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Richard R. Suminski, Robert J. Robertson, Fredric L. Goss, Silva Arslanian, Jie Kang, Sergio DaSilva, Alan C. Utter and Kenneth F. Metz

Sixteen men completed four trials at random as follows: (Trial A) performance of a single bout of resistance exercise preceded by placebo ingestion (vitamin C); (Trial B) ingestion of 1,500 mg L-arginine and 1,500 mg L-lysine, immediately followed by exercise as in Trial A; (Trial C) ingestion of amino acids as in Trial B and no exercise; (Trial D) placebo ingestion and no exercise. Growth hormone (GH) concentrations were higher at 30,60, and 90 min during the exercise trials (A and B) compared with the resting trials (C and D) (p < .05). No differences were noted in [GH] between the exercise trials. [GH] was significantly elevated during resting conditions 60 min after amino acid ingestion compared with the placebo trial. It was concluded that ingestion of 1,500 mg arginine and 1,500 mg ly sine immediately before resistance exercise does not alter exercise-induced changes in [GH] in young men. However, when the same amino acid mixture is ingested under basal conditions, the acute secretion of GH is increased.

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Liam Anderson, Graeme L. Close, Matt Konopinski, David Rydings, Jordan Milsom, Catherine Hambly, John Roger Speakman, Barry Drust and James P. Morton

Maintaining muscle mass and function during rehabilitation from anterior cruciate ligament injury is complicated by the challenge of accurately prescribing daily energy intakes aligned to energy expenditure. Accordingly, we present a 38-week case study characterizing whole body and regional rates of muscle atrophy and hypertrophy (as inferred by assessments of fat-free mass from dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) in a professional male soccer player from the English Premier League. In addition, in Week 6, we also quantified energy intake (via the remote food photographic method) and energy expenditure using the doubly labeled water method. Mean daily energy intake (CHO: 1.9–3.2, protein: 1.7–3.3, and fat: 1.4–2.7 g/kg) and energy expenditure were 2,765 ± 474 and 3,178 kcal/day, respectively. In accordance with an apparent energy deficit, total body mass decreased by 1.9 kg during Weeks 1–6 where fat-free mass loss in the injured and noninjured limb was 0.9 and 0.6 kg, respectively, yet, trunk fat-free mass increased by 0.7 kg. In Weeks 7–28, the athlete was advised to increase daily CHO intake (4–6 g/kg) to facilitate an increased daily energy intake. Throughout this period, total body mass increased by 3.6 kg (attributable to a 2.9 and 0.7 kg increase in fat free and fat mass, respectively). Our data suggest it may be advantageous to avoid excessive reductions in energy intake during the initial 6–8 weeks post anterior cruciate ligament surgery so as to limit muscle atrophy.

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David M. Shaw, Fabrice Merien, Andrea Braakhuis, Daniel Plews, Paul Laursen and Deborah K. Dulson

This study investigated the effect of the racemic β-hydroxybutyrate (βHB) precursor, R,S-1,3-butanediol (BD), on time-trial (TT) performance and tolerability. A repeated-measures, randomized, crossover study was conducted in nine trained male cyclists (age, 26.7 ± 5.2 years; body mass, 69.6 ± 8.4 kg; height, 1.82 ± 0.09 m; body mass index, 21.2 ± 1.5 kg/m2; VO2peak,63.9 ± 2.5 ml·kg−1·min−1; W max, 389.3 ± 50.4 W). Participants ingested 0.35 g/kg of BD or placebo 30 min before and 60 min during 85 min of steady-state exercise, which preceded a ∼25- to 35-min TT (i.e., 7 kJ/kg). The ingestion of BD increased blood D-βHB concentration throughout exercise (0.44–0.79 mmol/L) compared with placebo (0.11–0.16 mmol/L; all p < .001), which peaked 1 hr following the TT (1.38 ± 0.35 vs. 0.34 ± 0.24 mmol/L; p < .001). Serum glucose and blood lactate concentrations were not different between trials (all p > .05). BD ingestion increased oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production after 20 min of steady-state exercise (p = .002 and p = .032, respectively); however, no further effects on cardiorespiratory parameters were observed. Within the BD trial, moderate to severe gastrointestinal symptoms were reported in five participants, and low levels of dizziness, nausea, and euphoria were reported in two participants. However, this had no effect on TT duration (placebo, 28.5 ± 3.6 min; BD, 28.7 ± 3.2 min; p = .62) and average power output (placebo, 290.1 ± 53.7 W; BD, 286.4 ± 45.9 W; p = .50). These results suggest that BD has no benefit for endurance performance.

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Alaaddine El-Chab, Charlie Simpson and Helen Lightowler

Discrepancies in energy and macronutrient intakes between tests are apparent even when a solid prepackaged diet (Sdiet) is used to standardize dietary intake for preexperimental trials. It is unknown whether a liquid prepackaged diet (Ldiet) leads to improved adherence, resulting in lower variability in energy and macronutrient intakes. This study assesses the ability of athletes to replicate a diet when an Ldiet or Sdiet was used as a dietary standardization technique. In a cross-over design, 30 athletes were randomly assigned to either Sdiet or Ldiet. Each diet was consumed for two nonconsecutive days. Participants were instructed to consume all the meals provided and to return any leftovers. The coefficient of variation (CV) was calculated for each nutrient for the two methods and reported as the average CV. The Bland–Altman plots show that differences between Days 1 and 2 in energy and macronutrient intakes for both diets were close to zero, with the exception of some outliers. The %CV for Sdiet was higher than Ldiet (5% and 3% for energy, 5% and 3% for carbohydrate, 5% and 2% for protein, and 5% and 3% for fat, respectively). There was a strong positive correlation for energy and all macronutrients between Days 1 and 2 for both methods (r > .80; p < .05). Ldiet is an effective technique to standardize diet preexperimental trials and could be used as an alternative to Sdiet. Furthermore, Ldiet may lead to additional improvements in the compliance of participants to the diet and also decrease the cost and time of preparation.

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Dana M. Lis and Keith Baar

Nutritional strategies to improve connective tissue collagen synthesis have garnered significant interest, although the scientific validity of these interventions lags behind their hype. This study was designed to determine the effects of three forms of collagen on N-terminal peptide of procollagen and serum amino acid levels. A total of 10 recreationally active males completed a randomized double-blinded crossover design study consuming either placebo or 15 g of vitamin C–enriched gelatin or hydrolyzed collagen (HC), or gummy containing equal parts of gelatin and HC. Supplements were consumed 1 hr before 6 min of jump rope. Blood samples were collected immediately prior to supplement consumption and 4 hr after jump rope. A subset of blood samples (n = 4) was collected for amino acid analysis 1 hr after ingestion. Consumption of an equivalent dose of each supplement increased amino acids in the circulation similarly across all interventions. N-terminal peptide of procollagen levels tended to increase ∼20% from baseline in the gelatin and HC interventions but not the placebo or gummy. These results suggest that vitamin C–enriched gelatin and HC supplementation may improve collagen synthesis when taken 1 hr prior to exercise. However, large variability was observed, which precluded significance for any treatment.

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Mathew Hillier, Louise Sutton, Lewis James, Dara Mojtahedi, Nicola Keay and Karen Hind

The practice of rapid weight loss (RWL) in mixed martial arts (MMA) is an increasing concern but data remain scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence, magnitude, methods, and influencers of RWL in professional and amateur MMA athletes. MMA athletes (N = 314; 287 men and 27 women) across nine weight categories (strawweight to heavyweight), completed a validated questionnaire adapted for this sport. Sex-specific data were analyzed, and subgroup comparisons were made between athletes competing at professional and amateur levels. Most athletes purposefully reduced body weight for competition (men: 97.2%; women: 100%). The magnitude of RWL in 1 week prior to weigh-in was significantly greater for professional athletes compared with those competing at amateur level (men: 5.9% vs. 4.2%; women: 5.0% vs. 2.1% of body weight; p < .05). In the 24 hr preceding weigh-in, the magnitude of RWL was greater at professional than amateur level in men (3.7% vs. 2.5% of body weight; p < .05). Most athletes “always” or “sometimes” used water loading (72.9%), restricting fluid intake (71.3%), and sweat suits (55.4%) for RWL. Coaches were cited as the primary source of influence on RWL practices (men: 29.3%; women: 48.1%). There is a high reported prevalence of RWL in MMA, at professional and amateur levels. Our findings, constituting the largest inquiry to date, call for urgent action from MMA organizations to safeguard the health and well-being of athletes competing in this sport.

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Manuel D. Quinones and Peter W.R. Lemon

Hydrothermally modified non-genetically modified organisms corn starch (HMS) ingestion may enhance endurance exercise performance via sparing carbohydrate oxidation. To determine whether similar effects occur with high-intensity intermittent exercise, we investigated the effects of HMS ingestion prior to and at halftime on soccer skill performance and repeated sprint ability during the later stages of a simulated soccer match. In total, 11 male university varsity soccer players (height = 177.7 ± 6.8 cm, body mass = 77.3 ± 7.9 kg, age = 22 ± 3 years, body fat = 12.8 ± 4.9%, and maximal oxygen uptake = 57.1 ± 3.9 ml·kg BM−1·min−1) completed the match with HMS (8% carbohydrate containing a total of 0.7 g·kg BM−1·hr−1; 2.8 kcal·kg BM−1·hr−1) or isoenergetic dextrose. Blood glucose was lower (p < .001) with HMS at 15 min (5.3 vs. 7.7 mmol/L) and 30 min (5.6 vs. 8.3 mmol/L) following ingestion, there were no treatment differences in blood lactate, and the respiratory exchange ratio was lower with HMS at 15 min (0.84 vs. 0.86, p = .003); 30 min (0.83 vs. 0.85, p = .004); and 45 min (0.83 vs. 0.85, p = .007) of the first half. Repeated sprint performance was similar for both treatments (p > .05). Soccer dribbling time was slower with isoenergetic dextrose versus baseline (15.63 vs. 14.43 s, p < .05) but not so with HMS (15.04 vs. 14.43 s, p > .05). Furthermore, during the passing test, penalty time was reduced (4.27 vs. 7.73 s, p = .004) with HMS. During situations where glycogen availability is expected to become limiting, HMS ingestion prematch and at halftime could attenuate the decline in skill performance often seen late in contests.

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Fernando Naclerio, Eneko Larumbe-Zabala, Mar Larrosa, Aitor Centeno, Jonathan Esteve-Lanao and Diego Moreno-Pérez

The impact of animal protein blend supplements in endurance athletes is scarcely researched. The authors investigated the effect of ingesting an admixture providing orange juice and protein (PRO) from beef and whey versus carbohydrate alone on body composition and performance over a 10-week training period in male endurance athletes. Participants were randomly assigned to a protein (CHO + PRO, n = 15) or a nonprotein isoenergetic carbohydrate (CHO, n = 15) group. Twenty grams of supplement mixed with orange juice was ingested postworkout or before breakfast on nontraining days. Measurements were performed pre- and postintervention on body composition (by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry), peak oxygen consumption (V˙O2peak), and maximal aerobic speed. Twenty-five participants (CHO + PRO, n = 12; CHO, n = 13) completed the study. Only the CHO + PRO group significantly (p < .05) reduced whole-body fat (mean ± SD) (−1.02 ± 0.6 kg), total trunk fat (−0.81 ± 0.9 kg), and increased total lower body lean mass (+0.52 ± 0.7 kg), showing close to statistically significant increases of whole-body lean mass (+0.57 ± 0.8 kg, p = .055). Both groups reduced (p < .05) visceral fat (CHO + PRO, −0.03 ± 0.1 kg; CHO, −0.03 ± 0.5 kg) and improved the speed at maximal aerobic speed (CHO + PRO, +0.56 ± 0.5 km/hr; CHO, +0.35 ± 0.5 km/hr). Although consuming animal protein blend mixed with orange juice over 10 weeks helped to reduce fat mass and to increase lean mass, no additional performance benefits in endurance runners were observed.

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Aline C. Tritto, Salomão Bueno, Rosa M.P. Rodrigues, Bruno Gualano, Hamilton Roschel and Guilherme G. Artioli

This study evaluated the effects of β-hydroxy-β-methylbutyrate free acid (HMB-FA) and calcium salt (HMB-Ca) on strength, hypertrophy, and markers of muscle damage. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 44 resistance-trained men (age: 26 ± 4 years; body mass: 84.9 ± 12.0 kg) consuming ≥1.7 g·kg−1·day−1 of protein received HMB-FA (3 g/day; n = 14), HMB-Ca (3 g/day; n = 15), or placebo (PL; cornstarch, 3 g/day; n = 15) for 12 weeks, while performing a periodized resistance training program. Before and after intervention, lean body mass (measured with dual X-ray absorptiometry), maximal dynamic strength (one-repetition maximum), knee extension maximal isometric strength (maximal voluntary isometric contraction [MVIC]), cross-sectional area (measured with ultrasound), and muscle soreness were assessed. MVIC was also measured 48 hr after the first and the last training sessions. All groups increased lean body mass (main time effect: p < .0001; HMB-FA: 1.8 ± 1.8 kg; HMB-Ca: 0.8 ± 1.4 kg; PL: 0.9 ± 1.4 kg), cross-sectional area (main time effect: p < .0001; HMB-FA: 6.6 ± 3.8%; HMB-Ca: 4.7 ± 4.4%; PL: 6.9 ± 3.8%), one-repetition maximum bench press (main time effect: p < .0001; HMB-FA: 14.8 ± 8.4 kg; HMB-Ca: 11.8 ± 7.4 kg; PL: 11.2 ± 6.6 kg), MVIC (main time effect: p < .0001; HMB-FA: 34.4 ± 39.3%; HMB-Ca: 32.3 ± 27.4%; PL: 17.7 ± 20.9%) after the intervention, but no differences between groups were shown. HMB-FA group showed greater leg press strength after the intervention than HMB-Ca and PL groups (Group × Time interaction: p < .05; HMB-FA: 47.7 ± 31.2 kg; HMB-Ca: 43.8 ± 31.7 kg; PL: 30.2 ± 20.9 kg). MVIC measured 48 hr after the first and the last sessions showed no attenuation of force decline with supplementation. Muscle soreness following the first and last sessions was not different between groups. The authors concluded that neither HMB-Ca nor HMB-FA improved hypertrophy or reduced muscle damage in resistance-trained men undergoing resistance training ingesting optimal amounts of protein. HMB-FA but not HMB-Ca resulted in a statistically significant yet minor improvement on leg press one-repetition maximum.

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Ben-El Berkovich, Aliza H. Stark, Alon Eliakim, Dan Nemet and Tali Sinai

Fasting, skipping meals, and dehydration are common methods of rapid weight loss used prior to competition in weight category sports. This study examines coaches’ attitudes, perceptions, and practices regarding rapid weight loss among judo and taekwondo athletes. A convenience sample of experienced coaches and trainers (n = 68) completed structured questionnaires. Participants in this study were 33.8 ± 9.3 years old; 57 were males and 11 were females; and 59% were certified coaches, with 71% reporting over 20 years of involvement in sports and 68% having more than 10 years of teaching experience. The majority (90%) reported that they usually supervised athletes through the weight loss process. Interventions for weight loss began at 12.7 ± 1.9 years of age, with a recommended precompetition weight loss duration of 16.2 ± 8.2 days and an average reduction of 1.5 ± 0.7 kg. The majority of the responders (92%) recommended that their athletes practice gradual weight loss methods using a combination of dehydration or increased physical activity (80.3%), sweat suits (50.8%), restricted fluid intake (39.3%), training in heated rooms (27%), and sauna (26.2%). Recommendations of spitting (27.8%) or using laxatives, diuretics, diet pills, or vomiting (21.3%) were also reported. Coaches and trainers often encouraged athletes to cut weight before competition. The methods recommended are potentially harmful with severe health risks, including compromised nutritional status and diminished athletic performance. This is of particular concern in young athletes who are still growing and developing physically. Enhancing knowledge and awareness for coaches, athletes, and parents regarding potential dangers, along with improved nutrition education, is critical for reducing the magnitude and misuse of rapid weight loss methods.