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Andrew Foskett, Ajmol Ali and Nicholas Gant

There is little evidence regarding the benefits of caffeine ingestion on cognitive function and skillful actions during sporting performance, especially in sports that are multifaceted in their physiological, skill, and cognitive demands.


To examine the influence of caffeine on performance during simulated soccer activity.


Twelve male soccer players completed two 90-min soccer-specific intermittent running trials interspersed with tests of soccer skill (LSPT). The trials were separated by 7 days and adhered to a randomized crossover design. On each occasion participants ingested 6 mg/kg body mass (BM) of caffeine (CAF) or a placebo (PLA) in a double-blind fashion 60 min before exercise. Movement time, penalties accrued, and total time were recorded for the LSPT. Physiological and performance markers were measured throughout the protocol. Water (3 ml/kg BM) was ingested every 15 min.


Participants accrued significantly less penalty time in the CAF trial (9.7 ± 6.6 s vs. PLA 11.6 ± 7.4 s; p = .02), leading to a significantly lower total time in this trial (CAF 51.6 ± 7.7 s vs. PLA 53.9 ± 8.5 s; p = .02). This decrease in penalty time was probably attributable to an increased passing accuracy in the CAF trial (p = .06). Jump height was 2.7% (± 1.1%) higher in the CAF trial (57.1 ± 5.1 cm vs. PLA 55.6 ± 5.1 cm; p = .01).


Caffeine ingestion before simulated soccer activity improved players’ passing accuracy and jump performance without any detrimental effects on other performance parameters.

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Nicholas Gant, Ajmol Ali and Andrew Foskett

Carbohydrate and caffeine are known to independently improve certain aspects of athletic performance. However, less is understood about physiological and performance outcomes when these compounds are coingested in a rehydration and carbohydrate-replacement strategy. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of adding a moderate dose of caffeine to a carbohydrate solution during prolonged soccer activity. Fifteen male soccer players performed two 90-min intermittent shuttle-running trials. They ingested a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution (CON) providing a total of 1.8 g/kg body mass (BM) of carbohydrate or a similar solution with added caffeine (CAF; 3.7 mg/kg BM). Solutions were ingested 1 hr before exercise and every 15 min during the protocol. Soccer passing skill and countermovement-jump height (CMJ) were quantified before exercise and regularly during exercise. Sprinting performance, heart rate, blood lactate concentration (La) and the subjective experiences of participants were measured routinely. Mean 15-m sprint time was faster during CAF (p = .04); over the final 15 min of exercise mean sprint times were CAF 2.48 ± 0.15 s vs. CON 2.59 ± 0.2 s. Explosive leg power (CMJ) was improved during CAF (52.9 ± 5.8 vs. CON 51.7 ± 5.7 cm, p = .03). Heart rate was elevated throughout CAF, and ratings of pleasure were significantly enhanced. There were no significant differences in passing skill, rating of perceived exertion, La, or body-mass losses between trials. The addition of caffeine to the carbohydrate-electrolyte solution improved sprinting performance, countermovement jumping, and the subjective experiences of players. Caffeine appeared to offset the fatigue-induced decline in self-selected components of performance.

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Kathryn L. Beck, Sarah Mitchell, Andrew Foskett, Cathryn A Conlon and Pamela R. Von Hurst

Ballet dancing is a multifaceted activity requiring muscular power, strength, endurance, flexibility, and agility; necessitating demanding training schedules. Furthermore dancers may be under aesthetic pressure to maintain a lean physique, and adolescent dancers require extra nutrients for growth and development. This cross-sectional study investigated the nutritional status of 47 female adolescent ballet dancers (13–18 years) living in Auckland, New Zealand. Participants who danced at least 1 hr per day 5 days per week completed a 4-day estimated food record, anthropometric measurements (Dual-energy X-ray Absorptiometry) and hematological analysis (iron and vitamin D). Mean BMI was 19.7 ± 2.4kg/m2 and percentage body fat, 23.5 ± 4.1%. The majority (89.4%) of dancers had a healthy weight (5th-85th percentile) using BMI-for-age growth charts. Food records showed a mean energy intake of 8097.3 ± 2155.6kJ/day (48.9% carbohydrate, 16.9% protein, 33.8% fat, 14.0% saturated fat). Mean carbohydrate and protein intakes were 4.8 ± 1.4 and 1.6 ± 0.5g/kg/day respectively. Over half (54.8%) of dancers consumed less than 5g carbohydrate/kg/day, and 10 (23.8%) less than 1.2 g protein/kg/day. Over 60% consumed less than the estimated average requirement for calcium, folate, magnesium and selenium. Thirteen (28.3%) dancers had suboptimal iron status (serum ferritin (SF) <20μg/L). Of these, four had iron deficiency (SF < 12μg/L, hemoglobin (Hb) ≥ 120g/L) and one iron deficiency anemia (SF < 12μg/L, Hb < 120g/L). Mean serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D was 75.1 ± 18.6nmol/L, 41 (91.1%) had concentrations above 50nmol/L. Female adolescent ballet dancers are at risk for iron deficiency, and possibly inadequate nutrient intakes.

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Yanita McLeay, Stephen R Stannard, Toby Mundel, Andrew Foskett and Matthew Barnes

This study was designed to investigate the effects of alcohol consumption on recovery of muscle force when consumed immediately postexercise in young females. Eight young women completed 300 maximal eccentric actions of the quadriceps femoris muscle on an isokinetic dynamometer on two occasions in a randomized, cross-over design after which an alcoholic beverage (0.88g ethanol/kg body weight) or an iso-caloric placebo was consumed. Maximal isokinetic (concentric and eccentric) torque and isometric tension produced across the knee were measured in both the exercised and control leg predamage, 36 hr post, and 60 hr post damage. Venous blood creatine kinase (CK) activity and muscle soreness ratings were taken before damage and once per day to 60 hr post damage. Significant differences were observed between the exercised and control leg for maximal concentric, and eccentric torque and isometric tension (p < .05). A near significant Treatment × Time interaction was observed for isometric tension (p = .077), but not for concentric or eccentric torque. No main effects of treatment (alcohol) or interactions with Time × Leg or Leg × Treatment were observed. Perceived muscle soreness during box stepping and squatting showed significant time effects (p < .05), and CK activity did not significantly change. Our results indicate that the consumption of 0.88g ethanol/kg body weight following eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage does not affect recovery in the days following damage in females.

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Susan H. Backhouse, Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Andrew Foskett and Clyde Williams

The exercise psychology literature includes an intriguing, albeit not frequently discussed, paradox by juxtaposing two conclusions: (a) that exercise makes most people feel better and (b) that most people are physically inactive or inadequately active. In this article, we propose that this might be an artifact rather than a paradox. Specifically, we question the generality of the conclusion that exercise makes people feel better by proposing that (a) occasional findings of negative affective changes tend to be discounted, (b) potentially relevant negative affective states are not always measured, (c) examining changes from pre- to postexercise could miss negative changes during exercise, and (d) analyzing changes only at the level of group aggregates might conceal divergent patterns at the level of individuals or subgroups. Data from a study of 12 men participating in a 90-min walk–run protocol designed to simulate the demands of sports games (e.g., soccer) are used to illustrate these points.