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George Wilson, Neil Chester, Martin Eubank, Ben Crighton, Barry Drust, James P. Morton and Graeme L. Close

Professional jockeys are unique among weight-making athletes, as they are often required to make weight daily and, in many cases, all year-round. Common methods employed by jockeys include dehydration, severe calorie restriction, and sporadic eating, all of which have adverse health effects. In contrast, this article outlines a structured diet and exercise plan, employed by a 22-yr-old professional National Hunt jockey in an attempt to reduce weight from 70.3 to 62.6 kg, that does not rely on any of the aforementioned techniques. Before the intervention, the client’s typical daily energy intake was 8.2 MJ (42% carbohydrate [CHO], 36% fat, 22% protein) consumed in 2 meals only. During the 9-wk intervention, daily energy intake was approximately equivalent to resting metabolic rate, which the athlete consumed as 6 meals per day (7.6 MJ, 46% CHO, 19% fat, 36% protein). This change in frequency and composition of energy intake combined with structured exercise resulted in a total body-mass loss of 8 kg, corresponding to reductions in body fat from 14.5% to 9%. No form of intentional dehydration occurred throughout this period, and mean urine osmolality was 285 mOsm/kg (SD 115 mOsm/kg). In addition, positive changes in mood scores (BRUMS scale) also occurred. The client was now able to ride light for the first time in his career without dehydrating, thereby challenging the cultural practices inherent in the sport.

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Hamish A.B. Reid, Nicholas C. Dennison, Jonathan Quayle and Tom Preston

Meeting the energy demands of prolonged arduous expeditions and endurance sport may be a significant barrier to success. Expedition rowing is associated with high levels of body-mass loss, reflecting the challenge of meeting energy expenditure in this exacting environment.

Purpose:

To use the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique to calculate the total energy expenditure (TEE) and body-composition changes of two 28-y-old healthy male athletes during a 50-d continuous and unsupported row around Great Britain.

Methods:

A measured dose of DLW was taken at the start of 2 separate study periods (days 5–19 and 34–48) followed by sequential urine collection, which was analyzed on return to land.

Results:

Mean TEE was 15.3 MJ/d: athlete 1, 16.4 MJ/d; athlete 2, 14.9 MJ/d. Athlete 1 lost 11.2 kg and athlete 2 lost 14.9 kg of body mass during the row. Average energy provision was 19.1 MJ per 24-h ration pack.

Conclusions:

These results highlight the difficulty of maintaining energy balance during expedition rowing. A starvation state was observed despite dietary provision in excess of estimated energy expenditure, indicating that nutritional strategy rather than caloric availability was at fault. The authors recommend that future expeditions prioritize thorough testing and the individualization of rations to ensure that they are both palatable and practical during the weeks to months at sea.

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Matthew T. Wittbrodt, Mindy Millard-Stafford, Ross A. Sherman and Christopher C. Cheatham

Purpose:

The impact of mild hypohydration on physiological responses and cognitive performance following exercise-heat stress (EHS) were examined compared with conditions when fluids were ingested ad libitum (AL) or replaced to match sweat losses (FR).

Methods:

Twelve unacclimatized, recreationally-active men (22.2 ± 2.4 y) completed 50 min cycling (60%VO2peak) in the heat (32°C; 65% RH) under three conditions: no fluid (NF), AL, and FR. Before and after EHS, a cognitive battery was completed: Trail making, perceptual vigilance, pattern comparison, match-to-sample, and letter-digit recognition tests.

Results:

Hypohydration during NF was greater compared with AL and FR (NF: -1.5 ± 0.6; AL: -0.3 ± 0.8; FR: -0.1 ± 0.3% body mass loss) resulting in higher core temperature (by 0.4, 0.5 °C), heart rate (by 13 and 15 b·min-1), and physiological strain (by 1.3, 1.5) at the end of EHS compared with AL and FR, respectively. Cognitive performance (response time and accuracy) was not altered by fluid condition; however, mean response time improved (p < .05) for letter-digit recognition (by 56.7 ± 85.8 ms or 3.8%; p < .05) and pattern comparison (by 80.6 ± 57.4 ms or 7.1%; p < .001), but mean accuracy decreased in trail making (by 1.2 ± 1.4%; p = .01) after EHS (across all conditions).

Conclusions:

For recreational athletes, fluid intake effectively mitigated physiological strain induced by mild hypohydration; however, mild hypohydration resulting from EHS elicited no adverse changes in cognitive performance.

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Ronald J. Maughan, Stuart J. Merson, Nick P. Broad and Susan M. Shirreffs

This study measured fluid balance during a 90-min preseason training session in the first team squad (24 players) of an English Premier League football team. Sweat loss was assessed from changes in body mass after correction for ingested fluids and urine passed. Sweat composition was measured by collection from patches attached to the skin at 4 sites. The weather was warm (24-29 °C), with moderate humidity (46–64%). The mean ± SD body mass loss over the training session was 1.10 ± 0.43 kg, equivalent to a level of dehydration of 1.37 ± 0.54% of the pre-training body mass. Mean fluid intake was 971 ± 303 ml. Estimated total mean sweat loss was 2033 ±413 ml. Mean sweat electrolyte concentrations (mmol/L) were: sodium,49± 12; potassium,6.0± 1.3;chloride, 43 ± 10. Total sweat sodium loss of 99 ± 24 mmol corresponds to a salt (sodium chloride) loss of 5.8 ± 1.4 g. Mean urine osmolality measured on pre-training samples provided by the players was 666 ±311 mosmol/kg (n=21). These data indicate that sweat losses of water and solute in football players in training can be substantial but vary greatly between players even with the same exercise and environmental conditions. Voluntary fluid intake also shows wide inter-individual variability and is generally insufficient to match fluid losses.

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Susan M. Shirreffs, Luis F. Aragon-Vargas, Mhairi Keil, Thomas D. Love and Sian Phillips

To determine the effectiveness of 3 commonly used beverages in restoring fluid and electrolyte balance, 8 volunteers dehydrated by 1.94% ± 0.17% of body mass by intermittent exercise in the heat, then ingested a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution (Gatorade), carbonated water/apple-juice mixture (Apfelschorle), and San Benedetto mineral water in a volume equal to 150% body-mass loss. These drinks are all are perceived to be effective rehydration solutions, and their effectiveness was compared with the rehydration effectiveness of Evian mineral water, which is not perceived in this way by athletes. Four hours after rehydration, the subjects were in a significantly lower hydration status than the pretrial situation on trials with Apfelschorle (–365 ± 319 mL, P = 0.030), Evian (–529 ± 319 mL, P < 0.0005), and San Benedetto (–401 ± 353 mL, P = 0.016) but were in the same hydration status as before the dehydrating exercise on Gatorade (–201 ± 388 mL, P = 0.549). Sodium balance was negative on all trials throughout the study; only with Apfelschorle did subjects remain in positive potassium balance. In this scenario, recovery of fluid balance can only be achieved when significant, albeit insufficient, quantities of sodium are ingested after exercise. There is a limited range of commercially available products that have a composition sufficient to achieve this, even though the public thinks that some of the traditional drinks are effective for this purpose.

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Ben Desbrow, Daniel Murray and Michael Leveritt

Purpose:

To investigate the effect of manipulating the alcohol and sodium content of beer on fluid restoration following exercise.

Method:

Seven male volunteers exercised on a cycle ergometer until 1.96 ± 0.25% body mass (mean± SD) was lost. Participants were then randomly allocated a different beer to consume on four separate occasions. Drinks included a low-alcohol beer (2.3% ABV; LightBeer), a low-alcohol beer with 25 mmol×L−1 of added sodium (LightBeer+25), a full-strength beer (4.8% ABV; Beer), or a full-strength beer with 25 mmol×L−1 of added sodium (Beer+25). Volumes consumed were equivalent to 150% of body mass loss during exercise and were consumed over a 1h period. Body mass and urine samples were obtained before and hourly for 4 hr after beverage consumption.

Results:

Significantly enhanced net fluid balance was achieved following the LightBeer+25 trial (–1.02 ± 0.35 kg) compared with the Beer (–1.59 ± 0.32 kg) and Beer+25 (–1.64 ± 0.28 kg) treatments. Accumulated urine output was significantly lower in the LightBeer+25 trial (1477 ± 485 ml) compared with the Beer+25 (2101 ± 482 ml) and Beer (2175 ± 372 ml) trials.

Conclusion:

A low alcohol beer with added sodium offers a potential compromise between a beverage with high social acceptance and one which avoids the exacerbated fluid losses observed when consuming full strength beer.

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Gethin H. Evans, Jennifer Miller, Sophie Whiteley and Lewis J. James

The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of water and a 50 mmol/L NaCl solution on postexercise rehydration when a standard meal was consumed during rehydration. Eight healthy participants took part in two experimental trials during which they lost 1.5 ± 0.4% of initial body mass via intermittent exercise in the heat. Participants then rehydrated over a 60-min period with water or a 50 mmol/L NaCl solution in a volume equivalent to 150% of their body mass loss during exercise. In addition, a standard meal was ingested during this time which was equivalent to 30% of participants predicted daily energy expenditure. Urine samples were collected before and after exercise and for 3 hr after rehydration. Cumulative urine volume (981 ± 458 ml and 577 ± 345 mL; p = .035) was greater, while percentage fluid retained (50 ± 20% and 70 ± 21%; p = .017) was lower during the water compared with the NaCl trial respectively. A high degree of variability in results was observed with one participant producing 28% more urine and others ranging from 18–83% reduction in urine output during the NaCl trial. The results of this study suggest that after exercise induced dehydration, the ingestion of a 50 mmol/L NaCl solution leads to greater fluid retention compared with water, even when a meal is consumed postexercise. Furthermore, ingestion of plain water may be effective for maintenance of fluid balance when food is consumed in the rehydration period.

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Lewis J. James and Susan M. Shirreffs

Weight categorized athletes use a variety of techniques to induce rapid weight loss (RWL) in the days leading up to weigh in. This study examined the fluid and electrolyte balance responses to 24-hr fluid restriction (FR), energy restriction (ER) and fluid and energy restriction (F+ER) compared with a control trial (C), which are commonly used techniques to induce RWL in weight category sports. Twelve subjects (six male, six female) received adequate energy and water (C) intake, adequate energy and restricted water (~10% of C; FR) intake, restricted energy (~25% of C) and adequate water (ER) intake or restricted energy (~25% of C) and restricted (~10% of C) water intake (F+ER) in a randomized counterbalanced order. Subjects visited the laboratory at 0 hr, 12 hr, and 24 hr for blood and urine sample collection. Total body mass loss was 0.33% (C), 1.88% (FR), 1.97% (ER), and 2.44% (F+ER). Plasma volume was reduced at 24 hr during FR, ER, and F+ER, while serum osmolality was increased at 24 hr for FR and F+ER and was greater at 24 hr for FR compared with all other trials. Negative balances of sodium, potassium, and chloride developed during ER and F+ER but not during C and FR. These results demonstrate that 24 hr fluid and/or energy restriction significantly reduces body mass and plasma volume, but has a disparate effect on serum osmolality, resulting in hypertonic hypohydration during FR and isotonic hypohydration during ER. These findings might be explained by the difference in electrolyte balance between the trials.

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James P. Morton, Colin Robertson, Laura Sutton and Don P. M

Professional boxing is a combat sport categorized into a series of weight classes. Given the sport’s underpinning culture, boxers’ typical approach to “making weight” is usually via severe acute and/or chronic energy restriction and dehydration. Such practices have implications for physical performance and also carry health risks. This article provides a case-study account outlining a more structured and gradual approach to helping a professional male boxer make weight for the 59-kg superfeatherweight division. Over a 12-week period, the client athlete adhered to a daily diet approximately equivalent to his resting metabolic rate (6–7 MJ; 40% carbohydrate, 38% protein, 22% fat). Average body-mass loss was 0.9 ± 0.4 kg/wk, equating to a total loss of 9.4 kg. This weight loss resulted in a decrease in percent body fat from 12.1% to 7.0%. In the 30 hr between weigh-in and competition, the client consumed a high-carbohydrate diet (12 g/kg body mass) supported by appropriate hydration strategies and subsequently entered the ring at a fighting weight of 63.2 kg. This nutritional strategy represented a major change in the client’s habitual weight-making practices and did not rely on any form of intended dehydration during the training period or before weighing in. The intervention demonstrates that a more gradual approach to making weight in professional boxing can be successfully achieved via a combination of restricted energy intake and increased energy expenditure, providing there is willingness on the part of the athlete and coaches involved to adopt novel practices.

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Ben Desbrow, Danielle Cecchin, Ashleigh Jones, Gary Grant, Chris Irwin and Michael Leveritt

The addition of 25 mmol·L−1 sodium to low alcohol (2.3% ABV) beer has been shown to enhance post exercise fluid retention compared with full strength (4.8% ABV) beer with and without electrolyte modification. This investigation explored the effect of further manipulations to the alcohol and sodium content of beer on fluid restoration following exercise. Twelve male volunteers lost 2.03 ± 0.19% body mass (mean ± SD) using cycling-based exercise. Participants were then randomly allocated a different beer to consume on four separate occasions. Drinks included low alcohol beer with 25 mmol·L−1 of added sodium [LightBeer+25], low alcohol beer with 50 mmol·L−1 of added sodium [LightBeer+50], midstrength beer (3.5% ABV) [Mid] or midstrength beer with 25 mmolL−1 of added sodium [Mid+25]. Total drink volumes in each trial were equivalent to 150% of body mass loss during exercise, consumed over a 1h period. Body mass, urine samples and regulatory hormones were obtained before and 4 hr after beverage consumption. Total urine output was significantly lower in the LightBeer+50 trial (1450 ± 183 ml) compared with the LightBeer+25 (1796 ± 284 ml), Mid+25 (1786 ± 373 ml) and Mid (1986 ± 304 ml) trials (allp < .05). This resulted in significantly higher net body mass following the LightBeer+50 trial (-0.97 ± 0.17kg) compared with all other beverages (LightBeer+25 (-1.30 ± 0.24 kg), Mid+25 (-1.38 ± 0.33 kg) and Mid (-1.58 ± 0.29 kg), all p < .05). No significant changes to aldosterone or vasopressin were associated with different drink treatments. The electrolyte concentration of low alcohol beer appears to have more significant impact on post exercise fluid retention than small changes in alcohol content.