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Jack Martin and David Cox

A recently developed social psychological and biographical approach to the study of lives, life positioning analysis (LPA), is applied to the early life experiences of Canadian basketball player Steve Nash for the purpose of identifying sources of his athletic creativity and work ethic. The analysis focuses on Nash’s childhood and adolescence, especially his interactions with his father, brother, coaches, friends, and teammates. The interpretations, results, and conclusions offered describe specific types of interaction with these other individuals as likely influences on the development of important psychological aspects of the team oriented creativity that came to characterize Nash’s unique athletic style. The article concludes with a brief description of the unique yields and possible contributions of this type of biographical case study as a methodological approach in sport psychology.

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Danée M. DesRochers and David E. Cox

Column-editor : Jeff Allen

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Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Sari M. van Anders, David N. Cox, and Neil V. Watson

The association between androgens and competition in women has been understudied compared with men. The current study examined the link between testosterone (T) and competition in elite female athletes, using a sample of female wrestlers that included athletes competing at both the national and international level. In a repeated-measures design, saliva samples were collected before and after wrestling bouts, with comparable samples of wins and losses, and subsequently analyzed for T. Study results showed a 22% increase in circulating bioavailable T from pre-to postbout, F(1, 12) = 9.71, P = .009. There was no significant difference in T between win or loss outcomes. These findings—showing a link between individual head-to-head competition and T in women—demonstrate that women’s androgenic responses to environmental contexts are dynamic and may be an important factor to address in research on competitive performance.

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Thiago Oliveira Borges, Nicola Bullock, David Aitken, Gregory R. Cox, and Aaron J. Coutts

Purpose: To compare the metabolic cost of paddling on different commercially available kayak ergometers using a standardized kayak incremental exercise protocol. Methods: Six male sprint kayak athletes undertook an incremental exercise protocol on 3 different kayak ergometers utilizing a randomized counterbalanced pair-matched design. Results: Mean maximal aerobic power on the WEBA ergometer (265 [14] W) was significantly higher than on the Dansprint (238 [9] W) and KayakPro® (247 [21] W, P < .01, effect size [ES] = 0.80). At the fifth stage, absolute oxygen consumption on the WEBA (3.82 [0.25] L·min−1) was significantly lower (P < 0.05, ES = 0.20) than KayakPro and Dansprint (4.10 [0.28] and 4.08 [0.27] L·min−1, respectively). Blood lactate concentration response at the sixth stage was significantly lower for the WEBA (3.5 [0.8] mmol·L−1), compared with KayakPro and Dansprint (5.4 [1.2] and 5.6 [1.5] mmol·L−1, P = .012, ES = 0.20). Stroke rate was significantly higher, without any effect of pacing during the submaximal stages for the Dansprint, compared with the WEBA (P < .001, ES = 0.28) and KayakPro (P < .001, ES = 0.38). A pacing effect was present at the maximal stage for all ergometers. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that paddling on different kayak ergometers when controlling power output elicits different metabolic and work outputs. It is recommended that scientists and coaches avoid testing on different ergometers and regularly calibrate these devices. Moreover, when an ergometer has been calibrated against a first principle device, it is necessary to consider calibration of various drag settings, due to their impact on stroke rate. Further research should explore the relationship between drag settings and stroke rate.

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Thomas M. Doering, Peter R. Reaburn, Gregory Cox, and David G. Jenkins

Postexercise nutrition is a critical component of an athlete’s recovery from training and competition. However, little is known about athletes’ postexercise dietary practices or knowledge of dietary recommendations, particularly among masters athletes. The purpose of this study was to compare and contrast the knowledge of postexercise nutritional recommendations, and typical postexercise intakes of carbohydrate and protein, between masters and younger triathletes. 182 triathletes (Male = 101, Female = 81) completed an online survey distributed by Triathlon Australia. Knowledge of postexercise nutrition recommendations for protein and carbohydrate intake were assessed as a group, and contrasted between subgroups of masters (≥50 years) and younger triathletes (≤30 years). Using dietary recall, postexercise intakes of carbohydrate and protein were examined and contrasted between masters and younger triathletes. As a group, 43.1% and 43.9% of all triathletes answered, “I don’t know” when asked to identify the recommended postexercise carbohydrate and protein intakes, respectively. Dietary analysis revealed masters triathletes consumed significantly less carbohydrate (0.7 ± 0.4 postexercise than recommended (1.0; p = .001), and in comparison with younger triathletes (1.1 ± 0.6; p = .01). Postexercise protein intakes were similar between masters (19.6 ± 13.5 g) and younger (26.4 ± 15.8 g) triathletes. However, relative to body mass, masters triathletes consumed significantly less protein (0.3 ± 0.2 than younger triathletes (0.4 ± 0.2; p = .03), and consumed significantly less energy postexercise (22.7 ± 11.7 than younger triathletes (37.8 ± 19.2; p = .01). The present data suggests triathletes have poor knowledge of recommendations for postexercise carbohydrate and protein intakes. Furthermore, low postexercise intakes of carbohydrate and protein by masters athletes may impair acute recovery.

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Philo U. Saunders, Amanda J. Cox, Will G. Hopkins, and David B. Pyne

It is unclear whether physiological measures monitored in an incremental treadmill test during a training season provide useful diagnostic information about changes in distance running performance.


To quantify the relationship between changes in physiological measures and performance (peak running speed) over a training season.


Well-trained distance runners (34 males; VO2max 64 ± 6 mL⋅kg-1⋅min-1, mean ± SD) completed four incremental treadmill tests over 17 wk. The tests provided values of peak running speed, VO2max, running economy, and lactate threshold (as speed and %VO2max). The physiological measures were included in simple and multiple linear regression models to quantify the relationship between changes in these measures and changes in peak speed.


The typical within-subject variation in peak speed from test to test was 2.5%, whereas those for physiological measures were VO2max (mL⋅min-1⋅kg-1) 3.0%, economy (m⋅kg⋅mL–1) 3.6%, lactate threshold (%VO2max) 8.7%, and body mass 1.8%. In simple models these typical changes predicted the following changes in performance: VO2max 1.4%, economy 0.8%, lactate threshold –0.3%, and body mass –0.2% (90% confidence limits ~±0.7%); the corresponding correlations with performance were 0.57, 0.33, –0.05, and –0.13 respectively (~±0.20). In a multiple linear regression model, the contribution of each physiological variable to performance changed little after adjustment for the other variables.


Change in VO2max in an incremental test during a running season is a good predictor of change in peak running speed, change in running economy is a moderate predictor, and lactate threshold and body mass provide little additional information.

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Thomas M. Doering, Peter R. Reaburn, Nattai R. Borges, Gregory R. Cox, and David G. Jenkins

Following exercise-induced muscle damage (EIMD), masters athletes take longer to recover than younger athletes. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of higher than recommended postexercise protein feedings on the recovery of knee extensor peak isometric torque (PIT), perceptions of recovery, and cycling time trial (TT) performance following EIMD in masters triathletes. Eight masters triathletes (52 ± 2 y, V̇O2max, 51.8 ± 4.2 ml•kg-1•min-1) completed two trials separated by seven days in a randomized, doubleblind, crossover study. Trials consisted of morning PIT testing and a 30-min downhill run followed by an eight-hour recovery. During recovery, a moderate (MPI; 0.3 g•kg-1•bolus-1) or high (0.6 g•kg-1•bolus-1) protein intake (HPI) was consumed in three bolus feedings at two hour intervals commencing immediately postexercise. PIT testing and a 7 kJ•kg-1 cycling TT were completed postintervention. Perceptions of recovery were assessed pre- and postexercise. The HPI did not significantly improve recovery compared with MPI (p > .05). However, comparison of within-treatment change shows the HPI provided a moderate beneficial effect (d = 0.66), attenuating the loss of afternoon PIT (-3.6%, d = 0.09) compared with the MPI (-8.6%, d = 0.24). The HPI provided a large beneficial effect (d = 0.83), reducing perceived fatigue over the eight-hour recovery (d = 1.25) compared with the MPI (d = 0.22). Despite these effects, cycling performance was unchanged (HPI = 2395 ± 297 s vs. MPI = 2369 ± 278 s; d = 0.09). In conclusion, doubling the recommended postexercise protein intake did not significantly improve recovery in masters athletes; however, HPI provided moderate to large beneficial effects on recovery that may be meaningful following EIMD.

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Shannon L. Mihalko, Phillip Cox, Edward Ip, David F. Martin, Paul DeVita, Monica Love, Santiago Saldana, D. Wayne Cannon, Rebecca E. Fellin, Joseph F. Seay, and Stephen P. Messier

Context: While 55 million Americans incorporate running into their exercise routines, up to 65% of runners sustain an overuse injury annually. It has been consistently shown that regular physical activity positively impacts quality of life (QOL), an essential public health indicator; however, the impact of running-related injuries on QOL is unknown. This study seeks to determine whether overuse injury severity impacts QOL in recreational runners, and if self-efficacy mediates this relationship. Design: Community-based prospective cohort study of 300 runners who had been running injury free for at least 5 miles/wk in the past 6 months. Methods: Self-efficacy for running and QOL measures (Short Form-12 Physical Component and Mental Component, Satisfaction with Life, Positive Affect and Negative Affect) were assessed at baseline, time of injury, and follow-up visits. Over 2 years of observation, overuse injuries were diagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon and injured runners were referred to a physical therapist. Results: Injury severity was significantly (P < .01) related with 2 indices of QOL, such that the effect of injury severity was −2.28 units on the Short Form-12 physical component and −0.73 units on positive affect. Self-efficacy accounted for 19% and 48% of the indirect effects on Short Form-12 physical component and positive affect, respectively. Conclusions: Since self-efficacy is a modifiable factor related to decreased QOL, these findings have important clinical implications for rehabilitation interventions.

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Alannah K. A. McKay, Ida A. Heikura, Louise M. Burke, Peter Peeling, David B. Pyne, Rachel P.L. van Swelm, Coby M. Laarakkers, and Gregory R. Cox

Sleeping with low carbohydrate (CHO) availability is a dietary strategy that may enhance training adaptation. However, the impact on an athlete’s health is unclear. This study quantified the effect of a short-term “sleep-low” dietary intervention on markers of iron regulation and immune function in athletes. In a randomized, repeated-measures design, 11 elite triathletes completed two 4-day mixed cycle run training blocks. Key training sessions were structured such that a high-intensity training session was performed in the field on the afternoon of Days 1 and 3, and a low-intensity training (LIT) session was performed on the following morning in the laboratory (Days 2 and 4). The ingestion of CHO was either divided evenly across the day (HIGH) or restricted between the high-intensity training and LIT sessions, so that the LIT session was performed with low CHO availability (LOW). Venous blood and saliva samples were collected prior to and following each LIT session and analyzed for interleukin-6, hepcidin 25, and salivary immunoglobulin-A. Concentrations of interleukin-6 increased acutely after exercise (p < .001), but did not differ between dietary conditions or days. Hepcidin 25 increased 3-hr postexercise (p < .001), with the greatest increase evident after the LOW trial on Day 2 (2.5 ± 0.9 fold increase ±90% confidence limit). The salivary immunoglobulin-A secretion rate did not change in response to exercise; however, it was highest during the LOW condition on Day 4 (p = .046). There appears to be minimal impact to markers of immune function and iron regulation when acute exposure to low CHO availability is undertaken with expert nutrition and coaching input.

Open access

Alan J. McCubbin, Bethanie A. Allanson, Joanne N. Caldwell Odgers, Michelle M. Cort, Ricardo J.S. Costa, Gregory R. Cox, Siobhan T. Crawshay, Ben Desbrow, Eliza G. Freney, Stephanie K. Gaskell, David Hughes, Chris Irwin, Ollie Jay, Benita J. Lalor, Megan L.R. Ross, Gregory Shaw, Julien D. Périard, and Louise M. Burke

It is the position of Sports Dietitians Australia (SDA) that exercise in hot and/or humid environments, or with significant clothing and/or equipment that prevents body heat loss (i.e., exertional heat stress), provides significant challenges to an athlete’s nutritional status, health, and performance. Exertional heat stress, especially when prolonged, can perturb thermoregulatory, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems. Heat acclimation or acclimatization provides beneficial adaptations and should be undertaken where possible. Athletes should aim to begin exercise euhydrated. Furthermore, preexercise hyperhydration may be desirable in some scenarios and can be achieved through acute sodium or glycerol loading protocols. The assessment of fluid balance during exercise, together with gastrointestinal tolerance to fluid intake, and the appropriateness of thirst responses provide valuable information to inform fluid replacement strategies that should be integrated with event fuel requirements. Such strategies should also consider fluid availability and opportunities to drink, to prevent significant under- or overconsumption during exercise. Postexercise beverage choices can be influenced by the required timeframe for return to euhydration and co-ingestion of meals and snacks. Ingested beverage temperature can influence core temperature, with cold/icy beverages of potential use before and during exertional heat stress, while use of menthol can alter thermal sensation. Practical challenges in supporting athletes in teams and traveling for competition require careful planning. Finally, specific athletic population groups have unique nutritional needs in the context of exertional heat stress (i.e., youth, endurance/ultra-endurance athletes, and para-sport athletes), and specific adjustments to nutrition strategies should be made for these population groups.