The analysis of time series data is common in nutrition and metabolism research for quantifying the physiological responses to various stimuli. The reduction of many data from a time series into a summary statistic(s) can help quantify and communicate the overall response in a more straightforward way and in line with a specific hypothesis. Nevertheless, many summary statistics have been selected by various researchers, and some approaches are still complex. The time-intensive nature of such calculations can be a burden for especially large data sets and may, therefore, introduce computational errors, which are difficult to recognize and correct. In this short commentary, the authors introduce a newly developed tool that automates many of the processes commonly used by researchers for discrete time series analysis, with particular emphasis on how the tool may be implemented within nutrition and exercise science research.
Benjamin J. Narang, Greg Atkinson, Javier T. Gonzalez, and James A. Betts
Andy J. King, Joshua T. Rowe, and Louise M. Burke
The benefits of ingesting exogenous carbohydrate (CHO) during prolonged exercise performance are well established. A recent food technology innovation has seen sodium alginate and pectin included in solutions of multiple transportable CHO, to encapsulate them at pH levels found in the stomach. Marketing claims include enhanced gastric emptying and delivery of CHO to the muscle with less gastrointestinal distress, leading to better sports performance. Emerging literature around such claims was identified by searching electronic databases; inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials investigating metabolic and/or exercise performance parameters during endurance exercise >1 hr, with CHO hydrogels versus traditional CHO fluids and/or noncaloric hydrogels. Limitations associated with the heterogeneity of exercise protocols and control comparisons are noted. To date, improvements in exercise performance/capacity have not been clearly demonstrated with ingestion of CHO hydrogels above traditional CHO fluids. Studies utilizing isotopic tracers demonstrate similar rates of exogenous CHO oxidation, and subjective ratings of gastrointestinal distress do not appear to be different. Overall, data do not support any metabolic or performance advantages to exogenous CHO delivery in hydrogel form over traditional CHO preparations; although, one study demonstrates a possible glycogen sparing effect. The authors note that the current literature has largely failed to investigate the conditions under which maximal CHO availability is needed; high-performance athletes undertaking prolonged events at high relative and absolute exercise intensities. Although investigations are needed to better target the testimonials provided about CHO hydrogels, current evidence suggests that they are similar in outcome and a benefit to traditional CHO sources.
Daniel Bok, Karim Chamari, and Carl Foster
Bart Roelands and Philip Hurst
Harry E. Routledge, Stuart Graham, Rocco Di Michele, Darren Burgess, Robert M. Erskine, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton
The authors aimed to quantify (a) the periodization of physical loading and daily carbohydrate (CHO) intake across an in-season weekly microcycle of Australian Football and (b) the quantity and source of CHO consumed during game play and training. Physical loading (via global positioning system technology) and daily CHO intake (via a combination of 24-hr recall, food diaries, and remote food photographic method) were assessed in 42 professional male players during two weekly microcycles comprising a home and away fixture. The players also reported the source and quantity of CHO consumed during all games (n = 22 games) and on the training session completed 4 days before each game (n = 22 sessions). The total distance was greater (p < .05) on game day (GD; 13 km) versus all training days. The total distance differed between training days, where GD-2 (8 km) was higher than GD-1, GD-3, and GD-4 (3.5, 0, and 7 km, respectively). The daily CHO intake was also different between training days, with reported intakes of 1.8, 1.4, 2.5, and 4.5 g/kg body mass on GD-4, GD-3, GD-2, and GD-1, respectively. The CHO intake was greater (p < .05) during games (59 ± 19 g) compared with training (1 ± 1 g), where in the former, 75% of the CHO consumed was from fluids as opposed to gels. Although the data suggest that Australian Football players practice elements of CHO periodization, the low absolute CHO intakes likely represent considerable underreporting in this population. Even when accounting for potential underreporting, the data also suggest Australian Football players underconsume CHO in relation to the physical demands of training and competition.
Amelia J. Carr, Philo U. Saunders, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, and Brent S. Vallance
Purpose: To quantify, for an elite-level racewalker, altitude training, heat acclimation and acclimatization, physiological data, and race performance from January 2007 to August 2008. Methods: The participant performed 7 blocks of altitude training: 2 “live high:train high” blocks at 1380 m (total = 22 d) and 5 simulated “live high:train low” blocks at 3000 m/600 m (total = 98 d). Prior to the 2007 World Championships and the 2008 Olympic Games, 2 heat-acclimation blocks of ~6 weeks were performed (1 session/week), with ∼2 weeks of heat acclimatization completed immediately prior to each 20-km event. Results: During the observation period, physiological testing included maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max, mL·kg−1·min−1), walking speed (km·h−1) at 4 mmol·L−1 blood lactate concentration [La−], body mass (kg), and hemoglobin mass (g), and 12 × 20-km races and 2 × 50-km races were performed. The highest VO2max was 67.0 mL·kg−1·min−1 (August 2007), which improved 3.1% from the first measurement (64.9 mL·kg−1·min−1, June 2007). The highest percentage change in any physiological variable was 7.1%, for 4 mmol·L−1 [La−] walking speed, improving from 14.1 (June 2007) to 15.1 km·h−1 (August 2007). Personal-best times for 20 km improved from (hh:mm:ss) 1:21:36 to 1:19:41 (2.4%) and from 3:55:08 to 3:39:27 (7.1%) in the 50-km event. The participant won Olympic bronze and silver medals in the 20- and 50-km, respectively. Conclusions: Elite racewalkers who regularly perform altitude training may benefit from periodized heat acclimation and acclimatization prior to major international competitions in the heat.