I have always been fascinated by exercise physiology and understanding how humans improve their physical performance.
I was first inspired when I attended a physical testing session of the former Jumbo-Visma speed skating team and saw the exceptional performance of speed skaters after years of training.
With my background in sports, physiology and data science, I am a researcher that aims to unravel how humans adapt to training and improve their exercise tolerance and physical performance.
During my PhD, I investigated critical physiological determinants of sprint and endurance performances in elite athletes.
I specialised in exercise physiology, molecular biology and muscle anatomy (including state-of-the-art 3D ultrasound imaging), with a particular interest in skeletal muscles. Using various techniques,
I established novel physiological profiles that display individual strengths and
weaknesses of an athlete.
Sport Data Valley
In addition, I work as a data scientist in the Sport Data Valley-team to develop the national research and analytics platform for sports data in the Netherlands. This platform enables athletes, coaches and researchers to gain more insights from their sports data.
I created applications for training monitoring and training prescription in close collaboration with sports practitioners, which are used by professional coaches in the Netherlands.
Van der Zwaard et al. (2018). FASEB J.
This study identifies critical determinants
of combined sprint and endurance performance using multiple regression analyses of physiologic determinants at different biologic levels. The results suggest that fascicle length and capillarization may be important targets for individualized training to optimize both sprint and endurance performance