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Alannah K.A. McKay, Peter Peeling, David B. Pyne, Nicolin Tee, Marijke Welveart, Ida A. Heikura, Avish P. Sharma, Jamie Whitfield, Megan L. Ross, Rachel P.L. van Swelm, Coby M. Laarakkers, and Louise M. Burke

This study implemented a 2-week high carbohydrate (CHO) diet intended to maximize CHO oxidation rates and examined the iron-regulatory response to a 26-km race walking effort. Twenty international-level, male race walkers were assigned to either a novel high CHO diet (MAX = 10 g/kg body mass CHO daily) inclusive of gut-training strategies, or a moderate CHO control diet (CON = 6 g/kg body mass CHO daily) for a 2-week training period. The athletes completed a 26-km race walking test protocol before and after the dietary intervention. Venous blood samples were collected pre-, post-, and 3 hr postexercise and measured for serum ferritin, interleukin-6, and hepcidin-25 concentrations. Similar decreases in serum ferritin (17–23%) occurred postintervention in MAX and CON. At the baseline, CON had a greater postexercise increase in interleukin-6 levels after 26 km of walking (20.1-fold, 95% CI [9.2, 35.7]) compared with MAX (10.2-fold, 95% CI [3.7, 18.7]). A similar finding was evident for hepcidin levels 3 hr postexercise (CON = 10.8-fold, 95% CI [4.8, 21.2]; MAX = 8.8-fold, 95% CI [3.9, 16.4]). Postintervention, there were no substantial differences in the interleukin-6 response (CON = 13.6-fold, 95% CI [9.2, 20.5]; MAX = 11.2-fold, 95% CI [6.5, 21.3]) or hepcidin levels (CON = 7.1-fold, 95% CI [2.1, 15.4]; MAX = 6.3-fold, 95% CI [1.8, 14.6]) between the dietary groups. Higher resting serum ferritin (p = .004) and hotter trial ambient temperatures (p = .014) were associated with greater hepcidin levels 3 hr postexercise. Very high CHO diets employed by endurance athletes to increase CHO oxidation have little impact on iron regulation in elite athletes. It appears that variations in serum ferritin concentration and ambient temperature, rather than dietary CHO, are associated with increased hepcidin concentrations 3 hr postexercise.

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ZáNean McClain, Erin Snapp, Daniel W. Tindall, and Jill Anderson

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Michael H. Haischer, John Krzyszkowski, Stuart Roche, and Kristof Kipp

Maximal strength is important for the performance of dynamic athletic activities, such as countermovement jumps (CMJ). Although measures of maximal strength appear related to discrete CMJ variables, such as peak ground reaction forces (GRF) and center-of-mass (COM) velocity, knowledge about the association between strength and the time series patterns during CMJ will help characterize changes that can be expected in dynamic movement with changes in maximal strength. Purpose: To investigate the associations between maximal strength and GRF and COM velocity patterns during CMJ. Methods: Nineteen female college lacrosse players performed 3 maximal-effort CMJs and isometric midthigh pull. GRF and COM velocity time series data from the CMJ were time normalized and used as inputs to principal-components analyses. Associations between isometric midthigh pull peak force and CMJ principal-component scores were investigated with a correlational analysis. Results: Isometric midthigh pull peak force was associated with several GRF and COM velocity patterns. Correlations indicated that stronger players exhibited a GRF pattern characterized by greater eccentric-phase rate of force development, greater peak GRF, and a unimodal GRF profile (P = .016). Furthermore, stronger athletes exhibited a COM velocity pattern characterized by higher velocities during the concentric phase (P = .004). Conclusions: Maximal strength is correlated to specific GRF and COM velocity patterns during CMJ in female college lacrosse athletes. Since maximal strength was not correlated with discrete CMJ variables, the patterns extracted via principal-components analyses may provide information that is more beneficial for performance coaches and researchers.

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Thomas Birkedal Stenqvist, Anna Katarina Melin, Ina Garthe, Gary Slater, Gøran Paulsen, Juma Iraki, Jose Areta, and Monica Klungland Torstveit

The syndrome of Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) includes wide-ranging effects on physiological and psychological functioning, performance, and general health. However, RED-S is understudied among male athletes at the highest performance levels. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate surrogate RED-S markers prevalence in Norwegian male Olympic-level athletes. Athletes (n = 44) aged 24.7 ± 3.8 years, body mass 81.3 ± 15.9 kg, body fat 13.7% ± 5.8%, and training volume 76.1 ± 22.9 hr/month were included. Assessed parameters included resting metabolic rate (RMR), body composition, and bone mineral density by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and venous blood variables (testosterone, free triiodothyronine, cortisol, and lipids). Seven athletes (16%) grouped by the presence of low RMR (RMRratio < 0.90) (0.81 ± 0.07 vs. 1.04 ± 0.09, p < .001, effect size 2.6), also showed lower testosterone (12.9 ± 5.3 vs. 19.0 ± 5.3 nmol/L, p = .020) than in normal RMR group. In low RMRratio individuals, prevalence of other RED-S markers (—subclinical—low testosterone, low free triiodothyronine, high cortisol, and elevated low-density lipoprotein) was (N/number of markers): 2/0, 2/1, 2/2, 1/3. Low bone mineral density (z-score < −1) was found in 16% of the athletes, all with normal RMR. Subclinical low testosterone and free triiodothyronine levels were found in nine (25%) and two (5%) athletes, respectively. Subclinical high cortisol was found in 23% of athletes while 34% had elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Seven of 12 athletes with two or more RED-S markers had normal RMR. In conclusion, this study found that multiple RED-S markers also exist in male Olympic-level athletes. This highlights the importance of regular screening of male elite athletes, to ensure early detection and treatment of RED-S.

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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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Danielle Peers, Lindsay Eales, Kelvin Jones, Aidan Toth, Hernish Acharya, and Janice Richman–Eisenstat

The purpose of this study was to assess the safety and meaningfulness of a 15-week recreational dance and singing program for people with neuromuscular conditions. Within a transformative mixed-methods design, pulmonary function tests, plethysmography through wearable technology (Hexoskin vests), individualized neuromuscular quality-of-life assessments (version 2.0), and semistructured interviews were used. The interviews were analyzed through inductive, semantic thematic analysis. Although the sample sizes were small (six people with neuromuscular conditions), the authors found no evidence of safety concerns. There was evidence of respiratory improvements and reported improvements in swallowing and speech. The most notable quality-of-life changes included improvements related to weakness, swallowing, relationships, and leisure. The participants shared that the program offered meaningful social connection and embodied skills and safe and pleasurable physical exertion. The authors learned that recreational singing and dancing programs could be a safe and deeply meaningful activity for those with neuromuscular conditions that impact respiration.

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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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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.