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Lewis J. James and Susan M. Shirreffs

Weight categorized athletes use a variety of techniques to induce rapid weight loss (RWL) in the days leading up to weigh in. This study examined the fluid and electrolyte balance responses to 24-hr fluid restriction (FR), energy restriction (ER) and fluid and energy restriction (F+ER) compared with a control trial (C), which are commonly used techniques to induce RWL in weight category sports. Twelve subjects (six male, six female) received adequate energy and water (C) intake, adequate energy and restricted water (~10% of C; FR) intake, restricted energy (~25% of C) and adequate water (ER) intake or restricted energy (~25% of C) and restricted (~10% of C) water intake (F+ER) in a randomized counterbalanced order. Subjects visited the laboratory at 0 hr, 12 hr, and 24 hr for blood and urine sample collection. Total body mass loss was 0.33% (C), 1.88% (FR), 1.97% (ER), and 2.44% (F+ER). Plasma volume was reduced at 24 hr during FR, ER, and F+ER, while serum osmolality was increased at 24 hr for FR and F+ER and was greater at 24 hr for FR compared with all other trials. Negative balances of sodium, potassium, and chloride developed during ER and F+ER but not during C and FR. These results demonstrate that 24 hr fluid and/or energy restriction significantly reduces body mass and plasma volume, but has a disparate effect on serum osmolality, resulting in hypertonic hypohydration during FR and isotonic hypohydration during ER. These findings might be explained by the difference in electrolyte balance between the trials.

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Ruth M. James, Sarah Ritchie, Ian Rollo, and Lewis J. James

The aim of the current study was to investigate the influence of mouth rinsing carbohydrate at increasing concentrations on ~1 hr cycle time trial performance. Eleven male cyclists completed three experimental trials, following an overnight fast. Cyclists performed a ~1 hr time trial on a cycle ergometer, while rinsing their mouth for 5 s with either a 7% maltodextrin solution (CHO), 14% CHO or a taste-matched placebo (PLA) after every 12.5% of the set amount of work. Heart rate was recorded every 12.5% of the time trial, while RPE and GI comfort were determined every 25% of the time trial. The mouth rinse protocol influenced the time to complete the time trial (p < .001), with cyclists completing the time trial faster during 7% CHO (57.3 ± 4.5 min; p = .004) and 14% CHO (57.4 ± 4.1 min; p = .007), compared with PLA (59.5 ± 4.9 min). There was no difference between the two carbohydrate trials (p = .737). There was a main effect of time (P<0.001) for both heart rate and RPE, but no main effect of trial (p = .107 and p = .849, respectively). Scores for GI comfort ranged from 0–2 during trials, indicating very little GI discomfort during exercise. In conclusion, mouth rinsing and expectorating a 7% maltodextrin solution, for 5 s routinely during exercise was associated with improved cycle time trial performance approximately 1 h in duration. Increasing the carbohydrate concentration of the rinsed solution from 7% to 14% resulted in no further performance improvement.

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David J. Clayton, Gethin H. Evans, and Lewis J. James

The purpose of this study was to examine the gastric emptying and rehydration effects of hypotonic and hypertonic glucose-electrolyte drinks after exercise-induced dehydration. Eight healthy males lost ~1.8% body mass by intermittent cycling and rehydrated (150% of body mass loss) with a hypotonic 2% (2% trial) or a hypertonic 10% (10% trial) glucose-electrolyte drink over 60 min. Blood and urine samples were taken at preexercise, postexercise, and 60, 120, 180, and 240 min postexercise. Gastric and test drink volume were determined 15, 30, 45, 60, 90, and 120 min postexercise. At the end of the gastric sampling period 0.3% (2% trial) and 42.1% (10% trial; p < .001) of the drinks remained in the stomach. Plasma volume was lower (p < .01) and serum osmolality was greater (p < .001) at 60 and 120 min during the 10% trial. At 240 min, 52% (2% trial) and 64% (10% trial; p < .001) of the drinks were retained. Net fluid balance was greater from 120 min during the 10% trial (p < .001). When net fluid balance was corrected for the volume of fluid in the stomach, it was greater at 60 and 120 min during the 2% trial (p < .001). These results suggest that the reduced urine output following ingestion of a hypertonic rehydration drink might be mediated by a slower rate of gastric emptying, but the slow gastric emptying of such solutions makes rehydration efficiency difficult to determine in the hours immediately after drinking, compromising the calculation of net fluid balance.

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Gethin H. Evans, Jennifer Miller, Sophie Whiteley, and Lewis J. James

The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of water and a 50 mmol/L NaCl solution on postexercise rehydration when a standard meal was consumed during rehydration. Eight healthy participants took part in two experimental trials during which they lost 1.5 ± 0.4% of initial body mass via intermittent exercise in the heat. Participants then rehydrated over a 60-min period with water or a 50 mmol/L NaCl solution in a volume equivalent to 150% of their body mass loss during exercise. In addition, a standard meal was ingested during this time which was equivalent to 30% of participants predicted daily energy expenditure. Urine samples were collected before and after exercise and for 3 hr after rehydration. Cumulative urine volume (981 ± 458 ml and 577 ± 345 mL; p = .035) was greater, while percentage fluid retained (50 ± 20% and 70 ± 21%; p = .017) was lower during the water compared with the NaCl trial respectively. A high degree of variability in results was observed with one participant producing 28% more urine and others ranging from 18–83% reduction in urine output during the NaCl trial. The results of this study suggest that after exercise induced dehydration, the ingestion of a 50 mmol/L NaCl solution leads to greater fluid retention compared with water, even when a meal is consumed postexercise. Furthermore, ingestion of plain water may be effective for maintenance of fluid balance when food is consumed in the rehydration period.

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Mohamed Nashrudin Naharudin, Ashril Yusof, David J. Clayton, and Lewis J. James

Background: Preexercise food intake enhances exercise performance due, in part, to the provision of exogenous carbohydrate. Food intake also suppresses hunger, but the specific influence of hunger on exercise performance has not been investigated. This study aimed to manipulate hunger by altering preexercise meal viscosity to examine whether hunger influences performance. Methods: Sixteen resistance-trained males completed 2 experimental trials ingesting either high viscosity semisolid (SEM) and low viscosity liquid (LIQ) carbohydrate-containing meals 2 hours before performing 4 sets of back squat (85 [22] kg) and bench press (68 [13] kg) to failure at 90% 10-repetition maximum. Subjective hunger/fullness as well as plasma concentrations of glucose, insulin, ghrelin, and peptide tyrosine–tyrosine were measured before and periodically after the meal. Repetitions completed in sets were used to determine exercise performance. Results: Hunger was lower, and fullness was greater during SEM compared with LIQ immediately before and during exercise (P < .05). Total repetitions completed for back squat were approximately 10% greater in SEM (SEM 57 [9]; LIQ 51 [7] repetitions; P = .001) with no difference in bench press repetitions (SEM 48 [11]; LIQ 48 [10] repetitions; P = .621). Postprandial glucose concentrations were greater during LIQ (12% increase in peak glucose) but were similar throughout exercise. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that exercise performance in back squat was increased in the SEM trial concomitant to a reduction in hunger. Therefore, this study provides novel data that suggest that exercise performance might be influenced by hunger, at least for resistance exercise.

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Stephen A. Mears, Kathryn Dickinson, Kurt Bergin-Taylor, Reagan Dee, Jack Kay, and Lewis J. James

Purpose: To examine the effect on short-duration, high-intensity cycling time-trial (TT) performance when a semisolid breakfast containing carbohydrate (CHO) or a taste- and texture-matched placebo is ingested 90 min preexercise compared with a water (WAT) control. Methods: A total of 13 well-trained cyclists (mean [SD]: age = 25 [8] y, body mass = 71.1 [5.9] kg, height = 1.76 [0.04] m, maximum power output = 383 [46] W, and peak oxygen uptake = 4.42 [0.53] L·min−1) performed 3 experimental trials examining breakfast ingestion 90 min before a 10-min steady-state cycle (60% maximum power output) and an ∼20-min TT (to complete a workload target of 376 [36] kJ). Subjects consumed either WAT, a semisolid CHO breakfast (2 g carbohydrate CHO·kg−1 body mass), or a taste- and texture-matched placebo (PLA). Blood lactate and glucose concentrations were measured periodically throughout the rest and exercise periods. Results: The TT was completed more quickly in CHO (1120 [69] s; P = .006) and PLA (1112 [50] s; P = .030) compared with WAT (1146 [74] s). Ingestion of CHO caused an increase in blood glucose concentration throughout the rest period in CHO (peak at 30-min rest = 7.37 [1.10] mmol·L−1; P < .0001) before dropping below baseline levels after the steady-state cycling. Conclusion: A short-duration cycling TT was completed more quickly when subjects perceived that they had consumed breakfast (PLA or CHO) 90 min prior to the start of the exercise. The improvement in performance is likely attributable to a psychological rather than physiological effect.

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Kirsty M. Reynolds, Tom Clifford, Stephen A. Mears, and Lewis J. James

This systematic review analyzed whether carbohydrate source (food vs. supplement) influenced performance and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms during endurance exercise. Medline, SPORTDiscus, and citations were searched from inception to July 2021. Inclusion criteria were healthy, active males and females aged >18 years, investigating endurance performance, and GI symptoms after ingestion of carbohydrate from a food or supplement, <60 min before or during endurance exercise. The van Rosendale scale was used to determine risk of bias, with seven studies having low risk of bias. A total of 151 participants from 15 studies were included in the review. Three studies provided 0.6–1 g carbohydrate/kg body mass during 5–45 min precycling exercise (duration 60–70 min) while 12 studies provided 24–80 g/hr carbohydrate during exercise (60–330 min). Except one study that suggested a likely harmful effect (magnitude-based inferences) of a bar compared to a gel consumed during exercise on cycling performance, there were no differences in running (n = 1) or cycling (n = 13) performance/capacity between food and supplemental sources. Greater GI symptoms were reported with food compared with supplemental sources. Highly heterogenous study designs for carbohydrate dose and timing, as well as exercise protocol and duration, make it difficult to compare findings between studies. A further limitation results from only one study assessing running performance. Food choices of carbohydrate consumed immediately before and during endurance exercise result in similar exercise performance/capacity responses to supplemental carbohydrate sources, but may slightly increase GI symptoms in some athletes, particularly with exercise >2 hr.

Open access

Courtney C. Walton, Kelsey J. Lewis, James Kirby, Rosemary Purcell, Simon M. Rice, and Margaret S. Osborne

This cross-sectional study explored athlete responses to the Compassion Motivation and Action Scales Self-Compassion Scale, examining its relationship with well-being. Athlete (N = 207; mean age 27.9 years) scores were consistent with previous population means. Scores on the Compassion Motivation and Action Scales Self-Compassion Scale did not differ between elite and nonelite athletes, nor did they correlate significantly with trait competitiveness. Significant differences emerged based on athlete well-being state, with athletes categorized as “flourishing” scoring higher on the total score and all subscales of the Compassion Motivation and Action Scales Self-Compassion Scale, as compared with those with “moderate mental health” (Cohen’s ds from 0.58 to 0.92). Furthermore, the distress tolerance subscale significantly mediated the relationship between self-compassion intentions and well-being (indirect path: B = 0.034, p < .001). The results suggest that self-compassionate intentions are not enough, and athletes may need support to tolerate the distress that comes with moving toward one’s own suffering.

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George P. Robinson, Sophie C. Killer, Zdravko Stoyanov, Harri Stephens, Luke Read, Lewis J. James, and Stephen J. Bailey

This study investigated whether supplementation with nitrate-rich beetroot juice (BR) can improve high-intensity intermittent running performance in trained males in normoxia and different doses of normobaric hypoxia. Eight endurance-trained males (V˙O2peak, 62 ± 6 ml·kg−1·min−1) completed repeated 90 s intervals at 110% of peak treadmill velocity, from an initial step incremental test, interspersed by 60 s of passive recovery until exhaustion (T lim). Participants completed the first three experimental trials during days 3, 5, and 7 of BR or nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (PLA) supplementation and completed the remaining experimental visits on the alternative supplement following at least 7 days of washout. The fraction of inspired oxygen during visits 1–3 was either 0.209, 0.182, or 0.157, equivalent to an altitude of 0, 1,200, and 2,400 m, respectively, and this order was replicated on visits 4–6. Arterial oxygen saturation declined dose dependently as fraction of inspired oxygen was lowered (p < .05). Plasma nitrite concentration was higher pre- and postexercise after BR compared with PLA supplementation (p < .05). There was no difference in Tlim between PLA and BR at 0 m (445 [324, 508] and 410 [368, 548] s); 1,200 m (341 [270, 390] and 332 [314, 356] s); or 2,400 m (233 [177, 373] and 251 [221, 323] s) (median and [interquartile range]; p > .05). The findings from this study suggest that short-term BR supplementation does not improve high-intensity intermittent running performance in endurance-trained males in normoxia or at doses of normobaric hypoxia that correspond to altitudes at which athletes typically train while on altitude training camps.

Open access

James A. Betts, Javier T. Gonzalez, Louise M. Burke, Graeme L. Close, Ina Garthe, Lewis J. James, Asker E. Jeukendrup, James P. Morton, David C. Nieman, Peter Peeling, Stuart M. Phillips, Trent Stellingwerff, Luc J.C. van Loon, Clyde Williams, Kathleen Woolf, Ron Maughan, and Greg Atkinson