
Shona Halson: Who Do You Follow?
Halson says her top follow is Keith Baar (@MuscleScience), a professor at University of California, Davis who studies, among other things, the way exercise increases muscle mass. “He is always at the cutting edge of science,” Halson says. “As Baar works with athletes, he has the ability to translate science into practical and meaningful information.”