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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.

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Benita J. Lalor, Jacqueline Tran, Shona L. Halson, Justin G. Kemp, and Stuart J. Cormack

Purpose: To determine the impact of the quality and quantity of sleep during an international flight on subsequent objective sleep characteristics, training and match-day load, self-reported well-being, and perceptions of jet lag of elite female cricketers during an International Cricket Council Women’s T20 World Cup. Methods: In-flight and tournament objective sleep characteristics of 11 elite female cricketers were assessed using activity monitors. Seated in business class, players traveled west from Melbourne, Australia, to Chennai, India. The outbound flight departed Melbourne at 3:30 AM with a stopover in Dubai for 2 hours. The arrival time in Chennai was 8:10 PM local time (1:40 AM in Melbourne). The total travel time was 19 hours 35 minutes. Perceptual ratings of jet lag, well-being, and training and competition load were collected. To determine the impact of in-flight sleep on tournament measures, a median split was used to create subsamples based on (1) in-flight sleep quantity and (2) in-flight sleep quality (2 groups: higher vs lower). Spearman correlation coefficients were calculated to assess the bivariate associations between sleep measures, self-reported well-being, perceptual measures of jet lag, and internal training and match-day load. Results: Mean duration and efficiency of in-flight sleep bouts were 4.72 hours and 87.45%, respectively. Aggregated in-flight sleep duration was 14.64 + 3.56 hours. Players with higher in-flight sleep efficiency reported higher ratings for fatigue (ie, lower perceived fatigue) during the tournament period. Tournament sleep duration was longer, and bed and wake times were earlier compared with habitual. Compared with other nights during the tournament, sleep duration was shorter following matches. Conclusions: Maximizing in-flight sleep quality and quantity appears to have implications for recovery and sleep exhibited during competition. Sleep duration was longer than habitual except for the night of a match, which suggests that T20 matches may disrupt sleep duration.

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Camilla H. Carlsen, David McGhie, Julia K. Baumgart, and Øyvind Sandbakk

Purpose: To compare peak work rate (WRpeak) and associated physiological and biomechanical performance-determining variables between flat and uphill cross-country (XC) sit-skiing. Methods: Fifteen able-bodied male XC skiers completed 2 test sessions, each comprising four 4-minute submaximal stages, followed by an incremental test to exhaustion and a verification test in a sit-ski on a roller-ski treadmill. The test sessions were counterbalanced by the incline, being either 0.5% (FLAT) or 5% (UPHILL). The authors compared WRpeak and peak oxygen uptake, as well as physiological variables, rating of perceived exertion, gross efficiency, and cycle characteristics at identical submaximal work rate, between FLAT and UPHILL. Results: In UPHILL, WRpeak was 35% higher compared to FLAT (P < .001), despite no difference in peak oxygen uptake (P = .9). The higher WRpeak in UPHILL was achieved through more work per cycle, which was enabled by the twice as long poling time, compared to FLAT (P < .001). Submaximal gross efficiency was 0.5 to 2 percentage points lower in FLAT compared to UPHILL (P < .001), with an increasing difference as work rate increased (P < .001). Neither cycle rate nor work per cycle differed between inclines when compared at identical submaximal work rate (P > .16). Conclusions: The longer poling times utilized in uphill XC sit-skiing enable more work per cycle and better gross efficiency, thereby allowing skiers to achieve a higher WRpeak compared to flat XC sit-skiing. However, the similar values of peak oxygen uptake between inclines indicate that XC sit-skiers can tax their cardiorespiratory capacity similarly in both conditions.

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William H. Gurton, Steve H. Faulkner, and Ruth M. James

Purpose: To examine whether an ecologically valid, intermittent, sprint-based warm-up strategy impacted the ergogenic capacity of individualized sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on 4-km cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: A total of 8 male cyclists attended 6 laboratory visits for familiarization, determination of time to peak blood bicarbonate, and 4 × 4-km cycling TTs. Experimental beverages were administered doubleblind. Treatments were conducted in a block-randomized, crossover order: intermittent warm-up + NaHCO3 (IWSB), intermittent warm-up + placebo, control warm-up + NaHCO3 (CWSB), and control warm-up + placebo (CWP). The intermittent warm-up comprised exercise corresponding to lactate threshold (5 min at 50%, 2 min at 60%, 2 min at 80%, 1 min at 100%, and 2 min at 50%) and 3 × 10-second maximal sprints. The control warm-up comprised 16.5 minutes cycling at 150 W. Participants ingested 0.3 g·kg body mass−1 NaHCO3 or 0.03 g·kg body mass−1 sodium chloride (placebo) in 5 mL·kg body mass−1 fluid (3:2, water and sugar-free orange squash). Paired t tests were conducted for TT performance. Hematological data (blood bicarbonate and blood lactate) and gastrointestinal discomfort were analyzed using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Results: Performance was faster for CWSB versus IWSB (5.0 [6.1] s; P = .052) and CWP (5.8 [6.0] s; P = .03). Pre-TT bicarbonate concentration was elevated for CWSB versus IWSB (+9.3 mmol·L−1; P < .001) and CWP (+7.1 mmol·L−1; P < .001). Post-TT blood lactate concentration was elevated for CWSB versus CWP (+2.52 mmol·L−1; P = .022). Belching was exacerbated pre-warm-up for IWSB versus intermittent warm-up +placebo (P = .046) and CWP (P = .027). Conclusion: An intermittent, sprint-based warm-up mitigated the ergogenic benefits of NaHCO3 ingestion on 4-km cycling TT performance.

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Thomas Losnegard, Sondre Skarli, Joar Hansen, Stian Roterud, Ida S. Svendsen, Bent R. Rønnestad, and Gøran Paulsen

Purpose: Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a widely used tool to assess subjective perception of effort during exercise. The authors investigated between-subject variation and effect of exercise mode and sex on Borg RPE (6–20) in relation to heart rate (HR), oxygen uptake (VO2), and capillary blood lactate concentrations. Methods: A total of 160 elite endurance athletes performed a submaximal and maximal test protocol either during cycling (n = 84, 37 women) or running (n = 76, 32 women). The submaximal test consisted of 4 to 7 progressive 5-minute steps within ∼50% to 85% of maximal VO2. For each step, steady-state HR, VO2, and capillary blood lactate concentrations were assessed and RPE reported. An incremental protocol to exhaustion was used to determine maximal VO2 and peak HR to provide relative (%) HR and VO2 values at submaximal work rates. Results: A strong relationship was found between RPE and %HR, %VO2, and capillary blood lactate concentrations (r = .80–.82, all Ps < .05). The between-subject coefficient of variation (SD/mean) for %HR and %VO2 decreased linearly with increased RPE, from ∼10% to 15% at RPE 8 to ∼5% at RPE 17. Compared with cycling, running induced a systematically higher %HR and %VO2 (∼2% and 5%, respectively, P < .05) with these differences being greater at lower intensities (RPE < 13). At the same RPE, women showed a trivial, but significantly higher %HR and %VO2 than men (<1%, P < .05). Conclusions: Among elite endurance athletes, exercise mode influenced RPE at a given %HR and %VO2, with greater differences at lower exercise intensities. Athletes should manage different tools to evaluate training based on intensity and duration of workouts.

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Jeffrey Martin

The goal of this study was to determine if emotional expressions at the end of swimmers’ 2016 Paralympic races varied according to medal won and if their race wins and losses were close or not close. Using FaceReader software, videos of 46 races of medal-winning Paralympic (M age = 24.6; SD = 5.4) swimmers’ faces (78 males and 60 females) from 22 countries were analyzed. Silver medalists were angrier and sadder than gold medalists and angrier and more disgusted than bronze medalists. Swimmers who swam slower than their 2015 best time were angrier than Paralympians who swam faster. Paralympians who finished lower than their 2015 world ranking had more neutral emotions and were less happy than Paralympians who finished higher. Gold medalists who narrowly defeated silver medalists were less happy and more fearful than gold medalists who won easily. Bronze medalists with close wins had fewer neutral emotions and were happier, less angry, and more surprised than bronze medalists with not-close wins. All medalists with close wins were more surprised than medalists with easier wins. Bronze medalists with close losses to silver medalists were happier and less angry than bronze medalists who lost more easily. Effect sizes ranged from d = 0.27 to 1.01. These results provide theoretical support to basic emotion theory and confirm the anecdotal observations that Paralympic competition generates wide-ranging and diverse emotions.

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Madison Taylor, Nicki Almquist, Bent Rønnestad, Arnt Erik Tjønna, Morten Kristoffersen, Matt Spencer, Øyvind Sandbakk, and Knut Skovereng

Purpose: To investigate the effects of including repeated sprints in a weekly low-intensity (LIT) session during a 3-week transition period on cycling performance 6 weeks into the subsequent preparatory period (PREP) in elite cyclists. Methods: Eleven elite male cyclists (age = 22.0 [3.8] y, body mass = 73.0 [5.8] kg, height = 186 [7] cm, maximal oxygen uptake [VO2max] = 5469 [384] mL·min−1) reduced their training load by 64% and performed only LIT sessions (CON, n = 6) or included 3 sets of 3 × 30-second maximal sprints in a weekly LIT session (SPR, n = 5) during a 3-week transition period. There was no difference in the reduction in training load during the transition period between groups. Physiological and performance measures were compared between the end of the competitive period and 6 weeks into the PREP. Results: SPR demonstrated a 7.3% (7.2%) improvement in mean power output during a 20-minute all-out test at PREP, which was greater than CON (−1.3% [4.6%]) (P = .048). SPR had a corresponding 7.0% (3.6%) improvement in average VO2 during the 20-minute all-out test, which was larger than the 0.7% (6.0%) change in CON (P = .042). No change in VO2max, gross efficiency, or power output at blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·L−1 from competitive period to PREP occurred in either group. Conclusion: Including sprints in a weekly LIT session during the transition period of elite cyclists provided a performance advantage 6 weeks into the subsequent PREP, which coincided with a higher performance VO2.