Nutrition usually makes a small but potentially valuable contribution to successful performance in elite athletes, and dietary supplements can make a minor contribution to this nutrition program. Nonetheless, supplement use is widespread at all levels of sport. Products described as supplements target different issues, including the management of micronutrient deficiencies, supply of convenient forms of energy and macronutrients, and provision of direct benefits to performance or indirect benefits such as supporting intense training regimens. The appropriate use of some supplements can offer benefits to the athlete, but others may be harmful to the athlete’s health, performance, and/or livelihood and reputation if an anti-doping rule violation results. A complete nutritional assessment should be undertaken before decisions regarding supplement use are made. Supplements claiming to directly or indirectly enhance performance are typically the largest group of products marketed to athletes, but only a few (including caffeine, creatine, specific buffering agents and nitrate) have good evidence of benefits. However, responses are affected by the scenario of use and may vary widely between individuals because of factors that include genetics, the microbiome, and habitual diet. Supplements intended to enhance performance should be thoroughly trialed in training or simulated competition before implementation in competition. Inadvertent ingestion of substances prohibited under the anti-doping codes that govern elite sport is a known risk of taking some supplements. Protection of the athlete’s health and awareness of the potential for harm must be paramount, and expert professional opinion and assistance is strongly advised before embarking on supplement use.
Ronald J. Maughan, Louise M. Burke, Jiri Dvorak, D. Enette Larson-Meyer, Peter Peeling, Stuart M. Phillips, Eric S. Rawson, Neil P. Walsh, Ina Garthe, Hans Geyer, Romain Meeusen, Luc van Loon, Susan M. Shirreffs, Lawrence L. Spriet, Mark Stuart, Alan Vernec, Kevin Currell, Vidya M. Ali, Richard G.M. Budgett, Arne Ljungqvist, Margo Mountjoy, Yannis Pitsiladis, Torbjørn Soligard, Uğur Erdener and Lars Engebretsen
Philip F. Skiba, David Clarke, Anni Vanhatalo and Andrew M. Jones
Recently, an adaptation to the critical-power (CP) model was published, which permits the calculation of the balance of the work capacity available above the CP remaining (W′bal) at any time during intermittent exercise. As the model is now in use in both amateur and elite sport, the purpose of this investigation was to assess the validity of the W′bal model in the field. Data were collected from the bicycle power meters of 8 trained triathletes. W′bal was calculated and compared between files where subjects reported becoming prematurely exhausted during training or competition and files where the athletes successfully completed a difficult assigned task or race without becoming exhausted. Calculated W′bal was significantly different between the 2 conditions (P < .0001). The mean W′bal at exhaustion was 0.5 ± 1.3 kJ (95% CI = 0–0.9 kJ), whereas the minimum W′bal in the nonexhausted condition was 3.6 ± 2.0 kJ (95% CI = 2.1–4.0 kJ). Receiver-operator-characteristic (ROC) curve analysis indicated that the W′bal model is useful for identifying the point at which athletes are in danger of becoming exhausted (area under the ROC curve = .914, SE .05, 95% CI .82–1.0, P < .0001). The W′bal model may therefore represent a useful new development in assessing athlete fatigue state during training and racing.
Nicholas L. Holt and John M. Hogg
The ability to cope with competitive stress is an integral part of elite sport performance. The purposes of this investigation were to identify and examine players’ perceptions of sources of stress and coping strategies prior to the 1999 soccer world cup finals. Using a case study approach (Stake, 2000), members of a women’s national soccer team (n = 10) participated in this investigation. Through the process of inductive data analysis, main sources of stress were categorized into the following four main themes: coaches, demands of international soccer, competitive stressors, and distractions. Participants used several types of strategies based on a range of problem-focused, emotion-focused, appraisal-reappraisal, and avoidance coping styles to deal with these stressors. The main coping themes identified were reappraisal, use of social resources, performance behaviors, and blocking. Athletes implemented different coping strategies depending on the stressors they encountered. The widest range of coping responses were displayed in coping with the communication styles used by the coaches. Implications of these findings for researchers, athletes, coaches, and sport psychologists are discussed.
Matthew W. Hoon, Nathan A. Johnson, Phillip G. Chapman and Louise M. Burke
The purpose of this review was to examine the effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance by systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled human studies. A search of four electronic databases and cross-referencing found 17 studies investigating the effect of inorganic nitrate supplementation on exercise performance that met the inclusion criteria. Beetroot juice and sodium nitrate were the most common supplements, with doses ranging from 300 to 600 mg nitrate and prescribed in a manner ranging from a single bolus to 15 days of regular ingestion. Pooled analysis showed a significant moderate benefit (ES = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.23–1.35) of nitrate supplementation on performance for time to exhaustion tests (p = .006). There was a small but insignificant beneficial effect on performance for time trials (ES = 0.11, 95% CI: –0.16–0.37) and graded exercise tests (ES = 0.26, 95% CI: –0.10–0.62). Qualitative analysis suggested that performance benefits are more often observed in inactive to recreationally active individuals and when a chronic loading of nitrate over several days is undertaken. Overall, these results suggest that nitrate supplementation is associated with a moderate improvement in constant load time to exhaustion tasks. Despite not reaching statistical significance, the small positive effect on time trial or graded exercise performance may be meaningful in an elite sport context. More data are required to clarify the effect of nitrate supplementation on exercise performance and to elucidate the optimal way to implement supplementation.
Michail Lubomirov Michailov, Audry Morrison, Mano Mitkov Ketenliev and Boyanka Petkova Pentcheva
Traditional treadmill or bicycle ergometry neglects the upper-body musculature that predominantly limits or terminates rock-climbing performance (ie, the inability to continually pull up one’s body mass or “hang on”).
To develop an incremental maximal upper-body ergometer test (UBT) to evaluate climbers’ aerobic fitness and sport-specific work capacity and to compare these results with a traditional treadmill protocol.
Eleven elite sport climbers (best redpoint grade Fr.8b) performed a UBT on a vertically mounted rowing ergometer and, on a separate occasion, performed a maximal incremental treadmill test (TMT). Cardiorespiratory parameters were measured continuously. Lactate (La) samples were collected.
Peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak) and heart rate in UBT and TMT were 34.1 ± 4.1 vs 58.3 ± 2.6 mL · min−1 · kg−1 and 185 ± 8 vs 197 ± 8 beats/min, respectively, and both variables were of significantly lower magnitude during UBT (P < .001). End-of-test La levels for UBT (11.9 ± 1.7 mmol/L) and TMT (12.3 ± 2.5 mmol/L) were similar (P = .554). Treadmill VO2peak was not correlated with either upper-body (UB) VO2peak (P = .854) or redpoint and on-sight climbing grade ability (P > .05). UB VO2peak and peak power output per kg body mass were both strongly correlated (P < .05) with climbing grade ability. The highest correlation coefficient was calculated between current on-sight grade and UB VO2peak (r = .85, P = .001).
UBT aerobic- and work-capacity results were strongly correlated to climbing-performance variables and reflected sport-specific fatigue, and TMT results were not. UBT is preferred to TMT to test and monitor dedicated and elite rock climbers’ training status.
Ronald J. Maughan
fortunately rare, but include impairments of health and performance as well as the potential for unwitting ingestion of substances that are prohibited under the anti-doping codes that govern elite sport. This issue of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism contains an overview
nature, essentially seeing elite sport as “a cover for its actual dramatizations of capitalistic violence” (p. 19), as Grano describes one cited author’s interpretation of sport in the Western world. This seems to be the interpretation of sport by many culturalists and sociologists as they examine sport
). BM indicates body mass; EMG, electromyography; RCT, randomized controlled trial; TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation. Wile E. Coyote image licensed via carlos cardetas/Alamy Stock Photo. In the business, elite-sport, or academic setting, there is never only one way to complete a task, but there is
International Olympic Committee Expert Group on Dietary Supplements in Athletes
ingestion of substances that are prohibited under the anti-doping codes that govern elite sport, but are present in some supplement products. In some cases, the level of prohibited or toxic substances in supplements presents a health hazard for all consumers. In other cases, the content may be too small to
Bridie Kean, David Fleischman and Peter English
The complementary nature of higher education and elite sport is documented internationally in both academic and practical contexts (e.g., Aquilina, 2009 ; Fraser, Fogarty, & Albion, 2010 ; Knapp, 2012 ). In Australia, for example, there is a high number of athletes who are concurrently