• The assessment of total energy expenditure during a 14-day ‘in-season’ period of professional rugby league players using the Doubly Labelled Water method

      Morehen, James C.; Bradley, Warren J.; Clarke, Jon; Twist, Craig; Hambly, Catherine; Speakman, John R.; Morton, James P.; Close, Graeme L.; Liverpool John Moores University; Widnes Vikings Rugby League; University of Chester; University of Aberdeen (Human Kinetics, 2016-10-31)
      Rugby League is a high-intensity collision sport competed over 80-minutes. Training loads are monitored to maximise recovery and assist in the design of nutritional strategies although no data are available on the Total Energy Expenditure (TEE) of players. We therefore assessed Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and TEE in six Super-League players over two consecutive weeks in-season including one-game per week. Fasted RMR was assessed followed by a baseline urine sample before oral administration of a bolus dose of hydrogen (deuterium 2H) and oxygen (18O) stable isotopes in the form of water (2H218O). Every 24 hours thereafter, players provided urine for analysis of TEE via DLW method. Individual training-load was quantified using session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) and data were analysed using magnitude-based inferences. There were unclear differences in RMR between forwards and backs (7.7 ± 0.5 cf. 8.0 ± 0.3 MJ, respectively). Indirect calorimetry produced RMR values most likely lower than predictive equations (7.9 ± 0.4 cf. 9.2 ± 0.4 MJ, respectively). A most likely increase in TEE from week-1 to -2 was observed (17.9 ± 2.1 cf. 24.2 ± 3.4 MJ) explained by a most likely increase in weekly sRPE (432 ± 19 cf. 555 ± 22 AU), respectively. The difference in TEE between forwards and backs was unclear (21.6 ± 4.2 cf. 20.5 ± 4.9 MJ, respectively). We report greater TEE than previously reported in rugby that could be explained by the ability of DLW to account for all match and training-related activities that contributes to TEE.
    • Carbohydrate and caffeine improves high intensity running of elite rugby league interchange players during simulated match play

      Clarke, Jon; Highton, Jamie M.; Close, Graeme L.; Twist, Craig; University of Chester; Warrington Wolves RLFC; Liverpool John Moores University (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2016-11-19)
      Carbohydrate and caffeine improves high intensity running of elite rugby league interchange players during simulated match play
    • Development of anthropometric characteristics in professional Rugby League players: Is there too much emphasis on the pre-season period?

      Morehen, James; Clarke, Jon; Batsford, Jake; Highton, Jamie; Erskine, Robert; Morton, James; Close, Graeme
      Rugby League is a team sport requiring players to experience large impact collisions, thus requiring high amounts of muscle mass. Many players (academy and senior) strive to increase muscle mass during the pre-season, however, quantification of changes during this period have not been thoroughly investigated. We therefore assessed changes in body-composition using Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) in eleven academy players over three successive pre-seasons and ninety-three senior players from four different European Super League clubs prior to, and at the end of, a pre-season training period. There was no meaningful change in lean mass of the academy players during any of the pre-season periods (year 1 = 72.3 ± 7.1–73.2 ± 7.2kg; ES 0.05, year 2 = 74.4 ± 6.9–75.5 ± 6.9kg; ES 0.07, year 3 = 75.9 ± 6.7–76.8 ± 6.6kg; ES 0.06) with small changes only occurring over the three-year study period (72.3–75.9kg; ES = 0.22). Senior players showed trivial changes in all characteristics during the pre-season period (total mass = 95.1–95.0kg; ES −0.01, lean mass = 74.6–75.1kg; ES 0.07, fat mass = 13.6–12.9kg; ES −0.17, body fat percentage = 14.8–14.1%; ES −0.19). These data suggest that academy players need time to develop towards profiles congruent with senior players. Moreover, once players reach senior level, body-composition changes are trivial during the pre-season and therefore teams may need to individualise training for players striving to gain muscle mass by reducing other training loads.
    • Muscle glycogen utilisation during Rugby match play: Effects of pre-game carbohydrate

      Bradley, Warren J.; Morehen, James C.; Haigh, Julian; Clarke, Jon; Donovan, Timothy F.; Twist, Craig; Cotton, Caroline; Shepherd, Sam; Cocks, Matthew; Sharma, Asheesh; et al. (Elsevier, 2016-04-22)
      Objectives: Although the physical demands of Rugby League (RL) match-play are well-known, the fuel sources supporting energy-production are poorly understood. We therefore assessed muscle glycogen utilisation and plasma metabolite responses to RL match-play after a relatively high (HCHO) or relatively low CHO (LCHO) diet. Design: Sixteen (mean ± SD age; 18 ± 1 years, body-mass; 88 ± 12 kg, height 180 ± 8 cm) professional players completed a RL match after 36-h consuming a non-isocaloric high carbohydrate (n = 8; 6 g kg day−1) or low carbohydrate (n = 8; 3 g kg day−1) diet. Methods: Muscle biopsies and blood samples were obtained pre- and post-match, alongside external and internal loads quantified using Global Positioning System technology and heart rate, respectively. Data were analysed using effects sizes ±90% CI and magnitude-based inferences. Results: Differences in pre-match muscle glycogen between high and low carbohydrate conditions (449 ± 51 and 444 ± 81 mmol kg−1 d.w.) were unclear. High (243 ± 43 mmol kg−1 d.w.) and low carbohydrate groups (298 ± 130 mmol kg−1 d.w.) were most and very likely reduced post-match, respectively. For both groups, differences in pre-match NEFA and glycerol were unclear, with a most likely increase in NEFA and glycerol post-match. NEFA was likely lower in the high compared with low carbohydrate group post-match (0.95 ± 0.39 mmol l−1 and 1.45 ± 0.51 mmol l−1, respectively), whereas differences between the 2 groups for glycerol were unclear (98.1 ± 33.6 mmol l−1 and 123.1 ± 39.6 mmol l−1) in the high and low carbohydrate groups, respectively. Conclusions: Professional RL players can utilise ∼40% of their muscle glycogen during a competitive match regardless of their carbohydrate consumption in the preceding 36-h.