Professional jockeys are unique among weight-making athletes, as they are often required to make weight daily and, in many cases, all year-round. Common methods employed by jockeys include dehydration, severe calorie restriction, and sporadic eating, all of which have adverse health effects. In contrast, this article outlines a structured diet and exercise plan, employed by a 22-yr-old professional National Hunt jockey in an attempt to reduce weight from 70.3 to 62.6 kg, that does not rely on any of the aforementioned techniques. Before the intervention, the client’s typical daily energy intake was 8.2 MJ (42% carbohydrate [CHO], 36% fat, 22% protein) consumed in 2 meals only. During the 9-wk intervention, daily energy intake was approximately equivalent to resting metabolic rate, which the athlete consumed as 6 meals per day (7.6 MJ, 46% CHO, 19% fat, 36% protein). This change in frequency and composition of energy intake combined with structured exercise resulted in a total body-mass loss of 8 kg, corresponding to reductions in body fat from 14.5% to 9%. No form of intentional dehydration occurred throughout this period, and mean urine osmolality was 285 mOsm/kg (SD 115 mOsm/kg). In addition, positive changes in mood scores (BRUMS scale) also occurred. The client was now able to ride light for the first time in his career without dehydrating, thereby challenging the cultural practices inherent in the sport.
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George Wilson, Neil Chester, Martin Eubank, Ben Crighton, Barry Drust, James P. Morton, and Graeme L. Close
Llion A. Roberts, Kris Beattie, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton
To test the hypothesis that antioxidants can attenuate high-intensity interval training–induced improvements in exercise performance.
Two groups of recreationally active males performed a high-intensity interval running protocol, four times per week for 4 wk. Group 1 (n = 8) consumed 1 g of vitamin C daily throughout the training period, whereas Group 2 (n = 7) consumed a visually identical placebo. Pre- and posttraining, subjects were assessed for VO2max, 10 km time trial, running economy at 12 km/h and distance run on the YoYo intermittent recovery tests level 1 and 2 (YoYoIRT1/2). Subjects also performed a 60 min run before and after training at a running velocity of 65% of pretraining VO2max so as to assess training-induced changes in substrate oxidation rates.
Training improved (P < .0005) VO2max, 10 km time trial, running economy, YoYoIRT1 and YoYoIRT2 in both groups, although there was no difference (P = .31, 0.29, 0.24, 0.76 and 0.59) between groups in the magnitude of training-induced improvements in any of the aforementioned parameters. Similarly, training also decreased (P < .0005) mean carbohydrate and increased mean fat oxidation rates during submaximal exercise in both groups, although no differences (P = .98 and 0.94) existed between training conditions.
Daily oral consumption of 1 g of vitamin C during a 4 wk high-intensity interval training period does not impair training-induced improvements in the exercise performance of recreationally active males.
George Wilson, Carl Langan-Evans, Dan Martin, Andreas M. Kasper, James P. Morton, and Graeme L. Close
Jockeys are unique given that they make weight daily and, therefore, often resort to fasting and dehydration. Through increasing daily food frequency (during energy deficit), we have reported short-term improvements in jockey’s body composition. While these changes were observed over 6–12 weeks with food provided, it is unclear whether such improvements can be maintained over an extended period during free-living conditions. We, therefore, assessed jockeys over 5 years using dual X-ray absorptiometry, resting metabolic rate, and hydration measurements. Following dietary and exercise advice, jockeys reduced fat mass from baseline of 7.1 ± 1.4 kg to 6.1 ± 0.7 kg and 6.1 ± 0.6 kg (p < .001) at Years 1 and 5, respectively. In addition, fat-free mass was maintained with resting metabolic rate increasing significantly from 1,500 ± 51 kcal/day at baseline to 1,612 ± 95 kcal/day and 1,620 ± 92 kcal/day (p < .001) at Years 1 and 5, respectively. Urine osmolality reduced from 816 ± 236 mOsmol/L at baseline to 564 ± 175 mOsmol/L and 524 ± 156 mOsmol/L (p < .001) at Years 1 and 5, respectively. The percent of jockeys consuming a regular breakfast significantly increased from 48% at baseline to 83% (p = .009) and 87% (p = .003) at Years 1 and 5, alongside regular lunch from 35% to 92% (p < .001) and 96% (p < .001) from baseline to Years 1 and 5, respectively. In conclusion, we report that improved body composition can be maintained in free-living jockeys over a 5-year period when appropriate guidance has been provided.
Liam Anderson, Graeme L. Close, Ryland Morgans, Catherine Hambly, John Roger Speakman, Barry Drust, and James P. Morton
Purpose: To better understand the energy and carbohydrate (CHO) requirements of a professional goalkeeper (GK) in elite soccer, the authors quantified physical loading, energy expenditure (EE), and energy intake (EI) during a 2-games-per-week in-season microcycle. Methods: Daily training and match loads were assessed in a professional GK (age 26 y, height 191 cm, body mass 85.6 kg) from the English Premier League using global positioning systems (GPS) and ProZone®, respectively. Assessments of EE (using the doubly labeled water method) and EI (using food diaries supported by the remote food photographic method and 24-h recalls) were also completed. Results: Physical loading was greater on match days than training days as inferred from total distance (4574  vs 1959  m), average speed (48  vs 40  m/min), and distance completed when jogging (993  vs 645  m) and running (138  vs 21  m). Average daily energy and macronutrient intake appear reflective of a self-selected “low-CHO” diet (energy 3160  kcal, CHO 2.6 [0.6], protein 2.4 [0.4], fat 1.9 [0.3] g/kg body mass). Mean daily EE was 2894 kcal. Conclusions: The average daily EE of this professional GK was approximately 600 kcal/d lower than that previously reported in outfield players from the same team. Such data suggest that the nutritional requirements of a GK should be carefully considered depending on the required daily and weekly loading patterns.
Liam Anderson, Robert J. Naughton, Graeme L. Close, Rocco Di Michele, Ryland Morgans, Barry Drust, and James P. Morton
The daily distribution of macronutrient intake can modulate aspects of training adaptations, performance and recovery. We therefore assessed the daily distribution of macronutrient intake (as assessed using food diaries supported by the remote food photographic method and 24-hr recalls) of professional soccer players (n = 6) of the English Premier League during a 7-day period consisting of two match days and five training days. On match days, average carbohydrate (CHO) content of the prematch (<1.5 g·kg-1 body mass) and postmatch (1 g·kg-1 body mass) meals (in recovery from an evening kick-off) were similar (p > .05) though such intakes were lower than contemporary guidelines considered optimal for prematch CHO intake and postmatch recovery. On training days, we observed a skewed and hierarchical approach (p < .05 for all comparisons) to protein feeding such that dinner (0.8 g·kg-1)>lunch (0.6 g·kg-1)>breakfast (0.3 g·kg-1)>evening snacks (0.1 g·kg-1). We conclude players may benefit from consuming greater amounts of CHO in both the prematch and postmatch meals so as to increase CHO availability and maximize rates of muscle glycogen resynthesis, respectively. Furthermore, attention should also be given to ensuring even daily distribution of protein intake so as to potentially promote components of training adaptation.
Harry E. Routledge, Stuart Graham, Rocco Di Michele, Darren Burgess, Robert M. Erskine, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton
The authors aimed to quantify (a) the periodization of physical loading and daily carbohydrate (CHO) intake across an in-season weekly microcycle of Australian Football and (b) the quantity and source of CHO consumed during game play and training. Physical loading (via global positioning system technology) and daily CHO intake (via a combination of 24-hr recall, food diaries, and remote food photographic method) were assessed in 42 professional male players during two weekly microcycles comprising a home and away fixture. The players also reported the source and quantity of CHO consumed during all games (n = 22 games) and on the training session completed 4 days before each game (n = 22 sessions). The total distance was greater (p < .05) on game day (GD; 13 km) versus all training days. The total distance differed between training days, where GD-2 (8 km) was higher than GD-1, GD-3, and GD-4 (3.5, 0, and 7 km, respectively). The daily CHO intake was also different between training days, with reported intakes of 1.8, 1.4, 2.5, and 4.5 g/kg body mass on GD-4, GD-3, GD-2, and GD-1, respectively. The CHO intake was greater (p < .05) during games (59 ± 19 g) compared with training (1 ± 1 g), where in the former, 75% of the CHO consumed was from fluids as opposed to gels. Although the data suggest that Australian Football players practice elements of CHO periodization, the low absolute CHO intakes likely represent considerable underreporting in this population. Even when accounting for potential underreporting, the data also suggest Australian Football players underconsume CHO in relation to the physical demands of training and competition.
Andreas M. Kasper, Ben Crighton, Carl Langan-Evans, Philip Riley, Asheesh Sharma, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton
The aim of the present case study was to quantify the physiological and metabolic impact of extreme weight cutting by an elite male mixed martial arts athlete. Throughout an 8-week period, we obtained regular assessments of body composition, resting metabolic rate, peak oxygen uptake, and blood clinical chemistry to assess endocrine status, lipid profiles, hydration, and kidney function. The athlete adhered to a “phased” weight loss plan consisting of 7 weeks of reduced energy (ranging from 1,300 to 1,900 kcal/day) intake (Phase 1), 5 days of water loading with 8 L/day for 4 days followed by 250 ml on Day 5 (Phase 2), 20 hr of fasting and dehydration (Phase 3), and 32 hr of rehydration and refueling prior to competition (Phase 4). Body mass declined by 18.1% (80.2 to 65.7 kg) corresponding to changes of 4.4, 2.8, and 7.3 kg in Phases 1, 2, and 3, respectively. We observed clear indices of relative energy deficiency, as evidenced by reduced resting metabolic rate (−331 kcal), inability to complete performance tests, alterations to endocrine hormones (testosterone: <3 nmol/L), and hypercholesterolemia (>6 mmol/L). Moreover, severe dehydration (reducing body mass by 9.3%) in the final 24 hr prior to weigh-in-induced hypernatremia (plasma sodium: 148 mmol/L) and acute kidney injury (serum creatinine: 177 μmol/L). These data, therefore, support publicized reports of the harmful (and potentially fatal) effects of extreme weight cutting in mixed martial arts athletes and represent a call for action to governing bodies to safeguard the welfare of mixed martial arts athletes.
Andreas M. Kasper, S. Andy Sparks, Matthew Hooks, Matthew Skeer, Benjamin Webb, Houman Nia, James P. Morton, and Graeme L. Close
Rugby is characterized by frequent high-intensity collisions, resulting in muscle soreness. Players consequently seek strategies to reduce soreness and accelerate recovery, with an emerging method being cannabidiol (CBD), despite anti-doping risks. The prevalence and rationale for CBD use in rugby has not been explored; therefore, we recruited professional male players to complete a survey on CBD. Goodness of fit chi-square (χ2) was used to assess CBD use between codes and player position. Effects of age on use were determined using χ2 tests of independence. Twenty-five teams provided 517 player responses. While the majority of players had never used CBD (p < .001, V = 0.24), 26% had either used it (18%) or were still using it (8%). Significantly more CBD use was observed in rugby union compared with rugby league (p = .004, V = 0.13), but player position was not a factor (p = .760, V = 0.013). CBD use increased with players’ age (p < .001, V = 0.28), with mean use reaching 41% in the players aged 28 years and older category (p < .0001). The players using CBD primarily used the Internet (73%) or another teammate (61%) to obtain information, with only 16% consulting a nutritionist. The main reasons for CBD use were improving recovery/pain (80%) and sleep (78%), with 68% of players reporting a perceived benefit. These data highlight the need for immediate education on the risks of CBD, as well as the need to explore the claims regarding pain and sleep.
Liam Anderson, Patrick Orme, Rocco Di Michele, Graeme L. Close, Jordan Milsom, Ryland Morgans, Barry Drust, and James P. Morton
To quantify the accumulative training and match load during an annual season in English Premier League soccer players classified as starters (n = 8, started ≥60% of games), fringe players (n = 7, started 30–60% of games) and nonstarters (n = 4, started <30% of games).
Players were monitored during all training sessions and games completed in the 2013–14 season with load quantified using global positioning system and Prozone technology, respectively.
When including both training and matches, total duration of activity (10,678 ± 916, 9955 ± 947, 10,136 ± 847 min; P = .50) and distance covered (816.2 ± 92.5, 733.8 ± 99.4, 691.2 ± 71.5 km; P = .16) were not different between starters, fringe players, and nonstarters, respectively. However, starters completed more (all P < .01) distance running at 14.4–19.8 km/h (91.8 ± 16.3 vs 58.0 ± 3.9 km; effect size [ES] = 2.5), high-speed running at 19.9–25.1 km/h (35.0 ± 8.2 vs 18.6 ± 4.3 km; ES = 2.3), and sprinting at >25.2 km/h (11.2 ± 4.2 vs 2.9 ± 1.2 km; ES = 2.3) than nonstarters. In addition, starters also completed more sprinting (P < .01, ES = 2.0) than fringe players, who accumulated 4.5 ± 1.8 km. Such differences in total high-intensity physical work done were reflective of differences in actual game time between playing groups as opposed to differences in high-intensity loading patterns during training sessions.
Unlike total seasonal volume of training (ie, total distance and duration), seasonal high-intensity loading patterns are dependent on players’ match starting status, thereby having potential implications for training program design.
Harry E. Routledge, Jill J. Leckey, Matt J. Lee, Andrew Garnham, Stuart Graham, Darren Burgess, Louise M. Burke, Robert M. Erskine, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton
Purpose: To better understand the carbohydrate (CHO) requirement of Australian Football (AF) match play by quantifying muscle glycogen utilization during an in-season AF match. Methods: After a 24-h CHO-loading protocol of 8 and 2 g/kg in the prematch meal, 2 elite male forward players had biopsies sampled from m. vastus lateralis before and after participation in a South Australian Football League game. Player A (87.2 kg) consumed water only during match play, whereas player B (87.6 kg) consumed 88 g CHO via CHO gels. External load was quantified using global positioning system technology. Results: Player A completed more minutes on the ground (115 vs 98 min) and covered greater total distance (12.2 vs 11.2 km) than player B, although with similar high-speed running (837 vs 1070 m) and sprinting (135 vs 138 m). Muscle glycogen decreased by 66% in player A (pre: 656 mmol/kg dry weight [dw], post: 223 mmol/kg dw) and 24% in player B (pre: 544 mmol/kg dw, post: 416 mmol/kg dw). Conclusion: Prematch CHO loading elevated muscle glycogen concentrations (ie, >500 mmol/kg dw), the magnitude of which appears sufficient to meet the metabolic demands of elite AF match play. The glycogen cost of AF match play may be greater than in soccer and rugby, and CHO feeding may also spare muscle glycogen use. Further studies using larger sample sizes are now required to quantify the interindividual variability of glycogen cost of match play (including muscle and fiber-type-specific responses), as well examining potential metabolic and ergogenic effects of CHO feeding.