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A 5-Year Analysis of Weight Cycling Practices in a Male World Champion Professional Boxer: Potential Implications for Obesity and Cardiometabolic Disease

James C. Morehen, Carl Langan-Evans, Elliot C.R. Hall, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton

Weight cycling is thought to increase the risk of obesity and cardiometabolic disease in nonathletic and athletic populations. However, the magnitude and frequency of weight cycling is not well characterized in elite athletes. To this end, we quantified the weight cycling practices of a male World Champion professional boxer competing at super middleweight (76.2 kg). Over a 5-year period comprising 11 contests, we assessed changes in body mass (n = 8 contests) and body composition (n = 6 contests) during the training camp preceding each contest. Time taken to make weight was 11 ± 4 weeks (range: 4–16). Absolute and relative weight loss for each contest was 12.4 ± 2.1 kg (range: 9.8–17.0) and 13.9% ± 2.0% (range: 11.3–18.2), respectively. Notably, the athlete commenced each training camp with progressive increases in fat mass (i.e., 12.5 and 16.1 kg for Contests 1 and 11) and reductions in fat-free mass (i.e., 69.8 and 67.5 kg for Contests 1 and 11, respectively). Data suggest that weight cycling may lead to “fat overshooting” and further weight gain in later life. Larger scale studies are now required to characterize the weight cycling practices of elite athletes and robustly assess future cardiometabolic disease risk. From an ethical perspective, practitioners should be aware of the potential health consequences associated with weight cycling.

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Warm-Up Intensity Does Not Affect the Ergogenic Effect of Sodium Bicarbonate in Adult Men

Rebecca L. Jones, Trent Stellingwerff, Paul Swinton, Guilherme Giannini Artioli, Bryan Saunders, and Craig Sale

This study determined the influence of a high- (HI) versus low-intensity (LI) cycling warm-up on blood acid-base responses and exercise capacity following ingestion of sodium bicarbonate (SB; 0.3 g/kg body mass) or a placebo (PLA; maltodextrin) 3 hr prior to warm-up. Twelve men (21 ± 2 years, 79.2 ± 3.6 kg body mass, and maximum power output [W max] 318 ± 36 W) completed a familiarization and four double-blind trials in a counterbalanced order: HI warm-up with SB, HI warm-up with PLA, LI warm-up with SB, and LI warm-up with PLA. LI warm-up was 15 min at 60% W max, while the HI warm-up (typical of elites) featured LI followed by 2 × 30 s (3-min break) at W max, finishing 30 min prior to a cycling capacity test at 110% W max. Blood bicarbonate and lactate were measured throughout. SB supplementation increased blood bicarbonate (+6.4 mmol/L; 95% confidence interval, CI [5.7, 7.1]) prior to greater reductions with HI warm-up (−3.8 mmol/L; 95% CI [−5.8, −1.8]). However, during the 30-min recovery, blood bicarbonate rebounded and increased in all conditions, with concentrations ∼5.3 mmol/L greater with SB supplementation (p < .001). Blood bicarbonate significantly declined during the cycling capacity test at 110%W max with greater reductions following SB supplementation (−2.4 mmol/L; 95% CI [−3.8, −0.90]). Aligned with these results, SB supplementation increased total work done during the cycling capacity test at 110% W max (+8.5 kJ; 95% CI [3.6, 13.4], ∼19% increase) with no significant main effect of warm-up intensity (+0.0 kJ; 95% CI [−5.0, 5.0]). Collectively, the results demonstrate that SB supplementation can improve HI cycling capacity irrespective of prior warm-up intensity, likely due to blood alkalosis.

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Acute and Chronic Citrulline Malate Supplementation on Muscle Contractile Properties and Fatigue Rate of the Quadriceps

Alyssa N. Fick, Robert J. Kowalsky, Matthew S. Stone, Christopher M. Hearon, and Tyler M. Farney

This study compared the acute and chronic impact of citrulline malate (CM) supplementation on muscle contractile properties and fatigue rate of the quadriceps. Eighteen recreationally trained males consumed both a placebo (PL) and CM treatment for two separate dosing periods. The first experimental testing session for each dosing period was considered the baseline day, the second session the acute day, and the third session the chronic day, which followed seven consecutive days of supplementation. All testing sessions included exercising on a cycle ergometer at 50%–60% of their max power output for 30 min followed by performing the Thorstensson test on an isokinetic dynamometer. A two-way (Supplement × Time) analysis of variance with repeated measures resulted in no significant interactions (p > .05) (PL: baseline day, acute day, chronic day vs. CM: baseline day, acute day, chronic day) for peak power (in watts) (469 ± 81, 490 ± 97, 502 ± 99 vs. 464 ± 85, 480 ± 103, 501 ± 81); peak torque (in newton meters) (150 ± 26, 157 ± 32, 161 ± 31 vs. 149 ± 27, 156 ± 33, 161 ± 26); fatigue rate (in percentage) (57 ± 9, 57 ± 10, 58 ± 9 vs. 57 ± 10, 56 ± 9, 58 ± 9); and heart rate (in beats per minute) (156 ± 17, 146 ± 13, 146 ± 9 vs. 155 ± 11, 146 ± 11, 146 ± 9). The results of this study suggest that neither acute nor chronic supplementation of CM had an effect on recovery or fatigue rate of the quadriceps.

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Associations of Urine Specific Gravity With Body Mass Index and Lean Body Mass at the Population Level: Implications for Hydration Monitoring

Patrick B. Wilson

Urine specific gravity (USG) thresholds are used in practice and research to determine hypohydration. However, some limited research has found that body size and body composition may impact USG, suggesting that fixed cutoffs may be insensitive. Cross-sectional data from 3,634 participants of the 2007–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. Along with USG, body mass index (BMI), estimated lean body mass (LBM), and dietary intake were quantified. Logistic regression models were used to evaluate whether higher quintiles of BMI and LBM were associated with elevated USG (USG ≥ 1.020 and ≥1.025) after accounting for dietary moisture and sodium. The USG (1.018 ± 0.0003 vs. 1.015 ± 0.0004); BMI (28.4 ± 0.2 vs. 28.0 ± 0.2 kg/m2); LBM (60.9 ± 0.3 vs. 42.2 ± 0.2 kg); dietary moisture (3,401 ± 92 vs. 2,759 ± 49 g/day); and dietary sodium (4,171 ± 85 vs. 2,959 ± 50) were greater in men than in women (p < .05). Men and women in the fifth quintiles of BMI or LBM (vs. Quintile 1) had greater odds (2.00–3.68, p < .05) of elevated USG. (The only exception was for the association between BMI and USG ≥ 1.025 in men.) Being in Quintile 4 of LBM or BMI (vs. Quintile 1) also tended to be associated with higher odds of elevated of USG, though this pattern was more consistent when using USG ≥ 1.020 than USG ≥ 1.025. In summary, BMI and LBM are associated with USG at the population level. These results affirm that USG depends on body size and composition and raise questions about using fixed USG thresholds for determining hypohydration, particularly for people in the upper quintiles of BMI and LBM.

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Increased Performance in Elite Runners Following Individualized Timing of Sodium Bicarbonate Supplementation

Tue A.H. Lassen, Lars Lindstrøm, Simon Lønbro, and Klavs Madsen

The present study investigated individualized sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 ) supplementation in elite orienteers and its effects on alkalosis and performance in a simulated sprint orienteering competition. Twenty-one Danish male and female elite orienteers (age = 25.2 ± 3.6 years, height = 176.4 ± 10.9 cm, body mass = 66.6 ± 7.9 kg) were tested twice in order to identify individual time to peak blood bicarbonate (HCO3 peak) following supplementation of 0.3 g/kg body mass NaHCO3 with and without warm-up. The athletes also performed two 3.5 km time-trial runs (TT-runs) following individualized timing of NaHCO3 supplementation (SBS) or placebo (PLA) on separate days in a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design. The occurrence of individual peak HCO3 and pH ranged from 60 to 180 min. Mean HCO3 and pH in SBS were significantly higher compared with PLA 10 min before and following the TT-run (p < .01). SBS improved overall performance in the 3.5 km TT-run by 6 s compared with PLA (775.5 ± 16.2 s vs. 781.4 ± 16.1 s, respectively; p < .05). SBS improved performance in the last half of the TT-run compared with PLA (p < .01). In conclusion, supplementation with NaHCO3 followed by warm-up resulted in individualized alkalosis peaks ranging from 60 to 180 min. Individualized timing of SBS in elite orienteers induced significant alkalosis before and after a 3.5 km TT and improved overall performance time by 6 s, which occurred in the last half of the time trial. The present data show that the anaerobic buffer system is important for performance in these types of endurance events lasting 12–15 min.

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Volume 31 (2021): Issue 5 (Sep 2021)

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Carbohydrate and Protein Co-Ingestion Postexercise Does Not Improve Next-Day Performance in Trained Cyclists

Hilkka Kontro, Marta Kozior, Gráinne Whelehan, Miryam Amigo-Benavent, Catherine Norton, Brian P. Carson, and Phil Jakeman

Supplementing postexercise carbohydrate (CHO) intake with protein has been suggested to enhance recovery from endurance exercise. The aim of this study was to investigate whether adding protein to the recovery drink can improve 24-hr recovery when CHO intake is suboptimal. In a double-blind crossover design, 12 trained men performed three 2-day trials consisting of constant-load exercise to reduce glycogen on Day 1, followed by ingestion of a CHO drink (1.2 g·kg−1·2 hr−1) either without or with added whey protein concentrate (CHO + PRO) or whey protein hydrolysate (CHO + PROH) (0.3 g·kg−1·2 hr−1). Arterialized blood glucose and insulin responses were analyzed for 2 hr postingestion. Time-trial performance was measured the next day after another bout of glycogen-reducing exercise. The 30-min time-trial performance did not differ between the three trials (M ± SD, 401 ± 75, 411 ± 80, 404 ± 58 kJ in CHO, CHO + PRO, and CHO + PROH, respectively, p = .83). No significant differences were found in glucose disposal (area under the curve [AUC]) between the postexercise conditions (364 ± 107, 341 ± 76, and 330 ± 147, mmol·L−1·2 hr−1, respectively). Insulin AUC was lower in CHO (18.1 ± 7.7 nmol·L−1·2 hr−1) compared with CHO + PRO and CHO + PROH (24.6 ± 12.4 vs. 24.5 ± 10.6, p = .036 and .015). No difference in insulin AUC was found between CHO + PRO and CHO + PROH. Despite a higher acute insulin response, adding protein to a CHO-based recovery drink after a prolonged, high-intensity exercise bout did not change next-day exercise capacity when overall 24-hr macronutrient and caloric intake was controlled.

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Exercise and Heat Stress: Inflammation and the Iron Regulatory Response

Alannah K.A. McKay, Rachel McCormick, Nicolin Tee, and Peter Peeling

This study determined the impact of heat stress on postexercise inflammation and hepcidin levels. Twelve moderately trained males completed three, 60-min treadmill running sessions under different conditions: (a) COOL, 18 °C with speed maintained at 80% maximum heart rate; (b) HOTHR, 35 °C with speed maintained at 80% maximum heart rate; and (c) HOTPACE, 35 °C completed at the average running speed from the COOL trial. Venous blood samples were collected pre-, post-, and 3-hr postexercise and analyzed for serum ferritin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and hepcidin concentrations. Average HR was highest during HOTPACE compared with HOTHR and COOL (p < .001). Running speed was slowest in HOTHR compared with COOL and HOTPACE (p < .001). The postexercise increase in IL-6 was greatest during HOTPACE (295%; p = .003). No differences in the IL-6 response immediately postexercise between COOL (115%) and HOTHR (116%) were evident (p = .992). No differences in hepcidin concentrations between the three trials were evident at 3 hr postexercise (p = .407). Findings from this study suggest the IL-6 response to exercise is greatest in hot compared with cool conditions when the absolute running speed was matched. No differences in IL-6 between hot and cool conditions were evident when HR was matched, suggesting the increased physiological strain induced from training at higher intensities in hot environments, rather than the heat per se, is likely responsible for this elevated response. Environmental temperature had no impact on hepcidin levels, indicating that exercising in hot conditions is unlikely to further impact transient alterations in iron regulation, beyond that expected in temperate conditions.

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Caffeine Mouth Rinse Does Not Improve Time to Exhaustion in Male Trained Cyclists

Lara Lima Nabuco, Bryan Saunders, Renato André Sousa da Silva, Guilherme Eckhardt Molina, and Caio Eduardo Gonçalves Reis

This study investigated the effects of caffeine mouth rinse on cycling time to exhaustion (TTE) and physiological responses in trained cyclists. In a double-blinded randomized counterbalanced cross-over design, 10 recreationally trained male cyclists (mean ± SD: 32 ± 3 years, 72.8 ± 5.3 kg, 1.78 ± 0.06 m, 13.9% ± 3.3% body fat, peak power output = 289.4 ± 24.7 W) completed two TTE tests cycling at 75% of peak aerobic power following 24 hr of dietary and exercise standardization. Cyclists were administered 25-ml mouth rinses for 5 s containing either 85 mg of caffeine or control (water) every 5 min throughout the exercise tests. No significant improvement in TTE was shown with caffeine mouth rinse compared with control (33:24 ± 12:47 vs. 28:08 ± 10:18 min; Cohen’s dz effect size: 0.51, p = .14). Caffeine mouth rinse had no significant effect on ratings of perceived exertion (p = .31) or heart rate (p = .35) throughout the cycling TTE protocol. These data indicate that a repeated dose of caffeinated mouth rinse for 5 s does not improve cycling TTE in recreationally trained male cyclists. However, these findings should be taken with caution due to the small sample size and blinding ineffectiveness, while further well-design studies with larger samples are warranted.

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Changes in Hydration Factors Over the Course of Heat Acclimation in Endurance Athletes

Yasuki Sekiguchi, Courteney L. Benjamin, Samantha O. Dion, Ciara N. Manning, Jeb F. Struder, Erin E. Dierickx, Margaret C. Morrissey, Erica M. Filep, and Douglas J. Casa

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of heat acclimation (HA) on thirst levels, sweat rate, and percentage of body mass loss (%BML), and changes in fluid intake factors throughout HA induction. Twenty-eight male endurance athletes (mean ± SD; age, 35 ± 12 years; body mass, 73.0 ± 8.9 kg; maximal oxygen consumption, 57.4 ± 6.8 ml·kg−1·min−1) completed 60 min of exercise in a euhydrated state at 58.9 ± 2.3% velocity of maximal oxygen consumption in the heat (ambient temperature, 35.0 ± 1.3 °C; relative humidity, 48.0 ± 1.3%) prior to and following HA where thirst levels, sweat rate, and %BML were measured. Then, participants performed 5 days of HA while held at hyperthermia (38.50–39.75 °C) for 60 min with fluid provided ad libitum. Sweat volume, %BML, thirst levels, and fluid intake were measured for each session. Thirst levels were significantly lower following HA (pre, 4 ± 1; post, 3 ± 1, p < .001). Sweat rate (pre, 1.76 ± 0.42 L/hr; post, 2.00 ± 0.60 L/hr, p = .039) and %BML (pre, 2.66 ± 0.53%; post, 2.98 ± 0.83%, p = .049) were significantly greater following HA. During HA, thirst levels decreased (Day 1, 4 ± 1; Day 2, 3 ± 2; Day 3, 3 ± 2; Day 4, 3 ± 1; Day 5, 3 ± 1; p < .001). However, sweat volume (Day 1, 2.34 ± 0.67 L; Day 2, 2.49 ± 0.58 L; Day 3, 2.67 ± 0.63 L; Day 4, 2.74 ± 0.61 L; Day 5, 2.74 ± 0.91 L; p = .010) and fluid intake (Day 1, 1.20 ± 0.45 L; Day 2, 1.52 ± 0.58 L; Day 3, 1.69 ± 0.63 L; Day 4, 1.65 ± 0.58 L; Day 5, 1.74 ± 0.51 L; p < .001) increased. In conclusion, thirst levels were lower following HA even though sweat rate and %BML were higher. Thirst levels decreased while sweat volume and fluid intake increased during HA induction. Thus, HA should be one of the factors to consider when planning hydration strategies.