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Christian Cook, C. Martyn Beaven, Liam P. Kilduff and Scott Drawer

Introduction:

This study aimed to determine whether caffeine ingestion would increase the workload voluntarily chosen by athletes in a limited-sleep state.

Methods:

In a double-blind, crossover study, 16 professional rugby players ingested either a placebo or 4 mg/kg caffeine 1 hr before exercise. Athletes classified themselves into nondeprived (8 hr+) or sleep-deprived states (6 hr or less). Exercise comprised 4 sets of bench press, squats, and bent rows at 85% 1-repetition maximum. Athletes were asked to perform as many repetitions on each set as possible without failure. Saliva was collected before administration of placebo or caffeine and again before and immediately after exercise and assayed for testosterone and cortisol.

Results:

Sleep deprivation produced a very large decrease in total load (p = 1.98 × 10−7). Caffeine ingestion in the nondeprived state resulted in a moderate increase in total load, with a larger effect in the sleep-deprived state, resulting in total load similar to those observed in the nondeprived placebo condition. Eight of the 16 athletes were identified as caffeine responders. Baseline testosterone was higher (p < .05) and cortisol trended lower in non-sleep-deprived athletes. Changes in hormones from predose to preexercise correlated to individual workload responses to caffeine. Testosterone response to exercise increased with caffeine compared with placebo, as did cortisol response.

Conclusions:

Caffeine increased voluntary workload in professional athletes, even more so under conditions of self-reported limited sleep. Caffeine may prove worthwhile when athletes are tired, especially in those identified as responders.

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Simon Fryer, Tabitha Dickson, Stephen Hillier, Lee Stoner, Carl Scarrott and Nick Draper

Venipuncture is expensive, invasive, and impractical for many sport-science and clinical-based settings. Salivary free cortisol is often cited as a noninvasive practical alternative. However, when cortisol concentrations exceed the corticosteroid-binding globulin (CBG) point of 500 nmol/L, a lack of agreement between salivary and venous blood cortisol has been found. Alternatively, capillary blood may present a minimally invasive, cost-effective, and practical surrogate for determining cortisol concentration.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to determine whether cortisol concentrations sampled from capillary blood and saliva accurately reflect those found in venous blood across a large range of concentrations after intense exercise.

Methods:

Eleven healthy aerobically trained male subjects were recruited. Capillary, salivary, and venous blood samples were collected before and after (immediately and 5, 10, 15, and 20 min after) a treadmill VO2 max test.

Results:

Capillary and venous concentrations increased at a similar rate after exercise (Cohen d.14–.33), increasing up to 15 min postexercise before a decline was seen. Salivary cortisol values increased at a slower rate than venous and capillary cortisol but continued to increase 15 min postexercise (Cohen d .19–.47 and .09–.72, respectively).

Conclusions:

Capillary cortisol accurately reflects concentrations assayed from venous blood across a range of values below and above the CBG binding point. Capillary sampling provides a minimally invasive, cost-effective, practical surrogate for assessment of hypothalamic-pituitary-gland function.

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Edith Filaire, Alain Massart, Jiewen Hua and Christine Le Scanff

Purpose:

The aims of study were to examine the eating behaviors among 26 professional female tennis players and to assess the diurnal patterns of stress hormones through the measurement of awakening and diurnal profiles of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA) and cortisol concentrations.

Methods:

Eating behaviors were assessed through three questionnaires (Eating Attitudes Test-26; Eating Disorders Inventory 2; and Body Shape Questionnaire), food intake by a 7-day diet record, and menstrual status by questionnaire. Perceived stress scale and anxiety state were also evaluated. Saliva samples were collected at awakening, 30 min, 60 min, and 12 hr post awakening after 6-days’ rest.

Results:

Forty-six percent of tennis players presented Disordered Eating attitudes (DE) (n = 12) with a lower body mass index, and higher state anxiety as compared with the group without DE. No differences in the Perceived Stress Scale scores were noted. Mean energy intake, protein and carbohydrates intakes were lower (p > .05) in the DE group as compared with the group without DE. Although in both groups, sAA concentrations presented a decrease in the first 30 min after awakening, and then progressively rose toward the afternoon, DE players exhibited reduced concentrations of the sAA with a decrease in its overall day secretion. Moreover, they showed a higher overall day secretion of salivary cortisol and a higher Cortisol Awakening Response.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is impaired whereas the cortisol awakening response is enhanced. The long-term consequences of these modifications on health remain to be elucidated.

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Brian Cunniffe, Kevin A. Morgan, Julien S. Baker, Marco Cardinale and Bruce Davies

This study evaluated the effect of game venue and starting status on precompetitive psychophysiological measures in elite rugby union. Saliva samples were taken from players (starting XV, n = 15, and nonstarters, n = 9) on a control day and 90 min before 4 games played consecutively at home and away venues against local rivals and league leaders. Precompetition psychological states were assessed using the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory−2. The squad recorded 2 wins (home) and 2 losses (away) over the study period. Calculated effect sizes (ESs) showed higher pregame cortisol- (C) and testosterone- (T) difference values before all games than on a baseline control day (ES 0.7−1.5). Similar findings were observed for cognitive and somatic anxiety. Small between-venues C differences were observed in starting XV players (ES 0.2−0.25). Conversely, lower home T- (ES 0.95) and higher away C- (ES 0.6) difference values were observed in nonstarters. Lower T-difference values were apparent in nonstarters (vs starting XV) before home games, providing evidence of a between-groups effect (ES 0.92). Findings show an anticipatory rise in psychophysiological variables before competition. Knowledge of starting status appears a moderating factor in the magnitude of player endocrine response between home and away games.

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Yoonyoung Hwang, Jonghoon Park and Kiwon Lim

We examined the effects of a Pilates exercise program on the mucosal immune function in older women. The study population comprised 12 older women who were divided into a Pilates group (PG, n = 6) and a control group (CG, n = 6). Saliva samples were obtained from both groups before and after the experimental period for salivary secretory immunoglobulin A level measurement. In addition, acute high-intensity exercises were performed before and after the three-month Pilates exercise program. After three months, salivary flow was significantly higher in the PG than in the CG. After the acute high-intensity exercises were performed following the three-month Pilates exercise program, the salivary flow rate was significantly higher at all time points. The S-IgA secretion rate significantly increased 30 min after acute high-intensity exercise performed following the three-month Pilates exercise program. This study suggests that regular participation in a moderate-intensity Pilates exercise program can increase salivary flow rate and S-IgA secretion in older women.

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Andres E. Carrillo, René J. L. Murphy and Stephen S. Cheung

Purpose:

Prolonged physical exertion and environmental heat stress may elicit postexercise depression of immune cell function, increasing upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) susceptibility. We investigated the effects of acute and short-term vitamin C (VC) compared with placebo (PL) supplementation on URTI susceptibility, salivary immunoglobulin A (s-IgA), and cortisol responses in healthy individuals following prolonged exercise-heat stress.

Methods:

Twelve participants were randomized into the VC or PL group in a double-blind design. For 12 days, participants consumed 3 × 500 mg tablets of VC or PL per day, with testing completed at baseline, then following acute (1 d) and short-term (8 d) supplementation. Participants performed 120.1 ± 49.6 min of cycling at 54 ± 6% VO2max in a hot (34.8 ± 1.0°C and 13 ± 3% relative humidity) environment, with saliva samples collected at pre-, post-, and 72 h postexercise. Health logs specifying URTI symptoms were completed for 7 days postexercise.

Results:

A 2 × 3 × 3 mixed ANOVA with a post hoc Bonferroni correction factor revealed a significant linear trend in postexercise cortisol attenuation in the VC group, 21.7 ± 15.1 nmol/L (mean ± SD) at baseline, to 13.5 ± 10.0 at acute, to 7.6 ± 4.2 after short term (P = .032). No differences were detected in ratio of s-IgA to protein or URTI symptoms between groups.

Conclusions:

These data suggest that vitamin C supplementation can decrease postexercise cortisol in individuals performing exercise similar to that of a half-marathon or marathon in hot conditions. However, no changes in s-IgA and URTI were evident, possibly due to previous moderate training and reduced physical and psychological stress compared with athletes participating in ultramarathons.

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Mark Russell, Aden King, Richard. M. Bracken, Christian. J. Cook, Thibault Giroud and Liam. P. Kilduff

Purpose:

To assess the effects of different modes of morning (AM) exercise on afternoon (PM) performance and salivary hormone responses in professional rugby union players.

Methods:

On 4 occasions (randomized, crossover design), 15 professional rugby players provided AM (~8 AM) and PM (~2 PM) saliva samples before PM assessments of countermovement-jump height, reaction time, and repeated-sprint ability. Control (passive rest), weights (bench press: 5 × 10 repetitions, 75% 1-repetition maximum, 90-s intraset recovery), cycling (6 × 6-s maximal sprint cycling, 7.5% body mass load, 54-s intraset recovery), and running (6 × 40-m maximal sprints, 20-s intraset recovery) interventions preceded (~5 h) PM testing.

Results:

PM sprint performance improved (P < .05) after weights (>0.15 ± 0.19 s, >2.04% ± 2.46%) and running (>0.15 ± 0.17 s, >2.12% ± 2.22%) but not cycling (P > .05). PM jump height increased after cycling (0.012 ± 0.009 m, 2.31% ± 1.76%, P < .001) and running (0.020 ± 0.009 m, 3.90% ± 1.79%, P < .001) but not weights (P = .936). Reaction time remained unchanged between trials (P = .379). Relative to control (131 ± 21 pg/mL), PM testosterone was greater in weights (21 ± 23 pg/mL, 17% ± 18%, P = .002) and running (28 ± 26 pg/mL, 22% ± 20%, P = .001) but not cycling (P = .072). Salivary cortisol was unaffected by AM exercise (P = .540).

Conclusions:

All modes of AM exercise improved at least 1 marker of PM performance, but running appeared the most beneficial to professional rugby union players. A rationale therefore exists for preceding PM competition with AM exercise.

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Stuart J. Cormack, Robert U. Newton, Michael R. McGuigan and Prue Cormie

Purpose:

To examine variations in neuromuscular and hormonal status and their relationship to performance throughout a season of elite Australian Rules Football (ARF).

Methods:

Fifteen elite ARF players performed a single jump (CMJ1) and 5 repeated countermovement jumps (CMJ5), and provided saliva samples for the analysis of cortisol (C) and testosterone (T) before the season commenced (Pre) and during the 22-match season. Magnitudes of effects were reported with the effect size (ES) statistic. Correlations were performed to analyze relationships between assessment variables and match time, training load, and performance.

Results:

CMJ1Flight time:Contraction time was substantially reduced on 60% of measurement occasions. Magnitudes of change compared with Pre ranged from 1.0 ± 7.4% (ES 0.04 ± 0.29) to −17.1 ± 21.8% (ES −0.77 ± 0.81). Cortisol was substantially lower (up to −40 ± 14.1%, ES of −2.17 ± 0.56) than Pre in all but one comparison. Testosterone response was varied, whereas T:C increased substantially on 70% of occasions, with increases to 92.7 ± 27.8% (ES 2.03 ± 0.76). CMJ1Flight time:Contraction time (r = .24 ± 0.13) and C displayed (r = −0.16 ± 0.1) small correlations with performance.

Conclusion:

The response of CMJ1Flight time:Contraction time suggests periods of neuromuscular fatigue. Change in T:C indicates subjects were unlikely to have been in a catabolic state during the season. Increase in C compared with Pre had a small negative correlation with performance. Both CMJ1Flight time:Contraction time and C may be useful variables for monitoring responses to training and competition in elite ARF athletes.

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Stuart J. Cormack, Robert U. Newton and Michael R. McGuigan

Purpose:

To examine the acute and short-term responses of variables obtained during a single countermovement jump (CMJ1); repeated countermovement jump involving 5 consecutive efforts without a pause (CMJ5); and cortisol, testosterone, and testos-terone-to-cortisol ratio (T:C) to an elite Australian Rules Football (ARF) match with a view to determining which variables may be most useful for ongoing monitoring.

Methods:

Twenty-two elite ARF players participating in a preseason cup match performed a CMJ1 and a CMJ5 and provided saliva samples 48 h before the match (48pre), prematch (Pre), postmatch, 24 h post (24post), 72 h post (72post), 96 h post (96post), and 120 h post (120post). The magnitude of change in variables at each time point compared with Pre and 48pre was analyzed using the effect size (ES) statistic.

Results:

A substantial decrement in the pre- to postmatch comparison occurred in the ratio of CMJ1 Flight time:Contraction time (ES −0.65 ± 0.28). Cortisol (ES 2.34 ± 1.06) and T:C (ES −0.52 ± 0.42) displayed large pre- to postmatch changes. The response of countermovement variables at 24post and beyond compared with pre-match and 48pre was varied, with only CMJ1 Flight time:Contraction time displaying a substantial decrease (ES −0.32 ± 0.26) postmatch compared with 48pre. Cortisol displayed a clear pattern of response with substantial elevations up to 24post compared with Pre and 48pre.

Conclusion:

CMJ1 Flight time:Contraction time appears to be the most useful variable for monitoring neuromuscular status in elite ARF players due to its substantial change compared with 48pre and prematch. Monitoring cortisol, due to its predictable pattern of response, may provide a useful measure of hormonal status.

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Mette Hansen, Jens Bangsbo, Jørgen Jensen, Bo Martin Bibby and Klavs Madsen

This trial aimed to examine the effect of whey protein hydrolysate intake before and after exercise sessions on endurance performance and recovery in elite orienteers during a training camp. Eighteen elite orienteers participated in a randomized controlled intervention trial during a 1-week training camp (13 exercise sessions). Half of the runners (PRO-CHO) ingested a protein drink before (0.3 g kg−1) and a protein-carbohydrate drink after (0.3 g protein kg−1 and 1 g carbohydrate kg−1) each exercise session. The others ingested energy and timematched carbohydrate drinks (CHO). A 4-km run-test with 20 control points was performed before and on the last day of the intervention. Blood and saliva were obtained in the mornings, before and after run-tests, and after the last training session. During the intervention, questionnaires were fulfilled regarding psychological sense of performance capacity and motivation. PRO-CHO and not CHO improved performance in the 4-km run-test (interaction p < .05). An increase in serum creatine kinase was observed during the week, which was greater in CHO than PRO-CHO (interactionp < .01). Lactate dehydrogenase (p < .001) and cortisol (p = .057) increased during the week, but the change did not differ between groups. Reduction in sense of performance capacity during the intervention was greater in CHO (p < .05) than PRO-CHO. In conclusion, ingestion of whey protein hydrolysate before and after each exercise session improves performance and reduces markers of muscle damage during a strenuous 1-week training camp. The results indicate that protein supplementation in conjunction with each exercise session facilitates the recovery from strenuous training in elite orienteers.