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Ryland Morgans, Adam Owen, Dominic Doran, Barry Drust and James P. Morton

Purpose:

To monitor resting salivary secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) levels in international soccer players during the short-term training period that precedes international match play.

Methods:

In a repeated-measure design, saliva samples were obtained from 13 outfield soccer players who participated in the training camps preceding 7 games (5 home and 2 away) of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign. Samples were obtained daily for 4 d preceding each game (and analyzed for SIgA using the IPRO oral-fluid-collection system) at match day minus 1 (MD-1), minus 2 (MD-2), minus 3 (MD-3), and minus 4 (MD-4).

Results:

SIgA displayed a progressive decline (P = .01) during the 4-d training period (MD-4, 365 ± 127 μg/mL; MD-3, 348 ± 154 μg/mL; MD-2, 290 ± 138 μg/mL; MD-1, 256 ± 90 μg/mL) such that MD-1 values were significantly lower (P = .01) than both MD-4 and MD-3. The 95% confidence intervals for the differences between MD-1 and MD-4 were –191 to –26 and between MD-1 and MD-3 were –155 to –28.

Conclusions:

Data demonstrate that a short-term soccer-training camp in preparation for international competition induces detectable perturbations to mucosal immunity. Future studies should monitor SIgA (as a practical and noninvasive measure of immunity) alongside internal and external measures of training load in an attempt to strategically individualize training and nutritional strategies that may support optimal preparation for high-level competition.

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Llion A. Roberts, Kris Beattie, Graeme L. Close and James P. Morton

Purpose:

To test the hypothesis that antioxidants can attenuate high-intensity interval training–induced improvements in exercise performance.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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.

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Louise M. Burke, Graeme L. Close, Bronwen Lundy, Martin Mooses, James P. Morton and Adam S. Tenforde

Low energy availability (LEA) is a key element of the Female Athlete Triad. Causes of LEA include failure to match high exercise energy expenditure (unintentional) or pathological behaviors of disordered eating (compulsive) and overzealous weight control programs (misguided but intentional). Recognition of such scenarios in male athletes contributed to the pronouncement of the more inclusive Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) syndrome. This commentary describes the insights and experience of the current group of authors around the apparently heightened risk of LEA in some populations of male athletes: road cyclists, rowers (lightweight and open weight), athletes in combat sports, distance runners, and jockeys. The frequency, duration, and magnitude of the LEA state appear to vary between populations. Common risk factors include cyclical management of challenging body mass and composition targets (including “making weight”) and the high energy cost of some training programs or events that is not easily matched by energy intake. However, additional factors such as food insecurity and lack of finances may also contribute to impaired nutrition in some populations. Collectively, these insights substantiate the concept of RED-S in male athletes and suggest that a specific understanding of a sport, subpopulation, or culture may identify a complex series of factors that can contribute to LEA and the type and severity of its outcomes. This commentary provides a perspective on the range of risk factors that should be addressed in future surveys of RED-S in athletic populations and targeted for specific investigation and modification.

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Louise M. Burke, John A. Hawley, Asker Jeukendrup, James P. Morton, Trent Stellingwerff and Ronald J. Maughan

From the breakthrough studies of dietary carbohydrate and exercise capacity in the 1960s through to the more recent studies of cellular signaling and the adaptive response to exercise in muscle, it has become apparent that manipulations of dietary fat and carbohydrate within training phases, or in the immediate preparation for competition, can profoundly alter the availability and utilization of these major fuels and, subsequently, the performance of endurance sport (events >30 min up to ∼24 hr). A variety of terms have emerged to describe new or nuanced versions of such exercise–diet strategies (e.g., train low, train high, low-carbohydrate high-fat diet, periodized carbohydrate diet). However, the nonuniform meanings of these terms have caused confusion and miscommunication, both in the popular press and among the scientific community. Sports scientists will continue to hold different views on optimal protocols of fuel support for training and competition in different endurance events. However, to promote collaboration and shared discussions, a commonly accepted and consistent terminology will help to strengthen hypotheses and experimental/experiential data around various strategies. We propose a series of definitions and explanations as a starting point for a more unified dialogue around acute and chronic manipulations of fat and carbohydrate in the athlete’s diet, noting philosophies of approaches rather than a single/definitive macronutrient prescription. We also summarize some of the key questions that need to be tackled to help produce greater insight into this exciting area of sports nutrition research and practice.

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George Wilson, Neil Chester, Martin Eubank, Ben Crighton, Barry Drust, James P. Morton and Graeme L. Close

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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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.

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Robert J. Naughton, Barry Drust, Andy O’Boyle, Ryland Morgans, Julie Abayomi, Ian G. Davies, James P. Morton and Elizabeth Mahon

While traditional approaches to dietary analysis in athletes have focused on total daily energy and macronutrient intake, it is now thought that daily distribution of these parameters can also influence training adaptations. Using 7-day food diaries, we quantified the total daily macronutrient intake and distribution in elite youth soccer players from the English Premier League in U18 (n = 13), U15/16 (n = 25) and U13/14 squads (n = 21). Total energy (43.1 ± 10.3, 32.6 ± 7.9, 28.1 ± 6.8 kcal·kg-1·day-1), CHO (6 ± 1.2, 4.7 ± 1.4, 3.2 ± 1.3 g·kg- 1·day-1) and fat (1.3 ± 0.5, 0.9 ± 0.3, 0.9 ± 0.3 g·kg-1·day-1) intake exhibited hierarchical differences (p < .05) such that U13/14 > U15/16 > U18. In addition, CHO intake in U18s was lower (p < .05) at breakfast, dinner and snacks when compared with both squads but no differences were apparent at lunch. Furthermore, the U15/16s reported lower relative daily protein intake than the U13/14s and U18s (1.6 ± 0.3 vs. 2.2 ± 0.5, 2.0 ± 0.3 g·kg-1). A skewed distribution (p < .05) of daily protein intake was observed in all squads, with a hierarchical order of dinner (~0.6 g·kg-1) > lunch (~0.5 g·kg-1) > breakfast (~0.3 g·kg-1). We conclude elite youth soccer players do not meet current CHO guidelines. Although daily protein targets are achieved, we report a skewed daily distribution in all ages such that dinner > lunch > breakfast. Our data suggest that dietary advice for elite youth players should focus on both total daily macronutrient intake and optimal daily distribution patterns.

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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.

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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 [432] vs 1959 [500] m), average speed (48 [5] vs 40 [4] m/min), and distance completed when jogging (993 [194] vs 645 [81] m) and running (138 [16] vs 21 [20] m). Average daily energy and macronutrient intake appear reflective of a self-selected “low-CHO” diet (energy 3160 [381] 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.

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Liam Anderson, Patrick Orme, Rocco Di Michele, Graeme L. Close, Jordan Milsom, Ryland Morgans, Barry Drust and James P. Morton

Purpose:

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).

Methods

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions

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.