Exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMCs) are thought to be caused by dehydration and/or electrolyte losses. In this multicenter, cross-sectional study, the authors determined whether sweat rates (SRs), sweat electrolyte concentrations, or sweat electrolyte content differed in athletes with (i.e., crampers) and without (i.e., noncrampers) a history of EAMCs and whether these variables could predict EAMC-prone athletes. Male and female collegiate athletes (N = 350) from 11 sports with (n = 245) and without (n = 105) a self-reported history of EAMCs completed a typical exercise or conditioning session. SRs, calculated from body mass, and posterior forearm sweat were analyzed for sweat sodium concentration ([Na+]sw), sweat potassium concentration ([K+]sw), and sweat chloride concentration ([Cl−]sw). The authors used SRs and sweat electrolyte concentrations to calculate sweat electrolyte content lost. Within each gender, no differences in SRs (204 males, p = .92; 146 females, p = .24); [Na+]sw (191 males, p = .55; 126 females, p = .55); Na+sw content (191 males, p = .59; 126 females, p = .20); [K+]sw (192 males, p = .57; 126 females, p = .87); K+sw content (192 males, p = .49; 126 females, p = .03); [Cl−]sw (192 males, p = .94; 77 females, p = .57); and Cl−sw content (192 males, p = .55; 77 females, p = .34) occurred between crampers and noncrampers. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed that sweat electrolyte content and SRs were predictive of EAMC-prone athletes in American football (area under curve = 0.65–0.72, p ≤ .005), but not in any other sport. EAMCs may not be solely caused by fluid or electrolyte losses in most athletes. Fluid and electrolyte replacement may help American footballers. Clinicians should individualize fluid and electrolyte replacement and understand different etiologies for EAMCs.
Kevin C. Miller, Brendon P. McDermott and Susan W. Yeargin
Matthew S. Ganio, Jennifer F. Klau, Elaine C. Lee, Susan W. Yeargin, Brendon P. McDermott, Maxime Buyckx, Carl M. Maresh and Lawrence E. Armstrong
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of a carbohydrate-electrolyte plus caffeine, carnitine, taurine, and B vitamins solution (CE+) and a carbohydrate-electrolyte-only solution (CE) vs. a placebo solution (PLA) on cycling performance and maximal voluntary contraction (MVC). In a randomized, double-blind, crossover, repeated-measures design, 14 male cyclists (M ± SD age 27 ± 6 yr, VO2max 60.4 ± 6.8 ml · kg−1 · min−1) cycled for 120 min submaximally (alternating 61% ± 5% and 75% ± 5% VO2max) and then completed a 15-min performance trial (PT). Participants ingested CE+, CE, or PLA before (6 ml/kg) and every 15 min during exercise (3 ml/kg). MVC was measured as a single-leg isometric extension (70° knee flexion) before (pre) and after (post) exercise. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was measured throughout. Total work accumulated (KJ) during PT was greater (p < .05) in CE+ (233 ± 34) than PLA (205 ± 52) but not in CE (225 ± 39) vs. PLA. MVC (N) declined (p < .001) from pre to post in PLA (988 ± 213 to 851 ± 191) and CE (970 ± 172 to 870 ± 163) but not in CE+ (953 ± 171 to 904 ± 208). At Minutes 60, 90, 105, and 120 RPE was lower in CE+ (14 ± 2, 14 ± 2, 12 ± 1, 15 ± 2) than in PLA (14 ± 2, 15 ± 2, 14 ± 2, 16 ± 2; p < .001). CE+ resulted in greater total work than PLA. CE+, but not PLA or CE, attenuated pre-to-post MVC declines. Performance increases during CE+ may have been influenced by lower RPE and greater preservation of leg strength during exercise in part as a result of the hypothesized effects of CE+ on the central nervous system and skeletal muscle.
Nora R. Decher, Douglas J. Casa, Susan W. Yeargin, Matthew S. Ganio, Michelle L. Levreault, Catie L. Dann, Camille T. James, Megan A. McCaffrey, Caitlin B. O’Connor and Scott W. Brown
To assess the hydration status and level of hydration knowledge of youths at summer sports camps.
Sixty-seven active youths, 57 males (mean ± SD, 12 ± 2 y, 136 ± 16 cm, 50.6 ± 21.1 kg) and 10 females (13 ± 2 y, 153 ± 8 cm, 45.2 ± 9.0 kg) participated in 4 d of sports camp. Hydration status was assessed before the first practice (AM) and after the second practice (PM). Participants completed suriveys assessing hydration knowledge (HAQ) and hydration habits on day 3 and a self-assessment (EQ#1).
Mean AM urine specific gravity (USG) and urine osmolality (Uosm) scores ranged from minimal to significant dehydration across 4 d, even when temperatures were mild. Correlations between hydration indices and EQ#1, ranging from 0.11 to −0.51, were statistically significant (P < .05), indicating that subjects recognized when they were doing a good or bad job hydrating. HAQ did not correlate strongly with hydration indices suggesting other impediments to hydration. Thirst correlated negatively with EQ#1 (from −0.29 to −0.60).
Hydration at summer sports camp is a concern and special efforts need to be made to help youths develop hydration strategies.