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W. Jack Rejeski, Edward Gregg, Amy Thompson and Michael Berry

In this investigation, we examined the role of acute aerobic exercise (AE) in buffering physiological responses to mental stress. Twelve trained cyclists participated in three counterbalanced treatment conditions on separate days: attention control, light exercise (50% of VO2max for 30 min), and heavy exercise (80% of VO2max for 60 min). After a 30-min rest period following each condition, subjects completed a modified Stroop task. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were monitored for (a) baseline responses, (b) task reactivity, and (c), 5 min of recovery following the stressor. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) revealed that reactivity was attenuated by both heavy- and light-exercise conditions as compared to responses in the control condition. Moreover, heavy exercise was more effective in reducing MAP reactivity than light exercise. Systolic BP during the task was significantly higher in the control and light-exercise conditions than following heavy exercise; diastolic BP was significantly higher in the control condition than in either exercise condition. There were no significant effects for HR. These results suggest that there is a dose-response relationship between acute AE and the attenuation of psychophysiological reactivity during stress.

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Amy L. Woods, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Anthony J. Rice and Kevin G. Thompson

The aim of the current study was to determine if a single ParvoMedics TrueOne 2400 metabolic cart provides valid and reliable measurement of RMR in comparison with the criterion Douglas Bag method (DB). Ten endurance-trained participants completed duplicate RMR measurements on 2 consecutive days using the ParvoMedics system in exercise mode, with the same expirate analyzed using DB. Typical error (TE) in mean RMR between the systems was 578.9 kJ or 7.5% (p = .01). In comparison with DB, the ParvoMedics system over-estimated RMR by 946.7 ± 818.6 kJ. The bias between systems resulted from ParvoMedics VE(STPD) values. A regression equation was developed to correct the bias, which reduced the difference to -83.3 ± 631.9 kJ. TE for the corrected ParvoMedics data were 446.8 kJ or 7.2% (p = .70). On Day 1, intraday reliability in mean RMR for DB was 286.8 kJ or 4.3%, (p = .54) and for ParvoMedicsuncorrected, 359.3 kJ or 4.4%, (p = .35), with closer agreement observed on Day 2. Interday reliability for DB was 455.3 kJ or 6.6% (p = .61) and for ParvoMedicsuncorrected, 390.2 kJ or 6.3% (p = .54). Similar intraday and interday TE was observed between ParvoMedicsuncorrected and ParvoMedicscorrected data. The ParvoMedics TrueOne 2400 provided valid and reliable RMR values compared with DB when the VE(STPD) error was corrected. This will enable widespread monitoring of RMR using the ParvoMedics system in a range of field-based settings when DB is not available.

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Alice M. Wallett, Amy L. Woods, Nathan Versey, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Marijke Welvaert and Kevin G. Thompson

Studies examining pacing strategies during 4000-m cycling time trials (TTs) typically ensure that participants are not prefatigued; however, competitive cyclists often undertake TTs when already fatigued. This study aimed to determine how TT pacing strategies and sprint characteristics of cyclists change during an intensified training period (mesocycle). Thirteen cyclists regularly competing in A- and B-grade cycling races and consistently training (>10 h/wk for 4 [1] y) completed a 6-wk training mesocycle. Participants undertook individually prescribed training, using training stress scores (TrainingPeaks, Boulder, CO), partitioned into a baseline week, a build week, 2 loading weeks (designed to elicit an overreached state), and 2 recovery weeks. Laboratory-based tests (15-s sprint and TT) and Recovery-Stress Questionnaire (RESTQ-52) responses were repeatedly undertaken over the mesocycle. TT power output increased during recovery compared with baseline and loading weeks (P = .001) with >6-W increases in mean power output (MPO) detected for 400-m sections (10% bins) from 1200 to 4000 m in recovery weeks. Decreases in peak heart rate (P < .001) during loading weeks and postexercise blood lactate (P = .005) during loading week 2 and recovery week 1 were detected. Compared with baseline, 15-s sprint MPO declined during loading and recovery weeks (P < .001). An interaction was observed between RESTQ-52 total stress score with a 15-s sprint (P = .003) and with a TT MPO (P = .04), indicating that participants who experienced greater stress during loading weeks exhibited reduced performance. To conclude, intensified endurance training diminished sprint performance but improved 4000-m TT performance, with a subtle change in MPO evident over the last 70% of TTs.

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Amy L. Woods, Avish P. Sharma, Laura A. Garvican-Lewis, Philo U. Saunders, Anthony J. Rice and Kevin G. Thompson

High altitude exposure can increase resting metabolic rate (RMR) and induce weight loss in obese populations, but there is a lack of research regarding RMR in athletes at moderate elevations common to endurance training camps. The present study aimed to determine whether 4 weeks of classical altitude training affects RMR in middle-distance runners. Ten highly trained athletes were recruited for 4 weeks of endurance training undertaking identical programs at either 2200m in Flagstaff, Arizona (ALT, n = 5) or 600m in Canberra, Australia (CON, n = 5). RMR, anthropometry, energy intake, and hemoglobin mass (Hbmass) were assessed pre- and posttraining. Weekly run distance during the training block was: ALT 96.8 ± 18.3km; CON 103.1 ± 5.6km. A significant interaction for Time*Group was observed for absolute (kJ.day-1) (F-statistic, p-value: F(1,8)=13.890, p = .01) and relative RMR (F(1,8)=653.453, p = .003) POST-training. No significant changes in anthropometry were observed in either group. Energy intake was unchanged (mean ± SD of difference, ALT: 195 ± 3921kJ, p = .25; CON: 836 ± 7535kJ, p = .75). A significant main effect for time was demonstrated for total Hbmass (g) (F(1,8)=13.380, p = .01), but no significant interactions were observed for either variable [Total Hbmass (g): F(1,8)=1.706, p = .23; Relative Hbmass (g.kg-1): F(1,8)=0.609, p = .46]. These novel findings have important practical application to endurance athletes routinely training at moderate altitude, and those seeking to optimize energy management without compromising training adaptation. Altitude exposure may increase RMR and enhance training adaptation,. During training camps at moderate altitude, an increased energy intake is likely required to support an increased RMR and provide sufficient energy for training and performance.