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Eric T. Trexler and Abbie E. Smith-Ryan

Nutritional supplementation is a common practice among athletes, with creatine and caffeine among the most commonly used ergogenic aids. Hundreds of studies have investigated the ergogenic potential of creatine supplementation, with consistent improvements in strength and power reported for exercise bouts of short duration (≤30 s) and high intensity. Caffeine has been shown to improve endurance exercise performance, but results are mixed in the context of strength and sprint performance. Further, there is conflicting evidence from studies comparing the ergogenic effects of coffee and caffeine anhydrous supplementation. Previous research has identified independent mechanisms by which creatine and caffeine may improve strength and sprint performance, leading to the formulation of multi-ingredient supplements containing both ingredients. Although scarce, research has suggested that caffeine ingestion may blunt the ergogenic effect of creatine. While a pharmacokinetic interaction is unlikely, authors have suggested that this effect may be explained by opposing effects on muscle relaxation time or gastrointestinal side effects from simultaneous consumption. The current review aims to evaluate the ergogenic potential of creatine and caffeine in the context of high-intensity exercise. Research directly comparing coffee and caffeine anhydrous is discussed, along with previous studies evaluating the concurrent supplementation of creatine and caffeine.

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Andrew Pardue, Eric T. Trexler and Lisa K. Sprod

Extreme body composition demands of competitive bodybuilding have been associated with unfavorable physiological changes, including alterations in metabolic rate and endocrine profile. The current case study evaluated the effects of contest preparation (8 months), followed by recovery (5 months), on a competitive drug-free male bodybuilder over 13 months (M1-M13). Serum testosterone, triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4), cortisol, leptin, and ghrelin were measured throughout the study. Body composition (BodPod, dualenergy x-ray absorptiometry [DXA]), anaerobic power (Wingate test), and resting metabolic rate (RMR) were assessed monthly. Sleep was assessed monthly via the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and actigraphy. From M1 to M8, testosterone (623–173 ng∙dL-1), T3 (123–40 ng∙dL-1), and T4 (5.8–4.1 mg∙dL-1) decreased, while cortisol (25.2–26.5 mg∙dL-1) and ghrelin (383–822 pg∙mL-1) increased. The participant lost 9.1 kg before competition as typical energy intake dropped from 3,860 to 1,724 kcal∙day-1; BodPod estimates of body fat percentage were 13.4% at M1, 9.6% at M8, and 14.9% at M13; DXA estimates were 13.8%, 5.1%, and 13.8%, respectively. Peak anaerobic power (753.0 to 536.5 Watts) and RMR (107.2% of predicted to 81.2% of predicted) also decreased throughout preparation. Subjective sleep quality decreased from M1 to M8, but objective measures indicated minimal change. By M13, physiological changes were largely, but not entirely, reversed. Contest preparation may yield transient, unfavorable changes in endocrine profile, power output, RMR, and subjective sleep outcomes. Research with larger samples must identify strategies that minimize unfavorable adaptations and facilitate recovery following competition.

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Eric T. Trexler, Katie R. Hirsch, Bill I. Campbell and Abbie E. Smith-Ryan

The purpose of the current study was to evaluate changes in body composition, metabolic rate, and hormones during postcompetition recovery. Data were collected from natural physique athletes (7 male/8 female) within one week before (T1) competition, within one week after (T2), and 4–6 weeks after (T3) competition. Measures included body composition (fat mass [FM] and lean mass [LM] from ultrasongraphy), resting metabolic rate (RMR; indirect calorimetry), and salivary leptin, testosterone, cortisol, ghrelin, and insulin. Total body water (TBW; bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy) was measured at T1 and T2 in a subsample (n = 8) of athletes. Significant (p < .05) changes were observed for weight (T1 = 65.4 ± 12.2 kg, T2 = 67.4 ± 12.6, T3 = 69.3 ± 13.4; T3 > T2 > T1), LM (T1 = 57.6 ± 13.9 kg, T2 = 59.4 ± 14.2, T3 = 59.3 ± 14.2; T2 and T3 > T1), and FM (T1 = 7.7 ± 4.4 kg, T2 = 8.0 ± 4.4, T3 = 10.0 ± 6.2; T3 > T1 and T2). TBW increased from T1 to T2 (Δ=1.9 ± 1.3 L, p < .01). RMR increased from baseline (1612 ± 266 kcal/day; 92.0% of predicted) to T2 (1881 ± 329, 105.3%; p < .01) and T3 (1778 ± 257, 99.6%; p < .001). Cortisol was higher (p < .05) at T2 (0.41 ± 0.31 μg/dL) than T1 (0.34 ± 0.31) and T3 (0.35 ± 0.27). Male testosterone at T3 (186.6 ± 41.3 pg/mL) was greater than T2 (148.0 ± 44.6, p = .04). RMR changes were associated (p ≤ .05) with change in body fat percent (ΔBF%; r = .59) and T3 protein intake (r= .60); male testosterone changes were inversely associated (p≤ .05) with ΔBF%, ΔFM, and Δweight (r=-0.81–-0.88). TBW increased within days of competition. Precompetition RMR suppression appeared to be variable and markedly reversed by overfeeding, and reverted toward normal levels following competition. RMR and male testosterone increased while FM was preferentially gained 4–6 weeks postcompetition.