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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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Laura Hottenrott, Sascha Ketelhut, Christoph Schneider, Thimo Wiewelhove, and Alexander Ferrauti

Postexercise recovery is a fundamental component for continuous performance enhancement. Due to physiological and morphological changes in aging and alterations in performance capacity, athletes of different ages may recover at different rates from physical exercise. Differences in body composition, physiological function, and exercise performance between men and women may also have a direct influence on restoration processes. Purpose: This brief review examines current research to indicate possible differences in recovery processes between male and female athletes of different age groups. The paper focuses on postexercise recovery following sprint and endurance tests and tries to identify determinants that modulate possible differences in recovery between male and female subjects of different age groups. Results: The literature analysis indicates age- and sex-dependent differences in short- and long-term recovery. Short-term recovery differs among children, adults, and masters. Children have shorter lactate half-life and a faster cardiac and respiratory recovery compared to adults. Additionally, children and masters require shorter recovery periods during interval bouts than trained adults. Trained women show a slower cardiac and respiratory recovery compared to trained men. Long-term recovery is strongly determined by the extent of muscle damage. Trained adults tend to have more extensive muscle damage compared to masters and children. Conclusion: The influence of age and sex on the recovery process varies among the different functional systems and depends on the time of the recovery processes. Irrespective of age and sex, the performance capacity of the individual determines the recovery process after high-intensity and endurance exercise.

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Jonpaul Nevin and Paul Smith

Purpose: The aim of the following case study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 30-week concurrent strength and endurance training program designed to prepare a trained H4 male handcyclist (aged 28 y, bilateral, above knee amputee, and body mass 65.6 kg) for a 1407-km ultra-endurance handcycling challenge. Methods: This observational case study tracked selected physiological measures, training intensity distribution, and total training load over the course of a 30-week concurrent training protocol. Furthermore, the athlete’s performance profile during the ultra-endurance challenge was monitored with power output, cadence, speed, and heart rate recorded throughout. Results: Findings revealed considerable improvements in power output at a fixed blood lactate concentration of 4 mmol·L−1 (+25.7%), peak aerobic power output (+18.9%), power-to-mass ratio (+18.3%), relative peak oxygen uptake (+13.9%), gross mechanical efficiency (+4.6%), bench press 1-repetition maximum (+4.3%), and prone bench pull 1-repetition maximum (+14.9%). The athlete completed the 1407-km route in a new handcycling world record time of 89:55 hours. Average speed was 18.7 (2.1) km·h−1; cadence averaged 70.0 (2.6) rpm, while average power output was 67 (12) W. In terms of internal load, the athlete’s average heart rate was 111 (11) beats per minute. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate how a long-term concurrent strength and endurance training program can be used to optimize handcycling performance capabilities in preparation for an ultra-endurance cycling event. Knowledge emerging from this case study provides valuable information that can guide best practices with respect to handcycling training for ultra-endurance events.

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Myles C. Dennis, Paul S.R. Goods, Martyn J. Binnie, Olivier Girard, Karen E. Wallman, Brian T. Dawson, and Peter Peeling

Purpose: This study aimed to assess the influence of graded air temperatures during repeated-sprint training in hypoxia (RSH) on performance and physiological responses. Methods: Ten well-trained athletes completed one familiarization and 4 experimental sessions at a simulated altitude of 3000 m (0.144 FIO2) above sea level. Air temperatures utilized across the 4 experimental sessions were 20°C, 25°C, 30°C, and 35°C (all 50% relative humidity). The participants performed 3 sets of 5 × 10 seconds “all-out” cycle sprints, with 20 seconds of active recovery between sprints and 5 minutes of active recovery between sets (recovery intensity = 120 W). Core temperature, skin temperature, pulse oxygen saturation, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion, and thermal sensation were collected. Results: There were no differences between conditions for peak power, mean power, and total work in each set (P > .05). There were no condition × time interaction effects for any variables tested. The peak core temperature was highest at 30°C (38.06°C [0.31°C]). Overall, the pulse oxygen saturation was higher at 35°C than at 20°C (P < .001; d < 0.8), 25°C (P < .001; d = 1.12 ± 0.54, large), and 30°C (P < .001; d = 0.84 ± 0.53, large). Conclusion: Manipulating air temperature between 20°C and 35°C had no effect on performance or core temperature during a typical RSH session. However, the pulse oxygen saturation was preserved at 35°C, which may not be a desirable outcome for RSH interventions. The application of increased levels of ambient heat may require a different approach if augmenting the RSH stimulus is the desired outcome.

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Valentin Bottollier, Matt R. Cross, Nicolas Coulmy, Loïc Le Quellec, and Jacques Prioux

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the test–retest reliability of the 80s-slide-test in well-trained alpine ski racers. Methods: The sample consisted of 8 well-trained alpine ski racers (age = 17.8 [0.7] y old; height = 1.80 [0.09] m; body mass = 72.1 [9.5] kg) who performed a lab-based maximal graded test on cycle ergometer and three 80s-slide-tests in 4 separate sessions. The 80s-slide-test consisting of maximal push-offs performed for 80s on a 8-ft slide board. Oxygen uptake (V˙O2) and heart rate (HR) were recorded continuously. Blood lactate ([La]b) was determined immediately prerun, followed by 3 minutes postrun. Three minutes after the completion of the session, the subjects were asked to indicate their rate of perceived exertion using Borg scale ranging from 6 to 20. Total and every 10s mean push-offs number were assessed by camera. Typical errors of measurement, intraclass correlation coefficients, and smallest worthwhile change were calculated. Results: The 80s-slide-test showed strong reliability for total push-offs number, V˙O2peak, V˙O2mean, HRpeak, and HRmean. Δ[La]b, fatigue index, and the rate of perceived exertion were moderately reliable. Conclusion: The 80s-slide-test is a reliable test for well-trained alpine ski racers and can be used easily by trainers.

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Ed Maunder, Deborah K. Dulson, and David M. Shaw

Purpose: Considerable interindividual heterogeneity has been observed in endurance performance responses following induction of a ketogenic diet (KD). It is plausible that a physiological stress response in the period following the dramatic dietary shift associated with transition to a KD may explain this heterogeneity. Methods: In a randomized, crossover study design, 8 trained male runners completed an incremental exercise test and ran to exhaustion at 70%VO2max before and after a 31-day rigorously controlled habitual diet or KD intervention, and recorded heart rate variability (root mean square of the sum of successive differences in R–R intervals [rMSSD]) upon waking each morning along with the recovery–stress questionnaire for athletes each week. Data were analyzed using linear mixed models. Results: A significant reduction in rMSSD was observed in the KD (−9.77 [4.03] ms, P = .02), along with an increase in day-to-day variability in rMSSD (2.1% [1.0%], P = .03). The reduction in rMSSD in the KD for the subgroup of individuals exhibiting impaired exercise capacity following induction of the KD approached significance (Δ −22 [15] ms, P = .06, N = 4); whereas no effect was observed in those who exhibited unchanged exercise capacity (Δ 5 [18] ms, P = .61, N = 4). No main effects were observed for recovery–stress questionnaire for athletes. Conclusions: Our data suggest those working with endurance athletes transitioning onto a KD may consider using noninvasive, inexpensive resting heart rate variability measures to gain individual-level insights into the likely short-term effects on exercise capacity.