|Weight-supported sports such as cycling precipitate overtraining|
"The prevalence varies by sport and is thought to be highest in endurance sports requiring high volume intense training, such as swimming, triathlon, road cycling, rowing and, to a lesser extent, distance running." (MacKinnon. 2000)What all those sports (except for distance running) have in common are long training hours on 6 days per week for several months without appreciable time off. Notably, the chances of overtraining also increase, when the equipment supports your body mass. With weight-bearing activities, such as distance running, on the other hand, the risk of musculoskeletal injury limits training volume and therefore reduces the chance of "running" (literally) into overtraining.
Overall, there is however no group of athletes that is immune to training too long, too hard and without appropriate recovery times. And yes, this goes for power sports, such as weight lifting and judo, as well (cf. Callister. 1990, Fry. 1994)!
Identifying overtraining by psychomotoric evaluationWhen you come to think of it, it does actually stand to reason: Static and dynamic tasks for finger, hand, and arm movements, as they are assessed during a series of tests to assess motor performance are a way better yardstick to determine the stress (over-)load on the central nervous system (CNS), than simply looking at "how much ya bench". Why? The nasty, creepy and easy to overlook form of overtraining happens largely in your head and your nerves, it's not muscular. Your skeletal muscle can be fully rested, while your central nervous system is at the verge of collapsing.
What does the motor-skill test measure? (1) steadiness (one or both hands) - assesses hand unrest, tremor; (2) inserting long pins (one or both hands) - assesses rate of arm and hand movements, precision of arm-hand movements, manual and digital dexterity; (3) tapping (one or both hands) - assesses wrist-finger speedUsually the latter goes hand in hand with other not exactly exercise related stress symptoms such as nervousness, and the inability to cope with the imposed stress and piling-up difficulties. Therefore Paul et al. required that all the one-hundred 18-25y athletes (M=65, F=35; university to international level) from various athletic backgrounds, i.e.
- hockey (14%), volleyball (14%), basketball (13%), handball (12%), football (6%), cricket (2%),
- cycling (13%), running (11%), kabaddi (8%), swimming (5%), gymnastics (1%), and sprinting (1%)
|Figure 1: Motor performance (steadiness error duration; inserting long pins task duration; tap hits) in 100 athletes grouped into low (LS), medium (MSG), and high (HSG) groups according to their scores on the TSS test (calculated based on Paul. 2012)|
|Professional athletes rarely end up like Christian Bale in the Machinist but as I discussed at length in a previous post, overtraining was one of the two pillars of the crazy regimen the actor used to starve himself into a state that hardly allowed him to perform in front of the camera.|
- The athletes with lowest training stress symptoms showed the highest reboundability (resilience) from their mistakes.
- Increased intensity of training stress symptoms indicates attention deficit leading to poor psychomotor performance.
- Along with physical training, psychological training has to be considered as one of the eminent aspects of overall development of an athlete.
Phosphatidic acid a novel 'mTOR potentiator' for superior gains?I somehow forget this one in the last installment of On Short Notice, but before the first supplements are going to hit the market (two of the authors have already filed a patent back in 2011 that hasbeen published in June 2012; see De Ferra. 2012), I thought I'd briefly discuss the results of a recently published study on the potential ergogenic and muscle building effects of phosphatidic acid (PA) by Hoffman et al. (Hoffman. 2012).
The study that was published online in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition evaluated the effects of an 8-week resistance training on 16 resistance-trained men who had been randomly assigned to consume either 750 mg of PA or a placebo.
|Figure 3: Training protocol and amino acid content (in g/100g) of the post-workout supplement (identical in both groups).|
- the non-supervised training sessions at the subjects respective local gyms (training logs regardless of whether they are evaluated by "certified personnel", or not, can obviously be faked), and
- the absence of a prescribed nutritional regimen (the participants kept 3-day food-logs and were advised to stay on their habitual diet; no significant differences in total intake ~3,200kcal/day; according to Hoffman et al. likewise not statistical significant, but wrt to the the changes in body composition maybe noteworthy, were the -17% lower carb and +18.2% higher protein intake in the active = PA arm of the study)
"So this stuff is not useful, right?"
|Figure 4: Exogenous phosphatidic acid is metabolized to lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) in the body and LPA has been shown to work synergistically w/ leucine to increase mTORC1 activity (in vitro data from Winter. 2010).|
Maybe the increased mTORC1 expression Winter et al. have observed upon co-incubation of leucine with LPA are not pronounced enough (figure 4). Or simply not necessary with enough leucine and insulin in the blood stream. After all, the Winter study also showed that basically identical effects were observed when the cells were incubated with leucine + insulin, instead of LPA + insulin (data not shown in figure 4).
So even if oral PA acts just like in-vitro LPA synergistically with leucine to activate the mTOR pathway (Fang. 2001; Winter. 2010; figure 4), the real world benefits in the study at hand are probably about as significant as the hypothetical 500g increase in net protein retention I discussed in he protein timing news earlier this week. Whether this may change with higher and/or more frequent doses in future studies remains to be seen, though. It does at least not appear to be impossible...
- 'Built-in SERM' could help making post-menopausal estrogen replacement breast cancer proof At least this is what the results of a recent rodent trial that was conducted by researchers from the Division of Endocrinology at the Department of Medicine of the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville would suggest. Even in the absence of a progestin, which does have some ameliorative effects on the pro-carcinogenic effects of estrogen, the addition of the tissue-specific selective estrogen receptor modulator bazedoxifene (BZA) to the allegedly questionable, yet still widely prescribed conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) blocked the CEE- and, in a second control study, even the more potent E2-stimulated ductal and terminal end bud growth of mammary gland and the corresponding estrogen-responsive gene expression (Song. 2012).
The latter may also be interesting for athletes competing in sports where increased muscle mass can become an issue. After all, the results Mohebbi et al. present in the latest issue of the Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research would suggest that unless your training is geared towards increased muscle gain (which is obviously shouldn't be if that would be an issue for you) regular creatine, i.e. not the sugar laden 'cell-volumizers', can help you increase your performance in the absence of the (again, only for certain people) disadvantageous weight gain.
- Whether estrogen will save your brain cells or actually exacerbate the damaging effect of NMDA exposure depends on timing I guess you will all have heard of the protective effects of estrogen against N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) toxicity. Now, a group of researchers from the University of Catania and the University of Rome Sapienza,both obviously in Italy, found that only pretreatment with estrogen will provide these beneficial effects, while the co-incubation or subsequent administration of estrogen will only potentiate the NMDA-induced cell death (Spampinato. 2012)
- Callister R, Callister RG, Fleck SJ, Dudley GA. Physiological and performance responses to overtraining in elite judo athletes. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1990; 22: 816–24.
- Fang Y, Vilella-Bach M, Bachmann R, Flanigan A, Chen J: Phosphatidic acid-mediated mitogenic activation of mTOR signaling. Science 2001, 294:1942–1945.
- De Ferra L, Heuer M, Hagerman S, Purpura S, Jäger R. Method for increasing muscle mass and strength. Filed November 23, 2011. US 2012/0141448 A1. Published on June 7, 2012.
- Fry AC, Kraemer WJ, van Borselen F et al. Performance decrements with high-intensity resistance exercise overtraining. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 1994; 26: 1165–73.
- MacKinnon LT. Special feature for the Olympics: effects of exercise on the immune system: overtraining effects on immunity and performance in athletes. Immunol Cell Biol. 2000 Oct;78(5):502-9.
- Mohebbi H, Rahnama N, Moghadassi M, Ranjbar K. Effect of Creatine Supplementation on Sprint and Skill Performance in Young Soccer Players. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research. 2012; 12 (3): 397-401.
- Paul M, Khenna N, Sandhu JS. Psychomotor analysis of athletes under overtraining stresss. Serb J Sports Sci. 2012;6(3): 95-10.
- Song Y, Santen RJ, Wang JP, Yue W. Effects of the Conjugated Equine Estrogen/ Bazedoxifene Tissue-Selective Estrogen Complex (TSEC) on Mammary Gland and Breast Cancer in Mice. Endocrinology. 2012 Oct 15.
- Spampinato SF, Merlo S, Molinaro G, Battaglia G, Bruno V, Nicoletti F, Sortino MA. Dual Effect of 17β-Estradiol on NMDA-Induced Neuronal Death: Involvement of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor 1. Endocrinology. 2012 Oct 17.
- Winter JN, Fox TE, Kester M, Jefferson LS, Kimball SR: Phosphatidic acid mediates activation of mTORC1 through the ERK signaling pathway. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2010, 299:C335–C344.