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Rich D. Johnston, Tim J. Gabbett and David G. Jenkins

Purpose:

To determine the influence the number of contact efforts during a single bout has on running intensity during game-based activities and assess relationships between physical qualities and distances covered in each game.

Methods:

Eighteen semiprofessional rugby league players (age 23.6 ± 2.8 y) competed in 3 off-side small-sided games (2 × 10-min halves) with a contact bout performed every 2 min. The rules of each game were identical except for the number of contact efforts performed in each bout. Players performed 1, 2, or 3 × 5-s wrestles in the single-, double-, and triple-contact game, respectively. The movement demands (including distance covered and intensity of exercise) in each game were monitored using global positioning system units. Bench-press and back-squat 1-repetition maximum and the 30−15 Intermittent Fitness Test (30−15IFT) assessed muscle strength and high-intensity-running ability, respectively.

Results:

There was little change in distance covered during the single-contact game (ES = −0.16 to −0.61), whereas there were larger reductions in the double- (ES = −0.52 to −0.81) and triple-contact (ES = −0.50 to −1.15) games. Significant relationships (P < .05) were observed between 30–15IFT and high-speed running during the single- (r = .72) and double- (r = .75), but not triple-contact (r = .20) game.

Conclusions:

There is little change in running intensity when only single contacts are performed each bout; however, when multiple contacts are performed, greater reductions in running intensity result. In addition, high-intensity-running ability is only associated with running performance when contact demands are low.

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Rich D. Johnston, Tim J. Gabbett and David G. Jenkins

Purpose:

To assess the influence of playing standard and physical fitness on pacing strategies during a junior team-sport tournament.

Methods:

A between-groups, repeated-measures design was used. Twenty-eight junior team-sport players (age 16.6 ± 0.5 y, body mass 79.9 ± 12.0 kg) from a high-standard and low-standard team participated in a junior rugby league tournament, competing in 5 games over 4 d (4 × 40-min and 1 × 50-min game). Players wore global positioning system (GPS) microtechnology during each game to provide information on match activity profiles. The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test (level 1) was used to assess physical fitness before the competition.

Results:

High-standard players had an initially higher pacing strategy than the low-standard players, covering greater distances at high (ES = 1.32) and moderate speed (ES = 1.41) in game 1 and moderate speed (ES = 1.55) in game 2. However, low-standard players increased their playing intensity across the competition (ES = 0.57–2.04). High-standard/high-fitness players maintained a similar playing intensity, whereas high-standard/low-fitness players reduced their playing intensities across the competition.

Conclusions:

Well-developed physical fitness allows for a higher-intensity pacing strategy that can be maintained throughout a tournament. High-standard/low-fitness players reduce playing intensity, most likely due to increased levels of fatigue as the competition progresses. Low-standard players adopt a pacing strategy that allows them to conserve energy to produce an “end spurt” in the latter games. Maximizing endurance fitness across an entire playing group will maximize playing intensity and minimize performance reductions during the latter stages of a tournament.

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Eric C. Haakonssen, David T. Martin, David G. Jenkins and Louise M. Burke

Purpose:

This study investigated the satisfaction of elite female cyclists with their body weight (BW) in the context of race performance, the magnitude of BW manipulation, and the association of these variables with menstrual function.

Methods:

Female competitors in the Australian National Road Cycling Championships (n = 32) and the Oceania Championships (n = 5) completed a questionnaire to identify current BW, BW fluctuations, perceived ideal BW for performance, frequency of weight consciousness, weight-loss techniques used, and menstrual regularity.

Results:

All but 1 cyclist reported that female cyclists are “a weight-conscious population,” and 54% reported having a desire to change BW at least once weekly; 62% reported that their current BW was not ideal for performance. Their perceived ideal BW was (mean ± SD) 1.6 ± 1.6 kg (2.5% ± 2.5%) less than their current weight (P < .01), and 73% reported that their career-lowest BW was either “beneficial” or “extremely beneficial” for performance. 65% reported successfully reducing BW in the previous 12 months with a mean loss of 2.4 ± 1.0 kg (4.1% ± 1.9%). The most common weight-loss technique was reduced energy intake (76%). Five cyclists (14%) had been previously diagnosed as having an eating disorder by a physician. Of the 18 athletes not using a hormonal contraceptive, 11 reported menstrual dysfunction (oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea).

Conclusion:

Elite Australian female cyclists are a weight-conscious population who may not be satisfied with their BW leading into a major competition and in some cases are frequently weight conscious.

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Eric C. Haakonssen, David T. Martin, Louise M. Burke and David G. Jenkins

Body composition in a female road cyclist was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (5 occasions) and anthropometry (10 occasions) at the start of the season (Dec to Mar), during a period of chronic fatigue associated with poor weight management (Jun to Aug), and in the following months of recovery and retraining (Aug to Nov). Dietary manipulation involved a modest reduction in energy availability to 30–40 kcal · kg fat-free mass−1 · d−1 and an increased intake of high-quality protein, particularly after training (20 g). Through the retraining period, total body mass decreased (−2.82 kg), lean mass increased (+0.88 kg), and fat mass decreased (−3.47 kg). Hemoglobin mass increased by 58.7 g (8.4%). Maximal aerobic- and anaerobic-power outputs were returned to within 2% of preseason values. The presented case shows that through a subtle energy restriction associated with increased protein intake and sufficient energy intake during training, fat mass can be reduced with simultaneous increases in lean mass, performance gains, and improved health.

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Kellie R. Pritchard-Peschek, David G. Jenkins, Mark A. Osborne and Gary J. Slater

The aim of the current study was to investigate the effect of 180 mg of pseudoephedrine (PSE) on cycling time-trial (TT) performance. Six well-trained male cyclists and triathletes (age 33 ± 2 yr, mass 81 ± 8 kg, height 182.0 ± 6.7 cm, VO2max 56.8 ± 6.8 ml ⋅ kg−1 ⋅ min−1; M ± SD) underwent 2 performance trials in which they completed a 25-min variable-intensity (50–90% maximal aerobic power) warm-up, followed by a cycling TT in which they completed a fixed amount of work (7 kJ/kg body mass) in the shortest possible time. Sixty minutes before the start of exercise, they orally ingested 180 mg of PSE or a cornstarch placebo (PLA) in a randomized, crossover, double-blind manner. Venous blood was sampled immediately pre- and postexercise for the analysis of pH plus lactate, glucose, and norepinephrine (NE). PSE improved cycling TT performance by 5.1% (95% CI 0–10%) compared with PLA (28:58.9 ± 4:26.5 and 30:31.7 ± 4:36.7 min, respectively). There was a significant Treatment × Time interaction (p = .04) for NE, with NE increasing during the PSE trial only. Similarly, blood glucose also showed a trend (p = .06) for increased levels postexercise in the PSE trial. The ingestion of 180 mg of PSE 60 min before the onset of high-intensity exercise improved cycling TT performance in well-trained athletes. It is possible that changes in metabolism or an increase in central nervous system stimulation is responsible for the observed ergogenic effect of PSE.

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Kirstin S. Morris, Mark A. Osborne, Megan E. Shephard, David G. Jenkins and Tina L. Skinner

Purpose:

The contributions of the limbs to velocity and metabolic parameters in front-crawl swimming at different intensities have not been identified considering both stroke and kick rate. Consequently, velocity, oxygen uptake (V̇O2), and metabolic cost of swimming with the whole body (swim), the upper limbs only (pull), and lower limbs only (kick) were compared with stroke and kick rate controlled.

Methods:

Twenty elite swimmers completed six 200-m trials: 2 swim, 2 pull, and 2 kick. Swim trials were guided by underwater lights at paces equivalent to 65% ± 3% and 78% ± 3% of participants’ 200-m-freestyle personal-best pace; paces were described as low and moderate, respectively. In the pull and kick trials, swimmers aimed to match the stroke and kick rates, respectively, recorded during the swim trials. V̇O2 was measured continuously, with velocity and metabolic cost calculated for each 200-m effort.

Results:

The velocity contribution of the upper limbs (mean ± SD; low 63.9% ± 6.2%, moderate 59.6% ± 4.2%) was greater than that of the lower limbs to a large extent at both intensities (low ES = 4.40, moderate ES = 4.60). The V̇O2 used by the upper limbs differed between the intensities (low 55.5% ± 6.9%, moderate 51.4% ± 4.0%; ES = 0.74). The lower limbs were responsible for a greater percentage of the metabolic cost than the upper limbs at both intensities (low 56.1% ± 9.5%, ES = 1.30; moderate 55.1% ± 6.6%, ES = 1.55).

Conclusions:

Implementation of this testing protocol before and after a pull- or kick-training block will enable sport scientists to determine how the velocity contributions and/or metabolic cost of the upper- and lower-limb actions have responded to the training program.

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Rich D. Johnston, Tim J. Gabbett, David G. Jenkins and Michael J. Speranza

Purpose:

To assess the impact of different repeated-high-intensity-effort (RHIE) bouts on player activity profiles, skill involvements, and neuromuscular fatigue during small-sided games.

Participants:

22 semiprofessional rugby league players (age 24.0 ± 1.8 y, body mass 95.6 ± 7.4 kg).

Methods:

During 4 testing sessions, they performed RHIE bouts that each differed in the combination of contact and running efforts, followed by a 5-min off-side small-sided game before performing a second bout of RHIE activity and another 5-min small-sided game. Global positioning system microtechnology and video recordings provided information on activity profiles and skill involvements. A countermovement jump and a plyometric push-up assessed changes in lower- and upper-body neuromuscular function after each session.

Results:

After running-dominant RHIE bouts, players maintained running intensities during both games. In the contact-dominant RHIE bouts, reductions in moderate-speed activity were observed from game 1 to game 2 (ES = –0.71 to –1.06). There was also moderately lower disposal efficiency across both games after contact-dominant RHIE activity compared with running-dominant activity (ES = 0.62–1.02). Greater reductions in lower-body fatigue occurred as RHIE bouts became more running dominant (ES = –0.01 to –1.36), whereas upper-body fatigue increased as RHIE bouts became more contact dominant (ES = –0.07 to –1.55).

Conclusions:

Physical contact causes reductions in running intensity and the quality of skill involvements during game-based activities. In addition, the neuromuscular fatigue experienced by players is specific to the activities performed.

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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 g.kg-1) postexercise than recommended (1.0 g.kg-1; p = .001), and in comparison with younger triathletes (1.1 ± 0.6 g.kg-1; 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 g.kg-1) than younger triathletes (0.4 ± 0.2 g.kg-1; p = .03), and consumed significantly less energy postexercise (22.7 ± 11.7 kJ.kg-1) than younger triathletes (37.8 ± 19.2 kJ.kg-1; 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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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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Thomas M. Doering, Peter R. Reaburn, Stuart M. Phillips and David G. Jenkins

Participation rates of masters athletes in endurance events such as long-distance triathlon and running continue to increase. Given the physical and metabolic demands of endurance training, recovery practices influence the quality of successive training sessions and, consequently, adaptations to training. Research has suggested that, after muscle-damaging endurance exercise, masters athletes experience slower recovery rates in comparison with younger, similarly trained athletes. Given that these discrepancies in recovery rates are not observed after non–muscle-damaging exercise, it is suggested that masters athletes have impairments of the protein remodeling mechanisms within skeletal muscle. The importance of postexercise protein feeding for endurance athletes is increasingly being acknowledged, and its role in creating a positive net muscle protein balance postexercise is well known. The potential benefits of postexercise protein feeding include elevating muscle protein synthesis and satellite cell activity for muscle repair and remodeling, as well as facilitating muscle glycogen resynthesis. Despite extensive investigation into age-related anabolic resistance in sedentary aging populations, little is known about how anabolic resistance affects postexercise muscle protein synthesis and thus muscle remodeling in aging athletes. Despite evidence suggesting that physical training can attenuate but not eliminate age-related anabolic resistance, masters athletes are currently recommended to consume the same postexercise dietary protein dose (approximately 20 g or 0.25 g/kg/meal) as younger athletes. Given the slower recovery rates of masters athletes after muscle-damaging exercise, which may be due to impaired muscle remodeling mechanisms, masters athletes may benefit from higher doses of postexercise dietary protein, with particular attention directed to the leucine content of the postexercise bolus.