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Takeshi Kokubo, Yuta Komano, Ryohei Tsuji, Daisuke Fujiwara, Toshio Fujii and Osamu Kanauchi

The unique lactic acid bacteria, Lactococcus lactis strain plasma (LC-Plasma), stimulates plasmacytoid dendritic cells, which play an important role in viral infection. The authors previously reported that LC-Plasma reduced the number of days athletes experienced cold-like symptoms and fatigue feelings after high-intensity exercise training; however, the mechanism was unclear. In this study, the authors investigated the effect of LC-Plasma on recovery from physical damage after single exercise on a treadmill in BALB/c mice model. Oral administration of LC-Plasma (AIN-93G + 0.029% LC-Plasma) for 4 weeks significantly improved the locomotor reduction after treadmill exercise. This effect was not detected in mice receiving Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, representative probiotics strain. LC-Plasma also improved voluntary locomotor activity after exercise. Blood and muscle sample analysis indicated that LC-Plasma affects plasmacytoid dendritic cell activation, which, in turn, attenuates muscle degenerative genes and the concentration of fatigue-controlled cytokine transforming growth factor-β.

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Jos J. de Koning and Dionne A. Noordhof

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Ye Hoon Lee, Hyungil Harry Kwon and K. Andrew R. Richards

Purpose: Previous literature has demonstrated the contribution of emotional intelligence to various socioemotional processes including well-being, job performance, and leadership effectiveness. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the relationships among emotional intelligence, unpleasant emotions, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction in physical educators. Method: A total of 271 high school physical educators in the United States completed online questionnaires that measured the proposed variables. Confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling were employed to test study hypotheses. Results: The results revealed that emotional intelligence was negatively associated with unpleasant emotions experienced by physical educators. In turn, unpleasant emotion was positively associated with emotional exhaustion and negatively associated with job satisfaction. In addition, emotional intelligence was negatively associated with emotional exhaustion. Discussion/Conclusions: This is the first study to highlight the importance of emotional intelligence on well-being and job-related attitude in physical education contexts.

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Fiona Pelly and Susie Parker Simmons

Food provision at the Olympic Games has evolved considerably since the advent of a unified menu, but there are challenges in existing catering for the expanding cultural and sporting diversity. Continuity between events is difficult due to the changes in location, organizing committees, caterers, athletes, support staff, and volunteers. Independent review of the food provision by sports nutrition experts has been implemented to help establish some consistency between Olympic Games. The aim of this study was to compare an expert desk top and onsite review of the food provided at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and compare this with a similar review at the London 2012 Olympic Games. A previously developed survey was completed by sports nutrition experts 6 months prior to the opening of the Rio 2016 Olympic village and during the Olympic Games in September 2016. Questions about the food provision included both scaled and open-ended responses. There was a significantly lower rating for menu variety onsite (p = .025) versus the desk top review. All aspects of the menu and the ability to cater for specific situations rated as average or less. A significantly (p = .007) lower overall median rating was obtained for Rio (five out of 10) compared with London (eight out of 10), with hot gluten-free items rated as poor at both events. Comments from experts related to lack of variety, sports and recovery foods, absence of signage, and inaccurate nutrition labeling. An improved process for expert nutrition review at these events is warranted.

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Jorge Carlos-Vivas, Elena Marín-Cascales, Tomás T. Freitas, Jorge Perez-Gomez and Pedro E. Alcaraz

Purpose: To describe the load–velocity relationship and the effects of increasing loads on spatiotemporal and derived kinetic variables of sprinting using weighted vests (WV) in soccer players and determining the load that maximizes power output. Methods: A total of 23 soccer players (age 20.8 [1.5] y) performed 10 maximal 30-m sprints wearing a WV with 5 different loads (0%, 10%, 20%, 30%, and 40% body mass [BM]). Sprint velocity and time were collected using a radar device and wireless photocells. Mechanical outputs were computed using a recently developed valid and reliable field method that estimates the step-averaged ground-reaction forces during overground sprint acceleration from anthropometric and spatiotemporal data. Raw velocity–time data were fitted by an exponential function and used to calculate the net horizontal ground-reaction forces and horizontal power output. Individual linear force–velocity relationships were then extrapolated to calculate the theoretical maximum horizontal force (F 0) and velocity and the ratio of force application (proportion of the total force production that is directed forward at sprint start). Results: Magnitude-based inferences showed an almost certain decrease in F 0 (effect size = 0.78–3.35), maximum power output (effect size = 0.78–3.81), and maximum ratio of force (effect size = 0.82–3.87) as the load increased. The greatest changes occurred with loads heavier than 20% BM, especially in ratio of force. In addition, the maximum power was achieved under unloaded conditions. Conclusions: Increasing load in WV sprinting affects spatiotemporal and kinetic variables. The greatest change in ratio of force happened with loads heavier than 20% BM. Thus, the authors recommend the use of loads ≤20% BM for WV sprinting.

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Ioanna Athanasiadou, Sven Christian Voss, Wesal El Saftawy, Hind Al-Jaber, Najib Dbes, Sameera Al-Yazedi, Waseem Samsam, Vidya Mohamed-Ali, Mohammed Alsayrafi, Georgia Valsami and Costas Georgakopoulos

Low urinary luteinizing hormone (LH) values have been discussed as a marker to detect steroid abuse. However, suppressed LH concentrations related to highly diluted urine samples could be a misleading indication of anabolic steroid abuse. One aim of the present study was to examine the effect of hyperhydration on the interpretation of LH findings during doping control analysis and to investigate different possibilities to correct volume-related changes in urinary LH concentrations. Seven healthy, physically active, nonsmoking White males were examined for a 72-hr period, using water and a commercial sports drink as hyperhydration agents (20 ml/kg body weight). Urine samples were collected and analyzed according to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s technical documents. Baseline urinary LH concentrations, expressed as the mean ± SD for each individual, were within the acceptable physiological range (7.11 ± 5.42 IU/L). A comparison of the measured LH values for both hyperhydration phases (Phase A: 4.24 ± 5.60 IU/L and Phase B: 4.74 ± 4.72 IU/L) with the baseline (“normal”) values showed significant differences (Phase A: p < .001 and Phase B: p < .001), suggesting the clear effect of urine dilution due to hyperhydration. However, an adjustment of urinary LH concentrations by specific gravity based on a reference value of 1.020 seems to adequately correct the hyperhydration-induced decrease on the LH levels.

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Paola Rodriguez-Giustiniani, Ian Rollo, Oliver C. Witard and Stuart D. R. Galloway

This study investigated the influence of ingesting a 12% carbohydrate plus electrolyte (CHO-E) solution providing 60 g of carbohydrate before each half of a 90-min soccer match simulation (SMS) protocol on skill performance, sprint speed, and high-intensity running capacity. Eighteen elite academy (age: 18 ± 2 years) soccer players ingested two 250-ml doses (pre-exercise and at halftime) of a 12% CHO-E solution or electrolyte placebo administered in a double-blind randomized cross-over design. During an indoor (artificial grass pitch) SMS, dribbling, passing, and sprint performance were assessed, and blood was drawn for glucose and lactate analysis. High-intensity running capacity was assessed following the SMS. Dribbling speed/accuracy and sprint speed remained unchanged throughout the SMS. Conversely, passing accuracy for both dominant (mean percentage difference [95% confidence interval, CI]: 9 [3, 15]) and nondominant (mean percentage difference [95% CI]: 13 [6, 20]) feet was better maintained during the SMS on CHO-E (p < .05), with passing speed better maintained in the nondominant foot (mean percentage difference [95% CI]: 5.3 [0.7, 9.9], p = .032). High-intensity running capacity was greater in CHO-E versus placebo (mean percentage difference [95% CI]: 13 [6, 20], p = .010). Capillary blood glucose concentration was higher in CHO-E than placebo at halftime (CHO-E: 5.8 ± 0.5 mM vs. placebo: 4.1 ± 0.4 mM, p = .001) and following the high-intensity running capacity test (CHO-E: 4.9 ± 0.4 mM vs. placebo: 4.3 ± 0.4 mM, p = .001). Ingesting a 12% CHO-E solution before each half of a match can aid in the maintenance of soccer-specific skill performance, particularly on the nondominant foot, and improves subsequent high-intensity running capacity.

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Naroa Etxebarria, Megan L. Ross, Brad Clark and Louise M. Burke

Purpose: The authors investigated the potential benefit of ingesting 2 mM of quinine (bitter tastant) on a 3000-m cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Methods: Nine well-trained male cyclists (maximal aerobic power: 386 [38] W) performed a maximal incremental cycling ergometer test, three 3000-m familiarization TTs, and four 3000-m intervention TTs (∼4 min) on consecutive days. The 4 interventions were (1) 25 mL of placebo, (2) a 25-mL sweet solution, and (3) and (4) repeat 25 mL of 2-mM quinine solutions (Bitter1 and Bitter2), 30 s before each trial. Participants self-selected their gears and were only aware of distance covered. Results: Overall mean power output for the full 3000 m was similar for all 4 conditions: placebo, 348 (45) W; sweet, 355 (47) W; Bitter1, 354 (47) W; and Bitter2, 355 (48) W. However, quinine administration in Bitter1 and Bitter2 increased power output during the first kilometer by 15 ± 11 W and 21 ± 10 W (mean ± 90% confidence limits), respectively, over placebo, followed by a decay of 34 ± 32 W during Bitter1 and Bitter2 during the second kilometer. Bitter2 also induced a 11 ± 13-W increase during the first kilometer compared with the sweet condition. Conclusions: Ingesting 2 mM of quinine can improve cycling performance during the first one-third of a 3000-m TT and could be used for sporting events lasting ∼80 s to potentially improve overall performance.

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Joseph J. Matthews, Edward N. Stanhope, Mark S. Godwin, Matthew E.J. Holmes and Guilherme G. Artioli

Combat sport athletes typically engage in a process called making weight, characterized by rapid weight loss (RWL) and subsequent rapid weight gain (RWG) in the days preceding competition. These practices differ across each sport, but no systematic comparison of the size of the changes in body mass exists. The aim was to determine the magnitude of RWL and RWG in combat sport athletes preparing for competition. The review protocol was preregistered with PROSPERO (CRD42017055279). In eligible studies, athletes prepared habitually with a RWL period ≤7 days preceding competition. An electronic search of EBSCOhost (CINAHL Plus, MEDLINE, and SPORTDiscus) and PubMed Central was performed up to July 2018. Sixteen full-text studies (total 4,432 participants; 156 females and 4,276 males) were included, providing data from five combat sports (boxing, judo, mixed martial arts, taekwondo, and wrestling). Three studies reported RWL and 14 studies reported RWG. Duration permitted for RWG ranged 3–32 hr. The largest changes in body mass occurred in two separate mixed martial arts cohorts (RWL: 7.4 ± 1.1 kg [∼10%] and RWG: 7.4 ± 2.8 kg [11.7% ± 4.7%]). The magnitude of RWG appears to be influenced by the type of sport, competition structure, and recovery duration permitted. A cause for concern is the lack of objective data quantifying the magnitude of RWL. There is insufficient evidence to substantiate the use of RWG as a proxy for RWL, and little data are available in females. By engaging in RWG, athletes are able to exploit the rules to compete up to three weight categories higher than at the official weigh-in.

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Youri Geurkink, Gilles Vandewiele, Maarten Lievens, Filip de Turck, Femke Ongenae, Stijn P.J. Matthys, Jan Boone and Jan G. Bourgois

Purpose: To predict the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) in soccer and determine its main predictive indicators. Methods: A total of 70 external-load indicators (ELIs), internal-load indicators, individual characteristics, and supplementary variables were used to build a predictive model. Results: The analysis using gradient-boosting machines showed a mean absolute error of 0.67 (0.09) arbitrary units (AU) and a root-mean-square error of 0.93 (0.16) AU. ELIs were found to be the strongest predictors of the sRPE, accounting for 61.5% of the total normalized importance (NI), with total distance as the strongest predictor. The included internal-load indicators and individual characteristics accounted only for 1.0% and 4.5%, respectively, of the total NI. Predictive accuracy improved when including supplementary variables such as group-based sRPE predictions (10.5% of NI), individual deviation variables (5.8% of NI), and individual player markers (17.0% of NI). Conclusions: The results showed that the sRPE can be predicted quite accurately using only a relatively limited number of training observations. ELIs are the strongest predictors of the sRPE. However, it is useful to include a broad range of variables other than ELIs, because the accumulated importance of these variables accounts for a reasonable component of the total NI. Applications resulting from predictive modeling of the sRPE can help coaching staff plan, monitor, and evaluate both the external and internal training load.