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Ronald J. Maughan, Susan M. Shirreffs and Alan Vernec

The use of dietary supplements is widespread among athletes in all sports and at all levels of competition, as it is in the general population. For the athlete training at the limits of what is sustainable, or for those seeking a shortcut to achieving their aims, supplements offer the prospect of bridging the gap between success and failure. Surveys show, however, that this is often not an informed choice and that the knowledge level among consumers is often low and that they are often influenced in their decisions by individuals with an equally inadequate understanding of the issues at stake. Supplement use may do more harm than good, unless it is based on a sound analysis of the evidence. Where a deficiency of an essential nutrient has been established by appropriate investigations, supplementation can provide a rapid and effective correction of the problem. Supplements can also provide a convenient and time-efficient solution to achieving the necessary intake of key nutrients such as protein and carbohydrate. Athletes contemplating the use of supplements should consider the potential for both positive and negative outcomes. Some ergogenic supplements may be of benefit to some athletes in some specific contexts, but many are less effective than is claimed. Some may be harmful to health of performance and some may contain agents prohibited by anti-doping regulations. Athletes should make informed choices that maximize the benefits while minimizing the risks.

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John D. Robertson, Ronald J. Maughan, Ann C. Milne and Ronald J.L. Davidson

Blood biochemical indices of iron status were measured in venous blood from 20 runners and 6 control subjects. All subjects were.male, ages 20 to 40 years, and stable with regard to body weight and degree of physical activity. Dietary analysis was undertaken using a 7-day weighed food intake. There was no evidence of iron deficiency: hemoglobin concentrations and serum femtin levels were within the normal population range for all individuals. However, serum ferritin was negatively correlated with the amount of training. Daily iron intake appeared to be adequate; iron intake was correlated with protein intake but not related to training or energy intake. Serum ferritin, an indicator of iron status, was significantly correlated with vitamin C intake but not iron intake. Serum transferrin concentration was higher in the group of athletes undertaking a high weekly training load compared with the control subjects, suggesting an alteration in iron metabolism although there was no evidence of increased erythropoiesis. The biological significance of this is unclear.

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Scott J. Montain, Ronald J. Maughan and Michael N. Sawka

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Ronald J. Maughan, Stuart J. Merson, Nick P. Broad and Susan M. Shirreffs

This study measured fluid balance during a 90-min preseason training session in the first team squad (24 players) of an English Premier League football team. Sweat loss was assessed from changes in body mass after correction for ingested fluids and urine passed. Sweat composition was measured by collection from patches attached to the skin at 4 sites. The weather was warm (24-29 °C), with moderate humidity (46–64%). The mean ± SD body mass loss over the training session was 1.10 ± 0.43 kg, equivalent to a level of dehydration of 1.37 ± 0.54% of the pre-training body mass. Mean fluid intake was 971 ± 303 ml. Estimated total mean sweat loss was 2033 ±413 ml. Mean sweat electrolyte concentrations (mmol/L) were: sodium,49± 12; potassium,6.0± 1.3;chloride, 43 ± 10. Total sweat sodium loss of 99 ± 24 mmol corresponds to a salt (sodium chloride) loss of 5.8 ± 1.4 g. Mean urine osmolality measured on pre-training samples provided by the players was 666 ±311 mosmol/kg (n=21). These data indicate that sweat losses of water and solute in football players in training can be substantial but vary greatly between players even with the same exercise and environmental conditions. Voluntary fluid intake also shows wide inter-individual variability and is generally insufficient to match fluid losses.

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Scott J. Montain, Ronald J. Maughan and Michael N. Sawka

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Ronald J. Maughan, Phillip Watson, Gethin H. Evans, Nicholas Broad and Susan M. Shirreffs

Fluid balance and sweat electrolyte losses were measured in the players and substitutes engaged in an English Premier League Reserve competitive football match played at an ambient temperature of 6–8 °C (relative humidity 50–60%). Intake of water and/or sports drink and urine output were recorded, and sweat composition was estimated from absorbent swabs applied to 4 skin sites for the duration of the game. Body mass was recorded before and after the game. Data were obtained for 22 players (age 21 y, height 180 cm, mass 78 kg) and 9 substitutes (17 y, 181 cm, 72 kg). All were male. Two of the players were dismissed during the game, and none of the substitutes played any part in the game. Mean ± SD sweat loss of players amounted to 1.68 ± 0.40 L, and mean fluid intake was 0.84 ± 0.47 L (n = 20), with no difference between teams. Corresponding values for substitutes, none of whom played in the match, were 0.40 ± 0.24 L and 0.78 ± 0.46 L (n = 9). Prematch urine osmolality was 678 ± 344 mOsm/kg: 11 of the 31 players provided samples with an osmolality of more than 900 mOsm/kg. Sweat sodium concentration was 62 ± 13 mmol/L, and total sweat sodium loss during the game was 2.4 ± 0.8 g. These descriptive data show a large individual variability in hydration status, sweat losses, and drinking behaviors in a competitive football match played in a cool environment, highlighting the need for individualized assessment of hydration status to optimize fluid-replacement strategies.

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Ronald J. Maughan, Lisa A. Dargavel, Rachael Hares and Susan M. Shirreffs

This study investigated fluid and electrolyte balance in well-trained male and female swimmers during 2 training sessions. Participants were 17 nationally ranked swimmers measured during a period of intensive training. Sweat loss was assessed from changes in body mass after correction for fluid intake and urine collection. Sweat composition was measured from waterproof absorbent patches applied at 4 skin sites. Air and pool-water temperatures were 36 °C and 27.4 °C, respectively. Training lasted 105 min in each session. All measured variables were similar on the 2 testing days. Mean sweat-volume loss was 548 ± 243 ml, and mean sweat rate was 0.31 ± 0.1 L/hr. Mean fluid intake was 489 ± 270 ml. Mean body-mass loss was 0.10 ± 0.50 kg, equivalent to 0.1% ± 0.7% dehydration. Mean pretraining urine osmolality was 662 ± 222 mOsm/kg, which was negatively associated with both mean drink volume consumed (p = .044, r 2 = .244) and mean urine volume produced during training (p = .002, r 2 = .468). Mean sweat Na+, K+, and Cl concentrations (mmol/L) were 43 ± 14, 4 ± 1, and 31± 9, respectively; values were not different between males and females and were not different between days except for a marginal difference in K+ concentration. The average swimmer remained hydrated during the session, and calculated sweat rates were similar to those in previous aquatic studies.

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Gethin H. Evans, Phillip Watson, Susan M. Shirreffs and Ronald J. Maughan

Previous investigations have suggested that exercise at intensities greater than 70% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) reduces gastric emptying rate during exercise, but little is known about the effect of exercise intensity on gastric emptying in the postexercise period. To examine this, 8 healthy participants completed 3 experimental trials that included 30 min of rest (R), low-intensity (L; 33% of peak power output) exercise, or high-intensity (H; 10 × 1 min at peak power output followed by 2 min rest) exercise. Thirty minutes after completion of exercise, participants ingested 595 ml of a 5% glucose solution, and gastric emptying rate was assessed via the double-sampling gastric aspiration method for 60 min. No differences (p > .05) were observed in emptying characteristics for total stomach volume or test meal volume between the trials, and the quantity of glucose delivered to the intestine did not differ between trials (p > .05). Half-emptying times did not differ (p = .902) between trials and amounted to 22 ± 9, 22 ± 9, and 22 ± 7 min (M ± SD) during the R, L, and H trials, respectively. These results suggest that exercise has little effect on postexercise gastric emptying rate of a glucose solution.

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Khaled Trabelsi, Stephen R. Stannard, Ronald J. Maughan, Kamel Jammoussi, Khaled Zeghal and Ahmed Hakim

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a hypertrophic training program during Ramadan on body composition and selected metabolic markers in trained bodybuilders. Sixteen male recreational bodybuilders (9 Ramadan fasters and 7 nonfasters) participated in the study. All visited the laboratory 2 d before the start of Ramadan (Bef-R) and on the 29th day of Ramadan (End-R). In the morning of each session, subjects underwent anthropometric measurement, completed a dietary questionnaire, and provided fasting blood and urine samples. Body mass and body-mass index in nonfasters increased by 2.4% (p = .05 and p = .04, respectively) from Bef-R to End-R but remained unchanged in fasters over the period of the investigation. Fasters experienced an increase in the following parameters from Bef-R to End-R: urine specific gravity (1%, p = .022) and serum concentrations of urea (5%, p = .008), creatinine (5%, p = .007), uric acid (17%, p < .001), sodium (2%, p = .019), potassium (6%, p = .006), chloride (2%, p = .028), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (10%, p = .005). However, only serum creatinine and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased in nonfasters (3%, p < .001 and 14%, p = .007, respectively) during the same period. Creatinine clearance values of fasters decreased by 3% (p = .03) from Bef-R to End-R. Continuance of hypertrophic training through Ramadan had no effect on body mass and body composition of bodybuilders, but a state of dehydration and reduced renal function were apparent, perhaps because of the restricted opportunity for fluid intake imposed by the study design.

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Phillip Watson, Sophie Enever, Andrew Page, Jenna Stockwell and Ronald J. Maughan

Eight young men were recruited to a study designed to examine the effect of tyrosine (TYR) supplementation on the capacity to perform prolonged exercise in a warm environment. Subjects entered the laboratory in the morning and remained seated for 1 hr before cycling to exhaustion at 70% VO2peak. Two 250-ml aliquots of a placebo (PLA ) or a TYR solution were ingested at 30-min intervals before exercise, with an additional 150 ml consumed every 15 min throughout exercise (total TYR dose: 150 mg/kg BM). Cognitive function was assessed before drink ingestion, at the end of the rest period, and at exhaustion. TYR ingestion had no effect on exercise capacity (PLA 61.4 ± 13.7 min, TYR 60.2 ± 15.4 min; p = .505). No differences in heart rate (p = .380), core temperature (p = .554), or weighted mean skin temperature (p = .167) were apparent between trials. Ingestion of TYR produced a marked increase in serum TYR concentrations (+236 ± 46 μmol/L; p < .001), with this difference maintained throughout exercise. No change was apparent during the PLA trial (p = .924). Exercise caused an increase in error rate during the complex component of the Stroop test (p = .034), but this response was not influenced by the drink ingested. No other component of cognitive function was altered by the protocol (all p > .05). Ingestion of a TYR solution did not influence time to exhaustion or several aspects of cognitive function when exercise was undertaken in a warm environment.