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Training for Performance: Insights From Molecular Biology

Vernon G. Coffey and John A. Hawley

In this commentary the authors discuss the molecular basis of the training adaptation and review the role of several key signaling proteins important in the adaptation to endurance and resistance training.

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Effect of Individual Environmental Heat-Stress Variables on Training and Recovery in Professional Team Sport

Fergus K. O’Connor, Steven E. Stern, Thomas M. Doering, Geoffrey M. Minett, Peter R. Reaburn, Jonathan D. Bartlett, and Vernon G. Coffey

Context: Exercise in hot environments increases body temperature and thermoregulatory strain. However, little is known regarding the magnitude of effect that ambient temperature (Ta ), relative humidity (RH), and solar radiation individually have on team-sport athletes. Purpose : To determine the effect of these individual heat-stress variables on team-sport training performance and recovery. Methods: Professional Australian Rules Football players (N = 45) undertook 8-wk preseason training producing a total of 579 outdoor field-based observations with Ta , RH, and solar radiation recorded at every training session. External load (distance covered, in m/min; percentage high-speed running [%HSR] >14.4 km/h) was collected via a global positioning system. Internal load (ratings of perceived exertion and heart rate) and recovery (subjective ratings of well-being and heart-rate variability [root mean square of the successive differences]) were monitored throughout the training period. Mixed-effects linear models analyzed relationships between variables using standardized regression coefficients. Results: Increased solar-radiation exposure was associated with reduced distance covered (−19.7 m/min, P < .001), %HSR (−10%, P < .001) during training and rMSSD 48 h posttraining (−16.9 ms, P = .019). Greater RH was associated with decreased %HSR (−3.4%, P = .010) but increased percentage duration >85% HRmax (3.9%, P < .001), ratings of perceived exertion (1.8 AU, P < .001), and self-reported stress 24 h posttraining (−0.11 AU, P = .002). In contrast, higher Ta was associated with increased distance covered (19.7 m/min, P < .001) and %HSR (3.5%, P = .005). Conclusions: The authors show the importance of considering the individual factors contributing to thermal load in isolation for team-sport athletes and that solar radiation and RH reduce work capacity during team-sport training and have the potential to slow recovery between sessions.

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The Use of Continuous Glucose Monitors in Sport: Possible Applications and Considerations

Amy-Lee M. Bowler, Jamie Whitfield, Lachlan Marshall, Vernon G. Coffey, Louise M. Burke, and Gregory R. Cox

This review discusses the potential value of tracking interstitial glucose with continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) in athletes, highlighting possible applications and important considerations in the collection and interpretation of interstitial glucose data. CGMs are sensors that provide real time, longitudinal tracking of interstitial glucose with a range of commercial monitors currently available. Recent advancements in CGM technology have led to the development of athlete-specific devices targeting glucose monitoring in sport. Although largely untested, the capacity of CGMs to capture the duration, magnitude, and frequency of interstitial glucose fluctuations every 1–15 min may present a unique opportunity to monitor fueling adequacy around competitive events and training sessions, with applications for applied research and sports nutrition practice. Indeed, manufacturers of athlete-specific devices market these products as a “fueling gauge,” enabling athletes to “push their limits longer and get bigger gains.” However, as glucose homeostasis is a complex phenomenon, extensive research is required to ascertain whether systemic glucose availability (estimated by CGM-derived interstitial glucose) has any meaning in relation to the intended purposes in sport. Whether CGMs will provide reliable and accurate information and enhance sports nutrition knowledge and practice is currently untested. Caveats around the use of CGMs include technical issues (dislodging of sensors during periods of surveillance, loss of data due to synchronization issues), practical issues (potential bans on their use in some sporting scenarios, expense), and challenges to the underpinning principles of data interpretation, which highlight the role of sports nutrition professionals to provide context and interpretation.

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Effect of Acetaminophen on Endurance Cycling Performance in Trained Triathletes in Hot and Humid Conditions

Gyan A. Wijekulasuriya, Vernon G. Coffey, Luke Badham, Fergus O’Connor, Avish P. Sharma, and Gregory R. Cox

Purpose: The effect of acetaminophen (ACT, also known as paracetamol) on endurance performance in hot and humid conditions has been shown previously in recreationally active populations. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of ACT on physiological and perceptual variables during steady-state and time-trial cycling performance of trained triathletes in hot and humid conditions. Methods: In a randomized, double-blind crossover design, 11 triathletes completed ∼60 minutes steady-state cycling at 63% peak power output followed by a time trial (7 kJ·kg body mass−1, ∼30 min) in hot and humid conditions (∼30°C, ∼69% relative humidity) 60 minutes after consuming either 20 mg·kg body mass−1 ACT or a color-matched placebo. Time-trial completion time, gastrointestinal temperature, skin temperature, thermal sensation, thermal comfort, rating of perceived exertion, and fluid balance were recorded throughout each session. Results: There was no difference in performance in the ACT trial compared with placebo (P = .086, d = 0.57), nor were there differences in gastrointestinal and skin temperature, thermal sensation and comfort, or fluid balance between trials. Conclusion: In conclusion, there was no effect of ACT (20 mg·kg body mass−1) ingestion on physiology, perception, and performance of trained triathletes in hot and humid conditions, and existing precooling and percooling strategies appear to be more appropriate for endurance cycling performance in the heat.