Health and Exercise Science graduate leads sports performance research
Does what time of a day you train impact your competition performance? For example, if you were to do a 10K bike race that starts at 9 a.m., should you exercise at the same time every day?
That is the topic Taylor Ewell, a recent graduate of Colorado State University’s Department of Health and Exercise Science is investigating this summer.
“With athletes everywhere, the difference of even a couple percentage point in performance can mean the difference between gold, silver, bronze or not placing at all,” Ewell said. “Our study will tell weekend warriors to gold medal athletes if there is any value in adjusting their training time.”
In this research, participants are split into two groups. One group exercises at the same time every day, while the other group performs the same workout sporadically. By comparing their improvement during a two-week period, Ewell is hoping to find out if training at the same time gives one group an edge over the other.
Undergraduate research experience
Since graduation this past spring, Ewell has been working as a full-time researcher in CSU’s Laboratory of Integrative Biology, led by Christopher Bell, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science.
Ewell first met Bell in the spring of 2018 when he took Bell’s Physiology of Exercise class. He went on to spend his senior year working in Bell’s lab, where he got an initial taste of managing his own research project, examining the effects of limiting blood flow to the arms on treadmill performance.
“I wasn’t sure when I started last fall if I liked research or not, but after doing it for almost a year now, I really like it. This is what I want to keep doing.”
Besides his lab life, Taylor has attended several academic conferences. Last month, he competed in the American College of Sports Medicine College Bowl in Florida.
The undergraduate research experience equipped Ewell with skills to lead his ongoing summer project. More importantly, it ignited his passion for research.
“I wasn’t sure when I started last fall if I liked research or not, but after doing it for almost a year now, I really like it. This is what I want to keep doing,” Ewell said.
Change of plan
Being a researcher wasn’t part of the plan when Ewell first got here at CSU. As a Marine Corps reservist, his original goal was to earn a degree and become a Marine Officer. Learning about exercise and the science behind it came as a natural fit, as he enjoys working out and playing sports.
During his undergraduate studies, Ewell capitalized on many opportunities to gain hands-on experience, such as the adult fitness practicum where he worked as a personal trainer in the Adult Fitness Program.
Among all his involvements on campus, research experience is absolutely his favorite part. And that prompted him to change his plan.
Looking forward, Ewell has his eyes set on a career that involves physiological research, and he has been accepted into CSU’s master’s program in Health and Exercise Science.
“I want to stay at CSU for the graduate program because I know the faculty here is excellent,” Ewell said, “I know that I will learn a ton and that the group here will support my goal of becoming a competitive Ph.D. applicant and continuing my research journey.”
About Summertime Standouts
Summertime Standouts is an annual feature on SOURCE that highlights students who made an impact this summer around the globe, across the country, and even close to home.
Check out more Summertime Standouts at source.colostate.edu/summertime-standouts-2019.