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Kellie R. Pritchard-Peschek, David G. Jenkins, Mark A. Osborne and Gary J. Slater

The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of 180 mg of pseudoephedrine (PSE) on cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Six well-trained male cyclists and triathletes (age 33 ± 2 yr, mass 81 ± 8 kg, height 182.0 ± 6.7 cm, VO2max 56.8 ± 6.8 ml ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1; M ± SD) underwent 2 performance trials in which they completed a 25-min variable-intensity (50–90% maximal aerobic power) warm-up, followed by a cycling TT in which they completed a fixed amount of work (7 kJ/kg body mass) in the shortest possible time. Sixty minutes before the start of exercise, they orally ingested 180 mg of PSE or a cornstarch placebo (PLA) in a randomized, crossover, double-blind manner. Venous blood was sampled immediately pre- and postexercise for the analysis of pH plus lactate, glucose, and norepinephrine (NE). PSE improved cycling TT performance by 5.1% (95% CI 0–10%) compared with PLA (28:58.9 ± 4:26.5 and 30:31.7 ± 4:36.7 min, respectively). There was a significant Treatment × Time interaction (p = .04) for NE, with NE increasing during the PSE trial only. Similarly, blood glucose also showed a trend (p = .06) for increased levels postexercise in the PSE trial. The ingestion of 180 mg of PSE 60 min before the onset of high-intensity exercise improved cycling TT performance in well-trained athletes. It is possible that changes in metabolism or an increase in central nervous system stimulation is responsible for the observed ergogenic effect of PSE.

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Alisa Nana, Gary J. Slater, Arthur D. Stewart and Louise M. Burke

Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is rapidly becoming more accessible and popular as a technique to monitor body composition, especially in athletic populations. Although studies in sedentary populations have investigated the validity of DXA assessment of body composition, few studies have examined the issues of reliability in athletic populations and most studies which involve DXA measurements of body composition provide little information on their scanning protocols. This review presents a summary of the sources of error and variability in the measurement of body composition by DXA, and develops a theoretical model of best practice to standardize the conduct and analysis of a DXA scan. Components of this protocol include standardization of subject presentation (subjects rested, overnight-fasted and in minimal clothing) and positioning on the scanning bed (centrally aligned in a standard position using custom-made positioning aids) as well as manipulation of the automatic segmentation of regional areas of the scan results. Body composition assessment implemented with such protocol ensures a high level of precision, while still being practical in an athletic setting. This ensures that any small changes in body composition are confidently detected and correctly interpreted. The reporting requirements for studies involving DXA scans of body composition include details of the DXA machine and software, subject presentation and positioning protocols, and analysis protocols.

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Christine E. Dziedzic, Megan L. Ross, Gary J. Slater and Louise M. Burke

Context:

There is interest in including recommendations for the replacement of the sodium lost in sweat in individualized hydration plans for athletes.

Purpose:

Although the regional absorbent-patch method provides a practical approach to measuring sweat sodium losses in field conditions, there is a need to understand the variability of estimates associated with this technique.

Methods:

Sweat samples were collected from the forearms, chest, scapula, and thigh of 12 cyclists during 2 standardized cycling time trials in the heat and 2 in temperate conditions. Single measure analysis of sodium concentration was conducted immediately by ion-selective electrodes (ISE). A subset of 30 samples was frozen for reanalysis of sodium concentration using ISE, flame photometry (FP), and conductivity (SC).

Results:

Sweat samples collected in hot conditions produced higher sweat sodium concentrations than those from the temperate environment (P = .0032). A significant difference (P = .0048) in estimates of sweat sodium concentration was evident when calculated from the forearm average (mean ± 95% CL; 64 ± 12 mmol/L) compared with using a 4-site equation (70 ± 12 mmol/L). There was a high correlation between the values produced using different analytical techniques (r 2 = .95), but mean values were different between treatments (frozen FP, frozen SC > immediate ISE > frozen ISE; P < .0001).

Conclusion:

Whole-body sweat sodium concentration estimates differed depending on the number of sites included in the calculation. Environmental testing conditions should be considered in the interpretation of results. The impact of sample freezing and subsequent analytical technique was small but statistically significant. Nevertheless, when undertaken using a standardized protocol, the regional absorbent-patch method appears to be a relatively robust field test.

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Gary J. Slater, Anthony J. Rice, David Jenkins, Jason Gulbin and Allan G. Hahn

To strengthen the depth of lightweight rowing talent, we sought to identify experienced heavyweight rowers who possessed physique traits that predisposed them to excellence as a lightweight. Identified athletes (n = 3) were monitored over 16 wk. Variables measured included performance, anthropometric indices, and selected biochemical and metabolic parameters. All athletes decreased their body mass (range 2.0 to 8.0 kg), with muscle mass accounting for a large proportion of this (31.7 to 84.6%). Two athletes were able to maintain their performance despite reductions in body mass. However, performance was compromised for the athlete who experienced the greatest weight loss. In summary, smaller heavyweight rowers can successfully make the transition into the lightweight category, being nationally competitive in their first season as a lightweight.

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

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to determine the effect and reliability of acute and chronic sodium bicarbonate ingestion for 2000-m rowing ergometer performance (watts) and blood bicarbonate concentration [HCO3 ].

Methods:

In a crossover study, 7 well-trained rowers performed paired 2000-m rowing ergometer trials under 3 double-blinded conditions: (1) 0.3 grams per kilogram of body mass (g/kg BM) acute bicarbonate; (2) 0.5 g/kg BM daily chronic bicarbonate for 3 d; and (3) calcium carbonate placebo, in semi-counterbalanced order. For 2000-m performance and [HCO3 ], we examined differences in effects between conditions via pairwise comparisons, with differences interpreted in relation to the likelihood of exceeding smallest worthwhile change thresholds for each variable. We also calculated the within-subject variation (percent typical error).

Results:

There were only trivial differences in 2000-m performance between placebo (277 ± 60 W), acute bicarbonate (280 ± 65 W) and chronic bicarbonate (282 ± 65 W); however, [HCO3 ] was substantially greater after acute bicarbonate, than with chronic loading and placebo. Typical error for 2000-m mean power was 2.1% (90% confidence interval 1.4 to 4.0%) for acute bicarbonate, 3.6% (2.5 to 7.0%) for chronic bicarbonate, and 1.6% (1.1 to 3.0%) for placebo. Postsupplementation [HCO3 ] typical error was 7.3% (5.0 to 14.5%) for acute bicarbonate, 2.9% (2.0 to 5.7%) for chronic bicarbonate and 6.0% (1.4 to 11.9%) for placebo.

Conclusion:

Performance in 2000-m rowing ergometer trials may not substantially improve after acute or chronic bicarbonate loading. However, performances will be reliable with both acute and chronic bicarbonate loading protocols.

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Peter D. Kupcis, Gary J. Slater, Cathryn L. Pruscino and Justin G. Kemp

Purpose:

The effect of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on prerace hydration status and on 2000 m ergometer performance in elite lightweight rowers was examined using a randomized, cross-over, double-blinded design.

Methods:

To simulate body mass (BM) management strategies common to lightweight rowing, oarsmen reduced BM by approx. 4% in the 24 h preceding the trials, and, in the 2 h before performance, undertook nutritional recovery consisting of mean 43.2 kJ/kg, 2.2 g of CHO per kilogram, 31.8 mg of Na+ per kilogram, 24.3 mL of H2O per kilogram, and NaHCO3 (0.3 g of NaHCO3 per kilogram BM) or placebo (PL; 0.15 g of corn flour per kilogram BM) at 70 to 90 min before racing.

Results:

At 25 min before performance, NaHCO3 had increased blood pH (7.48 ± 0.02 vs PL: 7.41 ± 0.03, P = .005) and bicarbonate concentrations (29.1 ± 1.8 vs PL: 23.9 ± 1.6 mmol/L, P < .001), whereas BM, urine specific gravity, and plasma volume changes were similar between trials. Rowing ergometer times were similar between trials (NaHCO3: 397.8 ± 12.6; PL: 398.6 ± 13.8 s, P = .417), whereas posttest bicarbonate (11.6 ± 2.3 vs 9.4 ± 1.8 mmol/L, P = .003) and lactate concentration increases (13.4 ± 1.7 vs 11.9 ± 1.9 mmol/L, P = .001) were greater with NaHCO3.

Conclusion:

Sodium bicarbonate did not further enhance rehydration or performance in lightweight rowers when undertaking recommended post-weigh-in nutritional recovery strategies.

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Alisa Nana, Gary J. Slater, Will G. Hopkins and Louise M. Burke

Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is becoming a popular tool to measure body composition, owing to its ease of operation and comprehensive analysis. However, some people, especially athletes, are taller and/or broader than the active scanning area of the DXA bed and must be scanned in sections. The aim of this study was to investigate the reliability of DXA measures of whole-body composition summed from 2 or 3 partial scans. Physically active young adults (15 women, 15 men) underwent 1 whole-body and 4 partial DXA scans in a single testing session under standardized conditions. The partial scanning areas were head, whole body from the bottom of the chin down, and right and left sides of the body. Body-composition estimates from whole body were compared with estimates from summed partial scans to simulate different techniques to accommodate tall and/or broad subjects relative to the whole-body scan. Magnitudes of differences in the estimates were assessed by standardization. In simulating tall subjects, summation of partial scans that included the head scan overestimated whole-body composition by ~3 kg of lean mass and ~1 kg of fat mass, with substantial technical error of measurement. In simulating broad subjects, summation of right and left body scans produced no substantial differences in body composition than those of the whole-body scan. Summing partial DXA scans provides accurate body-composition estimates for broad subjects, but other strategies are needed to accommodate tall subjects.

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Louise M. Burke, Gary Slater, Elizabeth M. Broad, Jasmina Haukka, Sofie Modulon and William G. Hopkins

We undertook a dietary survey of 167 Australian Olympic team athletes (80 females and 87 males) competing in endurance sports (n = 41), team sports (n = 31), sprint- or skill-based sports (n = 67), and sports in which athletes are weight-conscious (n = 28). Analysis of their 7-day food diaries provided mean energy intakes, nutrient intakes, and eating patterns. Higher energy intakes relative to body mass were reported by male athletes compared with females, and by endurance athletes compared with other athletes. Endurance athletes reported substantially higher intakes of carbohydrate (CHO) than other athletes, and were among the athletes most likely to consume CHO during and after training sessions. Athletes undertaking weight-conscious sports reported relatively low energy intakes and were least likely to consume CHO during a training session or in the first hour of recovery. On average, athletes reported eating on ~5 separate occasions each day, with a moderate relationship between the number of daily eating occasions and total energy intake. Snacks, defined as food or drink consumed between main meals, provided 23% of daily energy intake and were chosen from sources higher in CHO and lower in fat and protein than foods chosen at meals. The dietary behaviors of these elite athletes were generally consistent with guidelines for sports nutrition, but intakes during and after training sessions were often sub-optimal. Although it is of interest to study the periodicity of fluid and food intake by athletes, it is difficult to compare across studies due to a lack of standardized terminology.

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Adam J. Zemski, Shelley E. Keating, Elizabeth M. Broad and Gary J. Slater

Rugby union athletes have divergent body composition based on the demands of their on-field playing position and ethnicity. With an established association between physique traits and positional requirements, body composition assessment is routinely undertaken. Surface anthropometry and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) are the most common assessment techniques used, often undertaken synchronously. This study aims to investigate the association between DXA and surface anthropometry when assessing longitudinal changes in fat-free mass (FFM) and fat mass (FM) in rugby union athletes. Thirty-nine elite male rugby union athletes (age: 25.7 ± 3.1 years, stature: 187.6 ± 7.7 cm, and mass: 104.1 ± 12.2 kg) underwent assessment via DXA and surface anthropometry multiple times over three consecutive international seasons. Changes in the lean mass index, an empirical measure to assess proportional variation in FFM, showed large agreement with changes in DXA FFM (r = .54, standard error of the estimate = 1.5%, p < .001); the strength of association was stronger among forwards (r = .63) compared with backs (r = .38). Changes in the sum of seven skinfolds showed very large agreement with changes in DXA FM (r = .73, standard error of the estimate = 5.8%, p < .001), with meaningful differences observed regardless of ethnicity (Whites: r = .75 and Polynesians: r = .62). The lean mass index and sum of seven skinfolds were able to predict the direction of change in FFM and FM 86% and 91% of the time, respectively, when DXA change was >1 kg. Surface anthropometry measures provide a robust indication of the direction of change in FFM and FM, although caution may need to be applied when interpreting magnitude of change, particularly with FM.

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Alisa Nana, Gary J. Slater, Will G. Hopkins, Shona L. Halson, David T. Martin, Nicholas P. West and Louise M. Burke

Purpose:

The implications of undertaking DXA scans using best practice protocols (subjects fasted and rested) or a less precise but more practical protocol in assessing chronic changes in body composition following training and a specialized recovery technique were investigated.

Methods:

Twenty-one male cyclists completed an overload training program, in which they were randomized to four sessions per week of either cold water immersion therapy or control groups. Whole-body DXA scans were undertaken with best practice protocol (Best) or random activity protocol (Random) at baseline, after 3 weeks of overload training, and after a 2-week taper. Magnitudes of changes in total, lean and fat mass from baseline-overload, overload-taper and baseline-taper were assessed by standardization (Δmean/SD).

Results:

The standard deviations of change scores for total and fat-free soft tissue mass (FFST) from Random scans (2–3%) were approximately double those observed in the Best (1–2%), owing to extra random errors associated with Random scans at baseline. There was little difference in change scores for fat mass. The effect of cold water immersion therapy on baseline-taper changes in FFST was possibly harmful (-0.7%; 90% confidence limits ±1.2%) with Best scans but unclear with Random scans (0.9%; ±2.0%). Both protocols gave similar possibly harmful effects of cold water immersion therapy on changes in fat mass (6.9%; ±13.5% and 5.5%; ±14.3%, respectively).

Conclusions:

An interesting effect of cold water immersion therapy on training-induced changes in body composition might have been missed with a less precise scanning protocol. DXA scans should be undertaken with Best.