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Fredrik Tonstad Vårvik, Thomas Bjørnsen, and Adam M. Gonzalez

Citrulline malate (CitMal) is a dietary supplement that is suggested to enhance strength training performance. However, there is conflicting evidence on this matter. Thus, the purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine whether supplementing with CitMal prior to strength training could increase the total number of repetitions performed before reaching voluntary muscular failure. A systematic search was conducted wherein the inclusion criteria were double-blind, placebo-controlled studies in healthy participants that examined the effect of CitMal on repetitions to failure during upper body and lower body resistance exercises. The Hedges’s g standardized mean differences (SMD) between the placebo and CitMal trials were calculated and used in a random effect model. Two separate subanalyses were performed for upper body and lower body exercises. Eight studies, including 137 participants who consisted of strength-trained men (n = 101) and women (n = 26) in addition to untrained men (n = 9), fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Across the studies, 14 single-joint and multijoint exercises were performed with an average of 51 ± 23 total repetitions during 5 ± 3 sets per exercise at ∼70% of one-repetition maximum. Supplementing with 6–8 g of CitMal 40–60 min before exercise increased repetitions by 3 ± 5 (6.4 ± 7.9%) compared with placebo (p = .022) with a small SMD (0.196). The subanalysis for the lower body resulted in a tendency for an effect of the supplement (8.1 ± 8.4%, SMD: 0.27, p = .051) with no significant effect for the upper body (5.7 ± 8.4%, SMD: 0.16, p = .131). The current analysis observed a small ergogenic effect of CitMal compared with placebo. Acute CitMal supplementation may, therefore, delay fatigue and enhance muscle endurance during high-intensity strength training.

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Tércio A.R. Barros, Wagner L. do Prado, Thiago R.S. Tenório, Raphael M. Ritti-Dias, Antônio H. Germano-Soares, Babu P. Balagopal, James O. Hill, and Ricardo Freitas-Dias

This study compared the effects of self-selected exercise intensity (SEI) versus predetermined exercise intensity (PEI) on blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness in adolescents with obesity. A total of 37 adolescents, 14.7 (1.6) years old, body mass index ≥95th percentile were randomly allocated into SEI (n = 18; 12 boys) or PEI (n = 19; 13 boys). Both groups exercised for 35 minutes on a treadmill, 3 times per week, for 12 weeks. The SEI could set the speed at the beginning of the sessions and make changes every 5 minutes. The PEI adolescents were trained at an intensity set at 60% to 70% of heart rate reserve. Brachial and central BP, pulse pressure, augmentation index, and carotid–femoral pulse wave were determined at baseline and after 12 weeks. Both groups reduced brachial systolic BP (SEI, Δ = −9 mm Hg; PEI, Δ = −4 mm Hg; P < .01), central systolic BP (SEI, Δ = −4 mm Hg; PEI, Δ = −4 mm Hg; P = .01), and central pulse pressure (SEI, Δ = −4 mm Hg; PEI, Δ = −3 mm Hg; P = .02) without differences between groups. No changes in the augmentation index and carotid–femoral pulse wave were observed in either group. The SEI induced similar changes in various cardiovascular outcomes compared with PEI in adolescents with obesity.

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Jeremy B. Ducharme, Ann L. Gibson, and Christine M. Mermier

The BodPod® (COSMED, Concord, CA) uses predicted (pTGV) or measured thoracic gas volume (mTGV) during estimations of percentage body fat (%BF). In young adults, there is inconsistent evidence on the variation between pTGV and mTGV, and the effect of sex as a potential covariate on this relationship is unknown. This study examined the difference between TGV assessments and its effect on %BF and potential sex differences that may impact this relationship. A retrospective analysis of BodPod® pTGV and mTGV for 95 men and 86 women ages 18–30 years was performed. Predicted TGV was lower than mTGV for men (−0.49 ± 0.7 L; p < .0001). For men, %BF derived by pTGV was lower than that by mTGV (−1.3 ± 1.8%; p < .0001). For women, no differences were found between pTGV and mTGV (−0.08 ± 0.6 L; p > .05) or %BF (−0.03 ± 0.2%; p > .05). The two-predictor model of sex and height was able to account for 57.9% of the variance in mTGV, F(2, 178) = 122.5, p < .0001. Sex corrected for the effect of height was a significant predictor of mTGV (β = 0.483 L, p < .0001). There is bias for pTGV to underestimate mTGV in individuals with a large mTGV, which can lead to significant underestimations of %BF in young adults; this was especially evident for men in this study. Sex is an important covariate that should be considered when deciding to use pTGV. The results indicate that TGV should be measured whenever possible for both men and women ages 18–30 years.

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Vitor de Salles Painelli, Emerson L. Teixeira, Bruno Tardone, Marina Moreno, Jonatas Morandini, Victória H. Larrain, and Flávio O. Pires

The long-standing caffeine habituation paradigm was never investigated in strength endurance and jumping exercise performance through a straightforward methodology. The authors examined if habitual caffeine consumption would influence the caffeine ergogenic effects on strength endurance and jumping performance as well as perceptual responses. Thirty-six strength-trained individuals were mathematically allocated into tertiles according to their habitual caffeine consumption: low (20 ± 11 mg/day), moderate (88 ± 33 mg/day), and high consumers (281 ± 167 mg/day). Then, in a double-blind, crossover, counterbalanced fashion, they performed a countermovement vertical jump test and a strength endurance test either after caffeine (6 mg/kg) and placebo supplementation or after no supplementation (control). Perceptual responses such as ratings of perceived exertion and pain were measured at the termination of the exercises. Acute caffeine supplementation improved countermovement vertical jump performance (p = .001) and total repetitions (p = .004), regardless of caffeine habituation. Accordingly, analysis of absolute change from the control session showed that caffeine promoted a significantly greater improvement in both countermovement vertical jump performance (p = .004) and total repetitions (p = .0001) compared with placebo. Caffeine did not affect the rating of perceived exertion and pain in any exercise tests, irrespective of tertiles (for all comparisons, p > .05 for both measures). Caffeine side effects were similar in low, moderate, and high caffeine consumers. These results show that habitual caffeine consumption does not influence the potential of caffeine as an ergogenic aid in strength endurance and jumping exercise performance, thus challenging recommendations to withdraw from the habitual caffeine consumption before supplementing with caffeine.

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Bruno Ruiz Brandão da Costa, Rafaela Rocha Roiffé, and Márcia Nogueira da Silva de la Cruz

The growing consumer awareness regarding health and fitness has been leading to a huge rise in the consumption of nutritional supplements and, consequently, to an increase in concerns about their quality. In this sense, one of the most consumed products is protein supplements and, despite being safer than other types of supplements, there are several studies showing incompatibilities between what is present on the labels and their actual content. Therefore, this review is focused on gathering information about the problems arising from poor manufacturing practices and inadequate quality control of sport protein supplements. These issues are mainly related to three aspects: reduction of the supplements’ nutritional value, the presence of pharmacological substances, and contamination with microorganisms or toxic metals. Regarding the first aspect, reports about the “classic” addition of nitrogen-rich compounds to mask the protein content measured by the Kjeldahl method were discussed, as well as recent topics such as the addition of cheaper proteins to produce an “undetectable” adulteration in whey protein supplements. With respect to the presence of pharmacological compounds, it is a finding that is not very common in protein supplements; however, even trace amounts of foreign substances in this type of product may cause adverse effects to consumers, and, in the case of an elite athlete, may result in doping. Finally, we discuss about the contamination with microorganisms and toxic metals, this latter being a subject that should be further explored due to few studies in the literature.

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Lambros Lazuras, Vassilis Barkoukis, Dmitriy Bondarev, Yannis Ntovolis, Konstantin Bochaver, Nikolaos Theodorou, and Kevin Bingham

Whistleblowing against doping misconduct represents an effective deterrent of doping use in elite competitive sport. The present study assessed the effects of social cognitive variables on competitive athletes’ intentions to report doping misconduct. A second objective was to assess whether the effects of social norms on whistleblowing intentions were mediated by actor prototype evaluations and group identification and orientation. In total, 1,163 competitive athletes from Greece, Russia, and the United Kingdom completed a questionnaire on demographics, past behavior, social cognitive variables, and intentions toward whistleblowing. Regression analyses showed that whistleblowing intentions were associated with different social cognitive variables in each country. Multiple mediation modeling showed that attitudes and subjective norms were associated with whistleblowing intentions indirectly, via the effects of anticipated negative affect and group identification and orientation, respectively. The findings of this study are novel and have important implications about the social, cognitive, and normative processes underlying decision making toward reporting doping misconduct.

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Lenore Dedeyne, Jorgen A. Wullems, Jolan Dupont, Jos Tournoy, Evelien Gielen, and Sabine Verschueren

Tools for objective monitoring of home-based training and physical behavior (PB) in (pre)sarcopenic older adults are needed. The present study explored two approaches with machine learning models, including accelerometer data either with or without additional gyroscope data (in an inertial measurement unit). Twenty-five community-dwelling (pre)sarcopenic adults mean 80.7 [5.5] years) performed the Otago exercise protocol (OEP) and PB modules (e.g., sitting or walking) while wearing an inertial measurement unit on the lower back (Dynaport MoveMonitor; McRoberts, The Hague, The Netherlands). Machine learning (ML) models for classification were developed by two approaches (top-down and bottom-up approaches) and with two levels of classification: general (no wear, OEP, and PB) and detailed (all subclassifications). Classification output was compared with video recordings. For the bottom-up approach, one ML model was developed. For the top-down approach, data were first classified as no wear, OEP, or PB. Thereafter, OEP and PB were subclassified by one ML model each into subclassification. Only classification of the general classification no wear and the subclassification sitting/lying reached the acceptable performance threshold of 80%. This result was independent of the approach used. Moreover, a gyroscope did not improve performance. Despite the progress in ML techniques and monitors, objective compliance registrations remain challenging.

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Stijn V. Mentzel, Bjoern Krenn, Dennis Dreiskaemper, and Bernd Strauss

This study examines the influence of wearing and perceiving colors in a cycling setting while also examining cortisol, heart rate, estimated maximum oxygen consumption, and subjective performance ratings. A total of 99 individuals completed the study, consisting of cortisol measurements, which compared baseline values to those after changing into a red or blue outfit, and a maximum cycling task performed wearing the same outfit while competing against a video opponent in red or blue. Each participant completed the protocol twice on separate days. Wearing a colored outfit showed no influence on cortisol levels. Regarding the cycling task, the participants wearing red had higher maximum heart rate values than when wearing blue. In addition, the results revealed increased maximum heart rate and maximum oxygen consumption values when perceiving an opponent in blue, especially when the participant also wore blue. No differences were found for the median heart rate or performance ratings.

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Edgar Schwarz, Liam D. Harper, Rob Duffield, Robert McCunn, Andrew Govus, Sabrina Skorski, and Hugh H.K. Fullagar

Purpose: To examine practitioners’, coaches’, and athletes’ perceptions of evidence-based practice (EBP) in professional sport in Australia. Methods: One hundred thirty-eight participants (practitioners n = 67, coaches n = 39, and athletes n = 32) in various professional sports in Australia each completed a group-specific online questionnaire. Questions focused on perceptions of research, the contribution of participants’ own experience in implementing knowledge to practice, sources, and barriers for accessing and implementing EBP, preferred methods of feedback, and the required qualities of practitioners. Results: All practitioners reported using EBP, while most coaches and athletes believed that EBP contributes to individual performance and preparation (>85%). Practitioners’ preferred EBP information sources were “peer-reviewed journals” and “other practitioners within their sport,” while athlete sources were “practitioners within their sport” and “other athletes within their sport.” As primary barriers to accessing and implementing research, practitioners highlighted “time constraints,” “poor research translation,” and “nonapplicable research.” Practitioners ranked “informal conversation” as their most valued method of providing feedback; however, coaches prefer feedback from “scheduled meetings,” “online reports,” or “shared database.” Both athletes and coaches value “excellent knowledge of the sport,” “experience,” and “communication skills” in practitioners disseminating EBP. Conclusion: Practitioners, coaches, and athletes believe in the importance of EBP to their profession, although practitioners reported several barriers to accessing and implementing research as part of EBP. Athletes place a high value on experienced practitioners who have excellent knowledge of the sport and communication skills. Collectively, these findings can be used to further stakeholder understanding regarding EBP and the role of research to positively influence athlete health.