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Open access

Emma Brooks, Gilles Lamothe, Taniya S. Nagpal, Pascal Imbeault, Kristi Adamo, Jameel Kara, and Éric Doucet

There has been much consideration over whether exogenous ketone bodies have the capacity to enhance exercise performance through mechanisms such as altered substrate metabolism, accelerated recovery, or neurocognitive improvements. This systematic review aimed to determine the effects of both ketone precursors and monoesters on endurance exercise performance. A systematic search was conducted in PubMed, SPORTDiscus, and CINAHL for randomized controlled trials investigating endurance performance outcomes in response to ingestion of a ketone supplement compared to a nutritive or nonnutritive control in humans. A meta-analysis was performed to determine the standardized mean difference between interventions using a random-effects model. Hedge’s g and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported. The search yielded 569 articles, of which eight were included in this review (80 participants; 77 men and three women). When comparing endurance performance among all studies, no significant differences were found between ketone and control trials (Hedges g = 0.136; 95% CI [−0.195, 0.467]; p = .419). Subanalyses based on type of endurance tests showed no significant differences in time to exhaustion (Hedge’s g = −0.002; 95% CI [−0.312, 0.308]; p = .989) or time trial (Hedge’s g = 0.057; 95% CI [−0.282, 0.395]; p = .744) values. Based on these findings, exogenous ketone precursors and monoesters do not exert significant improvements on endurance exercise performance. While all studies reported an increase in blood ketone concentrations after ingestion, ketone monoesters appear to be more effective at raising concentrations than precursors.

Open access

Sophie Gibbs-Nicholls, Alister McCormick, and Melissa Coyle

This study identified helpful and unhelpful encouragement at mass participation running events and explored the meaning that runners found in encouragement. First, 10 k and half-marathon postevent surveys differentiated instructional and motivational components of helpful and unhelpful support. Second, an inductive, reflexive thematic analysis of 14 interviews highlighted the reciprocal relationship between the crowd and runners, whereby quality of support was reflected in runners’ emotions and behavior. Participants drew pride in participation and belief from the crowd, and they wanted to “give back” through doing their best. Personal and authentic support was particularly valued. Although support was widely appreciated, at times it created a pressure to “perform.” As a novel intervention based on our combined findings, we recommend that crowds, event organizers, and psyching teams give encouragement “with IMPACT” (Instructional; Motivational; Personalized; Authentic; Confidence-building; Tailored to the distance). Crowds should also demonstrate the “core conditions” of authenticity, empathy, and being nonjudgmental within their encouragement.

Open access

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.

Open access

Alannah K.A. McKay, Trent Stellingwerff, Ella S. Smith, David T. Martin, Iñigo Mujika, Vicky L. Goosey-Tolfrey, Jeremy Sheppard, and Louise M. Burke

Throughout the sport-science and sports-medicine literature, the term “elite” subjects might be one of the most overused and ill-defined terms. Currently, there is no common perspective or terminology to characterize the caliber and training status of an individual or cohort. This paper presents a 6-tiered Participant Classification Framework whereby all individuals across a spectrum of exercise backgrounds and athletic abilities can be classified. The Participant Classification Framework uses training volume and performance metrics to classify a participant to one of the following: Tier 0: Sedentary; Tier 1: Recreationally Active; Tier 2: Trained/Developmental; Tier 3: Highly Trained/National Level; Tier 4: Elite/International Level; or Tier 5: World Class. We suggest the Participant Classification Framework can be used to classify participants both prospectively (as part of study participant recruitment) and retrospectively (during systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses). Discussion around how the Participant Classification Framework can be tailored toward different sports, athletes, and/or events has occurred, and sport-specific examples provided. Additional nuances such as depth of sport participation, nationality differences, and gender parity within a sport are all discussed. Finally, chronological age with reference to the junior and masters athlete, as well as the Paralympic athlete, and their inclusion within the Participant Classification Framework has also been considered. It is our intention that this framework be widely implemented to systematically classify participants in research featuring exercise, sport, performance, health, and/or fitness outcomes going forward, providing the much-needed uniformity to classification practices.

Open access

Irineu Loturco, Antonio Dello Iacono, Fábio Y. Nakamura, Tomás T. Freitas, Daniel Boullosa, Pedro L. Valenzuela, Lucas A. Pereira, and Michael R. McGuigan

Purpose: The optimal power load is defined as the load that maximizes power output in a given exercise. This load can be determined through the use of various instruments, under different testing protocols. Specifically, the “optimum power load” (OPL) is derived from the load–velocity relationship, using only bar force and bar velocity in the power computation. The OPL is easily assessed using a simple incremental testing protocol, based on relative percentages of body mass. To date, several studies have examined the associations between the OPL and different sport-specific measures, as well as its acute and chronic effects on athletic performance. The aim of this brief review is to present and summarize the current evidence regarding the OPL, highlighting the main lines of research on this topic and discussing the potential applications of this novel approach for testing and training. Conclusions: The validity and simplicity of OPL-based schemes provide strong support for their use as an alternative to more traditional strength–power training strategies. The OPL method can be effectively used by coaches and sport scientists in different sports and populations, with different purposes and configurations.

Open access

Bart Roelands, Vincent Kelly, Suzanna Russell, and Jelle Habay

Open access

Carolina Nieva Boza and Teresa Lleixà Arribas

Purpose: This study seeks to analyze the involvement of the various stakeholders related to the educational context, namely school management team, teaching staff, families, and students, to foster the social inclusion of immigrant girls through their participation in physical activities. Methods: Data consisted of interviews and focus group sessions involving 19 physical education (PE) teachers from state primary schools in Catalonia, Spain. Results: The involvement of the stakeholders can foster greater inclusion of such immigrant girls through initiatives, such as: extracurricular physical activities specifically designed for them; the creation of specific spaces for their physical activities; a greater number of PE class hours for immigrant newcomer pupils; supportive feedback for these girls from PE teachers; and greater consideration of these girls’ interests and preference in PE programming. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the greater the degree of involvement and cohesion among the various parties, the higher the likelihood of successful social inclusion.