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.
Alannah K.A. McKay, Trent Stellingwerff, Ella S. Smith, David T. Martin, Iñigo Mujika, Vicky L. Goosey-Tolfrey, Jeremy Sheppard, and Louise M. Burke
Ricardo J.S. Costa, Pascale Young, Samantha K. Gill, Rhiannon M.J. Snipe, Stephanie Gaskell, Isabella Russo, and Louise M. Burke
Strenuous exercise is synonymous with disturbing gastrointestinal integrity and function, subsequently prompting systemic immune responses and exercise-associated gastrointestinal symptoms, a condition established as “exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome.” When exercise stress and aligned exacerbation factors (i.e., extrinsic and intrinsic) are of substantial magnitude, these exercise-associated gastrointestinal perturbations can cause performance decrements and health implications of clinical significance. This potentially explains the exponential growth in exploratory, mechanistic, and interventional research in exercise gastroenterology to understand, accurately measure and interpret, and prevent or attenuate the performance debilitating and health consequences of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome. Considering the recent advancement in exercise gastroenterology research, it has been highlighted that published literature in the area is consistently affected by substantial experimental limitations that may affect the accuracy of translating study outcomes into practical application/s and/or design of future research. This perspective methodological review attempts to highlight these concerns and provides guidance to improve the validity, reliability, and robustness of the next generation of exercise gastroenterology research. These methodological concerns include participant screening and description, exertional and exertional heat stress load, dietary control, hydration status, food and fluid provisions, circadian variation, biological sex differences, comprehensive assessment of established markers of exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome, validity of gastrointestinal symptoms assessment tool, and data reporting and presentation. Standardized experimental procedures are needed for the accurate interpretation of research findings, avoiding misinterpreted (e.g., pathological relevance of response magnitude) and overstated conclusions (e.g., clinical and practical relevance of intervention research outcomes), which will support more accurate translation into safe practice guidelines.
Deborah Salvo, Andrea Ramírez Varela, and Alejandra Jáuregui
Sérgio M. Querido, Régis Radaelli, João Brito, João R. Vaz, and Sandro R. Freitas
Background: Sleep, nutrition, active recovery, cold-water immersion, and massage were recently reported as the most used postmatch recovery methods in professional football. However, the recommendations concerning the effect of these methods remain unclear. Purpose: To systematically review the literature regarding the effectiveness of the most common recovery methods applied to male and female football players (or other team sports) 72 hours postmatches and to provide graded recommendations for their use. Methods: A systematic search of the literature was performed, and the level of evidence of randomized and nonrandomized studies was classified as 1 or 2, respectively, with additional ++, +, and − classification according to the quality of the study and risk of bias. Graded recommendations were provided regarding the effectiveness of recovery methods for physical, physiological, and perceptive variables. Results: From the 3472 articles identified, 39 met the inclusion criteria for analysis. The studies’ levels of evidence varied among methods (sleep: 2+ to 1++; nutrition: 2− to 1+; cold-water immersion: 2− to 1++; active recovery: 2− to 1+; and massage: 1− to 1+). Different graded recommendations were attributed, and none of them favored the effective use of recovery methods for physiological and physical parameters, whereas massage and cold-water immersion were recommended as beneficial for perceptive variables. Conclusions: Cold-water immersion and massage can be recommended to recover up to 72 hours postmatch at a perceptive level. However, there is a current need for high-quality research that identifies effective recovery strategies that enhance recovery at the physical and physiological levels.
Karel Frömel, Josef Mitáš, and Catrine Tudor-Locke
Background: This study aimed to present step-determined physical activity trends in adolescents with different activity levels over a period of 10 years. Methods: Pedometers were used to monitor weekly physical activity in 1855 boys and 2648 girls aged 15–19 years recruited from 155 schools in the Czech Republic between 2009 and 2018. Trends for average steps/day and percent of accumulating various levels of steps/day (<10,000, 10,000–13,000, and >13,000 steps/d) were analyzed by sex. Results: There was a statistically significant decrease in average steps/day between 2009–2010 and 2017–2018 in boys from 12,355 (3936) steps/d to 10,054 (3730) steps/d and girls from 11,501 (3278) steps/d to 10,216 (3288) steps/d. The percent accumulating <10,000 steps/d increased by 21% in boys and 12% in girls. The percent achieving >13,000 steps/d decreased by 17% in boys and 10% in girls. Conclusions: Objectively collected evidence indicates an overall decrease in Czech adolescents’ steps/day over a 10-year period concurrent with an increase in the percent of boys and girls accumulating <10,000 steps/d. These trends are concerning as they portend a decline in physical activity as adolescents transition to adulthood and continue to age, which also may have major health implications.
Iñigo Mujika and Karim Chamari
Courtney C. Walton, Kelsey J. Lewis, James Kirby, Rosemary Purcell, Simon M. Rice, and Margaret S. Osborne
This cross-sectional study explored athlete responses to the Compassion Motivation and Action Scales Self-Compassion Scale, examining its relationship with well-being. Athlete (N = 207; mean age 27.9 years) scores were consistent with previous population means. Scores on the Compassion Motivation and Action Scales Self-Compassion Scale did not differ between elite and nonelite athletes, nor did they correlate significantly with trait competitiveness. Significant differences emerged based on athlete well-being state, with athletes categorized as “flourishing” scoring higher on the total score and all subscales of the Compassion Motivation and Action Scales Self-Compassion Scale, as compared with those with “moderate mental health” (Cohen’s ds from 0.58 to 0.92). Furthermore, the distress tolerance subscale significantly mediated the relationship between self-compassion intentions and well-being (indirect path: B = 0.034, p < .001). The results suggest that self-compassionate intentions are not enough, and athletes may need support to tolerate the distress that comes with moving toward one’s own suffering.