Research is the most important value at First Endurance. We are driven by a desire to ensure our products are proven to enhance endurance performance, have scientific validation and are safe and legal for competition.

The Endurance Research Board’s (ERB) objective is to offer a broad perspective on both innovative and long- standing endurance nutrition. Through the First Endurance Newsletter, the ERB will bring information on key topics critical to improving endurance performance. The ERB’s expertise and racing experience will be used to collaborate on future First Endurance products in order develop the best endurance products in the world.

The ERB stands apart from all other science teams. In addition to having advance science degrees, each member of our ERB races at an elite level. Our scientists are professional mountain bikers, professional triathletes and Cat I cyclists. These scientists fully understand the meaning of VO2max, anaerobic threshold and lactic acid because they enter the same races you do. The information provided through the ERB consists of solid science along side proven race experience. The result is a team of race ready scientist.

Members of the Endurance Research Board include:

Neal Henderson, MS CSCS

Neal Henderson, MS, CSCS
Sport Science Manager at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine
USA Triathlon – Elite Certified Coach, National Coaching Committee Member
USA Cycling – Level III Certified Coach
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Master of Science-Kinesiology & Applied Physiology

Board Member Neal Henderson resides in Boulder Colorado, where he manages the sport science department of the highly respected Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. He coaches a multitude of elite triathletes and cyclists, including several national and world champions. He was inspired to enter the field of sport science by a visit to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs as a teenager. Since then Neal has raced in hundreds of endurance contests from cyclocross and snowshoe races, to marathons and Ironman triathlons.

Neal competed internationally as a professional triathlete for 4 years, and was the top American finisher at the 2002 and 2003 ITU Winter Triathlon (run, mountain bike, cross-country ski) World Championships. He is an accomplished XTERRA triathlete and won the silver medal in his age-group at the 1998 XTERRA World Championship. He was the overall amateur champion at the 1999 Keystone XTERRA triathlon prior to turning pro in 2000. He is also a competitive road and mountain bike racer, placing 3rd in among Cat 3 racers at the 2005 Colorado State Time Trial.

A competitive athlete since a young age, Neal has experience in many sports. He grew up playing soccer and baseball, but moved on to track and field and swimming in high school. He competed in an Olympic Developmental decathlon his freshman year at Penn State University before switching to triathlon.

When not busy with his coaching and work commitments, Neal can still be found cycling and skiing in the mountains near Boulder depending on the season. He enjoys competition of all kinds, but also can be found playing his guitar, working in his garden, and spending time with his family.

Jeffrey J. Rocco, MD

Jeffrey J. Rocco, MD
Orthopedic Surgery, Specializing in Foot and Ankle Reconstructive Surgery and Lower Extremity Trauma
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons
American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society
A.O. International Faculty

Board Member Jeff Rocco resides in Ogden, Utah, where he can be found running, biking through the Wasatch range or swimming in his Endless Pool. During medical school, Jeff competed for a U.S. National Rowing National Championship Title and World University Games Trials qualification. Today, he is an avid road and mountain cyclist, on-piste and backcountry skier, and Xterra Triathlete. For the ski market he makes custom orthotics and custom-fits ski boots to recreational and competitive skiers. Living in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, Jeff spends much of his free time on the multitude of trails running and biking with his wife Alexandra, his son Nicholas, and his two Bouviers dogs.

Originally from north eastern Ohio, Jeff earned his Doctorate from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in 1994. He completed a residency in Orthopedic Surgery at Beth Israel and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Centers in New York City in 2002. He then went on to specialize in Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Surgery, training with Arthur Manoli II, M.D. at the Michigan International Foot and Ankle Center. Currently he is the director of the Rocco Foot and Ankle Institute at the Utah Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center, located in Ogden, UT.

Patricia Rosen MD, PH

Patricia B. Rosen, MD, MPH
Age Group Triathlete
Marathon Runner
President of Wellness for Workers

Research Board Member Patricia Rosen resides Austin Texas. She is an accomplished age group triathlete and marathon runner. In 2003 & 2005 she was the age-group winner of the Ironstar Half Ironman. Her 2006 Freescale marathon qualified her to compete in the highly coveted Boston Marathon. Patricia works closely with local runners, cyclists and triathletes helping them get the most out of their training and nutrition. Her expertise and knowledge of endurance training allows her to offer exceptional support.

Dr. Rosen earned her BA from Ohio State University in Anthropology, MPH from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; MD from Medical College of Ohio and is currently Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine and Toxicology. She is the acting President of Wellness for Workers which addresses health and productivity in the workplace with attention to stress management, weight management, and smoking cessation as well as other issues important to employers and their employees. Dr. Rosen has provided 30 years of service to the community as an emergency medicine physician, educator in the fields of internal medicine, emergency medicine and toxicology, and as the medical director of the Central Texas Poison Center.

Dr. Rosen has a very healthy approach to her training and racing. She’s recently married to Marvin Norman Jansen Jr, who provides human performance consulting to retail businesses. Her one son and two step children help provide comic relied and stress management on a regular basis.

Kris Walker MD

Level 3 Certified Cycling Coach
Cat I Cyclist
Avid Alpine and Backcountry Skier

Research Board Member Kris Walker MD lives, works and plays in Pocatello, Idaho. She started her athletic career as a Triathlete back in 1983 before changing her focus to cycling in 1985. Kris athletic talents have won numerous state championships in road racing, time trials, criteriums, mountain bike cross country and cyclocross. In 2005 Kris won the women’s 40-44 master’s national criterium championship and in 2006 finished 2nd in the 45-49 cyclocross Nationals.

Kris graduated from University of Nevada School of Medicine in 1994 then went to finish her residency in Ogden, Utah. She is the acting President of the Intermountain Medical Clinic in Pocatello, Idaho and a family physician.

Kris can be found on most weekends racing her bike locally or National Calendar races. As a level-3 certified cycling coach, she oversees the training and nutrition of cyclists ranging from Category 1 through 4 and masters level racers. “I train and coach with power and am very excited about the new developments in this area.”

Her husband Bob, who is a well-known and avid cyclist, has the best “chops” around. Bob, Kris and daughter Landry share a love for the outdoors. During the snowy winter months the whole family can be found on the slopes of Sun Valley Idaho. “We are all avid skiers and cyclists.” Explains Kris. “Bob and I love to get out for some backcountry skiing as well.”

Alex McDonald

Ironman USA Champion

Alex McDonald fills two roles for First Endurance both as a sponsored professional triathlete, and as a member of the First Endurance Research Board. He was born and raised in Woodstock, VT with his two brothers and watched his father compete in triathlons and marathons for many years during his youth. Attending undergraduate at Connecticut College in New London, CT Alex was active both academically and athletically as the starting goalie on the varsity water polo team and also ran recreationally. He began medical school in Burlington, VT where a friend announced his intention to compete in the sport of triathlon. Alex agreed to train with him having absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into. He bought his first road bike, raced in a sprint triathlon and was hooked, thus beginning his life long triathlon career. After just three short years racing triathlon Alex burst onto the national elite age-group scene in 2006 as the US champion, age-group champion and 5th overall finisher at Ironman Wisconsin. Followed 6 weeks later by at top 6% finish at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI.

In 2007 Alex was Ironman USA Champion; at Lake Placid, NY as well as the amateur world champion and 29th overall at the Ironman World Championship; in Kona, HI. In 2008, Alex’s second season as a member of the Timex Multisport team, and first year as a professional triathlete, was a building year where he continued to grow as an athlete and competitor finishing 8th overall at Ironman USA and punching his ticket to Kona as a first year pro. In 2010 Alex will continue to build on his success as an athlete along with many of the same partners in the past, most importantly, his coach Kurt Perham at Personal Best Multisport Coaching and the First Endurance Team. He has competed in all distances from sprint to Ironman, with his focus on long course racing. Alex currently lives in Durham, NC with his dog Zoey and wife, Ashley, who is a resident at Duke University.

Loukia Lili-Williams PhD

Sr. Research Scientist
INGH (Institute for Next Generation Healthcare)
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY


Former Cat2 track/road cyclist
Current Elite AG Triathlete/Duathlete

Loukia has pursued successful careers in both academia and endurance sports. She holds graduate degrees in Mathematics and Biology and a PhD in Computational Biology. She has authored multiple peer-reviewed publications in top scientific journals and holds a patent.


In sports, she started as a Cat1/2 cyclist racing road, track and MTB events in Greece. In 2012, she began racing triathlons at the Collegiate level achieving a 4th place in 2012 with the fastest running split at the open division. Later on, she competed at the AG level achieving multiple top20 ITU World Championships and top10 USAT National Championships finishes.  She is also a 2 x Duathlon and a 2 x XTERRA Regional champion.


As a Sr. Research Scientist at Institute for Next Generation Healthcare at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY and a lifelong athlete, she combines her diverse background in both science and endurance sports to ultimately advance the quality of life and healthcare worldwide.

Matt Hanson EdD, ATC

Human Performance Program Director at Buena Vista University
ITCA Certified Triathlon Coach
Certified Athletic Trainer
Matt Hanson currently works as an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science and serves as the Human Performance Program Director at Buena Vista University. He also coaches triathletes and distance runners. Matt started his career as an Athletic Trainer at Buena Vista University, but found a love for the classroom and started teaching full time in 2012. His current course load includes Nutrition, Exercise Physiology, Physiological Principles of Conditioning, and Lifetime Health Management.

Matt first came to the sport of triathlon in 2011. He qualified for the IM World Championships at his first 140.6 race. He was the 3rd amateur finisher at IMTX in 2013 and was the amateur winner at IM 70.3 Racine. Matt raced Kona again in 2013 where he posted the fastest amateur run split of the day.  In 2017 Matt posted the fastest Ironman by an American with a time of 7:52.  This was good enough for his 2nd North American Championship at Ironman Texas.

Originally from West Concord, Minnesota, Matt earned his Bachelors in Athletic Training from Buena Vista University. His Master’s in Teaching and Coaching came from Southwest Minnesota State University and he finished a Doctorate of Education from the University of South Dakota in 2011. Matt currently resides in Storm Lake, Iowa with his wife, Ashley, and dog, Zoey.

Eric Heiden, MD

Dr. Heiden is the founder & Executive Director of The Heiden Institute for Sports Science and Human Performance. “The Heiden Institute is interested in empowering people to make great decisions based on sound nutrition and sports science research, which coincides very well with the efforts of the ERB,” notes Dr. Heiden.

Eric won five (5) Gold Medals at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Winter Games and set four Olympic records and one world record for speed skating. After retiring from speed skating, Eric began a second career in cycling. He quickly rose to the top of the sport, winning a United States Cycling Championship and competing with the 7-11 team in the 1986 Tour de France just a few years later. By 1991, Eric had earned his medical degree from Stanford University and was ready to begin his third career – as an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine.

Dr. Heiden finds his experiences as an athlete help him form a unique connection with his athlete patients. Since 2012, Eric has served as the team doctor for BMC
Racing Team. He has worked as the team physician for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs, and the U.S. Olympic Speedskating Team.