• Metabolic demands of elite rugby competition after 36 hours of a high (6 g·kg-1) or low (3 g·kg-1) carbohydrate diet: implications for dietary recommendations.

      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.
    • Season-long increases in perceived muscle soreness in professional rugby league players: role of player position, match characteristics and playing surface

      Fletcher, Ben D.; Twist, Craig; Haigh, Julian; Brewer, Clive; Morton, James P.; Close, Graeme L.; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2015-09-14)
      Rugby League (RL) is a high-impact collision sport characterised by repeated sprints and numerous high-speed impacts and consequently players often report immediate and prolonged muscle soreness in the days after a match. We examined muscle soreness after matches during a full season to understand the extent to which match characteristics influence soreness. Thirty-one elite Super League players provided daily measures of muscle soreness after each of the 26 competitive fixtures of the 2012 season. Playing position, phase of the season, playing surface and match characteristics were recorded from each match. Muscle soreness peaked at day 1 and was still apparent at day 4 post-game with no attenuation in the magnitude of muscle soreness over the course of the season. Neither playing position, phase of season or playing surface had any effects on the extent of muscle soreness. Playing time and total number of collisions were significantly correlated with higher ratings of muscle soreness, especially in the forwards. These data indicate the absence of a repeated bout effect or ‘contact adaptations’ in elite rugby players with soreness present throughout the entire season. Strategies must now be implemented to deal with the physical and psychological consequences of prolonged feeling of pain