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Ana Anton-Solanas, Barry V. O’Neill, Tessa E. Morris and Joe Dunbar

Purpose:

To assess changes in body composition and monitor cognitive function, subjective well-being, and physiological stress, as measured by salivary hormones and markers of mucosal immunity, during an Antarctic expedition.

Methods:

A 36-y-old man (188.2 cm height, 94.5 kg body mass) took part in a world-record attempt. A total-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan and measurement of 8 skinfolds and 5 girths were performed before and after the expedition. In addition, daily subjective data were recorded (sleep quality, total hours of sleep, energy levels, perceived exertion, mood, muscle soreness, and muscle/joint pain) along with distance covered and hours of physical activity per day. As a measure of cognitive function, the athlete completed a computerized battery of tasks (Axon Sports Cognitive Priming Application) every third morning. Saliva samples were collected before, during, and after the expedition to determine salivary cortisol (sCort), testosterone (sT), alpha amylase (sAA), and secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA).

Results:

The athlete lost 5.3 kg body mass and sum of 8 skinfolds decreased from 73 mm to 59 mm from preexpedition to postexpedition. Psychomotor speed declined over the course of the expedition. sT increased and sCort decreased throughout, and sAA and sIgA peaked toward the end of the expedition.

Conclusions:

This case study provides novel data about the physiological and cognitive impact of an Antarctic expedition. The findings may inform strategies for future expeditions, allowing individuals undertaking expeditions of this nature to better prepare for success.

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Ann L. Gibson, Jenevieve L. Roper and Christine M. Mermier

Air displacement plethysmography (ADP) is a popular method for estimating body density (Db). Most ADP tests are performed once, with test-retest investigations scarce. Therefore, we investigated test-retest reliability of ADP. Active men (n = 25) and women (n = 25) volunteered and followed standard pretest guidelines. Participants wore dry, form-fitting swimwear and manufacturer-supplied swim caps. In a single session, two ADP trials with measured thoracic gas volume (TGV) were performed without repositioning participants. Separate 2 (sex) × 2 (ADP trial) repeated-measures ANOVAs were performed to investigate within-between comparisons of Db, TGV, body volume (Vb), and relative fatness (%BF). Paired t tests were used to investigate significant differences as appropriate. The Bland and Altman technique was used to depict individual intertrial variations. For all analyses, α =.05. A significant main effect for sex was found; men were lower in %BF and higher in all other variables compared with women. Individual variability was notable (ADP1–ADP2). The range of individual intertrial differences were larger for women than men, respectively, for Db (-0.0096–0.0045 g/cc; -0.0019–0.0054 g/cc), TGV (-0.623–1.325 L; -0.584–0.378 L), Vb (-0.249–2.10 L; -0.234–0.397 L), and %BF (-2.1–4.4%; -0.2–0.9%). When assessing body composition of women via ADP or using Db from ADP in a multicomponent model, at least two trials with measured TGV should be performed and the average of the values recorded and reported.

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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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Ann L. Gibson, Vivian H. Heyward, Christine M. Mermier, Jeffrey M. Janot and M. Virginia Wilmerding

The authors used 3-component (3C) Db-mineral-model (Lohman, 1986) reference measures to cross-validate Siri’s (1961) 2-component (2C) conversion formula and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) estimates of relative body fat (%BF) for physically active adults. Participants varied in age (18 to 59 y), body fatness, ethnicity (black, Hispanic, white), and physical activity level. The 3C Db-mineral model was used to obtain reference measures of %BF (%BF3C) for comparison with body-composition measures from DXA and hydrodensitometry. For men (n = 110) and women (n = 110), %BF3C (14.0% BF and 24.4% BF, respectively) was more accurately estimated by Siri’s 2C formula (%BFSiri; men, r = 0.97, SEE = 1.77% BF; women, r = 0.98, SEE = 1.56% BF) than by DXA (%BFDXA; men, r = 0.86, SEE = 3.54% BF; women, r = 0.88, SEE = 3.73% BF). The average %BFSiri (men, 15.8% BF; women, 24.7% BF) and %BFDXA (men, 16.2% BF; women, 26.0% BF) differed significantly (P < 0.001) from %BF3C. Siri’s 2C model estimated the average %BF3C in this sample more accurately than DXA did.

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Bruce W. Bailey, Pamela Borup, James D. LeCheminant, Larry A. Tucker and Jacob Bromley

Background:

The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between intensity of physical activity (PA) and body composition in 343 young women.

Methods:

Physical activity was objectively measured using accelerometers worn for 7 days in women 17 to 25 years. Body composition was assessed using the BOD POD.

Results:

Young women who spent less than 30 minutes a week performing vigorous PA had significantly higher body fat percentages than women who performed more than 30 minutes of vigorous PA per week (F = 4.54, P = .0113). Young women who spent less than 30 minutes per day in moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) had significantly higher body fat percentages than those who obtained more than 30 minutes per day of MVPA (F = 7.47, P = .0066). Accumulating more than 90 minutes of MVPA per day was associated with the lowest percent body fat. For every 10 minutes spent in MVPA per day, the odds of having a body fat percentage above 32% decreased by 29% (P = .0002).

Conclusion:

Vigorous PA and MVPA are associated with lower adiposity. Young women should be encouraged to accumulate at least 30 minutes of MVPA per day, however getting more than 90 minutes a day is predictive of even lower levels of adiposity.

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Kelly Samara Silva, Daniel Giordani Vasques, Caroline de Oliveira Martins, Laura Ashley Williams and Adair S. Lopes

Background:

Research has demonstrated that adolescents who actively commute have higher levels of physical activity (PA), which have declined precipitously over the past 30 years. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of active commuting to school; and to identify barriers associated with active commuting.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted with 1672 students (46.8% boys and 53.2% girls) from 11 to 17 years of age in Caxias do Sul/RS, Brazil. The students were asked to answer questionnaires about active transport, PA, and sedentary behaviors. They also completed a cardiovascular fitness test and body composition measurements. The study used a multivariate Poisson regression analysis.

Results:

A total of 62.5% of students were observed to actively commute and the prevalence ratio (PR) of not actively commuting was associated with the type of school (Private: 2.41; 1.47, 3.95) and the time spent on commuting (>20 min: 1.93; 1.23, 3.03). The associated barriers to passive commuting were distance (3.02; 1.95, 4.71), crime/ danger (2.65; 1.82, 3.85), and traffic (1.75; 1.19, 2.58).

Conclusions:

This study showed that environmental variables were strongly associated with active commuting. However, no alterations in body composition or other behavioral variables were observed after adjustment.

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Johann C. Bilsborough, Kate Greenway, Steuart Livingston, Justin Cordy and Aaron J. Coutts

The purpose of this study was to examine the seasonal changes in body composition, nutrition, and upper-body (UB) strength in professional Australian Football (AF) players. The prospective longitudinal study examined changes in anthropometry (body mass, fat-free soft-tissue mass [FFSTM], and fat mass) via dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry 5 times during an AF season (start preseason, midpreseason, start season, midseason, end season) in 45 professional AF players. Dietary intakes and strength (bench press and bench pull) were also assessed at these time points. Players were categorized as experienced (>4 y experience, n = 23) or inexperienced (<4 y experience, n = 22). Fat mass decreased during the preseason but was stable through the in-season for both groups. %FFSTM was increased during the preseason and remained constant thereafter. UB strength increased during the preseason and was maintained during the in-season. Changes in UB FFSTM were related to changes in UB-strength performance (r = .37−.40). Total energy and carbohydrate intakes were similar between the experienced and inexperienced players during the season, but there was a greater ratio of dietary fat intake at the start-preseason point and an increased alcohol, reduced protein, and increased total energy intake at the end of the season. The inexperienced players consumed more fat at the start of season and less total protein during the season than the experienced players. Coaches should also be aware that it can take >1 y to develop the appropriate levels of FFSTM in young players and take a long-term view when developing the physical and performance abilities of inexperienced players.

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Regina M. Lewis, Maja Redzic and D. Travis Thomas

The purpose of this 6-month randomized, placebo-controlled trial was to determine the effect of season-long (September–March) vitamin D supplementation on changes in vitamin D status, which is measured as 25(OH) D, body composition, inflammation, and frequency of illness and injury. Forty-five male and female athletes were randomized to 4,000 IU vitamin D (n = 23) or placebo (n = 22). Bone turnover markers (NTx and BSAP), 25(OH)D, and inflammatory cytokines (TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL1-β) were measured at baseline, midpoint, and endpoint. Body composition was assessed by DXA and injury and illness data were collected. All athletes had sufficient 25(OH)D (> 32 ng/ml) at baseline (mean: 57 ng/ml). At midpoint and endpoint, 13% and 16% of the total sample had 25(OH)D < 32 ng/ml, respectively. 25(OH)D was not positively correlated with bone mineral density (BMD) in the total body, proximal dual femur, or lumbar spine. In men, total body (p = .04) and trunk (p = .04) mineral-free lean mass (MFL) were positively correlated with 25(OH)D. In women, right femoral neck BMD (p = .02) was positively correlated with 25(OH)D. 25(OH)D did not correlate with changes in bone turnover markers or inflammatory cytokines. Illness (n = 1) and injury (n = 13) were not related to 25(OH)D; however, 77% of injuries coincided with decreases in 25(OH)D. Our data suggests that 4,000 IU vitamin D supplementation is an inexpensive intervention that effectively increased 25(OH)D, which was positively correlated to bone measures in the proximal dual femur and MFL. Future studies with larger sample sizes and improved supplement compliance are needed to expand our understanding of the effects of vitamin D supplementation in athletes.

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Alisa Nana, Gary J. Slater, Will G. Hopkins, Shona L. Halson, David T. Martin, Nicholas P. West and Louise M. Burke

Purpose:

The implications of undertaking DXA scans using best practice protocols (subjects fasted and rested) or a less precise but more practical protocol in assessing chronic changes in body composition following training and a specialized recovery technique were investigated.

Methods:

Twenty-one male cyclists completed an overload training program, in which they were randomized to four sessions per week of either cold water immersion therapy or control groups. Whole-body DXA scans were undertaken with best practice protocol (Best) or random activity protocol (Random) at baseline, after 3 weeks of overload training, and after a 2-week taper. Magnitudes of changes in total, lean and fat mass from baseline-overload, overload-taper and baseline-taper were assessed by standardization (Δmean/SD).

Results:

The standard deviations of change scores for total and fat-free soft tissue mass (FFST) from Random scans (2–3%) were approximately double those observed in the Best (1–2%), owing to extra random errors associated with Random scans at baseline. There was little difference in change scores for fat mass. The effect of cold water immersion therapy on baseline-taper changes in FFST was possibly harmful (-0.7%; 90% confidence limits ±1.2%) with Best scans but unclear with Random scans (0.9%; ±2.0%). Both protocols gave similar possibly harmful effects of cold water immersion therapy on changes in fat mass (6.9%; ±13.5% and 5.5%; ±14.3%, respectively).

Conclusions:

An interesting effect of cold water immersion therapy on training-induced changes in body composition might have been missed with a less precise scanning protocol. DXA scans should be undertaken with Best.

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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.