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Chin Han Lew, Gary Slater, Gobinathan Nair and Michelle Miller

This study investigated the relationship between changes in upon-waking body mass (BM) and changes in urine specific gravity (Usg) and urine color (Ucol) from 1 day to the next. Throughout the 5-day investigation, healthy adolescent Singaporean athletes (n = 66) had their upon-waking, bladder-voided BM measured. A small aliquot of the first bladder void each day was collected and analyzed for Usg and Ucol, the latter by both an investigator (IUcol) and individual participants (SUcol). Results revealed a significant inverse relationship between changes in BM and changes in Usg (p = .003) and Ucol (p = .001). On average, Usg and Ucol changed by ~0.003 units and ~1 color (across a 9-unit scale), respectively, with every 1% change in BM from 1 day to the next. There was a stronger relationship between Usg and IUcol (r = .82, p < .001) than between Usg and SUcol (r = .60, p < .001). These results suggest that the degree of fluid deficit may be predicted from the Usg measurements among moderately hypohydrated athletes. In addition, training athletes to interpret and use the Ucol chart is recommended.

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Mark R. McKean, Gary Slater, Florin Oprescu and Brendan J. Burkett

Australia has approximately 26,000 registered exercise professionals (REP), in comparison with 3,379 accredited practicing dietitians (APD). The REP workforce has the potential to reach more than 10% of the Australian population but there is limited data on their educational background and professional behaviors with regards to nutritional counseling of clients. The purpose of this research was to determine if REPs are working within their scope of practice and if their qualifications align with their practice, specifically as it relates to nutrition advice. Using a cross sectional descriptive study design, a self-administered online survey of REPs was conducted over 5 months. REPs were recruited through electronic and social media using a snowballing technique. The study focused on education, nutrition advice, and sources of information. A total of 286 respondents completed the survey, including 13 with tertiary dietetic qualifications i.e., APDs. The nationally recognized industry Certificate III/IV in Fitness was the most common qualification. The majority of REPs responding (88%) were working outside of their professional scope of practice, offering individual nutrition advice to clients across fitness and medical issues. This was despite 40% of REPs undertaking no further training in nutrition since graduating, and primarily basing advice on use of readily accessible sources of nutrition information. It is recommended the nutrition advice provided to REPs during training be limited to general nonmedical nutrition information in accordance with nationally endorsed evidence based guidelines and that issues pertaining to scope of practice be addressed with onward referral to other health professionals be advocated.

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Reid Reale, Gregory R. Cox, Gary Slater and Louise M. Burke

Purpose:

Combat-sport athletes acutely reduce body mass (BM) before weigh-in in an attempt to gain a size/strength advantage over smaller opponents. Few studies have investigated these practices among boxers and none have explored the impact of this practice on competitive success.

Methods:

One hundred (30 women, 70 men) elite boxers participating in the Australian national championships were weighed at the official weigh-in and 1 h before each competition bout. Regain in BM after weigh-in was compared between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of each fight, men and women, and weight divisions. Boxers were surveyed on their pre- and post-weigh-in nutrition practices.

Results:

The lightest men’s weight category displayed significantly greater relative BM regain than all other divisions, with no difference between other divisions. BM prebout was higher than official weigh-in for men (2.12% ± 1.62%; P < .001; ES = 0.13) and women (1.49% ± 1.65%; P < .001; ES = 0.11). No differences in BM regain were found between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of individual bouts, or between preliminary or final bouts. BM regain was significantly greater (0.37% BM, P < .001; ES = 0.25) before an afternoon bout compared with a morning bout.

Conclusions:

Boxers engage in acute BM-loss practices before the official competition weigh-in, but this does not appear to affect competition outcomes, at least when weight regain between weigh-in and fighting is used as a proxy for the magnitude of acute loss. While boxers recognize the importance of recovering after weigh-in, current practice is not aligned with best-practice guidance.

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Ava Kerr, Gary Slater, Nuala Byrne and Janet Chaseling

The three-compartment (3-C) model of physique assessment (fat mass, fat-free mass, water) incorporates total body water (TBW) whereas the two-compartment model (2-C) assumes a TBW of 73.72%. Deuterium dilution (D2O) is the reference method for measuring TBW but is expensive and time consuming. Multifrequency bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy (BIS SFB7) estimates TBW instantaneously and claims high precision. Our aim was to compare SFB7 with D2O for estimating TBW in resistance trained males (BMI >25kg/m2). We included TBWBIS estimates in a 3-C model and contrasted this and the 2-C model against the reference 3-C model using TBWD2O. TBW of 29 males (32.4 ± 8.5 years; 183.4 ± 7.2 cm; 92.5 ± 9.9 kg; 27.5 ± 2.6 kg/m2) was measured using SFB7 and D2O. Body density was measured by BODPOD, with body composition calculated using the Siri equation. TBWBIS values were consistent with TBWD2O (SEE = 2.65L; TE = 2.6L) as were %BF values from the 3-C model (BODPOD + TBWBIS) with the 3-C reference model (SEE = 2.20%; TE = 2.20%). For subjects with TBW more than 1% from the assumed 73.72% (n = 16), %BF from the 2-C model differed significantly from the reference 3-C model (Slope 0.6888; Intercept 5.093). The BIS SFB7 measured TBW accurately compared with D2O. The 2C model with an assumed TBW of 73.72% introduces error in the estimation of body composition. We recommend TBW should be measured, either via the traditional D2O method or when resources are limited, with BIS, so that body composition estimates are enhanced. The BIS can be accurately used in 3C equations to better predict TBW and BF% in resistance trained males compared with a 2C model.

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Kristen MacKenzie, Gary Slater, Neil King and Nuala Byrne

Evidence suggests that increasing protein distribution may be desirable to promote muscle protein synthesis (MPS) in combination with resistance exercise. However, there is a threshold above which additional protein consumption has limited benefit for MPS and may promote protein loss due to increased oxidation. This study aimed to measure daily protein intake and protein distribution in a cohort of rugby players. Twenty-five developing elite rugby union athletes (20.5 ± 2.3 years, 100.2 ± 13.3 kg, 184.4 ± 7.4 cm) were assessed at the start and end of a rugby preseason. Using a 7-day food diary the reported daily protein intake was 2.2 ± 0.7 g·kg·day-1 which exceeds daily recommendations. The reported carbohydrate intake was 3.6 ± 1.3 g·kg·day-1 which may reflect a suboptimal intake or dietary underreporting. In general, the rugby athletes were regularly consuming more than 20 g of protein; 3.8 ± 0.9 times per day (68 ± 18% of eating occasions). In addition to documenting current dietary intakes, an excess protein estimation score was calculated to determine how frequently the rugby athletes consumed protein above a known effective dose with a margin of error. 2.0 ± 0.9 eating occasions contained protein in excess of doses (20 g) known to promote MPS. Therefore, it is currently unclear whether the consumption of regular large doses of protein will benefit rugby athletes via increasing protein distribution, or whether high protein intakes may have unintended effects including a reduction in carbohydrate and/or energy intake.

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Gary Slater, David Jenkins, Peter Logan, Hamilton Lee, Matthew Vukovich, John A. Rathmacher and Allan G. Hahn

This investigation evaluated the effects of oral β-Hydroxy-β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) supplementation on training responses in resistance-trained male athletes who were randomly administered HMB in standard encapsulation (SH), HMB in time release capsule (TRH), or placebo (P) in a double-blind fashion. Subjects ingested 3 g · day−1 of HMB or placebo for 6 weeks. Tests were conducted pre-supplementation and following 3 and 6 weeks of supplementation. The testing battery assessed body mass, body composition (using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry), and 3-repetition maximum isoinertial strength, plus biochemical parameters, including markers of muscle damage and muscle protein turnover. While the training and dietary intervention of the investigation resulted in significant strength gains (p < .001) and an increase in total lean mass (p = .01), HMB administration had no influence on these variables. Likewise, biochemical markers of muscle protein turnover and muscle damage were also unaffected by HMB supplementation. The data indicate that 6 weeks of HMB supplementation in either SH or TRH form does not influence changes in strength and body composition in response to resistance training in strength-trained athletes.

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Amelia J. Carr, Gary J. Slater, Christopher J. Gore, Brian Dawson and Louise M. Burke

Context:

Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is often ingested at a dose of 0.3 g/kg body mass (BM), but ingestion protocols are inconsistent in terms of using solution or capsules, ingestion period, combining NaHCO3 with sodium citrate (Na3C6H5O7), and coingested food and fluid.

Purpose:

To quantify the effect of ingesting 0.3 g/kg NaHCO3 on blood pH, [HCO3−], and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms over the subsequent 3 hr using a range of ingestion protocols and, thus, to determine an optimal protocol.

Methods:

In a crossover design, 13 physically active subjects undertook 8 NaHCO3 experimental ingestion protocols and 1 placebo protocol. Capillary blood was taken every 30 min and analyzed for pH and [HCO3−]. GI symptoms were quantified every 30 min via questionnaire. Statistics used were pairwise comparisons between protocols; differences were interpreted in relation to smallest worthwhile changes for each variable. A likelihood of >75% was a substantial change.

Results:

[HCO3−] and pH were substantially greater than in placebo for all other ingestion protocols at almost all time points. When NaHCO3 was coingested with food, the greatest [HCO3−] (30.9 mmol/kg) and pH (7.49) and lowest incidence of GI symptoms were observed. The greatest incidence of GI side effects was observed 90 min after ingestion of 0.3 g/kg NaHCO3 solution.

Conclusions:

The changes in pH and [HCO3−] for the 8 NaHCO3-ingestion protocols were similar, so an optimal protocol cannot be recommended. However, the results suggest that NaHCO3 coingested with a high-carbohydrate meal should be taken 120–150 min before exercise to induce substantial blood alkalosis and reduce GI symptoms.

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Jessica M. Stephens, Shona Halson, Joanna Miller, Gary J. Slater and Christopher D. Askew

The use of cold-water immersion (CWI) for postexercise recovery has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, but there is a dearth of strong scientific evidence to support the optimization of protocols for performance benefits. While the increase in practice and popularity of CWI has led to multiple studies and reviews in the area of water immersion, the research has predominantly focused on performance outcomes associated with postexercise CWI. Studies to date have generally shown positive results with enhanced recovery of performance. However, there are a small number of studies that have shown CWI to have either no effect or a detrimental effect on the recovery of performance. The rationale for such contradictory responses has received little attention but may be related to nuances associated with individuals that may need to be accounted for in optimizing prescription of protocols. To recommend optimal protocols to enhance athletic recovery, research must provide a greater understanding of the physiology underpinning performance change and the factors that may contribute to the varied responses currently observed. This review focuses specifically on why some of the current literature may show variability and disparity in the effectiveness of CWI for recovery of athletic performance by examining the body temperature and cardiovascular responses underpinning CWI and how they are related to performance benefits. This review also examines how individual characteristics (such as physique traits), differences in water-immersion protocol (depth, duration, temperature), and exercise type (endurance vs maximal) interact with these mechanisms.

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Kristen L. MacKenzie-Shalders, Neil A. King, Nuala M. Byrne and Gary J. Slater

Increasing the frequency of protein consumption is recommended to stimulate muscle hypertrophy with resistance exercise. This study manipulated dietary protein distribution to assess the effect on gains in lean mass during a rugby preseason. Twenty-four developing elite rugby athletes (age 20.1 ± 1.4 years, mass 101.6 ± 12.0 kg; M ± SD) were instructed to consume high biological value (HBV) protein at their main meals and immediately after resistance exercise while limiting protein intake between meals. To manipulate protein intake frequency, the athletes consumed 3 HBV liquid protein supplements (22 g protein) either with main meals (bolus condition) or between meals (frequent condition) for 6 weeks in a 2 × 2 crossover design. Dietary intake and change in lean mass values were compared between conditions by analysis of covariance and correlational analysis. The dietary manipulation successfully altered the protein distribution score (average number of eating occasions containing > 20 g of protein) to 4.0 ± 0.8 and 5.9 ± 0.7 (p < .01) for the bolus and frequent conditions, respectively. There was no difference in gains in lean mass between the bolus (1.4 ± 1.5 kg) and frequent (1.5 ± 1.4 kg) conditions (p = .91). There was no clear effect of increasing protein distribution from approximately 4–6 eating occasions on changes in lean mass during a rugby preseason. However, other dietary factors may have augmented adaptation.

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Reid Reale, Gary Slater, Gregory R. Cox, Ian C. Dunican and Louise M. Burke

Novel methods of acute weight loss practiced by combat sport athletes include “water loading,” the consumption of large fluid volumes for several days prior to restriction. We examined claims that this technique increases total body water losses, while also assessing the risk of hyponatremia. Male athletes were separated into control (n = 10) and water loading (n = 11) groups and fed a standardized energy-matched diet for 6 days. Days 1–3 fluid intake was 40 and 100 ml/kg for control and water loading groups, respectively, with both groups consuming 15 ml/kg on Day 4 and following the same rehydration protocol on Days 5 and 6. We tracked body mass (BM), urine sodium, urine specific gravity and volume, training-related sweat losses and blood concentrations of renal hormones, and urea and electrolytes throughout. Physical performance was assessed preintervention and postintervention. Following fluid restriction, there were substantial differences between groups in the ratio of fluid input/output (39%, p < .01, effect size = 1.2) and BM loss (0.6% BM, p = .02, effect size = 0.82). Changes in urine specific gravity, urea and electrolytes, and renal hormones occurred over time (p < .05), with an interaction of time and intervention on blood sodium, potassium, chloride, urea, creatinine, urine specific gravity, and vasopressin (p < .05). Measurements of urea and electrolyte remained within reference ranges, and no differences in physical performance were detected over time or between groups. Water loading appears to be a safe and effective method of acute BM loss under the conditions of this study. Vasopressin-regulated changes in aquaporin channels may potentially partially explain the mechanism of increased body water loss with water loading.