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Richard R. Rosenkranz, Chad M. Cook and Mark D. Haub

Purpose:

To illustrate the effects of low-carbohydrate (LC) and grain-based (GB) diets on body composition, biomarkers, athletic training, and performance in an elite triathlete.

Methods:

The athlete followed 2 dietary interventions for 14 d while maintaining a prescheduled training program. Pre- and post intervention measurements for each diet included plasma and serum samples, resting energy expenditure, body composition, and a performance bike ride.

Results:

Compared with the GB diet, the LC diet elicited more disruptions to training and unfavorable subjective experiences. Total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, ratings of perceived exertion, and heart rate were elevated on the LC diet. Blood insulin, resting lactate, post exercise lactate, and C-reactive protein were lowest on the LC diet.

Conclusion:

The LC diet resulted in both favorable and unfavorable outcomes. The primary observation was a disruption to scheduled training on the LC diet. Researchers should consider how the potential mediating effect of disruptions to training could influence pretest–posttest designs.

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Chad S.G. Witcher, Nicholas L. Holt, John C. Spence and Sandra O’Brien Cousins

The purpose of this study was to assess rural older adults’ perceptions of leisure-time physical activity and examine these perceptions from a historical perspective. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 inhabitants (mean age 82 years) of Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to inductive analysis. Member-checking interviews were conducted with 5 participants. Findings indicated that beginning in childhood, participants were socialized into a subculture of work activity. As a result of these historical and social forces, leisure-time physical activity did not form part of the participants’ lives after retirement. Strategies for successful aging involved keeping busy, but this “busyness” did not include leisure-time physical activity. Results demonstrated the importance of developing a broader understanding of how past and present-day contexts can influence participation in leisure-time physical activity.

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Martin D. Hoffman and Thomas M. Myers

Symptomatic exercise-associated hyponatremia (EAH) is known to be a potential complication from overhydration during exercise, but there remains a general belief that sodium supplementation will prevent EAH. We present a case in which a runner with a prior history of EAH consulted a sports nutritionist who advised him to consume considerable supplemental sodium, which did not prevent him from developing symptomatic EAH during a subsequent long run. Emergency medical services were requested for this runner shortly after he finished a 17-hr, 72-km run and hike in Grand Canyon National Park during which he reported having consumed 9.2–10.6 L of water and >6,500 mg of sodium. First responders determined his serum sodium concentration with point-of-care testing was 122 mEq/L. His hyponatremia was documented to have improved from field treatment with an oral hypertonic solution of 800 mg of sodium in 200 ml of water, and it improved further after significant aquaresis despite in-hospital treatment with isotonic fluids (lactated Ringer’s). He was discharged about 5 hr after admission in good condition. This case demonstrates that while oral sodium supplementation does not necessarily prevent symptomatic EAH associated with overhydration, early recognition and field management with oral hypertonic saline in combination with fluid restriction can be effective treatment for mild EAH. There continues to be a lack of universal understanding of the underlying pathophysiology and appropriate hospital management of EAH.

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Andrew Renfree, Graham J. Mytton, Sabrina Skorski and Alan St Clair Gibson

Purpose:

To identify tactical factors associated with progression from preliminary rounds in middle-distance running events at an international championship.

Methods:

Results from the 2012 Olympic Games were used to access final and intermediate positions, finishing times, and season-best (SB) times for competitors in men’s and women’s 800-m and 1500-m events (fifteen 800-m races and ten 1500-m races). Finishing times were calculated as %SB, and Pearson product–moment correlations were used to assess relationships between intermediate and finishing positions. Probability (P) of qualification to the next round was calculated for athletes in each available intermediate position.

Results:

There were no significant differences in finishing times relative to SB between qualifiers and nonqualifiers. In the 800-m, correlation coefficients between intermediate and final positions were r = .61 and r = .84 at 400 m and 600 m, respectively, whereas in the 1500-m, correlations were r = .35, r = .43, r = .55, and r = .71 at 400 m, 800 m, 1000 m, and 1200 m, respectively. In both events, probability of qualification decreased with position at all intermediate distances. At all points, those already in qualifying positions were more likely to qualify for the next round.

Conclusions:

The data demonstrate that tactical positioning at intermediate points in qualifying rounds of middle-distance races is a strong determinant of qualification. In 800-m races it is important to be in a qualifying position by 400 m. In the 1500-m event, although more changes in position are apparent, position at intermediate distances is still strongly related to successful qualification.

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Pedro Figueiredo, Renata Willig, Francisco Alves, João Paulo Vilas-Boas and Ricardo J. Fernandes

Purpose:

To examine the effect of swimming speed (v) on the biomechanical and physiological responses of a trained front-crawl swimmer with a unilateral arm amputation.

Methods:

A 13-y-old girl with a unilateral arm amputation (level of the elbow) was tested for stroke length (SL, horizontal displacement cover with each stroke cycle), stroke frequency (SF, inverse of the time to complete each stroke cycle), adapted index of coordination (IdCadapt, lag time between propulsive phases), intracycle velocity variation (IVV, coefficient of variation of the instantaneous velocity–time data), active drag (D, hydrodynamic resistance), and energy cost (C, ratio of metabolic power to speed) during trials of increasing v.

Results:

Swimmer data showed a positive relationship between v and SF (R 2 = 1, P < .001), IVV (R 2 = .98, P = .002), D (R 2 = .98, P < .001), and C (R 2 = .95, P = .001) and a negative relationship with the SL (R 2 = .99, P = .001). No relation was found between v and IdCadapt (R 2 = .35, P = .22). A quadratic regression best fitted the relationship between v and general kinematical parameters (SL and SF); a cubic relationship fit the IVV best. The relationship between v and D was best expressed by a power regression, and the linear regression fit the C and IdCadapt best.

Conclusions:

The subject’s adaptation to increased v was different from able-bodied swimmers, mainly on interarm coordination, maintaining the lag time between propulsive phases, which influence the magnitude of the other parameters. These results might be useful to develop specific training and enhance swimming performance in swimmers with amputations.

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Matt Brearley, Ian Norton, David Kingsbury and Simon Maas

Introduction:

Anecdotal reports suggest that elite road motorcyclists suffer from high core body temperatures and physiological and perceptual strain when competing in hot conditions.

Methods:

Four male non-heat-acclimatized elite motorcyclists (3 Superbike, 1 Supersport) had their gastrointestinal temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate measured and recorded throughout practice, qualifying, and race sessions of an Australian Superbike and Supersport Championship round contested in tropical conditions. Physiological strain was calculated during the sessions, and fluid-balance measures were taken during practice and qualifying. Rider thermal sensation was assessed immediately postsession.

Results:

Mean ambient temperature and relative humidity were 29.5–30.2°C and 64.5–68.7%, respectively, across the sessions. Gastrointestinal temperature rose from 37.6°C to 37.7°C presession at a median rate of 0.035°C, 0.037°C ,and 0.067°C/min during practice, qualifying, and race sessions to reach medians of 38.9°C, 38.8°C, and 39.1°C postsession, respectively. The peak postsession gastrointestinal temperature was 39.8°C. Median heart rates were ~164, 160, and 177 beats/min during the respective practice, qualifying, and race sessions, contributing to median physiological strain of 5.5, 5.6, and 6.2 across the sessions. Sweat rates were 1.01 and 0.90 L/h during practice and qualifying sessions, while rider thermal sensation was very hot after each session.

Conclusions:

This investigation confirms that elite road motorcyclists endure moderate to high physiological strain during practice, qualifying, and race sessions, exhibiting more-rapid rates of body-heat storage, higher core body temperatures, and higher physiological and perceptual strain than their stock-car-racing counterparts when competing in tropical conditions.

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Michael J. Duncan

A 10-week plyometrics-based intervention was carried out with a county-level hurler during preseason preparation. The intervention resulted in a number of physiological changes specific to hurling performance. Most notably, it enabled the athlete to complete repeated sprints with less decrement in performance compared with baseline scores.

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Gary J. Slater, Anthony J. Rice, David Jenkins, Jason Gulbin and Allan G. Hahn

To strengthen the depth of lightweight rowing talent, we sought to identify experienced heavyweight rowers who possessed physique traits that predisposed them to excellence as a lightweight. Identified athletes (n = 3) were monitored over 16 wk. Variables measured included performance, anthropometric indices, and selected biochemical and metabolic parameters. All athletes decreased their body mass (range 2.0 to 8.0 kg), with muscle mass accounting for a large proportion of this (31.7 to 84.6%). Two athletes were able to maintain their performance despite reductions in body mass. However, performance was compromised for the athlete who experienced the greatest weight loss. In summary, smaller heavyweight rowers can successfully make the transition into the lightweight category, being nationally competitive in their first season as a lightweight.

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Paolo Menaspà, Ermanno Rampinini, Lara Tonetti and Andrea Bosio

Purpose:

To describe the physical fitness of a top-level lower limb amputee (LLA) cyclist and paracycling time-trial (TT) race demands.

Methods:

The 40-y-old male unilateral transfemoral amputee TT World Champion was tested in a laboratory for peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), ventilatory threshold (VT2), power output (PO), and hemoglobin mass (Hb-mass). Moreover, several measures (eg, PO, heart rate [HR], cadence) were collected during 4 international TT competitions in the same season. The races’ intensity was evaluated as time spent below, at, or above VT2.

Results:

The cyclist (1.73 m, 55.0 kg) had a VO2peak of 3.372 L/min (61.3 mL · kg−1 · min−1). The laboratory peak PO was 315 W (5.7 W/kg). The maximal HR was 208 beats/min, and his Hb-mass was 744 g (13.5 g/kg). The TTs were meanly 18 ± 4.5 km in length, and the mean PO was 248 ± 8 W with a cadence of 92 ± 1 rpm. During the TTs, the cyclist spent 23% ± 9% of total time at VT2, 59% ± 10% below, and 18% ± 5% above this intensity.

Conclusions:

The subject’s relative VO2peak is higher than previously published data on LLA, and surprisingly it is even higher than “good” ACSM normative data for nondisabled people. The intensity of the races was found to be similar to cycling TTs of the same duration in elite female cyclists. These results might be useful to develop specific training schedules and enhance performance of LLA cyclists.

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Jamie Stanley, Shaun D’Auria and Martin Buchheit

The authors examined whether changes in heart-rate (HR) variability (HRV) could consistently track adaptation to training and race performance during a 32-wk competitive season. An elite male long-course triathlete recorded resting HR (RHR) each morning, and vagal-related indices of HRV (natural logarithm of the square root of mean squared differences of successive R−R intervals [ln rMSSD] and the ratio of ln rMSSD to R−R interval length [ln rMSSD:RR]) were assessed. Daily training load was quantified using a power meter and wrist-top GPS device. Trends in HRV indices and training load were examined by calculating standardized differences (ES). The following trends in week-to-week changes were consistently observed: (1) When the triathlete was coping with a training block, RHR decreased (ES −0.38 [90% confidence limits −0.05;−0.72]) and ln rMSSD increased (+0.36 [0.71;0.00]). (2) When the triathlete was not coping, RHR increased (+0.65 [1.29;0.00]) and ln rMSSD decreased (−0.60 [0.00;−1.20]). (3) Optimal competition performance was associated with moderate decreases in ln rMSSD (−0.86 [−0.76;−0.95]) and ln rMSSD:RR (−0.90 [−0.60;−1.20]) in the week before competition. (4) Suboptimal competition performance was associated with small decreases in ln rMSSD (−0.25 [−0.76;−0.95]) and trivial changes in ln rMSSD:RR (−0.04 [0.50;−0.57]) in the week before competition. To conclude, in this triathlete, a decrease in RHR concurrent with increased ln rMSSD compared with the previous week consistently appears indicative of positive training adaptation during a training block. A simultaneous reduction in ln rMSSD and ln rMSSD:RR during the final week preceding competition appears consistently indicative of optimal performance.