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Bart Roelands and Kevin De Pauw

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Kevin De Pauw, Bart Roelands, Jef Vanparijs and Romain Meeusen

Purpose:

To determine the effect of active recovery (AR), passive rest (PR), and cold-water immersion (CWI) after 90 min of intensive cycling on a subsequent 12-min time trial (TT2) and the applied pacing strategy in TT2.

Methods:

After a maximal test and familiarization trial, 9 trained male subjects (age 22 ± 3 y, VO2max 62.1 ± 5.3 mL · min−1 · kg−1) performed 3 experimental trials in the heat (30°C). Each trial consisted of 2 exercise tasks separated by 1 h. The first was a 60-min constant-load trial at 55% of the maximal power output followed by a 30-min time trial (TT1). The second comprised a 12-min simulated time trial (TT2). After TT1, AR, PR, or CWI was applied for 15 min.

Results:

No significant TT2 performance differences were observed, but a 1-sample t test (within each condition) revealed different pacing strategies during TT2. CWI resulted in an even pacing strategy, while AR and PR resulted in a gradual decline of power output after the onset of TT2 (P ≤ .046). During recovery, AR and CWI showed a trend toward faster blood lactate ([BLa]) removal, but during TT2 significantly higher [BLa] was only observed after CWI compared with PR (P = .011).

Conclusion:

The pacing strategy during subsequent cycling performance in the heat is influenced by the application of different postexercise recovery interventions. Although power was not significantly altered between groups, CWI enabled a differently shaped power profile, likely due to decreased thermal strain.

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Susan Vrijkotte, Romain Meeusen, Cloe Vandervaeren, Luk Buyse, Jeroen van Cutsem, Nathalie Pattyn and Bart Roelands

Purpose: The 2-bout exercise protocol has been developed to diagnose nonfunctional overreaching and the “overtraining syndrome.” It consists of 2 maximal exercise bouts separated by 4 hours. Mental fatigue negatively influences performance, but the effects of its occurrence during the 2-bout exercise protocol have never been investigated. The aim of this study was to examine whether mental fatigue (induced during the rest period) influences physical and cognitive performance during/after the second exercise bout of the 2-bout exercise protocol. Methods: Nine healthy, well-trained male cyclists participated in a single-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled crossover study. The intervention consisted of either 1.5-hour rest (control) or performing a computer-based Stroop task to induce mental fatigue. Cognitive (Eriksen Flanker task), physiological (lactate, maximum heart rate, and maximum wattage), and subjective data (mental fatigue-visual analog scale, Profile of Mood States, and rating of perceived exertion) were gathered. Results: Ratings of fatigue, tension, and mental fatigue were affected in the mental fatigue condition (P < .05). Neither physiological nor cognitive differences were found between conditions. Ratings of mental fatigue were already affected after the first maximum exercise test (P < .05). Conclusions: Neither physical nor cognitive performance was affected by mental fatigue, but subjective ratings did reveal significant differences. It is recommended to exclude mentally challenging tasks during the 2-bout exercise protocol rest period to ascertain unaffected subjective test results. This study should be repeated in athletes diagnosed with nonfunctional overreaching/overtraining syndrome.

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Kevin De Pauw, Bart Roelands, Stephen S. Cheung, Bas de Geus, Gerard Rietjens and Romain Meeusen

Purpose:

The aim of this systematic literature review was to outline the various preexperimental maximal cycle-test protocols, terminology, and performance indicators currently used to classify subject groups in sportscience research and to construct a classification system for cycling-related research.

Methods:

A database of 130 subject-group descriptions contains information on preexperimental maximal cycle-protocol designs, terminology of the subject groups, biometrical and physiological data, cycling experience, and parameters. Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, 1-way ANOVA, post hoc Bonferroni (P < .05), and trend lines were calculated on height, body mass, relative and absolute maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), and peak power output (PPO).

Results:

During preexperimental testing, an initial workload of 100 W and a workload increase of 25 W are most frequently used. Three-minute stages provide the most reliable and valid measures of endurance performance. After obtaining data on a subject group, researchers apply various terms to define the group. To solve this complexity, the authors introduced the neutral term performance levels 1 to 5, representing untrained, recreationally trained, trained, well-trained, and professional subject groups, respectively. The most cited parameter in literature to define subject groups is relative VO2max, and therefore no overlap between different performance levels may occur for this principal parameter. Another significant cycling parameter is the absolute PPO. The description of additional physiological information and current and past cycling data is advised.

Conclusion:

This review clearly shows the need to standardize the procedure for classifying subject groups. Recommendations are formulated concerning preexperimental testing, terminology, and performance indicators.

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Philip Hurst, Lieke Schipof-Godart, Florentina Hettinga, Bart Roelands and Chris Beedie

Purpose: To investigate the placebo effect of caffeine on pacing strategy and performance over 1000-m running time trials using a balanced placebo design. Methods: Eleven well-trained male middle-distance athletes performed seven 1000-m time trials (1 familiarization, 2 baseline, and 4 experimental). Experimental trials consisted of the administration of 4 randomized treatments: informed caffeine/received caffeine, informed caffeine/received placebo, informed placebo/received caffeine, and informed placebo/received placebo. Split times were recorded at 200, 400, 600, 800, and 1000 m, and peak heart rate and rating of perceived exertion were recorded at the completion of the trial. Results: Relative to baseline, participants ran faster during informed caffeine/received caffeine (d = 0.42) and informed caffeine/received placebo (d = 0.43). These changes were associated with an increased pace during the first half of the trial. No differences were shown in pacing or performance between baseline and the informed placebo/received caffeine (d = 0.21) and informed placebo/received placebo (d = 0.10). No differences were reported between treatments for peak heart rate (η 2 = .084) and rating of perceived exertion (η 2 = .009). Conclusions: The results indicate that the effect of believing to have ingested caffeine improved performance to the same magnitude as actually receiving caffeine. These improvements were associated with an increase in pace during the first half of the time trial.

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Stephen P. Bailey, Julie Hibbard, Darrin La Forge, Madison Mitchell, Bart Roelands, G. Keith Harris and Stephen Folger

Background: Carbohydrate (CHO) mouth rinse (MR) before exercise has been shown to improve physical performance and corticospinal motor excitability. Purpose: To determine the effects of different forms of CHO MR on quadriceps muscle performance and corticospinal motor excitability. Methods: 10 subjects (5 female and 5 male; 25 [1] y, 1.71 [0.03] m, 73 [5] kg) completed 4 conditions (placebo [PLA], 6.4% glucose [GLU], 6.4% maltose [MAL], 6.4% maltodextrin [MDX]). Maximal voluntary contraction (MVIC) of the right quadriceps and motor-evoked potential (MEP) of the right rectus femoris was determined pre (10 min), immediately after, and post (10 min) 20-s MR. MEP was precipitated by transcranial magnetic stimulation during muscle contraction (50% MVIC). Results: The relative change in MEP from pre-measures was different across treatments (P = .025) but was not different across time (P = .357). MEP was greater for all CHO conditions immediately after (GLU = 2.58% [5.33%], MAL = 3.92% [3.90%], MDX = 18.28% [5.57%]) and 10 min after (GLU = 14.09% [13.96%], MAL = 8.64% [8.67%], MDX = 31.54% [12.77%]) MR than PLA (immediately after = −2.19% [4.25%], 10 min = −13.41% [7.46%]). MVC was greater for CHO conditions immediately (GLU = 3.98% [2.49%], MAL = 5.89% [2.29%], MDX = 7.66% [1.93%]) and 10 min after (GLU = 7.22% [2.77%], MAL = 10.26% [4.22%], MDX = 10.18% [1.50%]) MR than PLA (immediately after = −3.24% [1.50%], 10 min = −6.46% [2.22%]). Conclusions: CHO MR increased corticospinal motor excitability and quadriceps muscle after application. The form of CHO used did not influence this response.

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Anissa Cherif, Romain Meeusen, Abdulaziz Farooq, Joong Ryu, Mohamed Amine Fenneni, Zoran Nikolovski, Sittana Elshafie, Karim Chamari and Bart Roelands

Purpose:

To examine the effects of 3 d of intermittent fasting (3d-IF: abstaining from eating/drinking from dawn to sunset) on physical performance and metabolic responses to repeated sprints (RSs).

Methods:

Twenty-one active males performed an RS test (2 sets: 5 × 5-s maximal sprints with 25 s of recovery between and 3 min of recovery between sets on an instrumented treadmill) in 2 conditions: counterbalanced fed/control session (CS) and fasting session (FS). Biomechanical and biochemical markers were assessed preexercise and postexercise.

Results:

Significant main effects of IF were observed for sprints: maximal speed (P = .016), mean speed (P = .015), maximal power (P = .035), mean power (P = .049), vertical stiffness (P = .032), and vertical center-of-mass displacement (P = .047). Sprint speed and vertical stiffness decreased during the 1st (P = .003 and P = .005) and 2nd sprints (P = .046 and P = .048) of set 2, respectively. Postexercise insulin decreased in CS (P = .023) but not in FS (P = .230). Free-fatty-acid levels were higher in FS than in CS at preexercise (P < .001) and at postexercise (P = .009). High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) was higher at postexercise in FS (1.32 ± 0.22 mmol/L) than in CS (1.26 ± 0.21 mmol/L, P = .039). The triglyceride (TG) concentration was decreased in FS (P < .05) compared with CS.

Conclusions:

3d-IF impaired speed and power through a decrease in vertical stiffness during the initial runs of the 2nd set of RS. The findings of the current study confirmed the benefits of 3d-IF: improved HDL-C and TG profiles while maintaining total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. Moreover, improving muscle power might be a key factor to retain a higher vertical stiffness and to partly counteract the negative effects of intermittent fasting.

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Twan ten Haaf, Selma van Staveren, Danilo Iannetta, Bart Roelands, Romain Meeusen, Maria F. Piacentini, Carl Foster, Leo Koenderman, Hein A.M. Daanen and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose: Reaction time has been proposed as a training monitoring tool, but to date, results are equivocal. Therefore, it was investigated whether reaction time can be used as a monitoring tool to establish overreaching. Methods: The study included 30 subjects (11 females and 19 males, age: 40.8 [10.8] years, VO2max: 51.8 [6.3] mL/kg/min) who participated in an 8-day cycling event. The external exercise load increased approximately 900% compared with the preparation period. Performance was measured before and after the event using a maximal incremental cycling test. Subjects with decreased performance after the event were classified as functionally overreached (FOR) and others as acutely fatigued (AF). A choice reaction time test was performed 2 weeks before (pre), 1 week after (post), and 5 weeks after (follow-up), as well as at the start and end of the event. Results: A total of 14 subjects were classified as AF and 14 as FOR (2 subjects were excluded). During the event, reaction time at the end was 68 ms (95% confidence interval, 46–89) faster than at the start. Reaction time post event was 41 ms (95% confidence interval, 12–71) faster than pre event and follow-up was 55 ms faster (95% confidence interval, 26–83). The time by class interaction was not significant during (P = .26) and after (P = .43) the event. Correlations between physical performance and reaction time were not significant (all Ps > .30). Conclusions: No differences in choice reaction time between AF and FOR subjects were observed. It is suggested that choice reaction time is not valid for early detection of overreaching in the field.

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Kevin De Pauw, Bart Roelands, Jeroen Van Cutsem, Lieselot Decroix, Angelica Valente, Kim Taehee, Robert B. Lettan II, Andres E. Carrillo and Romain Meeusen

Introduction:

Nasal spray (NAS) containing caffeine (CAF) or glucose (GLUC) activates sensory(motor) cortices.

Purpose:

To investigate the influence of CAF or GLUC NAS on exercise and cognitive performance.

Methods:

Eleven male subjects (age 22 ± 2 y) performed a maximal cycle test and 2 familiarization and 3 experimental trials. Each trial included a 30-s Wingate test and a 30-min time-trial (TT) performance test interspersed by 15 min of rest. Before and after each exercise test a Stroop task was conducted. Placebo NAS with or without CAF or GLUC was provided before each exercise session and at each completed 25% of the TT. Exercise-performance, physiological, and cognitive measures were obtained. Magnitude-based inferences determined the likelihood that NAS solutions would be beneficial, trivial, or negative to exercise-performance measures based on the smallest worthwhile effect. Physiological and cognitive measures were analyzed using (non)parametric tests (P < .05).

Results:

GLUC NAS substantially increased the average power output during the TT (very likely beneficial: 98%). No further worthwhile exercise-performance enhancements were found for both substances. In addition, no significant differences in physiological and cognitive measures were observed. In line with mouth rinsing, GLUC was shown to substantially enhance endurance performance, probably due to the activation of the olfactory pathway and/or extra-oral sweet-taste receptors.

Conclusion:

GLUC NAS enhances endurance performance, which indicates a novel administration route. The higher activity in sensory brain cortices probably elicited the ergogenic effect. However, no further physiological and cognitive changes occurred, indicating that higher doses of substrates might be required.

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Twan ten Haaf, Selma van Staveren, Erik Oudenhoven, Maria F. Piacentini, Romain Meeusen, Bart Roelands, Leo Koenderman, Hein A.M. Daanen, Carl Foster and Jos J. de Koning

Purpose:

To investigate whether monitoring of easily measurable stressors and symptoms can be used to distinguish early between acute fatigue (AF) and functional overreaching (FOR).

Methods:

The study included 30 subjects (11 female, 19 male; age 40.8 ± 10.8 y, VO2max 51.8 ± 6.3 mL · kg–1 · min–1) who participated in an 8-d cycling event over 1300 km with 18,500 climbing meters. Performance was measured before and after the event using a maximal incremental test. Subjects with decreased performance after the event were classified as FOR, others as AF. Mental and physical well-being, internal training load, resting heart rate, temperature, and mood were measured daily during the event. Differences between AF and FOR were analyzed using mixed-model ANOVAs. Logistic regression was used to determine the best predictors of FOR after 3 and 6 d of cycling.

Results:

Fifteen subjects were classified as FOR and 14 as AF (1 excluded). Although total group changes were observed during the event, no differences between AF and FOR were found for individual monitoring parameters. The combination of questionnaire-based changes in fatigue and readiness to train after 3 d cycling correctly predicted 78% of the subjects as AF or FOR (sensitivity = 79%, specificity = 77%).

Conclusions:

Monitoring changes in fatigue and readiness to train, using simple visual analog scales, can be used to identify subjects likely to become FOR after only 3 d of cycling. Hence, we encourage athlete support staff to monitor not only fatigue but also the subjective integrated mental and physical readiness to perform.