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Jonathan M. Peake

Ascorbic acid or vitamin C is involved in a number of biochemical pathways that are important to exercise metabolism and the health of exercising individuals. This review reports the results of studies investigating the requirement for vitamin C with exercise on the basis of dietary vitamin C intakes, the response to supplementation and alterations in plasma, serum, and leukocyte ascorbic acid concentration following both acute exercise and regular training. The possible physiological significance of changes in ascorbic acid with exercise is also addressed. Exercise generally causes a transient increase in circulating ascorbic acid in the hours following exercise, but a decline below pre-exercise levels occurs in the days after prolonged exercise. These changes could be associated with increased exercise-induced oxidative stress. On the basis of alterations in the concentration of ascorbic acid within the blood, it remains unclear if regular exercise increases the metabolism of vitamin C. However, the similar dietary intakes and responses to supplementation between athletes and nonathletes suggest that regular exercise does not increase the requirement for vitamin C in athletes. Two novel hypotheses are put forward to explain recent findings of attenuated levels of cortisol postexercise following supplementation with high doses of vitamin C.

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Wade L. Knez and Jonathan M. Peake

Ultraendurance exercise training places large energy demands on athletes and causes a high turnover of vitamins through sweat losses, metabolism, and the musculoskeletal repair process. Ultraendurance athletes may not consume sufficient quantities or quality of food in their diet to meet these needs. Consequently, they may use oral vitamin and mineral supplements to maintain their health and performance. We assessed the vitamin and mineral intake of ultraendurance athletes in their regular diet, in addition to oral vitamin and mineral supplements. Thirty-seven ultraendurance triathletes (24 men and 13 women) completed a 7-day nutrition diary including a questionnaire to determine nutrition adequacy and supplement intake. Compared with dietary reference intakes for the general population, both male and female triathletes met or exceeded all except for vitamin D. In addition, female athletes consumed slightly less than the recommended daily intake for folate and potassium; however, the difference was trivial. Over 60% of the athletes reported using vitamin supplements, of which vitamin C (97.5%), vitamin E (78.3%), and multivitamins (52.2%) were the most commonly used supplements. Almost half (47.8%) the athletes who used supplements did so to prevent or reduce cold symptoms. Only 1 athlete used supplements on formal medical advice. Vitamin C and E supplementation was common in ultraendurance triathletes, despite no evidence of dietary deficiency in these 2 vitamins.

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Patrick G. Campbell, Jonathan M. Peake and Geoffrey M. Minett

Purpose: Investigations into the specificity of rugby union training practices in preparation for competitive demands have predominantly focused on physical and physiological demands. The evaluation of the contextual variance in perceptual strain or skill requirements between training and matches in rugby union is unclear, yet holistic understanding may assist to optimize training design. This study evaluated the specificity of physical, physiological, perceptual, and skill demands of training sessions compared with competitive match play in preprofessional, elite club rugby union. Methods: Global positioning system devices, video capture, heart rate, and session ratings of perceived exertion were used to assess movement patterns, skill completions, physiologic, and perceptual responses, respectively. Data were collected across a season (training sessions n = 29; matches n = 14). Participants (n = 32) were grouped in playing positions as: outside backs, centers, halves, loose forwards, lock forwards, and front row forwards. Results: Greater total distance, low-intensity activity, maximal speed, and meters per minute were apparent in matches compared with training in all positions (P < .02; d > 0.90). Similarly, match heart rate and session ratings of perceived exertion responses were higher than those recorded in training (P < .05; d > 0.8). Key skill completions for forwards (ie, scrums, rucks, and lineouts) and backs (ie, kicks) were greater under match conditions than in training (P < .001; d > 1.50). Conclusion: Considerable disparities exist between the perceptual, physiological, and key skill demands of competitive matches versus training sessions in preprofessional rugby union players. Practitioners should consider the specificity of training tasks for preprofessional rugby players to ensure the best preparation for match demands.

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Shona L Halson, Jonathan M. Peake and John P. Sullivan

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Vandre C. Figueiredo, Michelle M. Farnfield, Megan L.R. Ross, Petra Gran, Shona L. Halson, Jonathan M. Peake, David Cameron-Smith and James F. Markworth

Purpose: To determine the acute effects of carbohydrate (CHO) ingestion following a bout of maximal eccentric resistance exercise on key anabolic kinases of mammalian target of rapamycin and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathways. The authors’ hypothesis was that the activation of anabolic signaling pathways known to be upregulated by resistance exercise would be further stimulated by the physiological hyperinsulinemia resulting from CHO supplementation. Methods: Ten resistance-trained men were randomized in a crossover, double-blind, placebo (PLA)-controlled manner to ingest either a noncaloric PLA or 3 g/kg of CHO beverage throughout recovery from resistance exercise. Muscle biopsies were collected at rest, immediately after a single bout of intense lower body resistance exercise, and after 3 hr of recovery. Results: CHO ingestion elevated plasma glucose and insulin concentrations throughout recovery compared with PLA ingestion. The ERK pathway (phosphorylation of ERK1/2 [Thr202/Tyr204], RSK [Ser380], and p70S6K [Thr421/Ser424]) was markedly activated immediately after resistance exercise, without any effect of CHO supplementation. The phosphorylation state of AKT (Thr308) was unchanged postexercise in the PLA trial and increased at 3 hr of recovery above resting with ingestion of CHO compared with PLA. Despite stimulating-marked phosphorylation of AKT, CHO ingestion did not enhance resistance exercise–induced phosphorylation of p70S6K (Thr389) and rpS6 (Ser235/236 and Ser240/244). Conclusion: CHO supplementation after resistance exercise and hyperinsulinemia does not influence the ERK pathway nor the mTORC1 target p70S6K and its downstream proteins, despite the increased AKT phosphorylation.