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Rachel Lohman, Amelia Carr and Dominique Condo

This study compared the energy, macronutrient, and micronutrient intake in elite and sub-elite Australian football players and compared nutritional intake to current recommendations. Sports nutrition knowledge was also quantified and compared between elite and sub-elite players. Nutritional intake was quantified in elite (n = 35) and sub-elite (n = 31) players using the Automated Self-Administered 24-Hour Dietary Assessment Tool. The 88-item Sports Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire was used to quantify knowledge related to general nutrition concepts, fluid, recovery, weight control, and supplements. Elite players had a higher nutritional intake (mean ± SD) for energy (14,140 ± 5,887 kJ [elite players] vs 10,412 ± 3,316 kJ [sub-elite players]; P = .002) and fat (40% ± 6% [elite players] vs 34% ± 6% [sub-elite players]; P < .001). Protein intake exceeded the recommended intake in 77% of elite players and 68% of sub-elite players, and carbohydrate intake was below the recommended intake for 91% of elite players and 97% of sub-elite players. Sodium intake recommendations were exceeded by 100% of elite and sub-elite players. Both elite and sub-elite players answered 51% of the Sports Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire questions correctly. The percentage of correctly answered questions specific to supplements was 27% for elite players and 18% for sub-elite players. The results of the current investigation suggest that Australian football players’ nutritional intake is inconsistent with current recommendations for macronutrients and some micronutrients. Furthermore, players may benefit from additional knowledge of the risks and benefits of supplement use.

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Amelia J. Carr, Christopher J. Gore and Brian Dawson

Introduction:

The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of ingested caffeine, sodium bicarbonate, and their combination on 2,000-m rowing performance, as well as on induced alkalosis (blood and urine pH and blood bicarbonate concentration [HCO3−]), blood lactate concentration ([La]), gastrointestinal symptoms, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE).

Methods:

In a double-blind, crossover study, 8 well-trained rowers performed 2 baseline tests and 4 × 2,000-m rowing-ergometer tests after ingesting 6 mg/kg caffeine, 0.3 g/kg body mass (BM) sodium bicarbonate, both supplements combined, or a placebo. Capillary blood samples were collected at preingestion, pretest, and posttest time points. Pairwise comparisons were made between protocols, and differences were interpreted in relation to the likelihood of exceeding the smallestworthwhile- change thresholds for each variable. A likelihood of >75% was considered a substantial change.

Results:

Caffeine supplementation elicited a substantial improvement in 2,000-m mean power, with mean (± SD) values of 354 ± 67 W vs. placebo with 346 ± 61 W. Pretest [HCO3−] reached 29.2 ± 2.9 mmol/L with caffeine + bicarbonate and 29.1 ± 1.9 mmol/L with bicarbonate. There were substantial increases in pretest [HCO3−] and pH and posttest urine pH after bicarbonate and caffeine + bicarbonate supplementation compared with placebo, but unclear performance effects.

Conclusions:

Rowers’ performance in 2,000-m efforts can improve by ~2% with 6 mg/kg BM caffeine supplementation. When caffeine is combined with sodium bicarbonate, gastrointestinal symptoms may prevent performance enhancement, so further investigation of ingestion protocols that minimize side effects is required.

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Charles S. Urwin, Dan B. Dwyer and Amelia J. Carr

Sodium citrate induces alkalosis and can provide a performance benefit in high-intensity exercise. Previous investigations have been inconsistent in the ingestion protocols used, in particular the dose and timing of ingestion before the onset of exercise. The primary aim of the current study was to quantify blood pH, blood bicarbonate concentration and gastrointestinal symptoms after ingestion of three doses of sodium citrate (500 mg⋅kg-1, 700 mg⋅kg-1 and 900 mg⋅kg-1). Thirteen participants completed four experimental sessions, each consisting of a different dose of sodium citrate or a taste-matched placebo solution. Blood pH and blood bicarbonate concentration were measured at 30-min intervals via analysis of capillary blood samples. Gastrointestinal symptoms were also monitored at 30-min intervals. Statistical significance was accepted at a level of p < .05. Both measures of alkalosis were significantly greater after ingestion of sodium citrate compared with placebo (p < .001). No significant differences in alkalosis were found between the three sodium citrate doses (p > .05). Peak alkalosis following sodium citrate ingestion ranged from 180 to 212 min after ingestion. Gastrointestinal symptoms were significantly higher after sodium citrate ingestion compared with placebo (p < .001), while the 900 mg.kg-1 dose elicited significantly greater gastrointestinal distress than 500 mg⋅kg-1 (p = .004). It is recommended that a dose of 500 mg⋅kg-1 of sodium citrate should be ingested at least 3 hr before exercise, to achieve peak alkalosis and to minimize gastrointestinal symptoms before and during exercise.

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Amelia Carr, Kerry McGawley, Andrew Govus, Erik P. Andersson, Oliver M. Shannon, Stig Mattsson and Anna Melin

This study investigated the energy, macronutrient, and fluid intakes, as well as hydration status (urine specific gravity), in elite cross-country skiers during a typical day of training (Day 1) and a sprint skiing competition the following day (Day 2). A total of 31 (18 males and 13 females) national team skiers recorded their food and fluid intakes and urine specific gravity was measured on Days 1 and 2. In addition, the females completed the Low Energy Availability in Females Questionnaire to assess their risk of long-term energy deficiency. Energy intake for males was 65 ± 9 kcal/kg on Day 1 versus 58 ± 9 kcal/kg on Day 2 (p = .002) and for females was 57 ± 10 on Day 1 versus 55 ± 5 kcal/kg on Day 2 (p = .445). Carbohydrate intake recommendations of 10–12 g·kg−1·day−1 were not met by 89% of males and 92% of females. All males and females had a protein intake above the recommended 1.2–2.0 g/kg on both days and a postexercise protein intake above the recommended 0.3 g/kg. Of the females, 31% were classified as being at risk of long-term energy deficiency. In the morning of Day 1, 50% of males and 46% of females were dehydrated; on Day 2, this was the case for 56% of males and 38% of females. In conclusion, these data suggest that elite cross-country skiers ingested more protein and less carbohydrate than recommended and one third of the females were considered at risk of long-term energy deficiency. Furthermore, many of the athletes were dehydrated prior to training and competition.

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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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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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Amelia J. Carr, Philo U. Saunders, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis and Brent S. Vallance

Purpose: To quantify, for an elite-level racewalker, altitude training, heat acclimation and acclimatization, physiological data, and race performance from January 2007 to August 2008. Methods: The participant performed 7 blocks of altitude training: 2 “live high:train high” blocks at 1380 m (total = 22 d) and 5 simulated “live high:train low” blocks at 3000 m/600 m (total = 98 d). Prior to the 2007 World Championships and the 2008 Olympic Games, 2 heat-acclimation blocks of ~6 weeks were performed (1 session/week), with ∼2 weeks of heat acclimatization completed immediately prior to each 20-km event. Results: During the observation period, physiological testing included maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max, mL·kg−1·min−1), walking speed (km·h−1) at 4 mmol·L−1 blood lactate concentration [La], body mass (kg), and hemoglobin mass (g), and 12 × 20-km races and 2 × 50-km races were performed. The highest VO2max was 67.0 mL·kg−1·min−1 (August 2007), which improved 3.1% from the first measurement (64.9 mL·kg−1·min−1, June 2007). The highest percentage change in any physiological variable was 7.1%, for 4 mmol·L−1 [La] walking speed, improving from 14.1 (June 2007) to 15.1 km·h−1 (August 2007). Personal-best times for 20 km improved from (hh:mm:ss) 1:21:36 to 1:19:41 (2.4%) and from 3:55:08 to 3:39:27 (7.1%) in the 50-km event. The participant won Olympic bronze and silver medals in the 20- and 50-km, respectively. Conclusions: Elite racewalkers who regularly perform altitude training may benefit from periodized heat acclimation and acclimatization prior to major international competitions in the heat.

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Amelia J. Carr, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Brent S. Vallance, Andrew P. Drake, Philo U. Saunders, Clare E. Humberstone and Christopher J. Gore

Purpose: To compare the effects of natural altitude training (NAT) and simulated (SIM) live high:train low altitude training on road-race walking performance (min), as well as treadmill threshold walking speed (km·h−1) at 4 mmol·L−1 and maximal oxygen consumption, at 1380 m. Methods: Twenty-two elite-level male (n = 15) and female (n = 7) race walkers completed 14 d of NAT at 1380 m (n = 7), SIM live high:train low at 3000:600 m (n = 7), or control conditions (600-m altitude; CON, n = 8). All preintervention and postintervention testing procedures were conducted at 1380 m and consisted of an incremental treadmill test, completed prior to a 5 × 2-km road-race walking performance test. Differences between groups were analyzed via mixed-model analysis of variance and magnitude-based inferences, with a substantial change detected with >75% likelihood of exceeding the smallest worthwhile change. Results: The improvement in total performance time for the 5 × 2-km test in NAT was not substantially different from SIM but was substantially greater (85% likely) than CON. The improvement in percentage decrement in the 5 × 2-km performance test in NAT was greater than in both SIM (93% likely) and CON (93% likely). The increase in maximal oxygen consumption was substantially greater (91% likely) in NAT than in SIM. Improvement in threshold walking speed was substantially greater than CON for both SIM (91% likely) and NAT (90% likely). Conclusions: Both NAT and SIM may allow athletes to achieve reasonable acclimation prior to competition at low altitude.