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Hannah Bond, Lillian Morton and Andrea J. Braakhuis

Increased plasma nitrate concentrations from dietary sources of nitrate have proven to benefit exercise performance. Beetroot (BR) contains relatively high levels of nitrate (NO3 ), which increases nitric oxide stores. This study investigated whether dietary nitrate supplementation, in the form of a BR beverage, would improve rowing performance during ergometer repetitions. In a randomized crossover design, 14 well-trained junior male rowers consumed 500 ml of either BR or placebo (PL) daily for 6 d. After supplementation, rowers completed 6 maximal 500-m ergometer repetitions and times were recorded. A 7-d washout period separated the 2 trials. Blood pressure, oxygen saturation, maximum heart rate, urine (specific gravity, pH, and nitrites), and lactates were collected for analysis at baseline and pre- and postperformance. Changes in the mean with 95% confidence limits were calculated. There was a likely benefit to average repetition time in the BR condition, compared with PL (0.4%, 95% confidence limits, ± 1.0%). In particular, Repetitions 4–6 showed an almost certain benefit in rowing time on BR (1.7%, 95% CL, ± 1.0%). The underlying mechanism for the observed results remains unknown, as differences observed in rowers’ physiological measures between the 2 conditions were unclear. Conclusively, nitrate supplementation in the form of BR juice resulted in improved maximal rowing-ergometer repetitions, particularly in the later stages of exercise.

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Michael J. Duncan, Mark Lyons and Joanne Hankey

Purpose:

This study examined the placebo effect of caffeine on number of repetitions (reps), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), blood pressure (BP), and peak heart rate (PHR) during resistance-training exercise with repetitions (reps) performed to volitional failure.

Methods:

Following determination of 1-rep maximum in single-leg leg extension, 15 males performed reps to failure at 60% 1-RM in 3 conditions: control, perceived caffeine condition, and perceived placebo condition presented in a randomized order. Participants were informed they would ingest 250 mL of solution that contained either 3 mg·kg−1 caffeine or 3 mg·kg−1 placebo 1 h before each exercise trial. A deceptive protocol was employed and subjects consumed a placebo solution in both conditions. During each condition, total reps, RPE for the active muscle and overall body, and PHR were recorded.

Results:

Subjects completed 2 more reps when they perceived they had ingested caffeine. RPE was significantly (P = .04) lower in the perceived caffeine and control conditions and RPE for the active muscle was significantly higher across all conditions compared with RPE for the overall body. No substantial differences were evident in PHR across conditions.

Conclusions:

Results of this study are similar to studies of actual caffeine ingestion. However, the perception of consuming a substance that purportedly enhances performance is sufficient enough to enable individuals to complete a greater number of reps to failure during short-term resistance exercise.

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Kathleen Woolf, Wendy K. Bidwell and Amanda G. Carlson

The study examined caffeine (5 mg/kg body weight) vs. placebo during anaerobic exercise. Eighteen male athletes (24.1 ± 5.8 yr; BMI 26.4 ± 2.2 kg/m2) completed a leg press, chest press, and Wingate test. During the caffeine trial, more total weight was lifted with the chest press, and a greater peak power was obtained during the Wingate test. No differences were observed between treatments for the leg press and average power, minimum power, and power drop (Wingate test). There was a significant treatment main effect found for postexercise glucose and insulin concentrations; higher concentrations were found in the caffeine trial. A significant interaction effect (treatment and time) was found for cortisol and glucose concentrations; both increased with caffeine and decreased with placebo. Postexercise systolic blood pressure was significantly higher during the caffeine trial. No differences were found between treatments for serum free-fatty-acid concentrations, plasma lactate concentrations, serum cortisol concentrations, heart rate, and rating of perceived exertion. Thus, a moderate dose of caffeine resulted in more total weight lifted for the chest press and a greater peak power attained during the Wingate test in competitive athletes.

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Fabrice Vercruyssen, Mathieu Gruet, Serge S. Colson, Sabine Ehrstrom and Jeanick Brisswalter

Background:

Physiological mechanisms behind the use of compression garments (CGs) during off-road running are unknown.

Purpose:

To investigate the influence of wearing CGs vs conventional running clothing (CON) on muscle contractile function and running economy before and after short-distance trail running.

Methods:

Knee-extensor neuromuscular function and running economy assessed from two 5-min treadmill runs (11 and 14 km/h) were evaluated before and after an 18.6-km short-distance trail run in 12 trained athletes wearing either CGs (stocking + short-tight) or CON. Quadriceps neuromuscular function was assessed from mechanical and EMG recording after maximal percutaneous electrical femoral-nerve stimulations (single-twitch doublets at 10 [Db10] and 100 Hz [Db100] delivered at rest and during maximal quadriceps voluntary contraction [MVC]).

Results:

Running economy (in mL O2 · km–1 · kg–1) increased after trail running independent of the clothing condition and treadmill speeds (P < .001). Similarly, MVC decreased after CON and CGs conditions (–11% and –13%, respectively, P < .001). For both clothing conditions, a significant decrease in quadriceps voluntary activation, Db10, Db100, and the low-to-high frequency doublet ratio were observed after trail running (time effect, all P < .01), without any changes in rectus femoris maximal M-wave.

Conclusions:

Wearing CGs does not reduce physiological alterations induced during short-distance trail running. Further studies should determine whether higher intensity of compression pressure during exercises of longer duration may be effective to induce any physiological benefits in experienced trail runners.

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Valentín E. Fernández-Elías, Juan Del Coso, Nassim Hamouti, Juan F. Ortega, Gloria Muñoz, Jesus Muñoz-Guerr and Ricardo Mora-Rodríguez

Caffeine is an ergogenic aid widely used before and during prolonged exercise. Due to its prolonged biological half-life caffeine effects could remain after exercise. We aimed to investigate the metabolic, respiratory, and cardiovascular postexercise responses to preexercise graded caffeine ingestion. Twelve aerobically trained subjects (mean VO2max = 54 ± 7 ml · min−1 · kg−1) cycled for 60-min at 75% VO2max after ingesting placebo (0 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight) or 0.5, 1.5, 3.0 and 4.5 mg · kg−1 on five occasions. During the 3 hr postexercise, heart rate, blood pressure, glucose, lactate, and fatty acids were analyzed. None of these variables were statistically affected by preexercise caffeine ingestion between 0.5 and 4.5 mg · kg−1. However, ingestion of 4.5 mg · kg−1 of caffeine raised postexercise energy expenditure 15% above placebo (233 ± 58 vs. 202 ± 49 kcal/3 hr; p < .05). Ventilation and tidal volume were elevated after the 4.5 mg·kg−1 caffeine dose above placebo (9.2 ± 2.5 L · min−1 and 0.67 ± 0.29 L · breath−1 vs. 7.8 ± 1.5 L · min−1 and 0.56 ± 0.20 L · breath−1, respectively; p < .05). Ventilation correlated with tidal volume (r = .45; p < .05) and energy expenditure (r = .72; p < .05). In summary, preexercise ingestion of ergogenic caffeine doses do not alter postexercise cardiovascular responses. However, ingestion of 4.5 mg · kg−1 of caffeine raises 3-hr postexercise energy expenditure (i.e., 31 kcal) likely through increased energy cost of ventilation.

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Olivier Galy, Olivier Hue, Karim Chamari, Alain Boussana, Anis Chaouachi and Christian Préfaut

Purpose:

To study the relationship between performance and exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia (EIAH), 5 internationally ranked (INT) and 8 regionally ranked (REG) triathletes performed cycle-run successions (CR) and control runs (R) in competitionlike conditions: at ≍75% VO2max.

Methods:

Ventilatory parameters and oxyhemoglo-bin saturation (SpO2) data were collected continuously. Arteriolized partial pressure in O2 (PaO2) and alveolar ventilation (VA) were measured before and after cycling (CRcycle), the successive run (CRrun), and R. Pulmonary diffusing capacity (DLco) was measured at rest and 10 minutes post-CR. Training and short-distance triathlon data were collected.

Results:

INT showed signifcantly greater experience than REG in competition years (P > .05), training regimen (P > .05), and swimming (P > .05), and cycling (P > .05) volumes; running showed a trend (P < .06). Cycling, running, and total triathlon performances were significantly higher in INT than REG (P > .01). SpO2 during CR dropped significantly more in INT than in REG. Both groups showed significant inverse correlations between the magnitude of the SpO2 change from CRcy-cle to CRrun and the triathlon running time (r = −0.784; P < .05 and r = −0.699; P < .05; respectively). When compared with CRcycle, PaO2 significantly decreased and VA significantly increased after CRrun and R in both groups (P < .01). DLco significantly dropped between pre- and postexercise in CR and R with no between-group difference (P < .05).

Conclusions:

EIAH was aggravated in higher performers during simulated cycle-run segments, related to longer experience and heavier training regimens. Possibly, relative hypoventilation caused this aggravated EIAH in INT, although pulmonary diffusion limitation was observed in both groups. Beyond EIAH severity, the magnitude of SpO2 variations during the cycle-run transition may affect triathlon running performance.

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Charles L. Stebbins, Lauren E. Hammel, Benjamin J. Marshal, Espen E. Spangenberg and Timothy I. Musch

The polyunsaturated fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) affect vascular relaxation and involve factors (e.g., nitric oxide) that contribute to exercise-induced increases in skeletal-muscle blood flow (Q). The authors investigated whether DHA and EPA supplementation augments skeletal-muscle Q and vascular conductance (VC) and attenuates renal and splanchnic Q and VC in exercising rats. Rats were fed a diet of 5% lipids by weight, of which 20% was DHA and 30% EPA (PUFA group, n = 9), or 5% safflower oil (SO group, n = 8) for 6 wk. Heart rate (HR), blood pressure (MAP), and hind-limb, renal, and splanchnic Q were measured at rest and during moderate treadmill running. MAP, HR, and renal and splanchnic Q and VC were similar between the 2 groups at rest and during exercise. In the PUFA group, Q (158 ± 27 vs. 128 ± 28 ml · min−1 · 100 g−1) and VC (1.16 ± 0.21 vs. 0.92 ± 0.23 ml · min−1 · 100 g−1 · mm Hg−1) were greater in the exercising hind-limb muscle. Q and VC were also higher in 8 of 28 and 11 of 28 muscles and muscle parts, respectively. These increases were positively correlated to the percent sum of Types I and IIa fibers. Results suggest that DHA+EPA (a) enhances Q and VC in active skeletal muscle (especially Type I and IIa fibers) and that the increase in Q is due to an increase in cardiac output secondary to increases in VC and (b) has no apparent influence on vasoconstriction in renal and splanchnic tissue.

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Mark Elisabeth Theodorus Willems, Stephen David Myers, Mandy Lucinda Gault and Matthew David Cook

Blackcurrant contains anthocyanins, known to influence vasorelaxation and peripheral blood flow. We examined the effects of 7 days intake of Sujon New Zealand blackcurrant powder (6g/day) on the lactate curve, maximum oxygen uptake, and cardiovascular responses at rest and during cycling. Thirteen trained triathletes with >3 yrs experience (8 men, age: 38 ± 8 yrs, body mass: 71 ± 9 kg, BF%: 19 ± 5%, mean ± SD) performed two incremental cycling protocols with recording of physiological and cardiovascular responses (Portapres Model 2). Cardiovascular function was also measured in rest. Experimental design was doubleblind, placebo-controlled, randomized and cross-over (wash-out 4 wks). Data were analyzed with two-tailed t tests and 2-way ANOVA and significance accepted at p < .05. Plasma lactate was lower at 40%, 50%, 60% and 70% of maximum power by 27%, 22%, 17% and 13%. Intensity at 4 mmol·L-1 OBLA was 6% higher with blackcurrant without effect on heart rate and oxygen uptake. Maximum values of oxygen uptake, heart rate and power were not affected by blackcurrant, but obtained with 14% lower lactate. In rest, blackcurrant increased stroke volume and cardiac output by 25% and 26%, and decreased total peripheral resistance by 16%, with no changes in blood pressure and heart rate. Cardiovascular responses during exercise at 40%, 50%, 60%, 70% and 80% intensity were not affected. Sujon New Zealand blackcurrant powder affects lactate production and/or clearance during exercise. Sujon New Zealand blackcurrant powder affects physiological and cardiovascular responses in rest and during exercise that may have implications for exercise performance.

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Santiago Lopez, Jan G. Bourgois, Enrico Tam, Paolo Bruseghini and Carlo Capelli

Purpose:

To explore the cardiovascular and metabolic responses of 9 Optimist sailors (12.7 ± 0.8 y, 153 ± 9 cm, 41 ± 6 kg, sailing career 6.2 ± 1 y, peak oxygen uptake [V̇O2peak] 50.5 ± 4.5 mL · min−1 · kg−1) during on-water upwind sailing with various wind intensities (W).

Methods:

In a laboratory session, peak V̇O2, beat-by-beat cardiac output (Q̇), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), and heart rate (f H) were measured using a progressive cycle ramp protocol. Steady-state V̇O2, Q̇, MAP, and f H at 4 submaximal workloads were also determined. During 2 on-water upwind sailing tests (constant course and with tacks), W, Q̇, MAP, and f H were measured for 15 min. On-water V̇O2 was estimated on the basis of steady-state f H measured on water and of the individual ΔV̇O2f H relationship obtained in the laboratory.

Results:

V̇O2, f H, and Q̇ expressed as percentage of the corresponding peak values were linearly related with W; exercise intensity during on-water sailing corresponded to 46–48% of V̇O2peak. MAP and total vascular peripheral resistance (TPR = MAP/Q̇) were larger (P < .005) during on-water tests (+39% and +50%, respectively) than during cycling, and they were correlated with W. These responses were responsible for larger values of the double (DP) and triple (TP) products of the heart during sailing than during cycling (P < .005) (+37% and +32%, respectively).

Conclusions:

These data indicate that the cardiovascular system was particularly stressed during upwind sailing even though the exercise intensity of this activity was not particularly high.

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Justine G. Robbeson, Herculina Salome Kruger and Hattie H. Wright

Background:

Modern culture has stereotyped the female body as one that is continually getting thinner. Internalization of the ‘thin’ ideal is partly attributable to the inner ideal to be successful combined with the external pressure imposed by media and others. Many individuals attempt to achieve these ideals by behavior modification that imposes health risks.

Purpose:

To investigate disordered eating (DE) behavior and energy status in female student dancers.

Methods:

Volunteer dancers (n = 26) aged 19.0 (18.0; 21.0) years, matched by controls (n = 26) aged 20.0 (19.0; 21.0) years were recruited. Eating Disorder Inventory-3 (EDI-3) subscales, Three-factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) Cognitive Dietary Restraint (CDR) subscale, and EDI-3 Referral Form behavioral questions assessed DE behavior. Energy status was assessed with a food record and Actiheart monitor.

Results:

Dancers achieved significantly higher scores than controls in all questionnaires, namely: EDI-3 Drive for Thinness [12.0 (3.0; 19.0) vs. 4.5 (2.0; 9.0), p = .023], EDI-3 Body Dissatisfaction [16.0 (10.0; 25.0) vs. 6.5 (3.0; 14.0), p = .004], and TFEQ-CDR [9.0 (2.0; 15.0) vs. 3.0 (3.0; 7.0), p = .032]; dancers used excessive exercise to lose weight (19.2% vs. 0%, c2 = 5.53, p = .019), and had lower energy availability (24% vs. 8%, p < .05) than controls. The average energy balance (EB) was negative for both groups [dancers: EB = -3896 (-5236; -1222) vs. controls: EB = -2639 (-4744; -789) kJ/day].

Conclusions:

Female dancers are at risk for DE behavior and many have suboptimal energy status which may be related to their quest to achieve a more desirable appearance; education on healthy weight management practices is needed.