Iñigo Mujika and Ritva S. Taipale
Ralph Beneke and Renate M. Leithäuser
Jos J. de Koning and Dionne A. Noordhof
Patellar tendinopathy is one of the most common afflictions in jumping sports. This case study outlines the rehabilitation of a professional basketball player diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a central core patellar tendinopathy within the proximal enthesis. The player undertook a nutrition and strength-based rehabilitation program combining gelatin ingestion and heavy isometric loading of the patellar tendon designed to produce significant stress relaxation as part of their competition schedule and a whole-body training plan. On follow-up one and a half years into the program an independent orthopedic surgeon declared the tendon normal on MRI. Importantly, the improved MRI results were associated with a decrease in pain and improved performance. This case study provides evidence that a nutritional intervention combined with a rehabilitation program that uses stress relaxation can improve clinical outcomes in elite athletes.
Edgar J. Gallardo and Andrew R. Coggan
Consumption of beetroot juice (BRJ) supplements has become popular among athletes because beets tend to be rich in nitrate (NO3 −), which can enhance exercise performance by increasing nitric oxide production. The NO3 − content of beets can vary significantly, however, making it difficult to know how much NO3 − any product actually contains. Samples from 45 different lots of 24 different BRJ products from 21 different companies were therefore analyzed for NO3 − (and nitrite [NO2 −]) concentration using high-performance liquid chromatography. The NO3 − and NO2 − content (i.e., amount per serving) was then calculated based on either (a) the manufacturer’s recommended serving size (for prepackaged/single dose products) or (b) as used in previous studies, a volume of 500 ml (for BRJ sold in bulk containers). There was moderate-to-large variability in NO3 − content between samples of the same product, with a mean coefficient of variation of 30% ± 26% (range 2–83%). There was even greater variability between products, with a ∼50-fold range in NO3 − content between the lowest and highest. Only five products consistently provided ≥5 mmol of NO3 −/serving, which seems to be the minimal dose required to enhance exercise performance in most individuals. NO2 − contents were generally low (i.e., ≤0.5% compared with NO3 −), although two products contained 10% and 14%. The results of this study may be useful to athletes and their support staff contemplating which (if any) BRJ product to utilize. These data may also offer insight into variability in the literature with respect to the effects of BRJ on exercise performance.
Shona L. Halson, Alan G. Hahn, and Aaron J. Coutts
Trent Stellingwerff, Ingvill Måkestad Bovim, and Jamie Whitfield
Middle-distance runners utilize the full continuum of energy systems throughout training, and given the infinite competition tactical scenarios, this event group is highly complex from a performance intervention point of view. However, this complexity results in numerous potential periodized nutrition interventions to optimize middle-distance training adaptation and competition performance. Middle-distance race intensity is extreme, with 800- to 5,000-m races being at ∼95% to 130% of VO2max. Accordingly, elite middle-distance runners have primarily Type IIa/IIx fiber morphology and rely almost exclusively on carbohydrate (primarily muscle glycogen) metabolic pathways for producing adenosine triphosphate. Consequently, the principle nutritional interventions that should be emphasized are those that optimize muscle glycogen contents to support high glycolytic flux (resulting in very high lactate values, of >20 mmol/L in some athletes) with appropriate buffering capabilities, while optimizing power to weight ratios, all in a macro- and microperiodized manner. From youth to elite level, middle-distance athletes have arduous racing schedules (10–25 races/year), coupled with excessive global travel, which can take a physical and emotional toll. Accordingly, proactive and integrated nutrition planning can have a profound recovery effect over a long race season, as well as optimizing recovery during rounds of championship racing. Finally, with evidence-based implementation and an appropriate risk/reward assessment, several ergogenic aids may have an adaptive and/or performance-enhancing effect in the middle-distance athlete. Given that elite middle-distance athletes undertake ∼400 to 800 training sessions with 10–25 races/year, there are countless opportunities to implement various periodized acute and chronic nutrition-based interventions to optimize performance.
Louise M. Burke, Asker E. Jeukendrup, Andrew M. Jones, and Martin Mooses
Distance events in Athletics include cross country, 10,000-m track race, half-marathon and marathon road races, and 20- and 50-km race walking events over different terrain and environmental conditions. Race times for elite performers span ∼26 min to >4 hr, with key factors for success being a high aerobic power, the ability to exercise at a large fraction of this power, and high running/walking economy. Nutrition-related contributors include body mass and anthropometry, capacity to use fuels, particularly carbohydrate (CHO) to produce adenosine triphosphate economically over the duration of the event, and maintenance of reasonable hydration status in the face of sweat losses induced by exercise intensity and the environment. Race nutrition strategies include CHO-rich eating in the hours per days prior to the event to store glycogen in amounts sufficient for event fuel needs, and in some cases, in-race consumption of CHO and fluid to offset event losses. Beneficial CHO intakes range from small amounts, including mouth rinsing, in the case of shorter events to high rates of intake (75–90 g/hr) in the longest races. A personalized and practiced race nutrition plan should balance the benefits of fluid and CHO consumed within practical opportunities, against the time, cost, and risk of gut discomfort. In hot environments, prerace hyperhydration or cooling strategies may provide a small but useful offset to the accrued thermal challenge and fluid deficit. Sports foods (drinks, gels, etc.) may assist in meeting training/race nutrition plans, with caffeine, and, perhaps nitrate being used as evidence-based performance supplements.