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SNR #49: Dr. Bill Willis – Antioxidants, Exercise Performance & the Adaptive Response to Training

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Episode 49: Researcher Dr. Bill Willis talks about inflammation, the adaptive response to training and how antioxidants can potentially negatively impact exercise performance, recovery and physical improvements.

bill willis

Dr. Bill Willis, PhD.


As a unique combination of an ‘in-the trenches’ basic researcher and avid member of the fitness industry for the past 15 years, Bill is on a never-ending quest to find and develop smarter, healthier ways to grow bigger, faster, and stronger.

Throughout his early personal training and bodybuilding career, Bill has always been curious about cellular and molecular controls for muscle growth, and how these can be influenced with training and nutritional variables. This led Bill to complete a BSc. in chemistry, followed by a PhD in biomedical science at The Ohio State University.

For his PhD thesis, Bill discovered a new mechanism that cells use to reprogram protein synthesis during stress responses, allowing them to prioritize the synthesis of proteins important for growth and repair.

When not working out, training clients in the gym, or writing MountainDog articles, Bill is working in the lab as a postdoctoral fellow where current projects focus on the role of metabolic stress in the control of protein synthesis and inflammation in health and disease. He is also an editor over at

In this episode we discuss:

  • The role of oxidation and inflammation in exercise performance and recovery
  • Reactive oxygen species and their connection to exercise
  • The part ROS play in the stress response
  • Heat shock proteins and insulin sensitivity
  • Food‐based antioxidants vs supplements
  • Bulk‐ROS scavengers (bad) vs. ‘pro‐stress response micronutrients’ such as lipoic acid
  • Effect of glutathione supplementation on performance and recovery

Links & Resources:

The heat-shock response: critical to surviving and adapting to the most brutal workouts

Rethinking The Role Of Antioxidants in Sports – Guest post on

Are Saunas the Next Big Performance-Enhancing “Drug”? – Dr. Rhonda Patrick Stack Guides

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