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Training and Nutrition for Performance: Males, Females, and Gender Differences

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Sports Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2024) | Viewed by 10844

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Sports Sciences, European University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: exercise; physical activity; sports; hydration; health
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Co-Guest Editor
Faculty of Sports Sciences, European University of Madrid, 28040 Madrid, Spain
Interests: coronavirus; lockdown; home-based training; fitness; physical condition in older adults; functionality; physical activity; sedentary behavior
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The number of participants in sports, whether amateur and professional, or in highly demanding exercise modalities, such as high-intensity functional training or ultra-endurance racing, has increased in recent decades. Both males and females are increasingly engaging in fitness exercise programs to improve their health and wellness, as well as in efforts to reach their limits. Therefore, specific knowledge about nutrition and training strategies, including training programs, training methods, and the optimal concurrent nutrition interventions to enhance performance, health, and wellbeing in males and females must be developed extensively. Further, females and gender differences have been investigated to a lesser extent, meaning that it is common in practice to apply similar strategies for both sexes. Due to the physiological, anatomical, and biological differences between males and females, it becomes essential to independently study males and women and establish specific approaches.

Along these lines, there is an increasing demand to adapt combined training programs with nutritional control, the ingestion of nutritional supplements, and/or use of ergogenic aids to address the peculiarities of females and males (e.g., hormones regulation, nutritional demands,...) in order to help competition and fitness, enhance adaptations, and thus optimize improvements in performance, wellness, and health.

Therefore, in this Special Issue, we aim to publish original research articles, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses addressing the necessity of deeply studying the specific effects of combined training and nutrition interventions in female and male exercise practitioners’ adaptations, health, and performance.

Dr. Valentín E. Fernández-Elías
Dr. Olga López Torres
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • females
  • males
  • training
  • exercise
  • supplements
  • ergogenic aids
  • sport nutrition
  • fitness
  • performance

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 725 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness of Sports Nutrition Education Based on Self-Determination Theory for Male University Rowing Athletes: A Randomized Controlled Trial
by Naoko Enatsu, Jun Seino, Taishi Tsuji and Mitsugi Ogata
Nutrients 2024, 16(6), 799; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16060799 - 11 Mar 2024
Viewed by 665
Abstract
To resolve problems in the dietary life of university athletes, education is essential to enable athletes to change their own dietary behavior. The purpose of this research was to verify the effectiveness of sports nutrition education based on self-determination theory (SDT). The participants [...] Read more.
To resolve problems in the dietary life of university athletes, education is essential to enable athletes to change their own dietary behavior. The purpose of this research was to verify the effectiveness of sports nutrition education based on self-determination theory (SDT). The participants were 36 male university rowers. A stratified randomized comparison test was conducted by student year (SDT group and control group). Sports nutrition education was held three times, via an Internet conferencing system. Furthermore, group work over social media was used for the SDT group. Four evaluations were carried out based on anthropometric measurements, a brief self-administered diet history questionnaire (BDHQ), sports nutrition knowledge test (SNK), and treatment self-regulation questionnaire (TSRQ). The results showed no differences between the two groups. However, for the intragroup factor, “Protein”, a significant difference was evident in the self-determination theory group (50.0 ± 28.5, 78.6 ± 28.1, 81.0 ± 21.5, p < 0.000, units: %) and improved knowledge (p = 0.002, p = 0.002). And for the BDHQ, the self-determination theory group also showed significant differences and increased their intake of green and yellow vegetables, fruits, and dairy products (159.1 ± 74.2–126.7 ± 70.6, p = 0.009, 306.0 ± 196.2–195.2 ± 146.1, p = 0.020, 257.0 ± 147.0–183.3 ± 167.9, p = 0.040, units: g). In conclusion, sports nutrition education based on SDT improved dietary knowledge and increased food requirements for athletes. Full article
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14 pages, 3820 KiB  
Article
Glycerophospholipids in Red Blood Cells Are Associated with Aerobic Performance in Young Swimmers
by Álex Aparecido Rosini Silva, Vanessa Bertolucci, Pedro Paulo Menezes Scariot, João Pedro da Cruz, Flavio Marcio Macedo Mendes, Danilo Cardoso de Oliveira, Catharina Delry Plumari, Ivan Gustavo Masseli Dos Reis, Andreia Melo Porcari and Leonardo Henrique Dalcheco Messias
Nutrients 2024, 16(6), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16060765 - 07 Mar 2024
Viewed by 584
Abstract
This study aimed to characterize the composition of lipids in the red blood cells (RBCs) of adolescent swimmers and correlate this lipidome with the aerobic performance of the athletes. Five experimental assessments were performed by 37 adolescent swimmers. During the first session, the [...] Read more.
This study aimed to characterize the composition of lipids in the red blood cells (RBCs) of adolescent swimmers and correlate this lipidome with the aerobic performance of the athletes. Five experimental assessments were performed by 37 adolescent swimmers. During the first session, the athletes went to the laboratory facility for venous blood sampling. The critical velocity protocol was conducted over the 4 subsequent days to measure aerobic performance (CV), comprising maximal efforts over distances of 100, 200, 400, and 800 m in a swimming pool. RBCs were obtained and extracted for analysis using the liquid chromatography—high resolution mass spectrometry untargeted approach. A total of 2146 ions were detected in the RBCs, of which 119 were identified. The enrichment pathway analysis indicated intermediary lipids in the glycerophospholipid, glycerolipid, sphingolipid, linoleic acid, and alpha-linolenic metabolisms, as well as pentose and glucuronate interconversions. A significant impact of the intermediary lipids was observed for the glycerophospholipid metabolism, including phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylcholine (PC), 1-acyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, sn-glycerol 3-phosphate, and phosphatidic acid. Inverse and significant associations were observed for PE 18:2/18:3 (r = −0.39; p = 0.015), PC 18:3/20:0 (r = −0.33; p = 0.041), and phosphatidic acid 18:0/0:0 (r = −0.47; p = 0.003) with aerobic performance. Swimmers who exhibited higher levels of aerobic performance also had the lowest abundance of PE, PC, and phosphatidic acid. Full article
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13 pages, 416 KiB  
Article
Eating Behavior Disorders and Disordered Eating Habits in Spanish High-Performance Women’s Olympic Wrestling Athletes
by Marina Rueda Flores, Adrián Martín-Castellanos, Olga López-Torres, Valentín E. Fernández-Elías, Jorge García-González and Daniel Mon-López
Nutrients 2024, 16(5), 709; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16050709 - 29 Feb 2024
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Eating disorders (EDs) are a significant health issue in combat sports. This study investigated the differences between the different types of female wrestlers and the frequency at which EDs occur in the elite population, and it also sought to establish which factors are [...] Read more.
Eating disorders (EDs) are a significant health issue in combat sports. This study investigated the differences between the different types of female wrestlers and the frequency at which EDs occur in the elite population, and it also sought to establish which factors are predictors of EDs. This study was comprised of 22 elite, female wrestlers who were selected based on the following inclusion criteria: having previously been the Spanish champion, being part of the Spanish national team, participating in at least one international championship, and having a history of ED. Data collection involved five questionnaires: demographic data, the Eating Attitudes Test-26 (EAT-26), the Bulimic Investigatory Test, the Edinburgh (BITE), the Eating Disorders Inventory (EDI-3), and the Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale (DASS-21). The results revealed diverse levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, with BITE scores indicating abnormal eating patterns. Group comparisons exposed significant distinctions in eating behaviors based on competition and training experience. Regression analyses showed competition and training experience as predictors of bulimia severity and symptoms. The study revealed prevalent extreme weight-control practices, including fasting, diuretic and laxative use, and binge eating. This research emphasizes the importance of EDs in Olympic wrestling, urging a comprehensive approach involving education, support, and policy implementation by coaches, health professionals, and sports organizations to prioritize athletes’ well-being and discourage unhealthy weight-control practices. Full article
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10 pages, 847 KiB  
Article
The Effects of 24-h Fasting on Exercise Performance and Metabolic Parameters in a Pilot Study of Female CrossFit Athletes
by Melike Nur Eroglu, Celia Rodríguez-Longobardo, Ana Ramírez-Adrados, Clara Colina-Coca, Silvia Burgos-Postigo, Olga López-Torres and Valentín E. Fernández-Elías
Nutrients 2023, 15(22), 4841; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15224841 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 2554
Abstract
Many studies have tested intermittent fasting (IF) in athletes, but its effects on female CrossFit athletes remain relatively unexplored in the existing literature. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the effects of 24-h IF on the physical performance of [...] Read more.
Many studies have tested intermittent fasting (IF) in athletes, but its effects on female CrossFit athletes remain relatively unexplored in the existing literature. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the effects of 24-h IF on the physical performance of female CrossFit practitioners. Eleven female CrossFit athletes (age: 30.91 ± 3.42, weight: 65.26 ± 7.55 kg, height: 1.66 ± 0.05 m) participated in the study. The study used a crossover design with fasting and eating conditions. Participants completed an exercise test, standing long jump, and handgrip strength assessment. Hydration status, heart rate, blood lactate, blood glucose, rates of perceived exertion, and hunger were measured. Results showed significant differences in blood lactate concentration (F = 5.435, p = 0.042, η2p = 0.352). Resting blood lactate concentration was significantly lower in the fasting trial than in the eating trial (p < 0.001), but post-exercise blood lactate concentrations were higher in the fasting trial than in the eating trial (p < 0.001). No differences were found in performance times (p > 0.05). In conclusion, this pilot study of females suggests that 24-h fasting does not impair exercise performance or negatively affect physiological parameters in CrossFit athletes. Full article
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11 pages, 308 KiB  
Article
Are Supplements Consumed by Middle-Distance Runners Evidence-Based? A Comparative Study between Level of Competition and Sex
by Asier Del Arco, Aitor Martinez Aguirre-Betolaza, Ewa Malchrowicz-Mośko, Anna Gogojewicz and Arkaitz Castañeda-Babarro
Nutrients 2023, 15(22), 4839; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15224839 - 20 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1497
Abstract
Background: Middle-distance running events have special physiological requirements from a training and competition point of view. Therefore, many athletes choose to take sport supplements (SS) for different reasons. To date, few studies have been carried out that review supplementation patterns in middle-distance running. [...] Read more.
Background: Middle-distance running events have special physiological requirements from a training and competition point of view. Therefore, many athletes choose to take sport supplements (SS) for different reasons. To date, few studies have been carried out that review supplementation patterns in middle-distance running. The aim of the present study is to analyze the consumption of SS in these runners with respect to their level of competition, sex and level of scientific evidence. Methods: In this descriptive cross-sectional study, data was collected from 106 middle-distance runners using a validated questionnaire. Results: Of the total sample, 85.85% responded that they consumed SS; no statistical difference was found regarding the level of competition or sex of the athletes. With respect to the level of competition, differences were observed in the total consumption of SS (p = 0.012), as well as in that of medical supplements (p = 0.005). Differences were observed between sexes in the consumption of medical supplements (p = 0.002) and group C supplements (p = 0.029). Conclusions: Higher-level athletes consume SS that have greater scientific evidence. On the other hand, although the most commonly consumed SS have evidence for the performance or health of middle-distance runners, runners should improve both their sources of information and their places of purchase. Full article
14 pages, 897 KiB  
Article
Dietary Habits of Elite Soccer Players: Variations According to Competitive Level, Playing Position and Sex
by Jaime Sebastiá-Rico, Jose M. Soriano, Jesús Sanchis-Chordà, Miguel Alonso-Calvar, Pedro López-Mateu, David Romero-García and José Miguel Martínez-Sanz
Nutrients 2023, 15(20), 4323; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15204323 - 10 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2105
Abstract
Soccer is a sport practiced worldwide by both men and women, where nutrition plays a fundamental role in the performance of soccer players, providing them with the nutrients necessary for energy, muscle recovery and injury prevention. The aim of this study is to [...] Read more.
Soccer is a sport practiced worldwide by both men and women, where nutrition plays a fundamental role in the performance of soccer players, providing them with the nutrients necessary for energy, muscle recovery and injury prevention. The aim of this study is to describe the dietary habits in elite soccer players and their association with their competitive level, playing position and sex. A descriptive and non-experimental comparative study was conducted during the 2021–2022 competitive season. A total of 105 players belonging to a Spanish elite soccer team completed a food frequency questionnaire (FCFQ). It was observed that male players presented a higher consumption of carbohydrate-rich foods (p < 0.05), fermented foods (p = 0.014), frozen foods (p = 0.049) and red meat (p = 0.012) compared to female players, with the exception of lean meats, which were higher in females (p = 0.012). Furthermore, the U16-15 categories stand out for consuming carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta (p = 0.000), bread (p = 0.004) and sweets (p = 0.046), as well as frozen foods (p = 0.002). Finally, alcohol consumption is higher in the senior categories (42.9%), where men are more likely to drink mixed drinks (6.2%), and beer and wine by women (10.7%). Practically no differences were found between the playing positions. In conclusion, differences were found in FCFQ according to competitive level and sex. Full article
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Review

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22 pages, 886 KiB  
Review
Female Athlete Triad and Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDs): Nutritional Management
by Monika Grabia, Jakub Perkowski, Katarzyna Socha and Renata Markiewicz-Żukowska
Nutrients 2024, 16(3), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu16030359 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2196
Abstract
The female athlete triad (TRIAD) is a spectrum of disorders involving low energy availability (LEA), low bone mineral density, and menstrual disorders. It is increasingly common to use the term ‘relative energy deficiency in sport’ (RED), emphasising the extensive impact of LEA on [...] Read more.
The female athlete triad (TRIAD) is a spectrum of disorders involving low energy availability (LEA), low bone mineral density, and menstrual disorders. It is increasingly common to use the term ‘relative energy deficiency in sport’ (RED), emphasising the extensive impact of LEA on the body. The aim of this narrative review was to gather original research encompassing female athletes across various sports as well as to collect findings on the potential of a nutrition-focused approach to prevent or treat the aforementioned disorders. A comprehensive search was conducted in PubMed and Scopus. Several challenges were identified regarding the adequacy of the energy availability, protein, and carbohydrate requirements in the diets of female athletes. Moreover, insufficient intake of vitamin D has been observed across all athlete groups studied. This insufficiency also extends to the average requirement for Ca, Mg, the Ca/P ratio, Zn, and Fe. To address those concerns, a nutritional approach is proposed in the latter part of this review. The factors that can improve the absorption of micronutrients have also been discussed. The TRIAD/REDs affect an ever-growing number of women and require appropriate therapeutic management, particularly through nutritional care. Therefore, cooperation within an interdisciplinary team comprising a physician, nutritionist, physiotherapist, and psychologist is crucial. Full article
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