A case study evaluation of competitors undertaking an antarctic ultra-endurance event: nutrition, hydration and body composition variables

Paulin, Scott, Roberts, Justin D., Roberts, Michael G. and Davis, Ian (2015) A case study evaluation of competitors undertaking an antarctic ultra-endurance event: nutrition, hydration and body composition variables. Extreme Physiology & Medicine, 4. p. 3. ISSN 2046-7648

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13728-015-0022-0


Background: The nutritional demands of ultra-endurance racing are well documented. However, the relationship between nutritional consumption and performance measures are less obvious for athletes competing in Polar conditions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate dietary intake, hydration status, body composition and performance times throughout an 800-km Antarctic race. Methods: The event organisers declared that 17 competitors would participate in the South Pole race. Of the 17 competitors, pre-race data were collected from 13 participants (12 males and 1 female (M±SD): age: 40.1±8.9 years; weight 83.9±10.3kg; and body fat percentage: 21.9±3.8%). Dietary recall, body composition and urinary osmolarity were assessed pre-race, midway checkpoint and end race. Data were compared on the basis of fast finishers (the Norwegian team (n=3) who won in a record of 14 day) and slower finishers (the remaining teams (n=10) reaching the South Pole between 22 and 28 days). Results: The percentage contribution of macronutrients to daily energy intake for all participants was as follows: carbohydrate (CHO) - 23.7% (221±82 g.day-1), fat = 60.6% (251±127g.day-1) and protein = 15.7% (117±52g.day-1). Energy demands were closer met by faster finishers compared to slower finishers (5,332±469 vs. 3,048±1,140kcal.day-1, p=0.02). Average reduction in body mass throughout the race was 8.3±5.5kg, with an average loss of lean mass of 2.0±4.1kg. There as a significant negative correlation between changes in lean mass and protein intake (p=0.03), and lean mass and energy intake (p=0.03). End-race urinary osmolarity was significantly elevated for faster finishers compared to slower finishers and control volunteers (faster finishers: 933±157mOsmol.L-1; slower finishers: 543±92mOsmol.L-1; control: 515±165mOsmol.L-1, p+0.04). Conclusions: Throughout the race, both groups were subjected to a negative change in energy balance which partly explained reduced body mass. Carbohydrate availability was limited inferring a greater reliance on fat and protein metabolism. Consequently, loss in fat-free mass was more prevalent with insufficient protein and caloric intake, which may relate to performance.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Ultra-endurance, Antarctica, South Pole, Nutrition
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Repository Admin
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2016 09:15
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:01
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/601466

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